Discovering Your Life’s Purpose

‘If you’re alive, there’s a purpose for your life” Rick Warren

Have you ever sat and wondered what your life’s purpose is? A question I believe that everyone has asked themselves at some point in their lives. A question that tends to pop up whenever one is feeling a bit deflated, unmotivated or uninspired.

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I have found that one’s purpose is not lost, so we cannot “find” it. Instead, we search for it, but not on the outside. It’s within us, but we need to pull back layer after layer until it reveals itself to us. Our passions and purpose work hand in hand, and it takes one to discover the other. However, sometimes we’re aware of what our passions are, we’re just not sure how that can become or be part of our life’s purpose.

Get Uncomfortable

Just knowing that you have to become uncomfortable, makes the task ahead seem daunting. We’re wired to associate with comfort and familiarity. We struggle to cope when we’re put into situations that are foreign to us. The first step to discovering our passions is to burst the bubble that we live in.

Our bubbles are our safety nets. It’s where everything is about “me”. It’s about “my” pleasures, “my” time, “my” comfort. It’s where we procrastinate because of our fear of failing. It’s where we avoid certain people because you cannot let them see that you still haven’t upgraded your car in 10 years. It’s where you never have time to invite friends over because your home is not quite as big as their’s. We’re so busy protecting ourselves from the way we’re perceived by others, that we forget that there is a whole world out there, that is perfectly capable of existing even if you were not in it.

Do What Makes You Happy

Love painting? Reading? Cooking?

Make time for the things you love to do. Somethings are easier to make time for than others. If its surfing you love and have a family to take care off, wake up earlier on the weekends to make time for it. Better still, get your family involved. When we do what we love, we automatically become more inspired. It is that inspiration that is needed to help discover what our purposes are. You might meet like minded people who will inspire you in doing more, getting better, or encourage you to use your talents to give back.

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Giving back

I have discovered that giving back is one of our biggest purposes in life. And when that’s themed with your passion, life automatically becomes more meaningful. Love to read, but can’t afford to make a living of it? Volunteer at an organisation where you can give some of your time teaching kids to read. Your dreary job will become more tolerable when you know that you’re giving back even if it’s in the smallest ways. Two such organisations is Help 2 Read and Shine Literacy

Life is a whole lot sweeter when you feel you have a purpose. It’s the journey that might seem long, but its worth every step of the way.

 

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#2 It’s Really Not What You Have That Matters #LessonsLearned on Kilimanjaro

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Our trek started on 4 August. The morning before setting off was the last hot shower we would have, and the last buffet breakfast we could pick from until we returned on the 9 August, coinciding with Womens Day, a public holiday in South Africa.

By the first night, reality set in for me when I had to go to bed without my usual bath, cleaning myself as best I could with just wet wipes. After supper I retired to our bunk beds, crept into my sleeping bag and prayed for sleep to come. I knew that waking up to use the loo was inevitable after drinking about 2 liters of water for the day. The only problem with that is the loo is outside the hut, about 40m away….
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Every comfort that is known to me, is no longer there. I don’t have my comfortable bed with loads of cushions. There no bathrooms to just stroll into and do your thing. My fridge to open up whenever I feel like and scan it’s contents is very far from where I am. Lengthy meal plan discussions are none existent. Selecting the days clothes from a closet full has been scaled down to a 15 kg duffel bag. Viewing posts on social media is such a thing of the past.

I realise that if I don’t wrap my head around all of this real quick, I am just going to be giving myself a difficult time. I already know that none of this is permanent, so all I have to now do is be grateful for what I do have. I might not have what I want, but I have everything that I need.
We have enough drinking water. Nutritional meals. A place to lay our heads. And not to mention loads of tea!
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But what really stood out for me was that I was surrounded constantly with people and nature . Now I don’t normally do well with large groups of people, but I think I did pretty well with what has now become new family, from all walks of life, different journeys, all coming together for the same cause.
As for the nature part? I was able to take in as much as I could. There were no other commitments to rush off to….Just taking in all of what God has blessed us with.

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It wasn’t until we got off the mountain when it all became clear to me…It really isn’t what you have in life. It’s who you have in your life and what you surround yourself with. I was privileged to have spent my once in a lifetime journey with amazing human beings. Had it not been so, the entire trip could have turned out to be a complete disaster. I now have new appreciation for the people closest to me…after all, it is them who makes our lives a little more beautiful.

31 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 31 Years

imagesCA5E29WHIt’s almost that time of the year, where I bid farewell to me being just 30 and saying hello to “30-something”. I remember my pre thirty meltdown I had last summer. (Looking back, I think I was just a tad bit too over dramatic). With that being said, this year, I’m embracing this change of age thing. I am not anywhere close to where I thought I would be at this age, or wanted to be. However, I do believe, that I’m right where I should be.

A week ago, I’ve decided to write down what are life lessons to me, that I’ve learned over my 31 years of life. This was way easier than I thought it would be, given that most of these lessons were really learned in the past year.

1. We must love….with all your heart. If you’re afraid to love because you might get hurt, then you might as well not live because you are going to die. Love is beautiful and free.

2. Love is not enough. It’s important to not just love, but also show love. The people we love needs to see it as much as they need to feel it.

3. Forgive not just the people who has hurt us, but forgive yourself. For past mistakes, past regrets. We would not be who we are had we not made those mistakes. If God can forgive us, why can’t we forgive ourselves.

4. Happiness is Internal “Happiness is a journey, not a destination; happiness is to be found along the way not at the end of the road, for then the journey is over and it’s too late. The time for happiness is today not tomorrow.” ~ Quoted by Paul H Dunn [read more]

5. Value family I might have not had the opportunity to choose them, but we are perfectly placed together. We have disagreements, we are all unique in our ways, but this bunch of people are the only ones who are going to be there for you when no one else will be. Cherish them.

6. Treasure friendships/relationships these people are my family, with no blood relations. They’re the people I don’t have to see every weekend to keep our friendship alive, and when we do see each other, nothing has changed, the friendship has not struggled because of time not spent together.

7. Quality over quantity I’ve learned that when it comes to friends, I’ve learned that less is more. A few close friends offer more support than a crowd of acquaintances. There are only a handful of friends I keep close to my heart and who truly understand and support me without a trace of judgment. Anyone else usually just joins me for happy hour. I don’t really need no new friends….

8. Give generously My dad always said to us, “Give with your right hand, in such a way that the left hand doesn’t even know”. Give with your heart, no one needs to know how much you do or for whom.

9. Energy is palpable be the positive! Have you ever met someone who is so negative, that you can feel your energy being drained when they speak, or a person who such a great aura to to them, that you can feel life being blown into you with every word that they utter? Be that person. Think only positive thoughts, and speak only positive words.

10. Define Success on your own terms ignore the standard one-size-fits all approach and live from a place of truth and knowing. Success might mean money or power to some. That doesn’t necessarily have to define your success. To me, true success means finding and living out my unique life’s purpose.

11. Take care of your health now, or prepare for illness later. Truth is, all the money in the world cannot buy more or new health. It’s our one principal capital asset, invest in it wisely.

12. Not everyone will like you, and if they do, they’re not necessarily your friend.

13. I am not the center of the universe, it’s incredibly difficult to think about the world from a perspective other than our own. We are always worried about what’s going on in our lives. What does my schedule look like today? What if I lose my job? Why am I overweight? Why am I not happy with my life? What did I do to deserve this? If you can consciously remove yourself – remove your perspective – from a situation, then you can see the world through a different set of eyes. Thus, the world can take on a different meaning.

14. Do not carry the past with you. It has everything to do with forgiveness. Carrying this burden with you, does nothing but weigh you down. It makes you a bitter person. You have the choice to let it go, or letting it haunt you for the rest of your days.

15. It’s Ok to not be Ok No, really, it is Ok. I know bad days don’t last forever, so it’s Ok to have an off one.

16. Embracing Silence is a way of developing a deeper connection with yourself and with others. Shut off the phone more, turn down the radio volume, or simply spend more time listening instead of talking.

17. Be thankful….. for everything. Count your blessings, and by blessings I don’t mean material possessions.

18. Live in the moment, the here and now, that is all that is guaranteed right? We have no assurance of waking tomorrow.

19. How you speak of others is how you feel about yourself. In fact, your perception of the entire world echoes how you feel about your own life. If you have nothing good to say about others, then best keep quiet.

20. Never go to bed angry with your partner. A piece of advise that came from my mum. And I fully agree with it. No argument or difference should be carried overnight. Clean out each day as it comes along, so when you shut your eyes at night, everything has been cleaned up. Life is precious….and uncertain.

21. Slow down! What’s the rush anyway. Life moves at such a fast pace that it seems to pass us by before we can really enjoy it. Slowing down is a conscious choice, and not always easy, but it leads to a great appreciation for life and a greater level of happiness.

22. Let go of past hurts, the past, clutter, grudges, toxic people, negativity, anger, guilt, worrying about the future, stress. Again, these things just pull us down, it poisons our souls. Let It Go!

23. Don’t do things you don’t like just to please someone else or because everyone else is doing it. I hate watching movies at a cinema. It’s cold, uncomfortable and dark. I don’t go because I don’t like it. However, if there’s a movie I really, really want to watch, I make the sacrifice.

24. Have a bucket list and as you scratch items off, add new ones

25. The power of prayer. Never underestimate the power of prayer. Regardless of your religion, or manner in which we pray, every day should be started in prayer.

26. Learn to say No! True freedom is experienced when we’re able to say no without feeling guilty. Stop being the people pleaser by committing to more than you’re aware of.

27. Live simply. Simple? no, not that simple. Living simply is paring away – stuff, obligations, expectations, people. It’s removing all the glut and rubble from your life, making space in your house, your heart, your brain and your life for exactly and only what you need. It’s getting down to the core of things and returning to a way of living that most of us can only vaguely remember; pleasures that don’t cost tons of money, rewards you don’t have to buy in stores, amusements that don’t require a screen.

28. Turn off the TV and read a book. In the Last Lecture Dr. Randy Pausch makes mention of how TV is mankind’s greatest time-waster. Cut your Tv time in half and start making time to do the things you love. Read a book instead. Not only do you stimulate your brain, but you learn more about things that interest you. No better place to find inspiration than in the pages of a book.

29. Judging people is harmful….to me. We do or have done this from time to time. I have now just become better at noticing when I’m doing it. What I’ve found is that when I waste my time on judging people, I am robbing myself from enjoying my here and now. Judging becomes harmful to me because in judging others; I’m ignorant of what the person is going through, I have unrealistic expectations of people, I think I’m superior to other’s. When I’m overcome with these feelings, it stops me from judging, sort of keeps me grounded.

30. Enjoy your own company and you will never be lonely. I enjoy my own company now more than I have ever before. I recall seeing people having lunch by themselves and always felt sorry for them….for being alone. I now realise what a privilege it is to be at that point of comfort with yourself, where sitting down to a cup of tea, in a crowded cafe is absolutely normal.

31. I’m still trying to figure it all out…And while I do that, I will live life beautifully

 

Becoming a Future Ex Smoker – My Personal Jihad

I could NEVER stop smoking! It’s the only thing that keeps me sane! I would kill someone if I don’t have a cigarette right now! I can’t do it.


Day 3

So it’s been 3 days since I’ve decided to quit the cancer sticks. My reasons for wanting to quit is another post on its own, which I will post very soon. For now, I want to share how this experience has become my personal jihad (struggle).

Until Friday 26th September, I used to smoke up to 15 cigarettes a day. First thing in the morning, last thing at night, every hour during work, first thing when getting into the car, after every meal. A cigarette fitted so perfectly between my index and middle fingers and into my every day life, that not having it there, would just not feel right.

And it doesn’t feel right. Over the past 3 days, I found that I would have to make changes to my daily routine in order to accommodate for the missing cigarette. It’s little changes, and it proves to be working…..so far. So, where I would normally wake up and go to the living area to smoke, I go directly to the bathroom, avoiding to leave the bedroom for a little while longer. (Smoking was never allowed in the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, MY RULES).

After facing that demon, then comes the coffee…It’s like coffee and a cigarette were made for each other, it’s like Bonnie and Clyde, pms and chocolate, sushi and wasabi, pizza and cheese, nachos and guacomole……and this list can go on and on, which brings me to the next demon……

The cravings

And not just nicotine cravings. I feel the need to keep my mouth occupied almost all the time. I’ve eaten more sweets over the past 2 days, than I would over 6 months. My body will seriously go into sugar overload mode! So today, I’ve decided to take the fruit approach (I do not want to add to the weight that I might put on, but secretly hoping that I don’t). Anyway, back to the coffee demon, since I wandered off into the land of food. I now have my coffee in the kitchen, while preparing the lunch packs. That way, I’m not sitting down and having my coffee.

Dealing with the tiredness….

I sleep. I sleep way earlier now. I’m not sure if I am tired due to the absence of smoking, or if I’m subconsciously avoiding watching tv in the living room, as I associate that with smoking too? Nevertheless, I sleep early.

The challenge

This weekend is going to be a tough one. It’s Eid ul Adha, and we will be spending it with my family. Besides my younger sister, everyone smokes. If I can make it through this weekend with no relapses, then I’m stronger than I ever believed.

 

 

 

 

Collect Memories Not Things

As an adult, I sit back and reflect on my past years, from childhood, to being a teenager, to growing into an adult. The one valuable lesson I have learnt over the past years, is that memories hold so much more value than that of things, the things I so badly wanted, and had to have because it was the trend, or because everyone had it.

Thinking back to my childhood, the memory that immediately comes to mind is playing; house with my sisters, hide and seek until after dark, hopscotch, and cricket on the road. We played school, marbles, yoyo and monkey in the middle. These are just a few of the things that come to mind. Nowhere in the memories I hold on to, is the any association with specific things.I want more

As a young adult, things became very important to me; a part of me I’d say. I used things to fill up what was missing inside me; contentment! Branded clothing became a necessity, it was essential to have the latest phone (something we can’t keep up with in this era of technology). Branded sneakers and sunglasses, to name a few “things”! I remember a time in my life when “buying” gave me instant satisfaction, from the things I’ll never use to the fancy gadgets I had no need for or clue how to use.

We’re now in a time where culture, society, television ads and every magazine encourages us or makes us believe that we “need” more. We all, at some point feel the pressure of having to please ourselves, by satisfying our thirst for more. It makes us feel good (for short periods of time). We find our “ego” voices inside us justifying why we need “that new thing” and if we don’t get it, we throw a pity party! (I’m so guilty of that, I feel terrible right now just thinking of some of  the occasions where i actually got my way!) I have given into these lies, and just like everyone else, it’s a difficult battle to fight.Colour

I have since learnt that there are so many meaningful experiences that will last in memory so much longer than the things I so desire. My pursuit of things takes away the time and energy I have from my family and from living!

I want to collect memories……Not things
Memories that will inspire joy in my heart, ignite passion for my family and remind me that some of the smallest experiences in life have the greatest impact such as;

– Movie / series marathons with friends

– Walks in the garden with Mr M

– Playing with my niece and nephews

– Staying up until the early hours of the morning with my parents and sisters when visiting

– Waking up late on the weekend, having coffee prepared by Mr M and planning the day ahead.

There are so many ways to collect memories that will last a lifetime, memories that will remind us of God’s goodness. Memories that will unify families as you reminisce with your children someday. I have entered this world with no material possessions, and will leave it in the exact some way…….Only with a heart full of memories.

“Treasure your relationships, not your possessions” Anthony J.D’Angelo