There is only one you and you’ve only got one today. One now. Tomorrow it’s gone.

There is only one you and you’ve only got one today. One now. Tomorrow it’s gone.

“You are either moving forwards or you’re going backwards – you don’t stay the same. We are not human “beings”, we are human “becomings”. We are becoming something.”

So opens a video I saw the other day, while gathering my thoughts for this coming year. The video was posted on YouTube, by Be Inspired and, with 1.4 million subscribers and 725 806 views at the time I watched it, it is obvious that I am not the only one contemplating where I am and where I am going this year.

It is best to let the video speak for itself and, to do so, here are just some of the many thoughts that pepper its 11:11 duration. You will quickly understand why it stood out for me.

“There is only one you and you’ve only got one today. One now. Tomorrow it’s gone. Tomorrow it’s a different day. People spend their whole lives planning on living their dreams. But you see, you gotta take action…you gotta attack the day…

…what’s something that you’ve done recently, in the name of growth, where you are comfortable being uncomfortable? If your answer is “I don’t know”, that is a sign that you should be working on something. You’ve always got to be growing or else you’re going backwards. You’ve got to move towards your goals today. You’ve got to get up every day and say to yourself – every morning – I will do today what others don’t, so I will have tomorrow what others won’t…

…failure is a part of the learning process. What’s the risk of failure? What, that you would be embarrassed, shamed or ridiculed? How do you distinguish failure from learning? In your whole life, failure implies that you stopped, that the game stops…that learning is part of the ‘moving forward’, that is what the process is like: fail, learn, move forward and constantly do that because you’re cutting-edge, you’re going where people haven’t been before… that’s a different approach to life, a different way of being…”

And, finally:

“…doing something, making it real, so right now give up on those weird mental mechanisms that make you actually want to fight for the things that are impossible, to get people to believe in it, to get people to understand why you’ve chosen to stand still.

Instead of that, convince yourself that you should be moving: go, do what you know you are destined to do.”

Again, the question I ask, just as it was asked in the video: what’s something that you’ve done recently, in the name of growth, where you are comfortable being uncomfortable?

Think on that, and then watch the whole video, here.

Kindest regards,

Marléne

What are you reflecting on as we near the end of the year?

What are you reflecting on as we near the end of the year?

“No man is an island,” wrote John Donne, “Entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main”.

And this is certainly true, even today, many years after those lines were first penned. We are part of a whole, we exist within that whole and what we do in and of ourselves may impact that whole.

Still, there comes a time in everyone’s life when retreating to our own “island” is what is needed. We need to spend the time to reflect on our own journey and on our own path. As another year draws to a close, many of us find ourselves reflecting on the year that has been, the day that is now, and the time that is to come.

I have journeyed far and wide this year, not just with you, but also within myself. Here are some of the things that I have learned. I wonder if, perhaps, you feel the same way and can find some clarity in these musings, as you find the time to retreat to your own island, for a bit, to learn and to grow.

The biggest learning I have had this year is to listen, intently, without judgement. I have learned that there is no need to talk back. Just as I have the need to be heard, I have learned to respect that others do too, to become more aware of others and what they may be wanting to say.

I have also learned to listen to myself, in the small moments. I have learned to stop and listen to my mind and to my body, becoming aware of where the disconnect is, noticing that if I reconnect to that part of me that is not in sync that I can integrate it and become whole again.

I have learned that it is okay to be me. I have wounds and scars that are healing daily and I know that there are more to come, in the future. I have learned that in dealing with that it helps to be in a place where I can find myself, right now, as that is just where I need to be. Not in the past and not in the future. Just in the now.

And because I am not an island, I know that every person I have come across this year, every client who has opened up vulnerabilities in their own process and their own path in order to heal, has taught me courage and for that I am always humbled in their presence.

Most of all, I have learned gratitude and appreciation for every moment that has showed up and for every lesson that I have learned.

That is my wish for you.

Kindest regards,

Marléne

What are the signs of bullying?

What are the signs of bullying?

We’ve all seen television shows, especially the older ones, where the bully was the bigger kid in the striped t-shirt who would use their size to intimidate the smaller kid, usually the hero of the show.

Most of the time this would be stereotypically for lunch money, or to force the smaller kid to do some homework for him. We would laugh at the antics of the bully and sorta-kinda sympathise with the bullied kid, but not really. After all, we thought, this is easily solved by a punch on the nose and why-oh-why does the bullied kid not just ‘man up’ and give the bully some of what he deserves?

Maybe that was the reality of it then. While this does happen in today’s society, this is not even the most common type any longer.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines bullying as “to treat abusively” or “to affect by means of force and coercion”. That is all very good and well, but often times the bullied person doesn’t even realise there is abuse, force or coercion because it happens over such a long time, and sometimes in such subtle ways, that it becomes commonplace and, the bullied person believes, it is not really “abuse” at all.

Bullying takes many different forms. Physical bullying is the kind we most associate with, again thanks to television shows, and involves the bully pushing, hitting or even spitting on another person. It does not even have to involve actual physical violence but may include the very threat of violence. Mental bullying would include telling lies about another, or telling them that they are stupid or worthless, and making fun of them in front of others. There is even bullying within relationships, where it is often about controlling the other person. Some bullies use silent treatment as a way of coercing or punishing another, refusing to talk to them until they comply. And, of course, there is workplace bullying, where one person may keep another from advancement, or forcing another to quit through bullying tactics. You need only pick up a paper or browse a website to see the amount and the level of sexual harassment in the workplace today as well.

In fact, the sheer amounts of types of bullying are so vast that we could fill volumes. Perhaps then, it is much easier if we ask a simple question, irrespective of the type of bullying: how would I know if I am being bullied? Seeing as it may happen over time and become seemingly normal, are there signs that I should look out for in myself and in those I love and care for?

Most parents can tell when something is wrong with their child; an honour student suddenly or gradually gets worse. There may be sudden outbursts over seemingly minor things. Yes, these can be signs. But consider the following as well:

  • Unexplained injuries;
  • Lost or damaged items;
  • Feeling sick often;
  • Difficulty sleeping;
  • Trouble in school or at work;
  • Changes in eating habits;
  • Self-destructive behaviour;
  • Withdrawing from family and friends; and
  • Low self-esteem.

Yes, bullying is an ever-growing problem. With the right tools, however, it can start decreasing. If this is a subject which holds particular importance or significance for you, if you feel that either yourself or a loved one is being bullied, or if you believe that a loved one is being the bully, then I encourage you to join me on Saturday the 11th of November at 42 On Sonneblom Deli at 10h00, were I will be delivering a talk on “Bullying: Be The Change”. In addition, we shall also hear from Seugnet Nelson from Heyns and Partners, and from Jessica Morton, a Grade 7 pupil at Eversdal.

And then watch this space as well, as we unpack this subject via this newsletter (and my blog) in the coming weeks, looking at the triggers of bullying, who is likely to bully and what can be done to help both the bullied and the bully.

Kindest regards,
Marléne

The Power of Boundaries Part 2: some practical examples

The Power of Boundaries Part 2: some practical examples

She does not appear to have any particular stand-out features. At work, she is diligent and polite, a good team-player. Shopkeepers that she encounters would likewise describe her as polite. Some people, when they first start getting to know Mary, may describe her as unusually attentive; most people, it seems, are all too quick to get their word into a conversation but Mary doesn’t seem to have to. Maybe, people think, she is merely being ‘polite’ again. Some may even realise that what they initially thought of as merely attentive is not only that; it is also starting to come across as genuine compassion, a real interest in another person and what they are saying.

What people don’t see is what lies beneath the surface until, that is, they get to know Mary even better. Mary, you see, has made some important decisions in her life.

Some are simple: Mary does not wish people to go through her personal belongings.

That is simple but is still an important line in the sand. She also does not wish to be unfairly criticised, not does she wish to have off-colour jokes told in her presence. She is firm but polite about these choices and, because of that, people respect them.

Mary has also decided that she has a right to certain things. She has a right to have help around the house and some peace and quiet while getting a massage. She also wishes to have more information before she makes a purchase and, because she is firm about this, a sales person is quick to respond.

And finally, Mary has also decided that it is okay to protect her own time and energy. She knows that it is okay not to answer her phone every time it rings.She has decided that, if she takes her time responding to messages and emails, she can do them better and with more clarity. Mary knows that she is free to say “no”, even to a volunteer activity, and change her mind. Mary feels that it is okay to cancel a commitment if she is not feeling well and she has decided to do just that, if the need arises.

Mary knows that it is okay to reserve a place in her own home that is off limits to everyone else.

These decisions have allowed Mary the space and the ability to start looking outwards. She in content with how she views things and how she would like people to view her.

She has discovered The Power of Boundaries.

Kindest regards,

Marléne.

Why do we react irrationally sometimes?

Why do we react irrationally sometimes?

Why do we react irrationally sometimes?
Someone might say something which triggers an emotional reaction and you completely overreact, then later wonder why.

It’s all down to triggers. What are triggers?
Well, lets take a step back and talk about pattern matching first. Pattern Matching is one of the reasons we are so successful as a species, it’s the ability to instantly assess something we haven’t come across before and decide on a response or course of action.

It’s like playing a very complex game of ‘snap’ in our head constantly and the cards in our pack are added to constantly as we grow up and learn.

The pack of snap cards includes information from all our senses, hearing, smell, sight, touch and is stored in the hippocampus (memory centre) in our limbic system or primitive brain, which is also the emotional centre of our brain.

For example:

You come out of your house and there is something in the street – it’s moving in your direction, has 4 legs, it’s bigger than you, it has fur and big teeth and is drooling, it smells unpleasant and is making a noise. You’ve never seen anything like it before – but what do you do?

I would probably run away. I’m pretty sure I’ve got snap cards in my head that add up to dangerous. (It might have decided that at 4 legs and bigger than me stage!) But my imagination would have filled in the gaps and decided that something I had seen in the past which matched some of the criteria was dangerous, therefore this is going to be dangerous too. It might not be, but I’m not going to hang around to find out because it’s an unpleasant or dangerous match.