Happy New Year!

It’s a new dawn… It’s a new day… It’s a New Year!

It’s a new 365 day adventure of high’s, low’s,

ups, downs, twists and turns…….

So breathe… Smile…

And live in each present moment.

Don’t take matters too seriously…

For every moment that passes will never be repeated.

Enjoy all this extra-ordinary ride called life has to offer…

It’s your life…

…Bring on 2015!

Sunrise on the Western Cape, SA.“It is better to travel well than to arrive.”  

– Buddha.

Mandela Day…

In honour of the 67 years Nelson Mandela spent fighting for social justice and a free, democratic South Africa people around the world are being encouraged to spend 67 minutes helping their communities to do something positive today.

What are you doing this Nelson Mandela Day?  There are so many ways we can all help those around us, just stop yourself and think for a moment about what you can do.  No matter how big or small every gesture helps and the knock on rippling effect of goodness will flourish.

Mandela Day was inspired by the speech Madiba made in Hyde Park, London, on 27th June 2008 when he urged the leaders of future generations to help change the world for the better saying, “It is in your hands now.”

Today I have gifted two indigenous trees to be planted in an under-greened community.   Trees promote life in the form of oxygen, shelter for wildlife, recharge groundwater, replace soil nitrates and have countless more environmental benefits.  They also provide great pride of place in communities, helping them to become healthier and happier places to dwell.  Those living in barren landscapes are far more likely to suffer from crime, drug abuse and depression.   So a tree provides a host of means to help a community blossom.

One organisation doing an incredible job here in Cape Town is called Greenpop and if you too would like to get involved with making things greener please check them out here.  You can help no matter where you are in the World.  We are after all one big community sharing this earth.

If you are looking to your own local community sometimes even the smallest acts of kindness can make a persons day, for example:

  • Buy someone a coffee.
  • Hold the door open for the next person.
  • Help an elderly person with their shopping.
  • Spend time with a family member or friend in need.
  • Buy the big issue.
  • Go to your local charity in need and donate food, clothing or household necessities.
  • Hand out sandwiches if there are homeless people in your area.
  • Quite simply say thank you.
  • Smile and send out positive vibes!

Right must dash, I have got to go and buy my copy of the Big Issue….

Tall trees.

Oh to be so tall & slender!

Feeling good… in mind and body…

Well I don’t know if it is the euphoria brought on by the recent Super Moon or my yoga class but this week everything feels great!  Having always been a high impact, full exertion or nothing at all type of exercise goer, I am finding Hatha yoga surprisingly enjoyable.   For a long time now I have been meaning to give it more of a chance than the odd session here and there.  This year it was on my new years resolution list, again!

Perhaps it’s my age creeping up too but if I plan on living as long as I want to, the joints need some reprieve from boxing and running.  So I have finally succeeded in taking yoga up.  I started in January in Melbourne and have now found a wonderful place to continue my practise overlooking the ocean in Camps Bay!  (Yes, I do feel rather lucky!).

There are many descriptions but to summarise from wikipedia – “Hatha yoga represents opposing energies: hot and cold (fire and water, following similar concept as yin-yang), male and female, positive and negative. Hatha yoga attempts to balance mind and body via physical postures or “asanas”, purification practices, controlled breathing, and the calming of the mind through relaxation and meditation. Asanas teach poise, balance and strength and are practiced to improve the body’s physical health and clear the mind in preparation for meditation”.

I am finding it is especially helpful during this time of transition, when although on the outside I may seem confidently settled in to my new environment, I am still having troublesome dreams and feel a little anxious at times about the future.  It’s human nature, but the best strategy is to keep putting life into perspective, to make the most of every day and focus on the positive.

In other ways I am almost anxious because life suddenly seems too good to be true or is that just how it should feel in the sanctuary of marriage!  Well, not only was it the super moon this weekend but it was also the two-year anniversary from the happy day (22/06/11) when my dearest asked for my hand in marriage!  Now I am not saying it is always complete harmony, it is indeed a path with many ups and downs, but we are still making each other smile most of all.

Anyway, back to the point!  I find taking the time out to even do just fifteen minutes of yoga and quite simply breathing, first thing in the morning, can really start the day up in the most positive way.  The trick is getting up on time to make sure you can squeeze this in to your usual routine.  The benefits far out way the extra fifteen minutes in bed.  I will be honest, sometimes I can take some convincing to persuade myself (especially now when it is dark and cold!), but the more you do it the easier it becomes.  Go on, give it a go!  Oh yes, and most importantly, a smile for the first person who enters your world that day and I bet you will get one back.

Namaste’   – “I honor the place within you where the entire Universe resides; I honor the place within you of love, of light, of truth, of peace; I honor the place within you, where, when you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.”   Mahatma Gandhi.

Blue sky.

Palm trees make me smile!

Coming from Yorkshire I still get very excited when I see a palm tree as you certainly won’t find many, if any, there!   To me they depict tropical holidays and far away places!  “Where the wild things are!”  (One of my favourite childhood books).

I just came from Beach Street in Melbourne where the road was lined with palms and once again I find them right outside my front door here in Cape Town!  Isn’t life just one big tropical holiday all of a sudden!   Well not quite but I am trying to keep my chin up whilst going through the (to be expected) anxiety brought on from moving to a new country.  If you go back to some of my posts earlier in the year you will discover my excitement, trepidation and words of wisdom on how to settle in to a foreign land.  Well I am trying to eat my own words right now!

I guess one needs to remember to take each day as it comes, there will be good days and bad days.  Don’t be too hard on oneself when you have a day of disillusionment and nothing seems to be going your way, leaving you feeling isolated and disheartened.  There is always the prospect of a brand new day tomorrow and the attitude as to how to tackle it is entirely in one’s own mind.

So today on my early morning walk to get the blood flowing, grab a coffee and find the local yoga studio (exercise always helps), I took hope and positivity from the beautiful winters day (rather similar to a pleasant English Summer’s day, so no complaints here!) and the strong tall palm trees which made me smile with holiday joy!

Palm trees.

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think”.     Christopher Robin to Pooh – A.A.Milne