Monday, 30 January 2012

Love your handles and flash that flesh!

In this age of body consciousness we are intent on seeking improvements to our shape and weight.
This is a good thing but in our pursuit of the svelte like, cellulite busting bod, we  become leaner and meaner.

We pump iron like it’s going out of fashion and we engage in a love/hate relationship with the temple of our soul. Those of who take it to extremes can barely swallow a mouthful without feeling a burden of guilt and what they see in the mirror is ugly. Calories are counted, body mass index and weight are documented until a target is achieved and what exactly is that??

Just the way you are
Fat or thin is not beautiful. There is a middle way and the challenge is to find it. Size matters but so does height, bone structure, hip/shoulder width, waist and bust. Some of us are buxom and to obsess about it is to sweat the small stuff. Some of us are broad-shouldered and big boned. Some of us are flat as pancakes, pear and apple shaped. Many of us are vertically challenged with legs and arms to match. Some of us tower in stature and can never feel “normal” in heels.

According to all the fashion stylists and body image gurus out there there’s no such thing as “normal”. Clothes designers should bear that in mind when they send their patterns off to China to be mass produced in factories. We are not all emaciated super models. There’s real women and men who need to clothes that fit their unique shape.

Work that inch and love it too
It’s frustrating to scour aisle after aisle in shops and then find nothing that tickles your fancy. When the colour is right the material is too flimsy and shows off all the rolls. When you find the right material and colour then it’s either too short or too long. Finding a decent dress for a special occasion is a nightmare –too shiny, frilly, obscene or trashy – and whatever you like they won’t have it in your size! 

Its almost as if there’s a conspiracy between the retailer and the designer to keep the bespoke industry going at a huge cost to the customer. Of course we can get it made to measure but who has the will or the money to traipse to a dress maker and get fitted out? Perhaps we might find the energy for an important  function where the dress code is purely to impress.

Accept yourself
At a certain age, our birthday suit needs critical analysis. We must do more to keep the epidermis in optimum condition by choosing to eat more raw foods and moving it regularly. But first we must  love what we are. We are living spirits surrounded by intricate machinery and a labyrinth of veins, arteries, cells and capillaries. Keeping them in good functioning order is mandatory. If we can change our minds – as we do- then we can change our bodies.

f you look in the mirror, every body tells a story of love and abuse. Each chunk, wobbly ridge, jelly belly and muffin top has to be loved.  Hate is not an emotion that you want to feel towards any living thing, let alone your body. The mirror does not lie. Smiling at your reflection is the first step in the process of changing it. Dance around in the nude and dust off your spirit. Love the rare creature tyou are and don’t allow yourself to wither. Stay pumped and energised. Don’t be quick to cover up – your body needs to feel the wind, rain and sunshine on it. If we’re flowers in the garden of God our faces should be upturned to the sweet drops of rain.Adam and Eve were naked until they sinned and fear caused them to hide themselves from each other.

See Food Diet
Your body is the physical manifestation of your positive and negative thoughts and longings. It has been subjected to alot of wear and tear and it needs gentle handling to restore and repair it. The shift in your body weight will come when you learn to get comfortable with who you are. Treat your body as if it is something precious not a dumping ground. Listen to the whisperings of your soul, pay attention and your body will keep up too. Love your flesh and it will love you back!


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

They're so heavy......that's why they're family!

I’ve never quite understood the adage  : “blood is thicker than water” and judging by the number of rifts between family members it’s not one that I feel comfortable with.  I’m conflicted as my mind  meanders down memory lane recalling the times when I felt hurt and betrayed by kith and kin.

There have been many occasions when I’ve felt let down by my nearest and not so dearest. I’ve been missed off their wedding invitation list despite sending them invitations to mine. I’ve also not attended many of their coming of age birthday parties, engagements, christenings and other such occasions of family merriment. However, I note that there is always an open invitation to family funerals (and I’m never keen on those!).

The problems of extended family can be insurmountable. My own issues are a microcosm on the family richter scale as mine are small in number (though no less deadly when riled). They are scattered all over the world and I have no burning desire to hook up with them – by telephone, email, snail mail or the dreaded SKYPE. We may all be individuals tied by blood but that’s where the similarity ends. We have grown up in different ways and with different influences so there is  little we have by way of common ground – sad yet true.

If you come from a close-knit family then you’re fortunate and I hope that my little brood will all support each other through to adulthood.  Acute dysfunction reigns amongst a good many parents, children, aunts, uncles, cousins and respective inlaws. The prospect of an amicable gathering under one roof is remote – Little House on the Prairie it is not!  Hopefully time will soften stony hearts and faces or a TV debut on the “Jeremy Kyle”show!

Celebrity families are no less immune to familial impediments. Many a father / daughter, mother /son relationship has run aground and estrangement ensues.  Just a few years ago, Angelina Jolie’s famous father (Jon Voight) believed his daughter to have “mental issues” when she first started on her child adoption crusade. They have since reconciled but it not's easy to forgive or forget. Hurtful remarks can do lasting damage.

There’s a misconception about families being a forum for unconditional love. We’re told  that love is unconditional and then find little or no demonstration of it from our parents. We’re loved but only if we’re a “a good boy or girl”. We’re loved if we work hard at school and get good grades. We’re loved if we choose the right friends. None of the above terms are unconditional!

Its no wonder the youth are confused and disillusioned as they compete for affection and recognition. Family is now part of the rat race and that’s why communication has broken down. There’s something wrong with the models we’ve inherited from our forefathers.

Being less judgemental is the first step towards family harmony. We have to leave our grievances at the door. We’ve no idea what it is to walk in our brother’s shoes but we can help carry his load. Being there is just to be an open ear or a comforting presence. Keeping your mouth shut is more help than you know although they'll be more than willing to share the harsh and bitter truth with you - they can dish it out but can't always take it.  Choose your words carefully otherwise you’ll be eating them.  Always follow the golden rule: don’t borrow money (though you could ask for a gift!). 
Never criticise anyone's spouse, children, clothes, hair, house  or car – they’ll hold it against you forever and recount it at every Christmas, Easter & Thanksgiving.  Resist the temptation to make family member feel as if you know them better than they know themselves. Families - you can't choose 'em but you can lose 'em with loose words and dirty looks!

You can try walking in their shoes but don’t complain when you get bunions. They and you are different though connected by the same bloodline.  Live in between that paradox, keep a sense of humour  and relations will be good. You can laugh with them but not at them. Remember, over the years, blood thins and when they're in matter what.....they'll always be a bl**** nusiance!


Monday, 23 January 2012

From here...... to eternity

Today is a new day and each day on this year I am reborn. It’s the day that God and the universe conspired to turn me from spirit into the world of form.  I was fashioned in the form of Eve, given a stature and painted a certain colour. According to the dictates of those characteristics I have led an interesting and fun-filled life – but not all of the time. My  life’s been marked by  abuse, neglect (often self-inflicted), insecurity, despair, love,  friendship, blessings and joyful mysteries  - basically a lot of highs and lows!

Along my life journey I’ve known good people and strange ones. Mostly I seem to have got entangled with the latter kind who were a mass of contradictions. The complexities of the relationships I’ve endured was that I was perceived as a purely physical form.  The responses to that have been positively negative and I’ve been treated as an object.  My spirit was buried under a heap of misconceptions, misunderstandings, misnomers and plain mischief  – looking good on the outside had nothing to do with feeling it on the inside!

If life is a school then I must have passed the entrance examination for the one of Hard Knocks. It’s been hellish at times and wrought by my own hand. Mea Culpa – I take full responsibility. I was given a mind -  a strong one.  When I chose not to use it wisely I ended up in a number of situations that were tricky, to say the least, to get out of. But got out I did, though not unscathed. The scars of my past remain but they are fading as time goes on. When I look at the mirror of my soul it’s a little rough around the edges but there’s no permanent damage. My heart too is bruised but a speedy recovery is underway.

As each year passes I achieve more balance. I know that my life, though a struggle between good and evil, is the drama I needed for spiritual growth. Today, I walk ten feet tall and I look my demons in the eye. I am my own person and no one can take that away from me.

Today, I’m looking forward to the rest of my life.  I’m living and dying every day but am not afraid of it as I once was. Each dread-filled day of my past has now turned into daily joy – oh happy day!

I have overcome. I have conquered. I have fought.  I have changed my world.
Now I’m flying….with spirit as my co-pilot.


Sunday, 22 January 2012

Frugality and the selfish gene

Frugality in a global recession makes sense. We need to make cut backs and step up to austerity; the government and big business will tell you that. It’s true of course that we need to improve our budgeting skills but can it be actually done with a full and generous spirit?

Frugality hurts; it’s a painful process to constantly keep a tally of your outgoings and then to make adjustments that feel like sacrifices.  In relationships, since opposites attract, achieving the right balance between couples is tricky especially when money issues are one of the most common causes for family breakdowns.  He wants to increase the cable subscription and she wants to splash out on a designer treat for herself.  One partner is usually on the side of saving more and spending less and the other is more prone to throwing caution to the wind. To live for each day is impossible if you’re a committed frugalite.  Just like the ant and grasshopper in Aesop’s fable  some of us have the ant like qualities of saving for a rainy day and whilst others prefer to relax like the grasshopper until reality bites.

I’ve known many a frugalite but for all the wrong reasons. These are the self proclaimed Scrooges who exist on the bare minimum – rice and beans if you please and they never ask for more. They have no debt and a sufficient income that affords them the privilege of being smug and self-righteous. They are tight fisted and judgemental of others who do not adopt a severe lifestyle. They balk at the idea of spending on anything other than the bare necessities. 

Whilst I applaud true frugality I believe that without generosity and kindness to yourself and others it’s an empty gesture. Ask any miser’s family - they are good providers but they do it with resentment. They believe that whatever they provide (even a pittance) is a luxury. People from impoverished background are sometimes the worst culprits and to live within your means is to live like a pauper. Their wallets rarely see daylight and whatever you buy is always " a waste of money!"

Mean people often hide behind a façade of frugality. There’s a selfish gene that cannot be put down and it’s no doubt what got Adam and Eve banished from the garden of Eden. When we become self-absorbed we lose our sense of social justice. When we don’t feel blessed or have gratitude for the simple things then we become mean spirited. We walk past the person rattling a tin at us in the street, we ignore the homeless person sleeping in the doorway and we switch channels when we see another heart wrenching appeal for money. We don’t value ourselves or the people around us.

Meaningful frugality means that we never lose our humanity.  Just sharing our spirit through a smile is to reconnect with what’s important. Generosity does not have to break the budget and  genuine frugality is an enriching experience.  Frugality is a tool for seeking the path of peace. The incessant chatter in our heads is the cause of mindless spending and frugality is the first step towards emotional and financial organisation. Put your money where your mouth is and get a grip on your cash flow, squash that selfish gene and live frugally ever after.


Thursday, 19 January 2012

Fifteen and counting......

Having a family can be likened to an abstract work of art. It takes work and guts to create, no one can ever fully understand it , its perfected with dedication and careful editing  and is only appreciated once time has passed and you’re pushing up the daisies!

Whilst family advocates lament falling birth rates it appears that a few brave or foolhardy men and women have pledged themselves to career procreation. They’re professional baby-makers and are parents to broods of up to fifteen, claiming that they’d like to keep on going as long as the fertility clock ticks on. These women are prepared to risk their health even after they’ve suffered a series of miscarriages and endured difficult pregnancies. The age gap between each of their children is not more than 12 months so there is a steady line of mouths to feed.
 It’s a conveyor belt of chaos, conundrums, joy and sorrow.

Feeding is an issue since it takes a king’s ransom to nourish and clothe fifteen little people. Individuals they cannot be since there’s no time for Mum or Dad to make them feel special. The elder children play mother to the younger ones whilst Mum busies herself with four under the age of 4!

These women state that they simply love babies and one is so addicted to buying prams that she has 14 stashed away in her basement. I can’t imagine what it would be like to bring up so many and meet each of their needs. Women who use their lady parts to produce in such numbers can also be seeking love. A love that has eluded them all their life. They’ve not received it from their own parents and, in their damaged way, they see sex as a trade off for love. Relationships built on such shaky foundations are prone to subsidence and complete collapse so it might be the case that you’re left holding the baby-ies (all fifteen of them!).

To my mind, producing children in these large numbers and caring for them becomes an onerous task. Even a simple outing has to be planned with military precision. Going to the shops let alone a holiday turns out to be a nightmare unless you have fifteen pairs of eyes trained on little ones who dart around like torpedos.

Fertility drugs are also the cause of larger families. Couples on IVF programmes often produce children in multiples – twins, triplets, quads, quintets, sextuplets, septuplets and octuplets.

Anyone who has seen Octomum, Nadya Suleyman, interviewed will sympathise with the trials of caring for 8 little demanding people. She’s a feisty woman and has my admiration for going it alone but would you really want to?

Of course there’s love and laughter but there’s also resentment and frustration. My grandmother gave birth to fourteen and was a lone parent due to the early demise of my grandfather. Lack of electronic entertainment in the early part of the 20th century was a mitigating factor. 
 One had to keep oneself amused! Large families  were then the norm as women had no other role than to be a wife and mother. In European societies women who had more than 4 children received a commendation from the government. After the war, the State was keen to replenish its human capital.

Legislation will not curb this penchant for procreation and it can’t – it’s a human right to go forth and multiply. You’ll notice that the less well off always have more offspring and perhaps this is a match to their intellectual capabilities. 
 Insecurity,  romanticism and clever marketing is to blame for the urge to replicate a string of mini-me’s.  Don’t you just love those ads for diapers with a bunch of little cuties parading around -aaahh?!  

Childlessness is seen as a blight on your emotional landscape. Friends and family will be aghast if you were to intimate that you don't want children and your life’s already full. 
It takes wisdom and  knowledge to be an effective parent and there's no manual to refer to.
 On my parenting journey both of these faculties have been severely challenged. If children are your greatest teachers then I’ve a long way to go in my education! Its ironic that you often acquire knowledge, wisdom and more than a little courage once you set sail on the rough seas of parenting but it’s not for the faint hearted!

Modern women have choice and that comes with a heavy price - career or motherhood? They are more educated and have a greater degree of financial independence. Having children is now an option not a rule. I welcome that and believe that being the creator of your destiny is far nobler than just bringing forth children. Motherhood is a royal undertaking and should be reserved for the discerning and those who seek adventure on the domestic front.

Women today have a mind and can use it. Birth control allows then to choose when to have a family. When you have fifteen to care for you’ll never have the time to think or get past the daily mountain of laundry.

Motherhood is more than mere biology and I don’t want to be negative about a natural process. A parent is a work in progress, no doubt.  Small is beautiful and big is not any worse but let’s choose well-being and a quality of life before a quantity of children.


Sunday, 15 January 2012

Energy Crisis

January should be a month of zestful adventure. After all, we’re at the start of a 365 day marathon and we should be feeling in fine form.  We’re shaking off the old year and ringing in a new one. People, being as weak and fallible as they are, find change difficult to negotiate so preparing for high achievement is a task in itself. It’s a battle, the mother of all, between spirit and flesh. The little voices within us get into a heated debate about all manner of decision making. Good and bad resolutions are in combat and the victor of these will be the predictor of your life path in 2012 – be it rough or smooth.

When we make poor choices we suffer the consequences all year and sometimes even longer than that. Our whole life seems a compromise, a guilt trip, a mish-mash of hopes and dreams, a sacrificial lamb. Often it appears that we have sacrificed our time and efforts for no fruitful purpose other than to please people. We are adept at keeping everyone happy except for ourselves! If only we’d invested so much in the pursuit of our own ambitions.

Our energies -  physical, mental and emotional -  are valuable resources. Emotional labour we expend in each moment and it’s too bad that we can’t charge by the hour. We carry our emotional labour to the office when we show initiative and due diligence in the performance of our professional duties. Just blindly following the job description does not get the job done, it takes oomph to go the extra mile. So we work late, take work home, neglecting our families, never take a break from our electronic gadgetry and rarely feel up to an evening of socialising. 

Yes, we deplete ourselves on every level so much so that we lose out on spiritual connection. We sit in gloom filled offices with our weary colleagues bemoaning the state of world forgetting that we’re part of the problem – its our world and we’ve turned it into a hot mess! We burn out for the sake of efficiency and dedication. We’re not machines that can be easily repaired.

Never mind oil prices in the Gulf we have a crisis right here on our doorstep – mind, body and soul. It’s an energy crisis that doesn’t have a quick fix. We can’t just stick on a few solar panels and feel rejuvenated.;though a few ultra-violet rays do provide a lift. 

Spending time nurturing yourself will greatly alleviate symptoms in whatever shape or form. To start with switch off the phone and let everyone think you're away on holiday. Sit listening to the rings but don't jump to answer it - whoever it is can wait but your life can't! Avoiding the negativity of our fellow planet sharers can be like getting through an obstacle course especially when gossip makes the world go round.

Make - not find - time for unique past-times: star-gazing, bored games, nature watching, day-dreaming, holding a pen and writing with it across a clean sheet of paper, looking up a poem from your childhood, playing the “glad” game, reading a hand-held book (not an electronic reader), making music not just listening to it and the best one of all – doing absolutely nothing….aaahh!

If the first month of the year is for renewal then stop. Recharge your batteries and take a walk down easy street. Go slow and make time for thinking. Be alone but not lonely. Be happy but not for any particular reason. Put up a sign: “Mind Maintenance” and close the door. 

Be kind to yourself; drink in the silence and let tranquility wash over you. You're not frazzled; you're calm and in (reasonable) control. Breathe, sigh and breathe again.

When you’re ready to face it all again believe that a positive year awaits. I promise you that you’ll feel perked up and ready to go….. I’ll race you to the finish line in December where I'll be waiting for a progress report.


Friday, 6 January 2012

Your Love Worth Indicator

Happy New You!

In this brave new year it appears that us mortals are feeling anything but chirpy and upbeat. The reason for feelings of despondency centre around relationships . Stories of break-ups, separations and divorces all hit after the festive season. Even those in stable relationships seem to go through a bad patch. Trouble and  strife spares no one  from the affluent and super trendy to humble plodders who get by and make do. 

The greatest contradiction is that some couples, upon the announcement that they’re separating , claim to be “beyond heartbroken” and that they’ll always “adore” their partner. If you were so adorable why would you be splitting up? Trying to get to the bottom of why relationships fail is like taking a leap into quantum physics. It’s deep,  littered with anomalies  and mind boggling ideologies.

When there’s a fracture in human relations self esteem usually takes a nose dive. Our fragile egos shatter under the spotlight that reveals our inadequacies and flaws. But who said we were perfect? And who’s judging who? Why is it not okay to be flawed?

This week the delectable Demi Moore mentioned  in an interview that she does not feel worthy of love. She’s in the throes of divorce from her second husband and is at a low point.  She says : “what scares me is that I'm going to ultimately find out at the end of my life that I'm really not loveable, that I'm not worthy of being loved. That there's something fundamentally wrong with me ... and that I wasn't wanted here in the first place."

Demi's doubts
This is a tragic state of affairs for a woman who is worth millions, looks like a million dollars and is the envy of millions of women. Beautiful women suffer from extraordinary insecurity and no amount of money can buy self worth. Ms Moore and countless women like her are just not comfortable with themselves. They’ve allowed to men to become a sort of yard stick for their sense of worth. A woman whose confident as a result of the arm candy she’s become is a woman on the road to ruin. 

Her Love Worth Indicators (LWI) are in the eyes of a cheater, the lips of a serial, sweet nothing whisperer and wrapped in his arms he’ll drag you further into a web of deceit.

No one is unlovable though there are some human specimens who will challenge you on that one!
There’s a lot less wrong with Ms Moore than she thinks and a large dose of uncommon sense is just what the love doctor recommends. As for not being wanted....I suggest Ms Moore digs deep into her past and finds the germ that infiltrated her healthy, emotional defences. This goes back to childhood and the feeling of being unloved by parents and other authority figures. Ms Moore suffers more than the rest of us as she may believe, that due to her success, she has a right to happiness. Happiness is not a right but a noble aspiration.

I suspect that Ms Moore is indulging in a spot of self-pity and she’s entitled to wallow but don’t do it for too long. Pity is like a quick sand that drags you down into depression and melancholy and when you realise you’re sinking and want to get out, you’ll find yourself well and truly stuck.

Your Love Worth Indicators are your own feelings about yourself. Be kind and gentle to yourself; feel your feelings. Don’t hold back the tears and face up to your fears. Never let a man turn you into something you’re not. Never make excuses and allowances to preserve a relationship that does not serve you.  
Your higher self requires respect and validation. Your spirit wants to rise above the visible. It wants freedom from unhealthy relationships and attachments.

Who are you in the quiet moments? Do you like yourself when're you're alone?
 We have to work on becoming the people we'd really like to spend time with.
This is our goal for the new year and every year.

Perhaps the real question we’re asking is.... is love worthy of us?
And the answer is YES - we are loveable, we are wanted and it is our right be here.
I'm worth it....are you?