30 day challenge…

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Periodically, I try to give my sometimes absent – nowadays, often – muse a challenge, to motivate myself to write about various topics. I am a storyteller, after all!!  Especially when my head becomes too crowded for sensible thought.  Social media is a strict task-master, so I find myself penning epigrams on FaceBook instead of practicing my blog craft as I should. My most recent wheeze is to challenge myself to 1) take a picture that represents my day and 2) to write a few short sentences that explain the context.  This is just a heads up to my friends, followers and fellow bloggers. It’s my life, I’m grateful to be able to share it with you. For the next 30 days, and not necessarily in chronological order, I’m going to post a picture and a few accompanying sentences on the context. Let me know what you think.

M is for…Mass destruction

I lived in London for 20 years before I made good my escape to the coastal reaches. Watching tonight’s footage of the riots in Tottenham, Croydon, Peckham, Lewisham and Deptford, I’m saddened to see a city I love blighted by mindless vandalism in the guise of democratic protest.

There is nothing democratic about setting light to the businesses and homes of innocent people, many of whom are law abiding and simply trying to earn a living. There is nothing democratic about covering your faces with hoods and flinging Molatov cocktails. I’ve watched the pundits on TV lay the blame squarely at the door of the police, society and the government. Even the banks. Well, I beg to differ…

Most of the violence today came from young men who don’t work and don’t vote. They have no respect for the society in which they live, and yet they expect everything to be handed to them on a bling-plated platter. They use their race, gender, upbringing, religion and education as an excuse for why they are compelled to a gang lifestyle and violence.  I beg to differ. Failure, like fire-bombing – is a choice.

L is for…Love, Lessons & Life

This is the first blog in a while. Thank you for being patient.

A few weeks ago, it could have been  ‘L’ is for the…’Life is shit, and then you die’  blog, but having been to a wedding (my sister’s), a funeral & rebirth (my own) and to hell and back…(least said, soonest mended)… I have to say it’s good to be here again. Blogger on planet earth.

This I know…

1. Your love is not a small thing. It is the most precious gift you can give. It is not always gratefully received, but that does not lessen it. Giving love makes you capable of great things.  You can cross continents, gamble your future on the stars, and sacrifice yourself…all for love. Love is in the letting go…but it takes great love to watch the person you adore walk away, knowing they will never come back. Hate is not the opposite of love, indifference is.

2. Lessons are almost always about the learning, not the experience. The experience may be humbling, painful, humiliating…but as long as you learn from it, you grow. There is an old Buddhist saying ‘ When the student is ready, the master will appear’. Often we don’t think we are ready for the trials ahead, but when they happen, they show us who we really are. Our choice is to fight, to surrender or perhaps...and this may be ever so un-pc… to ‘smack’ the zen master as a reminder that we are human and have fire in our bellies. Whack! How was that for you, Obi Wan?

3.Life…never ever works out how you plan it. I don’t care if you are the supreme deity or a secretary…this is true! So you can spend your days feeling miserable about the cosmos and the fact you cannot use ‘The Secret’ to manifest pizza, money or love… or you can embrace uncertainty. Oh crap!  ‘Uncertainty’, are you sure?  I’m all for the darkside, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t scary…Life is wonderful, but it is also weird. It makes us who we are. It’s lessons make us who we can be.

My advice? …Live well, Love long, Laugh loud…

K is for…Kilimanjaro

One of the things I’m most proud of is the fact that in 2006 I made it to the highest peak in Africa.  The journey was – at points – exciting…exhausting, tough…terrifying, adventurous…arduous.  I think I sweated out all the bad things I did that year on my ascent – or as I call it, the ‘Hill of Atonement’.

Given current circumstances – where I seem to be atoning for things I haven’t even thought of, let alone done – I’m busy climbing another mountain, albeit metaphorical.  This foothill is just the first on a journey that is taking me to a place I never expected to be. It’s not a good place. Some days all I can do is put one foot in front of the other and try not to fall.

Still…as Victor Kiam said: ‘If you fall on your face, at least you are moving forward’. I’m not sure where or how I will end up, so for the time-being, this blogger is taking a break. 

Thank you for following the blog, and a special thanks to Nubian for getting me writing in the first place.

Chiromancer

J is for…January

I’ve spent most of January on holiday, first in South Africa and then at home in England.   In the shadows of a dog year  – 2010 was grisly for many reasons –  I had to think long and hard about this course of action.  Priorities, problems and people battled for mindshare, and…as I flew to my soul space on the West Coast, it seemed like an indulgent luxury to step off the treadmill and simply let go for a few weeks.

Still.  I celebrated the New Year after 3 days without sleep and partied until dawn.  I was uniquely privileged to lead the naming ceremony for my nephew. As we toasted him with champagne, we floated our origami wishes on an ebbing tide as the sun set. I saw a kinesiologist and felt lighter. I went bird watching in Verloren Vlei  and saw an owl. And an eagle! And the longest ever train in the world!  My sister and I went swimming in the cold Atlantic. Not once, but twice! I sailed on a Hobie cat in Fish Hoek and ate fish under the Milky way.  Wine and song were most definitely involved.  New Year’s resolutions were most definitely not.

Still. I’m so glad I did. Without resolutions, I’ve returned from family with a sense of optimism warmed by unconditional affection – and the South African sun.  Back home, I’ve rekindled longstanding friendships with people who see me as I really am – and continue to love me for it.  I’ve realised that saying goodbye means you can say hello to fresh experiences – and that you can enjoy new people, new places and new music without being hidebound by what happened the year before!

Now that February is tugging me back into reality, I’ve resolved (but not in a New Year kind of way) to emulate my nine month old nephew and view the rest of 2011 with unfettered curiosity. It’s an adventure. Love, light and laughter await.  So too, do challenge and opportunity. Perhaps every year should begin a month later…?

I is for…Inspiration

Regular readers of this blog will have noticed that ‘I’ is for interlude…

To be honest, I haven’t felt much like blogging for some time.  Life has been pretty rubbish of late. No, less than rubbish…rubbisher! Still, cataclysmic life events notwithstanding…I confess to have been a little stuck on the alphabet blog (my challenge to myself to blog about each letter of the alphabet).

…at any rate, I’d reached ‘I”. What to choose?  Individual.Yep, that’s me. Iconoclast. Check. Izzat.  Uh? Yes, the last word is a real one – not a cricketing term, it’s derived from Arabic and means reputation or honour. It also happens to be the last entry under ‘I’ in the OED. The OED? Clearly desperate times called for desperate measures. I can usually write my way out of a paper bag. Nothing sprang to mind. My blog muse was…incognito. Inaccessible. Impossible! Earggh!

But tonight, after a long conversation with a friend in …yep, you guessed it, Indiana…I realised that ‘I’ stands for all the inspirational women who are part of my life.  Friends, family and business colleagues – women who juggle childcare with challenge, heartbreak with homemaking, and divorce with devotion to a charitable cause. They are mothers, wives, sisters, daughters and friends. They are breadwinners and bakers. Cooks, CEOs and creatives. Photographers and peacemakers.  They are my support in tough times. I salute them!

H is for…Hero

In my world, every now and then, the wheels come off the truck.  Never mind changing the tyres…it usually involves the sort of experiences that make you want to hibernate under the duvet until the world ends and we all end up as flesh eating Zombies. Given last week’s events, becoming one of the undead is looking like a favourable option.  But I digress…

I wanted to dedicate this blog to heroes.  It came to me as I was running down the fairway along the beach.  Running is usually a good source of inspiration for the blog, so I was surprised that heroes popped into my head…Well, it may have had something to do with the tall ship moored in Sandwich Bay…You know, swashbuckling pirates and fantasies of Johnny Depp!  But I digress…

As the running gave way to wheezing, I started wondering what had happened to all of the heroes. Where are they? Those square-jawed, muscle-bound men who rescue damsels in distress and still manage to make it back to the office!   Men who combine witty repartee with rippling physique. And yes, for those of you who know me well…they must have their own hair and teeth!  Though at this point in the run…anyone with a stretcher and a champagne drip would have sufficed!

Perhaps I have been asleep in my own tower for far too long… it’s quiet, but I keep finding legumes under the mattress. Still, I digress… When I look around and wimpy, weedy, iffy men have suddenly assumed primacy…well, in the UK anyway – that is the only explanation for Simon Amstell and that twit boy in plaid who presents T4… So, I’ve decided it’s time to do a Bonnie Tyler.  It’s a hero with hearts and flowers or nothing for this particular princess.