What do bloggers do when they are not writing?

Have you ever wondered what Bloggers do when they are not writing or taking photographs for their blogs? They either attend or organise a Meet Up in the town where they live or in the city nearest to them.

MeetUps are neighbours getting together to learn something, do something or share something. I attended one of these this past weekend and simply have to share this awesome experience with you.

The event was organised (as always) by our very efficient and generous host Cindy Alfino from 3Kids2Dogsand1Oldhouse. Read more about the event here: The venue for our event was Chinos Coffee House in Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa – Find them here:

Our main speaker was a lady called Abigail from . . .

Specialist Women’s Portraiture

who shared some valuable information with us regarding the use of photographs and what the Copyright law says about using photographs taken by others and downloaded from the internet. The extra special bonus was the Online Blog Photography course available free to all those who attended this MeetUp. Thank you so much Abigail for your generous gift.

Our Goodie Bags were packed with all sorts of wonderful goodies as usual. Our hostess never ceases to amaze and impress us all with what she ends up putting in our Goodie Bags. Let me tell you about some of the stuff I found in my bag . . .


The Entertainer –  Find them here:

Entertainer App

This is an app available for all IOS and Android devices available through your App Playstore. This app for your mobile device gives you access to buy one get one free offers to the best restaurants, activities, attractions, spas and hotels across 40 destinations throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia.


Rain Day Spa –  


We received some lovely handmade soap, African Rain Hand Lotion and a gift voucher towards our next purchase at any of their stores.


Milly and Me –  Find them here:


We received a discount voucher towards our next purchase via their online store.

Lavender in Lavender Hill –

Lavender Hill Products

Pack of tea bags: two Lavender and Rooibos teabags and two Lavender Honeybush tea bags. Find out more about the health benefits of Lavender here:  The benefits of lavender:

SelfieStickerZA –

Selfie Sticker

The new way of taking a selfie without having to carry a selfie stick around with you. Find out more about this revolutionary product here: Find out more here:

Canal Walk Gift Card – Thank you to Canal Walk for their generous gift. Find them here:

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics – 

Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics

A beautifully scented Shimmy Shimmy Soap Bar. Apparently if you rub the bar directly on any area of the body in slow gentle strokes allowing the bar to slowly melt on the skin it will leave that part of your body with a shimmer to the skin. You can find out more about them here: Find more information here

Revlon Cosmetics – 

Revlon Products

Another sponsor who never fails to impress and surprise us. I received in my bag an Ultra HD Matte Lip Colour (Pink – which has a Strawberry flavour) and an Ultimate All-in-One Mascara (Blackest Black) which has 5 benefits all in one: Volume, Length, Definition, Lift and Intense Colour. Find them here

Oh So Heavenly – 

Oh So Heavenly

Have you heard about their newly launched product range called Hair Scentsations? I’m looking forward to trying this sample of hair shampoo and conditioner I found in my Goodie Bag. Smells like mixed berries. Mmmmm . . . together with my lip colour from Revlon will make me smell good enough to eat. #LoveyourColour. http://www.ohsoheavenly.co.za


There was so much more in the Goodie Bag, I’ve decided to keep my post short by only focusing on these items here.


This event is definitely a must to attend. You cannot afford to miss the next one. I sure am looking forward to the next one myself.

To get on the mailing list for the next event, sign up to our mailer here: Sign up here:

Looking forward to seeing you all at the next #CTMeetUp

Redefining myself and my life – 5 key life changing results

View from our table


The more you break out of your shell in life, the more people will be threatened by seeing you reach your true potential. I have decided to fight back and choose my identity once and for all, without stressing about other people’s opinions.


Defining myself and the way I define myself:

  • People tend to define us very narrowly. They do this because they want to stereotype us, based on our personality, the way we’ve been in the past, based on our career and it’s a shame because we are complex creatures as human beings. We have many passions and many things we are drawn to in life. We can have many potential skill sets, we can have many different lifetimes in one lifetime if we don’t fall into that trap of putting ourselves in the box that everybody else tries to put us into. We have to rage against that.
  • Trying something new. Every time I try to start something new there’s always that one person who will try to put me back in my box. They will say things like “no, you’re not allowed to do that, you said you were going to do X, so that is what you’re going to have to do.” “So now you’re going to do this?” “That’s not what you do.” If I continually shield one side of myself from the other then I’m never painting a full picture of myself.


I’ve been too narrowly defined up to now and need to break free from that definition. I need to see what I am capable of. Hey, I’ve lived this long, I’m going to live this much longer, what do I want to be different for the next few years of my life?

  • How do I want to explore what I am capable of that I haven’t been able to explore yet?
  • In what ways do I want to change, to evolve, to grow?


Franschoek Mountains


I need to look at my life right now – how I live day to day and track how I sabotage myself.  There are a few things I could do to help me with this. For example:


Daily Diary:

  • How do I spend my day hour by hour?
  • Am I focussing on the right things in my life?


Being busy does not equal being productive. Keeping a daily diary is where I can get smart about “what” I spend my time doing. It’s also good to keep a food diary so you can see what is affecting your energy levels and your body in general.


Emotional Diary:

I need to look at the emotions I experience frequently and what triggers them. Thought processes and situations cause feelings, triggers for emotions. Once I have these I can really begin to understand the forces behind my emotions and will enable me to change them rapidly.


Notice Board:

Here is where I need to write down what I notice about my life, i.e. what I would like to change, the direction I am going in the long term, the people around me, the way my life is structured. This is essential in looking at what I want to change/progress I want to make in my life.


Life is too short, far too short to work without purpose; to coast in our relationships; to get stuck in a routine without ever asking myself the question of what I really want in life. Too many people are too busy, too few are fulfilled.


How often do you step away from your packed and stressful routine to look at the things you are doing and the direction you are taking?

Table Mountain, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Table Mountain, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

I am the most incredible asset I will ever have.

My ability to take care of people will collapse if I don’t take care of “me” first.


We all have patterns of self-sabotage. We all have things internally that hold us back. We don’t have direction/drive/core confidence, we are always stressed, don’t have time, find ways to feel guilty etc. that stop us from moving forward.


All we need is to make tiny changes internally to make huge external changes in our lives and in our happiness. There are five stumbling blocks/five key issues we face.


  1. Direction: A person who lacks direction doesn’t know where they are going in life or know where they want to go but don’t know how to get there, so they feel lost.


  1. Environment: The person knows where they want to go but don’t have a strategy for getting there, they don’t have a roadmap. These are the people who are always talking about this “thing” they want in life but don’t know how they’re going to get it i.e. they don’t have a plan.


  1. Drive: This person knows their destination, they have a road map for getting but they don’t have any drive, or at least not sustainable drive – the kind of drive where they wake up every morning with the same level of empowerment that says “I’m ready for today.” You can’t go to bed late enough and can’t get up early enough because you are just so excited about life. The way you feel on the most productive day – the day when you feel like you can conquer the world. We have formulas for getting to a certain level of drive or any emotion – there’s a formula for feeling ambitious, happy, excited, energetic – there’s a formula for getting there but there’s also a formula for feeling the opposite i.e. unhappy, lazy, feeling like you don’t want to do anything, feeling depressed. These formulas happen on an unconscious level so we get there by mistake but we can even get there on purpose because we have programmed ourselves that way.


Grief_Mourning Dove


  1. People/time/energy/skills (qualifications/talent): Some people have all of these but they don’t have the resources. Maybe it’s money right now? “I can’t do what I need to do because I don’t have the money.” Maybe it’s time? “I don’t have the time to do it, I’m just so busy, I’m so stressed all the time, I can barely find an hour at the end of the day to have a shower, let alone go pursue my dream.” Or maybe you think you don’t know the right people. You can learn how to access the right people. You can learn how to access the right people who can direct you to where you need to go or where you need to be.


  1. Self-worth and confidence (core confidence): You can have all of the above but without core confidence (feeling invincible from the inside), all the above will be rather useless to you. Having self-worth and core confidence is the part that says “you’re worth it/you deserve it/you’re good enough for this.


Unless point number 5 falls into place no aspect of our life will “click” in the way that you want it to because the key to life is believing on some level that I am worthy of everything the other person has, that there is no difference between me and this other person. I deserve the exact same thing any other person has.


When you believe that, that’s when everything real changes. Without that, you could have all the resources, all the time, all the money etc and none of it will make any difference.


These five key issues will give you life-changing results.

The girl (woman) in the mirror . . . who is she?



She is someone whose level of confidence shifts depending on what’s going on around her. In certain conditions there is a feeling of confidence but in others there is discomfort and uncertainty – shyness, self-judgement, fear, unworthiness, or uselessness. Therapists classify this as External Confidence or Situational Confidence, i.e. it does or doesn’t exist depending on influences from the outside world – the general circumstances of our lives and circumstances in each individual moment.


In contrast, therapists say Core Confidence comes from within and is not reliant on outside sources. When we are confident from the core, we are not paralyzed in the face of new, uncomfortable, or unusual circumstances, and we don’t base our actions on our fears of what others will think. Regardless of the situation, we know that we have something to offer, that we are worthy, and that we have been and are able to be successful.


How does the girl in the mirror build her core confidence?


She needs to stop comparing herself to others:

We all come from different walks of life.  Each and every person is born unique and has had their own individual experiences throughout their journey thus far. No one shares the exact same story and we are not meant to. There’s no sense trying to compare apples to oranges. There is no better or lesser, only different.

If the girl in the mirror wants something to compare herself to, she should compare herself as she is now to the way she used to be and not compare herself to others in the world.


She needs to trust herself:

No matter what happened in her life up to this point, she has made it through each and every challenge that life has thrown at her, and she is still alive and standing here today, looking at ways in which she can improve herself. That, in its own right should give her a strong level of belief in her own strength. It does not matter how gracefully she did it, all that matters is that she did it. It might not be pretty, but it doesn’t have to be, and if she does not believe in herself (yet) and doesn’t trust herself (yet), she should give it a try. She needs to set one small goal and stick to it. Just do it . . .  one step at a time. She will gain a sense of pride and confidence in herself, and the more she does it, the easier it will become in tricky situations.





She needs to live in the moment:

When we live in the moment we are only concerned with what is presented to us right then and there. When we are in action we are confident – we have made a choice and acting on it, that is what confidence is – the ability to take action. As soon as we slip into worry or judgement we’re no longer living in the moment. Judgement comes from a place of remembering what went wrong before and comparing now to then. Worry comes from a fear of what might happen not what is actually happening now.


When the girl in the mirror finds herself worrying or judging herself, she needs to shift gears. She needs to do HER best, in the moment with what she has – that’s all she can do. She needs to stay present and focus on what’s here now, and use what she has to offer.


She needs to learn from the past:

Shame and negative self-talk are the enemy of confidence. When we are demoralized, we cannot access confidence. We all do things we wish we’d done differently, but when we get caught in self-judgement and relive situations it amplifies negative thinking and creates negative and/or anxious feelings.


Butterflies White




Continuing to replay an incident means there is something she needs to accept in order to move on. The girl in the mirror needs to accept that she is fallible or maybe the lesson is that she needs to stand up for herself – connecting with confidence so that next time she can say or do the things that will make her feel good about herself. When she finds herself obsessing about a past incident she should:

  • STOP the instant replay
  • Pick one small lesson from that experience . . . just one thing she will do differently next time
  • Thank herself for the lesson and breathe in self-compassion, giving herself the courage to do that one thing differently next time


She should be open to possibility:

If the girl in the mirror has already decided who she is based on who she may have been in the past, then she has shut down her POSSIBILITIES, but if she lets that go and allows herself to be who she is in the moment – she has the possibility to be anything she wants to be. She should not judge herself based on her past and she should not hope for liberation in the future. Right now, be here. She should believe that she is capable of anything at any moment. She is capable of change, but only if she is not defined by her past or bound to the future.





The girl in the mirror needs to practice, be disciplined and follow-through:

Core confidence cannot be achieved overnight, it takes work and practice for core confidence to become automatic. When she finds herself in a situation where she feels she lacks confidence, she should remember how she feels when she IS confident and know that confidence is possible for her.

She needs to set small goals and stick to them. It takes time and discipline, but the more she follows through on things the more pride she will feel in her abilities and the more confidence she will build.

When she reminds herself of her strengths in other situations it will be easier to carry that strength over into new situations and gradually into ALL situations.


She needs a higher purpose:

When setting a goal, the girl in the mirror needs to shift her focus to the journey. She needs to pay attention to WHY she is working towards her goal and HOW she is doing it. She needs to ask herself:

  • What do I really want from achieving the goal?
  • Why did I choose the goal?
  • What is my purpose?
  • What desired qualities do I hope to achieve which lie beneath and beyond the tangible goal?



2013-07-02 14.26.26


The girl in the mirror needs to keep her focus on her greater purpose – why does she have the goal she has? WHO does she want to be and how does she want to be?


Confidence exists in the here and now, and the core confidence she has when she connects with this purpose cannot ever be taken away from her.

5 Powerful Ways to Free Yourself from Negativity


Be wise enough to let go of the negativity inside you.


I know my negativity kills me, so why do I think like this?


Thinking “the worst”, expecting catastrophic failure and betrayal, seeing problems where others don’t and even seeing positives as negatives – all convey a kind of emotional insurance policy. “If I expect the worst, then I won’t be disappointed if and when in happens.”


Can you relate in any way? I can . . .  this is exactly what I do. There’s another quote that says: “those with little expectations in life are seldom disappointed.” Which is almost a cousin to negativity because you are also guarding yourself against being disappointed.


Another negative thinking trap that can mess with us is the “I told you so” syndrome.  For some people, it can feel more important to be proved right in their negative predictions than to have good things happen (and therefore be proved “wrong”).


Before I get too positive about negativity though, here’s a thought: The habit of thinking negatively doesn’t just predict how likely someone is to become depressed, but also predicts how likely they are to suffer from all sorts of other diseases and disorders later on in life. I’m not suggesting that negative thinking alone creates disease, but it certainly doesn’t help!


In this post we’re going to look at what you can do to stop thinking negatively, but first, let’s examine a super-common mistake negative people tend to make:




Negative people are often proud to describe themselves as “realists”. Of course, anyone who holds a strong belief thinks they are being “realistic” by holding it, whether it involves UFO encounters or perfectly truthful politicians.


The “being more realistic” declarations is a favourite of cynics everywhere, and, in a way, they are correct but only because negative thinking causes us not to try – or if we do try, to do it half-heartedly and give up sooner – so the negativity itself influences our outcomes. Self-fulfilling predictions like this really happen. Research has even found that in some cases what we believe about our health can have more bearing on how long we live than our actual health.


What makes all of this so scary is the fact that it means negative thoughts can plague us even when things seem to be going relatively well. For instance, the thought “It’s too good to last!” quickly wrecks havoc on a positive situation. Thus, my first tip has to do with how negative thinking distorts our perception.


  1. Stop thinking in extremes: Life simply isn’t black or white – 100% of this or 100% of that – all or nothing. Thinking in extremes like this is a fast way to misery, because negative thinking tends to view any situation that’s less than perfect as being extremely bad. For example: Instead of saying the rainstorm slowed down my commute home from work, we say “it wasted my whole evening and ruined my night!” Instead of saying my business venture took a while to gain traction, we say “it’s never going to work, and it’s going to completely ruin my financial future.” Instead of just accepting the nervousness of meting a new group of people, we say “I know these people are not going to like me.”


All or nothing thinking completely misses out the subtle shades in life. It makes us see the future in terms of dramatic disasters, disappointments and catastrophes. Sure, disasters occasionally happen, but contrary to what you may see on the evening news, most of life occurs in a grey area between the extremes of bliss and devastation.


The first step to overcoming negative thinking isn’t to “just be positive” suddenly, but to carefully look for shades of grey. Say you’ve been worrying about an intimate relationship. Rather than thinking: “It’s going to end with two broken hearts, I just know it is” or even “It’s going to be absolutely perfect 24/7,” how about: “I expect there will be great times, good times, and not so good times, but we will work together, respect each other, and give our relationship a fair chance before drawing any conclusions.”





  1. Stop over-generalising the negative: Ask yourself: “If something negative unexpectedly happens, do I over-generalize it? Do I view it as applying to everything and being permanent rather than compartmentalizing it to one place and time?”


For example, if someone turns you down for a date, do you spread the negativity beyond that person, time and place by telling yourself: “Relationships never work out for me, ever”? If you fail an exam do you say to yourself, “Well, I failed that exam; I’m not happy about it, but I’ll study harder next time”? or do you over-generalize by telling yourself you’re “not smart enough” or “incapable of learning”?


  1. Stop minimizing the positive: Negative thinking stops us from seeing and experiencing positive outcomes, even when they happen often. It’s as if there’s a special mental screen filtering out all the positives and only letting in data that confirms the “negative bias”. Magnifying setbacks and minimizing successes leads to de-motivation and misery in the long run. Know this!


Get into the habit of seeing setbacks as temporary and specific learning experiences rather than as permanent and pervasive misfortunes. We all tend to find what we look for in life. If you find yourself thinking negatively about a person, for instance, get into the habit of balancing it out with one positive thought about them: “She’s so selfish . . . Mind you, to be fair, she was helpful when my car broke down last year . . .  and she does have a good sense of humour . . .” The positive is always there somewhere, but you have to search for it.




  1. Stop looking for negative signs from others: Too often we jump to conclusions, only to cause ourselves and others unnecessary frustration, hurt and anger. If someone says one thing, don’t assume they mean something else. If they say nothing at all, don’t assume their silence has some hidden, negative connotation.

Thinking negatively will inevitably lead you to interpret everything another person does as being negative, especially when you are uncertain about what the other person is thinking. For instance, “he hasn’t called, so he must not want to talk to me,” or, “She only said that to be nice, but she doesn’t really mean it.”


Assigning meaning to a situation before you have the whole story makes you more likely to believe that the uncertainty you feel (based on lack of knowing) is a negative sign. On the flip side, holding off on assigning meaning to an incomplete story is essential to overcoming negative thinking. When you think more positively, or simply more clearly about the facts, you’ll be able to evaluate all possible reasons you can think of, not just the negative ones. In other words, you’ll be doing more of: “I don’t know why he hasn’t called, but maybe . . .”


  • He’s extremely busy at work
  • His phone has a poor signal in the office building
  • He’s simply waiting for me to call him


You get the idea? None of these circumstances are negative and all area s plausible as any other possible explanation.




Next time you feel uncertain and insecure, and you catch yourself stressing about a problem that doesn’t exist, stop yourself and take a deep breath. Then tell yourself, “This problem I’m concerned with only exists in my mind.” Being able to distinguish between what you imagine and what is actually happening in your life is an important step towards living a positive life.


  1. Stop making unreasonable rules and expectations: You must deal with the world the way it is, not the way you expect it to be. Life is under no obligation to give you exactly what you expect. In fact, whatever it is you’re seeking will rarely ever come in the form you’re expecting, but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful.


Stop forcing your own misconstrued expectations and rules on life . . .

  • “He was late, so he must not care about me.” – Or perhaps “he just got caught in traffic”.
  • “If I can’t do this correctly, then I must not be smart enough.” – or perhaps you just need more practice.
  • “I haven’t heard back from my doctor, so the test results must be bad.” – Or perhaps the lab is just really busy and your results aren’t available yet.


Inventing rules like these about how life must be, based on your own stubborn expectations, is a great way to keep your mind stuck in the gutter. This isn’t to say that you should never expect anything at all from yourself and others (diligence, honesty, determination, etc), but rather that the rules that govern your expectations should not steer you toward unreasonably negative conclusions.


If you feel dissatisfied or let down by an outcome, then you must have been expecting something different. Rather than get upset, ask yourself, “Were my expectations too narrow?” and “What new truths have I learned?”


The bottom line is that you must see and accept things as they are instead of as you hoped, wished, or expected them to be. Just because it didn’t turn out like you had envisioned, doesn’t mean it isn’t exactly what you need to get to where you ultimately want to go.





There is a quote I’ve always loved that’s often credited to Ignatius:


“Pray as if God will take care of all; act as if all is up to you.”


That’s a strong way to live. It’s about using your faith to fuel positive thinking and positive action, every single day.


That is what I wish for myself and this is what I wish for you.


Did you know you can start a brand new chapter of your life at any age?



What do you do when life knocks you down? Did you know you can bounce back using these nine steps to reinvent yourself to create a life worth living.


Have you ever felt like you need to start again? Whether it was your choice or various factors forcing you to create massive changes in your life, through various life lessons we are given messages and if those messages are not heard, you get hit or knocked  to the ground to learn the lesson. The lessons range from serious issues with our health, bad relationships with family and/or friends, a failing business, challenges building wealth, or not living authentically. This can happen in one area or every area of your life.


So what do you do when starting again? You need to change your behaviour to get back in the game super-fast:


Re-evaluate you life:

This is enlightening yet simple.


Draw a circle and divide it into areas of your life:

  1. Health
  2. Wealth
  3. Relationships
  4. Education
  5. Spirituality
  6. Career

Give each area a score out of ten. 10 means excellent and 1 means needs improvement.

Add up the scores to get a total out of 60.


From there you can assess what area/s are the priority for you to work on. If every area of your life had a low score, obviously you have work to do so prioritize your life areas.





Get back in the game:

Create a brand new strategy to propel you forward. Know exactly what terms you will and won’t accept in life anymore. Ask yourself:

  • What new standards do I choose to live by?
  • List the behaviours you will stop tolerating


Start afresh:

There is nothing more powerful than who you are associated with. They determine the speed along with your level of growth for you to become the best version of yourself. It ranges from zero to full speed ahead.


Write down the most prominent people in your life to decide if they:


  • Challenge you on your beliefs and views?
  • Are by your side when you need them?
  • Happy for you when you achieve amazing things in life?





Style it up:

Reinventing yourself can be crazy fun when you are experiencing a period of massive change.


How do you style it up? Get a new hairstyle or hair colour, lose or gain weight, improve your diet, buy new sunglasses or accessories, update your wardrobe, create a brand new style, or ditch the glasses and have eye laser surgery or wear contact lenses. Styling it up gives you an extra boost of confidence and energy.


Leave Fear Town behind forever:

Release the ghosts that are haunting you and keeping you awake at night by mastering your mind set. Avoid getting buried in the avalanche of other people’s fears. What other people say to you is a reflection of their own fears and beliefs.


Leave your apartment in Fear Town to live in a mansion in Love City. We have two choices in every moment:


  1. To act from a place of fear or love (actions from fear: lying, cheating, stealing, bullying, blackmail, power, aggression, violence, revenge or mind games). Actions from love: compassion, understanding, problem-solving, producing, listening, kindness, creating and inspiring.
  2. Put the lights back on – rediscover what you love and what feeds your soul.
  • What activities do you get completely lost in?
  • When do you forget about the time and light up inside?
  • When was the last time you felt exceptionally amazing?


Dig deep:

This is the scariest step for most people. It involves hard work, searching deep within your soul to determine who you are, what you want and decide what living means to you.


Your most valuable relationship is the one with yourself. People go to great lengths to avoid it, by numbing emotions with drugs, sex, alcohol, eating and shopping, toxic relationships, a hyper-active social life and moving from relationship to relationship with no down-time in-between. We will do anything to avoid hearing the voices in our heads or listening to the messages from our bodies, despite all the aches and pains not to mention unprocessed emotions.


All these behaviours serve to do is delay the inevitable and ensure you fire up like a firecracker at some point or explode like an erupting volcano that hasn’t let loose for hundreds of years. By doing the work along the way, it is a much smoother road ahead.





Jump off the cliff:

Take a risk and do something you never in a million years thought you would do. Play underwater golf, go shark surfing, waterfall kayaking, heli-skiing or simply float in the dead sea.


Empty out the trash:

Stop living on auto-pilot and doing what you normally do. It’s clearly not working!


Now, is the time to get off the merry-go-round and empty out the trash. Decide what is serving you and what is not?


Think of new and innovative ways to change your life to create new patterns, habits and strategies and most importantly, fabulous new results.


When the jigsaw puzzle of life has turned upside down and falls into one big mess of tiny pieces on the floor pieces that were once your life as you knew it.

Create a new masterpiece of your life and yourself  – a much more glorious, dazzling and intoxicating version.



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



Change freaks me out! probably even more than speaking in public. Don’t ask me why because I will not know how to answer you. Just in the last two (going on three) years I’ve had to deal with so much drastic change in my life and for someone who gets freaked out by ONE change, it has caused major upheaval in my life.


Just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about so you know I’m not exaggerating and so you know I’m not being a “drama queen”.


  • Mom’s sudden terminal illness (last quarter of 2013) – me becoming primary caregiver while holding down a full time job and other challenges like studying part time at the same time
  • Mom’s sudden death (in spite of terminal illness we did not expect death within 14 months from date of diagnosis)
  • Dad died three months after mom
  • Loss of job (and income) after 13 years of employment (contract ended)
  • Loss of sister and her family (chose to travel to see the world beyond our borders)
  • Adjusting to a new lifestyle
  • Adjusting to the possibility of a new friendship/relationship after more than 30 years (huge change for an introvert like me)



Change, whether good or bad causes stress. The events above are not necessarily similar, but they all require major adjustment in how I conduct my daily life. These adjustments cause stress even when they are positive. On the other hand, negative changes can yield positive results. You never know what you are going to get and that is what scares the hell out of me.


Why do I find change so difficult to adapt to is a question I keep asking myself. While growing up so much happened to me that I had no control over and which is probably when I decided to control that which I could to the best of my ability.


Over the years, I slowly defined how my world was going to work and that is, I will control those aspects of my life which I could physically control and whenever something happens in my personal world or to me personally that is inconsistent with the way I feel my world should be, I encounter resistance to the change. This is when I immediately and automatically (without thinking about it) put up a wall of resistance to protect myself against the change.




Adjusting to a new lifestyle:

So what does this have to do with me adopting and adjusting to a new lifestyle? Well, I’m asking myself the following questions:

  • Where will this new road take me?
  • How long will it take for me to make the necessary changes and adjustments in my life to cope with the change?
  • Is my new path dangerous?
  • What I don’t know scares me to death and change creates a lot of uncertainty in the process – am I ready for this?

When we experience the world ourselves in a certain way for half a century, we develop core beliefs that make up our world view of how life is supposed to be.


We seek out people like us to avoid change: Because new information bothers our brains, we continue to seek friends where we always found them in the past to reinforce our beliefs in spite of knowing that those friendships are no longer satisfying or fulfilling. We try to stick to what we know even though it is or was never satisfying or fulfilling.


We hate to feel like we wasted our time and effort: When we invest ourselves in anything emotionally, it becomes harder to change because we don’t want to lose all the time and effort we have already invested in something. As a result, we have a hard time letting go of the “old life” and we become reluctant to embrace the new life even though we know the old life never worked or satisfied us in the past.





So, what should I do to cope with all these changes in my life?


  1. Accept the inevitability of change and the resulting stress: I have to learn that stress is an inevitable part of the process. Changing the way I think and feel is meant to be hard, but it will get even harder if I don’t make the necessary adjustments now. I need to give myself permission to feel the change-related distress and all of the associated emotions that come with it. If I don’t process them, I will have to isolate myself from all things that represent the “distressing” change, just to be able to function.


  1. I need to allow myself to freak out, but should always consider the upside: I should give myself permission to freak out in my own time and then find ways to move forward positively. The psychological distress caused by some changes can make having an optimistic outlook feel like an impossible task. That’s okay. I need to do all the kicking and screaming (resisting) I need to do, then start to seek out ways to make my new lifestyle choice more acceptable to my old way of thinking.


The only way my fears and stress will disappear is if I calm down and embrace the unknown.


As much as I resisted each of the changes in my life, I’ve since learned to embrace the impermanency of my life and the changes that come my way. Here are 6 lessons life has taught me on embracing change:


Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart.

Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” – Carl Jung


  1. Reduce expectations: In each of my life’s circumstances, I had high expectations for my family and myself. I had expected each to remain constant and to last forever, but I’ve learned that nothing lasts forever. You can have reasonable expectations of how you’d like something to turn out, but you cannot marry yourself to that result. Reducing or having no expectations about a relationship, or a situation can help you accept whatever may come from it. When you set reasonable expectations, and don’t expect or demand a particular outcome, you’re better able to manage any changes that do come your way. Unreasonable expectations of life, will more likely be met with loss, disappointment and pain.


“Those with little expectations in life are seldom disappointed”


  1. Acknowledge change: Change can happen quickly and at any point in your life. I learned this very quickly when my mom went from being healthy as a horse to dead in 14 months. I was forced to instantly realise that change can happen in the blink of an eye. I was still trying to deal with the fact that my mother who was never sick a day in her life was now suddenly terminally ill and before I even came to terms with that fact, she was dead. Today I still sometimes sit and wonder “what the hell happened?” I was forced to realise that things can and will be different from how they are at any given moment. Acknowledging change is allowing it to happen when it unfolds instead of approaching change from a place of denial and resistance.


  1. Accepting change: There were times when I desperately tried to stop change from happening in my life by trying to forge ahead even in futile situations. Instead of resisting, I should allow change to unfold and try to understand what is transforming and why. Circumstances will not always turn out the way you want them to, and it’s perfectly alright. Embracing the situation can help you deal with the change effectively, make the necessary shifts in your life to embrace the change, and help you move forward after the change has happened.



Bright flowers


  1. Learn from the experience: If you accept and embrace change, you will start looking for and finding lessons in it. When dramatic changes were happening in my life, I refused to acknowledge them at first, which left me distraught and without meaning. Once I reflected back and finally accepted the changes, the lessons I started absorbing were profound. Change becomes your greatest teacher but only if you give yourself permission to learn from it.


  1. Recognise you’re growing stronger: When you accept, embrace and learn from change, you inevitably grow stronger. The ability to continuously accept change allows you to become solid as a rock in the midst of violent storms all around you – even if you feel afraid.

The main lesson I learned from my mom’s sudden illness and sudden death was that I’m a lot stronger than everybody believed I was (even stronger than I thought I was myself). This was when I saw for myself that I can truly deal with anything life throws my way and I’m stronger for it in the end.


  1. Embrace the wisdom: The more I permitted change and impermanence in my life, the more I grew as a person. Embracing change has brought newfound strength into my life and more inner peace. When you proactively embrace change and learn to accept it as part of your life, you are filled with more calmness, peace and courage. When life fails to shake you up with its twists and turns, you realise that changes can’t break you. You will have reached a level of understanding in life that some may even call wisdom.


2013-07-02 14.26.26


I have by no means reached that place called “wisdom”, but I am working through my aversions to change. I now openly welcome and embrace it.


When we can accept change, learn from it, and become all the better for experiencing it, change is no longer our enemy, it becomes our teacher.


Source: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/6-life-lessons-on-embracing-change-and-impermanence/

5 Great Lessons . . .


Five great lessons

  1. Most important lesson:

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”


Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.


Just before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. “Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello”.


I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.


  1. Second important lesson: Pick up in the rain . . .

One night, at 11:30pm, an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s.


The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab. She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him.


Seven days went by and a knock came to the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant Console colour TV was delivered to his home.


A special note was attached. It read: “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away.


God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”

Sincerely, Mrs Nat King Cole


  1. Third important lesson: Always remember those who serve

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked. “Fifty cents,” replied the waitress.


The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it. “Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. “Thirty-five cents,” she brusquely replied. The little boy again counted his coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped the table.


There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn’t have the sundae because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.





  1. Fourth important lesson – The obstacle in our path

In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road.


After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.


The peasant learned what many of us never understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.


  1. Fifth important lesson – Giving when it counts

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed antibodies needed to combat the illness.


The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes, I’ll do it if it will save her.”


As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the colour returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?”


Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.




You see, after all, understanding and attitude, are everything.

10 Keys to Connecting with Anyone

Bird Robin Colourful


Connecting with someone, establishing rapport, does not have to be a difficult thing, although many people find it so. Here are ten key points to remember whenever you set off to meet new people . . .


  1. Be happy with yourself: Much of the insecurity we feel in meeting new people has to do with how we feel about ourselves as opposed to the other person. Work hard and develop positive self-esteem.


  1. Act confident:  . . .  even if you’re not! Chances are the other person is as nervous as you are.


  1. Expect to connect: Think positive. Tell yourself that you “will” connect with people . . . and you will.


  1. Smile! It’s hard NOT to connect with somebody who’s cheerful and smiling.


  1. Notice others: Maybe “they” are smiling and cheerful. Maybe you are attracted to something they are saying or discussing, whatever. Just look for reasons to connect with people instead of excuses NOT to.



2013-07-02 14.26.26



  1. Listen: One of the greatest gifts you can give another person is to listen to them. Instead of jumping in to say something, listen a bit longer instead.


  1. Ask questions: Go one step further and truly take an interest in what they are talking about. Ask thoughtful questions that draw them out and focus the conversation on them.


  1. Connect with individuals: You can speak to, present to, teach, or train large groups, but you can only really connect with the individuals in that group. Emphasize this aspect of your communication and build those one-on-one connections.


  1. Be willing to compromise: Meeting new people or working with new people invariably means running into positions, opinions, and practices you don’t agree with. If you want to build the relationship, expect to compromise from time to time.


  1. Treat others as you’d like to be treated: Just to start. As you get to know each other work hard to treat them like “they” want to be treated (which may be a very different way indeed).


  • By Jim Allen

10 Things to remember when you feel unsure of yourself



It’s not what you say out loud to everyone else that determines your life – it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the greatest power.

If you feel unsure of yourself sometimes, I know exactly how you feel. I used to be incredibly unsure of myself… and sometimes I still am.

But it’s not all bad. Heightened self-consciousness, anxiety, an inability to join in, and feeling “different” – they’re really not all bad. Those inner battles have been my angels at times. Without them I would never have disappeared into literature, language, the mind, passionate work, and all the wild intensities that made and unmade me, and shaped me into the person I am today.




But a harsh truth remains: The enemies we encounter in life, especially our own inner demons, use the things we’re insecure about against us.

This means we can’t hide forever. We have to emerge. We have to grow through our insecurities.

At some point we have to free ourselves and take our power back by being secure in who we are – flaws and all.




This isn’t easy, of course – it’s a journey and as you embark on that journey, here are some important things to keep in mind:

1. The story you tell yourself is the story you live by. 

Everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Every day.  All the time, and that story makes you what you are – it lays the foundation for every action you take or don’t take. You build yourself out of that story.

  1. Every belittling, insecure thought is unreliable and changeable.

Once you become self-conscious, there is no end to it if you don’t address it; once you start to doubt yourself, there’s no room for anything else until you make a change. You’re going to have to let truth shout louder to your soul than the lies that have infected you.

  1. A moment of truth is one of your most powerful assets.

Instead of smiling to be polite, just cry when you need to. Instead of laughing when you are nervous or uncomfortable, just speak your truth. Instead of acting like everything is all right, proclaim it isn’t all right – talk about your feelings! Honour yourself. Honour your truth. Be real.

  1. A little self-focus and self-care goes a long way.

Whenever you are self-conscious you are really just exhibiting that you’re not conscious of who YOU are. You don’t feel comfortable being yourself. If you did, then there would be no problem – you wouldn’t be seeking opinions from others. You wouldn’t be worried what others say about you – it’d be irrelevant! When you are self-conscious you are in trouble. When you are self-conscious you are really showing symptoms that you don’t know who you are inside. Your very self-consciousness indicates that you have not given yourself enough care. (Read The Mastery of Love.)

  1. The biggest critic lives in your perception of people’s perception of you (not people’s perception of you).

One of the greatest journeys in life is overcoming insecure thoughts and learning to truly not care so much about other people’s opinions. In fact, you will never make a great impression on others until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you’re making.




  1. Everyone has their own way, which has nothing to do with you.

One big reason we judge each other so bitterly in our society of social comparison and social status: we perceive anyone else who’s doing things differently than what we’re doing as criticizing our decisions. This, of course, is something we need to let GO!

  1. Your greatest beauty is completely out of sight in shallow social interactions.

Outer beauty is only skin deep, and everyone has ugly days – we’re only human. Focus within, not without. Acting right is better than looking right. Realize that evil can look pretty on the outside. Realize what makes you beautiful beyond looks. You are far more than what can be seen at a glance.

  1. Unconsciousness can cripple you

A human being will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards, as long as it does not occur to her to pull rather than push. An open, conscious mind is the key. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Adversity” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

  1. Your struggles have been making you, not breaking you

Sometimes you must go through difficulties, breakups, rejections and painful wounds, which shatter the flattering image you once had of life, in order to gradually discover two powerful truths: 1) Life is not exactly how you thought it was. 2) The loss of one wonderful pleasure is not necessarily the loss of true, long-term happiness and well -being.

  1. The more you live through and learn through, the more you will realize how much you don’t know.

Research suggests that the so-called “impostor syndrome” that takes place when we suddenly don’t feel “good enough” gets more intense as we grow wiser. The more experienced or accomplished we become, the more likely we are to rub shoulders with ever more interesting, talented and skilled people, leaving us feeling even more inadequate by comparison. So, in a backwards way, if you’re concerned that you don’t measure up, that could very well be a good sign that you actually do measure up just fine.




After thoughts:

In the end, you will ultimately come to realize this:

Insecurities have the ability to shape and mould your mind to live with everything that’s bad – like crying on the inside constantly, while smiling on the outside… thus creating endless anxiety.

But, there is a solution:

  1. Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.
    2. Forget about what you thought for a moment and appreciate exactly where you are.
    3. Think positively.
    4. Be mindful.
    5. Focus on the ONE meaningful task you can handle in the present.
    6. Notice the slight, gradual progress you’re making.

 ~ From Marc and Angel Hack Life

6 Things you should love about your life




You’ve got to dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.

―William W. Purkey


This moment will be part of your story someday. It’s not right or wrong. It’s not perfect. It just is – a blank canvas – a completely unrestricted space that you can use as you please.


  • To laugh
  • To get rambunctious
  • To muse
  • To create
  • To express your freedom to be as you are


You have to live each moment consciously in your own way, design your own truth, and then share it with others. It’s a process of growth you gradually realize as an individual. You can’t acquire it from others; you can only share it once you’ve created it. You have to break out of your shell and do things. Do what moves you. Be who you are. Explore life’s mysteries until you figure out what matters most to you.

If you sit around for too long, blaming others for the things they did or didn’t do, or knew or didn’t know, you’ll remain sitting in one spot until you pass. Placing blame is easy, because it means you don’t have to do anything; you just have to sit around for your entire life. But that’s not living; that’s dying. To accept where you are without blame by seizing the present for what it is – for the opportunities it’s giving you every instant – that’s what injects life into your story and ultimately moves you forward.






With all of this in mind, here are six things you should love about your life:


  1. Time spent on personal growth and goals:
    The wisest and happiest are those who are respectful of their time, annoyed at the needless loss of it, and use it dutifully to grow as they age. Sadly, too many of us age much faster than we grow. We spend so much of our lives going through the external motions of what society tells us ‘maturity’ is – getting married, buying houses, working our way up the corporate latter, etc. – that we fail to concentrate on our own inner growth and goals. We never allocate enough time just for us.

    Part of the problem is that we’re always waiting for some condition to resolve itself at some point in the future. We believe that the right time to take the next step is somehow going to magically happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, etc. But one day we wake up and realize we’re no closer than we were long ago. We find ourselves asking, “How did it get so late, and why haven’t I moved?” In other words, we’ve aged, but we never grew to our potential. We never fulfilled ourselves.

    Let this be your wake-up call. This is life. Right now. Indulge in it. Make it count. Because it’s happening. Read 1,000 Little Things.


  1. Living your truth every day:
    The world can easily be a tragedy if all you do is feel without ever acting. To feel something and believe in it, and not to live it, is lying to yourself. If you do this for too long you will never do more than exist meekly from one robotic motion to the next. You will live a lie every day as the truth haunts your thoughts every night. You simply can’t get away from your truth by moving dishonestly from one place to the next.

    If any of this hits too close to home, take a stand right now. Stop sipping the denial cocktail and take a shot of the delightful truth. Wherever your heart is, there you will find the reality that brings YOU to life. The time to act on your truth is now.






  1. The joy and freedom of an open mind:
    Your perspective on things is important; it enables you to make sense of the life you lead. Always keep in mind, though, that different people have different perspectives, and yours isn’t the only one that makes sense. There are few black and white facts in this world. Most facts are simply interpretations. You begin to learn wisely when you’re willing to see life from other people’s perspectives too.

    Even as you grow wiser and wiser with age you must remind yourself that an understanding is never absolutely final. What’s currently right could easily be wrong later. Thus, the most destructive illusion is a settled point of view. Since life is continuous growth and movement, choosing a fixed point of view is essentially a declaration of death.

    Success in life does not depend on always being or proving that you’re right. To make real progress you must let go of the assumption that you already have all the answers. You can listen to others, learn from them, and successfully work with them even though you may not agree with every opinion they have. When people respectfully agree to disagree, everyone benefits from the diversity of perspective. Read Buddha’s Brain .


  1. Relationships that improve you:
    It’s not about finding someone to lose yourself in, it’s about meeting someone to find yourself in. When you connect with someone special – a friend or lover – this person helps you find the best in yourself. In this way, neither of you actually meet the best in the each other; you both grow into your best selves by spending time together and nurturing each other’s growth.

    When you honestly ask yourself who these special people are in your life, you will often find that it’s those who, instead of giving you things or taking things from you (advice, answers, material possessions, etc.), have chosen rather to share in your joy and pain, and experience life along with you through good times and bad.






  1. The story you tell yourself every day:
    Forget what everyone else thinks of you; chances are, they aren’t thinking about you anyway. If you feel like they always are, understand that this perception of them watching you and critiquing your every move is a complete figment of your imagination. It’s your own inner fears and insecurities that are creating this illusion. It’s you judging yourself that’s the problem.

    You judge yourself by telling yourself a story inside of your head. Every moment of every day you’re telling yourself this story. You are building your future around this story, so tell it right. Create a positive narrative about your dreams and goals that include only the circumstances that matter. What you think others are thinking about you is not part of this narrative, and neither are your negative self-judgments. Read Uncertainty .


  1. The positive spin of life’s surprises:
    You are never at the total mercy of life’s surprises. No matter what life throws at you, you can decide what these events mean to you in the short term, the long term, and how you will integrate them into your life. Everything that happens is subject to your interpretation of it. Thus, far more important than what happens, is what you choose to do with what happens, and your options are abundant.

    The life you live is ultimately the life you choose. Choose to focus on the negative, and negativity will indeed surround you. Turn your focus to the positive possibilities, and these possibilities gradually become realities in your life.

    ~ From Marc and Angel Hack Life