The wind has blown me to Borneo

Dear family, friends and followers

I suspect that all the three Fs above are the one and same as we all meet in this personal sacred space which is my page.

My life has moved on from Camissa to Malaysian Borneo, and I invite you all to join me there in my new blog space at borneoblessings.wordpress.com.

Thanks for sharing the road with me.

Blessings for Borneo

Stefani

 

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The gift of a dress

I had a lovely day, getting up early and eating fresh mango and pineapple with my fingers and relishing the aroma, the juiciness and the taste.

A huge added bonus was my very first sleep-over visitor in my beach sanctuary, an old friend who I haven’t seen for many many years. He is on a short visit from the USA and I am so grateful that he  made time to be with me. I LOVE reunions at airports and it was an wonderful perfect moment when I caught a glimpse of him through the glass at the arrivals. He saw me at the same time and we waved. I love that vibration you get when you reunite a person that you have been longing to see for a long time.

We drove down to Gordon’s Bay and had a huge vanilla ice cream cone with a chocolate flake inside and I had nuts as well!  As we were sitting there he recalled a time about 25 years ago when we visited a beautiful place on the coast nearby with a group of friends, and I hung out the car window shouting: BLISS! BLISS!

We enjoyed the views across the bay and stopped to buy pomegranates from a vendor beside the road, and then it was again good bye.

The day has turned out to be very hot, the hottest so far since I returned to Camissa. I have retreated into my house, making a new to-do list for the week.

My mind kept returning to the ‘Bliss Bliss’ story, this was well before I had discovered the fascinating  mythologist Joseph Campbell and his teaching  “Follow you bliss”. I have a shell from India set in a piece of jewelry with that inscription. At this present moment in my life where I am stopped, I realise that this is one of the key things for me to re-examine, what is my bliss, what is my passion, what is my joy?

On Saturday morning I attended a Nia dancing session in Cape Town in aid of the “One Billion Rising” campaign…women and men all over the world dancing in groups to show their solidarity for women’s rights around the world. I was dressed very brightly in a psychedelic wrap-dress I received recently from a friend. I walked in a few minutes late, into quite a sedate group of women. The instructress was talking about SARK and her wonderful exuberant books. She turned to me as I was walking in and said, “look, here is a good example of a woman who is expressing herself through her color”. In that moment, I put my arm up into the air and shouted to all the women in the room, in the city and on the planet, ” I am a succulent wild woman, and I am Riiiiiising!”

It was a powerful moment for me. It was a deep acknowledgement of my womanhood and in that spontaneous act, I was able to show my passion for all women who simply cannot shout “Bliss!Bliss!” because life has just knocked them down too many times.

It was also an affirmation to myself, that I am acting in synchronicity with my own heart and soul, and that I am not on my knees anymore. When my friend gave me that dress months ago, it was such a true reflection of how I see myself, I cried, because I realised that I had allowed life to knock me, had given people the power to make me sad and disappointed and tired.  I had not been wearing my rainbow colors.

I am happy to report that in that moment this weekend, I got to my feet,planted them firmly on the earth and committed to my own rising.

Do you know what your passion is, what the moment is that makes you lose yourself and shout with joy, the deep vibration of a heart fullfilled? Do you know how it feels? This is a feeling that is born from giving yourself silence to go inside. I wish you the gift of that silence today.

love in power

I like this very much!

the bamboo principle

We meet, we smile, we share and we fall. As we fall, we gaze at each other’s cuts and bruises, scars and walls and groom each other through them. For every wound we share, we bond. We feel we understand we can speak the same language,and that we can support each other better. We compare size and depth, dark and light, and we feel intimacy. And further we fall. We connect over stories – so we share stories and drama, we share in empathy and sympathy. There is a comfort in the shadows and the embracing of what has past. And we become integral to each other’s next chapters, supporting actors in the next evolution of the tale.

Some people live by their stories. They are a sum total of everything that has ever happened to them. But as people grow, stories shift. People who want to make progress will…

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A Great Need

I am also a great lover of Hafiz. It is Valentine’s Day tomorrow, and although I have no lover at the moment, I have been thinking how to to celebrate for myself. I just changed the profile picture on my FB to the motto that I share with my mother, “The secret of life is the power of love”. And yes, what is love but taking your neighbour’s hand, holding fast and assisting each other in the climb.

Teacher as Transformer

The great Sufi poet Hafiz wrote this several centuries ago, but I think it applies today as much as ever. We find each other when we find community and common purpose which is part of human being. We find strength in difficult times and that is found in the richness of holding hands and not letting go.

Out

Of a great need

We are all holding hands

And climbing.

Not loving is a letting go.

Listen,

The terrain around here

Is

Far too

Dangerous

For

That.

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Feathers blowing in the wind

The dance is lovely every time I go, but tonight will always be remembered. I did a moving and deep  healing for a friend and she gave me the dancing session as a gift. I love this kind of energy exchange, it feels so right.

The music was jazzy, funky and Latiny and I really needed the movement, it felt really good. In the dance so many things happened to me. I was flowing mountain water, I was a snake shedding skin, then transforming to that the skin- disintegrating into dust; feathers blowing in the wind. In the dance I felt for the first time in a long long time, the potential of being the bird to whom those feathers belong.

My business cards are finished and I have used the art and words of my mother.There are 12 birds flying free, and as a friend pointed out, not only does it symbolise the soul flying free, the flow, the wings we all have, it also has a wonderful meaning in the numerology, number 3, “the joy of life”. The words, “Your soul know what the truth is for you, and it will tell you”. All our souls are on the path to show us what are joy is in this life, and if we are open enough, we are sure to get the answer.

As part of the movement tonight, we had to pluck our dreams from the sky and  hold on to them. I danced around the room, picking my dreams from the air and holding them tightly in my palms. We then all formed a circle and held fast to our dreams. Then the instructor then caught us by surprised, she told us all to let our  dreams go free.

It was a really beautiful moment. Commiting to your dreams and then letting them go. Like a parent letting go of a child, trusting that she will have a fruitful life.

I have been thinking a lot about commitment in the past week. I had a deep realisation that I was still holding a belief that if I commit to being in South Africa, to this special beach sanctuary in the shadow of the mountain, I will be limiting myself, binding myself. I woke up one morning knowing that in truth, I would be freeing myself. By rolling out my roots, and allowing myself to build a nest, I am actually liberating myself to come and go with a light heart, knowing that my home is here. 

There has been an inner shift. I commit to my dream, I release it to the sky. I kiss the joy as it flies. I open my eyes to see what the next moment brings.

Tonight as you close your eyes, dream your biggest and grandest dreams, release them to the sky, and see what blessings tomorrow brings 🙂

One of my favourite quotes of all times:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” 

― William Hutchison Murray

 

 

Song of the Builders

I am a great supporter of this blog, and I am a lover of the poetry of Mary Oliver, so I would love to share this poem and these thoughts with you.

Teacher as Transformer

As Mary Oliver aptly suggests it we each have a role in building our small corner of the universe.  Certainly, in each of our minds, it is not so small. It is rather grand in its own small way.

It is that small way that speaks to the humbleness we each undertake in being builders of something worthwhile and worth whiling over. It is in the natural world, the world we do not construct we find the great builders like the cricket. We can learn so much from their efforts and their places as we think and are thankful for what we receive each day.

On a summer morning

I sat down

on a hillside

to think about God –

 a worthy pastime.

Near me, I saw

a single cricket;

it was moving the grains of the hillside

 this way and that way.

How great was its energy,

how humble…

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The rushing breeze

Not seldom in this life, when, on the right side, fortune’s favorites sail by us, we, though all adroop before, catch somewhat of the rushing breeze, and joyfully feel our bagging sails fill out.

Herman Mellville

I think you  all know what it feels like when those dates come by that we know are fraught with memories we would rather not revisit. There seems to be something in my internal clock that automatically switches on near those dates, and sometimes they even catch my by surprise. I know the anniversary of my mother’s death is such a time, but through the years I have learnt to honour the day as a celebration, rather than revisit the pain. But in my experience,  those attitude changes usually come over time.

Yesterday was such a day, and after quite a ‘growthful’ ( my new word)  challenging week, I was not really ready to face it. I was ‘all adroop’.

The most amazing thing happened. The Universe and all the invisible forces conspired to make it a day of joy, gifting, support, sharing and help seemingly coming from nowhere. Just the day before, my neighbour had visited the post office box to find it empty. When I went yesterday to fetch a beautiful bear I had ordered from a close friend in Ireland, there were two bonus gifts waiting for me, including a parcel of CDs from Sydney that are going to brighten up  my days for months to come.

When I had stopped in the parking lot, for some strange reason, the car door of my car jammed open. I say ‘my’ car door, but it is a car that a close friend is lending me for a few months. I have christened her Crystal, a great blessing. I tried coaxing her a bit and then decided just to leave it and go to the post office. I asked an attendant to look after the open car. When I got back after running a few small errands, the door was still not having it. I called to the Universe for help, and in that moment, out of the blue, an angel appeared.

A young man with a shy yet broad smile came trotting over energetically and with hardly a word, touched the door, and fixed it in a matter of moments. I managed to thank him, and was still in the middle of my astonished gratitude, when he seemed to disappear just as instantaneously whence he came.

This was the flow of the day. It was a big day, the business cards for my healing practice were done. I have used the artwork of my mother, and it feels as though each person that receives a card, receives a very special gift. Throughout the day, I got such loving messages out of the blue, far more than on a normal day. It was as though my soul friends from all around the globe instinctively knew that I needed a little extra loving. The love was “somewhat of a rushing breeze” and as I lay my head on my pillow, with the pillowcase embroidered by my mother for my great-grandmother about 35  years ago, I felt my ‘bagging sails fill out’. The words on the pillow are: “God bless you”.

For the first time in a long while, I felt a tingle deep down, the right to dream for myself and start unfurling my roots. With the commitment to my own heart this week, has come a kind of freedom that I cannot yet articulate. I have come to really feel for the first time, a commitment which is freedom, a love like a steady breeze, gently filling my sails and urging me forward.

I went to the paint shop today and basked in the colours and started imagining the soothing, refreshing and magical palettes for the rooms of my sanctuary.

What am I saying here? Always wake up expecting a surprise, an unexpected sea change. Be open for the blessings, switch on the landing lights of your heart, so that they can land. Hope for the miracle, chances are it will plop in your lap when least expected. Just keep the faith today, my dear friend, keep the faith today.

 

 

 

 

Curved balls from God

There are many things one has to do when settling in a new country. One of them is finding a good doctor. I was very fortunate to get a referral to one of the best doctors in town. He used to be a chemist, and decided to further his studies to be a doctor. I like that. I also liked the man at first sight, slightly tousled grey hair, relaxed stature, warm interested eyes.

We talked about living in the Middle East. I often say now that no matter what challenges South Africa hold for me, when I was living in Oman, no matter how much I loved it, I never felt I was in the real world. There is always a degree of unpredictability you can’t put your finger on, an undercurrent of eeriness, a constant little niggle of not being exactly sure if you are doing the right thing.  The doctor told me the story of one of his patients, a girl who was simply flying through a well-known Middle Eastern hub. This lady was going through the hand luggage checks, minding her own business when she realised that  the man ahead of her had left his watch in the little tray with metal objects. She took the watch and ran quickly to see if she could find him. He had disappeared into the crowd and as she made her way back to the metal detectors, she was confronted by two burly guards who arrested her on the spot.

The next day she appeared in court for stealing the man’s watch and was sentenced immediately to a month in prison.

A friend of mine when to prison in Oman for a bounced cheque. Prisons are generally places to be avoided, but I have heard from various sources that this is one place in the Middle East that you really do not want to spend any time in. This particular friend was initially put in a cell with a large mixture of criminals. He was my Taikwondo instructor, so was luckily quite well-built. When asked by fellow cell-mates what crime he had committed, he said that he had killed a man for looking for trouble. He said that at least they left him alone for the rest of the week.

Back to my story, the girl lawyer-ed up and the magistrate simply was not budging. He said she had to do her time, as she had not been subservient in the eyes of the court.

After leaving the doctor’s office with the necessary prescription, I found myself putting myself in the shoes of that girl. Apparently she came back to South Africa and wrote a book. I mean, how crazy is that, you think you are doing someone an act of kindness and then the Universe gets you slapped in jail. How frustrating, infuriating, maddening and depressing. She had only the things with her that were in her hand luggage, that was it.

Then I thought how life throws us many curved balls, things happen you never expected, shocking things, traumatic things, things that tear your heart apart. But somehow when I look back on those events, those seemingly random knocks on the head, they seemed always to save me from something worse. In retrospect, they sent me on a path that I needed to walk to be the person I am today, and you have to admit it, I AM turning out to be rather groovy 🙂

The huge cliche of the last ten years or so, “Everything happens for a reason”, it really is becoming stale, but I feel it rings true. There is a plan, the forces that be are conspiring for you, it just may feel at times like the absolute opposite. Why me, Lord, why me, why is my hut burning down?

In the mindfulness today, we are advised to keep a stone in our pocket, and when things go wrong, to play with the stone and say words to the affect of, ” I am taking care of my anger well”. I like that. I think the girl in question probably had pockets full of stones. I often carry a stone in my pocket. Not for this specific reason, but simply because I like stones a lot. I like the feel of them and I like feeling connected to the earth when the mumbo-jumbo and techno-babble of this life get my eyebrows all twisted.

I would like to know what the girl got from the month in jail. She probably needed a break from her life! Time to think! Realisation of the plight of others! Hopefully she makes some money from the book. I wonder if she thinks she is also emotionally, metally and spiritually richer for the experience. I certainly think she learnt to take care of her anger.

So, lovely souls, when life hits you with those shitty pies from the sky, remember you are not a human body having a spiritual experience; you are a beautiful jewel of soul-filled light, living this human existence for a span. Mostly these things have happen to keep you from far greater harm, or that’s at least my feeling.

Nighty night!

 

 

 

 

Ode to my heart

I had a profound realisation yesterday.

I think I was telling you about exchanging gratitude emails with my soulfriend in Australia on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, I have been writing thank you lists in some form or another since my late teens, the story about my first feeble 🙂 attempts are told elsewhere on the blog: https://flammetjie.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/the-alchemy-of-gratitude/

I saw that I have never ever in all these years of doing this practice, said thank you for my Heart.

When I was growing up, my mother used to tease me, “Stefs, your heart is like a motel, you always seem to be able to make space for one more soul”.

Last night I sat and looked back on my life. I shed many tears, looking at exactly just how much I have expected my heart to endure, and I wrote a little Ode, a kind of pledge.

” Today I acknowledge you,  my sweet heart , 

I pledge allegiance to you, I promise to take care of your best interests.

You never close the door, you always invite the lost souls in,

You  never stop loving.

I allow all the users, the hard ones, the homeless, to move into you,

to wreck your rooms,  to walk all over you, treat you without respect

yet you just keep on loving, keep on giving, keep on smiling

keep seeing the perfection in every soul’s potential.

You wake every morning and open like a flower,

no matter how badly I allowed you to be treated before.

Your love for me is unconditional.

Today is the day I promise to love you back, 

I promise to guard you , to protect you, fierce like a lion,

to hold you, to heal you, to nurse you back to health, to take care of you.

No more battering, no more bruising,

no more leaving you out in the cold, expecting you to just keep  on giving.

From now on we go as a united force.

We stand up. We say no. We rest. We fight for what’s right.

We work for what’s good in the world, but not at our own expense.

Today we cry and weep, we expel all the pain, we clean out the rooms, we suture the wounds, 

No more giving you away to any old passer-by, no more will undeserving ones carry your bounty away.

You are the space where angels come to rest.

Forgive me, dear sweet heart, for all the pain, the disappointment, the sorrow this life has brought you

And me never giving you time, not heading your voice,

but just expecting you to go on.

You never rebel, you never shut down,

You just keep on loving.

Today, my heart, break, break as deeply as you need to break

Bleed as much as you need to bleed,

but know, that from this day on, you will never be alone.

I feel you in my breast, I accept you  sacred gift,

the driving force of my blood, you never let me down, you never shy away, always find more to give,

never shirk from you job of loving, shining through it all.

You silently hold the grief and hurt, and keep on loving me, bearing me flowers

You are my greatest gift of all,  your softness, your resilience, my precious blessing

I  listen now, my life giving force, 

I see your radiant beauty,

I appreciate you, I hold you, I praise you as others have praised you,

my loving and lovable heart.”

Dear loved ones, give your heart a little tender loving gratitude today. I am sure she deserves it.

 

 

 

 

 

Smoke signals

Day by day I am faced by my impatience to make things happen. I want a lucrative healing practice, an awesome soul mate, a fabulous house of my own (and a second one in Europe, on the lake of Constance please), abundant savings in the bank, a 1966 Alpha Spider, a brand new red BMW motorbike, a string of published books…successfully selling and making a difference in people’s lives, and of course a nice honey-colored Labrador and maybe a Basset hound, and a couple of ginger cats. I might need a PA to help me run and take care all of the above. I am interviewing as we speak!

I want it all and I want it now.

I remember one of my mother’s favourite prayers, “Dear Lord, give me patience, just be quick!”

But the overwhelming message for the last few months has been, “Stop, Stefani, Stop.”

Oh, there are hundreds of excuses not to stop, but this has seriously been one of the most valuable experiences ever. Most difficult too. I realised how connected my self-esteem was to what I do for a living, to where I am, to what people think of me. Stopping means looking and listening and reading the signs and suddenly coming to the point where I look at myself in the mirror and feel so happy to see myself again. To know that the LOVE and belonging has got nothing to do with anything, except my heart.

This morning in the middle of the stopping, I stopped. I sat down cross legged on my stoep next to my front door, in front of my six little pot plants. I took my time. I looked at each one and checked the soil for moisture with my finger and picked off the dead bits. I turned them this way and that. I asked them how they were adapting here to the sea air.

I felt like a proud mom, discovering the little new buds hidden among the leaves. I gave them my full attention.

It is day 2 of our mindfulness practice and I feel this is something I need to practise. Give each moment my full attention, especially when engaging with a sentient being. Including myself! Trust the divine timing.

I love this following story, because when we feel stuck or when times are tough, we never know what is truly happening behind the cosmic scenes. It is an old one, but I am sure you will all enjoy being reminded.

The story goes that there once was a poor lone shipwreck survivor on an island. He felt terribly forlorn and prayed to God like crazy for help and kept his eyes open, constantly scouring the seas for a sign of help.

In the meantime he had to feed himself, so busied himself exploring the island looking for food, fishing, and building a little shelter from driftwood. One day, after being away looking for food, he came back to discover that his little home in flames. There was nothing he could do, the worst had happened, he had lost everything.. again.

He was completely shocked, could not believe his misfortune and shouted at God in sadness and anger. “How could you do this to me?”

At some point he fell asleep and very early the next morning he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island. He was stunned. “How did you know I was here?” he asked.

“We saw you smoke signal.” 

So, even when things are rough, and it feels like our huts are on fire, there is always hope. I really do believe that at the end of the day, the Universe conspires for us.

So, I trust today, there will be an angel or a human or a human angel that sees your smoke signal, and comes to help you put out the flames. Or that you can do that for another soul in need. Amen.