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The constant pursuit of happiness

The daily decision to choose happiness comes with its own set of challenges. It is easy to be swept away by the events of the day or your immediate reaction. Happiness is not a destination or something the future brings; it is about the continuous process of getting to know yourself, being kind to yourself and choosing to operate at the highest version of yourself as much as you can.

I find that I fail dismally at this some days with my very best intentions. I may spend a morning preparing for my day with yoga, prayer, daily intention and the structure of my day. Feeding my creativity is paramount to my daily success and then I allow myself to be derailed by someone else’s irritation or frustration, or it triggers me to look at something I am avoiding. It often feels like I am looking at someone else playing this out and I am simply a bystander in this story.

I don’t always like my reaction. Sometimes I spill out my innermost truths or observations. Sometimes, I hold it in and do not sufficiently process it and then it later emerges as something to be seen and held in ways I did not expect. Other times, I seem to do what I should – often it is simple, just giving a hug and other times it’s harder like saying no because I feel compromised by the request.

At this moment in my life, I find I am saying “No” a lot. I do think much of it has to do with my recent near death experience where I am valuing my time far more than I ever have, and also as a result I am dealing with moments and events in my life far more than I ever have.

My simple observation at the moment is that it is better to not avoid or let things slip past unnoticed, but rather to stop and deal with it. Leaving things lets it build up, and you may be triggered by something very small. Paying attention to yourself is hard work and essential to surviving in this very frenzied and demanding world we live in.

This week was an odd week. It started off well and I put a lot of effort into preparing for what lay ahead. Tuesday – which is my sister’s, my niece’s and my favourite day of the week – is just way more productive than Monday and for me is “the zing” that sets me up for Wednesday, which I find is my most creative day. By that stage everyone has left me to paint my world, however this week I was feeling a little off balance and out of tune with the world, and by Thursday afternoon flat on my back.

Big life moments

My son leaves for university soon which is such a biggie for any mom. I am going to miss him so very much. He brings so much light into my life, joy and simply delight. He is so excited, and I am excited for this big step he is making and so very proud of what he has achieved. He is my great reward. And now it’s time to let him move on and fly. It is something that is intrinsically changing me as I prepare for this next stage in my life as much as his.

We have been through a lot, Noah, and me. For some time, it was just the two of us and it has not always been an easy road. I realise there are many things in my life that I will now have time to look at more closely and move towards. Making space for yourself is an important part of loving those around you and is what I am learning more and more.

Sometimes he says things to me that sound like me giving him advice. When did they get so wise? He is my mirror always reflecting back to me. I have been avoiding looking at the day he must go off to do what he needs to do for himself. It comes this week. It is now and it is time and I do not feel ready. When I was pregnant with him and my body decided he needed to come early, I remember that I wasn’t ready for him to leave the womb. I wanted him to stay longer and always be close to me.

My work is also moving to the next level and so our timing together seems so in sync just as it always has. He is going to be doing something he loves every day of his life; something that he has waited so long to do. His dream is becoming a reality. I realise I have avoided facing this moment; that I am hoping everything I have done is enough, and then I look at him, and my heart just swells with love and pride, he is going to do just great wherever he lands.

Our work has been getting extraordinary recognition which is very humbling and reinforces my belief of the value of my time and what I choose to do. These daily decisions that need to be made are important. They mount up and create impact and result. Where energy goes, energy flows. Positively and negatively.

There are aspects I wish to improve and be more mindful of, and this is the dilemma of every human being on this planet. Our decisions are like ripple effects that continue to play out with all of us. What we do to ourselves we do to others. I have begun to view my mind and its constant chatter as a separate entity, often just to be observed rather than to let it define me.

Things, events, thoughts, observations, other people can clutter our minds and create fog in our brains. I don’t always get it right, but I have found that separating the chatter out allows me to observe it and not let it define me. My mind is simply processing all the information that it has absorbed during the course of the day. The trick of course is what I am trying to learn – when I need to align and when I need to let go, and this can be true creatively or in my life. Often creatively you get taken down the rabbit’s burrow the same as in life, sometimes it feels like a wild goose chase yet somehow you come out different, changed – the world is not quite the same.

Female hands hold blue paper bird on yellow background

To my son

So, my son, Noah. Our journey has taken us on some crazy adventures. We have slept under the stars with scorpions – literally thank you the Orange River, braved the wild waters and mountains, shared a love of our amazing ocean, moved house more times than we can imagine – and each time I would tell you that this chapter was done, and you would just smile and hug me, always reminding me of which house was going to do well.

I have watched you grow and face personal challenges. Pick yourself up when I know it was the last thing you felt you could do, and then at the end of your matric year no-one could have been more rewarded than you were. I am so proud of you. Of the man you are and who are becoming. This blog is for you. Let your light shine as bright as it can and don’t let anyone put it out. I love you.

Love Mom

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