ProteaSome of us like summer, while other prefer winter.  Some love the the newly-sprouted in the early spring; others love the summer rains; others love the snowtop mountains; and other love the autumn-orange of fallen leaves.

But there is a purpose to the different seasons.  Veld fires caused by lightning during the summer rains create space for new life.  Decaying leaves from autumn replenish the soil with nutrients and act as compost. And with every passing season, we learn something new.  Never a dull moment in the school of life!

Friendships are very much the same.  You are more fond of some than others.  Some scorch you.  Some will leech onto you like a parasite.  Others pick you up and stand by you.  Some friends act as leaves and others act as the tree itself.  Many shapes and sizes; many reasons; many possibilities. All happens for a reason.  Some friendships will be with you every step of the way.  They will photosynthesize and be the air you breathe.  Some will cast a shade over you to protect you from the elements.  Some will whsisper inspiration into your ears as the wind rustles through their branches.  Some will cushion your steps as you slowly take careful steps into your future.
Even lost friendships that has past, will have left a lasting impression.  A parasite will have left scare-tissue, but it would’ve made you stronger. Fallen leaves would have had an input in your growth.  A standing tree will be there to support you when you wanted to lie down.  Some will blossom and you will admire the beauty and their charismatic aroma.

As seasons pass, you will have lost many; but gained as well.  Sometimes you would’ve lost the best.  And yes! Sometimes you will find an irreplacable treasure.  But I think it is important to realize that as much as these people are important in your life, you need to be a postive input in their life as well.

Let luscious grass grow underneath your treetop for when your friend needs to lay their head down and let the tree top spread wide over them to protect them from the harsh sun and heavy hail and winds; Be the tree they can lean on when they are tired;  Let your autumn leaves gentle cover the soil and replace nurtients and minerals.  Photosynthesize good quality fresh air for your friend to be able to breathe when panic surrounds them.

The saying goes: “good friends are hard to find” and “the best things in life a free”.  So realize the wealth you have in your friends. Love them for who they are and what they mean to you.

Friendships… A term widely used and often misunderstood. While some friendships are not destined to last, others transform into something better and greater. Some friendships even carry the same weight as family.

The unfortunate truth is that some friendships fade away… Not necessarily because of wrongdoing from a specific party… It just happens. Distance between people grow wider and at the end, it ends up as memories. Others end purely because it was build on fake ideals and empty promises. Some diminish by choice, while others wilt away unnoticed. It is facts that some of these friendships leave an empty space within you as they perish, whilst others don’t affect you as much.

But all is not lost. Some friendships do survive and not only survive but even flourish! Some friendships become a bond that cannot be broken. These friendships are built on trust, truth and mutual respect. Some become so much more.

If there is a friendship you believe is worth fighting for, do it. But if you fail to keep it, acknowledge its value and accept the outcome. Sometimes friendships appear from the most unsuspecting places and between people you never thought possible.

In my life, I have found great friendships and lost just as many. Some great and some… not as great. Some by choice, and some lost even after I fought long and hard battles to keep. However, the ones I have now, I appreciate. A few of them, I cherish as if it is the last miracle on earth.

The Unforgettable Moment

Posted: July 11, 2016 in Current
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Life is an ocean filled with ebb and flow tides – filled with good and bad experiences.  We accept it as we understand it forms part of our school of life.  Sometimes we feel like quitting, and other times we wish time would pause for a moment – just to soak in the greatness of a memory in the making.

I believe that my purpose in life is simply trying to make other people smile.  At times it works, and other times it fails miserably.  Good intentions aren’t always received in the fancy wrapping you pictured in your mind.  I am very particular to see the people in my life to be happy (as much as possible) and if something is hindering a friend, I always try to be there for them to lean on or just to listen.  The aim is to be there for them; assure them they are not alone and do not always have to carry their load alone.  I will be there – irrespective of time, place or circumstances.  And the reason is because I care.

But sometimes, it is not an easy task – impossible even, but you attempt nonetheless.  And then…

You experience something you didn’t expect.

With a tough week behind them, you know a friend, strong and able, put up a brave face to avoid nagging questions and attempts to ‘make them feel better’.  But magic happened before my eyes!

Her eyes lit up and sparkled like diamonds! Her face glowed as her beautiful smile appeared!  I was in awe!  Her energy was revived and you could see she was at a place in her mind where she needed to be!  A place where her heart and mind joined!

What did I do to accomplish this?  Nothing.  Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for it.  The miracle working was a child, and it made me wonder how such a small creature can accomplish so much with no effort and little time.  The answer was staring me in the face without me knowing it.

Truth, honesty and a pure heart!  This little one wasn’t fake or attempted to crack a smile for her own benefit.  She was simply honest, truthful and herself.  While she was working her magic, I found myself constantly stare at my friend’s eyes and smile and at the end I found myself speechless – scared to taint the beautiful moments they share.

Maybe that is what adults lack?  Perhaps we are so used to overcomplicate things.  I think we have so much to learn from the little ones, we just never make the time to sit down and actually look and listen.  Humans have the tendency to always work at an angle to see how they can benefit.

Maybe we should take a few steps back and start with the basics again.  Be truthful!  Be honest!  Be yourself!  Be the support pillar because you want to be – with no hidden agendas.  Be the listening ear that listens and absorbs and not attempt to throw back intelligent-sounding answers.  Allow your friend to rant and rave.  Give a hug because you wish to absorb some of their pain and not because you want them to be in your debt.

Make space in your life to be a child and adult alike.  Just give it your all.  Be there for who you really are.  Be respectful of others’ feelings and accept that sometimes you can’t fix things.  but also remember that it is easier to be truthful and honest.  Make space in your heart to fill a section with the characteristics of a child!

 

A glossy cover does not depict the quality of the content in a book.  Yet, if possible readers see the ripped and worn backbone of a book, they do not reach for it, but a glossy, well-designed cover attracts them like a moth to a flame.  A good read is normally the one showing wear and tear because not one but many people read the book, and maybe even read it a few times.

In our modern times, on a daily basis you hear how people are judged for their sexual orientation, their religion, their skin colour, gender, cultures, their abilities/disabilities.  These matters even get accentuated during the ‘voting seasons’.  For these reasons am I losing faith in mankind!

Even when there is no gain for anyone, these matters are still a major problem in society, but when someone can benefit themselves, then all of a sudden they use these ‘trump cards’ to justify their means and add fuel to the fire.

Religion is but one tool for someone to gain votes and popularity; for another it is a way of life and beliefs.  ISIS-extremists are not speaking for the whole Muslim community.  Muslim is one of the great religions – their followers are dedicated and passionate about their beliefs.  Me, being a Christian, does not make me any better or worse than them, and the same apply to Buddhists and Hinduists and the multiple other religions out there.  Even if you have studied the Quran and the Bible in full to the utmost extent, the ‘educated’ outcome will still be “just your opinion”.

How can you fault someone for not believing in the same thing you do?  Can you say for certain you are right and the other person wrong?  Why can’t people from different religions share a table and enjoy each other’s companionship?  It is not impossible you know!

Race… In the apartheid era in South Africa, blood was spilled, based on your skin colour. Unfortunately, even now in the 21st century, not much has changed across the world.  Some use the race-card to incite others to violence.  Others then retaliate.  At the end, it is just a spinning wheel repeating the same problems over and over again.  Seeing an African walking down the street with a boom box, doesn’t mean the person stole it. A ‘white’ person is not necessarily wealthy. A Muslim is not a terrorist!

A person with or without abilities or disabilities is no better or worse than the other.  Being an amputee, does not mean you are less human than an able-bodied person (and I say that with caution).  Looking down on a disabled person is a disability by itself: Not to see what those people have accomplished with the hardships they face.  The only disability a human being can have is the lack of the correct attitude.

There is a saying that justice is blind.  Unfortunately, people think the blind means ignorant where it is actually meaning justice is impartial and objective.  Have you ever wondered why Lady Justice (a statue of a woman with a scale and a sword) is blindfolded?  The blindfold simply represent objectivity.  Justice is impartial and should be handed down objectively.  This needs to be done without fear or favour, regardless of the identities involved, fame, wealth, power or money.

Yet, mankind is so easy to judge without delving deeper.  People love the power to judge others and look down on others.  We all have weaknesses, but at the end, doesn’t matter who you are, what your believes and preferences are, we are all the same.  If a person closes his/her eyes, what do you know about a person across the road behind a brick wall?  It is a soul that travels through life in a vessel that bleeds red-coloured blood.  In essence, we are all the same: Flawed, but perfect!

Mankind have a degree in ignorance! We should be compassionate, selfless, respectful, kind and honest, yet we don’t experience that as much as we experience judgement on a daily basis.  We judge a book by its glossy cover, and pretend we have studied the content extensively and have become a know-it-all.  Regrettably, that is a choice a person makes.

We breathe the same air; we walk the same earth; we gaze at the same moon.  We can decide to burn ourselves by judging one another, or we can respect one another and appreciate what we have in our lives.  Hopefully one day, the common man judge and juries of the world will realize that we are all the same.

Little Pleasures

Posted: June 7, 2016 in Current
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Life is and always will be a rollercoaster ride – riddled with good times and tough times. Asking people what will make their life great normally ends up with similar responses of winning a lottery, big cars, and and and… Are materialistic things the answer to make someone happy?

Or is there more to life?

When we experience the toughest times in our lives, there is magic around us and it does not need any currencies. We forget to appreciate the little pleasures in life that makes life worth living. These magical moments don’t need to cost an arm and a leg, or put you in debt for 60 months! It is for mahala – free – gratis!

These little pleasures are some of the best experiences in the world. Waking up, drawing the curtains and notice you have another hour or two to sleep is a simple example. The smell of freshly brewed coffee first thing in the morning; or the aroma of rain in the air cannot be bought!  But there are so many more… each differs from person to person. But at the end these lift-me-uppers are angels lifting our spirits.

To me, the best cherished and most miraculous little pleasures are:

Spending time with a friend walking between shrubs and plants, seeing what nature has to offer; seeing how these things light up her eyes; her mind electrified with possible ideas of what can be done with this or that plant.  Even visiting a friend you haven’t seen in a while; or receiving an unexpected hug from someone you have a lot of respect for; seeing a smile on someone your cherish or hear the laughter of a friend or love one; seeing the face of your pup in the morning (fully anticipating a possible treat or mini-coffee); dancing in the rain for no apparent reason! These are the priceless moments!

When life throws you lemons and you are down the dumps, it is the moment when you realise that you have friends and loved ones that will support you and be by your side when you need it most, that lessen the load on your shoulders.  Little pleasures don’t only appear in good times and but in tough times too.  A person just need to be aware of it surrounding you.

Knowing you have a friend or loved on you can rely on in difficult times are priceless!  Knowing someone that will not lie to you, but rather tell you the truth to prepare yourself for the future is a great treat and pleasure – yet, unfortunately this is a very rare occurrence.  Support and friendships are key pillars in life that is uplifting and right amongst the best of treasures.

I am fortunate that I feel lifted when I know I can make someone feel better; or smile; or for a split moment forget their difficulties. It is as simple as that.  It doesn’t take much to make me happy.  I am fortunate with the people I have in my life.  Some of the most precious moments in life are shared with people that are important in your life.

Don’t let the darkness dampen the light in your life!  Open your eyes and appreciate the little pleasure in life – whether it be a person, animal, memory or experience!  Let it carry you forward!

Disabled By Our Own Abilities

Posted: January 1, 2016 in Current
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We are quick to define someone as a disabled person just by certain characteristics.  Blind by eyesight; deaf by hearing; paraplegic by the loss of the use of limbs.  All conveniently categorized to make it easy to define someone’s ‘disability/impairment’.

Imagine you find yourself in pitch black darkness, not being able to see your own hand in front of your face.  Imagine a deafening silence while waking up early in the morning and walking on the beach.  Now, imagine spending a whole day without any of your senses or use of them.

Yet, “abled bodied” people are more concerned about how awkward it feels to stand next to a blind person while commuting or stare when a deaf couple use sign language to communicate.  What makes abled bodied people any more a human being than another?  A woman is not less of a human because she is female; superiority is not defined by race.  Where is the divide?

‘Abled bodied’ people’s disability is in their abilities! With 20:20 vision, we are blind to see the beauty in life – people and nature.  With perfect hearing, we hear but do not listen to a single word!  We are so obsessed with the abnormalities of others, that we forget to live!  To make it worse, here are some thoughts to ponder on:

  • There are no effective policies to provide a quality education to children with a disability (source: http://www.globalpartnership.org).
  • It is estimated that 90% of children with disabilities in the developing world do not go to school.(source: http://www.globalpartnership.org) Only a fraction of this percentage will successfully find a job.
  • To purchase textbooks to further studies or your career, standard print is readily available. Braille is only available on request with very limited suppliers.  Braille print, or the converters are extremely expensive.
  • One can find a standard vehicle easily for acceptable prices, yet to apply modifications to such a car to cater for a disabled is almost impossible to afford.
  • In South Africa, sign language is one of the top 10 ‘languages’ used, yet it is not part of the 11 official languages.

It is clear that most businesses do not even consider catering for a small group of people, because there will not be an adequate profit margin.  The question I pose to these business owners and governments:  How can someone afford the necessary tools to make a living and add value in the commercial world of the a country, if there are no support since the school career right through to their adulthood?  I am not saying I have the solution to it all, but surely awareness to such a matter needs to be raised!

I have learnt such a great deal from the so-called disabled or ‘impaired bodies’.  Use what is given to you and appreciated every experience and moment, as you will never have a second chance to experience that specific moment.  People that have been thrown to the wolves, yet, they never complain, and they live each day for the blessing it is!  People that listen to your energy and your body language; blind people seeing more than many of us; paraplegics doing the extra mile… Because they can and they are willing and able!  You get no judgement and more respect from a single disabled person, than a full train of ‘abled commuters’.

Dedicated to a fallen angel, Trudie Arndt, with a heart as big as life itself.  A person we all came to love and respect. A person we all could learn a lot from.  A new year has come and past, but your lasting impressions will always be embedded in our hearts.