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.

“Here’s what’s okay for me and here’s what’s not” – the power of setting boundaries.

“Here’s what’s okay for me and here’s what’s not” – the power of setting boundaries.

Are boundaries fake walls, separation or division? Consider rather: “here’s what’s okay for me and here’s what’s not.”

Some of the most compassionate or empathetic people you will meet, are also very clear about the boundaries in their relationships with others.

You can think of this as a contract between two entities: “what is okay and what is not okay.”

This all sounds very simple and we all nod our heads when we hear these statements – easier said than done perhaps? Some of us (me included at times) are uncomfortable with setting boundaries. We tend to care a lot about what people think, about whether we are disappointing someone. We want people to like us…boundaries are, therefore, often absent.

Why then, are these so key, so important and so necessary in our day-to-day lives and, indeed, for our own growth?

Watch here as Brené Brown, an American scholar, author and public speaker, takes on this very subject.

Kindest regards,

Marléne.

If you’ve done your work, and set your boundaries, you can tread that water forever.

If you’ve done your work, and set your boundaries, you can tread that water forever.

“Boundaries are not fake walls. They’re not separation. Boundaries are not division; they’re respect. They’re “here’s what’s okay for me and here’s what’s not.”

Some of the most compassionate people you will ever met are also the most boundaried. And boundaries, as has been said above, is “what is okay and what is not okay.”

This all sounds very simple and we all nod our heads when we hear these statements but boundaries are not easy, are they? We are not, usually, comfortable with setting boundaries. We tend to care a lot about what people think, we don’t want to disappoint anyone, we want people to like us…so, no, boundaries are not easy.

Why then, are these so key, so important and so necessary in our day-to-day lives and, indeed, for our own growth?

If you would like to know more about how you can apply boundaries to your own life and how these will shape your own ideas in terms of compassion and empathy, then do join me on Friday 7 April at 13h00 for a lunch time chat, where I will go into why you should be thinking about the boundaries you have or have not set in place, and how you go about doing so.

Simply let me know if you will be attending or if you require further information, or go directly to the Facebook event page here.

Unlock The Power of Boundaries, now.

Kindest regards,

Marléne

 

Taxes and Prices in an inevitable world.

Taxes and Prices in an inevitable world.

Hello everyone,

Benjamin Franklin has always mistakenly been attributed with the following quote:

“but in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Granted, he did write those words in a letter to a friend, Jean-Baptiste Leroy, in 1798. The real origin, however, goes back to Christopher Bullocks’ 1716 book, The Cobbler of Preston, wherein he writes:

“‘Tis impossible to be sure of anything but Death and Taxes.”

Whatever the origins, it rings true to an extent. Other things may be said to be equally certain: inserting a flashdrive incorrectly the first time and having to flip it around, for example, or spotting an empty parking space only to find it occupied by a really short car that was not visible from 2 metres out.

And so too, alas, are increases in prices. What is certain and true for everybody is that prices go up. Whether you are looking at a shopping list or you are a company watching your expenses, things go up. And so it is with me. Here then are my prices for 2017:

Pilates and Callanetics
– Private classes: R160 for a 1 hour session.
– Group sessions, held twice a week, are R80 per session.
– Casual group attendance is R100 per session.
Group TRE®
– 2-hour introduction session is R150 per person.
– Group sessions, held every 2 weeks, for R150 per person.
– Closed groups for corporates and businesses, families or sports groups at R250 per person.
Sports massage
– R250 for a 1 hour session.
Help to maintain the body’s condition and prevent injury. Perhaps more than a spoil, it is a good habit to adopt.

 

Kindest regards,

Marléne

 

Note to self: I am enough.

Note to self: I am enough.

An online help column recently had the following anonymous post:

“…I really have nothing to offer. I can’t see why anyone would want to marry me… I’ve been treated like a loser throughout my life (starting with my mother, who abused me.) Now I can’t shake this ‘loser’ mentality. I feel inferior to every single person I meet; and, of course, that leads to people treating me like rubbish…” She goes on to say that that a ‘sense of worthlessness’ is ‘slowly destroying’ her.

 

Now, I know nothing about this woman’s age or circumstances. She is correct, though, in pointing out that the attitudes we have towards ourselves, and towards the world in general, grows out of the way we are treated growing up, or within a significant relationship. A child may be told that he/she is not good enough. A wife or husband, partner or employee may be continuously compared negatively to others. Abuse need not, as we all know, be physical.

The state of mind she is describing, however, is what is referred to commonly as ‘low self-esteem,’ which, in her case, seems to have reached devastating proportions. I also know that for as many people with a history of abuse, or those living in an abusive relationship, there are just as many that have escaped, that have walked away, and are trying to rebuild. And after escaping an abusive partner, starting a new life can feel empowering. You’re on your own. You are in control. You’re safe.

These positive feelings may not appear right away. I want you to know that this is normal. You may feel unsure, anxious or have a profound sense of loss, either for what you’ve left behind or something within yourself that may feel as if it is missing. You may start questioning your decisions: “am I strong enough to do this? Do I deserve good things to happen to me?”

Regaining your self-esteem after abuse takes time. It’s important that you work on it daily, just as you would work on strengthening your body after an injury. So how do you do that?

 

1. Be patient with yourself. Think about how you would treat a friend in the same situation. Would you tell him or her to “just get over it, suck it up”? Let yourself have as much time as you need to sort through the emotions, feel what you need to feel.

2. Find an exercise routine you enjoy. Be it a daily walk, some yoga, a Pilates class; research shows that regular exercise lowers rates of depression and anxiety, as it helps to release endorphins, your ‘feel-good chemicals’, in the brain.

3. Give back. Help someone else. This can make you feel like you have a sense of purpose in the world. Making someone else smile can be infectious. Find a local charity, cook for an ill friend. You never know how your unique skills may be invaluable to others.

Very importantly:

4. Spend time with people who build you up. Get out and connect. Find an impartial person to talk to, like a coach. Say “hi” to someone new every week, just to help you build your confidence again. Avoid secluding yourself in the house for too long at any time.

Why would you allow your sense of self to decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth?

Love,
Marléne

Weapons of mass distraction?

Weapons of mass distraction?

There exists out there a fairly well-known though thoroughly misunderstood religion…

…one that has been around for centuries, despite the best efforts from other parties to put it down.  In recent years, Ásatrú (or Odinism as it is sometimes referred to) is in the midst of a great reawakening, as scholars and other interested folk unravel and redefine ancient texts and folklore.  The native religion of the ancient Teutonic peoples, it has now spread in modern Western society.  No matter your thoughts on this or any other religion or tradition, Ásatrú still has one major element which rings true for us all today, in terms of how we choose to live our lives and interact with others.  The motto of Ásatrú, if you will, is this:

Hearts in the past, Minds on the present, Eyes on the future.

They are saying, in essence: yes, respect your traditional and ancestral history, build your frameworks on it, and yes, plan for the future, keep your eye on the goal.  These are so important.  But never forget to keep your mind on the present.  In ancient Nordic times this meant keeping your focus firmly on the job at hand, starting with your family, then expanding to your village, and then to your clan.  Relationships, you see, played such a large role in these environments that an entire movement was born around those ideals.

Perhaps Eckhart Tolle, German-born bestselling author of the well-known The Power of Now, understood this:

“Nothing has happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.”

You may have heard of a pseudo-disorder that has become prevalent in our post-modern society, one that is so much on the rise that people are even being treated psychologically for it: FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out.  We have become so connected to the virtual world, via computers and smart phones, Facebook and Whatsapp and Twitter and countless other mechanisms and mediums, that we now know more about the ‘friends’ that we’ve never met, more about celebrities that we’ll never know, than we do about our neighbours.  Just the other day, I heard about a little girl that spoke to a friend via Video Skype; her friend lived only a number of doors away.  We get so carried away with checking to see what everyone is up to that we forget the people right next to us.  We’ve all seen this one: a couple at a restaurant not talking, not sharing the moment of Tolle’s Now, simply staring into their own phones as they exercise their fear of missing out.

We are, in fact, so connected to the world around us that we miss out on those closest to us.  We become, in short, disconnected.  And what is the ultimate end-point of this disconnectedness, the attention we do not pay to our relationships while we spend our time on virtual relationships, no longer really talking, or really listening, or really paying attention to the moment we’re in?  The more we do not engage, the more discontent we become; the more discontent, the more bored we are. A passive scrolling through life is showing it effects: one would think we could spend time mentally entertaining ourselves, but we can’t.  We’ve forgotten how.  What an injustice we serve ourselves daily, allowing ourselves to be scattered all over, missing out on those precious Now moments as we bow our heads and round our shoulders, paying homage  and worship to the little screens of Instant Satisfaction.

Maybe our good Mr. Tolle can sum it up for us, once more:

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”

Love,
Marléne