Tag Archive | happy

My Unplanned Sabbatical Year

2016 turned out to be, what I now call, my unplanned sabbatical year. A year that was by far one of my best years yet.

After relocating to Cape Town from Johannesburg at the end of 2015, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do with my life. The two things that I did know was, 1) I do not want to get back into the corporate world and 2) I want to be a housewife (very ambitious, I know). The housewifery wasn’t my long-term plan, but I figured what better way to start the new year in a new city.

So how did I spend my year?

Doing the things that I love.

The Kitchen
The one room in my home that makes me completely happy. I’ve spent day in and day out cooking up a storm and experimenting with new tastes and flavours. I must admit that it didn’t always work out, but at least I’ve tried it by putting it through the test. Over the years, I’ve developed a love for cooking and it to be the most therapeutic “chore”.

Spiritual Enhancement
2017-02-17_12-45-52For many people spirituality does not coexist with religion. I consider myself to be quite fortunate as I was able to explore my spirituality through religion. Last year, I’ve experienced the best Ramadaan ever. Even though we were nowhere close to family, the whole experience was moving. I looked forward mostly to Taraweeh (special evening prayers are conducted in Ramadaan, during which long portions of the Qur’aan are recited) and I longed for it most when Ramadaan bade farewell. The highlight for me however, was a ladies programme I attended, where I was in an audience of 4000 women! Let’s just say that once I’ve left the veils from my eyes were lifted!

Me, Myself and I
When you’ve been married for as long as I have been, you never really have reason to do things alone. Besides, I was never really comfortable with it anyway. With Mr. M at work, I didn’t have a choice but to do things alone. There was no one around to grab a coffee with or take up yoga classes. I’ve learnt to enjoy my own company. When I had weekends to myself, I would meander through markets by myself, as if it was the most normal thing for me to do.

Stop, Drop and Yoga
I’ve always had a keen interest in yoga practice. I’ve just never had the time to take it seriously. I’ve started under a yogi while in Johannesburg, but the enthusiasm soon fizzled out.

2017-02-17_12-52-05
With all the time I had on my hands, I decided to take up classes, which I’m pleased to say is still part of my life. In the beginning, yoga was just about the poses and trying to fold myself into pretzels. Until I realised that the goal is to create space where you were once stuck. To unveil the layers of protection you’ve built around your heart. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates. To make peace with who you are. But mostly, it was about going to my mat and feeling, not accomplishing.

A Book or Three
My deep love for books stems from when I was a child. The first book I’ve ever owned was “The Gingerbread Man”, which was gifted to me at my pre-school graduation. My favourite book would have to be the children’s classic “Heidi” by Johanna Spyri. I still sometimes dream about living in the Swiss Alps.
I’ve spent so much time reading last year, that at one point, I felt like the characters in my books were my friends. I’ve made a little reading nook in my bedroom, and winter afternoons became my most treasured moments when I was lost in a book.

Take me to Nature
There is a wealth of natural wonders to see and experience in this city. From hiking up mountains, chasing waterfalls, swimming in dams, long walks on the beach, Cape Town is definitely a city worth showing off its natural beauty. I’ve always been in touch with nature, but my first year in Cape Town really connected me to nature.2017-02-17_12-49-00

I’ve had to deal with many frustrations. Not knowing what I really wanted to do with my life. Doubting whether or not we made the right decision to move. In hindsight, I should have savored every minute of that time, as I now believe that I was exactly where I needed to be. My unplanned sabbatical year prepped me for my new journey, even though I had no idea at the time what that was…..

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

This is a lesson I’ve learned quiet late in my life, but all too grateful that I did. I’ve been searching everywhere for something that was right inside of me. I just needed to have my windows cleaned, the windows to my soul, that looks internally, to where my own happiness lies. Nothing and no one is responsible for happiness but you, cliché I know, it’s so easy to say those words, but living it is another story all together….

Two months ago, I attended a workshop “Discover Yourself” and that’s when I experienced a true paradigm shift. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, I see the world differently, and finally I can give meaning to life, my life. Attending that workshop was the best gift I could have ever given to myself.

We sometimes put our happiness in things, or times. How many times have you not said to yourself “I will be happy when…….[fill in the blank]” or “I will be happy if I have……[fill in the blank]. I’ve done this over and over. I also know that when that time arrived or things materialised, I was not fulfilled, that void was still there. It’s sad,  how we wait all week for Friday, all year for summer, all our lives for happiness, when all the time it was right there, we just never looked inside.

I choose to free my mind of worry….
I choose to free my heart of hate….
I choose to live simply…..
I choose to be happy!

Increase your quality of Life

It helps to know what ‘quality of life’ means to you. It’s an intensely personal question. Your vision of quality may differ from that of mine, and that’s what makes the world such an intriguing beast. We’re fascinating in our differences.

I may value connections, authenticity and adventure; dream of kids, a thriving business, founding a charity, and you might be driven by success, learning and independence; you won’t be complete until you hit CEO and make Forbes list.
I have decided to put down the things that I think can increase any life;

1. Spend time with your thoughts. Call it what you want, meditation, time out, whatever. I think it’s important to take time to reflect as this helps to put things into perspective.

2. Learn something new. I’m not saying go learn a new language (which isn’t a bad idea), but read up on something that you wouldn’t normally read, and share this with someone, (trust me, your brain will thank you) and give yourself an instant confidence boost!

3. Leave the routine. Even for just a minute a day. (And that’s coming straight from a Routine QUEEN!) Truth be told, when I do break out of it, it feels really good! (It’s still hard to bend the “rules” though).

4. Spend time outside. This is something I love to do, although I don’t  I get to do it as much as I would like to. I personally feel that this simple act instantly reduces stress.

5. Give yourself. Mentor, contribute, practice random acts of kindness, express gratitude. Give your time, be fully present for your family, change the world. There are a million ways to give of yourself. Do it big, do it small, just do it.  It’s one of the most positive equations in the world: You give of your time or resources, which improves someone’s quality of life, which makes you feel needed and valuable, which in turn improves your quality of life. We’re all better off.  Magic.

6. Connect with people. We are social beings. Pay special attention to your family, your partner, your friends, and your colleagues.  Explore and strengthen your connection to a Higher Power.  And be open enough to enjoy the spontaneous connections that come from making a new friend at the gym or sharing a witty remark with stranger at the supermarket.  Genuine curiosity and kindness are an amazing way to foster connections.

7. Celebrate. We all need a healthy dose of play in our lives. this fuels our creativity and feeds our spirits. Celebrating is a wonderful way to share love. Celebrate with traditions, with heartfelt compliments, with notes in lunch bags, with surprises, with big evenings out, or with cozy evenings in.

8. Recognize what makes you happy. Reflect on the parts of your day that bring you real satisfaction. Everyone is working towards something, but what makes you happy now? Try to incorporate more of what made you happy yesterday into today.

9. Love yourself. Treat your body with respect and care. Help yourself age well by staying flexible, protecting your skin from sun and exercising your mind.  Most importantly, sleep well.

10. DO NOT STRESS!

images: Google.com

Celebrate Yourself: What makes you feel good?

In commemoration of Women’s Month, I thought it would be great to share some feel good stuff….Just for us, women! In our busy lives, trying to juggle work, family, homes, friends, and everything else in-between, our well-being takes a knock. We take care of everyone and everything else besides ourselves. 

Now, we all have a weakness, whether it’s getting a manicure done, those killer heels that you’ve had your eye on, taking that hour-long bath, or watching a series marathon of your favourite tv show. It’s important for us to take this time out for ourselves and DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP. So, for the next month, we WILL make the time or take it to do something special just for us.

Happy Women’s Month!

Go on, spoil yourself – And share what you do to make you feel good!

xoxo

images – Google.com

Learning to be Happy

Although most people believe happiness is essential, it is often dependent on factors outside of themselves.
From what I have learned, is that happiness has less to do with your circumstances! And all the happiness you will ever need resides within you. Finding happiness within, is not discovered overnight, nor is it something that is taught to you. But it can be discovered by changing our thinking and habits.Here I will share a few of my guidelines used on my journey to being happy!

Be the optimist – After reading The Secret in 2006, I have made a decision; I will never, or at least try, to never be the pessimist. The Laws of Attraction made a lot of sense, and I decided, that is how I will go through life. By being the optimist, I choose to see the bright side. All the obstacles or hard times I’m faced with is seen as temporary. And yes, sometimes it’s not easy, but I’ve learned to respond to life’s challenges with confidence knowing that I can handle them. When problems or challenges are resolved,I usually look back on them and try to make sense of it, sort of, find the meaning and purpose. By doing this, I noticed that each obstacle or challenge makes it easier to be optimistic about, because I know that they’re there for a reason, even if I may not know what it is now.

Happiness is a choice – Choose to be happy! To increase inner happiness, I have learnt to make a deliberate decision to do so. A lot of times we blame others for our unhappiness. And we are all guilty of that, we have all blamed parents, teachers, bosses, because it’s easier to push the responsibility onto someone else. Stop! We alone are responsible for our actions, and reactions! Whether we’re in unhappy relationships, or unhappy in our jobs, the unhappiness still lies within ourselves. You have a choice, to stay and be unhappy, or change your attitude! And the attitude comes from within. And its this attitude that determines whether we’re going to be happy or not!

Clear the clutter – This is by far one of the hardest things to do, but its well worth it – Clear your mental clutter!and make more room for happiness. Of all the things that require your mental energy, make the distinction between things that are really important and things that are not. Actively release thoughts, worries, resentments, etc. that consume your mental space. Without unnecessary things to clutter your mind, you’ll have more room for things that add to your joy.

Enjoying nature – Bridal veil falls – Sabie

Live your Bliss – We all have that one or two things that makes us extremely happy! If you still do not know what it is, take time out, observe yourself, learn what makes you truly happy, and add more of it to your life. It is that simple.
Recognize your passion, respect your goals! Find things that bring you happiness, and do them in your own unique way.

Stop comparing – And trying to keep up with the Joneses. That is the number one cause of our own unhappiness. Having things might make you appear trendy and happy to everyone else, but it doesn’t make you happy inside. But happiness, as the saying goes, is not in getting what you want, but in wanting what you already have!

Give – I saved this one for last, because this one is the easiest, and hardest!(for many people) By giving, it doesn’t have to have any monetary value. It can be anything from a compliment to a smile, a hug or a pat on the back! When you make someone else happy, you find yourself being twice as happy inside!

You now know how to find happiness within yourself, and it is something you can access all the time regardless of your circumstance or situation. Be an optimist, intentionally choose to be happy, clear your mind of unnecessary clutter, and find ways to nurture your own unique bliss. This simple strategy will allow you to access your inner joy at all times.

I’ll be Happy when I’m Thin?!

Real Women has curves

For many years, I was convinced that by changing my body, I would change my life. I believed that when the weight disappeared, it would take away old wounds, hurts, and rejections with it. I thought that changing the shape on the outside would alter the feelings on the inside.

Yeah… Right?

I mistakenly believed that altering my body will fix everything. That’s because I thought that body size is the cause and, therefore, the healer of all wounds. Perhaps my worst mistake was believing that being thin equalled being loved, being special, being cherished and being happy. I couldn’t be more wrong.
I thought life would be greater if I were thinner. That I would be happier. That I would love myself more and be loved even more.
When all along it was inner happiness I’ve always wanted! But instead of putting my energy and attention there, I always concentrated on the size of my body. Now, I have never been a big girl, but I was always bigger than what society expected.

And let’s just say, people will let you know when “they” think you’re getting “fat”. And in earlier years, when I would hear these comments, I would consume food containing approximately 1000 calories a day for 2 weeks, and know that I’d drop at least 2kg (Which I will just put back on when I returned to normal eating). But now, if someone said that me, I take it with pinch of salt.For me it was a constant roller roaster of having great days and of course, fat days.

Over the past year, I have started to look at life through different eyes. I have realised that it’s not about how the world looks at me, but rather, about how I look at the world. I’m never going to be perfect, not even to the people who loves me most, But….I can be perfect to myself, for myself…..

By spending all this time wanting to be in a body that I would never fit into, I just made myself more miserable inside, which I would, in turn take out on the outside, and so the sick cycle would continue!
So my message to you: being thinner will never do what you think it’s going to do. But you can have whatever you believe that being thinner will give you, and you can have it now. The only way to do it? By starting to live as though you love yourself. By making a commitment to be kind to yourself and by not letting anything stand in your way. By setting aside time for yourself daily. By beginning today.

Follow no diet rules, Suffer no fat insults, Don’t deprive yourself of the pleasure of life!
Love your curves, I love mine