When we share our emotions, our dreams, our fears, our efforts, our pain, our hopes, and our joys, we open up powerful opportunities for others to learn. Life experience is a master teacher and when we share our experiences, we empower others. Life is too short not to take advantage of all the free resources around us. In this blog, I share what I have experienced in life simply, because I can...
“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at
it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are
those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” ~Oprah
Yes! I own the moment!
This is how I feel now. The results are in and I
have passed all my subjects of my Bachelor of
Education Honours degree for Teaching and Learning. Believe me,
this feeling is extremely good!
Needless to say, this is not how I felt
in October 2013 when I started this long journey to self-discovery.
It was on this specific journey where I
discovered how I felt about accumulating
knowledge. I discovered that under pressure, I could stretch my levels of
endurance to new boundaries. I also discovered that studying again for the
first time in 26 years was a daunting task. Life around me continued normally
and it was expected of me to be normal and stay the same.
Nothing stayed the same.
Relationships became tentered like
milled cloth on a wooden frame. Time was personified in all my experiences,
inflicting pressure for me to perform at my best as a wife, mother, daughter,
teacher, friend, colleague ... Even my emotions were shape-shifting into
different creatures inside me. I was constantly dueling for dominance trying to
triumph over every single one of them: fear, anger, self-pity, jealousy,
hatred, joy (the list goes on). Yes, even the positive emotions at times seemed
to be my worst adversaries.
The most important thing that I
learned on this journey is that I have changed. My perspectives have changed. I
see life and teaching and education differently now.
Here, at last, I stand with the
Bachelor of Education Honours degree for Teaching and Learning. It was a three-year course that I completed in two years, not by choice; I was never
informed that I could complete it in three years. Nevertheless, it's
I own the moment!
The saying that we reap what we
sow is true. Hard work and commitment do pay off. But, to be fair, in the future,
if I have to choose between writing a novel and studying for a degree, I will
choose writing a novel.
"Let your light so shine before
men, that they may see your good works and glorify your
Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
Let your light shine!
This is what many of us were
taught by our parents and teachers. At Sunday school, many of us had
the opportunity to sing the song:
This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine ...
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.
As 2015, the International Year of Light, draws to
an end, we may find - in full retrospect of the year - that we
didn't "shine" as much as we initially wanted to. Then again,
maybe we did. Maybe we excelled in doing so. Whatever the case may be, whether
we're living the annual theme or striving to "shine" as Christians,
it's not about what we did or how we did it. It's more about how much we grew
in process. It's all about improvement.
I found this picture and just loved the
Everything has a crack in it. That's how the
light gets in.
Had we been perfect, there would be no cracks. And that's just it. We're not
perfect. Our imperfection has made us weak. Our minds are filled with ego, fear
and desire. In this state, we need His light for strength to carry on with
We don't have to be perfect to walk in His light.
It's a choice really! We choose to shine and we choose to allow His light in.
It's all about moving forward and becoming better (change, growth,
Everything is transfixed, only the light moves. ~
world is filled with all kinds of people. Let’s place them in three categories:
optimistic, pessimistic and realistic. It’s not that difficult to determine in
which category you are. Optimists see a glass half full and pessimists see it
half empty. The realist drinks it. That’s me, but only if I’m responsible for
pouring and leaving the water in the glass. There’s absolutely no way that I’m
drinking a random glass of “water”.
I’m a realist. I have the easy task in life to see thingsthe way
they really are. My greatest challenge in life is to see things as I would like
them to be. I don’t like anything that is vague, so I can’t dream of a future.
To me, the future is empty and serves absolutely no purpose until I get there.
My best endeavour is to plan ahead and make sure that I’m prepared for the
future, but that’s it. I leave it untouched!
The past is a different story. I hold on to it because it
bears knowledge. I know where I’ve been and I know what I’ve done. I know what
I’ve experienced. I have enough memories to cherish and that’s okay because I
don’t obsess over them. What’s done is done! There’s no use in going back in
mental pursuit of happiness, peace or answers. I see everything done as
stepping stones of learning experiences. I have developed and I have survived
to the present day.
The present is probably the most disturbing phase of my life.
I don’t want to wait for tomorrow to have my every day questions answered. I
want to control certain things and find solutions now. While I prefer to think
of it as my “planning” and “preparing” phases for what needs to be done in the
future, other people may call it “fear for the unknown”, “unnecessary worrying”
or “impatience”. The thing about being like this tends to rob me of present-day
peace. I’m always contemplating solutions rather than enjoying the here and now.
My compass through life has always been my natural instinct
or my senses. They have always directed and guided me along the way. If
something didn’t feel right, I avoided it. Whenever I stumbled over too many
obstacles to achieve something only to fail gaining whatever it was I was
seeking, I would accept that “it just wasn’t meant to be”. On the other hand,
if things were sailing smoothly towards a resolution, it would be obvious that
“it was meant to be”. Yes! These are life signs to me. I believe in these
signs. Relying on instinct and my senses can be rather precarious, though,
because I tend to be sensitive. Often, I interpret things inaccurately because
I allow my emotions to control my better judgement.
I’ve always been able to find a sense of calmness through mypassion for writing. I love words and
beautiful sentences, reading motivational and inspirational quotations, and
poems! I simply love Dr. Seuss and I spent most of my teen years reading the
beautiful poems of Helen Steiner-Rice. I still remember wanting to write just
Words have the power to make a difference. Over the years,
I’ve discovered many nuggets of wisdom hidden in the pages of stories that were
written by extraordinary people. Today I’ve decided to write down and share
with you 50 of the best sentences I’ve ever read. These chosen lines inspired
me at some point in my life. When I first read them, they were moments of
epiphany because the very words touched me and made a difference to how I
perceived things at that time. These words are from books that I’ve had the
pleasure of reading. I used to keep a diary every year since 1980 and wrote all
the beautiful sentences down so that I would always remember them.
enjoy these quotes as much as I did when I first read them. You may even find
me reflected in each one.
Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet. — L. M.
Montgomery,Anne of Green
Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at
heart. ― Anne Frank, The Diary
Of Anne Frank.
There are people, who the more you do for them, the less
they will do for themselves. ― Jane Austen, Emma.
My advice is, never do tomorrow what you can do today.
Procrastination is the thief of time. ― Charles Dickens, David
For me you are only a little boy just like a hundred
thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you have no need of
me, either. For you, I’m only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if
you tame me, we’ll need each other. You’ll be the only boy in the world for me
and I’ll be the only fox in the world for you.—Antoine
De Saint Exupery,The Little
Each moment that I wait feels like a year, an eternity.
Each moment is as slow and transparent as glass. Through each moment I can see
infinite moments line up, waiting. ― Audrey Niffenegger, The Time
But love is this really powerful thing that everyone's
got if they'd just learn how to accept it ... If it's something we all have to
give, and if it's something we all want, doesn't that mean there's exactly
enough to go around?― Philip
If you look for perfection, you'll never be content.― Leo Tolstoy,Anna Karenina.
Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for
they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts.―Charles
I'll be all right in a minute. I'm just bewildered – by
life ... ― Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie.
Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it
tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow
loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill
that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great
exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow
murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand
yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your
way. – Janet Fitch, White
We can never go back again, that much is certain. The
past is still close to us. The things we have tried to forget and put behind us
would stir again, and that sense of fear, of furtive unrest, struggling at
length to blind unreasoning panic – now mercifully stilled, thank God – might
in some manner unforeseen become a living companion as it had before.― Daphne du Maurier,Rebecca.
Men who look on nature, and their fellow-men, and cry
that all is dark and gloomy, are in the right; but the sombre colours are
reflections from their own jaundiced eyes and hearts.― Charles Dickens,Oliver Twist.
Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable
spark, in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the
not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for
the life you deserve and have never been able to reach. The world you desire
can be won. It exists ... it is real ... it is possible ... it's yours.―Ayn
The broken heart. You think you will die, but you just
keep living day after day after terrible day.―Charles Dickens,Great Expectations.
Something did happen to me somewhere that robbed me of
confidence and courage and left me with a fear of discovery and change and a
positive dread of everything unknown that may occur. ― Joseph
Heller, Something Happened.
The future becomes the present, the present the past, and
the past turns into everlasting regret if you don't plan for it!― Tennessee Williams, The
I don't like work – no man does – but I like what is in
the work – the chance to find yourself. Your own reality – for yourself not for
others – what no other man can ever know. They can only see the mere show, and
never can tell what it really means.―
Joseph Conrad,Heart of
Live all you can; it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t so
much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life.— Henry James, The Ambassadors.
You're trying to escape from your difficulties, and there
never is any escape from difficulties, never. They have to be faced and fought.—Enid
Blyton,Six Cousins at
Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of
all the lives I’m not living. — Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close.
Imagination is the only weapon in the war against
reality.—Lewis Caroll,Alice in Wonderland.
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad
to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time,
the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like
fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.―Jack
Kerouac, On The Road.
It is so hard to leave – until you leave. And then it is
the easiest goddamned thing in the world. ― John Green, Paper
For what are your possessions, but things you keep and
guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?―Kahlil Gibran,The Prophet.
Love covers a multitude of sins … ― Louisa May Alcott, Little
Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you
need – a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name,
someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two,
enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for
thirst is a dangerous thing.― Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a
Friendships, even the best of them, are frail things. One
drifts apart.―Virginia Woolf,To the Lighthouse.
Unwelcome truths are not popular.― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,The Valley of Fear.
I like it when somebody gets excited about something.
It's nice. ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye.
I believe there is a theory that men and women emerge
finer and stronger after suffering, and thatto
advance in this or any world we must endure ordeal by fire.― Daphne du Maurier,Rebecca.
I knew who I was this morning, but I've changed a few
times since then …—Lewis Caroll,Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
I like breakfast-time better than any other moment in the
day … No dust has settled on one's mind then, and it presents a clear mirror to
the rays of things.—George Eliot,Adam Bede.
There is no religion without love, and people may talk as
much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be
good and kind to man and beast it is all a sham.— Anna Sewell,Black Beauty.
Just breathing isn't living!— Eleanor H. Porter,Pollyanna.
The mind of man is capable of anything. ― Joseph
Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
You wouldn’t be normal if you were never afraid. Even the
bravest men experience fear. One of the biggest jobs we all face in combat is
to overcome fear. ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22.
'If you love me as you say you do,' she whispered, 'make
it so that I am at peace.'― Leo
Remember, everything is right until it's wrong. You'll
know when it's wrong.
― Ernest Hemingway, The Garden of Eden.
Everything seems simple until you think about it. ― Audrey
Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife.
… you can’t get away from yourself. You can’t decide not
to see yourself anymore. You can’t decide to turn off the noise in your head.— Jay Asher,Thirteen Reasons Why.
I always think incipient miracles surround us, waiting
only to see if our faith is strong enough. We won't have to understand it; it
will just work, like a beating heart, like love. Really, no matter how
frightened and discouraged I may become about the future, I look forward to it.
In spite of everything I see all around me every day, I have a shaky assurance
that everything will turn out fine. I don't think I'm the only one. Why else
would the phrase "everything's all right" ease a deep and troubled
place in so many of us? We just don't know, we never know so much, yet we have
such faith. We hold our hands over our hurts and lean forward, full of yearning
and forgiveness. It is how we keep on, this kind of hope. ― Elizabeth
Berg, Talk Before Sleep.
It's hard being left behind. ... It's hard to be the one
who stays. ― Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife.
And that's the thing about people who mean everything
they say. They think everyone else does too. … There is only one sin and that
is theft ... when you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. ―
Human minds are more full of mysteries than any written
book and more changeable than the cloud shapes in the air. ― Louisa May
Alcott, The Abbot's Ghost: A Christmas Story.
… there is all this time between when the cracks start to
open up and when we finally fall apart. And it’s only that time that we see one
another, because we see out of ourselves through our cracks and into others
through theirs. When did we see each other face to face? Not until you saw into
my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that we were just looking at ideas of
each other, like looking at your window shade, but never seeing inside. But
once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out. ― John
Green, Paper Towns.
Happiness is not a possession to be prized; it is a
quality of thought, a state of mind. ― Daphne du Maurier,Rebecca.
The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or
touched; they are felt with the heart. — Antoine De Saint
Exupery, The Little Prince.
Trees are poems the earth writes upon the sky. We fell
them down and turn them into paper that we may record our emptiness. ― Kahlil
Gibran,Sand and Foam.
One must be careful of books,
and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us. — Cassandra
Clare,The Infernal Devices.
This is a list of some of the books that I have read.
Each book contains beautiful messages that have made a difference in my life.My personal choice of a book rich in
wisdom isThe Time Traveler’s
Wifeby Audrey Niffenegger. A
book that really intrigued me and kept me wondering for years wasThe Little PrincebyAntoine
De Saint Exupery. Kahlil Gibran’sThe
Prophetand Daphne Du
Maurier’sRebeccaare also all time favourites.
all have our own perspectives and interpretations. “Sometimes, you read a book
and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced
that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all
living humans read the book.” ― John
Green, The Fault in Our Stars.The art is to value diversity in taste rather than conformity and to
share ourexperiences with people
who also love to read.
the past two years, I have thrown myself into a pool of information. Every part of the
journey to become an effective teacher has been insightful and educational.
I reflect on the journey, I realise just how much I have changed, and learnt
and grown from the experience. Having come this far, I know that I can make a
difference in my classroom and at the school where I teach. Sadly, I have exhausted myself in
the process. There have been times where I have reached levels of mental satiety and I just
couldn’t carry on. It made me reflect on my life as a teacher.
My life as a teacher has been one
of great dedication. At every school I have ever taught, I sacrificed all my
energy to be committed in my endeavours for the children. In November, I will
be finalising this educational journey. I will be completing my last two exams and my research assignment,
and then I will receive my Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) Honours degree in Teaching and
Learning. So far I have passed five of the eight completed modules with
distinction. I gave my best and I have achieved what I set out to do.
approaches, I consider how I have spent my years in self-sacrificial
workaholism. I’m turning 50 this year and more than ever the question lingers:
Is this really what I plan to do for the next fifteen years until retirement?
there is more to life than working myself into a stupor? There’s joy and
satisfaction in what I do, but at the expense of my family and my health. I’ve never
travelled anywhere and holidays away from home are a luxury I cannot afford.
So, I spend the school holidays preparing for the next term. Do I rest? No.
Does it matter? It never did.
Suddenly I find myself contemplating all the adventures of life on which I am missing out. I’m at a crossroad.
the end of 2013, I embarked on an ambiguous journey of self-study: I was set to
study my honours degree in General Teaching and Learning and in the process, I
discovered more about myself and life in general.
I was engulfed with despondency because my personal view of studying at my “particular
age” meant suffering. I could already see how Time and I would constantly be at
each other’s throats. And I hate conflict.
took the assignments in my stride. I gave each one my best and had very little
concern about the results. I kept telling myself that at my “particular age”
and with my efforts of putting my best teaching foot forward each day, there
would be no pressure to achieve the ultimate. And so I was satisfied with each
outcome. Except one. I remember getting 66% for one assignment and was totally
gobsmacked. What was up with the double 6? But I built a bridge and got over
first exam paper in decades was an epiphany. I realised studying had nothing to
do with a “particular age”! The identity was clear: I was a student. I walked
into the hall, late! I sat down trying to be as discreet in my movement as
possible. But the table groaned and the chair creaked, and the supervisor who
was reading out the rules suddenly kept quiet. I was the centre of attention. When
I received my answer sheet, I had to fill in more details than I thought – at that
point – were necessary. I didn’t know the name of the exam centre; I forgot my
student number and couldn’t remember the date. My stunned brain cells and fixed
eyes focused on the answer sheet, but nothing came to mind other than my name.
The supervisor asked us to put down our pens. I hadn’t filled in a thing. Not
even my name. The exam papers were handed out and we were told to read through
them for ten minutes prior to starting. My only concern was that I hadn’t
filled in my details.
was a nervous wreck throughout that paper. I wrote slowly, neatly and
deliberately. I stressed about the time. I couldn’t even see the clock in the
front and had to stretch to the length of an ostrich-neck to see whether or not
I was managing my time effectively. I feared someone would think I was craning
to crib. The invigilators that passed me kept stopping to read what I had
written. So it seemed. At the end of the session, when I handed in my paper,
two of the invigilators complimented me on having such beautiful handwriting. I
smiled feebly and walked out of the hall on jelly legs. Needless to say, the second exam session for the year was much better.
first year has finally come to an end and I have passed all my subjects. During the
school holiday, I managed to complete 4 of the 6 assignments that are due in
March 2015. I’m on a roll, here. And the initial fear and nervousness has
panned out into something more exhilarating. Soon, I’ll be done and then what?
I turn 50 in October. What do I do when this roller-coaster ride stops?
I’ve learned on this incredible journey is that we’re never too old to do
something, especially learn. At first, it may seem to be an enormous sacrifice.
After all, who wants to suffer the discomfort of stretching their mind to the
point of no return? And that is exactly what it is. Once stretched, the mind
cannot return to its original dimensions. Once you know something, you can
never “not know it” again.
educable mind keeps us growing. I think an idle mind may be the most dangerous
one of all. If it doesn’t get us into trouble, it certainly gets us into
trouble. Redundant? But effective! Is there a difference? Perhaps not – because
there are no degrees of comparison: trouble is trouble. It just emphasizes the
concern we should have for an idle mind. It certainly has more time to think.
And what exactly does an idle mind think about if its horizons aren’t