Are you naked?

Most of us hate the thought of being naked.

Naked usually means to be without clothes.

Are you naked?

 

But naked can refer to being truly ‘you’ – the ‘you’ that is more real than fake happy Facebook status updates.

Do you know what you look like naked?

 

Who are you really?

 

It is not easy to find out who we really are. Most of us never truly figure that out. 

Hopefully, while we are figuring out who we are, we get to some level of self-acceptance. Part of that self-acceptance means accepting that not everybody is going to love us or accept us.

And that is okay too.

What I have learned

Many years ago I came across a truly amazing piece of writing that has really stuck in my head. It speaks about emotional nakedness.

I would like to end today’s chat with these words. It’s quite long – so I apologise for this. But, I think that these words are really, really powerful.

The author is Oriah Mountain Dreamer, and the extract comes from her novel, The Invitation. I hope that you will find something in these words that speaks to you:

 

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.

I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.

I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.

I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain!

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.

I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it’s not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.

I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

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Something NEW

Hi there Dear Readers,

How are you all doing?

If you are anything like me, then clichés irritate you. Like seriously irritate you. I get nauseous from the saccharine-sweet excessive sentimentality of feel-good clichés. I am smiling to myself right now because I just realised that my mother speaks mainly in clichés, it’s her preferred argot. For example, when I would ask if I could get a toy, she would reply with one of the following:

  • All good things come to those that wait
  • Don’t count your chickens before they hatch
  • Cleanliness is next to Godliness
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
  • A fool and his money are soon parted
  • A good name is better than riches
  • A stitch in time saves nine
  • A watched pot never boils

 

Counting Chickens

As you can see, not all of these proverbs (also known as clichés) were entirely relevant to the context. But the point is, I was practically raised on clichés. It is no wonder that by the age of 10 I had quite a collection of proverb-cliches that I could recite to impress my school teachers. But more about that another time …

 

 

But back to cliches … I am willing to concede that some clichés actually have some truth to them. And, it’s possible that a cliché is only a cliché because it is over-used (and not because it is factually incorrect).

Today I want to discuss the idea of new beginnings (and yes, for this topic we have an epic range of clichés).

But why am I thinking about new beginnings? Well, today is Friday, and it has been quite a long and challenging week for me. But this morning, something happened, something quite spectacular – my colleague Genevieve came into the office with her 2 week old baby, Garlin.

Here is a picture of Genevieve, with Jan Badenhorst (College SA Principal), and Genevieve’s baby, Garlin:

Gen, Jan and Garlin

 

 

A baby is undoubtedly something ‘new’. This particular baby, Garlin, is only two weeks old. So in terms of ‘life’, Garlin is very new.

How do we tend to feel about new things?

  • Terrified,
  • Anxious,
  • Excited,
  • Nervous,
  • Filled with self-doubt

Have you experienced something new lately, or, are you planning on starting something new? How are you feeling about it?

Don't give up

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know that many new College SA students are often anxious about their studies. Some of their concerns are:

  • Will I be able to do this?
  • Will I cope without a teacher?
  • Will I finish my studies in time?
  • How will I get my study material?
  • What will happen if I don’t understand the study material?
  • What will happen if something happens in my life and I need to stop studying?

[By the way, if you are looking for answers to those questions, please CLICK HERE].

It’s quite understandable that starting something new can be a bit or a lot scary. I know. I’ve experienced several new beginnings in the past couple of years. In fact, just yesterday, I was whining to myself that I am sick and tired of unexpected changes in my life (which, by default, will require new beginnings).

I’ve been working at College SA for quite some time now, and one of the (many) things that I can safely state is that all of us at College SA know that studying can be intimidating and a bit scary. We know that our students need lots of reassurance and guidance. And, that’s what College SA is about – supporting our students. I haven’t met a single College SA employee that does not want to truly help our students.

You see, at College SA we don’t sell you a fancy car and then just abandon you without explaining how to actually get into the car and operate the car. Actually, and if I can continue with this analogy, we will sit in the car right next to you and be with you wherever you drive (but in a non-creepy way of course!).

I just want to say to you, Dear Readers, that even though you may be filled with self-doubt and fear regarding your new venture, just know the following:

Regret

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND

The disguise of new beginnings

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND

 

The story of your life

 

Dear Readers, this is me urging you to:

  • Just keep walking (with or without the Johnny Walker!);
  • Take the first step, then another, and then another;
  • Know that it is okay to be afraid;
  • Know that there is at least one person who wants to, and who is able to help you,
  • Hold your chin up high and know that you have every right to believe that you can be successful;
  • Be proud of yourself; 
  • Realise that life is about new beginnings / challenges / opportunities / ventures; and
  • Do everything in your power to achieve your goals.

 

Take care of yourself Dear Readers,

Until next time,

S

 

PS: Here’s a final thought about cliches for you:

“You’ll get over it…” It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don’t get over it because ‘it” is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it?  …  This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fit it. Why would I want them to?” 
― Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body

 

 

Closing Doors on 2013

Hi there Dear Readers,

Well, 2013 is almost officially over. I’m not sure about you, but for me, 2013 has been a bit of a roller coaster. How was your 2013? What would you say is your happiest memory of 2013? And, what is your least favourite memory of 2013?

In terms of world news, 2013 saw its fair share of highs and lows. For most of us, the passing our beloved Madiba was certainly a very sad feature of 2013. Something good that did happen this year, in my opinion, was the election of the new Pope – Pope Francis. Irrespective of what our religion is, I think it is important to acknowledge the major effort that Pope Francis has been making in terms of encouraging love and compassion towards our fellow beings and also towards all sentient beings.

I’ve come to realise that many people feel a bit down at this time of year. It’s pretty normal to reflect on the year that was, and to think about all the sad and difficult things we experienced. Part of being human means that we are going to go through challenging times as well as, hopefully, joyous and happy times.

I think it is important to remember the following:

  • Nothing ever stays the same;
  • Everything has a beginning and an end (no matter how unpleasant those endings are);
  • We all cry at some point;
  • We all laugh at some point;
  • Whatever situation we are in now, at some point, it will come to an end;
  • Just as we know that life is difficult, we also need to know that life has the potential to be good;
  • No matter how we are feeling right now, it is possible to have something positive to look forward to;
  • Irrespective of how challenging 2013 was, there must be at least one good thing that happened to us in 2013.

In my mind, I am seeing the end of 2013 as the closing of a door, and that there is a new door opening just around the corner. It’s as if I am telling myself that there is a new journey waiting for me, a new door for me to walk through. Anyway, it’s not as if we have a choice in the matter – we are bound by the passing of time, and whether we like it or not, we have a new year to walk towards.

New open door

We may not be feeling very optimistic about what is on the other side of the door ahead of us. And this is understandable. It’s also understandable if we are feeling anxious about all that which will be coming our way.

But like I said, we have no choice. We have to go through the new door. The ‘old’ door (2013) has almost completely closed behind us. The only option is to go through the ‘new’ door (2014). There is no option B.

Sometimes, saying goodbye to a closed door can be a good thing. I think it is important that we acknowledge that we got through the year. And we should be proud of ourselves for getting through the year!

So, picture turning your head and looking behind you. Picture a door that is almost closed. Acknowledge that you successfully made the journey. The almost-closed door behind you (and the open door ahead of you) should be a symbol that you made it.

For many of us, some of the things that are behind the almost-closed door (2013) are very painful. But if you could pick just one moment from 2013, a moment in which you felt happy, what would that moment be? A moment in which you felt happy to be alive. A moment in which every single colour around you looked more beautiful. A moment in which you felt you wanted to be in forever. A moment in which you felt that just maybe everything is going to be okay.

My happy moment

Think about that moment. Be grateful for that moment. And may there be many more such moments for you in 2014.

May your new door bring for you excitement, happiness, adventure, achievement and love. No matter what the door ahead of you looks like, don’t be afraid to step through it. You can do it.