JOY and how to find s0me


Joy  is hard to find when we focus on what went wrong in the past, what is wrong now or what will possibly go wrong in the future.

past present future

If we focus on what went wrong in our lives and keep that in the forefront of our minds, then we are living in the past and if it wasn’t a good past then why choose to live in it?   If the past was better than the present we can tend to live there too.  We must of course learn from our past mistakes and reminiscing isn’t a problem, as long as we don’t long for those times so much that we can’t live in the now.

If we focus on what is currently wrong in our lives then we are not seeing what is currently right in our lives.  This can cause great unhappiness (that sounds like an ancient proverb).

Seeing and enJOYing what’s right in our lives right now is the trick.

People need meaning in their lives as well.  Depression and addiction (just to name two) are prevalent if there is no meaning in a person’s life.

If you really can’t see much that’s right in your life then you need to create it.

Here are some ways:

  • Volunteer your help somewhere. When you give of yourself life becomes more meaningful.  (If you struggle with your health then volunteer once a month instead of every week).

dad and kid (2)

There are:


  • children who need help with reading or homework
  • elderly people or neighbours who are lonely
  • dogs that are left alone all day
  • people who can’t manage to do their shopping
  • sick people who need a visit to cheer them up
  • people who can’t manage to mow their lawn or do their washing
  • young parents you may know who would love a babysitter so that they can go out

Or….. how about a list from your senses to bring you some joy?

Write a list of all the things you like to do relating to your five senses, then choose one of them to do. Here’s my list with 3 examples of each…..


Sight Sound Smell Touch Taste
*A cloudy sky


*Anything I can photograph




*inspiring talks



*aromatherapy oils

*soft fluffy blankets

*purring cat

*holding hands

*ice cold water on a hot day


*miraculous juicy fruit (it’s amazing, it comes off a tree!)


  • pomelo

These are just a few of mine.  What are yours?

 Gratitude – focus on your blessings

  •  Write down five things every night that you are grateful for. When you notice how many things are good in your life you will start to see things differently.  If you struggle with this then start with the things you may take for granted such as “I have a blanket to cover me with” or “I have fresh water that comes out of a tap” .  Watch your life change when you start to notice what you DO have.  Ophrah Winfrey talks a lot about gratitude journals – here is a link to her short video.

Lastly, if we focus on what is going to go wrong in our lives we spend our time worrying and feeling anxious and how can that be enjoyable?  We can work towards something we want in the future, true, but spending all of our time worrying about it is soul destroying.  And can you really tell the future?  How do you know what’s going to happen?

I know I said “lastly” but this is important…… Loving and accepting ourselves and others is key to creating joy in our lives.  If we judge and hate ourselves, how are we going to love our lives?  If we hate and judge others, how can we have meaningful connection?

If you struggle to do this yourself, find someone who can help you.

Sending love


p.s. I’ve added a TED talk here called Cloudy With a Chance of Joy. It’s worth the watch.

 (Photos by Author)



Beauty Confessions

card choose words with care

Drawing by Eve Marks

In the 80’s when I was growing up I had a skewed self image.

I remember when I first came to the realisation that the thoughts I had had about myself were false.  I was looking through some old photographs in my early 30’s and realised that as a teen and in my early to mid twenties I actually looked quite good.

The problem was that I measured myself up against the 80’s supermodels and some of my skinny friends and I saw myself as unattractive.  I was self-conscious and didn’t like my outer self.

I spent a lot of my life trying to match up to the standards that I thought I should be meeting which became a struggle.  I later found I have hypothyroidism so losing weight is not a simple thing anyway.

At some point in my life and I can’t remember the exact moment, because it’s been a gradual growing of consciousness, I started to accept myself and appreciate myself for who I am and as I am.

Looking through old photos made me realise something.  I’ve always been younger and “prettier” before, but I didn’t appreciate myself at those times.  During one of my wrinkle inspections recently, I reminded myself to appreciate my face and body as it is now.  One day when I’m in my 70’s I’m going to think I looked so young at 47.  Why wait till then for the realisation?  I want to enjoy my self now.


On a swing – Photo by  Shannen Marks

I’ve changed the way I think about things.  These days I want to be healthy and I want to be fit.  When I eat healthy food and do exercise I feel satisfied, content and strong.

Loving and appreciating myself has been a process but I am in a place in my life where I like myself most of the time and I think I look good as I am.  I don’t believe that I have to compare myself with others or be thin.  In fact I like having some substantiality to my figure.  I may not meet so-and-so’s idea of beauty, but that’s okay with me.

If you appreciate and approve of yourself, your beauty from within shines outwards and people see it.  I have noticed over the years that when I feel good about myself and when I’m happy, people notice something different about me.  They think I’ve lost weight but really I’ve lost something else, self-disapproval.

beautiful2And by the way this applies to all people who struggle with their self image in some way, whether it’s skin, hair, being too overweight or underweight, lips too big, nose too long, eyes too this, ears too that…… you know.

I’m writing this in the hope that someone who struggles with their self image will be inspired to start liking themselves as they are now because it really can change life.

With love





The Blog Tag

The two boys who dream


“Up until now you’ve thought that your beliefs have been defined by your reality, but instead, your reality has been defined by your beliefs.” – Mike Dooley

I was sitting outside the Wits Theater while waiting for my daughter to finish Varsity so that I could take her home.  Two students came to sit next to me at the table and started chatting.  I was trying to get some work done but couldn’t connect to the Wits guest Wifi so instead I listened to their conversation.


Wits University at Dusk – photo by Eve Marks

They were talking about dreams.  One boy is reasonably quiet and believes that the most important people in film are the ones that work backstage because without them the film would never be made.  The other boy is more outgoing and believes that the Director is the most important person in a film.  It was interesting to see that their personalities matched their beliefs and reminded me of how diverse people are. We should be open to everyone’s opinions but still be true to our values.

Not everyone thinks the same way and that’s a good thing, it creates diversity

The quiet boy spoke about how you need to have a dream and a vision about your future so that you know where you are heading.  We should be dreaming bigger than what we think we can achieve.  He believes that what you think about most is what you manifest into your life.

Barriers and changing lives

The outgoing boy spoke about breaking barriers, about changing lives.  He said that “people think that if you have a big dream and a vision you are arrogant” and his challenge was to break through those stereotypes in his community.  He said that people think that if you want to change the world you have to change the whole world but South Africa is a world.  Johannesburg is a world.  His community is a world.  His family is a world.  Each person is a world and if you change yourself you are already changing the world.  We spoke a bit and agreed that if you change yourself and can make a difference in one other person’s life, you are changing the world, one person at a time.  He wants to change the world with his art.

I loved these boys!  Their attitudes are amazing.

change the world

Wood Design by Debbie Dewitt

I was gobsmacked to find out they are only in their first year studying Film, that means that they are 18 or 19 years old!  It took me many more years to be that astute about the world and about life.  Children these days are much more aware of things than we were, growing up and it’s something for parents to take notice of.  Listen to your kids talk, hear their ideas, give them the time.  They want to be heard.  You don’t have to agree with them but don’t knock them down as having stupid or worthless ideas.

Your attitude will determine your altitude

It’s so true what they said.  What we believe in is how we will manifest our lives.  Obviously there are more factors to it than that and it’s not all about the law of attraction, there are other laws at play but I do believe that what we think about plays a huge part in the quality of our lives.

What do you think? I would love to hear from you.



The Phenomena of the reading children


L - Reading in carMy son who is 10, is an avid reader, like the rest of his family.  The minute he gets into the car after school, he opens his book and starts to read.  To me it can be a bit annoying at times because what am I – a taxi driver?  I wouldn’t mind a bit of conversation.  I was worried it was a bit anti-social because how can he communicate with the other boys when he is concentrating on reading?

Anyway, today he was feeling sick and I fetched him early from school.  I still had to do the afternoon lift for the other boys though.

As one of the boys got into the back of the car, he said “I think I’m going to try what Lee does”.  I thought he was going to say “phone my mom and go home early”.  Instead he said “I’m going to try read”.  Lo and behold the boy in the front seat decided he was going to try too.  They were worried they would be nauseous from the motion.  They were fine.

I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Total silence and two 10 year olds reading in my car.  Apparently, “everybody” in their class is reading the Alex Rider series (by Anthony Horowitz).  I think I should read it too to see what’s so exciting about it.

This is called “good peer pressure”.  Actually I don’t know what it’s called but I think it’s great that these boys are loving reading.





Gnawing in my stomach


stressed person (2)You get into bed late at night and suddenly you get a gnawing feeling in your stomach.

No it’s not hunger… it’s fear.  You think you have about 1000 things to do but you are too tired to care.  You get into bed and toss and turn and have dreams about guests arriving and there’s no food on the table!  Aaaahhh!

Spending 5 or 10 minutes planning your next day before you go to sleep will go a long way to help you to be organised and more peaceful.  You will probably also realise that you don’t have 1000 things to do but about 20 or so.

Living organised takes away much of the day to day stress caused by the seemingly never ending list of tasks that we need to get through in a day.

grass.jpgWorking with a diary is helpful because you can see how much time you have – realistically – to fulfill what you are planning.

I’m reading a book called “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and he suggests that we should find one thing to do at a time and focus fully on that thing (instead of multi-tasking).  I’m working on doing that at the moment.  I set aside a certain amount of time to do one thing and then I try my best to stick to that (what with my wandering mind and all).  For example, I will give myself one hour (at a time) to write this blog and in that time I don’t get up for coffee, ice cream or chocolate.  I have to wait until the hour is over 🙂 organised 1

I don’t do planning every night, however I can totally see the difference in my productivity and in my stress levels when I plan ahead.  If I go to sleep with a do-sheet in my head, it feels like I will never get anything done because there’s just TOO MUCH.  If I allocate the tasks to a specific time in my diary to do tomorrow, the day after or even next week then they are out of my head and I can relax and by default sleep better.

When I don’t plan and instead keep my list in my head, I tend to procrastinate because my mind is saying it’s TOO MUCH and so I go into avoidance.

Having said that, be flexible and realistic.  Add in time for travelling, parking, packing lunch, buying petrol, drawing monempty tankey etc.  If you go past your time with a certain task, don’t go into “panic mode”, it will give you an idea of how much time you need for that task next time.

Remember to put me-time in your diary too.

P-L-A-N = Prepare Late at Night (I made that up haha)

With love

Eveorganised 2

(Pictures used in this post were donated by the world wide web)