Hey, I love you

19 12 2013

I really thought that I had written my last blog from New York a few weeks ago, but then I realized that I wasn’t quite done for 2013 yet.

So this is what I want to say to you all, wherever you are in the world right now. I LOVE YOU!

We lost Nelson Mandela almost two weeks ago. I think you all know that I’m South African. Well, for a full week I cried. Really, really cried. I felt so sad. When people spoke to me about anything, I kept wanting to say to them, ‘Hey, Nelson Mandela died. I can’t speak about anything else right now’. It felt like a part of me had died! Was it that part of me that was a young child growing up in Apartheid South Africa in the 70’s and 80’s? Was it the young, idealist Social Worker who was terrified and exhilarated the first time she went into a township? Was it the young mom who still remembers the way I handed my newborn to her beloved nanny, Olga, for the first time and said ‘Gaga, meet our baby girl!”

I have read every article, blog and watched every video saying goodbye to Madiba. I have had to say my own personal goodbye to someone whom I met for a brief moment in time, but who changed my life forever. I will never, ever, as long as I live, stop thanking God for giving me the opportunity to meet Madiba and shake his hand and share in his incredible energy.

As I cried, I realized one thing. Parts of us never die. They just evolve. They transform, They use the stepping stones of life’s journey and they move on. But, they do not die! Whatever it is that we put out into the world, DOES NOT DIE!!

And then, as with every loss, we need to move on. We need to see the sun come out, and the promise of a new day beckon. We need to know that the sadness will always be there a little bit, but that there is something MORE to do.

My More To Do is pretty simple. Love Yourself. Love Your Life. Love Your People. Because really, when you boil it all down to it’s barest essence, that’s really all that matters!!

Turn to that person sitting next to you right now.

Here goes mine:

Hey babe, I love you! Hey Courtney and Tayla, I love you! Hey, Mom and Dad, I love you. Hey My Friends, I love you!!!

 

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I Better Make It Good

1 12 2013

ImageI’m writing this blog as I sit on the plane on the way home to Seattle from a trip to New York City.

I’m also writing this blog as a final entry for 2013, so I figure I better make it good!

I BETTER MAKE IT GOOD. I love those words. Yup, there is something about those particular words that makes tears come to my eyes, (Good tears, like when someone you love says something kind to you or gives you a big hug). Make it Good is a gentle embrace for my soul and I’ll tell you why.

As I stare out this airplane window, the sky is so blue and bright and beautiful. Beneath the blue is this expanse of white clouds and as I keep gazing at it I see a soft yellow light shining in the space where they meet.

This year was interesting for me. I returned from visiting South Africa thirteen months ago feeling very unsettled. The guilt, shame and loss of my life in South Africa is my very own Wrecking Ball. After almost 6 years I still beat up on myself regularly. My demons: How could I have left my parents behind? Would I be better/happier/more successful in SA? These doubts still reside in my heart. I still grieve for what I lost and for what I left behind. I still call (and now whatsapp) my family and friends whenever I get a moment. The homesickness is just that. Home Sickness. And so, day by day, I slowly get better, or worse. Sometimes I’ll just stay in bed, but then other times, I’ll get busy. On my truly worst of days (and inspired by The Birthday Project) I’ll go out and buy a meal for a homeless person or reach out to someone in my community. Then, I’ll feel a little better…. Because I stop thinking about myself. I believe that’s what God wants us to do anyway.

Anyway, as the months went by this year, and as the summer approached, I knew I needed to do something about the shoulder pain which had plagued me for months. But, I was terrified. For many reasons, I could not face my fear of doctors or of just of being vulnerable. I had a Summer of Silence. No parties, or barbecues or very much of anything for me. I just needed SILENCE. I could not hold the pain of the world on my shoulders anymore. I could barely hold my own pain.

And then I found a book, Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown. I read that book maybe 5 times, I watched her TED talks and followed her on the Oprah Network and Twitter. Another book by Glennon Melton, Carry on Warrior, Thoughts on Life Unarmed, also came into my life via a friend, and as I read her blog daily, she too, resonated with my addiction to perfection. She basically says that it’s really ok to NOT be ok!!

For a week I watched sunsets in Whidbey Island and cried until my eyes ran out of tears. Most people only saw the positive, all-together side of me but a handful of my ‘people’ recognized, and acknowledged my pain. And this was my Turning Point. In being HONESTLY not ok; flawed, lonely, real and a little broken, I found my inner wisdom.

Here it is:

People are my Medicine.

Loving others and my self is my daily Exercise.

And, Believing in GOOD is my Religion.

Healing is such a glorious Paradox.

As I went through deep Soul and Shoulder Surgery I realized that what I always tell my kids about fear of something being scarier than the actual thing you are afraid of, is even truer the older you get.

For me, Loss, Pain, Separation, Guilt, Shame and Vulnerability strengthened me this year. It made me, ME.  As Brene Brown says, you gotta go through vulnerability to get to courage.

A few weeks ago, I turned to Cyril and said, Hey, lets do NY NOW, for Thanksgiving, not in December as planned. I didn’t quite understand why. But now, I do. My soul needed to give thanks in a city which is all about the healing.

I don’t know what 2014 holds, but I do know this:

I will tattoo the words BE REAL, BE HONEST, BE STRONG, along with BE KIND on my heart today.

Some people think that Kindness is weakness. Some people think that Honesty can only be cruel. No!!!

I believe in a deeper kind of strength and realness which is:

YOU ARE WHO YOU ARE!

You are where you are! You become the best YOU by knowing you! You are here, on this Earth, right now, for a reason, so…

BETTER MAKE IT GOOD!!!!

 And Happy Holidays to all my people wherever in the world you are. I love you all deeply!!!

Postscript: My fear is that you will read this and wonder how I could possibly share such personal stuff with strangers and friends alike, but again I’ll say that I’d rather be real than be scared. Thank you to those who give me courage… You know who you are. I hope I can give you courage too.