Sunday, May 3, 2015

Be In Search Of The Music

I know, I know – sorry it’s been a wonderful (read crazy … but in the very best possible way) couple of months, since last I posted … my apologies, but it has been abundantly busy.  I have loved the jolt of energy that has spilled over into everything.  I have thought of you often (guiltily and lovingly) but my “next post” has been sparring with me and that particular post won’t be set free just yet because it was supposed to be all about Adventure and Abundance and the whoowhwoooo’ness of Change … BUT we aren’t going there just yet … watch this space …

I don’t know about you but my life is too obligated to keep up with TV, not to mention the guilt you have heaped on about how bad television is for young children – so our TV doesn’t go on until much later in the evenings and that is normally my Q to hit the hay.  Somewhere in season 2 I lost touch with Khaleesi and her winged friends, much to many folks horror, I have never watched a single episode of Suits and I won’t even consider The Walking Dead, but now thank heavens technology has come to my rescue (again) with PVR, TEVO and the ability to download. 

Quite by accident, recently I started watching Mozart in the Jungle.  I loved it - Instantly!  It’s a distressingly short program running only +- 30 minutes instead of the usual 45, but I absolutely LOVE it!  It is set in New York (always a winner) and the lead character is Rodrigo De Souza, the new Maestro of the New York Philharmonic.    I love the passion, the music, the delicious “behind the scenes” view of music in the making, I love the lead with his genius hair and his Latino accent.  Recently we watched him salsa with his people … man alive, can that man salsa!

Last week (S1/Ep4) we watched Rodrigo viewing ancient text scribbled by arguably the ultimate Maestro, Mozart.  As he sat, wearing white gloves to protect the paper, viewed through a glass box, he could hear the music in his head from the sheet music.  He was in awe.  He was completely taken up by the genius on the paper, that it came alive for him, he could hear it.  Suddenly Mozart himself stood next to him, berating Rodrigo for even looking at his text, while he continued to “play it safe”.  I can’t remember the exact dialogue but Mozart NAILED him (verbally of course) reminding him that greatness has never been achieved by playing it safe!


Instantly the “sparring blog” was shelved and I knew this had to be the next one … let’s be in search of the music!  Where are we playing it safe?  Are we even searching for the music?  Are we in pursuit or are we playing it safe?  Where am I playing it safe?  Am I seeing the music in every moment?  Rodrigo was, he was creating the music, if not with his hands conducting or playing an instrument, then in his mind.  He could hear the music in the traffic, in crossing a bridge, in walking along the sidewalk! 

Am I seeing the beauty in every moment or am I tainting it, by it not being quite perfect enough?  Am I hearing that child laughing, or am I annoyed by the noise?  Is my red wine glass half empty or am a savouring a beautiful Merlot with wonderful people?

So now how do I encapsulate that in one word for MayRecognize!  Let’s Recognize the beauty, let’s hear the music and if you can’t hear the music or aren’t able to just yet, then let’s go in search of it!  Let’s see that spectacular sunset, let’s watch those pigeons on the wall, sunning themselves to warm up in the nippy autumn crisp.

So what have I learned … In a moment of my life, when I stand on the precipice of change, I am daunted!  Very daunted!  A million questions and concerns run through my mind … but I truly believe that in life we only regret what we do not do, not what we do and we learn from.  What will I learn and where will it take me?

So what are we waiting for?  Are we in search of that music that makes our soul sing or are we comfortable with coasting?  There is no right or wrong, sometimes we need the world to chill and just for a moment to catch our breath but that doesn’t mean that in the silence and stillness, we still can’t be in search of the beauty in the music.

My challenge to you this month of May is to be in search, to Recognize the music, to see those beautiful moments and to love greatly every moment …

I would love to hear how and when you are hearing the music … Be In Search!

Much Love Always!
Collette in Cape Town

Song of the Post … Love Me Like You Do! by Ellie Goulding

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Pen is Mightier and All That …

Well shine a light!  January 2015 is already a memory and February holds so much promise … how is 2015 treating you?

This post has been flirting with me for a while … so here we go!  Sometime between March 1973 and February 2015 (it might have started before – who knows) … I fell in love!  Undiluted, unadulterated, unapologetic LOVE … with words.  I don’t remember the exact moment, but in the quietest whisper, it became my truth!  There is huge irony here, because spelling and me, we are not friends but I love them all the same (and I am very grateful for modern tools).   I particularly love the interesting ones, but then, I love the simple one’s too.  Just this week, I learned and had cause to use the word CABOTAGE – who knew!

Just before she died, I watched an interview with Maya Angelou.  I loved watching her.  I hung off every word.  I loved her wisdom, her statuesque carriage.  I loved her fine southern Baptist point of view.  I listened and waited on her every pearl.  She spoke with such grace and poise, and purpose of word, that you couldn't help but be arrested by her stories.  In this interview, which was an Oprah's Master Class  … she spoke of many things, but it was the portion on words, that has stayed with me.

Our word for February 2015 is Words!

She said that she thought that words were things … of this she was convinced.  She went on to say that we must be careful of the words we use, or that we allow to be used around us.  She spoke of the power of words and that someday we would be able to measure their power.  She thought that words got into our upholstery, that they stuck to our wallpaper, they got into our clothes and then finally, that they were ingest into our skin.  I had a HUGE moment!  In the words of the beautiful Iyanla Vanzant OH MY GOD!  (and if you knew me, that is not something I say very often).  I loved Maya’s words, I agreed completely, but with one addition … I believe that the power of our words is here already.  And they are mighty!  We can’t reel in that unkind statement made in anger and we can’t silence the mean comment that rattles around in our head on re-play at 3am, which echo’s our deepest, most secret fear.  We can’t say that final farewell because we hesitated and the moment is lost … forever. 

The power of words is here already and it can so be measured, even if it is just in the amount on the therapy bills.

But here is the good news … we can use our powers for good and carefully lace our words with encouragement and growth, and lift and promote with but a word.  The power of our words can be measured in how much we believed in them!  How much we encouraged.  How much we tell them we love them.  How much we step out in faith and connected with another human being.  That is their power!  And that power is placed in yours and my hands every second of every day.

So, this month’s challenge … lets watch those words.  Are we telling those we truly love, how much and as often as possible.  That quiet child, that needs your extra support.  That loud insecure friend, that they are enough.  Are we encouraging our friends and colleagues that are doing those wonderful crazy things like sky-diving, because in life we only regret what we do not do.  Are we stepping out on faith and telling that person that they are special in our lives.  Are we messaging a friend who is going through a tough time, that we are thinking of them!  Are we stepping into a space for someone who has lost someone close.  Are we carefully choosing our words, with someone who needs our boundaries? 

Let’s use those wonderful beautiful words for empowerment this month.  Let’s trend good, positive words.  Let’s annoy with kindness, using words to their maximum effectiveness.

Of course I would love to hear from you … positive stories of how your month of using words, changed not only yours but other people’s lives … in the words of Maya Angelou … Just do right

Much Love Always!
Collette in Cape Town

Song of the Post … Say Something! By A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Here We Go …

I’ve been really scratching my brain, my 3 words have been playing hide & go change with me for the last couple of weeks.  I have wrestled, changed, added, removed and re-added words for weeks now.  How have you been doing with your 3 Words for 2015?   I could have so easily rolled my 2014 words (Writing Abundance Adventure) into 2015.  I would love more and more of those again please … but that would have been completely cheating and I have pressed my friends, family and readers to dig deep and find interesting, exciting words.  So it is time to commit and reveal.

My 3 words for 2015 are Opportunities ♥ Writing ♥ Luminescence! 

I always feel a strong sense of optimism as we surge into a new year, particularly with all the cleaning and clearing out we did over the festive season.  We de-cluttered, re-purposed and binned like we were possessed (in the best possible way of course) but I feel it really strongly this year, there is something about 2015 … it is going to be a game changer of a year … can you feel it?

So I truly do believe that Opportunities are going to be abundant and abounding this year – that one really excites me (course, it doesn’t take much, now does it).

Writing is one of the places where my soul frolics … and I am looking forward to more writing, exciting opportunities and great things in that space!

Now Luminescence roared in at the ninth hour (literally this weekend).  This particular use of the word Luminescence is about me living in my authentic light.  Not emitting the glare of trying to fit in and taking on the persona of the situation but being contented and courageous in what I bring, what I contribute and what I add to the table … holding that space with grace and wholeness.  I’m extraordinarily excited about this word now.

I truly believe in this 3-word process … it sets the tone.  And many revisit and remind both themselves and I, throughout the year, that they are on-track and are actively working those 3 empowering words for the year.  Those moments make my soul rejoice!  And the feedback this year has been no less impressive! 

One set of words blew my mind, from a 14-year old, her 3 words were Patience, Perseverance and Confidence.  When she told me, it almost knocked me off my feet.  If only I had practiced this at 14 … just WOW!

Another’s were Happiness, Love & Success.  Another’s Home, Travel & Learn.  I love it!

After some time thinking about … what will your 3 personal words be for 2015.  Write them down, put them on the fridge and go get them!

2015 I am coming for you … and it is going to be a blast!

Let’s do it!

Much Love Always!
Collette in Cape Town

Song of the Post … These Days by Take That!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Taking Stock!

(Posted in 2014)

Ok, so where were we … ah yes … the very last day of 2014 … now this was a year!  In the words of the great South African Poet … Yoh!  (Pronounced Yoh!)  So much change around us, and so many people clearing the decks in preparation for changes ahead, as we plunge into 2015.

I always love this week between Christmas and New Year (I started writing this blog 5 days ago) … our social family (I hesitate to say “commitments” because that sounds like a chore, but this time of year comes with its set of expectations … so commitment will suffice) have been fulfilled.  That crescendo of shopping has been ravaged, dinners have been cooked and consumed, bubbles have popped and belts have been un-notched (just a smidge) … there is a definite lull in both energy and events as we enjoy the end of the twinkling lights, as many steady themselves for New Year’s festivities. 

This week between feels like a natural time to sit, reflect, consider our triumphs and things we could have done differently, regroup, review, plan, re-address, decide, relent, release and plant the seed of intention for your 2015 … this glorious clean, fresh new year ahead!

As in other years Zenith sets you the challenge … selecting 3 ambitious words for yourself for 2015.  Do you remember your 3 words for 2014?  Mine were Writing Abundance Adventure and my HAT were they just that!  This year I saw the Abundance everywhere, whether it was traffic, or work, or birds, or flowers … I saw it and loved every second of it!  I smiled and said to myself – well you asked for abundance!  Writing  was a wonderful Adventure, in 2014 I e-published a short story with a fellow author … it was an amazing experience and we are learning every day.   

So let’s revisit the criteria for the Challenge … you need to select 3 whole glorious words!  Specific to what you want for you for 2015!
  • 3 words that are positive!
  • 3 words that speak to you and your intentions for 2015 – personal goal setting!
  • 3 words that encapsulate all your hopes, desires, needs and dreams for your 2015!
  • 3 distinct individual words like Travel, Abundance & Balance instead of Win Lotto Please!

Think about it, I’ll leave it with you for a couple of days (and you know I will ask you) … we will come back to it!  Share it with friends, it is an amazing party discussion point.  Ready, Steady, GO! 

Feel free to post your 3 words in the comments or on Facebook  I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

My 3 words for 2015 will following in the next post ... I'm still wrestling with them ... 

Much Love & Happy New Year All!
Collette in Cape Town

Song of the Post … Thinking Out Loud this is my boy at the moment and I just love the words … Ed Sheeran

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What a Gift!

Well here we are … December 2014!  In fact we are 16 days into December and as yet, I have not posted Zenith’s word for December and that is partly due to the word itself! 

December’s word for Zenith is Present!  Not the noun present, as in gift (although it works for December) but as the adjective form of the word … being PRESENT!

In early December 2013 our oldest partially shaved off her eyebrows, in an attempt to “fit in” with the kids at school and in remediation to something one of the kids meanly said to her … reverberating, unchallenged in her 13 year old mind.  But wait … it gets worse, Bad Mother of the Year Award 2013 goes to me, because for a whole 36 hours I did not even notice. 

I was completely consumed by getting to the end of my working week (and year), when I would be on leave, that everything else was, dare I say it (out loud), on the back-burner.  I even told my children (more than once), “let’s just get to the end of the week and then we will be fine and we can enjoy our holidays together”.  I shudder when I think about it now.

At the time I was crippled by guilt, that all I could do was cry … that frustrated, shameful cry that we hide from others.  Well-meaning friends talked me off the emotional ledge, reminding me that eyebrows grow back (I knew that), pointing out that it was year-end, I was exhausted, I needed my leave, that at the time I was in the midst of an altercation with a friend but all of those were kind excuses … because the event (Eyebrow-Gate 2013 [EBG 2013] as we affectionately refer to it now) haunted me for months … well into 2014.  Why was I so upset?  Because I did not notice.  36 whole hours passed and I wasn’t present … not even close.  So I resolved to use the learnings and make it different this year!  So picking this December’s word was a bit of a sacred slam dunk … and so far we are doing really well!  I can report that everyone’s eyebrows are indeed intact!

So what have I learned … lets share the learnings … the lessons from EBG 2013 were many and this December has indeed been very different.  I have actively slowed down to make sure that I am living in as many moments as possible and when I am not … I take a deep breath (or five) and force myself to do so.  Things can wait a moment longer, the universe will not wobble off its axis.  I have found meditation particularly helpful for me with this, and I am very pleased that I have increased this practice, this year.  Loving it!

EBG 2013 also taught me to listen to the quiet tremors and to close the loop with the child, so that they know that I have taken action.  Senior mentioned the comment to me and I down-played it (hoping to minimize its refraction in her mind) but I made the appointment with the beautician and in my pre-occupied, single-mindedness I didn’t close the loop with her, so she took things into her own hands.

I make sure that one of us (the parental units) is with the girls when the other can’t be due to commitments … BEING with them, not just being close to them.  Yesterday, said oldest and I had the most wonderful day, out shopping, not particularly spending a huge amount of money (although I think the Bank Manager might disagree) BEING together, seeing, laughing (oh so much laughter), touch and loving every second … being present.

There were other lessons;   not being so harsh on myself, releasing the negative emotions around the event and making sure that she knows, deep within, that she is perfect and beautiful … but those are for another blog.  

I keep smiling at the awareness of it all … that BEING PRESENT has become the PRESENT that we are giving each other.  And my word … but what a gift!  #BlessedAbundantly!

As we end-off this year, let’s be present for ourselves and for each other …

Love you all madly!  Let’s be PRESENT as we kiss 2014 farewell!  MAKE it COUNT!
Collette in Cape Town

Song of the Post … Rather Be  by Clean Bandit ft. Jess Glynne … good to know … (interesting video J)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

That Which Does Not Serve Us

Wow!  As 2014 races to her conclusion and the rest of this year takes on a life of her own, can we look back on 2014 and say that we Made It Count? 

On Monday I overheard one of my colleagues declared that this is going to be HER YEAR!  My immediate hasty answer was “well you are a bit screwed, because it is November”.  Suddenly realization tumbled, tomorrow would be her birthday.  When I got out of my own way … I loved it!

This month’s theme for Zenith is Release or more commonly known as Let That Shit Go!  This is going to be a big one for me … I’m really bad at it.  I am very reluctant, completely averse, absolutely hesitant, recalcitrant (oooo love that word) of note!  But that completely stems from fear … and I need to get better at it … to get out of my own way so to speak.  Clear out the old … make way for the new.  Release that which does not serve me - uncluttering my mind, my heart, my cupboards, my desk and indeed my life.

About a year ago, I remember consoling a friend who had lost a big contract, her source of income.  Having said that, it was a contract that had her working every hour that was sent and not appreciating her for the vast value she was adding.  She was devastated.  I understood why at the time.  A thought fought its way through … out with the old, making way for the new.  I know there were a couple of months of great financial concern, but now she is working on a new exciting project and one that seems to appreciate her more.  Even at the time, although there was trepidation around finances, she knew that she had to release that contract that was not serving her to make space and way for the exciting new one.

Sometimes we are forced to release – then we really hate it, fight it.  When it is not our choice it can be very scary (even when it is our choice it can be) but change is necessary and then release is absolutely required.  As that lovely quote goes “Let go or be dragged”.

Historically I have been particularly reluctant to release people from their “contract” … but I am getting better at walking away and if I am really working it, I can steer clear before it takes hold.

So what have I learned … It doesn't need to be the 1st January or the beginning of a new quarter or the 1st day of Spring to make a change or take a big step … and for my colleague, she claimed this new chronological year, which happens to start in November.  I LOVE IT!

So the challenge has been thrown down for this month … November for Zenith and I will be the month of Release.  Letting go of that which does not serve me.  Not being dragged but stopping and realizing it was never going to be, that job, that person, that comment, approval … so let it go.

What big life changing stuff are you starting in November?  If we start something today, where will we be in one years’ time.  I love that quote … so let’s do it now … let’s take that step!

Love you all madly!  It’s November!  Let’s MAKE the rest of 2014 COUNT!
Collette in Cape Town

Song of the Post … Let me let go ...  by Faith Hill

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Day I Didn’t Wake-Up …

Wow!  Now how Drama Queen is that title … but it is absolutely true!  Towards the end of August 1994 I had a “fatal” asthma attack.  The report hints that I “possibly expired”, my near-death experience and according to the medical reports of that week … I lost consciousness, stopped breathing and I woke up in ICU a week later.  It changed my life forever!

Recently I was asked by this amazing woman who survived a rare form of lung cancer - Heather! to write something for the USA Healthy Lung Month.  In South Africa, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s not too much of a stretch to link Lungs and Breasts … so let’s just raise the vibrational awareness around both!  Heather asked me to share my lung story … here it is …

My story (for me) was absolutely empowering – if unequivocally scary at the time.  Really for the people around me more so than I, because I rather dastardly took the easy way out and lost consciousness, losing seven days to the darkness.  An entire week … vacant.  Gone!  Nothing!  But let me start from the beginning.

I can’t remember having asthma before we moved back to South Africa.  The wrenching and emotional trauma of returning to Cape Town, triggered asthma in seven year old me.  Even today, that seven year old scared little girl comes screaming out when my “we don’t want to play with you” button is pushed!  I remember experiencing asthma for the very first time within the first week of our return to Cape Town.  I was devastated, I was seven years old and I couldn't breathe … it was April of 1980.  The move was my trigger but having said all of that, it was in my genes, our whole family on one side, were chesty folks, both great boobs and shitty lungs, it is something that has meant the end of many a grand and great grandparent (not the great boobs the shitty lungs).  It’s in our genes … we know, it is what it is.  I had even lost people to asthma attacks, who could not get to help fast enough.  But NOT I … I bravado’ed out.  I was not that group of delicate people who dropped dead so quickly … we were made of stronger stuff!  Stranger things have happened …

It was a very normal winter’s night in August 1994, crisp, damp and cold as Cape Town tried to survive winter.  My then fiancé Paul (now husband) and I had some rather strange nocturnal habits (keep it clean) and he took me home that Sunday night, well into the wee hours.  My chest was tight but I thought that as soon as I got home I would be fine.  I wasn’t.

I woke my sister (one of the heroes of this story) and could barely ask for help.  She phoned for an ambulance.  The local provincial ambulance service, before everything went private, told her that they would not be able to get to me for about 3 hours.  She bungled me up in her car and that was the last thing I remember.  Fortunately, by some stroke of blessing, a hospital had been newly opened down the road from us and my sister raced me there.  I lost consciousness en-route.

I had long hair back then and it was up in a pony-tail, while driving, my sister repeatedly grabbed my pony-tail and kept hitting my forehead into the (thank heavens) padded dashboard, to force me to breathe.  Accordingly to her, she pulled up in the ambulance bay outside emergency, called for help and the wonderful Milnerton Medi-Clinic staff took over.  My sister Bernadette told me, that I threw up all over a rather gorgeous Doctor – sorry for that doll – and they fought tooth and nail (literally my teeth were chipped, when they intubated me, in my unconscious state I fought them off – unaware and terrified) to keep me alive.  I am forever grateful to those unknown strangers … they changed shift before I could learn their names.

I don’t remember … anything.  I STILL remember the feeling of not being able to breathe.  I have a few vague memories of my father, my sister, my friend Dorothy, my then fiancé Paul and strangely enough my boss at the time, as I drifted in and out of consciousness in ICU that week … nothing else.  A week later, by a miracle of both the Divine and modern medicine … I woke up.  Lost, with no memory of the event.  To this day, almost 20 years on, I still don’t remember anything.

After piecing bits and pieces together over the following 2 weeks, I could regale that story fluently and with hilarity.  Even now, I could make people listening laugh … but not those nearest and dearest to me.  One day when I was regaling the tale, full of humour and gorgeous Dr’s, chipped teeth and banging my head on the dashboard, my fiancé pulled me aside and begged me … “please stop telling that story”.  I didn’t get it.  I even said to him, quite indignantly, “what’s up with you, it’s not like it happened to you” he answered me full of horror “exactly, I just got to watch, unable to do anything, utterly helpless”.  I rarely tell the story any more, other than here now, and I don’t do it with humour.  I do it now with awareness and fear … it could have been so very different.

Even then, it took a further week of rehabilitation, for the psychological effects of that week to really hit home and I had a melt-down in the middle of a shopping centre when it hit me.

So … what have I learned and what did my lungs teach me that fateful Sunday night …  so clearly the Friday before, I waved good-bye to our receptionist at work Marion and said … “See you on Monday“.  I didn’t.  I didn’t see her on Monday because I was fighting to stay alive in ICU on that Monday.  Afterwards, it hit me! 

“There is no rule that says we are here tomorrow!”

This near-death experience changed everything for me.  Soon thereafter, Paul and I traveled internationally, what were we waiting for?  We married.  We had children.  We really started living!

Now, I live unapologetically … I love more, I laugh all the time, even in the face of fear (particularly then).  I tell people when they look good and smell good.  I take moments to stop and see those beautiful pictures that our Divine Universe presents us.  I cherish my family and friends.  I am fiercely protective and loyal – those relationships are critical to me.  I feel deeply, both the good and the lessons.  I hug closer, I cry harder, I feel deeply.  That experience with my lungs made me live life fuller.  Now I drink from the fire hose of life.  Now, I MAKE IT COUNT!

Another thing it did back then was, I started actively taking control of both my lungs and the bits of my life that I could.  I started managing my lung health very carefully.  It turns out, after a few specialist visits that I actually am one of those asthmatics that die waiting for help.  Something known as a "Brittle Asthmatic" .  Quick, no warning, unstable (hahaha) and fast.  I don’t let it get there now.  I know the signs.  I protect my lungs ferociously!  I am that annoying family member and friend who will not sit in the smoking section of pub or a restaurant … but I am worth it.

My chest still constricts when I hear someone cough, particularly that phlegmy chesty cough.  And I step forward immediately begging folks to go to the Doctor because it doesn't sound good.

So this month’s theme for Zenith … is something I have said for all of 2014, October has raced up to us … but this month let’s make it real.  Zenith’s theme for the month of October is MAKE IT COUNT!  There is no rule that says we are here tomorrow …

What are you going to do this October that is going to protect something important to you?  Your lungs?  Your breast health?  What are you going to do this month that is going to make you start living???  What would it take for you to make it count?  I would love to hear from you …

Love you all madly!  Let’s Make 2014 Count!  For a whole 10 months we have been saying it … Lets MAKE IT COUNT!
Collette in Cape Town

Song of the Post … Stay with Me! by Sam Smith

To learn more about the rare form of Lung Cancer Heather beat read Mesothelioma

To learn more around Lung Cancer Awareness

To learn more around Breast Cancer Awareness!   Go and get checked!  Peace of mind!