2017 – Time to JUMP

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It’s a new year. A new chapter. A blank canvas waiting to be filled over the next twelve months. There is no need to dwell on anything that has happened in the years before this one. It’s time to look ahead. Time to lay down some more bricks towards building the next part of our lives.

I have spent several days and nights thinking, analyzing and trying to figure out what I want out of this year. How I’m going to go about making it happen and getting myself ready for the journey that awaits. A couple of weeks ago, I had an experience where I encountered a quote on three different occasions on the same day. It clearly demanded my attention. “Every next level of your life will demand a different you”. Powerful as that sounded and as much as it resonated with me, I was still trying to decipher what the universe was trying to tell me with this sign that followed me around all day. All I knew at the time was that it meant something to me and I would eventually figure it out.

Something else that makes it hard to clear the fog surrounding the vision of the future is all the voices and opinions all around trying to pitch in and say what is right and what isn’t. What would work and what wouldn’t. Sometimes we open ourselves up to those opinions because we hope they will somehow help us find our way and discover the best path to follow, but instead those opinions have the opposite effect. They make us question everything. They discourage us. They make us wonder if we know what we’re doing. If it’s the right thing and we get more and more entangled in the web of uncertainty and confusion.

Maybe that had something to do with how much I have needed to spend time on my own with my own thoughts. Listening to my own heart and trying to work things out by myself. And the more time I had, the more time I wanted. “Alone time is when I distance myself from the voices of the world so I can hear my own”. One of my favorite quotes by Oprah and it made its way into my thoughts and reminded me that there is nothing wrong with taking or needing this time by myself. It wasn’t simply an outright escape from “reality”. There was more to it. I needed to go into my own world where there is no noise from everything and everyone else. A chance for me to hear my own voice that was drowned out by everything else going on around me.

The pieces of the puzzle started coming together. What I want for this year more than anything else is to create a reality that I don’t want to or feel the need to escape from. We all have times we need to retreat and take a step back from our lives and “escape”. And sometimes we don’t want to come back from those spaces and places we escape to. It’s easy to spend the majority of our time on autopilot while our hearts long for a completely different energy. And that, to me, is the difference between living and merely existing… If we only wait for special occasions or isolated days and moments to truly feel alive, then we are spending the majority of our lives doing ourselves the injustice of merely existing.

So, the goal for 2017 is simple. Living a life which furthers and pursues the things that set my soul on fire. Things that make my heart happy and bring a smile to my face. Doing things that build the reality I want. One I don’t need an escape from. One that is not narrated by anything or anyone else outside of myself. Living my purpose. And getting there will take a lot of energy and come with its hurdles and challenges that will make the climb feel like an uphill battle at times, but that is not enough to stop me… Deep down we all know what we want. All we need to do is listen to ourselves. Listen to that little voice that silently, yet firmly, whispers what we want. And distancing ourselves from the voices of the world makes that little voice more audible.

After having listened to that inner voice, it may be scary… Oftentimes the answers are of a magnitude we are unsure whether or not we have the capacity to live up to… So what do we do then?…. Well… That’s when the third and final clue from the universe came through and completed the puzzle in my quest for answers…. JUMP!!!!! Yes, JUMP. One simple, yet powerful word. The first time I ever encountered this message by Steve Harvey was last year at a very critical time in my life and I “coincidentally” came across a reminder to JUMP a day or two ago. “Coincidences” are far from coincidences. I don’t believe in coincidence. Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we need a “sign” to trigger something within us to clear the fog and give us a vivid picture of the answers in search of which we spend sleepless nights and time in solitude.

Three seemingly simple and “random” quotes formed a triangle which disentangled the confusion.  Remember that first quote? “Every next level of your life will demand a different you”. I found it to mean that in this new chapter of my life, I need to trust myself more. I need to listen to myself more. And now, more than ever before, I need to mute the outside voices and be more focused and relentless in making my dreams my reality. No room for fear, pride, ego, doubt or any other deterrent. This chapter calls for a more solid version of me. One that cannot be swayed. One that does not back down. A me that does not take “no” for an answer and believes completely in my abilities and makes the most of my opportunities. One that takes charge completely… One that doesn’t hold back… Doesn’t look back…. It’s 2017 and it’s time to JUMP!!!!

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2016 – Final Thoughts

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As I spend the final moments of 2016 reflecting on all that has happened this year, it’s really bitter-sweet and hard to put into words. I am all about focusing on the positive and being thankful for all the good things in our lives, but it hasn’t been an easy thing to do at times.

When this year started, I was aware of the fact that I had a lot of challenges to overcome. Personally, academically and professionally, I had a lot of things to get in order and I remained focused on my goals. The good by far outweighed the bad. I completed law school, passed my attorneys admission exams, got sworn in and admitted as an attorney, traveled, met people who changed my life for the better, had some unexpected surprises, many dreams came true, I discovered more and more about myself and my relationship with myself grew stronger. I am proud of the woman I’ve become and I know I still have work to do, but that’s what the twenties are about… That’s what life is about… The journey of discovery. Making the best of every situation and the most of the time we are given.

2016 has been the biggest roller-coaster of my life… I thought 2015 was a mix of some of the best and worst moments of my life… But then 2016 came along and took the cake. I achieved so much and so many of my dreams came true… But the number of obstacles I have encountered along the way have been more than ever before. With each year that goes by, the stakes are higher, the challenges bigger and I have to step things up and prove myself more and more. Sometimes it frustrates me, but it is what it is and feeling sorry for myself won’t get me anywhere…

Just as I have gained a lot, I have lost too…. I lost people I thought would always be there and I’ve had to learn and remind myself that nothing is guaranteed. Like many others, my life has been touched by death and I have been reminded of my mortality… That is something that drives me to keep going because every day is a blessing and a gift and I don’t want to find that I didn’t honour the fact I got to see another day when many didn’t.

2016 was no walk in the park… Everyone I know can attest to that. It hasn’t been easy for anyone. But no one ever promised us an easy life. No one ever promised us perfection. Those are things many may hope for, but the reality is, sometimes things will be hard. Sometimes we will be brought down to our knees and stripped of all we thought we had to hang on to… Sometimes all we are going to have is ourselves. And we have to find a way for that to be enough.

Solitude is what I’ve been holding on to more than ever before. I have never needed it before in the way that I have this year. Last year I was determined to make myself my main focus in 2016. Pushing the envelope and making my happiness and dreams my top priority while also celebrating my victories and being grateful for the good things in my life. I really believe I worked hard on that. I made breakthroughs. Sometimes a breakdown comes before the breakthrough, but it all contributes to building us and preparing us for what is ahead.

My motto this year was “face your fears, live your dreams”. I did a bit of both. And it feels good to know that. My heart didn’t go cold even though there were times it could have and perhaps even should have. I rediscovered and reconnected with some of my passions and what makes me feel most alive. I have seen very good days and really bad ones. I have cried tears of joy and tears of pain… But at the end of it all, I LIVED… I lived and made it through. And now I’m ready to look ahead. I’m ready to leave behind this year… I am ready to leave behind the disappointments and finish what I started.

2017 will be even more about me. I will not compromise on anything. I will reap the fruits of my labour. I will live, love, work and do all things with my full dedication. I will focus my time and energy on that which is worthy. I will not explain myself or apologize for doing what I need to do to be happy… I will strive to always remain and be a good person even if at times it seems like no one sees or appreciates it. I will dream bigger dreams and believe in my ability to make them come true. I will continue to push through both the good and bad days for as long as there is still breath in my body. I will travel, explore the world around me and put more of my energy on living in the moment. I will set goals and pursue them tirelessly.

I will LIVE life to the fullest and trust the process even though I know some things won’t make much sense at times.

Goodbye 2016… I hope 2017 makes up for all the hardships we all went through this year…

Here’s to a new chapter, new experiences, endless possibilities and living FEARLESSLY.

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Blessed Beyond Measure

Hello world! Guess who’s back? Wow… I can’t believe it has already been nearly 4 months since the last time I blogged. I love writing but am so bad at keeping up with this with all I’ve got going on… I do, however, feel like letting a few months pass before writing again allows me to look back and put into perspective just how much has happened in that time.

2016 has really been out of this world… I declared it my year and that’s just what it has been… Now, I’m not saying it has not had its share of ups and downs, because it most certainly has… But I am definitely at a point in my life where I know how to focus on the good and find the lessons in the not-so-good…

When I last blogged in June, I was getting ready to be sworn in and admitted as an attorney. That finally happened for me in August… I still can’t believe that it’s something that happened and it’s most certainly something I took the time to celebrate and be proud of because I always focus on the next thing I want to accomplish and tend to overlook my own achievements and just push myself to do more. I know I have worked really hard to earn everything I have achieved and am proud of myself for not giving up every time a new challenge presented itself… I have been learning so much about myself and I like who I have become and continue to grow into someone I can be happy to share with the world….

Also since my last post, I had the trip of my dreams. My lifelong dream of traveling to New York came true in late August and I still feel like pinching myself sometimes just thinking about all of the experiences I had there and all of the dreams that came true… I have so much to share about that experience, that it may be best for me to blog about it separately in different entries so… Watch this space for that…. Coming soon…. Before end of 2016 for sure…. LOL….

So much has happened that my mind is all over the place. There are certain things I don’t feel the time is right for just yet so I won’t blog about them until I feel ready but I just wanted to acknowledge how blessed I have been and how thankful I am for the experiences I have had….

I have built such meaningful and positive relationships and walked away from those that were negative… It’s really true what they say… We have to let go of some things to make space for better things which God has in store for us….

I have released a lot of what I held on to and held me back and have discovered a renewed sense of self and strength… I am learning to trust the process and believe that the best is ahead and the worst is behind me… I have faced many of my fears head on and have seen that there was nothing to be afraid of… So many of our fears are irrational and we perceive them to have some crazy power over us… We allow them to push us into a corner wherein we build a comfort zone… But that comfort zone is a place of mere basic existence…. It holds us back from living life fully without limitations…. It keeps us from being our complete selves capable of all the greatness in the world… It keeps us from soaring and flying….

Our minds should be focused… Our hearts should be open… Our sights should be set on the future… There is no progress in looking back…. Looking forward to all that is ahead and pursuing it tirelessly and without fear is what will take us to the next level… Nothing beats waking up in the morning knowing your purpose and taking another step towards fulfilling it….

Face your fears. Live your dreams!!!!!

Catch you on the flip side!!!!

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My Year of Dreams Coming True

We are halfway through 2016 and looking back, this has got to be one of the best years of my life thus far. Focus, hard work and determination have remained constant in all my endeavours and the power of the mind and maintaining a go-getter mentality are proving to be effective.

I finished law school as one of the best in my class. I wrote my attorneys’ admission examinations and am about to get admitted after successfully completing all required examinations. My dream of visiting the United States of America is about to come true and I have overcome a whole lot of obstacles to get to where I am today.

It is important to document our journeys. In times of doubt and challenge, it always helps to look back and see how far we have come. Sometimes we exceed our own expectations and find that we were capable of a lot more than we had ever anticipated.

People will always have opinions that they will feel entitled to sharing about other people’s lives without anyone ever requesting such opinions. More often than not, those opinions have a negative undertone and tend to discourage our goals and dreams. They may label your pursuits as “unrealistic” or “taking on more than you can handle”, but I am here to remind everyone that NO ONE in this world can tell you what your limitations are, or to dictate your capacity. YOU and YOU alone have the power to decide that.

Each and every one of us has the capacity to achieve anything. We are our only limitations. We have the power to decide what our stories will be. And sometimes things will not go quite the way we want them to, but what matters more than anything else at the end of the day is knowing that we gave our best and believed in ourselves whilst in pursuit of our hearts’ desires.

In the remainder of 2016, I am going to document my achievements, experiences, travels and adventures in order to serve as my own example of living life to the fullest, without fear of failure and hopefully it will encourage others to do the same.

Watch this space. Share my journey. Making 2016 the greatest year yet – one day at a time.

Reflection & Introspection – 2015 in Perspective

 

Years ago I developed my own individual annual “ritual” which entails spending time on my own in the last few days of the year and reflecting on the year that has been. The reason for this is to put into perspective all I have experienced, learnt and achieved. Once I have worked through that, I focus my energy on my goals for the year ahead and getting my mind right for it.

This practice is one I have maintained without fail and I have found it quite useful in my growth as a woman and young adult trying to make sense of life, my purpose and spiritual journey…

I would say 2015 had more triumphs and battles than any other year before it…. It left me numb and I am still trying to wrap my head around everything and figuring out what it means for me and how it has changed me….

My journey of obtaining my law degree and graduating in record time finally came to an end and my life was moving so fast that I didn’t even take a moment to truly take in and appreciate the accomplishment it was… I walked across the stage as they called my name with my head held high and a big smile on my face but it felt like an out-of-body experience. As though I was floating and not truly present in the moment….

I realized that I don’t take the time to acknowledge and celebrate my achievements because my mind is always set on the next thing I want to attain…. The next height I want to reach…. No time to dwell or celebrate anything because, after all, I’m “not there yet”….

So I set my sight on the next step towards building my future…. A practical legal training programme at the school for legal practice under the Law Society of South Africa… At first I was excited because it was something that I wanted for a long time and I had to work hard for it…

It wasn’t long before I became conscious of the fact that I would have to leave my life as I knew it in pursuit of completing this demanding course… I missed out on months of the lives of those closest to me… I lost a part of myself as I was constantly trying to do everything, give my all and attempt to have some sort of balance between meeting all the expectations others had of me and what I expected of myself…. Even though I was doing relatively well under the circumstances, deep down I felt as though I was falling short and nothing I did felt good enough to me… It could always be better… It could always be more… And I didn’t quite live up to my own (perhaps unrealistic) standards…

This left me feeling frustrated, lost and made me question everything… I experienced waves of different emotions which felt inconveniently timed as I felt any sort of emotion would throw me off track and I wanted to just escape it all, however there was no time for that… No time for me… I felt drained physically, emotionally and spiritually…. My ambitions and passion for a life in law were tested in ways like never before and it scared me… I didn’t want to be a failure at the one thing to which I dedicated four years of my life and then some more…

I finally have a break to breathe before I get back for the final phase and I am trying really hard to evaluate what I can do differently to make the last part something I can enjoy and remember with a smile… The answers that come to mind are that I need to have more faith in myself. I have to trust in my abilities and potential and I must stop being so hard on myself. Sometimes we need to take life one step at a time and turn to things that make us feel alive and give us a sense of purpose…

Creativity has always been my outlet and this year I was so caught up in all everyone else expected from me that I turned my back on what brought ME joy…. Music… Writing… Laughter… Time alone… Time with people I care about… Challenges which inspire growth…. Maintaining my inner peace and being true to myself… Embracing all the ways in which I am different and unique and avoiding anything that would make me feel discouraged, withdrawn or which has the potential of being destructive…

Being a perfectionist can be both a blessing and a curse because it motivates you but can also make you your own worst enemy… It keeps you chasing a certain level of greatness but if you fail to validate yourself, nothing anyone else does will ever matter. Because it is not what others think and say that keeps you encouraged… Instead it’s what you tell yourself… And that is dangerous if you fail to acknowledge, appreciate, give thanks and take time to breathe and reflect…

Why am I doing this? Why am I writing something so personal and putting it out there for anyone in the world to see?… Well, I have taken cognizance of the fact that what I have experienced is a very human thing and it is common to many… Merely in a different context to every person… And I genuinely believe at some point everyone needs to know there are others going through the same trials but it’s something we can all get through and learn from…

Looking back, I see that I need to be proud of myself and love myself for holding on and not giving up… I know one day this year will be something I will look back on and laugh about because it will not feel like such a big deal… Yet I will still take pride in knowing that it was an important building block in my life that had a purpose…

The value of time and being present in the moment resonate within me… Going forward, I choose to carefully and consciously decide what deserves my time and energy and what doesn’t…. Who matters and belongs in my life and who doesn’t… What brings me joy and makes me feel alive and what holds me back and pulls me down…

No, I don’t have all the answers… However, I have perspective and awareness… I can hold my head up high and admit to myself that my heart was always in the right place… My intentions were good throughout all I have done and I have become stronger and more enlightened… I have been bruised but not defeated and I am ready to do better and be better…

2015 was one of the best years thus far irrespective of how many hurdles I faced and I am open to the experiences 2016 has in store for me… My main focus will be ME. My dreams. My happiness… Reaching for the next level and making my mark but taking time to be thankful and to enjoy the moments which I will never relive again…

What did you learn from this year? What will you do with the lesson? How will you make 2016 a better year?… Take the TIME to reflect and introspect as that is where the answers can be found…

Cheers to an epic new year!!!!!!

Be brave. Be bold. Be fearless!!!!

 SELF REFLECTION