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Transformation?!

Yes, everyone is talking about it in South Africa. So I’m just going to bounce off this latest fad word and give you some pointers on how you can contribute to transformation and positively impact your work day! Afterall, it is your well-being that must be prioritised and a big part of this is having fun in an environment where one spends most of their time.

Do you ever get those days where time just hangs and you find yourself constantly looking at the clock and wondering if indeed it is actually working? Or on the other hand it goes by super fast, with back-to-back meetings but there is just no stimulation or sense of accomplishment?

Despite what your occupation is, here are some daring tips to help get you through:

  1. Listen for the most used word of the day and then use it at least once in all your conversations and email for the rest of the week. Always have a good come back.
  2. Make a point to thank the bathroom cleaner. That smile never fails to turn one’s day the right side up!
  3. Walk sideways to the photocopy machine. Yes, maybe avoid eye contact!
  4. Stop and say hello to those who greet you even when you may be running a little late. Learn to be prompt so that these moments can play out.
  5. Decide which person really made your day and send a ‘thank you’ note by using post-it notes on his or her desk.
  6. Decide which person really made your day crap and buy him or her a chocolate.
  7. If you have escalators, look upwards towards the roof without holding onto the sides. You may find yourself in a stand-up skydiving position enjoying the freedom of your flight.
  8. Rearrange your bosses desk. Especially the ones that are a little OCD!
  9. Put a sign on your photocopy machine that says the following: ‘New Copier – Voice activated. Please speak your command’. Someone will bite eve in a whisper!
  10. Give a colleague a call and tell him or her that you are just calling to say you cant talk right now.

And that is ten ways to transform this work week. I dare you to give them a shot.

Enjoy!

Hard Reboot

This past week, after much research and specifically for health reasons, my husband and I embarked on a 5-day water only fast. Not an easy feat for those who love food! Looking for that hard reboot of our bodily systems, a challenge I may have been a little stubborn through, but in reality made us both stronger.

DAY 1

The alarm breaks the deadened silence. I wake and head to the kitchen to start our morning ritual. This morning though, did not start with freshly squeezed lemon juice (read more on lemons: When life gives you lemons), but that amazing freshly ground cup of coffee we so love every morning was indeed on the agenda, with a slight twist. No coffee added! I headed back to the room with 2 cups of hot water, wake up my husband and climb back into bed.

I don’t want to say it was a disappointing morning with a rather bland cup of coffee to start, because we knew full well what our decision meant. Water only means water only, hot or cold. And so our coffee for the next couple of days came in the form of hot water; same coffee cup just with water. Your imagination really needs to work overtime to help with the pretense in times like these!

The coffee was exactly what we needed!

Off to work we go.

By 10am, I had a rather uncomfortable headache making it a little difficult to focus. By 12pm, I could smell my own breath and so I went to swirl around some mouth wash. This definitely helped (we became very conscious and highly attuned to our breath throughout the week, something you should consider if you ever attempt a water only fast). I did however, land up with hiccups shortly thereafter. Very odd! And trying to keep them under my breath so as not to draw any attention to myself, well that wasn’t easy. My husband would tell you my hiccups make him laugh, as they can be rather ear piercing and awkwardly humorous at times. I just needed to push through.

Once home from work, the headache and nausea slowly grew worse. At some point during the evening, it literally had me woman down, resulting in something I had hoped I would not have to experience, but did. My empty stomach could not manage the bile secreted from my gall bladder and of course had to land up in a long moment of sincere and intimate affection with the toilet bowl.

Keep in mind this was only day one. We still had four more days to go. My husband was beside himself, not sure what to do with me. I kept pushing him away as I went through moments of hot, then cold, then sweaty, then weak. All I could hear was him begging me to eat something and take something for the headache. Finally out of sheer desperation, unable to keep up with my own stubbornness, I eventually agreed.

I took a tiny piece of a Woolies water biscuit – kind of like those pieces one takes during communion at church. Much to my own shock, it tasted like paper. I couldn’t believe it and I could not get it down. They tasted so nice before and now just so awful. It stuck in my throat clinging to my oesophagus. Unable to get it down and desperate for some pain relief I resorted to one pain tablet forcing it down with water. Finally, we could sleep.

DAY 2

I woke up feeling very weak but headache free. Again the morning ritual began with that amazing freshly ground cup of coffee!

This day for me was much easier to get through. There were no food cravings, hiccups or major headaches to attend to, just a little nausea. But one thing that really tickled my senses was the smell of food all around me, all the time, always different. I realised just what rubbish my colleagues ate, at all hours of the day. Admittedly so, it did become a little torturous at times, but not enough to kick start any craving. The different smells were scintillating, highlighting the fact that my body was indeed detoxing and driving me to drink more water.

What we did realise is that we suddenly had so much more time on our hands. No cooking and eating freed up hours for us. In hindsight those activities seem pointless now!

DAY 3

I woke up feeling a little stronger than day two but still quite weak. We both slept well. What dawned on me though was everything I did seemed to slow to a snail pace, even though I felt stronger. Keeping the end in mind, it was at this point I thought I could do ten days or at least try!

Again the morning ritual began with that amazing freshly ground cup of coffee.

And off to work we go.

This specific day though, became very difficult for my husband. Feeling lethargic, weak and dizzy he fought that horrible feeling of passing out. It seemed like my day one replicated his day three. Different bodies detoxing at different rates. Everyone is indeed unique. With much at stake we made the call to finish our fast that day. Three days and still with many benefits gained.

What we did learn through all this, is that you really do need to be in a state of rest. It becomes very difficult with work pressures and stresses. It certainly doesn’t work in your favour. Some can do it, most can’t. At the end of the day it’s not about being a hero or stubborn like myself determined to push through, there is certainly a time and place for that. It’s about seeing what would work best and what health benefits you are after.

We were more than comfortable to end the fast at the end of the third day knowing it was a great accomplishment. We both lost around three kilograms, saw a remarkable improvement in blood pressure and it seems the reboot button was initiated. Driven to eat better, I have to admit that the taste of healthy food is truly out of this world.

Being healthy is not easy, but don’t settle for the easy way out. It takes sacrifice and commitment, but the benefits will always outweigh the lack of convenience and tough times. And the grocery budget certainly lasts longer!

Dark as night

Why is it that things at night seem more scarier than during the day? The same sounds you hear during the day in your house, are similar sounds at night and yet at night our hearts beat just that much more faster, our imagination runs wilder, our fears appear to be quadrupled and rational thinking is long gone.

I have to wonder…

If we really think about it, the only thing that is different is that the earth has turned away from the sun, leaving a dark trail of the night sky. Everything else is the same. The same house, the same familiar weather conditions, the same family; we still breathe, eat, speak and play.

So why are we particularly afraid at night (even if you don’t admit it)? Could it be the influence of television and movies? Could it be past experiences? Could it be the books we read? Or is it purely physiological, that because we cannot see clearly at night until our eyes have adjusted, that sense of not being in control is challenged? Maybe our eyes and minds take over, sending signals directly to those emergency buttons which control the emotional fight or flight response, initiating that body-freezing fear. And once paralysed by that spiral of fear, it is very difficult to pull yourself out.

Did you know that most crimes take place during the day from late morning until the evening? Interestingly, most burglaries take place during the day when one is away at work. I mean that just makes sense, right? Clever burglars. Shootings are highlighted mostly around these robberies and around car hijackings which still happen during the day and into the evening.

So again I ask, why does darkness bring fear? Why are we so lax during the day and more hypervigilant at night? My mind just cannot comprehend this. I know things go wrong and things do happen at night and it is truly awful. Sometimes it’s good to be prepared, cautious and aware. But living in constant fear as soon as it is dark is certainly not healthy. Sleep is an absolute requirement for the body to heal and prepare for the next day. We simply cannot function without sleep (What a load of pillows).

Peace is defined as freedom from disturbance. I love that! Isn’t that what we all want? Fear on the other hand wields destructive control and takes over leaving all rational thought, logic and common sense (More on common sense) in it’s dust. In today’s day and age it may seem like an impossible feat. Maybe it is. Maybe there is no hope. Or maybe there is hope. I guess the challenge is how do we change this mindset?

Well, I only know of one way! It’s time to start taking and believing God, His word and His promises:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91)

So maybe all it takes is a little bit of faith!?

When life gives you lemons…

When life gives you lemons, there is only one thing you can do…

Squeeze them!

Yes, that’s right! Squeeze them. I mean the health benefits are phenomenal:

  • Lemons are full of vitamin C which is a super antioxidant, full of antibacterial and antiviral properties, literally the fighting force behind your body’s natural defense mechanisms
  • Lemons freshen your breath by keeping your mouth salivated – good for those sexy, unexpected moments
  • Lemons contain bioflavanoids, which when combined with vitamin C become super powerful
  • They flush out toxins, reduce inflammation and even prevent uric acid build up in your joints
  • They come with a good supply of potassium which is great for the heart and of course the resulting blood pressure – I’m pretty sure lemons could be approved by the heart foundation!
  • Lemons ease bloating and constipation when taken on an empty stomach
  • They also curb the appetite which of course should help with losing those little extra rolls we so aptly refer to as passion handles
  • They also help the liver by getting get rid of all those unwanted toxins

So why drink freshly squeezed lemon juice?

I know maybe it doesn’t make sense to drink something so acidic first thing in the morning, but a lemon is only acidic in it’s natural state. The secret is when it starts to metabolize. It’s transformed from a natural acidic state into an alkaline state. And that’s the punch. Once fully digested the health benefits materialize as listed above, producing those supernatural results.

What I love most about drinking lemon water first thing in the morning is the awakening that one feels. Like a sudden rush of energy, stimulating every physiological sense. So much better than a red bull or monster drink!

So this is the modus operandi:

  • 🍋Fill 1/3 glass of room temperature water
  • 🍋Squeeze in a lemon
  • 🍋Simply drink it
  • 🍋Repeat every morning
  • 🍋Fill, squeeze, drink, repeat

It is important to wait about fifteen minutes before drinking or eating anything else, to prepare your body for the full revitalizing benefits lemons offer. And remember, because vitamin C cannot be stored by the body, you can go ahead and keep on squeezing!

Goodbye

I was sent the following obituary from my husband. I certainly do not take any credit for this and have no idea who we owe the credit to, but it is something I have to share. There is so much truth in it and at the same time so much sadness.

Here it goes…

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

  • Knowing when to come in out of the rain
  • Why the early bird gets the worm
  • Life isn’t always fair
  • And maybe it was my fault

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death:

  • by his parents – Truth and Trust
  • by his wife – Discretion
  • by his daughter – Responsibility
  • and by his son – Reason

He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers:

  • I Know My Rights
  • I Want It Now
  • Someone Else Is To Blame
  • I’m A Victim
  • Pay Me For Doing Nothing

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

If I could, I would even go so far as to add that Common Sense indeed could be categorized as a value. But, I honestly cannot add any more words to this. It is what it is.

Goodbye sound judgement, goodbye Common Sense.

Ever wonder what social media says about you?

Have you ever asked the Oracle (The Wisdom of the Oracle) about who you are? You know, type in your first and last name on the internet and then select the search option. I thought to myself that I am pretty well hidden from the public eye, off social media and maybe even almost off-grid. And yet this is what I found:

  • 15 Profiles on Facebook
  • 7 LinkedIn profiles (one is actually mine!)
  • 1 Twitter account
  • 1 YouTube account
  • 1 Pinterest account
  • A French-English translation service
  • Results from the 1940 census
  • Manuscript preparations for a publication of an economic book
  • Results from a phone tracker
  • Divorce records
  • Drakensburg Northern trail run results

So let me sum it up for you:

According to social media, I appear to be a divorced individual, born in the earlier half of the 20th century (as I was part of the 1940 census). An avid trail runner, fluent in French and of course English. For this I offer a translation service (I do hope I make some money from this!). Apparently I also write, despite having a publisher. All in the name of Economics. You know, take risks and then figure out the fine print later (excuse the pun)! I am also an avid user of social media tools despite my age. Maybe even important or popular enough to be easily located in the so-called yellow pages.

Mmm…

I have to admit that only one point is true and quite frankly, I love to be the me as I am today, than the me social media (Social Media or Social Murder) has concocted me to be.

Worth some looking into!

Nature at it’s best

This past weekend my hubby and I took a well deserved time-out weekend. The time we get to spend with each other is so important. It mends. It heals. It sets free. It knits us together, intertwining with much color and character. So when these weekends come around, we cherish them deeply and hold them really close to our hearts. Especially when we experience something amazing together. I mean that’s what it is all about right? Being a witness to your partner’s life (Food for Thought).

So we headed out to a quiet, remote place. The number one prize certainly being a place where we could fly our drones. Just to give you an idea of this place, here is a piece of drone videography showing the stretch of river just outside our cottage:

A beautiful stretch, quiet, teeming with birdlife. Whilst paddling a rubber-duck boat, we were privileged to catch a glimpse of a rather large legavaan, a few pairs of Egyptian geese, beautiful black shouldered kites, fish as long as my arm and most of all we got to see the highly elusive, aloof and shy bird, the African Finfoot. A duck I thought at first, but boy was I wrong!

My hubby’s face lit up with glee as he suggested the possibility of finding this rarely sighted specie was indeed a privileged treat. Apparently they not easy to sight and the Oracle (The Wisdom of the Oracle) classifies this beautiful bird as part of the Crane family. It even walks on water. A real treat for birders:

A real treat for us. Amazing!

So wherever you are this weekend, pay attention to each moment. Maybe you will experience something beautiful.