Sunday, 23 November 2014

Classifying a year: good or bad

At the start of the year, I experienced this feeling of negativity and even said that 2014 is one of my worst years ever. 

I dragged this sentiment with me over the months and believed it would remain a bad year until December 31. I was constantly negative, tired, worried, insecure, ill, and depressed.  I had to delve very deep to find motivation and courage to continue ‘surviving’ the onslaught of badness every day.

As the year is now coming to an end, I am filled with anticipation and optimism. Suddenly things are changing. I can already feel goodness approaching and I honestly believe 2015 is going to be a much better year.

Is all of this true? Has 2014 really been such a bad year? Will 2015 be a good year? In changing my attitude, I discovered that bad and good years do not exist. Time is indiscriminate. It doesn’t dole out bad and good moments. Time is time. 

My attitude classifies the year. I take upon myself many responsibilities as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher, a colleague, and a Christian. My perspective regarding my actions for these responsibilities determines my attitude towards life.

Classifying a whole year as bad or good is limited. My needs and my wants differ from other people’s needs and wants. If circumstances prevent me from getting what I need or want, obviously my view will be negative. On the contrary, if I get exactly what I need or want, I will feel positive (even lucky, for that matter).

Being more flexible and positive will help me see life without classification. I can’t always have good times and I can’t always experience a smooth journey through life. Everything in life is impermanent and nothing stays the same. Some may think that if we care less, we will be less worried about life. That may be true, but I don’t want to go through life in neutral mode. Everything in life is interdependent. That means I need to care. 

If I want to be happy, I need to learn how to control my life on a daily basis. I shouldn’t look at happiness in years, but rather in hours. This means I have to focus on my needs and wants.  I know more or less what I need in life, but I don’t always know what it is that I want. I can see my actions and I can determine my feelings. My needs can be addressed. If I am thirsty, I can drink water. If I am tired, I can sleep. My wants are different though! They’re never constant and change very quickly. 

Life in itself is precious. I want to put more effort into being grateful.  I want to fight negativity and be more positive during the new year. And, should there be any bumps along the way, I want to be able to live through challenging moments without condemning the whole year.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

i hear africa

This is another poem of Africa that will be in my poetry book, Breathing African Air. 

i hear africa 

the hoopoe calls hoop-hoop
hoop-hoop-hoop on forest
tree trunk where high-pitched grey
hornbill ignores the kwe
of a grey go-away
cicada swarms where sun
light warms and plays tymbals
zizzing a song crickets
chirping cheerily all
summer long the turtle
dove mourns the heat and coos
its love song to the breeze
green garden gnat and red
dotted lady bird mute
marvels of the insect
world wing their way from tree
to tree in dappled shade
of green and yellow grass
hides mounds of red ground where
thousands of termites work
the anteater’s long snout
goes about to forage
for the delicacy
of the veld the whinny
and braying bark of a
zebra standing near while
blue wildebeest ga-noo
in the arid karoo
and graze in the heat haze
for days the lazy cat
camouflaged yawns and waits
for feline fury to
fetch the food and thunders
out a roar to warn the
cackling hyenas and
hears their manic panic
ooooh-whoop ooooh-whoop ooooh-whoop
waiting in pack nearby
the sun soon sets in shades
on africa and an
elephant bull trumpets
his call to a herd who
hears the rumble and chirps
to the rhythm of the
beat the hippo submerged
surfaces and grunts on
land to roam on sand where
a crocodile once tanned
in the sun the flutter
of feathers dust the ground
and the owl’s hoo-hooopooo
breaks the silence of dark
a distant lone jackal
howls to the moon and my
africa says goodnight

Breathing African Air

This is one of my poems about Africa. It is also the name of the poetry book I plan to publish.

Breathing African Air

Flightless dust bathes the air as the ostrich
dances on two-toed feet to Africa’s beat;
Musty air hangs humid and motionless
’til rain quenches the parched and red-hot heat –
This is Africa: the birthplace of man.

A rainbow stretches across basalt cliffs
and cascading falls; painted rock faces
imprint chronicles of man migrating
across desert, savannah, terraces –
This is Africa: the motion of man.

Small streams meander till rapids beat rock;
Turbulent whitewater erodes the way,
rumbling and tumbling to lose themselves in
cascading cataracts’ mist of spray –
This is Africa: unquenched quest of man.

On blue-green savannah in haze of heat
the springbok stands a statue and gazes;
Zebra camouflaged in shaded dry bush
flicks flies as robust buffalo grazes –
This is Africa: the treasure of man.

Marula mampoer makes monkey mellow;
While elephants forage fermented fruit,
even-toed giraffe spreads and almost splits,
an amazing feat for legs, to lap near coot –
This is Africa: for Safari man.

The albatross dynamically soars;
Nose tubed in anticipation it breathes
salt laden air, polluted like the depths,
where dolphin dances and dives, wrestles, wreathes –
This is Africa: the refuse for man.

Death in rotting carcasses call raptors
in their hordes, to scavenge the battlefields
where fear falls prey to foe; the hyena
eats as a volt of vultures pry for yields –
This is Africa, the wake waits for man.


Coping with the Demons Inside


Rock bottom! There is nothing like it.

When you are deep in the pits of despair and nothing can pull you out of it, don’t worry! From experience, I have learnt that repetition is the Mother of Learning. So, when you are there at rock bottom, lie down, close your eyes and repeat the following words over and over again: I hate my life! I hate my life! I hate my life! I hate my life! Don’t get up. Stay down! Dwell on the very thought that you hate your life. As negative as this may seem, this is the beginning of the journey on the road to recovery. Recovery simply means getting out of the dark pit, fighting the demons inside your head and cleaving to the inner hope that you instinctively have.

The most amazing thing about human life is that your brain has been programmed with three incredible truths:  
  • Your mind does not acknowledge age. Even at 50, your mind will feel young.  
  • Your mind was not created to acknowledge death. Even though you age, your mind does not comprehend death and, therefore, inherently, you do not accept that you will die.  
  • Your mind repels negativity. Repeating negative words mentally empowers your mind to employ survival strategies. 
There are two very powerful emotions that can influence you in a destructive way: absolute anger or absolute fear.

Anger

Anger is a very dangerous emotion. Anger retaliates in spitefulness. You may be filled with so much anger that all you want to do is spite the world. Your actions are proof of this. While you cannot plan your emotions, you can learn to control them. In life you will always be confronted with situations that seem unmanageable and more often than not, your reactions to these situations are impulsive.

There are different types of anger. Different emotions trigger the types of anger. Short outbursts of frustration or anger are good. No-one wants to bottle up their anger. This will only feed negativity. A fit of rage is more extreme. You will find yourself shouting whilst physically breaking, punching or kicking things. Violent reactions like these are coping-mechanisms, but very damaging. The damage will not only affect your own health, but also your relationships with other people.

The most dangerous anger is suppressed anger. Over time it poisons you completely: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When you don’t allow yourself to vent your anger or express your frustration, you become a living time bomb. When anger is a resident emotion, it feeds depression and anxiety. Eventually it will lead to self-destructive thoughts and deeds. 

The most important thing to remember about anger is that it is an emotion and it can be controlled. There are three words that you may need to reflect on to understand how you can control anger: forgiveness, gratitude and compassion.

Fear

Like anger, fear is a demon within you that you need to control. Fear is the opposite of faith. The truth is that when you fear, you have very little or no faith. Fear feeds anxiety and anxiety kills.

When you have low self-esteem and a lack of confidence in life, you live a life where you do not trust yourself. When you cannot trust yourself, you end up trusting no-one. You wear a mask every day as a coping-mechanism so that no-one will see your insecurities and imperfections. Negative thoughts dwindle in your mind and you become afraid. You look for a safehold, a place where you feel comfortable. This doesn’t have to be a literal place. It may be figurative, like the place of intoxication. You fear the world outside and yearn to be in your safehold all the time

There are many different things that you may fear, like the fear of being alone, the fear of imperfection, the fear of aging and the fear of death. It is important that you work towards overcoming these fears. Before you can do this, you need to get to know yourself. Strengthen your strengths, and acknowledge and accept your weaknesses. Once you start focusing on your strengths, you will build your self-confidence. When you feel better about yourself, you will learn to push fear aside. Practice eventually makes perfect.

It’s natural that you will always become angry and you will always fear. You cannot stop experiencing these emotions, but you can control the degree to which you become angry or afraid. You need to recognize the emotions and take control of each.

Your mind is full of thoughts and mental stories. No-one perceives your thoughts and mental stories the way you do. Only you have the power to change these stories.    


Sunday, 24 August 2014

There is no-one on Earth like you

You are unique. What you have to offer the world is rare and that adds value to who you are.

You weren’t born by accident. It doesn’t matter who your parents are or what led to the fact that you were born. If your birth was not meant to be, you would not be here reading this article. Knowing that you are here, alive and able, means that you are living a life of purpose. Everyone has a purpose.

Your main purpose on Earth is to survive. This purpose is energy-driven because throughout the day there are constant transitions between potential and kinetic energy as your body uses chemical energy to survive.

Your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energies are represented by an Aura-energyfield that surrounds your head and entire body (extending 1,2m – 1,5m all around you). So, yes! You are a source of abundant energy. You are amazing!

Your Aura vibrates and when you are healthy it is bright and consists of different colours and shapes. When you are unhealthy (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually), your electromagnetic field of energy seems to become depleted.

How is an Aura-energy field possible? The molecules, atoms and cells in your body consist of energy particles (electrons, protons, neutrons, and tinier particles) that vibrate. These particles vibrate in their nucleus and generate a small electrical impulse in your body, which forms a magnetic field around your body.

When you think about electromagneticwaves in the air around you, you will realise that they too are invisible to the human eye. Your body is an authority that is aware of these things because every system in your body is designed electronically. Your cellular metabolism and your heartbeat are mere examples of this.  

Your passion is linked to all this energy and your Aura. If you are passionate in life, you will have an abundance of healthy energy and a bright Aura. By focusing on your strengths you will have a positive attitude. You cannot ignore your weaknesses. You have to recognise and address them so that you can continue to grow as a healthy and energetic person.

Don’t become obsessed with seeking your purpose. Being here is purposeful. Even if you don’t understand why you are here, doing what you are doing, remember one important thing: there is a bigger picture. In the here and now, you can only see part of your life’s picture. You have to live in the moment and live to your full potential so that you contribute to this picture. It may not seem as if it is making a difference now, but in the future you will have played a significant part for something or someone else.

Absolute time is a man-made concept. It is not perfect and the measurement of it is subject to human error. So, be patient. Never wish time away and never wish time delay. Everything is relative and what will be, will be. While you are here, live your unique and amazing life to the best of your ability. Work on being healthy. Work on being positive. Work on being energetic. Be passionate. Be happy. Everything you need is within you.    

You don’t have to keep up any appearances. You don’t have to wear a mask or pretend to be someone you aren’t. You are who you are, a truly remarkable person. Accept who you are. Love who you are. Just being you is meaningful and there’s purpose in your presence.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Being Passionate, Having Purpose

Many teenagers have absolutely no idea what they want to do once their school career is complete.

The career they choose should be something they're passionate about doing. I love to write, for example. When I say write, I mean holding a pen in my hand and writing. It has nothing to do with writing creatively. Yes, I love doing that as well, but simply put, I just love the act of writing. I chose teaching because it entails a lot of writing. Teaching English as a subject just makes it so much better; I get the opportunity to teach students how to write an essay or any other creative piece.

We all need a purpose in life. Our passion should form our purpose. Without a goal or plan in life, we will end up moving in many directions, but progress will be slow. When we enjoy doing something and we make it our career, we will always enjoy working.

The point is not to be busy. It doesn't matter where or with whom we are working. What matters is that we do what we like doing. It makes us feel good about ourselves. If we feel happy and useful, and we're committed to what we're doing, we will always be driven to succeed. We will look forward to going to work every day. Of course, we'll get tired and yes, there will be days when many obstacles will dampen our mood, but in general, life will be worthwhile.

A lot of people feel they don't have any purpose in life. They don't know what they're passionate about. Their negative attitude robs them of happiness. People who have a negative attitude need to change their way of looking at life. We can try to share our perspectives with them and, with a lot of patience and time, even get them to see things differently. If they are willing to listen and they're prepared to make the necessary changes, they'll find new direction. The truth of the matter is that no-one can really help them unless they want to be helped.

None of us are born with a passion or a purpose in life. As we grow, we meet people, attend school, learn new things in every subject that is taught to us and experience many things. We are constantly changing. We not only learn in the classroom, but also on the sports field, at choir practice, church, in the mall or at home. Our personalities are shaped as we discover what we enjoy and what irritates us. The difference lies in learning to strengthen our likes.

The secret to discovering our passions lies in being active. Whenever opportunities arise, we should participate and discover whether or not we enjoy doing whatever it is that is presented to us. If we avoid doing things or continually procrastinate, we will never get to know who we are and what makes us happy.

Many teens tend to look at what their peers are doing. They try to imitate others and listen to the suggestions of teachers, family and friends. No-one can make a decision for us. No-one can tell us what our passion or purpose in life is.

We need to find out what makes us happy and follow through on what we believe is the right direction towards success. Only then will we be free to enjoy our goal-directed and purposeful lives passionately.