Where is the Love?

There is a global pandemic happening around the world and unfortunately, I have been observing behaviour that doesn’t showcase the best of humanity. There are shoppers hoarding toilet paper and other basic necessities, fights breaking out amongst our fellow humans over groceries and stampedes in supermarkets trampling children. What happened to showing compassion, understanding and love to our fellow humans? There are some stories trickling through, however, it is only a trickle.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

There seems to be more stories of selfishness and greed which displays the sad state society is currently in. In regard to the supermarket situation, our family shops weekly, we only buy what we need and maybe add one or two extra of a few things we know we’re going to be using more that week. For the last three weeks, the supermarket aisles have been empty of toilet paper, tissues, cleaning products, tinned food, pasta, rice, eggs, bread, flour and condiments. We’re not desperate but we do have food intolerances and allergies to cater for. I feel for the elderly and less able bodied who are unable to shop often or in large quantities and have had to leave empty handed. There are also others less financially able or have family members with dietary requirements and/ or medical conditions to cater for. For these families, this is non-negotiable and having several supermarkets with empty shelves for weeks makes things difficult for those who are most vulnerable.

It is disturbing to see it is happening all around the world, so it is not confined to one country but occurring in several. There are also other considerations like health workers who cannot shop until their shifts are finished and are met with empty shelves. These people need to eat well and remain healthy so they can look after the rest of the population who become unwell. I am truly disappointed by stories of shoppers hoarding, people making profit by selling items at exorbitant prices because they have become scarce. It is saddening to say the least.

If everyone of us can look after ourselves and think of others in this time of crisis, we can get through this pandemic together. These drastic measures of social distancing, lock-downs and self-isolation are meant to be temporary to help manage this pandemic. Social distancing does not mean you can’t go outside for a walk, or go to buy your groceries – it means you need to keep a safe distance from others, usually indicated by the health department or country’s government. This is to help slow and manage the spread of the virus, especially to the vulnerable in our communities – the elderly, immunocompromised, those with existing medical conditions, such as; diabetes, heart disease and respiratory illness – to name a few. As well as those currently undergoing treatment for cancer or other illnesses.

By putting these measures into place and as we practice them, we slow the spread and enable health systems to cope. In many countries, the health system is struggling to cope to treat the sick as we are observing across the globe. There are not enough beds, medical staff or equipment. By implementing these temporary measures to manage and slow the spread, it gives us breathing space – which is what this virus does not provide. It is a scary time and people are afraid and anxious, however, hoarding basic necessities and being selfish is not going to make this pandemic disappear. Showing compassion, understanding and love will definitely help to soften the blow.

I feel if we do what is being asked of us, we can enjoy the things we have to forgo much sooner. It’s short-term pain for long-term pain – surely we can all do this to save lives? I feel this is not too much to ask. No life is more important than any other – we are all human, all bleed the same red blood, breathe the same air and are capable of much more love. This pandemic needs to be taken seriously and we all need to look after ourselves but also the vulnerable in our community. We all need to take care, take necessary precautions and keep well. The sooner we do this on a mass scale, the sooner we can Laugh.Love.Live. to enjoy the things we are forgoing in the short-term.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Small wins…

Photo by Karina Carvalho on Unsplash

We often forget to celebrate our small wins. Big wins need no reminders yet the small everyday wins often go unnoticed and under-celebrated. Often these small wins could be quite momentous given the situation or lead to the bigger win, which would not occur if the smaller wins weren’t achieved. Each and everyone of us has small wins, sometimes no-one else needs to be aware of them and are purely for our own sense of achievement. Even when no-one else is aware of these small wins, it is important to celebrate them – by a smile, a pat on the back, treating yourself to something special – in any way you feel most appropriate. After all, it is your win and you can celebrate it in the way that feels right for you.

When I coach my clients, I ask how their week has been and celebrate their wins with them. Often at the start of the coaching relationship, people are not even sure what or if they have any wins to celebrate. I often explain, it could be something small but meaningful to them like being able to have a difficult conversation with their Manager or Colleague or recognising complex emotions – becoming aware is the first step to being able to manage them.

What are your wins for this week? What is something you have accomplished which you can celebrate? I’m sure if you think hard enough, there will be something or a few things which may stand out. Remember to celebrate those wins and move onto the next step. Each step brings you closer to your bigger goal(s). It’s not the speed that matters as long as you keep moving forward, however, being consistent and persistent are keys to achieve your success. And it is your success, enjoy and celebrate.

A year of gratitude…

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

What a year it has been, there have been some difficult times and yet I am very grateful for this year as well. This year we moved into our new home and are excited to be spending our first Christmas and New year in our own home. I started my MBA and have successfully completed my first year – two more to go! I removed triggers which contributed to my depression and anxiety, surrounding myself with energy which is supportive, positive and encouraging. It’s been a year of realising that as you get older, your circle of friends become smaller but increase in quality. It’s been a year of realising who are or have always been there for you and are genuinely happy for your successes – big or small. It’s a year of being extremely thankful. Difficult times have made me realise the strength within to juggle competing priorities in my life – work, family and studies.

I hope you have also had a year that you can be thankful for, despite any challenges. As you overcome these challenges, remind yourself that you are awesome, you are enough and can handle anything the universe throws your way. Although, the year has had it’s high points, it’s also been quite an exhausting year so am looking forward to a bit of a break before starting it all over again next year! Onward and upwards! May you find the strength within to overcome all your challenges for the remainder of this year and beyond. Even those who don’t celebrate Christmas, please have a safe and happy time with friends, family and loved ones. I also hope for those who may face this time of year alone, have other people who may be strangers at first, but become friends who can share a meal, some quality time or a laugh during this time of year. My thoughts go out to anyone who have lost loved ones and are facing this time without them for the first year. I found the first year the hardest and that it gets a little easier each year. Our loved ones live in our hearts and memories and they are always near.

Thank you to all who have taken the time to read and like my posts, apologies I have not yet had time to return the favour but endeavour to take some time during my break to do so. Take care, look after each other. Peace and blessings – continue to Laugh.Love.Live for this year, through to next year and beyond. Namaste!

A life remembered, a year on…

Gorgeous Grandma

It’s been a year today since you left the physical world,

We remember and miss you in our laughter, tears and sharing of memories.

We shared a meal consisting of one of your favourite foods and invited you to the table.

You blessed us with your presence, we felt your spirit as the meal unfurled,

We felt your love, remembered you with smiles and felt your energy,

We are grateful for your presence and spiritual assistance that has been enabled.

Your spirit is ever present, watching over us, protecting us always,

Feeling your ever present care, kindness and compassion.

We celebrate your life and remember you with fondness.

You live in our hearts, thoughts, words and actions,

As the day comes to an end, we realise you are ever present in our conscious,

Your life is remembered and kept alive in our hearts, minds and words today and everyday.

Mmmm… Cake.

It’s been a while since I posted and apologies, I have been very busy and not had much time for writing on my blog. I appreciate your support, likes and follows! I will make time to do some reading of your blogs, like and follow in return – it may take a little while as I have been doing a different type of writing – academic writing for assessments required for my studies. It has been challenging and rewarding at the same time and I am truly enjoying the journey. In my spare time, I am also doing some creative writing, domestics, family responsibilities, school and extra curricular activities which leaves very little spare time. I do make time when I can so thank you for your patience in advance.

I have been baking due to dietary intolerances and have been making this delicious gluten and dairy free chocolate cake for when I feel like a chocolate treat. I thought I would share it for those of you who may have the same dietary intolerances or may know someone who does and this could be a sweet treat they can try. I tend to use less sugar, however, please adjust to taste. I find this cake is quite quick and easy to make. Here is my take on a gluten and dairy-free alternative to chocolate cake – enjoy!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup water

2/3 cup oil (olive or vegetable)

2 eggs

1/2 cup cocoa powder or 200g dark chocolate, melted

1½ cups of gluten free self-raising flour

1/2 cup gluten free plain flour

1/2 cup of sugar

Ganache:

250g dark chocolate

I teaspoon coconut oil (olive or vegetable oil is fine also)

1 large avocado (or 2 small avocados), mashed well.

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

In a large bowl, add water, eggs and oil. Stir to combine.

In another bowl, add flour cocoa and sugar and mix well. If using melted chocolate, please leave out until after combining the wet and dry ingredients.

Add flour mixture to wet mixture and mix with electric mixer until smooth. Add melted chocolate here if using instead of cocoa and combine well.

Pour into greased, round cake tin (20 cm). Place into oven for 50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

Leave cake to cool in tin for 30 minutes, place onto cooling rack to cool further. Make ganache as cake cools.

Method for Ganache:

Mash avocado in a bowl and set aside.

Place a glass bowl over a saucepan of water, add dark chocolate pieces and oil. Bring water to boil, then turn down to low heat. Stir as chocolate melts to ensure no lumps.

Add melted chocolate to mashed avocado and mix well.

Pour over top of cake and spread evenly. Serve with a scoop of dairy-free vanilla ice cream.

I didn’t have any dairy-free ice cream when I baked this – hence no ice cream in my photo – however, it is still very nice without it. You can see my ganache is not very smooth because I like to leave small lumps in my avocado and I find it looks quite rustic and provides a burst of avocado as you eat the cake. You can make it smoother if you prefer. I find the cake is moist and makes for a ‘healthy’ indulgence when you are craving some chocolate cake. I feel food is a universal language – it enables you to share your love of food with others and offers a variety of tastes, flavours and cultures. Food brings people together and sparks conversation. Cooking and baking is an enjoyable past-time for me, especially when shared with family, friends and loved ones. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, there are so many options now that even with food intolerances, I don’t feel like I am missing out! I hope this encourages you to experiment and find what suits your taste in order to Laugh. Love. Live with food – Namaste!

Juggling

It’s been a busy four months since April this year – I’ve been juggling study, moving house, work, family and life in general. It seems when things happen, they happen all at once! The universe has a funny way of delivering things to you when you open yourself to the possibilities. Things can feel uncomfortable at first, however, as it becomes the ‘new normal’ then you forget what it was like before things changed. I read something the other day which resonates and I have shared below:

I started studying my MBA in May this year which is something I have wanted to do for a few years yet never had the courage to pursue it. I’ve bitten the bullet and started, it doesn’t mean I’m no longer scared. Courage is not about NOT being scared – it’s about being scared but doing it anyway – being brave is another way of looking it! As per the quote in Neil Gaiman’s book Coraline:

“Because,’ she said, ‘when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, that’s brave.” 
― Neil Gaiman, Coraline

So, in between packing, working and looking after my family, I have been completing assessments, studying, reading, reviewing and sitting a final exam. Leading up to the final exam was more stressful than it needed to be because upon moving, our internet connection (even though we were advised was connected) was unavailable for 5 weeks which included the week I was due to sit my exam.

The situation could not be resolved even though I had been in contact with the service provider several times to advise the situation to assist in the resolution. It also affected my daughter’s studies as homework and school group work is completed online. We were given a temporary solution which meant I could sit my exam on the designated day – phew! Homework and school work could also be completed – yay!? Yes, I am aware internet connection is not essential like say, water and electricity and when speaking to a peer about my situation, he remarked “First world problems” and I agreed. However, when you do not have internet connection for 5 weeks without a remedy in sight, you realise how much you rely on it to do most things!

Given we had no internet for 5 weeks and as my studies are completed online – it also restricted the ability to log on, read and research articles for the final exam. The week I had planned to use for study became reduced to only one day prior to the exam. This exacerbated my stress and anxiety! Once I had completed the exam, I was happy I was able to complete it, it was over and would be happy if I gained a pass grade so that I would not have to redo the subject! I take my hat off to mothers and people in general who work, study and look after a family – it is no easy feat! It definitely makes you prioritise – become better at time management, finding a balance between work and play! We have all heard the saying “All work and no play is not good for the soul” by Felix Sabates.

Even though it has been and will be difficult over the next few years juggling study with work and family, this is something I have wanted to do for a while. I am grateful to have the opportunity to pursue it and make the decision to complete my studies. As I say to my daughter “When you make a decision, own it”. I’m owning this decision and enjoying the challenge of learning something new. Learning something new keeps you young and that is always welcome – especially as we age!

My mother has always said and continues to say to me “You never stop learning!”. As a result, I also believe and apply this in my life – learning happens throughout your life, there is always something new you can learn. Where and how you learn may also surprise you, but that’s what keeps life interesting. When was the last time you learned something new? How did it make you feel? To me, learning is invigorating yet challenging. It also keeps me busy and out of mischief! I appreciate this opportunity to be able to pursue something I have wanted to do for some time – I feel blessed, loved and ever grateful.

We are still unpacking but most of the important things are unpacked and in it’s proper place. There are pictures to be hung and a few things to be done but things are more settled. Our internet has finally been connected – it took switching providers but it has made things so much easier! Studies can resume, homework and schoolwork can be completed, along with being able to enjoy some entertainment – which certainly helps during school holidays! May you also find something that challenges you, making it possible to learn something new and makes you feel alive! Continue to Laugh.Love.Live – Peace and blessings!

A moment of Gratitude…

This post is a big thank you to the universe, my grandma’s spirit, the positive people who have shown up in my life to provide the support and encouragement when I needed it the most. I am truly grateful for the positive energy that is surrounding me and for the manifestation of many things and those yet to come.

Do you believe you can manifest your heart’s desires or the life you are meant to be living? Once you rid your life of toxic energy and toxic people who have an adverse affect on your outcomes – the things that were just out of your reach seem to become within your grasp. This has been my experience since the passing of my Grandma, sliding into depression and anxiety realising who has been there for me, who turned up when I needed it most and who were never there for me in that capacity.

It’s been a challenging and energising time – detoxing people and things from my life that were no longer serving me. I am very grateful for the people who have shown up and been there during my tough times and not kicked me when I was down. And those that did, helped me to realise who and what I needed and wanted in my life. Positivity, support, love, encouragement, acceptance, tolerance, understanding and compassion – if the people in your life do not provide you with these, then it may be time to reconsider your circle. I read a quote that states “If you look at the people in your circle and don’t get inspired, then you don’t have a circle – you have a cage!”.

Sometimes we become comfortable with the uncomfortable because it’s what we have become accustomed to, however change brings discomfort and with change comes growth. Change is something humans are not comfortable with but once things have changed and become the ‘new normal’, we tend to forget what it was like previously because the new normal becomes the status quo. Remembering that we have the power to choose is often the first step to living your life on your terms. Owning our decisions and making changes that are right for us doesn’t need explanations. People will tend to understand only from their level of perception. My experience is that until you go through the same or similar situation, you cannot begin to understand what choice(s) or change(s) you would make based on what you have to choose from.

I’ve been lucky to have a circle of people who inspired me, supported me and helped me to get back to my usual self, seek the help I required and checked up on me along the way. Some of these people were not always people I had known for a long time, I have found that difficult times often reveal those who ‘show up’ for you don’t always equal the length of time you have known them. Sometimes it does, but not always. I am grateful for my circle, for allowing me time to heal, providing support and enabling me to Laugh.Love.Live again. Peace and blessings!