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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The words that create you

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i am - creating your lifeAs the late Wayne Dyer said “Anytime you start a sentence with I am you are creating what you are and what you want to be”.  You see the mind doesn’t know the difference between fact and fiction.  Whatever you tell your mind is the truth, it will believe.  If you are feeding it with negative thoughts about yourself, you will believe that those thoughts are true.

Whatever you say after “I AM” is what you believe about yourself in that given moment.  If you constantly repeat the same phrases such as “I am stupid”, you will always believe it and live your life accordingly.  For example, you won’t take risks; you will usually say “I can’t do it”; you will often find yourself making mistakes but you won’t be surprised about that because you knew you would make those mistakes; you will often second guess yourself or check your work over and over again even though you just checked it; you don’t try anything new like studying something you’ve always been interested in; you make excuses.  Think about it.  Think of a word that you often say after “I AM” and then think about how saying that (even if it’s quietly to yourself) affects your life.

happy swinging upside downIt’s time to start looking at a different way of addressing yourself.  One way you could do this is to write down what it is that is positive about you and then use words like that instead.  When you find yourself saying (for example) “I am stupid”, stop yourself in your tracks and ask if that is really true.  No it’s not.  If you think it is then please contact me and I can help you see what you are missing.  Then decide to change what you say about yourself.  “I am capable” perhaps.  Look at where you are capable in your life….. maybe you can drive, you can work, you can make a sandwhich, you can hold a conversation, you have some talent in something.  Just keep repeating “I am capable” and see how different it feels to do so.  The more you practise it the less mistakes you will make, the less scared you will be to try out new things, the more you will add to conversations, the more satisfied you will be.

So next time you find yourself holding back, remind yourself that you ARE capable and take a step forward into the adventure of life.

You are a precious person in this world, make it happen for yourself and the others around you.

With love
Eve

How to find some Joy

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It’s much easier to see the gloomy or negative in the world but if you constantly think about the things that are wrong that will become your experience.

Train your mind to see the good in everything.  The way to do this is by being grateful.  If you hear a crime report, thank G-d that nobody got hurt or that your family is okay.   If you are unwell, look at the parts of you that ARE well.  If you are reading this it means you can see.  What a blessing that is.  If you are broke and can’t buy what you would like to buy, look at the food on your table and realise that your family is being fed and you have a roof over your head.

If you train your mind to see the good, you will live more joyfully.  Nobody’s life is perfect, everyone has their ups and downs and terrible experiences, the way to living joyfully though is to see what IS good and what IS working and focus on that.

I found these amazing photos of South Africa which show some real beauty and loves about this country.  We really do have a lot to be grateful for here.  These are only 5 of the 100’s that I found, it was hard to choose.

If you want to share some gratitude then follow me on Facebook where I will be posting about this subject and you can join in and share your own.

May you find plenty reasons to be joyful.

With love
Eve

p.s. if you go through a trauma (G-d forbid) you should work through it as well.
 

Self Care Box

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self care boxLife seems so busy lately.  I typed this around midnight last night because I didn’t have a chance to do it earlier in the day.  I even fell asleep while typing.

After working on my website, helping out a friend, shopping and lift schemes, I put supper on the stove and felt exhausted.  I knew that what I needed most was to lie down but did I have the time?  It was 7:30 p.m.

I realised that what I needed most at that moment was self care.  This is something I am learning to do for myself more and more.  Putting others first is my default.

So I switched off the lights (and weirdly enough the dogs stopped wrestling), lay down, closed my eyes and just breathed for 10 minutes.

Afterwards I showered and felt so much better. By the time I went to check on the food it was ready.

What I see from the women in my life is that they are always doing for others and hardly ever take time to do for themselves**.  I know that I can still be up late at night, letting the pets out and waiting for them to come back inside, locking up, checking on the kids, making sure all the lights are off etc. while everyone else has been sleeping for over an hour already.

I don’t know what you are like when you don’t give yourself enough self care but I can get irritable, resentful, hungry for junk food, tired, fed up.

So here’s a cool and ready-to-use idea to remind you about self care when you find you need it.

Create a Self Care Box which is  box of things which make you feel loved and nurtured.

grunge texture, distressed funky backgroundThese are some things that I would put in my box.  Personalise your own.

  • A list of all the things you can do for yourself when you feel tired or crabby (e.g. have a bath, lie down, go for a walk, play with the pets, dance to your favourite song, lie under a tree, walk on the grass, etc.).
  • A favourite book that you like dipping into
  • Aromatherapy oil
  • A soft piece of fabric or a plush toy that you like to touch
  • Hand cream
  • A small chocolate
  • Bath salts
  • Face mask
  • A journal with perhaps some writing prompts
  • A pen and drawing equipment
  • Some favourite photos
  • Positive affirmations
  • A USB drive with photos and videos and/or music
  • An inspirational coffee mug
  • A hot water bottle
  • Cotton socks
  • Headphones
  • A tea bag
  • A crystal
  • Tissues
  • A phone number of someone you can call for support

Keep the box somewhere where you can see it.  Open it whenever you feel a bit down or irritable or out-of-kilter or once a day!  Most of the time you will find that just doing something caring for yourself even if it’s for 15 minutes will go a long way to changing your mood and your energy.

You are valuable and worthy of self care and time for yourself.
With love
Eve

**To my male readers, let me know if this is different for you. 

p.s. I’ve updated my website, I would love it if you would have a look.

Better an Oops

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DSC_0759 (2)The Joburg photowalkers are a group of people (I found them on Facebook) who regularly go out and take photos together. I joined their page a few months ago but have never actually joined them on an outing until last Sunday. Usually I hum and hah and procrastinate and then don’t go. Why you ask? Hmm maybe it’s because I am too stuck in my comfort zone doing nothing or maybe it’s because I will have to meet new people or maybe I am afraid that I’m not that good at taking photos or fear of the new or of going on my own? So many possible reasons I guess. Who knows, I didn’t really ask myself that question before, I just didn’t go.

Last Sunday though I decided to go because they were all meeting up at the old Alhambra Theatre in Doornfontein which has not been used for 20 years apparently. My hubby and I used to go there in our 20’s. They will be turning it into an art and creativity centre for children, which sounds amazing and this was the last weekend before it would be changed forever.

In any case, on Sunday I kept feeling uncomfortable about going on the photowalk and was wondering why I booked to go in the first place. Eventually I decided to stop my nonsense and just go. Better an Oops than a What If.

On the way there I suddenly felt jubilant because I realised I was taking a risk, doing something out of my comfort zone. I got lost on the way there but not too lost and found myself with my camera and tripod inside the theatre with an hour to play. I couldn’t believe how fast an hour went. I was having such fun, experimenting and playing with my camera, seeing my old haunt. I got to stay for an extra hour as some people didn’t arrive and I had the best time.

I have posted a few of my shots on Instagram and am still loading them on as our wifi has been very slow the last few days. If you want to see any of them you can click here. My Instagram account is eve.marks so feel free to follow me.

This story is about taking risks, getting out of our comfort zones and having fun. I could have missed this opportunity (which believe me I have done in the past) and instead I risked. Martha Beck (a famous Life Coach) suggests taking one risk a day – and giving yourself a treat for each risk you take.

So if taking one risk a day seems too risky, take one risk this week and see how exhilarating it is.

With love
Eve

Who to thank?

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sunflowrThere are people who do things for us all the time but do we always notice it?

I wrote a letter to my coach this morning, she is an amazing woman who has helped me grow tremendously this year.  Yes, even a coach needs a coach. I am so grateful to her for all she has done, her generous spirit, her love, humour and acceptance.  I am also grateful to G-d for the syncronisity in putting us together.  It has really been a wonderful (and sometimes daunting) experience and so worthwhile.   My coach is taking an extended break and so our time together is over for now and I wanted her to know how valuable she has been to me.

There is someone in your life who you may want to express your thanks to.  It may be someone who quietly changes your life for the better.  It may be someone who makes you happy just by being in their presence.  It may be someone who loves you exactly as you are.  It may be someone who brightens up your day.  It may be someone who you can confide in, someone who you feel safe with.  It may be someone who does the same thing every day without you asking.

Let them know.

With love
Eve

The Magic of CNI

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consistencyI am currently listening to a Tony Robbins podcast and he speaks about the importance of CNI in becoming successful in anything we do.  Whether it’s career, an exercise regime, losing weight, having good relationships – it doesn’t matter what area of life you are working on.

CNI (sounds like Kanai) stands for Constant Neverending Improvement.  This means constantly doing something everyday towards your goal.

The steps can be tiny incremental steps but each day in order to succeed in our goals we should be making some improvement.

He also says that If you decide – “okay, I’m going to improve my fitness and that’s what I will focus on” – that other things you are working on will fall by the wayside so you should be making small improving steps in all areas of your life.

What I have noticed is that if you do something small every day you will see and feel the success each time.

bingingIf you love chocolate but you know that eating a chocolate every day is not helping  your health goals then start off by eating half a chocolate or only having it once every two days for a week or two and then increase the size of the goal by only having it every three days (for example).  If you decide to stop chocolates forever, two weeks later after having suffered immense stress (and a possible nervous breakdown – only kidding) every time you go shopping and forcing yourself to “have willpower” you will land up binging on chocolates and then giving up completely.  If you take it one step at a time every day your chances of success are greatly improved.

Consistency is a huge key in succeeding with your goals.

Tony (excuse me using his first name as if I know him personally haha), tells a story of a someone he knows who runs marathons.  This guy started off his running by jogging from his gate to the nearest street light which was about 20 meters away and that’s all he could manage.  Each day he increased his own goal.  That’s how it works.

What are your thoughts on this?

Take it one step at a time this week and have lots of little successes.

With love

Eve