Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Spending Quality Time

I have not blogged for a little while unfortunately and I have a feeling the hecticness of the festive period will impact my writing for the next week. The reason I have not been blogging is that I have chosen to spend more quality time with loved ones.

No matter how much I try, I cannot always fit everything in. Spending time with my Son, having a good meal in the evenings, spending time with my Honey, getting a phone call in with Mum, blogging too and not forgetting sleep - it just always doesn't work out.

I often try to get it all done and simply end up exhausted, much to my chagrin. Nevertheless I recognise that we do have choices and I have chosen to spend quality time interacting with those I love.

The difference has been amazing in some respects. Particularly regarding my son. He has become a new child! He tells me he is happy to see me, jumps in my arms when I arrive and spends as much time with me as he possibly can. It has impacted his behaviour, his demeanour, his presence - I would even go as far to say that my choosing to take extra time out with him, to go for more walks, to play his choice of games, to read, and to converse more with him has made an exponential difference in our relationship. I am not saying that it is merely a case of not writing, nonetheless it is a case of choosing to spend the time that I could be writing with those that are important to me instead.

If I had known then what I know now... How many of you get so caught up in being busy that you just do not have time to fellowship? Sitting and talking, reasoning, understanding, sharing your thoughts and feelings are so important. With your kids as mentioned it helps their growth and development. For your partner it helps bonding, your friends know you are there for them and your parents can see how much you care.

Although my blog is important to me, my precious time with my baby far outweighs the need to write. Don't get me wrong, I am still loving being a blogger and I aim to continue, however between kicking off my business, being a mother, getting time with my partner, mother and friends, blogging has had to take a back seat at times.

On this journey I am constantly evolving...everyday something occurs and triggers new ideas, new paths, and new adventures to embrace. As the year comes to an end, I can see that in the 4+ months that I have been writing this blog, I have gone from a frantic mother, consumed with worrying about my son potentially having Aspergers, to a calmer more together Mum, who no longer imposes societies labels on her child, and makes a difference in his life by being present. The result being, I am able to see him with clearer brighter eyes. He is just being an individual, expressing himself and growing in his own way. Nothing else.

Each post I have written addresses lessons learnt, each one is a reflection of what I am going through at that moment. As I write and reflect, I have aha moments, puzzled moments, joyful moments and sad moments too. I am learning so much about me each time I express my thoughts, and as I continue to strive for Happiness and greatness I realize that spending quality time with your children, friends, family and also alone, are some of the most important things you can do!

I would like to share with you some of the happy times I have been sharing with my son.

Love & Happiness!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Conscious Thinking...

How often do you take the time to think? Not auto-pilot thoughts but really thinking about things. How you conduct yourself, how you react, and how you make others feel?

I try to engage in more conscious thinking as much as possible. It allows one to appreciate more and arouses awareness. It helps bring clarity to situations and enhances your sensitivity. Thinking before reacting or before conducting actions in your day to day life can be a stark contrast between encountering a good or a not so good experience.

Taking the time out to be pensive, thoughtful, and thinking deeply makes so much difference. It can also contribute to the energy you bring to the table being positive as opposed to negative. Often we approach a scenario without thought, as a result we may speak out of turn for example. We may hurt someone's feelings and cause offence. Taking more care to think about how we respond to others can prevent many rifts and misunderstandings.

Of course it can be easier said than done. If we you are upset, tired, or just plain angry, thinking before speaking or reacting is not easy. Nevertheless, think. Can you do something better? Is the blame you are showering on others yours to own? Can you be a better you? Whatever it is, take a moment to reflect before and after you make moves to do anything.

As great as spontaneity can be, conscious thoughts lead to conscious decisions. Many a time, impulse reactions lead to outcomes that we did not intend to experience. All of which could have been avoided with a little conscious aforethought.

So, take time, be thoughtful of others, and most of all think consciously about how you are being you!


Monday, 12 December 2011

It's Not About Where You Have Been, It's About Where You Are Going!

Do you realise how much you have to look forward to if you just kept looking forward?

Life really has no meaning but the meaning you give it. For sure we cannot predict what the future will bring. As Peter Drucker said ~ 'Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window.' However what we can do is decide to be whoever we want to be regardless of who we think we are or were.

Just because I was weak and thin yesterday, it doesn't mean I cannot be strong and fit to tomorrow. Just because your parents are divorced, it doesn't mean you cannot have a successful marriage. Just because your grandmother died of breast cancer, it does not mean you will.

What I am trying to say is too many of us let our lives be led by our history when we are quite capable of directing our life where we want it to go for our future. With faith and conviction, we have the power to move mountains. Nevertheless we set boundless limitations on ourselves, we do not push boundaries and we do not live our best lives because of unfounded notions and perceptions of the past.

You can be what you want to be. You do not have to be what your past dictates, you can be what you dictate. Own you, your present and your future. I am not saying we need to deny our history. However particularly for negative pasts beliefs, experiences and feelings they are best left behind and not carried around like excess baggage dictating how you go forward with your life.

For example I have only known unsuccessful marriages, strong single mothers, struggling women, kids that resent parents for not being there and parents resenting kids for not being grateful for the sacrifices their mothers have made. I have started on that circle and have had an unsuccessful marriage, become a single mother, and STOP! That is where the similarity ends. I have decided that my past need not be my future.

For this reason I will have a great relationship, a family unit, children with 2 loving parents, and a family free of resentments. I need not feel that a broken family is inevitable because I came from one, or that I have to struggle to raise my child alone as my mother did. I have said it will be great and by Gods will and my determination, it will be so. By living in that mindset I have way more chance of success than failure, and I am all about succeeding in my goals.

Too many of us find ourselves repeating history. Walking in our forefathers footsteps and being exactly who we always endeavoured not to be. It is not obligatory, genetic or definitive that we should do this, we just seem to do it naturally. All it takes is a sense of awareness, and a willingness to take another path. You live in a family of Doctors and want to be a Lawyer, then a Lawyer you should be. Whatever it takes, as long as you are happy and it does not negatively impact others, go forth and do it!

Be more mindful, be fearless and be in the knowledge that your past does not have to be inextricably linked to your future.

It's Not About Where You Have Been, It's About Where You Are Going! So...where are you going?

I am going forwards, upwards, onwards, anywhere but backwards!

Love & Happiness.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Be Present In Your Present!

Do you really appreciate the essence of time? Never has there been a time that I realise how rapidly life is passing by like I do now!

It is absolutely amazing how weeks envelope into months and months snowball into years. I look back at each week that has passed in absolute awe. It is 2012 in 24 days for goodness sakes, where did time go?

They always say that the older you get, the quicker time flies, I can attest to that. This is all the more reason to be present! The food you eat taste it, the music you hear listen to it, the time you have embrace it.

Seriously, considering how quick everything moves from day to day, one has to be mindful and absorb it all in its entirety. Expectant mothers, be at one with your child. Love the growth within and smile. It will NEVER be a moment that is recaptured again, no matter how many children you have or will have.

While walking, let's appreciate our surroundings, nature, our breathing and ability to walk. Do you realise you will not capture that aspect of your life again? Each moment is individual, unique and unrepeatable.

Given this concept, what different choices would you make if you know that you will not be able to have the same choice at this day and time ever? As no matter how similar a circumstance may be, it will only be just that, similar but not the same. All of it, every single second is a one off! There will always be a different aspect, outside factor or event that will change the situation.

I will only have one opportunity to take the time to write my blog at this time on December 8th 2011. I will never recapture this moment ever - wow! When I think of it like that, time is so so precious.

We should try to enjoy now, tomorrow never comes, it is now that is important. Living in the moment, as hard as we find it with the day to day routines, as well as the trials and tribulations of life, is essential to freeing your spirit and making the most of what time you have.

Take a leaf out of Obama's book. He is always present. He is always engaged and engaging. I am not into politics and I cannot comment on how well his is doing at his job, but no one can deny that he is present and has presence. Look at him versus the lady behind Michelle, I mean are they even at the same event?

How present are you, really? At work are you there? My body is there but my mind often takes a vacation in Bali, or a wonder how KC is enjoying his day or a trip back in time to the great evening with Honey. We all do it, but is that right? Are you getting paid to be partially present?

Do you always look your child and loved ones in the eyes and hear their voices. Do you really listen, do you? Why not? Are they not worthy of your focus and attention? I mean how does it feel when you require attention and do not receive it? I guess what I am saying is stop! Stop whatever is making you half hearted and be wholehearted!

Respond, react, be there, notice and be present. Put down the blackberry, the iPhone, the iPad. Turn off the TV. Listen. Be 100%.

Make the choice to be present in your present, as this moment only comes around once in a lifetime!


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Guest Blog - Yuletide Financial Advice

In keeping with the yuletide spirit, let's take a look at the investing vocabulary that goes along with this credit card-shattering time of year.
Santa Claus Rally

He's bearded, he's jolly, he’s fat … and he's permanently associated with Coca-Cola - yep, that's Santa Claus. Santa's origins are a matter of speculation but according to popular belief he is based on the historical figure Saint Nicholas, who supposedly gave presents to the poor.
The modern-day Santa spends his time spreading cheer and promoting world peace by delivering gifts all over the globe. In the investing world, Santa brings investors a "gift" in the form of a jump in the price of stocks, known as the Santa Claus rally. This rally usually occurs between Christmas and New Year's Day.
There are many theories as to why this happens. Some people believe it is a result of year-end tax considerations, while others say it's because all the market pessimists are away on holidays or because people are buying stock in anticipation of the January effect. Those of us who believe in the magic of Christmas think the rally may be due to seasonal cheer infecting the usually dour inhabitants of Wall Street - a true Christmas miracle
Your choices: With the promise of a new year and a set of fresh resolutions just around the corner, we often let loose for the holidays - sipping an extra drink at the office holiday party or packing on a few more pounds under a winter wardrobe. But don't let holiday cheer make you lose control of your spending, too. Avoid these ten missteps to stretch your budget through the holiday season:
1. Being blinded by bargains. Desperate retailers ushered in the holiday season early this year with premature Black Friday-esque sales, pushing you straight from your Halloween costume into your Santa suit. Don't let the abundance of bargains trick you into buying something simply because it's on sale.

2. Forgetting to budget for the extras. Remember to factor in the costs of greeting cards, postage, family photos, shipping, decor, entertaining, travel and even higher utility bills for your festive outdoor light display.

3. Buying on credit. If you have to put the purchase on your credit card or sign up for the store's financing, you simply cannot afford it. Any good deal you thought you were getting will be eroded by the interest you'll accrue and the time you'll spend as a hostage of debt. About 13.5 million Americans are still paying off last year's holiday bills, according to Consumer Reports.

4. Not keeping the receipt. Don't you hate it when you find someone's perfect gift deeply discounted … after you already bought it at a higher price? If you hang on to your receipt, you can save yourself the regret and the extra cost.

5. Spending to impress. This is a biggie, especially for young adults who may feel compelled to prove their success and their new independence. Don't let your gift giving become a larger statement than the gift. Before tossing something in your cart, ask yourself whether the recipient would really use it and whether you can really afford it. And the same goes for entertaining. It's the company of friends that matters, not how much money you spend.

6. Over-giving. It's wonderful to get caught up in the spirit of giving but not if that means you'll break your budget or go insane trying to pull it off. You don't have to buy something for every single person you know (co-workers, neighbours, newspaper deliverer, that guy you make small talk with at the bus stop). Stick to the people who count most in your life.

7. Giving in to gift guilt. Don't let guilt drive you to break your budget or go into debt. You don't have to spend the same amount of money on every kid on your list, for example. Giving thoughtful, age-appropriate gifts is much better. You are also not obligated to give a gift that has the same monetary value as a gift someone gave you, or even to reciprocate unexpected gifts.

8. Failing to do your homework. That discount looks like a good deal, but do you know whether it's the best value for your money? (Remember, inexpensive sometimes just means cheap.) Hit the Web before making major purchases to compare prices, read customer reviews and make sure you're getting a quality item at a good price.

9. Procrastinating. In the frenzy of last-minute shopping, you'll have no time to give thoughtful presents and might compensate by spending more. To avoid that panic-induced splurge, get your gift list in order early (like, yesterday) and give yourself time to shop smart.

10. Fruitcake. And for heaven's sake, don't waste your money on a bad gift. You may as well toss your money on a blazing yule log. Here are some common gifting gaffes to avoid:

·         Gadgets they'll never use - golf-ball-finder glasses, battery-powered potato peeler

·         Desk clutter - "gone fishin'" plaques, Zen gardens, paper weights

·         Overly personal - lingerie, nose-hair trimmers, weight-loss books

·         Thoughtless - cookies for the diabetic, wine for the recovering alcoholic or, my favourite, giving someone the same gift two years in a row

·         Tacky - holiday clothes, stuffed animals for anyone over age 10

·         Cliché - snow globes, coffee mugs and, yes, fruitcakes



David Francis  

David is my friend and a licensed FA. He has a wealth of experience over many years in the industry. I have asked David to provide regular hints and tips as we all could do with some particularly during these trying times.


Sunday, 4 December 2011

What Are You Passionate About?

I was reading about successful people and the root of their successes. The common denominator between all of them is they have a passion for what they have succeeded in. They do it for the love of it. Money is not necessarily a motivating factor, but because they have a deep love for what they are engaged in, they make money anyway!

You see I too want to succeed in doing something that I love. I have been thinking and thinking and I am still not 100% sure what I am passionate about. This is something I have toiled with for as long as I can remember. However now more than ever, I feel like it is very important that I discover what makes me tick, floats my boat and provides me with joy. Something that can be my job that I love so much that it is not like a job at all. Are there some of us that just do not ever have a passion? I hope not!

I love to write, I love music, I would say I am passionate about them both. I certainly know that I am not passionate about my profession. I like what I do, and it bodes well with me, however I am far from passionate about it.

Nevertheless, there is definitely a missing link. I know that I have something, I just need to go deep enough and find it. Maybe it is writing, why do I think that it is not? Do you have to make money out of it for it to be what you are passionate about?

As I write this I think I have realised what the issue is...I am trying to link my passion to a career, when they do not have to be one in the same! I just need to pursue the things that I love doing, they can be hobbies they do not have to be how I make a living right?

Maybe I should simply continue to explore further. I am always trying something. A new language, a sport, a new club or society. Perhaps that will help who knows.

In the meantime, I will continue writing and being at one with music. Hmmmmm maybe I do know what I am passionate about after all.

Love & Happiness.


Thursday, 1 December 2011

What Does Your Reflection Say To You?

How do you see yourself? Not only the physical image but also looking deep within?

I have no issues with self confidence, being self assured, positivity, looking and feeling great. When I look in the mirror physically I adore what I see. You should when you look in the mirror too. However that is all superficial. Looking deeper within, when I look at my inner self, I am puzzled by what looks back at me!

I received news this week that the growth I had removed from my eye lid two weeks ago was a Benign Cyst. Praise the Lord! My body is screaming out mercilessly for me to take notice that the self inflicted stresses are too much.

After the second surgery to remove growths from my body in 5 months I have decided no more! I have to take stock and listen to my body as it is speaking volumes. This has led me to really start to soul search and look deep within.

What I see is a strong woman that takes the world on her shoulders. Tries to be there and doing things that at times feel unsurmountable. I see a woman that is somewhat removed from the person I that I feel she should be. A woman that does not always practice what she preaches, and is driving herself to destruction.

So today I have decided to become the person on the inside that I want to be on the outside! We get so caught up in life, that we do not realise that it is enough already. We need to step back and check ourselves before we wreck ourselves.

So who do You want to see when you look in the mirror? The woman I want to see always adheres to her mantra 'Acceptance and go with the flow' when challenging circumstances arise, she is more easy on herself, she rests and exercises, and is strong knowing that whatever happens in the end all will be ok.

When I started this blog it was called 'A single mother that wants to do everything but can't, as time flies without wings.' What I have realised in the 5 months of writing this blog, is that this was to my detriment. Ones desire to do everything leads to fatigue, stress, and feeling unhealthy.

I changed the name of this blog a month or so ago as I realised that I cannot do everything and in actual fact, that is not what I really want. What I want is happiness and I want it today. What makes me happy is not a super woman lifestyle with no room to think, no time to be at one with myself, no time for my son, no time for my partner and friends. What I want is to get back to basics and above all stop trying so hard. All this trying so hard is exhausting, mentally and physically.

What do you want to be, to feel? Let us start to be on the inside what we want on the outside. Stop having migraines, tantrums, feelings of stress and anxiety, cancers, ulcers, undiagnosed illnesses.

Look within, when you are getting ready to do your daily chores, look at your internal mirror and decide that each day your reflection says to you that you are exactly who you want to be - and keep saying and visualising it until you believe it, and eventually materialise it.

Love & Happiness!