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Category: Inspiring

The things we take for granted

I just finished re-reading The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver (what an extraordinary book) and there’s a line in it that has stuck with me for the past week or so… I’m paraphrasing because obviously I can’t remember it word for word (I blame lack of sleep for robbing me of this super-power!) but it’s something along the lines of:
It occurred to her that her life, up till then, had been perfectly lovely. It would have been nice if she’d noticed.

A generous spirit

I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about generosity. Hout Bay, where we live, has been ravaged by fires over the last few weeks – terrifying multi-day fires that rage across the mountains and an even more terrifying fire in Imizamo Yethu, the informal settlement, that displaced 10 000 people. That sounds so removed, doesn’t it? Displaced. What it actually means is that 10 000 people had homes on Friday last week, homes filled with clothes and toys and books and TVs and things. And the next day those same people had nothing.

The art of authenticity

I used to really struggle with being authentic, and vulnerable. I thought – and I don’t really know where this thought came from – that the me I presented to the world had to be shiny and perfect and free of cracks. So that’s the mask I put on: happy, confident, sociable me. And yes, sometimes that’s exactly how I felt. But other times I felt quiet and anti-social and vulnerable, and the more I put the shiny happy mask on, the more the quieter me felt itchy.

Be easy on yourself

One of the great gifts of motherhood, for me, has been an enhanced capacity for vulnerability. I’m not sure if it’s the sleep deprivation or the sense of common journey, but I have learned the subtle, graceful art of saying how I’m really doing when people ask.

Sometimes they don’t even have to ask! Last week, when I was struggling with why Arthur was acting out so much, I reached out to a school friend I haven’t spoken to in years, because I remembered her writing on Facebook about being exhausted at the end of a day of non-stop negotiations with a toddler. She had such wise and helpful advice for me, and ended her message by saying: “Be easy on yourself. You also need a break.”

The direction of relief

Whenever I find myself in a situation where I don’t know what to do and my emotions feel all upside down, I always try to remember to move in the direction of relief.

It’s a principle I learnt from Abraham-Hicks, who I used to listen to and read like the Bible – back in those days when I had unlimited time to listen to and read many things! But it’s one that’s stuck because it works for me…