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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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).

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

When life gives you crumbs

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positive thinking - feed the birds

Sometimes upsetting things happen.  That’s the way things are and we can’t avoid them.  We can however make things better.

The other day I had a confrontation with a person who was quite nasty to me.  I was extremely upset afterwards and sat staring into space, totally focused on the incident.  I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.

After a while my phone alarm went off.  The ringer is an upbeat song.  I decided to stand up and dance, shaking out the negativity that my body was holding from the incident through my fingertips.  At the end of the song, I felt a lot better and I also realised that I was thankful that this is my problem rather than anything else.  In fact I felt blessed.

This thought process completely turned my mood around and I was able to get on with my day.

If it wasn’t for the song breaking into my reverie and choosing to dance it out, I may have dwelled on my problem for the whole day.  By shaking it out, I changed my mood.

I hope that you find a way to feed the birds when you get crumbs.

With love
Eve

The Power of a Hug

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Hugs are amazing things, really.  They melt away tension and can help heal a person who is ill or depressed.  Hugs release stress which help a person’s heart to beat slower which is good for longevity.

Hugs boost the chemical oxytocin in your brain.  Oxytocin has many functions, one of them being anti anxiety.  Hugs relax your muscles.

Holding a hug for an extended period of time lifts serotonin levels, elevating your mood and even helps your digestive system.  Hugging your older child or teenager for six seconds reminds them of being held as a baby (unless they explicitly say they hate it when you hug them, then don’t force it).

Hugging is one way to strengthen the immune system.  When you are happy your body stays healthier, when you are stressed, angry or depressed your immune system is weakened.  Another way is laughter so if you don’t have anyone to hug find a way to laugh more.

A hug Boosts self esteem – we feel special when receiving a hug which we associate with our early childhood when we were given hugs by our parents.  It also makes us feel safe like it did then.  This has been seen when children hug a teddy or a blanket.  We continue to carry the feeling of being hugged in our cell memory.

Hugs teach us about giving and receiving.  Giving a hug without expecting anything in return is very generous.    It is however important to receive hugs as well, you deserve good stuff too.

Hugs teach us to let go and be in the moment.  When you step into a hug time stands still.  If you are uncomfortable with hugs time might stand too still 😉.   Use your intuition about when to let go. Swaying fast from side to side while hugging can take away from being in the present moment.  Personally I prefer sill hugs.

When we hug the people we love we are investing in the relationship.  If you feel empathy for someone you feel their pain, so you may need a hug just as much as they do.

When hugging, make sure that it is platonic and nurturing.  Just be there for the other person and let them be there for you.  This builds trust and allows the person to just be.

Many people don’t get touched often especially the elderly or those that live alone.  If you know someone like that give them the gift of a hug.

To respect someone’s boundaries I usually ask the person permission.  Not everyone likes hugs or is used to them.  If someone didn’t get much trustworthy touch in childhood they may feel fearful when hugged.

Timing is important.  Hugging someone who is in a bad mood with you may be counterproductive.

Don’t squeeze too tight unless you know for a fact the other person likes that.  A sore hug is not that enjoyable.

At the end of a hug, make eye contact which will make you both smile.

If you are not a natural hugger then practise it slowly with people you love and trust.

I asked my children what it feels like to be hugged and they said: beautiful, safe, warm, cared for and caring for (exchange of care).

I hope you give and get those things this week.

With love
Eve