Waiting for a sunrise

Waiting for a sunrise

I woke up before sunrise this morning.

At first, I was irritated to be awake as I was still tired.

Alas… I wasn’t going back to sleep as my head started running away with me as soon as my eyes popped open.

I already decided I’m going offline this weekend, so maybe some quiet hammock time would help my brain settle down.

As I walked into the kitchen, I saw that it was starting to get light. My first thought was that it wasn’t the spectacular sunrises that we normally get, and I was disappointed at how boring it looked.

Then I wondered if this was it…. And at what time sunrise really was?

Instead of reaching for my phone to check the exact time, I sat on the kitchen counter and waited.

Nothing much happened.

After a while I decided that I might as well get a cup of coffee.

As I got off the counter, I realised that I’d been looking in the wrong place and the sun was actually rising a bit further to my right… right behind some trees from where I had been sitting.

Coffee in hand I went back to sit on the counter… now paying closer attention to the wider picture.

Now I could see the definite signs of a beautiful sunrise!

As I was watching, I realised that although I could see the sun now, a cloud bank was just above the horizon and shortly after sunrise the sun would disappear behind the clouds again.

I was struck by the important lessons I learnt this morning.

I realised that sometimes you are disappointed by what you expect should happen and then it doesn’t.

You expect more… especially when you think you’ve done enough to prepare and are in the right place.

Then you change your point of view, and you wait a bit longer and you realise you were so focussed on the goal, you forgot to look at the bigger picture and you almost missed the big event!

At the same time things might not always be bright and somewhere along the line the sun will disappear behind the clouds.

But it won’t stay there.

You just need to be ready for when it comes out again.

And sometimes that means getting up before the sun, changing your position and being mindful of the lessons around you.

Turn the key.

Turn the key.

“I’m not sure if you realise, but every time you open your mouth a key comes out”

While sitting in her mother’s kitchen after a very successful food demonstration and Heritage Day celebration, Claudia Thage and her sister Cindy from @Sistaskitchenrescue and I were chatting about their vision.

When she made her statement towards me, I was momentarily stunned. Now that I’ve had a few days to process, I realise that this comment captures something that has been in my mind a long time.

I’m so grateful that Claudia would say something like this but also that she would realise that the chats we’ve had over the last few weeks is just that…

…a key

And the thing with a key is that it doesn’t work on its own, no matter how beautiful or fancy. For that door to be unlocked you must turn the key. 

You must take action.

If you don’t, that door stays closed.

I’ve met some interesting people in my life but have been particularly lucky the last few years to meet some truly unique individuals.  People who come from rural and impoverished backgrounds that have repeatedly taught me many life lessons.  Who have shown me that even with the little bit that they have, they are proud, hopeful and above all are not afraid to share their love.

They often have a dream and while most of them don’t have the resources, education, or networks to make it big time, they keep hustling. They work with what they’ve got, and they don’t give up.

I regularly find myself sitting on a plastic chair in the dirt outside a house with no electricity or running water and listen to people talk passionately about the big dreams they have but with no clue how or where to start.

And so, the keys…

Sadly, many people don’t know what they don’t know… who of us do? This is where the magic happens. It always starts with someone reaching out.  Someone picking up the phone and asking for help.

For me this is what makes all the difference. When you understand that you can’t sit and wait for someone to come and save you, that you will need to stand up on your own.

When you ask for one thing because you think it’s what you need but are still open to listen and learn and when you see that key to grab it with both hands.

Then it’s easy to help. My good friend Lisa Martus from Ribola Art route says: “Put energy where there is energy already”

That inner spark, that ability to not give up no matter what the circumstances are is something that money can’t buy, and nobody can create it for you.

You have to do it yourself.

Go ahead, turn the key.

Ready for the rain comes.

Ready for the rain comes.

Yesterday I met with the Ngunghunyani Dancers from Lulekani a village near Phalaborwa in South Africa.  I was asked to come as they needed some things very badly and didn’t know how to get them.

As we sat outside in the shade of Jeffrey’s house, we needed a translator to help us communicate. The group of Tsonga Boys have carried the legacy of Jeffrey’s father to great hights. Their traditional dance group is well known in the local area and are even invited to regional areas to participate in celebrations and to showcase the Traditional Tsonga Dance Style.

During our discussions someone said that it was sad how much time has been wasted and that they should have been much more successful by now as the group has been going for many years.

This is something I’m hearing quite a lot in the recent months. That you’ve wasted time and you could have been further if you’ve done this or that differently.

I respectfully disagree.

I’ve learnt this last year that you are exactly where you need to be right now. That what you’ve done in the past has brought you to where you are at this point in your life.

Trying to explain through a translator is an interesting thing, so you do it in a way that might make sense.

Sometimes, even when it rains, the soil is not ready.

That doesn’t mean that that the soil will never be ready, will never be fertile.  It means that at that moment, the soil might still need something to get ready. You might need to bring in compost or reseed. It might rain too much or not enough.

But when the time is right, the growth will come.

Our responsibility is to learn from what we’ve done, to prepare and to watch out for the right time.

So that when the rain comes, we are ready.

Using your tools.

Using your tools.

During the 2021 Christmas break, I was watching Marius Swart use a grinder. This is a piece of machinery that clearly needs some level of skill to cut through metal, cement, and other surfaces.

I asked him who taught him to operate a grinder and he replied that he used to watch his dad many years ago. He also learnt some lesson on his own on the way.  Since there was no blood, I’m guessing that he must be doing something right, especially since the task he set out to do, was getting done.

I noticed that he was holding the tool in a certain way to cut through the metal, but sometime, because he was working in a space with funny angles, he had to turn the tool the other way or use a different angle.

This made me think of the tools that we have in our own lives.  Things that we use to get us through our challenges and that help us make our lives easier.

Are we using these tools properly? Are we using them at all?

When we do use them, do you only use them as intended or to we sometimes push outside our own comfort zones to challenge the rules and use the tool at a different angle to get a better result?

Over the last year I’ve acquired a few new tools from software to methodologies to apps that I’m still learning how to use.

I’m realising that we all have a framework but getting the best out of that tool in the context that you are operating only depends on how you apply it. It also takes practice. The better you know the tool the easier it is to get creative.

If you don’t have the tools, then find it, they are out there. Sometimes it’s simply a question of keeping an open mind and saying yes to something that comes your way, even if you don’t know exactly where it will fit into your life at that time.

If you don’t have it, I hope you find it.  When you do, may it lead you to discovering new frontiers.

Taking the time to watch the storm.

Taking the time to watch the storm.

This morning I had a virtual coaching session scheduled with a client. 

When we started, he warned me that they were experiencing a hectic thunderstorm and that he might have a power out.

We decided to push ahead and continue the session with the thunder rumbling in the background and the lighting flashing on the wall behind him.

The next moment, exactly what he warned about happened. He disappeared off the screen… No power.

A few minutes later he came back and, with wide eyed awe, said that as he was putting the power back on, on the electrical board the lighting hit it out again. A frighting and potentially life-threatening experience!

We then decided to bow to the power of the storm and instead of coaching would take this unexpected free time to sit quietly and watch the spectacle of Nature reiterate the things that are truly important.

As I live on the other side of the country, there was not storm for me, but I realised the gift of this unexpected time to reflect to recalibrate. To see the bush around me, to hear the birds, to feel the wind and sun against my skin.

I ignored my phone, got a cup of coffee, and revelled in where I found myself this very moment.

Suddenly my day looks different, I feel calmer and more grounded.

Be in the moment.

Shut up so you can really listen to what the universe is trying to teach you.

Passion is a Feeling

Passion is a Feeling

“Passion is not a plan, it’s a feeling, and feelings change”Terri Trespicio

This quote out of one of Terri’s TED Talks has been simmering for weeks.

It reminded me of how I’ve always been a little bit jealous of people who have an absolute crystal-clear knowledge of where they want to be going.

I’ve never had that.

I’ve lived my life Project- by- Project. It’s true that while I’m busy with a project I get completely involved. I jump in boots and all and work my butt off to make it a success. I often get totally emersed to the exclusion of everything or everyone else.

This, of course, is remnants of my Performing Arts days. Whether I was on stage myself or Backstage Manager for a Production there is a process.

  • You start with a script or a program
  • You meet with the Director to understand his or her vision.

Then things start happening.

  • Auditions. Production, Set designs and Costumes meetings all happening at the same time.
  • Rehearsals start and things get a bit more real when you start seeing everything coming together.
  • Very soon you are on Technical and Final Rehearsals and BAM Opening Night!
  • Crazy days and nights, very little rest and pressure during shows all blur together and suddenly you are watching the Cast take their final bow to the Audience’s Applause or even more gratifying their requests for Encores and standing ovations!

And then it’s all over.

You know you’ve done a great job. The Crew, Cast and more importantly the Audience have clearly told you that the project was a success.

Awesome! Start, middle and very clear ending!

Then you hit the “real world”

Here you have working business hours (mostly) at a Guesthouse or Hotel. As before very few guests see how you operate behind the scenes. But here is no applause or ovation. It is a continuous day in and day out operation with people coming and going and no clear ending.

Also nobody to tell you, that you are doing a great job or that you suck for that matter. You have no way of measuring your success.

You might get a good review (or most likely the property you work for will) and sometimes people with say they’ve enjoyed their stay but when things go wrong you will just be dealing with negativity from people who complain and continue on much as the day before.

How on earth do you keep yourself motivated?

How do you measure your success?

I found this incredibly difficult. It’s easy to say you shouldn’t depend on affirmation from others, be they Guests or Bosses. But the reality is that you very seldom get that kind of feedback and I found it almost impossible.  I needed the “quality control check” from others to show me I’m on the right track.

Over the years I came up with my own measuring tool to help me decide if I was still heading in the right direction. If I were at a job and on waking up in the morning the first thing, I think about is what time my shift ends, then I need to move. I felt that this was my subconscious telling me that I should pay attention. That I was not living my passion anymore.

When I moved out of the Hospitality side of Tourism, I did so thinking that my Passion was training and that is where I was going to go.

It has taken me 3 years and a Pandemic to see that, although I can also do training, in reality my passion is in the coaching and mentoring of people.

It is about creating a safe space for someone who has never had the opportunity to think about what they really, truly wanted. Of helping that person ask him or herself the questions that will guide them to knowing that they deserve to live their own passions.

I’m not there yet.

In fact, I’m now starting to understand that the journey is so much more important than wherever “THERE” is.

I’m hoping that I’ll be able to find my affirmation in less spectacular, more real doses. Such as a light going on in a person’s eyes when they realise, they can and should have a dream. 

When they start to take those first wobbly steps to making their own dreams come true.  When they come back with smiles and hope because of the small wins along the route.

Going forward I’ll still be working on every project with passion.

I’ll just be making a point of checking in with myself to make sure I don’t lose my authentic self and that my passion is still driving me.

Because Passion is a feeling and feelings change.

And that is the REAL journey.