Who will cry for the Disabled?

Another International Day for People with Disabilities has come and gone (3 December 2017). The President and relevant Ministers and Deputy Ministers did their duty to preach equal rights for people with disabilities and how people with disabilities should be integrated into society blah, blah.

 

An organisation fighting for the rights of people with disabilities arranged an event where people with disabilities could travel from our very modern, recently renovated main railway station by train to a predetermined destination and back to prove that rail travel is accessible for people with disabilities.

 

train, Metrorail

The event was advertised via social media, invites were sent to journalists to join the event and let the world know how people with disabilities are now able to travel via train. No response. Not even one journalist was interested in providing media coverage for the event. Not even a “thank you for the invitation but I will not be able to make it”. Dead silence from the media.

The day arrived. A group of people with various forms of disability gathered at the agreed meeting point on the main station. A portable ramp was rolled out to enable those in wheelchairs to be wheeled onto the train. Will this ramp be rolled out every time a train arrives or departs during peak hour when people need to get to work or come home from work? I doubt that, but we claim our rail system is ready to accommodate people with disabilities.

 

The train arrives at it’s destination where one person (with a physical disability who is unable to climb stairs/steps) is waiting to meet this train because all her friends are on this train. She eagerly and excitedly awaits this train after forcing herself to climb three steps at the entrance of the train station to get to her friends. From the entrance of the station she gets to what she thinks is the correct platform for the train to arrive. She waits.

Finally the train arrives, but her excitement quickly turns to disappointment when she is told “you are on platform 1 and the train you are waiting for is on platform 3”.

 

 

Determined not to have her spirit crushed, she eagerly asks “so how do I get to platform 3?” and is told “via the subway” and is pointed in the right direction. Knowing that going through subways usually involves stairs she asks “so how does a person with a disability get to the other side?”  She is told “sorry ma’am, that’s the only way”. This now means that anybody on that train or who needs to get to that train in a wheelchair, cannot get there. There was no alternative plan. What would have happened if people needed to be evacuated from the station in an emergency?

Still, we are assured that our rail service is accessible to ALL people with disabilities.

This is a true story . . . I was there on 3 December 2017.

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Where in the world am I?

My sincere apologies to all my loyal followers for being absent for so long.

I know I’ve not posted for a while –  I have so many posts I’ve started and either not finished or finished but not posted and would prefer to give you fresh stories to read.

I will get myself back on track as soon as I can.

For now, please be patient. I’m also thinking of chancing the look  of this blog – I’m just not quite sure what I want to do and how I want to go about doing it yet.

I will be back soon.

Your patience is appreciated.

A tribute to the resident I never got the chance to know

 

Today I’m struck by how fleeting life can be – we are here today and gone tomorrow.

Yesterday (18.03.2017) around mid-day after returning from a business meeting, I was greeted by a resident of the complex to let me know one of the residents was found dead in her flat. At the complex where I live, we receive a call from the Security Desk at 9:00 every morning just to make sure we are okay. When the Security person called her room yesterday, there was no answer and upon investigation found her dead in her room.

Watching her body being taken away by the Funeral Undertakers yesterday was really sad – a stark reminder of how I watched my own mom’s body being taken away.

What was even more sad and thought provoking was watching her family come in this morning to clear out her place – removing all trace of her ever even being here. The family sent two male members with a kombi and one of the two drove her car away.

I was struck by how wise it was to send someone with a kombi to take everything away in one foul swoop rather than have four or six motor vehicles each carrying a load which I think would have been more traumatic for the family.

Is that what life is? You’re here today and gone tomorrow?

so easy to remove all trace that you’ve ever existed?

Sitting at my window there is a glaring empty space where her car used to park – a glaring reminder of someone who once was and who is no more.

I will miss the nameless resident who I never even got a chance to know (I’ve only been living here for almost two months now and don’t even know how long she has was here). I think she only moved in about a month before I did.

I will miss seeing her go out every day and come back home to where home was for the last period of her life.

 

Oh death where is your victory? Oh death where is your sting?

 

 

 You may also enjoy reading these posts:

 The winds of change

The Ultimate Gift

Grief, Mourning and Bereavement – what is the difference?

Woman heal thyself

The pain of watching a parent age

Stop the bus I want to get off

In memory of mom – Flowers for my mother

Who moved my cheese again?

Reflections on a year that’s passed

6 Things you should love about your life

The winds of change and 6 lessons to learn about embracing change

 

Is your life off course? Are you too busy for these 5 things?

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I’ve been so caught up with trying to keep up and embrace all the changes taking place in my life right now – also see here: that I’ve hardly had time to think about, let alone write another post to publish here.

In my struggle to find the time to gather my thoughts logically enough to string a few sentences together I came across this article which is so well written I could not have said it better myself so I would like to share it with you here.

Read the article here:

I have not written this article but it clearly says how I feel about life in general so it’s useful to be reminded of this on this journey called life and all it entails.

 

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Excellent points being made don’t you think?

Is this a reflection of your life too?

Let me know what you think.

 

 

 

 

Embracing change

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Last week I wrote about the Winds of Change have spoken – you can read it here: Click here little did I know at the time that my security rug was going to be pulled out from under me again.

 

Towards the end of last week, I received the news that all the residents in our complex will need to relocate for approximately 8 weeks starting with the floor I’m on (ground floor). The complex management has discovered a problem with rising damp and feel that instead of waiting for the problem to get worse, they would rather deal with it now. Yes, the residents will be inconvenienced but will benefit us all in the long term.

 

I’ve just moved into this complex. I’ve only been here for two weeks. I’ve just nicely got my things in the place where I want them. Have my curtains hanging and my pictures on the walls. Now everything has to be cleared out and moved to another place only to be relocated again in about 8 weeks from now.

 

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Dealing with stress from unexpected change takes time:

Unexpected changes such as job loss or financial uncertainty, can turn life upside down and I’ve gone through both recently besides other stress relating to health (my own and my mom) and my mom’s death. Dealing with stress and a “new normal” can be slow and painful, but it is possible.

 

Stress affects our health and relationships. Even if we do not talk about it, those around us – our family, friends and co-workers – still pick up on our body language.

 

As much as I fear the unknown, the unfamiliar is not to be feared. It can be a chance to turn your life around. During the last few major changes I have learned a few things . . .

 

Don’t just do something: Sit there: When I’m facing major change in my life, my natural instinct is to go into “action” mode and DO something, but there is actually a lot of value to just sitting quietly instead. You need to allow yourself an unproductive period before you can blossom.

 

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Make yourself little: When you suddenly have to deviate from familiar routines, it can seem as if all your supports are gone. It is absolutely crucial, while absorbing the shock of the new, to make yourself feel well taken care of. Preparing nutritious meals for the week in advance is helpful. If you are able to spare the cash, have someone come in and clean the house. It is important for you to take care of yourself, but don’t let the pizza boxes pile up.

 

Ignore your inner reptile: There’s a part of the human mind that is referred to as the “Lizard Brain”, because it existed even in the earliest land animals. The Lizard Brain is concerned with survival, it likes the tried and true, so it is likely to  pop up right now, flooding you with warnings of “danger!” as you veer off course. It is like a misfiring car alarm: pointless and annoying.

 

Silence you inner know-it-all: It helps not to be too smart. Smart people don’t like having their minds changed. If you’re so smart that you can’t rethink your positions, all you IQ points won’t do you much good when your life is turned upside down.

 

 

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Look for new perspectives: Zen practitioners cultivate the “don’t know” mind: they work to assume they don’t know anything and in that way see the world afresh. This is a great way to approach change – because an opportunity to start afresh, to consider all possible. Ask naïve, wide-eyed questions of anyone who is doing anything you might be interested in trying. Listen seriously to arguments you might once have missed.

 

Try something new and slightly scary: Why? Because now is the time to explore what it is that you really like. Catch yourself off-guard, do something spontaneous that you have never done before and see what happens.

 

Be sceptical of common wisdom: It is dangerous to live in the aggregate, especially when you’re trying to figure out your next move. One year, everyone knows you need an M.B.A. to succeed at anything. The next year they will be telling you you’re wasting your time because there are no jobs anyway. Set your sights on what you want to achieve.

 

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Learn to live with uncertainty: The anxious feeling does not signal that you are doing something wrong, only that you are trying something new.

 

Say “really?” a lot: When you start to turn this sudden shift in your life to your advantage, you might shake up a lot of people, especially the ones who are not happy with the way you are living. To them, your efforts to move forward may feel like a glaring searchlight that needs to be switched off and fast. To their descriptions of the terrible fates that will surely befall you if you dive headlong into a new life, respond with “Really?”.  Alternatively, “oh yeah?”

 

Shed your old skin: Discard physical clutter, tired ideas,  old routines. Seeing things through another’s eyes can help. It is only when you have cast off what has been weighing you down that you can finally move on.

Source:

 

 

The winds of change have spoken . . .

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I can’t believe we are heading for the middle of February already. It feels like an eternity since the last time I posted anything here. So much has happened over the last few months that it will be virtually impossible to try to fill you in on the details.

The short version is that in September 2017 I decided to sell my house and move to a smaller living space. Between all the negotiations, the packing and the moving life was one big mixture of feelings and emotions, sometimes tears, sometimes sadness for the loss of the life I was leaving behind but nervousness and excitement for the new chapter in life I was starting.

As much as we are not in charge of our destiny we can change our circumstances to live a life that is more in line with what will bring us joy and happiness. Sometimes this means that we have to leave others (and things) behind in the process.

“When the way you think, speak and behave resonate with your own deepest nature, life feels very good — you feel whole, content, in your power. But when these don’t align with your deepest nature, then things feel… wrong. Life feels uneasy. You feel out of touch, discontented, restless, unhappy.” – Melli O’Brien

In spite of the sadness and tears over the last few months, I do not regret the decisions I have made. I was forced into a position of having to get rid of most of the physical clutter that was actually weighing me down without me realizing it. In the process of physically letting go of all the clutter of the material possessions, I freed my heart (or at least tried to) of holding on to too much emotional clutter that was weighing me down too.

I feel so much better now. I sleep so much better now. I am at peace knowing that the decisions I made were the right ones for me. I can let go and let others take the responsibility now. I am free to live the life I am meant to live purely because I’ve been forced to let go emotionally and physically.

I have learned that we go through bad experiences to teach us wisdom and to give us the strength we need to continue on this journey called life. I have learned that the more you put yourself into a state of gratitude, the more you will attract things to be grateful for.

Be grateful for what you have, and you’ll end up having more.
Focus on what you don’t have, and you’ll never have enough.

I have learned that being happy won’t always make you grateful, but being grateful will always make you happy. It is almost impossible to sincerely appreciate a moment and frown at the same time. To be happy right now, does not mean you don’t desire more, it means you are grateful for what you have and you are patient for what is yet to come.

Gratitude enables true forgiveness, which is when you can sincerely say, “Thank you for that experience.” It makes absolutely no sense to condemn or regret an important life lesson. Gratitude makes sense of yesterday, brings peace to the present, and creates a positive vision for tomorrow.

We never need more than we have at any given moment. It has been said that the highest form of prayer is giving thanks. Instead of praying “for” things, give thanks for what you already have. When life gives you every reason to be negative, think of one good reason to be positive. There is always something to be grateful for. Good days give you happiness and bad days give you wisdom. Both are essential, because all things have contributed to your advancement, you must include all things in your gratitude. This is especially true of your relationships. We meet no ordinary people in our lives; if you give them a chance, everyone has something important to teach you.

 

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We need to be grateful for the present changes in our lives. We need to be grateful for all we have now, because we honestly never know what will happen next. What we have now will eventually be what we had. Life changes every single day, and our blessings will gradually change along with it.

A grateful mind never takes things for granted. What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude. The circumstance (or person) you take for granted today may turn out to be the only one you need tomorrow. As we express our gratitude, we must not forget that the highest appreciation is not to simply utter words, but to live by them daily. What matters most is not what we say, but how we live. Don’t just say it, show it. Don’t just promise it, prove it.

Gratitude includes giving back. In the hustle of everyday life we hardly realize how much more we receive than give, and life cannot be rich without such gratitude. It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the aid of others.

The highest tribute to the people and circumstances you’ve lost is not grief but gratitude. Just because something didn’t last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t the greatest gift imaginable. Be thankful that your paths crossed and that you got the chance to experience something wonderful.

To be truly grateful, you must be truly present. Count the blessings in your life, and start with the breath you are taking right now. We often forget that the greatest miracle is not to walk on water; the greatest miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment, appreciating it and feeling completely alive.

Letting go of control multiplies the potential for gratitude. Sometimes we put too much weight into trying to control every tiny aspect of our lives that we completely miss the forest for the trees. We need to learn to let go, relax a little and ride the path that life takes us sometimes. We need to try something new, be fearless, but above all else, do our best and be OK with it. Clearing ourselves of needless expectations allows us to truly experience the unexpected and the greatest joys in life are often the unexpected surprises and opportunities we never expected.

“Life should be lived with a little more GRATITUDE

and a little less ATTITUDE.”

Let us consider how fortunate we are – let us consider it every day. The more we count our blessings, the more blessings there will be to count.

What are you grateful for today?

How has gratitude affected your life?

 

You may also enjoy the following posts written by me:

New Questions For Managing Monkeys — Leadership Freak

You end up overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and angry, if you own other people’s monkeys. Someone walks in your office with an issue – a monkey. Make sure they walk out with their monkey. Pronouns explain ownership. Don’t use ‘we’ when you mean ‘you’. 3 pronouns: ‘You’ – The monkey stays in their zoo. They own the […]

via New Questions For Managing Monkeys — Leadership Freak

5 Ways to feel less stress when life gets busy . . .

 

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Stress is one of the primary causes of major health problems in our lives: it can cause heart disease, anxiety, sleep deprivation, auto-immune disorders, weight problems, unhappiness, and even deep depression, but we’re busy – we all have places to be, things to do and people to see. So how do we feel less stress and still get our work done right (without neglecting our loved ones and ourselves)?

 

When life gets crazy busy, you might not have time for week-long meditation and yoga retreats, weekend vacations, or even weekly life coaching sessions. So what can be done?

 

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There are five simple things you can do. A few mind set shifts and a couple of actions that take only a couple of minutes. These can’t solve the most severe stress related problems, but they can help most of us in a major way, every day.

 

  1. Be in the moment, completely, with just one task: Instead of being in a stressful task-switching state of mind, take your next task, let everything else go, and just be in the moment with this one task. Let yourself be immersed in this task by letting go of the feeling that you need to quickly rush through it – that you need to move on to the next task waiting for you. There will always be a next task, because that’s the nature of To Do lists – they’re never ending. So let those later tasks come later. Just be 100 percent in this one task, like it’s your entire world. Bottom line: Slow down. Breathe. Review your commitments and goals. Put first things first. Do one task at a time. Start now. Take a 5-minute break every hour. Repeat. Always remember, results are more important than the time it takes to achieve them.

 

  1. Let go of controlling what can’t be controlled: Fear is causing you to be stressed, not external factors like your job obligations or family issues. Those external factors are just a part of life, but they become stressful when you fear failure, fear people won’t like you, fear you’re not good enough, fear abandonment, and so forth. This fear is based on some fantasy in your head about how things are supposed to be (and you fear that your life may not live up to that fantasy): you have an image in your head that you’re going to be perfect, have people like you, be comfortable all the time, and succeed on all fronts. These fantasies are a way to feel in control of a world that you don’t actually control, but they’re hurting you by causing fear and stress. Instead, let go of control. Be ok with chaos and uncertainty and trust that things will work out. You’ll fear less and feel less stress.

 

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  1. Accept people jut the way they are and smile: We get upset with others because they don’t meet our fantasy of how they “should” act. Instead, try accepting them for who they are, and recognize that, like you, they’re imperfect and seeking happiness and struggling with finding it. They’re doing their best. Accept them just the way they are. In most cases it’s impossible to change them anyway, and it’s rude to try. Save yourself from the needless stress. Instead of trying to change others, give them your support today and lead by example.

 

  1. Take a brief walk outside: When things are getting really stressful, take 5 – 10 minutes to take a walk and clear you mind. A short walk does wonders. It gives you something new to look at and it gets your body moving. People who have recently experienced stressful life events like a serious illness, death of a loved one, marital separation or job loss, always see an immediate mood boost after a short outdoor walk. It’s literally the most effective way to instantly reduce the stressful pressure of a worried mind. Right about now, you should consider taking a break from work and go for a short, peaceful walk (in a park or green space if there’s one nearby). Again, this is not unproductive lollygagging, it’s likely to have a restorative effect on our mind and help with attention fatigue and stress recovery.

 

  1. Perform short mindfulness practices: You don’t have to meditate for 30 minutes to get the benefits of mindfulness. You can do a quick body scan (focus on your body and notice how each part of it feels right now) in 30 seconds. You can pay attention to your breath for 60 seconds (listen to it and feel it). You can watch your thoughts about concerns, fears, judgments, doubts and ideals for a minute (recognize that these thoughts are simply thoughts; you don’t need to believe them or react to them). You can walk mindfully, paying attention to your feet, your body, your breath and your surroundings, as you walk. You can do each of these short mindfulness practices in little bits whenever you need them throughout your day.

Source: From Marc and Angel Hack Life