New year, new you?

The first day of the new year is always high with expectation. At least that’s how it used to be for me. As a young woman, I remember the pressure of always having to ‘do something’ or be somewhere fabulous on New Year’s Eve. How things have changed. Last night was like most other weekend nights, just the four of us. Nothing particularly extraordinary, except for the fireworks that lit the Sandton skyline at midnight that Motheo managed to stay up for. And the rain.

The continuous rain and cooler weather, since yesterday morning, has been a surprising antidote for the ‘flames’ that have been synonymous with 2018. In Africa, rain is considered a blessing. It rained on our wedding day and while another bride might have been reduced to tears at the prospect of not having beautiful scenic shots, I embraced and welcomed the blessing. We did, however, still manage to get the most incredible pics in the aftermath of the storm which had created a dramatic vista and backdrop that we could only have dreamed of. I remember that year our photographer used one of our shots as her ‘top 10’ posted on her website. But I digress. Back to the rain.

But I soon came to understand that water signifies change and transformation.

Even though I’m an air sign, Libra, I have a connection to water that brings peace. When I first started to dream of water, in various forms and scenarios, I was confounded. But I soon came to understand that water signifies change and transformation. A cleansing of sort.  So, whenever I have a dream with water as a dominant feature, I usually wake with a sense of calm and confidence. Calm that the particular experience I’m going through is exactly as it should be. And confidence that whatever is troubling me has been washed away.

This is the distinct feeling I have had since yesterday, and it has continued throughout today. The incessant rain – even though it’s unfortunately destructive to some – is soothing my pain, washing away the fear and cleansing my soul. The lower temperature and tranquility of the shower has a beautiful meditative effect on me today. This is especially refreshing as the heat wilts my energy and saps my joy these days. And as usual, on significant days, I’m drawn to my mother.

Whatever you fight, you strengthen. And whatever you resist, persists.

I will turn 47 in 2019, the age that Flo was called to meet her Maker and ancestors. If she has known a year earlier that she would leave her husband and children so soon, what would she have done differently? These are the thoughts I’m having. Not with sadness and regret. But rather with a large dose of gratitude. Gratitude that I have choice. We will never know our final mortal day. But it’s guaranteed. Our only responsibility is to be present and live each day in peace and love. The rest is superfluous and strangely, automatically appears once we release attachment to those things. Whatever you fight, you strengthen. And whatever you resist, persists. Still my favourite quote from Eckhart Tolle.

With the rain nourishing the soil, setting the foundation for growth and renewal, there’s no need to make any grand New Year’s resolutions. Certainly not for me. I can’t ever remember keeping one beyond mid-January. Rather, let’s commit to live in the moment. Let’s be kind to each other. Let’s forgo our lived reality as the only truth. Let’s open ourselves to authentic relationships so that we can be surprised. Surprised that letting go is often all we need to invite love and joy into our lives.  

Happy New Year! Let 2019 be a year of delightful surprises.

What Do We Want?

Digital is here to stay whether you embrace it or not. I’m less concerned with the hysteria around the ‘robots coming to rule our lives’. Hey, that’s here already. Think of a need and there’s already an app catering to that whim. So, if our lives are taken over by technology – everything from finding and maintaining relationships, entertaining ourselves and our kids, working and doing business, and everything and anything in between – shouldn’t things be so much easier? Shouldn’t we have much more time? And with all that entertainment on tap, surely, we must be the happiest we’ve ever been?

We count the follows, tweets, likes and hearts

Sadly, this is furthest from the truth. All technology has done is give us illusions of perfection. Social media photo filters make us look like supermodels, we reinvent ourselves, our children and our families, and sanitise our lives by posting the poised and the pretty. We count the follows, tweets, likes and hearts. Even when people try to be ‘real’ and honest, there’s such vitriolic backlash, body-shaming, blaming; patriarchy always rearing its ugly head. We’re so disconnected from reality that we can’t even recognise it when it hits us in the face.

 

We say we want to be ‘accepted for our authentic selves’; yet we reject our bodies, our stretch marks, less-than-firm boobs that tell our story, and wrinkles and grey hair that validate our wisdom. We say we want to be heard; yet remain silent in the face of abuse, lies and deceit. We say we want inner peace, yet we clog our lives with stuff and more stuff. We demand equality but continue to second-guess ourselves. Woman, what do you want?

 

Ten to fifteen years ago, if you had asked me that question, I would have said ‘a husband and child’. That’s what I believed I was ‘lacking’. It seemed as though everyone around me had some semblance of that; a committed relationship, if not a husband, and a child or two or more. If I have to be real, I wanted them as a ‘badge of honour’; a stamp of approval, of sorts. Like I would ‘arrive’ with those ‘appendages’ that would change my life and ultimately, make me a happier, better person.

 

Today, I have all that. And more. I have two sons. My eldest turned five today. Healthy, normal, well-adjusted. The joy and gratitude are real. Yet. I grapple with a sense of longing. That I haven’t achieved everything I should. That once target A, B and C are realised, the content and happiness will materialise. But wait. Didn’t I reach my targets? I’m now a wife and mother. They give me everything that I thought they would, but they also give me a whole lot else that I couldn’t imagine.

Cajoling, caressing and making love all the days of your life.

Cause when you’re lying there, curled up with your pillow and an empty bed, all you can fantasize is that someone lying next to you is the missing link. Cajoling, caressing and making love all the days of your life. You never ever think that he or she could have a god-awful habit like snoring, that may disrupt your sleep forever. Or that your child may have special needs that go beyond your patience threshold. Or that household bills become grudge purchases. Nothing wrong with this picture. That’s life.  It’s the reality that we don’t like to entertain when we’re romanticising that which we don’t have. Stop it. Now.

 

The one thing that I’m trying to embrace is that nothing is ever good or bad. Rather, it’s good and bad. Even this recession. Yes, the same one that has some of us eating out less and recycling our clothes, not solely as the environmentally-friendly practice that is far more honourable. It’s just a cycle.

 

If you’re single, it comes with the good and bad. If you’re married, there are ups and downs. If you’re childless, it has advantages and disadvantages. If you’re unemployed, it may feel like it’s just bad and worse, but it has an equal opposite reaction. Get it? Make a list of all the reasons why. Try it with whatever else you feel you’re lacking or that’s holding you back from living your best life. Force yourself to look at it from all angles. Life is never one-dimensional. Neither are we.

Living a life of purpose and truth that supercedes whatever is happening out there.

This downtime has got me asking myself a series of questions. What do I really want? In a crisis, trying to ask upfront, what is the lesson here? I don’t have all the answers. But I’m working on the internal. That which is in my control. The choices that I make. Living a life of purpose and truth that supercedes whatever is happening out there. Robots ruling or chilly days in November.

 

My birthday wish for my first-born, actually for both my children; find your passion first. And this is never linked to another. Your purpose and the rest will follow.