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Archive for the ‘lifestyle’ Category

‘There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.’ ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Besides the fact that a lot of the other titles I had in mind weren’t available…

I chose Tactile Soul as the title of my blog because I believe that we need to touch (and be touched) with our soul’s.  That may sound like a contradiction, tactile meaning ‘capable of being perceived by the sense of touch’, and the sense of touch being thought of as physical or tangible.  And yet, we are touched by things emotionally and spiritually all the time.

This blog is really about reconnecting to our selves, and in order to know who you really are you need to open yourself and allow yourself to be touched more than superficially.

We need to be present in each and every moment, live simply and keep centered.   Remember, it’s about the journey.

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I’ve spent the last few weeks, as I’m sure you all have, reflecting on the last year. 2009 was a particularly rough one, for myself and my family that is. As I was pondering all the trials and tribulations I realised – and this was by no means a new realisation, just one that tends to be pushed aside in the everyday hustle and bustle – that we spend most of our lives anticipating the future. Tomorrow this will happen and by tomorrow we’re onto what will be happening next week and then next month. We spend so much time anticipating how things will be better tomorrow, how we’ll begin the new diet, exercise programme, project tomorrow (or on Monday…), sometimes we completely miss what’s going on today.

We put happiness on hold, thinking that the next best thing is just around the corner. I’m horrified to see that as my children get older, they are beginning to fall into the same habit.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to look forward, to have goals to work towards, but remember, as some wise person once said , it’s about the journey, not the destination. Think about it, if you’re waiting for happiness to “happen” once you reach a particular goal, finding a new job, losing weight, getting out of debt, what about the time it takes to achieve that goal? Does happiness have to be put on hold? Ninety percent of our time is spent striving to achieve something, and if you are in the mindset of “When that happens I’ll be happy…” you will only be happy for 10% of the time.

Besides, once you reach a particular destination, you’ll be looking forward to the next one. – I’ve lost 5kg, now I need to buy some great clothes….

When does happiness actually “happen”?

Live in the now. Appreciate every moment, every experience, every step of this journey that you’re on.

As for me, I have many goals for 2010, but I have determined to slow down and smell the roses along the way. For today, I am happy that my family is together and I had breakfast with my beautiful daughter this morning, I’ll be spending time this evening with my neighbours who’ve been away for a couple of weeks, I have already lost 3kg towards my goal and my i-pod is synchronising my latest music downloads!

What are you happy about, right here, right now?

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I forgot my friend’s birthday. Yes, I feel terrible. This is the person I speak to every day, who knows all my ins and outs, who is there for me through thick and thin… and … I just forgot. How could I have become so caught up in the day to day grind that I could overlook something so important?

I remembered it last week when I bought her gift, but then somehow managed to pack away the gift and the memory…

Of course, I called her as soon as I remembered (two days later) and apologised. She laughed it off, but I still feel awful.

I’m not good with dates at the best of times, but this is no excuse. I have it on my calendar in my kitchen – I guess the fact that the kids were on holiday meant that I didn’t need to consult the calendar in terms of their various activities, but still… Facebook sends a reminder for Pete’s sake, but I hadn’t been on facebook for a couple of days, but still… I have since delivered her gift and taken her for lunch, but still…

How is she supposed to know how important she is to me if I forgot her friggin birthday!

Fi, forgive me, I love you.

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The C word…

We had news on Wednesday that my husband’s oldest friend has been diagnosed with testicular cancer.  He had no time to digest the information and was rushed straight into surgery.  He now faces months and months of treatment. More and more people we know are being affected.

I can remember my grandparents having conversations about all their friends beginning to die and thinking, “How morbid, why do they dwell on it?”  I don’t think they were being particularly morbid, it was just that stage of life for them, and now I find myself thinking about my friends and how young they are, all with small children.  Breast cancer has been the most prevalent, even I had a scare in January, but it turned out to be fine.  Fortunately everyone I know has so far managed to beat the odds, but at the risk of sounding morbid myself, it’s just a matter of time.

It brings me to the question of lifestyle again.  We just don’t take good enough care of ourselves.  We live stressed out lives, working too hard, not taking enough time out and not eating or exercising properly.  How many of you go for regular pap smears, mammograms, prostate exams?

This has spurred me on to revisit the resolutions I made in the New Year, not just for myself, but for my family.  And not just in terms of diet and exercise, but in terms of time spent together, listening to one another, not sweating the small stuff.  Why is it so hard to do?  Why do we get so caught up in the struggle?

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I read something a while back about facebook being responsible for a “huge resurgence of global love” and I have to agree that social networking has changed the way we interact.  For better or worse? 

Many parents I know spend a good deal of time worrying about their children spending time on MXit, facebook and the like.  Why?  Could it be simply because they are technophobic?  Can social networking really be that bad?

Like anything else I guess it could be, but there’s a lot to be said for being able to see who your children are hanging out with online.  My point is, you can tell a lot more about your kids friends by their online activities than you can by conversation, I mean, have you ever tried to have a conversation with a teenager?! Enough said.

Take some time and check out the groups your kids have joined, the comments they make, lists of favourite movies, photo’s of their “real life” socialising.  Take the plunge, it’s possible to learn a lot more about your kids (and their friends), just by meeting them in their own playground… 

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The work of accepting ourselves and our path never stops, even when it is so radically not what we want or what fits our idea of who we are. If you’re anything like me, you probably feel overwhelmed by all the changes you’d like to see in your life. I know the thing’s I’d like to change; exercise more, be more available to friends, have quality time with my husband and children… But it seems that the more I resolve to make these changes, the more I feel I’ve failed.

These past few weeks particularly have led me to re-evaluate once again, and this time, instead of adding to an already impossible to do list (both work wise and personally) I have resolved to cross things off and focus only on those things that are essential (in terms of making a living) or that I really want to do (personally). The questions I’m asking myself are “Do I really have to do this? Do I really want to do this? Why am I actually doing this?”;  and if the answers are not satisfactory, I’ll delete it. This may sound radical but don’t you ever feel that your life is just clogged down with ‘busyness’.

I took time out yesterday afternoon to visit with one of my best friends. Yes, on a work day! We took our kids to lunch, she highlighted my hair and I got her signed up to facebook. I don’t remember the last time we spent time together unrushed by work and commitments. I feel so much better for it. So instead of long to do lists that hide out in the dark corners of my mind I will resolve firstly not to worry about things I have no control over and as far as possible to concentrate on the things I really want to do and are manageable. One week at a time.

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To live remains an art which everyone must learn, and which no one can
teach. ~Havelock Ellis

I’m on a quick approach to 45 and I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes in life… I have few regrets, even the huge mistakes have taught me invaluable lessons. From all that I’ve learned, I wish there was some way I could implant the lessons in my children.

This list is far from complete, but it’s a start. Who knows, maybe my kids will even read it one day.

You’re never as fat as you think you are. (this lesson is especially for my gorgeous and beautifully proportioned 12 year old daughter) I’ve always obsessed over my weight, yes, even as a twelve year old. This may have had something to do with my mother spicing my childhood with comments like “rather waste on the plate than waste on your hips”. Yup, I don’t think she ever heard about the children starving in Africa that most parents spoke of – oh wait, I was one of them, trying to please mom. Looking back at photographs of myself, I was NOT fat, not even close. As I got older my weight yo-yo’d as I tried to get thinner and messed with my metabolism. Now, in middle age, I battle with a few extra kilo’s, but I think if I’d had a healthier self image as a young girl, I may have had a more balanced eating plan.

Make time to pursue your passion, no matter how busy you think you are. There were so many things I was passionate about but just never made the time to pursue. With a family and school and a full-time job, there just weren’t enough hours in the day. Well, I’ve learned that you have to make those hours. Set aside a block of time to do what you love, cut out other stuff from your life that take up your time, and don’t let anything interfere with that work. When I think what I’ve achieved over the last few years, and especially the last six months I wonder why I wasted all that time!

Save a little every month, even when you think you can’t afford to. I’ve learned that a little goes a long way. I wish I’d learned it sooner. If I had saved 10% of my earnings – and bearing in mind I had my first part time job at age 14 – I could probably have been semi-retired by now.

All the things you stress over, it’s not worth an ulcer! When things are happening to you right now, they are all encompassing. I had deadlines and projects and people breathing down my neck, and my stress levels went through the roof. I don’t regret the hard work but I think I would have been less stressed if I could have just realised that it wouldn’t matter a single bit just a few years down the road. Perspective is a good thing to learn.

Balance is essential. An unbalanced life leads to ulcers (see above) and worse. It is so important to make time for yourself and for your family. You may have to make compromises financially or professionally, but at the end of the day, what is it all for?

Nurture the special relationships in your life. People come and go in your life, but there are a few, if you’re lucky you can count your family among them, that are consistently there. That don’t have unrealistic expectations, that don’t harp on your mistakes, that share the times between the spaces of your life. Hang on to these. Value them above all else. And most of all, know that you are blessed.

Keep a journal. I kept a journal my entire life, and I mean that. I learned to read and write at age four, and began writing my secret thoughts down. I went through a strange time about 20 years ago and burned all my journals. That is THE major regret of my life. I continued journaling and then, during another strange time about 10 years ago, was so concerned at having my thoughts “out there”, I stopped. BIG mistake. You learn so much from reading back through your journals. It is a wonderful measure of where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. It’s an outlet, a therapy and a place in which to be totally honest and completely yourself. Just do it!

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