What to do in December

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relax mountainsCan you believe it’s that time of year again when we have an opportunity to slow down.  This year seems to have come and gone and I hope that I can drag out the holidays for as long as possible.

Some tips for making the most of your holidays whether you are going away or not:

Do nothing
Make sure you spend some time each day doing absolutely nothing.  Nothing important.  Nothing technological.  Nothing that HAS to be done.

Do nature
Spend some time in nature.  There are beautiful parks just around the corner or a short drive away.  The other day my mom and I spent an hour in a park in our neighbourhood and I’m telling you it was relaxing and uplifting.  I noticed the details, colours and smells of trees I usually just drive by.

Do noticing
When you are out and about take special notice of how beautiful the world is that we live in.  Notice the trees, the flowers, the beaches, the mountains, the sky, the people, your family.  Be present in the moment.

Do spending
Spend quality time with your partner, children or pets, spend more time with people you love, make special dates like movie night picnic in your garden.  Spend time cooking together, going for walks, holding hands and hugging.  Spend less on material goods and shopping malls.

Do sharing
Share chores with those in your family, don’t do it all yourself.  Find a way to inspire the others to help you.  Get the family involved when deciding what fun things to do.  Share with people less privileged, take a sandwhich in the car on trips to give to the hungry man or woman begging at the traffic light.  Everyone needs a break.

Do decluttering
Getting rid of stuff while you have a bit of extra time on your hands is liberating.  It opens up the energy in your home which will be a great start to next year.

Do time out
Make sure you do things just for yourself.  This is your holiday too.  Put a “do not disturb” sign on your door while you read your book for an hour and drink a cup of hot milo or cold iced tea (the weather is so weird it could be either one).  Find someone to babysit now and then if you have small kids.

Do tolerance
Everyone being home at the same time for a month or more can sometimes get overwhelming.  Look at your home mates from a soul level and open your heart with compassion.  Let this be a month of peace, understanding and love.  That sounds cliched but I’m serious.

Do laughing
On a serious note, stop being so serious.  Have some fun and enjoy yourself.  Put music on while doing chores, dress up as a prince or princess and prance around the house letting everyone think you are a bit crazy.  Laughter spreads and makes us happy (watch this hilarious clip).  Be happy.  Do funny.

I will be taking a break from writing until the middle of January but will still consult a couple of times a week so don’t be a stranger.  Have a wonderful holiday.  I’ll miss you.

With love
Eve

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Adventuring

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coffee yuck girl faceOnce a week (more or less) I take my son to Sandton for one of his Krav Maga classes.  He teaches.  Although he is a qualified instructor he hasn’t got his drivers’ license yet as he’s 17.

It feels like a bind to take him because there’s no parking where he goes and I have to mill around for an hour in an area I know very little about.  Also I don’t want to venture too far as I have to be back in an hour to fetch him.  So today I drove around a bit and excitedly found a coffee shop.  They made me a gross takeaway coffee.  I paid a lot for gross coffee but oh well.

Nevertheless, I got to sit at a comfortable table and write while listening to Simon and Garfunkel playing in the background and enjoying a cool fan blowing on me.

Sometimes the adventure you go on doesn’t turn out to be perfect but there is something in it to be happy about.  Trying something new can take you to different places and spaces.

I’m really hoping that next time I find a funky shop to browze through.  I want to try something new each time until I find a treasure.  I’ll let you know if I do find it.  If you know any places in Parkmore or near there I would love to know.

I have a few spaces left for coaching next week.  Are you keen?  If  yes, contact me to book a space either by clicking here or by replying to this email.  It’s nice to go on holiday having sorted out a few things in your head first.

With love
Eve

 

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Good Life or Good Lie

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good lifeWe deceive ourselves by making up stories in our heads.  Here are two examples.

  • Peggy was concerned because a good friend of hers seemed to be ignoring her text messages and not replying to any of them.  She started getting anxious thinking something was wrong.  When we analysed it together we noticed that the thoughts that had been going on Peggy’s mind were along the lines of: she’s purposefully ignoring me; I must have upset her; she doesn’t like me anymore, I’m not loveable. The truth is we don’t know any of those to be true, we make stories up and believe them as though they are real. How can we know if she’s purposefully ignoring her or if she’s upset or doesn’t like her anymore, maybe she’s just busy.
  • Lulu saw someone at the shop and the person looked her up and down in what seemed to be a disapproving manner.  Lulu had already been feeling self conscious that morning having eaten a half a slab of chocolate the night before.The thoughts that she had unconsciously been thinking were: I look terrible today; I’ve put on 3 kilos from the chocolate I ate;this woman knows and she’s thinking that I have no self discipline; I’m a terrible person.  Now all of these thoughts that Lulu thought are unverified and therefore the answer to them is unknown.  How on earth could she know what this random stranger was thinking?  For all she knows the woman saw the colour she was wearing and was thinking of her ex-husband whose current girlfriend had a dress in that colour.We never know what other people are thinking.

I do not mean to undermine Peggy’s or Lulu’s experiences here.  I am trying to demonstrate how we subconsciously think thoughts that seem real to us and we get freaked out.  These thoughts however, are just thoughts.   Often though they relate to experiences we have had previously in our lives which trigger us (almost like flicking a light switch on) and it’s as if we are reliving that same moment from many many years ago.  These experiences can be unravelled and put into perspective with someone who has experience in this area.

We continue to deceive ourselves and make our lives a misery by thinking thoughts and believing everything we think to be true.

If you want help to unpack your thoughts and work through them, to see what is plaguing you, please contact me by clicking here.

All the best
Eve

Worthy of Receiving

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receiving sarkGiving is super important and gives purpose to one’s life.  However, some people perceive that to receive from others is wrong or they don’t like it.  Have you heard people saying “I would rather give than receive”?

There’s a balance to giving and receiving.  If you constantly give and never allow yourself to receive you are creating an unbalanced relationship with whoever is trying to give to you.  Everyone needs to give in order to feel that they are contributing to society, to friends, relatives and to their intimate relationships and you are giving someone an opportunity to be generous when you are able to accept from others.

Receiving can be scary but hear this….. accepting a gift, a compliment or help, doesn’t mean you are weak or useless, helpless or incapable.  It means you are in a relationship.  You can be strong and still accept from others. Receiving might also bring up feelings of obligation and owing.  i.e. I have to be grateful to this person and now I am indebted or owe them something.  Yes you probably should be grateful, so what?  Someone out there is grateful for what you have done for them too.

You know who else you need to receive from?  Yourself.

The other day I proved it to myself after hearing a talk on this.  After the talk, I gave myself three gifts, one was tasty, one was about cooling down in the boiling heat and the other was taking a few minutes just to enjoy these two things.  When my husband and kids got home later I had so much more energy and willingness to do things for them rather than feeling depleted and put upon with all their needs because I had already given to myself.  I had shown myself that I am worthy of receiving.  It’s weird but I actually wanted to give more because my needs had already been met.  The people around me were naturally happy too.

Did you know you are worthy of love just as you already are with no improvements?  That means that right now you are worthy of love just because you are.

Remember that.

receiving sark 2Next time somebody gives you a compliment, say thank you (instead of not believing them or making excuses or brushing them off).  If somebody offers you help, don’t think “I can do this all on my own”.  Even if you can do it all on your own, it’s okay to share your burdens and your chores.  If somebody gives you a gift, don’t think “oh no, now I have to give them a gift back” just accept it and appreciate that someone cared about you.

Thank you for reading my blog – that is a gift to me.

With love
Eve

Raw South Africa – Joburgers Conversations

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judgement skin tonesLast week, a guy who calls himself Joburger on Facebook started a magnificent thread which brought light and laughter to many people in South Africa.  He asked black people to ask white people any question they have ever wanted to know and then he did the same with white people asking black people and everyone asking Indian people, Coloured and Asian people.  The thread went on for a few days and it was both hilarious and eye opening.  I really learned a lot and have already started to change my behaviour in certain ways.

Then on Sunday Joburger asked people of different races to say what they loved about a particular race.  I tell you it was addictive sitting there looking at the love pouring out.  People had to put their differences aside and look with eyes of love and focus on what is special about each particular race in our beautiful country.  It was heartwarming, educational and love building.  Just seeing what other people love about us is eye opening in itself, we often take those things for granted and don’t even realise that people notice it as a positive thing.

What I have to say about it is this…. As South Africans, we have so much potential for a cohesive society.  There are always hitches and difficulties in every relationship and the relationship we have now is the New South Africa.  Things haven’t turned out as planned for many and our government has disappointed most of us. However, I think that we as South Africans with all our diversity can become united.

I wish that there was no violence in this country, no crime, no poverty.  I wish that we could all live together in harmony and be happy.  I wish that for the entire world actually.  My wishes aren’t going to make it happen though.

judgingLet’s start off small by just loving and accepting the person you see.  What I realised from reading the posts is that we have so many misunderstandings between each other.  We judge indiscriminately and have tons of stereotypes.  I recommend having a look at the thread by Joburger if you have access to Facebook because it is honestly heartwarming.  It doesn’t take away the real problems that people are facing in their every day lives but it’s a start to see how much we actually do appreciate each other and how much we are all living together under the same roof.

With love
Eve

(p.s. I warn you in advance, if you have a look at Joburger, there is swearing etc. which might offend sensitive readers but the overall thread is one of love and unity).

How lack of self care can perpetuate vices

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self care - nurtureI find myself often advising my clients to write a list of things that they could do to nurture themselves and then do at least one a day.  Many of us have been brought up by society to believe that being selfless is the way to go and you should always give to others and put yourself last.  Well it’s true to some degree, giving of yourself is an important and essential part of having a meaningful life.  If you only think of yourself your life can become empty and lonely.  If however, you never address your own needs, you can burn out, give with a heart full of resentment and suffer from physical ailments and an unsatisfying and unfulfilled life.

Any extreme is not great.  If you are too giving you end up becoming weak (within yourself).  If you are too self absorbed you end up alienating people.  The key is to find a middle ground.

So how does it perpetuate my vices?

When people feel overwhelmed and are not coping they tend to reach out for some sort of comfort whether it’s food, sleeping, being on their phone, watching TV, biting nails, etc.*** If used as comfort often enough they can become habits.  What I have found with myself and with my clients and friends is that when we take some time to do something nurturing for ourselves, it feels as though our needs are being met and we don’t need our vices as much.

self care - chillHow do I know if I need to nurture myself?

When you find yourself being irritable or restless, tired, satisfying your habits ask yourself a question:  What do I really need right now? When you acknowledge what it is you want then you can put some nurturing in place.  For example if you are looking for every sugary snack you can find in the house and then drinking coffee and then pacing around and procrastinating – when you ask yourself what you need it might be a nap or to hydrate yourself.  Once you have done one of those things you will most likely feel so much better and be able to carry on with your day with a smile on your face.

How to pre-empt the need for nurture

Eat when you are hungry, drink water, take some food in the car when you know you won’t be home for hours, have a nap when you are tired, say no (or not today) when you’ve been doing too much, go to bed at a reasonable hour.  Look after yourself.  A person who feels well taken care of can do much more in the world.

Taking care of yourself is not being selfish or egotistical or arrogant, it is an essential part of living.

With love
Eve

*** Certain vices are addictions and may need help from a professional.  I have not addressed these here.

The Lady at the Gate

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kindness - never wastedA friend of mine (let’s call her Samantha) told me a beautiful story that happened to her last week.

She was letting her daughter out the gate when a lady who she didn’t recognise smiled at her from ear to ear and said “Hello! Do you remember me?”  She looked at the lady blankly and said that unfortunately she didn’t remember her and asked who she was and where she knew her from.

The lady (let’s call her Mindy) told her that in 2013 she had been at her lowest of lows.  Without a job, without food and feeling very hopeless, she was going from house to house buzzing on the intercoms, hoping someone would answer her call for help.  She was asking for food.  Mindy said that Samantha had opened her heart to her and given her food.

Mindy now has a job and has been trained in her field.  She has lovely employers and is happy.  She walks past Samantha’s house on route between work and home almost every day and each time she sees the house she says “my angel lives here”.

Samantha was so moved by this story and realised that she did remember the incident.  When Mindy has passed her home all those years ago, she had looked different – downtrodden, sad, worried, scared.  Now she was empowered, happy, lit up and that’s why she wasn’t immediately recognisable.  Samantha gave her a hug and thanked her for stopping to tell her the story, she hadn’t realised how her seemingly insignificant act had made such an impact.

kindness - giving shoesIn South Africa we are faced daily with people like Mindy and we don’t realise the effect we are having when we are loving, kind and helpful; opening our hearts and giving a listening ear.  Sometimes we may even feel burdened by the endless stream of people who need help.  I am hoping this story will help you recognise how a little act can mean so much to someone.

With love
Eve

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