Closing the Gap

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What is the word that actually describes your life?  What is the word you wish described your life?  How are you going to get closer to the life you wish for?

In order to write this for you I had to make it personal so that you would glean from my example.  So  here goes….

The word that describes my life right now is swamped.  How would I like it to be?  Flowing.

Funny that both those words have reference to water.  Swamped feels exactly as it sounds, bogged down, difficult to get out of, overwhelming, too much to do.  Flowing is peaceful, things going according to plan, doing what feels right, not taking on too much, dancing movements, glittering beauty (okay, I’m getting carried away because I really want to be on holiday right now).

Firstly it’s important to note that the words that I have used to describe my current state are all beliefs.   Are they true?  Well not really.   They are just thoughts, a state of mind.  If I believe my life is overwhelming then it really seems overwhelming and then that’s what it is.  Overwhelming.  Too much to do?  How do I know how much is too much to do?  This may be hard to comprehend right now but believe me, it is very freeing when you are able to differentiate between the truth and what you think is the truth.  I had a look at some pictures of swamps and believe me that is not what my life looks like (thank G-d) – but I have been thinking it is!

How am I going to close the gap?

I will look in my diary when something comes up and  I will ask myself if it is necessary, if it is doable, if it is something I really want or if I am doing it for other reasons such as people pleasing or fame and fortune.

I will make extra time for traveling in my diary.  Sometimes I forget to do this and then find myself rushing from place to place because I haven’t added the traveling time into my day.  It is so much more peaceful when I can drive to place and sing at the same time instead of sweating from the stress of trying not to be too late.

I will forgive myself for being human.  If I set a certain amount of goals and can only reach a few of them, I will remind myself that I am human and can only do so much.  If I overburden myself with negative criticism it’s no wonder I believe I’m overwhelmed because not only am I rushing and not managing to fulfill my expectations of myself but I am also adding harsh words to the mix.

I will make time for the things that are a priority in my life.  Sometimes we forget what we are aiming for.  We lose sight of our purpose.  If I refocus I will be able to say no to invitations that come up and only choose the ones that talk to my higher purposes.

I will make time for myself to relax.  How can I even do any of the above if I don’t make time to relax and nurture myself?  That means making proper food and not eating on the run, spending time lying or walking on the grass, having naps, going out on a date with myself (now and then), treating myself like I would treat anybody else, with courtesy and kindness.

Wishing you a beautiful week of seeing what’s really happening in your life and making steps to close the gap.

I would love to hear the words you chose and some of your ideas on how you are going to close your gap.

With love
Eve

 

 

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7 mistakes people make at work and how to change that

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Do you drive yourself to prove that you are a good person because you want to gain the approval of others?

So many of us do so don’t feel alone…..

Here are 7 mistakes people make at work:

  • Trying so hard
  • Working after hours
  • Taking work home
  • Saying yes to every request even if you know a fellow colleague who could do the assignment
  • Taking the blame for others’ mistakes
  • Being a “good girl” or “good boy”
  • Feeling hurt when you get moaned at and then berating yourself on top of that

Let’s look at how to rectify these situations:

Trying so hard to please
Yes of course you must work hard otherwise your boss may not value your contribution to the firm but do you have to try so hard to please his or her every whim?  Do you find yourself doing more than is necessary and then feeling resentful afterwards?  Do your best within the boundaries of your job.  Be the best that you can be which doesn’t mean bending over backwards if gymnastics is not your forte.  If you find yourself ironing your boss’s shirts when your job description doesn’t call for it, then maybe this area is a problem for you.

Working after hours
Every so often when pressure mounts it is in good form to work after hours.  But are you working late every day to prove how loyal and dedicated you are?  What you are really doing is building up piles of resentment when your boss starts taking advantage of your benevolence.  You probably ask yourself why you keep doing it and thinking it would “look bad” to stop now when you’ve been doing it for so long.  Work after hours when it is needed, the rest of the time go and do what you need to do in your own life.  If you are always the last to leave, ask yourself why?

Taking work home
Same as above.  You are not a superhero although you may wish to appear like one, so take work home when there’s hectic pressure at work but don’t make a habit of it.  Nobody ever said on their deathbed (although I don’t have proof for this) “I wish I had worked more”.  No!  They wish they had spent more time with the people they love.

Saying yes to every request
You know how you really want your boss to be happy with you so you keep saying yes and the piles of work keep adding up?  You find you can’t actually get to everything no matter how hard you try.  You fear he or she is going to think you are useless at your job.  If the work is too much for one person to handle, think of a colleague who would be able to do that task just as well as you can.  Stop worrying that he or she may do it better than you for fear that this will show you up.  If they do it better than you, that’s one more task you can tick off your list because they will be asked next time as well.  Your boss will thank you for it when you get your other work done and your colleague also gets their work done.  It’s a win-win situation really.

Taking the blame for others’ mistakes
Why?  Let people take responsibility for their own mistakes.  On the odd occasion if your department’s “life depends on it” then fine, but otherwise…. NO!

Being a “good girl” or “good boy”
The need to be “good” is derived from our childhood.  Getting into trouble when we were kids was probably normal for most of us.  But the fear of that still drives many of us to be “good” all the time – don’t step out of line.  However, it’s not good for your health if you never speak up.  If something is unreasonable at work and you don’t speak up about it, notice how your throat area feels?  (tight / like there’s a lump in it / blocked / coughing / thyroid).  If keeping quiet is your default behaviour it could affect your health in the long term.  If you need to speak up but aren’t sure how to go about it, get advice.

Beating yourself up
So, you made a mistake.  Hopefully it didn’t incur a loss of millions.  Seriously, I hope it didn’t.  If it didn’t and you accidentally did something wrong, then sitting there calling yourself names (stupid / idiot / useless / incapable / unworthy / not good enough) is not going to fix the problem.  All it is going to do is mess with your self confidence which makes making more mistakes a possibility.  Forgive yourself – after all, you didn’t do it on purpose!  Then find a way to sort out the problem, possibly own up to it or get some intra-office support to sort it out.  You are human and most likely a good one at that.

Working on these seven tips will hopefully improve your time at work and outside of work.

What other areas do you struggle with at work or out of work?  I would love to hear from you.

I wish you well.

Eve

 


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Empowered Difference

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self esteem - individualityIt’s seems tough to be different.  Different means standing out.  It means taking a stand on what you believe in and it can hurt.  Some people think that their difference is not worthy to be out-standing.  They hide in the background or try to blend in, hiding their inner selves, their essence, their values, their beauty.

But did you know that even though you are a human like the rest of the humans milling about, you are useful, capable, beautiful, amazing in your own way and if you let that inner light shine outwards, you will be able to light up others who need it too.  Not only that but when you start to use your difference for something worthwhile, you will feel empowered and strong.  You will forget why you ever thought that hiding your inner beauty was a good idea in the first place.

By the way, you are different but so is every single person in this world.  There is no one who is the same as another.  Even identical twins are different.

So in essence we are all the same.

There’s no sense in hiding now is there?

With love

Eve


The Power of Purpose Aug Sept 2016

 

The Car Guard who studied Medicine

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Victor Frankl 1I met a man recently in the parking lot when I popped into the shop to buy a few things.  He has lived in this country for 7 years.  He comes from the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) and was studying medicine at University there.   After his father died, he came to South Africa, possibly to try and make a living to help his family (I didn’t want to pry) and had to become a car guard.  There’s nothing wrong with being a car guard, it’s just that they don’t earn much.  Finally after 7 years of being in the country, one or more kind benefactor(s) helped him out and now he is studying IT at Boston City Campus part time.  In March next year he will be finished and he’s very excited about it.

He has an engaging, positive and friendly personality and is always willing to help come rain or shine.  Once when it was pouring with rain he walked beside me with his red umbrella making sure I didn’t get wet while walking to my car.  He seems to make the most of his day by working hard and being of service.

This is a story about never giving up and about living with purpose.  Even though his circumstances were probably dire and at the beginning healthy food and a place to stay might have been hard to come by, he persevered.

We are often quick to give up on our dreams, visions or ideas because they seem so hard to turn into reality.  Even every day life can seem too difficult to bear.  For some, getting out of bed in the morning is a battle.

Victor Frankl, who wrote Man’s search for Meaning wrote about how when he was in a concentration camp during the 2nd world war, he noticed that the people who survived were the ones who had a purpose to go home to at the end of the war.  Nobody knew who they would find after the war and many knew they had lost everything and everyone, but some people, Dr Frankl included, found something to live for and that was a purpose that they had affirmed for themselves.

Today, if we recognise that we have something to live for, something meaningful and worthwhile, it helps us to get out of bed in the morning and go about the seemingly repetitive type of life that many tend to live.

When I was in my late 20’s, I was working in an office and my toddler was being looked after by my mom (for which I am grateful*).  However, I wanted to look after her myself.  I wanted to hear her first word or see her take her first step.  One day while typing out some correspondence, I gazed out the window and thought to myself – “What am I doing here?”.  I don’t mean on earth, I mean in the office.  The work I was doing seemed meaningless, as if by doing it, I was making no difference in anybody’s life.  It was soon after that, that I cashed in my pension money, paid off some debts and quit my job so that I could get a half day position and be with my daughter.**

For me it was about believing I had a purpose.  Originally we didn’t have the money for me to leave my job as we had accumulated debts, but we found a way and my husband supported me in this***.  It was important to me and we made a plan.

When it seems there’s too much hopelessness or meaninglessness in your life, perhaps you are missing or ignoring your purpose.  I say ignoring because our body actually gives out signals.  Those signals for me felt like boredom, dissatisfaction, frustration and sadness. You might  have others.

If you find yourself binging on food, drugs, alcohol, internet, gambling, television, etc. it could be that you are avoiding your soul’s calling to you.

Making the decision to follow my destiny has changed my life in so many ways and led me on interesting and adventurous paths.  Some good, some not as good – but always going forward.

I wish you a purposeful day, year, life.

Eve


I appreciate you

Financial Stress

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Gratitude - happy life
Living in South Africa at the moment is a bit of a challenge financially for the average Joe and for the underprivileged it must be horrendous! With the rand/dollar the worst it’s ever been, food, education, transport and everyday amenities just keep going up and it’s hard to keep up.

If food is this expensive for people living in the middle class suburbs, I pale to think of what it must be like living below the bread line.

There are two ways of coping with the challenge, one is to come closer together as a family and one is to split further apart.

How to not let your financial situation split you and your loved ones apart.

Oma and Opa

My grandparents at their wedding before hell broke loose

About 75 years ago, my people (and I mean literally, my grandparents’ family and friends) were living or dying in the throes of the Holocaust.  Hitler was at his prime and was succeeding at quite an alarming and efficient rate in attempting to wipe out the Jewish people (and of course anyone else he didn’t like or who didn’t follow his ideals).

The Jewish people have always had an uncertain place in history wherever they have lived and to be honest that has given me fear and strength at the same time.  Fear because I never feel completely secure.  Strength because if they could live through that (those that did), then we can live through financial insecurity and challenge.  In a way I kind of use the suffering of my ancestors as a way of moving forward in life.  I do it a lot.  I do it when I hesitate to give someone a lift or when I hesitate to offer food to someone hungry or a blanket to someone cold.  I think of my grandparents and how it must have felt for them to be freezing and hungry with nobody to help them.  Then I get out of my comfort zone and go and help someone.

Almost every time I help someone, I realise how blessed I am with what I have.  Yes, for some of us money is tight but most of us (reading this) still have decent reasonably healthy food to eat every day.  While I am passing food or some change out the window to the barefoot beggar on the street, I have my car heater blowing on my feet.  I take notice of those things because otherwise I might be more complacent and not appreciate what I have.

If we look at what is most important to us in our lives, we can gain better perspective of what is happening and act accordingly.  Here’s a creative example:  If people have to cut down on electricity usage to save money, perhaps they can have supper by candlelight because eating together and spending time together talking is more important than having the lights on.

Yes it is a challenge and I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t.  Talking to each other about what is happening and trying to find ways to make things work is what will help people to get closer during tough financial times.  Being creative with what you’ve got goes a long way to making it more pleasant.

Appreciating the little things in life and the free things (like parks and sipping a cup of tea in bed) and most important appreciating each other.  This is what makes life easier.  Savouring and really experiencing the cup of tea and and time spent with each other is what makes life happier.

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Reflections in my tea

Understanding and support is what is needed when having to find the money to make ends meet.  Fighting and ignoring the situation can never bring happiness into a home.  That’s what families are for, being there for each other.  Well that’s what I think anyway.

If people can find something to be happy about, something to be grateful for, something to share together, it can take a little of the sting away.

If it feels like things are unmanageable and falling apart, a hug to one’s spouse or children and some comforting words to each other will go a long way to making things more tolerable.

Look I am an idealist and an optimist but I really believe that if people can look to what is important and try and build that up, we can find happiness in what we have.

How has the current financial climate been affecting you?  Is there anything you would like to contribute to this discussion?  If so, please comment.

With love
Eve


Here’s a 3 minute TED talk video about saying and receiving thanks, if you are interested.


The Power of Purpose – a six session course about living with purpose and fulfillment will be taking place from 16 August to 20 September.  (Tuesday nights).  Click to book your place or to find out more.

Gnawing in my stomach

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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)