Wednesday, December 1, 2010

When a picture plays a song...

There are times when you look at a picture and you can hear music tinkling in your mind.

It stirs emotion and you feel a message that is yours. Just for you. Each of us hear our own message as the beauty of the image lies in the mind of its beholder.

I never asked his name. All he wanted was for me to take his picture. At the time I was sceptical, what if he robbed me, I thought. But I complied. And for me this is one of the best pictures I’ve taken.

These are Cape Town on a cloudy day...

Colours and textures at a construction site.

For most images, I hear a background tune playing but when taking a picture all I hear is sublime silence.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remember the Titanesses

The strongest women in my life have all taught me how to be me. Each in their own way have contributed to the whole that is me... every quirk, every unique and wonderful trait.

My earliest memory of a strong woman was my gran. My wonderful, old fashioned, glove wearing, pearl slinging grandmother. She believed one should never wear brown and black together and that only bad girls wore g-strings. She divorced my grandfather when she was in her thirties and never married again. Raised my mom on her own during an age when single motherhood was as taboo as condoms to the Roman Catholics. Much to her dismay, my mom fell pregnant at 18, adding more to her already heavy burden. She bore it all with a wonderful smile and a lightness that made you realise how easy life can be. She was strong and sturdy and i loved her so very much. In the end i lost her to angina, an enlarged heart,how appropriate for someone who loved everyone. One of the biggest lessons i learnt was kindness.

At school i met an independant, free spirit, my Grade 8 English teacher, Miss Ashbury. What a specimen! She cut her own hair, smoked like a chimney, drove an avocado Beetle and didn’t give a crap about rules. She taught us to learn from the world around us. Live our lives as we wanted and not as society dictated. She was in her 60’s and never been married. From her i learnt to be free and not to make excuses for it!

Many years later I made a friend. One who is just as fiery as I am, in fact we are the exact same age, born in the exact same month, same star sign. We spent so much time working together we started to mirror each other in our hobbies and thinking. She is now fighting a cancerous brain tumour. Four years ago the doctors gave her a few months to live. Every day she lives out of sheer willpower and makes a concerted effort to make the world a better place for us. Thank you for the lesson of strength, Adela.

Every woman has so much power inside and sometimes that power gets way laid. Power that is diminished to allow someone elses to shine. We go through pain, tragedy, divorce, miscarriage, child birth, death, illness and we survive. We fight. We bear our scars and we are proud. Never shy away from the titan that is you. Never allow yourself to forget who you are. When you are lost, find one thing that is truly yours. An idea, a thought, an item, a place and hold onto it so tightly until you find your way back to the voice that is only yours. And once you hear that voice, never tune it out.

It is the voice of your power, the voice of you.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sometimes its just hard being happy for someone else.

Its hard because we’re so competitive. Our need to win all the time makes it so hard to share.

But what are we actually competing for? How does it work? Whoever has the biggest house, sleekest car, twin babies, most money, do they win? What kind of competition is it where the playing field is completely unpredictable. How could a winner be found when everyone competes differently, for different things. Priorities are never the same, goals are never the same. And yet, in that one instance where what you desire is being enjoyed by someone else, you cannot be happy for them?

You can, when you realise something… the world does not revolve around you. This is not your planet it is ours. We share its bounty, we share its beauty. We all take from it what we wish. We are all one, in our thinking, in our hearts, in our minds. We’re collective and independent at the same time.

Envy is a terrible, tragic human failure. It eats away the happiness that is glowing from within. It dims and shadows the blessings and joys you were meant to experience when your wishes are fulfilled. Yes, it’s a hard lesson to learn to banish your envy, but it is such an important one. It is such a vital life enhancing emotional skill that must be mastered.

We try to be winners by beating each other to the punch, but when will we learn that it is that very trait that makes us losers.

I am very happy for you. You have come a long way and you have worked hard, sacrificed and suffered. You have smiled brightly, laughed loudly and triumphed. You live as do I.

I am your witness as we stand side by side being happy for each other.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Always finish what you start.

So my husband says I never finish anything I start.

All I have to do is look around at all my half-finished, half-baked, half-arsed attempts at drawing, guitar playing, photography, jewellery making, learning Spanish, an interior decorating course and various Unisa degrees started over a decade ago!

There are at least 5 unfinished books, 105 602 attempts at a proper gym workout, 2 yoga classes and a visit each to a homeless shelter and girls town.

Yes … there it is. The giant, angry, purple elephant in the room that I always keep my back to and never make eye contact with.

“You will feel an enormous sense of accomplishment, when you finish something” he says.

Easy for him to say, he has a disease where he has to watch paint dry. Just to make sure its good and dry. Over the years his love of watching documentaries to the end has left him well endowed with a fountain of general knowledge. I’m thinking he might have a point.

So in good spirits and with good intentions I embark on my quest to finish something I’ve started.

First off, I am reading book 4 of the Harry Potter 7. Since reading has always been my strongest point this one is almost too easy. So I cannot in good conscience give myself full points for it. Though I do promise to read it word for word and not speed read like spy in a hurry.

Secondly, I have an unfinished pencil drawing of a butterfly somewhere that is in mid-copy mode… just need to remember where I put it...

For now, just the two then. I’m quite eager to experience the zen of accomplishment!

PS. I DO finish some things. Like chocolate and all the spending money in my bank account.

PSS. I already have 5 new things waiting in the wings! (belly dancing, rock climbing, photo course, pilates & pastry making!)

"Give us the tools and we will finish the job."   -    Winston Churchill

Monday, May 31, 2010

When did we become the people of excess?

Our parents and the generations before them had the courage and grit of fighters. Persevering through all of the tragedies and obstacles placed before them and in the end emerging with character and soul. Some would argue that poverty has a sense of romance while others would be shocked at the idea of having nothing.

But there is some wisdom and a sense of freedom in having nothing. We would have less decisions to make, less bills to pay, less stress about debt. So what do we do? Sell everything and move to a remote location where we churn our own butter from the two cows we own? Or do we strike a fine balance between having too much and having too little. A lot easier said than done.

The hoarder in us refuses to allow us to live on faith and the belief that God will provide. Surely this abundance is Him providing, we tell ourselves, as we stock up on food we don’t eat, clothes we don’t wear, shoes that collect dust. Yes, He is providing, but we are taking way more than we need. And we are giving away a lot less than we should. We care about our neighbours a lot less. We share a whole lot less than what we used to when we all had nothing.

Some of us remember the taste of poverty and fear to taste it again. So we make sure we are provided for in more ways than necessary. In fact we over provide to our detriment. Excess, is the bane of humanity. Too much money, too much food, too many possessions, too many, too many… This thinking is destroying us. We are destroying the planet and ourselves. Look around at everything we have that we do not need.

Next time you see a hungry, homeless person take the time to give him something of yours. Something he could use. Something that will make him believe that he is not alone in his poverty.

Something that will release you from your bonds of excess.

Monday, March 1, 2010

If you ever find yourself in Thailand ... Top 10 things to do.

1. Remember that everyone loves their king. Asking "who's that", gets you a look of disdain. Yes, they like big pictures of him. Please stop by and see his ginormously huge palace in the city.... i'd hate to see the size of his country home.

2. Make peace with the fact that there is NO FRESH AIR in the entire city of Bangkok. You dont need a mask. How will you enjoy the pungent, deeply layered odour of rat and damp city while wearing it??

3. Take time to meet the locals :) the little people if you will... They're super friendly and very relaxed.

4. Eat something halaal... if you can find it. Thai people love pork. Its the damn chinese influence. Everything has bit of miss piggy on it! So watch out.

5. Take a longboat ride in Krabi and see the best beaches in the world... dont let any drunk Germans sit next to you. They will think you're one of the local girls and try to touch your leg by pretending to wipe their brow with your towel! Horny german males visiting for the sex industry should be banned from Thailand.

6. The compulsory Elephant Ride! Loads of fun. And when your husband thinks he's the king of the elephant and tries to 'take charge'... dont be nervous, they're very calm creatures. Except when you wave a snack at them! Elephant skin is so thick you'd have to weld it for the elephant to feel anything.

7. Hire a scooter! ... And the king of the scooter showed up. We whipped around Krabi at high speeds with the wind on our hair! It was awesome :)

8. Do some shopping and do it WELL. This place is cheap and everything is handmade!

9. Dont fall for that nonsense about the biggest flower in the world! Its a tourist trap designed to have you hiking in knee high mud for 3 hours to find a fungus!

10. Dont forget to have a good giggle... and dont overplan.

Dear God, please help Chile...

The Chilean people are kind and humble. They have an almost childlike quality that makes you feel as if you're in never never land. South Americans have a strength that flows deeply in their bones. They're the people of the Incas and also the people of the trees and the forests. Please God, keep them safe and help them recover easily from the quake.

Hasta luego Santiago... you can bet on it! :)