People cross my path on a daily basis, whether it be a coaching client, or just sitting in a coffee shop and hearing people talk around me, and let’s not forget social media feeds — so it’s inevitable that the “stress” of life, in one way or another is brought up, be it death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, increasing financial obligations, getting married, moving to a new home, suffering chronic illness or injury, and even political uncertainty — they are our major stressors in life.
I write as a transformation coach, but also from a personal perspective, as I have gone through 5 of the 7 main stressors — facing death, within the week of being told, was the major one for me. “You don’t know if the roof is leaking unless you live on the inside.” We don’t know what is going on inside of others unless we ask and unless they tell. People don’t typically go around talking about their problems, depression, anxiety, sad thoughts, or self-loathing. They fear rejection or being a burden to their friends and families.
Over 7 billion people on the planet have a different fingerprint (wow it’s difficult getting your head around that), thus the concept of our energy is different from everyone else’s. Therefore, the way we deal with the main proven stressors is going to be dealt with differently by each and every individual. No Judgement, no blame!
I see a lot of loneliness, isolation, lack of connection, and judgement, in our world today. I believe this has a hand in our increased stress in our lives and in dealing with traumatising situations. Just knowing there are people to talk to and people who care in your world is a huge gift.
We live in very stressful times. Out of seemingly nowhere, an event takes hold of us and we are dealing with the unexpected messiness that comes with living. We also put a lot of expectations on ourselves.
Our society is set up such, where success, a person’s worth is looked at, what kind of job you have, how much money you have, what vehicle you drive, where you stay, and your social circle, to mention a few……everyone wants to be loved.
When we start to experience stress and anxiety, we know that we have crossed a boundary line. The basic root to stress and anxiety is that one thinks that things are not going to turn out well — and that is why we become anxious. “I am never going to cure myself of my illness” “I am never going to find another job in these times” “How am I going to make this relationship work when the breakup rate is so high” “What is my purpose” “What am I going to do with my life”
What to do? Well the first thing is not to panic — it’s all part of the journey. You need to recognise and accept that you are not going to have it all figured out.
Secondly, accept where you find yourself and that there will always be uncertainty in your life. You don’t get to know it all. Just look at an artist and how they make decisions. To be artists they have to free themselves to make mistakes and go into unknown territory.
Thirdly, it doesn’t have to be perfect. People are not perfect.
Fourth is to truly have trust in life. When we expect the best out of life, in most cases that is what we attract. Have a fundamental belief that you are good enough. Love yourself, trust yourself and life, and know that you are good and worthy of it all. Many a time, stress and anxiety are fabricated by our minds. We worry so much and have so many unnecessary thoughts that we don’t even know which worry has taken root within ourselves. Leave ego alone.
Fifth, we do not get to go back. However, we do have the ability, through our thoughts and actions, to chart a course towards new opportunities.
Sixth is the sign you are not having fun in your life. You are stuck, or lost in your own consciousness and thoughts. Learn to be present and self-aware about the different elements that make up your personality — and see them without judgment. Take some time in your day to have some fun. Go stand in your garden or the beach and take in the beauty. Or have a conversation with a friend. Notice the beauty around you. Become self-aware about the beauty within yourself. When you’re self-aware you reduce the chances of being completely thrown by things that happen — and any wrong or inappropriate moves that you might make in response to those things happening.
Life is a journey towards something — it is not the destination.
Where we are going in life will most certainly be determined by how we think and act from this point on. Here we have absolute control.
When I work with transformation or healing and my client is so self-absorbed — their minds being full, and no light at the end of the tunnel, I tell them a story of fire. When there is a fire on a mountain for example, it is devastating, destructive and painful. When everything is burnt down to ash and nothing is left, a couple of days later what starts to show? New growth from the existing seed takes place. Change starts to take place. This gives you the perfect opportunity for reinvention (moving towards a destination). As much as the devastation seemed unbelievable, unconceivable by your thoughts, this now gives you a new concept, or new way of life, or whatever it is, to develop YOU. It gives you, YOU time — to look at your deeper layers of understanding of who you are and what you really want out of life, whether its divorce, change of job as mentioned in the beginning of the article.
My advice is then to start from the bottom like the new seed after the fire. Building yourself up by looking into your life, doing some introspection and contemplation and then seeing how being a victim to that circumstance actually doesn’t serve you. Nine out of ten times you will get the answer that it will not serve you
We have all the resources at our disposal — but we are not meant to do it alone. So next time talk to a trusted friend, family, a transformation coach, or psychologist, to name a few.
Gooday children, Flyer the seagull here, let me tell you about: Giovanni’s Easter (Pasqua)
Giovanni is a seven-year-old boy who lives in a small mountain village in Italy. It is almost Easter, and nonna (granny) is teaching him all about the local traditions and festivities of Lent and Easter.
What Easter traditions do you have?
Festivities and Fasting:
Giovedi Grasso (fat Thursday) is also the day that the carnival starts. Every year it’s on a different date, but falls on the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday, and continues for six days. During this week, Italy has some of the most entertaining festivals around the world.
Street parties begin, and it resembles a modern-day circus, with fun parades as far as the eyes can see. The carnival ends on Martedi Grasso (Shrove Tuesday), which starts with a feast, where they have more yummy food with all the villagers. Carnevale or in Latin, “Carnem Levare,” traditionally means, “remove the meat.” After the festivities of the carnival, in the olden days, many people gave up meat for the 40 days leading up to Easter. Nowadays, people give up many different things.
Giovanni is very excited and proud as he dressed up and got ready to walk along the parade with his family. He is going to help carry the statues for the carnival.
They walk through the streets with the whole village, his uncles and some of his father’s friends also help carry the statues. Some watch from their balconies, it’s so much fun!
Every day they do something different, some days they sing, other days they play music. His older sister Maria plays the tambourines and is teaching him to play them as well.
Do you play any musical instruments on special occasions?
Ash Wednesday has arrived, and they all go to Mass and receive ashes on their foreheads as it marks the beginning of Lent. She explains to him that the money they save from giving up something for Lent can be used to give to the poor. Giovanni tries his best to give up luxuries.
Do you and your family give up something for lent?
On Good Friday Giovanni and his family go to mass. They have a small ornament of Jesus on the cross. Nonna explains to him all about what happened to Jesus when he went back to heaven. Some of Giovanni’s neighbours dress up as Jesus and his disciples. Before Mass, nonna, his sister Maria, and his mamma prepare a traditional fish dish.
Do you eat fish on Good Friday? Do you go to church on Good Friday?
Maria always reminds her parents, “Natale con I tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi” (Christmas with your family, Easter with anyone you like) before being whisked away by her friends for the long weekend. Giovanni is still young and has to stay with his parents and helps where he can.
Nonna and mamma bake bread in a basket shape, they also boil some eggs and place them in the breadbasket. Giovanni loves helping to shape the dough into a basket and decorating it. He also enjoys carefully placing the eggs in each basket.
On Easter Sunday he gets chocolate Easter eggs as well, and some of the eggs have a little gift inside. Later they go to mass again, and after Mass, he carries a small statue of Jesus or Mary through the village. After that, they go on a picnic lunch. Giovanni really looks forward to eating la Colomba for dessert (sweet bread cake shaped like a dove).
What do you do on Easter day? What’s your favourite part of the day?
Easter Monday (La Pasquetta)
On Easter Monday Giovanni plays games, has raced and has lots of fun. His favourite game is the spoon and egg race. Everyone has a lovely time with lots of laughter. After the games, they celebrate with another picnic lunch at the farm with all the close and extended family.
What do you do on Easter Monday? Do you have any special food?
I never thought of myself as someone who had hangovers…in fact, I carried this with great pride after many a night of drinking too much and waking up the next day able to function feel good and do the needful. I still believe this is true albeit that I now think my body must have been soaked in alcohol.
As I write this please believe me that I’m not ready to give up alcohol entirely. I never made this my goal. I am working on building a healthy relationship with alcohol. My drink…my darling.
It’s been almost two weeks of discipline and dedication. Of choices each and every day when I walk into the house from work to not go pour a drink immediately and more so sometimes not at all. To fill those alcohol moments with another friend…for now, it’s my books. I simply read more.
Today…another Sunday I feel something new. Clarity. I don’t have to worry if I drank too much because I know I didn’t…for days now I have not. I don’t have to worry if I said something wrong…by mistake or on purpose. I am clear about yesterday. The day before and days before. I am safe. I don’t have to feel bad about forgotten moments or conversations.
And that for me is remarkable today. I have been thoroughly present and it’s growing on me. So little by little I will take my control back. And smile because I feel so good about myself. For today.
Thank you to my person Silvinia for the support 🙏 and encouragement
Good day to all the beautiful souls in literature land. We are blessed to have you read our stories. We all have change in our cars or at home, what do we do with it?
There are millions of rands laying in the world, so if we distribute the change to people like car guards, waiters, paraplegics and people in need there is already a difference in their lives.
Instead of the money laying around it is going to be used functionally to assist these people. The change will eventually end up in retail stores which in turn will bank it which will help the banks get the money back.
By changing the peoples perception of not hoarding change or thinking it doesnt have much value we can change many lives. The person receiving the change goes to shop which in turn the owner banks the money and middle-class people can then take loans at the bank for what they need.
Not everyone has the same need. The car guard could need bread and milk. The paraplegic could use it toward saving for medical aides. The waiter could need it for student fees etc.
It can create employment, for example, by giving a freelancing carwash person change for washing a car he, in turn, hires someone to help wash more cars. That in itself creates employment.
There are many scenarios I can use in context to this subject but it all comes down to the generosity of people that can give out money.
Imagine if radio stations could be used as a platform for collecting change from their listeners monthly even if it were just a five rand – each radio station has a certain amount of listeners, so whatever these people collect goes back into their community being SPCA, old aged homes, child care centres and small businesses. It is almost like the lotto but a broader variety of people will be receiving funds which will be managed by the radio station. The radio station can keep five percent for administration which will pay a new person to be employed to do just that.
The 94.7 radio station said they have about 1.2 million listeners, now imagine each of them donating 5 rand. That is 6 million rand per month. We pay more than that a month on taxes but we still see poverty and unemployment where our change will definitely be making a change that will be benefiting the poverty stricken.
There are hundreds of radio stations worldwide. They can all make a difference without using their funds coming from advertising on their radio station.
So by moving money from a piggy bank to a cubbyhole to bottles at home to people that are trying to assist us on the street and elsewhere we are creating wealth mentality in the world. Be blessed and please bless someone with the change you have in your pocket.
I was born Christo De Flamingh on 29 April 1971 in the early hours of that Thursday morning. Our first home, after I was born was on a military base as my dad was an artillery instructor in the SADF.
I was about 4 years old and I remember, one night we had visitors over and my mom sent me to run a bath for myself. I placed the plug into the bath trap and opened the hot water tap. After a couple of minutes as a lot of kids do, I got bored waiting for the bath to fill up with water. I decided to lie on top of the edge of the bath and after a couple of seconds I lost my balance and fell into the bath half-filled with hot water and almost immediately I let out a blood curling scream.
My mom appeared in an instant as she ran to the bathroom after my screams for help. She picked me up out of the bath and covered me with a blanket and my dad rushed me to the military hospital in Wynberg military base. I had suffered severe burns over the upper part of my body and my legs and my one foot. After a long period of time my wounds had healed and with time I was able to have the bandages removed. This was my very first encounter when I experienced trauma and this was a very frightening ordeal for me at such a young age.
Since I can remember, I used to have a very cheeky temper tantrum in me and if I couldn’t have my way or wanted to make a point, I would throw a tantrum.
We used to look after the neighbour’s dog when they went on holiday. It was a fox-terrier female named Suzi and was like having my first experience with owning and playing with my best friend (first dog). We used to play outside and I remember running as fast as I could and going through the front door after running around the house then closing the door quickly after entering the house. That used to be such a rush of adrenaline and an exciting thrill all at the same time. I remember my brother starting school in 1975 as a first grader (Sub A).
In 1977, exciting news, not only did we move into a new home in Wynberg, dad purchased our first TV, the first in South Africa a black and white.
Our new home in Wynberg military base was a whole new and exciting experience for me. I met and made new friends although some of our neighbours also moved to Wynberg as the old military houses from our former home was to be converted to single quarters/rooms for single military staff members. We lived a total of approximately 8 years in Wynberg military base. During my stay in Wynberg, I had some fun times with my friends and family as a child growing up in a military environment things are considerably different to kids whose parents would be employed in the private sector.
Life felt a lot safer back in those days than in the 21st century. But nevertheless, those were good years in the seventies (1970’s) right through to the early nineties (1990’s).
In 1978 we had a next-door neighbour that lived in the flat right next door to us and they had two sons named Francois and Deon. Deon and I became very good friends even though he was at least ten years my senior. He was like a big brother to me and we did a lot of things together over the years.
After finishing high school, Deon joined the military. He had the love of his life, Alida, a beautiful gentle lady. Deon was madly in love with her.
One night late It was raining very heavily and Deon and some of his mates left the military base where he was doing his military service and came home to see his parents. He walked past my window when he left I saw his face for the last time as he made his way back to the car downstairs. He smiled and waved as he walked past our kitchen window that night. I think it was August 1978. He was killed in a car crash when they drove back to Youngsfield military base. The accident occurred on Ottery road not far from Youngsfield Military Base.
We attended his funeral as a family and I felt so shocked as I didn’t quite understand what was really happening as I was only seven years old at the time.
Years later I would find his grave and then I really cried my eyes out and understood and comprehend what had taken place in terms of my emotions. I had lost my best friend that was like a brother to me. Memories flash as I remember the rides on the back of his motorcycle his dad bought Deon. Remembering the excitement I felt every time he came home from school, as I anticipated the adventures and exploring we shared.
I miss him still up until today as I have never forgotten him. We were quite close and his mother knew and could see he had quite an impact on my life. His death was a huge loss to his family and friends. His parents remained in their flat for many years after we had moved out.
In 1982 I had changed schools as I was diagnosed with being dyslexic. I was now in a completely new and different type of school as it was an enormous change and I faced numerous challenges, struggling to adapt and fit in with the rest of the school and curriculum.
The first three years were the most difficult as the class teacher was a very emotional destructive person and turned out to be very damaging to me as a person as it made me feel very insecure and frightened. I didn’t know what it was like to have fun anymore as I was scared and felt anxious for most of that time but nevertheless, I did make very good friends over the years at my new school.
Feeling so emotional and vulnerable at times had me landing up in detention after school as I became despondent and I didn’t know how to deal with the issues at the time. I had my friends that would keep me grounded over the years as well as my mom and dad. I would look to my friends for fun times in terms of my situation at school.
I did suffer a lot of mental anguish under my first teacher at the new school but over time things got better as I advanced to higher grades. In the tenth grade (std 8) 1988, I decided to drop out of school and join the military to complete my military service. My dad was adamant that I complete my military training, even if decided to go back to school the following year but my mind was made up not to return to school.
Joining the military I felt it was a huge change in my life and adapting to military life was not easy at first as I wasn’t the type to fit in very easily with big new changes and strangers etc. By the second month, things seemed easier and I felt more relaxed. I managed to get a transfer to my dad’s unit back home as I initially did my basic training in Kimberly over 1000 km away from home. I was very happy to be back in my hometown.
Later that year I applied to Technical College Cape Town and was granted a sleep-out pass which allowed me to move back home as I was compelled to live in the military base due to my military training. I started studying at the college by attending classes at night after work two to three times a week. I was determined to get my national senior certificate but as luck would have it, I lost interest and didn’t complete the following year at college. So I ceased all studies especially after I left the military service in July 1990. I found myself unemployed and looking for work for the first time at the age of 19. I found a job at a motor company where I worked as a driver for the first 8 years then as a parts manager after which I was retrenched in August 1999.
In 1993 my dad fell ill with having complications with his heart and as a result, he passed away three years later on April 7th, 1995. I was devastated after losing my dad. For years I wore black; mourning my dad’s passing and important dates like the date of his passing and burial as well as his birthday were very sad days for me. I struggled with great difficulty processing my dad’s passing. My dad didn’t have any life insurance and we were forced to sell the house where I grew up. Mom and I purchased a flat jointly just down the road from where we used to live.
After being laid off in 1999, I spent three years looking for work. My mom covered all the bills for those three years and I thought I would never find employment. In late 2003 I found employment with a service station and I was put in charge of their car wash. It didn’t pay much at the time but I was very grateful for the opportunity as it covered my bills and my mom could breathe a bit. Money was always tight but we somehow managed and made it work. 23 years, a lifetime full of lessons. Lots of good memories with some sad days as well.
In 2000 I met a neighbour who lived across the road from me in a house. Her name was Cathy and she was 18 years my senior. I fell in love with her and she was my rock for a short few years. She used to listen to all my trials and tribulations. We spent a lot of time together and went out quite a number of times. I felt wanted again and she meant the world to me. In 2001 she fell ill after being hospitalised for a hip replacement and passed away shortly after. I was once again left in a state of shock but I was able to process Cathy’s death much easier than my dad’s passing.
My brother left for Dubai in November 2003 and shortly after I found employment at the Engen service station where I was in charge of the carwash. He used to send us money which was a great help financially. As life got more expensive with time I found employment with a paper vendor and left in 2012 to venture out on my own as an entrepreneur to start my own business and make a living for myself to try and have a better quality of life.
Due to my mom’s health which was also on the decline, it was the best decision to work from home as mom assisted me in taking calls for the first 3 to 4 years. I later approached friends of mine who were unemployed as the business had now grown considerably and needed help keeping up with the demand and service I was offering to clients.
In 2018 the business failed due to the economy and I had closed the business and lost my staff also as a result. I continued to get the odd call for business but eventually died off completely. I found myself once again unemployed and at the mercy of debt collectors and by now my mom’s health had deteriorated considerably and I could see the stress of losing our home started taking its toll on her as well as on me as I found myself very depressed many days and didn’t know how to deal with this situation.
My brother had also lost his job in Dubai and came home and was living with us due to him also being unemployed. Things would get rather tense and stressful as money was little to speak of. We were forced to put our flat up for sale to get out of the financial predicament we found ourselves in. My business which once provided for me and my mom’s needs was also up in smoke and I felt like I had also nothing left to live for any longer.
In March 2019 we signed the transfer documents for the sale of the flat but before the transfer would take place, my mom passed away on April 28th, 2019, one day before my 48th birthday.
I was once again dumped into absolute devastation and depression. By now I had been on anti-anxiety and anti-depressants for some time prescribed by my doctor to help me cope with all that was taking place in my life.
It’s been a few years since my mom passed away, the flat has been sold, I moved out and life happened. My health has declined, but live to fight another day every day. Each day is a challenge for me; I thank God each day that I am still alive. I don’t always have the physical strength to get out of bed but I do my best as each day is a new challenge.
I miss my parents dearly and wish I could turn the clock back to have some more time with them. But I would never stop loving them because they brought me up in this world and I would always be thankful to God for the time I had with them on earth.
God is the only real rock I can lean on as I don’t have my mom or my dad to fulfil that task for me anymore. I feel lonely many days but take each day as it comes. Right now I just fight to survive and to stay alive mentally, emotionally and financially.
Flying around: Goodday children, my name is Flyer, the talking seagull. I fly around the world bringing you stories of the fun and exciting things that children do. Sometimes I look in widows, sit in trees, or on the roofs of houses to watch them play; all this so I can tell their stories. On rare occasions, I also make special trips underwater, so I can bring you stories about mermaids and other mysterious underwater creatures.
Do you like seagulls? Have you seen me at the beach, or fly past your house?
About us seagulls: Let me tell you a little bit about us seagulls. We build our nests on sand dunes, sea cliffs, anywhere close to the beach really. Many people don’t know this, but we are very smart; when there is no fish to catch, I drop shellfish on rocks, so it opens and then I eat it. I also trick earthworms to come to the surface by stamping my feet which sounds like rainfall. When this doesn’t work, we make cute noises and hand movements, so you throw us bread. I was one of three chicks born on Robben Island; luckily, we all know the same tricks to get food, so we never go hungry.
Do you remember the sounds that we make to get food? Give it a go!
One day I saw some children playing on the beach having so much fun, so I followed them home and saw them sitting around a fire while their granny told them a story. They seemed to enjoy it so much that I decided to tell stories as well. Sometimes my friends tell me what they saw, so I will bring you those stories as well. I do hope you will enjoy my stories. Maybe one day I will also get to watch you play, then I will bring your stories to other children as well.
Have you ever seen one of our nests? Can you name three things that nests can be made of?
Till next time:
Time for me to fly now so I can watch some children having fun, then I can tell you their stories again. Till next time. Goodbye.
Good day to all our favourite readers and to the new subscribers. Today I`m approaching the subject of cigarette butts, I myself was a smoker but quit the habit. Cigarette butts are detrimental to the environment and smoking is detrimental to your health.
Cigarette butts pollute the environment in the sense of it being digested by little animals and birds as they can`t distinguish the difference between a worm and a cigarette butt. I`m not here to insult all smokers it`s just a general observation.
When you smoke don`t flick it out the window or onto the ground, be a considerate smoker. Take a coffee tin in your work environment, fill it with sand and put your cigarette butts in there. Consider people and animals that don`t want your waste.
Each smoker has a choice just like any other addict. There are smokers who smoke in front of children and babies, you then wonder why when your children are grown that they smoke. Smoking first of all damages the lungs, smells bad and the second-hand smoke causes numerous health conditions.
People that have smoked for years say that if they stop smoking they will die anyway, my late mother`s words as well. She was born with asthma and in later years developed emphysema and passed on from that condition still smoking with all of the conditions she had.
The co-dependency of a cigarette smoker is to buy a lighter or matches which once again affects the environment because trees have to be cut for matches and gas, plastic and metal is used for lighters which is not bio-degradable. Why not just stick a few bricks with cement on top of your head and you can look like a real-life chimney.
In Afrikaans they call you tant Stienie, she used to be a character on a television show in the 1980s, always had a cigarette in her mouth and curlers in her hair. If you saw her you would look next time for your tant Stienie.
Many family members would get into arguments because of holes burnt in bedding, couches and beds. Never mind little children walking into the burning cigarette in the adult’s hand while the adult socialises.
Every cigarette you smoke reduces your expected life span by eleven minutes. Imagine if you stop smoking you would have more time and money to buy shoes. I would rather have shoes on my feet than smelly cigarettes.
Kissing a smoker even if they have eaten ten packets of mints is like kissing a wet ashtray. Not to mention cooking with yellow fingers, nee dankie ek wil nie jou kos eet nie.
If you are bored in between chores or work don`t smoke contemplate your next move in life or the next pair of shoes you are going to buy.
As a nurse or any person working with people do you want to smell bad by talking to them and they smell the smoke on your clothes or by breathing on them, oh so gross!
Remember I was there where you are, you might still be smoking so I`m not here to insult or judge.
So to end your day don`t grab a fag go deep down inside yourself, find the American Indian in your soul and smoke a peace pipe.