Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Finding yourself is one of the hardest things you will ever do...

Since the day you’re born you are surrounded by ideas and projections of who you should be. Who you are meant to be, who you should aim to be. Your parents define you as their child, your siblings define you as their sister/brother, your friends define you, your neighbours define you, heck even your pet defines you! And when you interact with them you have to assume the preconceived role they have concocted in their minds for you. No wonder so many people feel pressurized all the time, you can’t say no, you shouldn’t make a fuss, you should be easy going and accommodating all the time. That is not the way to finding yourself.

The only true way to find your inner being is to quieten the noise, the voices, the sounds of those around you. Those that seek to influence you to their way of thinking, those that have predefined ideas of you and how you should behave. It is only when you are truly alone that you start to hear your soul’s song. The one that says I don’t like eating that, I love listening to that, more colour, more air, more freedom... when the only person you have to please is yourself. I always wondered why the road to happiness was about knowing yourself and knowing what you want. I always thought if I don’t know what I want, I might as well do what you want.... I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Everything in your life is there because you choose it to be so. You look a certain way, dress a certain way, speak a certain way etc etc all because you have chosen it. Imagine that you had no idea what you wanted from your life, you’d be a sad sorry mess of everyone’s crazy/boring ideas. Sometimes you don’t realise you are at that point, sometimes you see someone blissfully living a dream and they have no idea that they are even asleep. They are alive but they are not living. Their soul songs are so dim that it is blown away in the wind.

The biggest hurdle on your journey you will face is fear. It is the fear you feel inside yourself because suddenly you don’t have the comfort and security of having someone else decide for you. You have to be responsible for your own destiny. You have to be strong and step outside of your boundaries. The beauty of this is once you embrace that challenge you could never surrender yourself again. You have to hand yourself over to fate and accept that no matter what happens you can handle it and it will make you soar. This is the point when fear turns to trust. And that is the biggest reward of finding yourself. Trusting yourself and following your instincts which are now very clear to you.

Life cannot be lived in isolation though. Some people find more happiness and contentment in being by themselves so much that they never go back to being part of a functional society. Perhaps it’s the disdain they feel for society’s great pressure for conformity. As a mass of people we suffer from group think. Where if you are different you are ostracized and cast out for causing distress and fear amongst the living dreamers. Should you ever find yourself at this point, look around for there are many, many more people in the world just like you that would rather be different than be the same. They will embrace you and accept you for who you are, not for who they would like you to be.

Be true to your soul song for it is the only key that can unlock your happiness.

Listen to yourself, know yourself, be yourself.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

To Caesar or not to Caesar?

Is giving birth naturally a proud flag to wave as a woman? One that is meant to be waved higher than all others?

Have we started taking credit for our bodily functions? High five for a bowel movement! Hey wow, you made your nails grow! Now I KNOW giving birth naturally is not something to be taken lightly. But does it diminish you in any way if you have never experienced it? Some women do not get to choose their preferred method of child delivery, it gets thrust upon them. Nature chooses which way you will go. Allah chooses the path that is laid out before you. What about mothers who adopt, who never get to be pregnant, who never get to give birth?

Who are we to say which method gives you more credit as a woman? Are we not focussing on the wedding day instead of the marriage? I have heard women say you’re not a real woman unless you give birth naturally. I have heard women profess that natural childbirth is one of their proudest triumphs. Am I in the wrong company? It certainly feels like it. One woman’s triumph would make it another’s disappointment and that is not how I wish to feel about childbirth. The result of childbirth matters way more than the road you take to get there.

Whatever your arguments or justifications are for taking either route, let your mind be at ease, that no one really gives a hoot except you! So choose with your heart, your mind and your baby’s health at the forefront. A safe healthy baby in your arms at the end of the day is the objective of your pregnancy. And if you come across someone who arrogantly professes their brilliance because they have managed to give birth naturally, and claim it as their own achievement, feel pity for them. For they have completely missed the objective of becoming a mother.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Preparing for a baby is not easy!

My only piece of advice is : Don’t listen to ANY advice!

Wait till the last to get your stuff they say, well now i’m too tired to waddle through the shops trying to pickup what I need. Trust me. No one store ever has everything you need. So i’m sleepy and feeling too irritated to enjoy the sweet moment of acquiring what I need for my little sweetheart that’s about to appear in my life.  :)

The horrid thought that I might just end up being that mom that “borrows” things from her neighbour in the hospital since she forgot a few things, is what keeps me motivated and keeps me going!

Another thing. How is it that everything you need for your baby is in super miniature size but it costs more than grownup stuff?? I could buy a blanket to cover my house with a zip and clips for the windows and it would still be cheaper than a baby sleeping bag. (that has no sleeves btw!) I’m taken aback. You can make a fortune off baby goods! Parents are so caught up in the baby love bubble that they’d easily fork over their monthly budget for a pram/car seat combo ie a travel system. Even the big car makers like Ferrari, McClaren, Jeep are all recognising the hidden potential in flaunting shiny wheely padded prams under our noses. Prams are the sports cars of the modern parents. If you can’t drive a two seater Porsche, you’ll be damned if you can’t have that new 3 wheeler buggy/jogger pram. Just make sure you pay attention as to how to close that big boy or you’ll be stuck at the mall way past closing and way past that point of no return when insanity overwhelms rationality.

Good luck packing your baby’s compactum. Oh yes, you’re gonna start off thinking you don’t need a compactum you’ll be doing things differently, your own way. But soon you will succumb to the mania of the baby nursery! It has to be painted and kitted with brightly coloured stuff! Decorate the walls, decorate the cot, more colour, more pillows, a chair we need a chair, etc etc its like an epidemic. Somewhere in that process you lose yourself and you become exactly what you promised yourself you wouldn’t be.... a parent obsessed with giving her child everything you think she needs. The excitement builds everyday as you move closer to the birth date. Everyday you slide a little more, every day you get caught up a little more and suddenly you’re staring at the 3 wheeler travel system parked in your baby’s nursery that is now better equipped than a baby store at the mall.

The most amazing transformation you will undergo is one you don’t even realise is happening... when you stop thinking of yourself as the most important person in your world. Your little unborn baby is suddenly the centre of your world. You no longer buy sky high vertigo inspiring high heels. You no longer browse the sites for the latest trends, but rather for baby rompers and cute little baby shoes. Everything you wear has to be roomy enough to accommodate your bundle of sweet joy. You don’t care that you no longer look the same or feel the same, walk the same, eat the same, sleep the same. You’d gladly give over everything you are to make sure she’s healthy and safe.

Becoming a parent is certainly the most selfless, most strenuous, most demanding thing anyone could ever do. But ask any parent and they all say the same thing... i’d gladly do it again. Many times over...

And so would I... :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cancer by Andrew Adar

Mommy is the most beautiful woman in the world

Ok maybe my world is small cause I’m 8
But her face lights up when she smiles
Her eyes shine
Or at least they used to
Her skin so soft and her hands so gentle
No wasted away, all skin and bones
My dad never cries but he cried today till his tears were dry
And he just sat and shook, shoulders stooped and bent
Shaking silently moaning till his strength was spent
And my sister 13 looked like she was about to burst
Burst wide open and scream and shout and vent
But when dad had nothing everybody else just kept quiet
Cause of the cancer, her skin was yellow
Her hair all gone
And now they’re trying to make her look like my mother again
By putting make up on
Whats the use of putting on lipstick and blush and eye shadow
When all she does now is lie there still not moving in that wooden box
Tomorrow we’ll bury her in the ground
Dad says we can come visit
But I think he was saying that more for himself than us
Cause moms gone now. Gone forever. Grown ups keep saying to a better place
But nobody can show me where
If I could get directions I’d ask dad to drop me off
So I could visit her there.
She looks so thin and her eyes dull
I remember sometimes holding her head
Stroking her, so she could throw up
Like she used to hold my head in the bathroom when I got sick
From flu or chicken pox or something like that
But I had to hold her, stroke her hair
That hurt the most
She’s the strongest person I know. Or she was
This isn't fair!
At first I used to brush it for her
Then bit by bit it started to fall
Then it was all gone and eyebrows and all
One time I came into her room from school
I really hate hospitals, everybody there
Wants to be somewhere else but cant leave
I like they're all dying like my mother
Little by little each day
SO I came to visit one day and opened her door
I forgot to knock and the nurse was bathing
And I walked in and screamed from shock
All she was was skin and bones
And when she turned to look at me she looked like a ghost
I couldn’t go back for days and had nightmares for nights
I cried and cried so bad my teachers even asked me to stay home
Day was a wreck and didn’t know what to do
My sister got angry and shouted at me
But she didn’t even have a clue
Have clue that I took a picture from the living room
And slept with that under my pillow in bed
But even a picture of my mom way back when
Couldn’t get that ghost picture out of my head
It got say bad my dad tried to drag me to the car the next visit
But I couldn’t get out at the hospital and he was to tired to force me
But I went back the next day, and the moment I saw her I threw myself into her arms
Cause dad had come back with a letter scribbled by her loving weak hand
It said “Nunu, you don’t have to come inside to see
don’t worry if you said I look like a ghost.
Hugs and kisses be a big girl for daddy
Remember mommy loves you most”

I have that note, and I’m looking down at it now
And I look at my mother’s body and daddy’s still shaking quietly
There’s tears stains on it.
How long have I been in here
Who cares I cant remember
I cant even remember my mommy’s voice without the pain
Except when I read the scribbled words

But like mommy said be strong for daddy
So I get up, and take the most special thing to me
In all the world, its all I have left of her being strong
I kiss, walk up to dad and it put it in his hands
And then my turn to shake while I hold him crying for very long

Thursday, September 22, 2011

When cancer wins... everyone loses.

Today I watched a devastated man kiss his wife goodbye for the last time. I watched her 13 year old daughter crushed as she covered her mother’s face to prepare it for burial. I watched her 8 year old daughter not quite know how to cope or understand what is going on. I watched her 3 year old daughter sucking her dummy and touch her mother’s face. That would be her last memory and in the years to come she would not even remember it...

A house full of people who knew and loved her. A home she had designed and furnished. Her artwork on the walls. Her dream car in the garage. Everything one could want at 36. A life completely on track. All the boxes ticked. Trip to Mecca – check. Charity work – check. Charity foundation established – check. Inspirational blog – check.

If life is a beautiful Persian rug, this would be the moment when a chunk gets ripped from it. The rug would always be breathtakingly beautiful and so terribly flawed at the same time.

We cannot ask why? No answer would come. We cannot choose our time. No one would ever leave. We cannot choose our illnesses, no one would ever be ill. We can only accept. We can only submit. In our submission we let our hearts be free from anger, from disappointment, from hurt. And in our submission we will find the courage to live. We will find the courage to hope.

Slowly the days will increase and move us from this moment when the emotions are tumultuous to a point in the future when we can refer to this memory fondly, without hurt. Where we can look back and smile instead of tear. We never really get over the ones we lose. We just learn to live with it. Like a deep scar. Like a lost limb. We adapt. That’s what we do. We bear the brunt of reality and live in hope and love and positivity. And pray that one day the sun will shine again...

Goodbye my friend, you will be missed far more than you would ever know.

For Adela Arend      -       http://survivor-journals.blogspot.com/ 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Is technology helping us or harming us?

I remember the days of black and white TV. Of VHS video cassettes, of telephones with a circle face. I remember a life without the internet, where books were treasured and valued. Where knowledge counted for something. We used to be a little more innocent then, we used to buy our porn in a quiet corner, we used to read, actually read books from the libraries. We used to call our friends for a chat. And we never knew who was calling until we answered the telephone. We used to be so much more social. So much more caring about our fellow human being. We used to touch each other, hug each other, wish each other Happy Birthday, instead of texting, emailing, sms’ing and worst of all posting a message on their Facebook wall!

We have lost our humanity. The more cyber intelligent we become the less human we become. We are changing into cyborg, surrogate humans. Living in a virtual world. Surrounding ourselves with the knowledge of all humans as if they no longer existed and we are studying the legacy they have left behind. We are so determined and aggressive in our desire for progress, we shun and dismiss anything to the contrary. Our planet is dying. Our animals are evolving, species are lost while new ones are found. Everything around us is adapting to the changes we are creating.

We fake tan, we genetically enhance our little colourless vegetables, we breed chicken like a field of wheat, we cosmetically enhance ourselves, we engineer human flesh. When does it all end? When do we say enough? When do we cling to the days of making daisy chains in the field. It’s fading so fast into the recesses of my mind. Cloud watching, dreaming, watching aeroplanes in the sky... I feel sad, because it feels like the remnants of a bygone era. Like the notes of a song long ago forgotten...now there is only the soft humming of its tune.

Stop the waste. Stop the destruction. Stop the technological hunger that is eating away at our souls. We are making the same mistake the generations before us has made. Only now it is compounded by the size of the population and its destruction is monolithic. Where are we rushing to? Why are we racing to own the best, brightest, shiniest stuff? Where has the pride of our produce disappeared to? We used to make furniture that lasted for generations. We used to hand down family heirlooms for generations. Now we make waste in our haste. We live faster and die faster.

Make the effort to change. Feel the soil and grass under your feet. Re-cycle. Re-use. Enjoy the beauty of the world around you and not the pictures of it. Smell the air from a mountain top, from a fresh ocean breeze. Walk instead of drive. Have a conversation with a stranger. Appreciate the beauty of a flower, of an insect, of the cells of your skin. We are surrounded by miracles we are losing sight of because technology is duping us with its false promises.

Our greatest strength is our ability to adapt. Let’s use that strength to evolve into the magnificent beings we are meant to be. Where we don’t sacrifice our beauty and ourselves for the temporary bliss technology represents. There is a limit and we have reached it.

Less technology and more living!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Attention all bad drivers!

Yes, you know exactly who you are...When you are hooted at, chastised and tailgated often, you are it.

1. When you see a car rapidly approaching do not turn in front of it causing it to brake hard to accommodate your slow moving vehicle. This is considered rude and in very bad taste. Should you find yourself in that situation, politely wave saying sorry and speed up hastily so as not to delay the traffic behind you any longer.

2. When the traffic speed limit is 60kmph please drive at 55-60 km’s per hour. Its the unwritten rule of the road that you do not drive slower than that. Should you incur the wrath of the drivers behind you for refusing to obey this law, you are in line for a stern hooting and at least one obscene gesture. Do not act surprised as you have been warned.

3. When choosing to utilise the highway, please remain in the left lane at all times. The right lane belongs to sports car drivers with the letter “i” in the model name of their vehicles. Eg, Gsi, Gti etc. Basically anything smooth, shiny and fast moving has more right to the right lane than you do. Should you find yourself in the right lane trying to overtake, do so rapidly. Do not dawdle or attempt to partake in the bounties the right lane offers. You will be hooted at and flashed. When this happens, move aside with urgency and haste.

4. Driving badly and then pretending to be angrier than the offended driver is really ill mannered. Pretending to note down the license plate number is really not the proper manner in which to conduct yourself. Politely wave apologetically and carry on your way. Do not follow the other person and humiliate yourself with confrontations. At this stage the other driver may have lost all sense of humanity and may beat you rapidly with a stick.

5. All women drivers please learn the dimensions of your car. We do not have all day to watch you trying to park. Please learn the speed with which you may drive your car safely and practise it often. Do not be afraid. The car will not explode, veer off the road or become a crazy maniac because you are accelerating!

6. Learner drivers, no driving in the congested, heavy traffic in the morning or the afternoon. We will drive over you and you will cry and feel threatened. Drive in your suburb to the shop and back until you are confident enough. See number 5 please if you are a woman. And do not use the big red L, it infuriates us to know who you are.

Please note, this blog post does not apply to old men drivers in beat up old cars from the yesteryear that barely dent when driven into a solid tree trunk we all know that you’re arrogant and pissed off from years of torment from your wife and kids. So now you take it out on the rest of us by pretending not to hear our hooters or see our flashing lights behind you.

Happy driving!!

Great love

All of us in our lives at some stage witness something very profound. It baffles us, astounds us and amazes us at the same time. Takes our breath away with its sheer beauty and strength. It’s called great love. Not many of us are ever prepared when it is our chance to experience it. But when you do, it shows on your heart and face and body. You cannot hide the effect of it on your soul.

Great love manifests itself in many forms. For me, it was the love my grandparents had for each other. The kind of love that spans decades. I wonder though, was it great when they parted after a few years of marriage? After bringing my mother into this world, they split but never remarried. Despite the number of offers on both sides. Neither of them were willing to settle down with another. They spent the best part of 50 years watching each other age. Filled perhaps with anger and hurt from arguments both of them could not even remember. Does that make love great? The fact that they could never give up on it or get over it. They just never let go of each because they never moved on. Each person waiting for the other to remarry, neither doing it and both passing on never having been with anyone else. Yes, to me that is great love. It is unrequited and fiery with its passion. Its old school great love. The kind of love that goes with gloves and pantyhose and bryl cremed hair and hats. Dignified and proud.

Great love does not always have a happy ending. Sometimes its sadness is its beauty. I cannot speak of the love of a parent, as I am not one as yet. I can well imagine that it involves the same bittersweetness. Pouring yourself into a little person and watching them evolve. Only to be sidelined like bicycle training wheels and shelved when they are eager to cycle faster and further. And you have to watch them in the distance and hope they get where they are going. Some parents have a hard time letting go. Being a parent becomes such an integral part of you that you forget yourself in the process. And when that part of you is torn away and becomes independent you are left with a shell you used to know quite well but now barely recognise it. No parent can ever escape the effect of great love i suppose. Who would want to when you think about? What a life changing experience it must be.

If this is the height of love we can experience for one another, what must be extent of the love the Creator must have for us? There are so many of us. Everyone so different. Imagine for a moment you had to love everyone in the world. Imagine you had to watch them decide who they wanted to be. The Created never have the capacity to understand its Creator. We are but a product of His thought. If great love feels so great from Creation to Creation... it can only be magnificent from Creator to Creation.

In our limited capacity we can only surmise the extent of love. But sometimes even we are astounded at the lengths we go to as humans because of the innate love we have for one another. For just one moment when a man lifts a car off a trapped kid, when a fireman rushes into a building, when a lifeguard swims to save someone from drowning... we witness the intensity and passion with which we could love each other. That’s great love right there.

Monday, August 8, 2011

When the travel bug hits you...

Whenever I would hear people talking about the travel bug I’d roll my eyes and think to myself oh please, there’s no way so many people can become afflicted in the same way about travelling. It simply cannot be true. This must be one of those ridiculously mundane things people say all the time, simply because we like the sound of it being said rather than liking what it actually means.

Then like the typical cliché, I’m almost embarrassed to admit, it bloody hit me. Once you’re bitten it takes a good man, a pregnancy, a new house and helluva lot of effort to finally let it wash over you and leave you unscathed. All you can think about is the rush of waiting at the airport with your backpack on the checkin scale waiting to be zipped away to the aircraft luggage hold. Ticket and passport in hand. Walking to the plane and finding your seat, waiting to see who your date for the flight will be. Quietly praying its not a chitty chatty older lady, a mom with kids or a flatulent old man. And then the take off! I still get little rushes thinking about taking off and the world of possibilities and new experiences waiting for me on the other side!!

Nothing can compare to that reeling sensation of being bombarded with everything brand new and different. All senses are on high alert. Adrenaline rushing through your body helping you acclimatise to the unfamiliar territory. I don’t think its ever possible to let go of the travel bug. For just a little while you set it aside to tend to more important, urgent things in your life. More accurately, they are financially sapping things that wouldn’t allow you to travel even if you wanted to. But the memory of the travels you managed to squeeze in before that carries you through the years until you are able travel again. Until then, local family holidays self-driving to beautiful destinations close by provides you with all the relaxation you need.

I glance longingly at my passport gathering dust and wink at it occasionally letting it know that we are not done yet. Not by a long shot.

Are we losing our creativity?

I always think to myself, I should write more. I should take more pictures. If I really loved it as much as I think I do then surely I should do it more often. Sometimes an idea would pop into my head about an article I’d like to write for my blog and I’d feel super passionately about it and then somehow like water slowly filtering away through a blocked drain the thought escapes me.

Is this what life has become? Brief sparks of ideas falling on damp, old kindling. Nothing lit, nothing remembered, nothing done about it. I look around and see very few inspired people. Its like we’ve smothered each other with our cynicism and self doubt and perhaps sheer laziness. In the days of the Bronté’s we would have learnt to play an instrument, embroidered something exquisite and written lengthy declarations of undying love. Where is the modern version of that creative outlet?

Perhaps it’s the environment, people around me, work timing and pressures... perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. There is always a perhaps when there should be a sacrifice. There is an excuse when there should be a definitive action. Make time for your passions in life. Make time for the beautiful things. Its easy to put it aside until tomorrow or when you have a free moment. Years down the line you realise that the free moment and many other free moments have long passed you by. Leaving you filled with a sense of having dreamed many dreams but never seeing them realised.

So start small. Dont watch tv. Pickup a book. Go outside. Start a compost heap. Write in your journal. Take pictures of your feet. Eat something new and unfamiliar. Be silly. Be fun. Giggle. Waken your senses. Be alive. Appreciate living. All it takes to breakdown a dam wall is to remove one little stone. We are meant to be creative. We are meant to be resourceful. We are hunters. We were never meant to be tv watching, computer obsessed, smart phone addicted junkies.

Embrace your humanity and explore all the avenues it presents. No excuses. Guns blazing. Go big or lay down and wait to die.