Millions of people all over the globe are house-bound and only allowed to go out for essential trips. Of course, I could write a book about the reasons for this, and whether the lockdown is justified or not. However, it is what is.
The more important question is what to do about it.
Is it possible to create gratitude rather than just feel it momentarily? Yes, it is. Let me explain.
The Universe is in complete balance - from the largest global pandemic to the smallest sub-atomic particle. That is how everything was created. We tend to forget about this incredibly beautiful balance when we get stuck in emotions.
Is there something that you really, really want, but you are hesitant to get it for yourself because it is expensive/the time is not right/you don’t deserve it etc.?
And sometimes you don’t understand the motivation behind your hesitation, or – even worse – you try and manipulate the Universe into giving you what you want, because someone told you that if you wish hard enough, your wishes will come true.
I can recall two instances where I was in such a position.
The first one was when my old wrist watch finally gave in. I was able to use a mobile phone instead to tell the time, but I really wanted a beautiful new watch – and because I was alone and lonely, I asked the Universe to send to me a beautiful man who will buy me the perfect wrist watch.
Nothing happened. I did not meet the man, and I still did not have a wrist watch.
I then went on holiday to the Principality of Lichtenstein, and saw the perfect watch – gold, the right size, the right shape, the most beautiful design – and I bought it for myself. I am still wearing the watch, and it still bring me joy.
Meanwhile the man finally arrived, and did not notice my watch. For my birthday he bought me a watch – a silver monstrosity with pink rhinestones. The relationship did not last, and not even the charity shop wanted the silver watch – it was that ugly. No, he did not try to make fun of me. He just had really bad taste and did not know my taste at all or even bother to find out.
To this day I am glad that when I had the opportunity, I bought myself the beautiful wrist watch rather than try to interfere with the plan that the Universe had with me.
The other instance was my visit to Venice.
For years, I wanted to visit Venice. I thought it would be wonderful if I could go there with a good friend or – if you can believe the publicity – a lover. I have travelled extensively in Europe – mostly on my own – but for some reason I had this mental block about travelling to Venice alone.
When I realised that my time living in Europe was up, I decided to bite the bullet and go to Venice for a short break. My intention was to stay in a hotel in Marghera, a village nearby, and from there take a bus to Venice. I would then spend the rest of the time doing other touristy things around Venice, but at least I can place a tick mark next to Venice on my to-do list.
Buy – was I wrong! I arrived in Marghera, took the bus to Venice, and explored the city. I did the same the next day – and the next, and the next – and if I can go back today I will. The whole place just took my breath away. I spent hours on the water buses. I walked through every alley and shared an over-priced gondola with an American family. I browsed in the shops. I just took in the incredible beauty and tranquillity of the place, day after day, and enjoyed the gelato.
Yes, it was summer and the place was teeming with tourists, but even so, I experienced a tranquillity that remains with me to this day. The only experience that impacted on my tranquillity was my visit to the beautiful San Marco cathedral. It is a stunning place – much more beautiful than the photographs suggest. I did not mind paying an entrance fee, because such places need to be maintained, and I understand that building maintenance is expensive. What I did mind was having to spend money on a dull brown, papery, plastic piece of simulated cloth that I was expected to use to cover my shoulders before I could enter the cathedral. To this day I am convinced that God firstly created my shoulders – and did a good job even if I may say so myself – and secondly God would not have been offended by my short sleeves – not even bare shoulders - and that God also dislikes that piece of … At least I can count my blessings, because another tourist was required to buy two pieces – one to cover his bare arms, and another one to cover his legs, because apparently the God of that cathedral also has issues with bare male legs.
Both these incidents taught me that if a thought resonates with you, then you need to trust and do what you need to do so that you can have the experience. In both instances they were not just short-lived experiences – they were moments that are with me to this day, and I felt a depth and a sense of satisfaction in those moments that gave me a glimpse of eternity.
I have since them recognised the same urge when I think of New Zealand and Peru, and I will go there – on my own or with other people – it does not matter. I don’t have the money yet, but I know by now that as the thought materialises, the funding comes with the reality.
These callings do not necessarily relate to travel or to leaving your country. I felt the same when I first had the thought of designing on-line courses (I already have two, and working on a third one and have a list of ideas that are germinating). Right now I feel the same about my future vision of having a house overlooking the ocean – and it will happen, soon.
What do you need to do right now to make your dreams reality? Go ahead – do it …
I often wonder what it is that makes a relationship a winner … and I am afraid I cannot give you a glib answer, because I don’t think that there is one single answer.
I believe that a relationship is a contract between two souls that they enter into before they are born. It does not matter whether they are married or not – a marriage contract is part of this dimension, whereas a relationship is the result of a contract that was concluded without signatures in another dimension.
I recently had the opportunity to observe various couples, and they confirmed for me that a relationship is a disguise for another agenda.
The first couple claimed to be good friends. The lady is a good friend of the family, and the man is recently widowed. I had only met her once, and before the man arrived with his family, she went out of her way to explain to me that she was a good friend of his deceased wife, and she helps the family where she can. Why was it important for her to tell me this?
Then the man arrived. I did not want to be in the way, so I moved to the other side of the swimming pool from where I observed them.
The body language of the two together told me that not only were they not “just friends”, but that the feeling was mutual. His adult children were also there, and even though it is less than a year since their mother passed away, they were friendly and receptive. The man is prominent in his profession, and I will watch the newspapers for the wedding announcement …
I then encountered a married couple with a small son. It was obvious that they both adored the child. It was also obvious that there was something else going on there. She is a black woman from an exotic island in the Antipodes, and she is very beautiful. When I looked at her, I wanted to cry because of the sadness around her. She was not only terribly homesick – she clearly was at a loss.
Her older husband is a mixed-race South African who spent most of his time outside of the country. His dream was to “retire” by changing one very active career for another very active career, and he approaches everything he does with zest and enthusiasm – and alone.
It did not take him long to spill his guts to me – probably because when I met him, I made a comment that resonated with him. It turned out that she was disillusioned with her “African dream”, and he was disillusioned with her disillusionment. He was also fully aware that he misjudged when he thought he had captured her heart – while she had left her heart somewhere else and she was pining.
I wanted to hug them both and tell them everything will be OK, but I am not so sure of that. They have a beautiful child to raise together, and they will do it, but I cannot imagine that either of them will be happy as long as they live under the same roof.
In this instance the contract between them has nothing to do with living happily ever after. It has everything to do with integrity and dealing with change and challenges – much more than it has to do with love. And the challenges have nothing to do with their mixed-race marriage. In this country that is no longer an issue.
The third couple I observed also have a mixed race marriage. He is Italian and probably immigrated to South Africa when he was a small child. She is what is known in South Africa as “coloured” – in other words, with white and black ancestors. My impression was that they fell in love when they were both mature (and probably after failed previous marriages) and they are so happy that I felt like crying with joy when I saw them together. They both radiate goodness. Uproot them and put them in any other country, and they will settle down with zest and win over all the locals with their enthusiasm for life. They will keep their sadness about being childless to themselves and discus that in the darkness of the night, when they are snuggled in their own cocoon against the world.
Every single relationship has an agenda. It is very seldom that the agenda has to do with superficial things like race, age or gender. During the relationship, the two partners rub against each other – like smooth river stones until they fit together perfectly, or like jagged rocks until either they are smoother together, or until the river of life lets one of them flow away while the other remains stuck. The agenda has to do with more important things such as integrity, respect and self-respect, adapting to change, managing challenges together, growing separately and together, and finding that place where your heart opens up because of the place where you are and the person who is with you.
I have seen those as well – like the two middle-aged men who walked hand in hand, looking radiant, the long-married couple who cannot keep their eyes and hands off each other, and the mature couple preparing for a second marriage when they both believed that they had had their one chance of happiness when their spouses died. Believe me, they have their own challenges, both as individuals and as couples.
Love is Love.
Yes, I am mixing metaphors, but the reason for that will become clear.
If I subtly hint that the administration of a large country is chaotic, would you know who I am referring to? If I even more subtly hint that the reason for this public impression is the public utterances of the president of the country, and that the actions of his staff don’t help to change the impression, would you know what I am talking about? This president lives on a diet of social media poison and misinformation coming from him or being exacerbated by him.
That is as far as I can go, if I don’t want to be forced to resign my job – but then I am not a diplomat from a country with whom the president and his country has a “special” relationship. This poor diplomat made the mistake of stating the bleeding obvious and putting it in writing.
When the furore over this resignation of the diplomat hit the news, the comment was made that the diplomat was ‘caught in public saying something that is widely believed’. His ‘punishment’ was that he was forced to resign, because the political situation became intolerable for him.
Sounds unfair, but what can we do?
But so far it is a situation on the international news, and it doesn’t really affect any of us. Or does it?
What do you do when things really go off the rails, and you are part of the situation? You may be part of the situation because you live in the country, or because the city where you live is under/on fire, or even because you are in a work situation where what happens is against your values and to the detriment of everyone involved. Do you keep quiet? Do you listen to the news and say to yourself ‘the world is going mad’ and turn your attention to something else? Do you say something to a friend and shake your head and move on? Do you voice your opinions out loud and try to change the situation?
This is not a recent moral dilemma, but rather one that is as old as humanity. I am not a Christian and I am sure that different scriptures address this issue, but I can only quote from Leviticus 5:1 because I recently became aware of this text: "'If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.”
This indicates a moral obligation to speak up, and to bear the consequences, no matter what.
It is interesting how something comes into your awareness, and then the test follows.
I once found myself in a work situation where incompetence, dishonesty and a general lack of regard for the client was allowed once, then twice, and then quickly became the norm. This was because of a total lack of leadership, or rather leadership that took the entire team to the abyss.
I was part of this team, and I realised within my first month that dishonesty and extremely damaging work practices were the norm. What do you do when you are new in the situation? I did what I normally do, which is never to turn the other cheek, but to rather determine whether what I discovered was my misinformed view (which could change because of the facts I discover) or an informed view which would be borne out by the facts.
In this instance the facts were plenty – and all the facts indicated that the emperor was stark naked in terms of integrity and competence, and he had his sycophantic followers who convinced him that his invisible cloak was beautiful. The emperor also enjoyed raving whenever his ignorance and incompetence were challenged, in the belief that pure anger and hatred would gloss over the massive cracks that he not only created himself, but also condoned in others. This habit quickly filtered down to those of his followers who had not yet tried to use tantrums as a cover for incompetence and ignorance, and they discovered that not only did the tantrums work, but the emperor supported them, as images of himself.
This is the recipe for a toxic work situation.
What to do when you are in this situation? This is where I feel empathy for the diplomat who was forced to resign because he stated the bleeding obvious, which not only his colleagues, but the entire world knew.
I worked from my sphere to tactfully expose the dishonesty, by providing solid proof to the emperor. To my absolute astonishment, I was told to “do introspection” because I was focusing on dishonesty towards a client, where regular “white lies” do the job. I started collecting the evidence of dishonesty.
I believe that it is only fair to criticize the skills of others when I am in a position to give them the skills. So I provided the tools to counter the incompetence, en ensured that the tools were accessible. Not only was the reception very cold, but the emperor told me in so many words that nothing I could offer would ever be welcome – I presume because anything I offered exposed his nakedness and his raving madness.
Since it was clear to me that the client was not only suffering losses, but was also losing confidence in the emperor in his team, I decided to escalate the issues by stating the bleeding obvious to a higher level of management, first in person, and then in writing. What happened? Nothing. Why? Because for those who could step in and set down the rules that would create a healthy workplace, collecting the fees every month was far more important.
Meanwhile the emperor was making regular noises about “straight talk” – which meant “do as you are told, without questioning” and “collaboration” – which meant “I will tell you from my limited experience and what I grabbed from a book somewhere what standard I expect you to set without arguing – and yes, the standard is low, but remember, so is my intelligence and level of competence, so shut up and obey.”
My cognitive dissonance, where the difference between what I believed was right and what was happening around me, was growing every day. Was it me? Was I the one with the warped view of the world?
When colleagues approached me to test their observations, which were identical to mine, I realised I was not wrong. When the client became quite verbal about their dissatisfaction and started talking about prematurely terminating the contract, I realised my observations were real.
And nothing was done to change anything.
I then discovered that the emperor had been escorted out of a previous work situation for the exact reasons I observed, and he was marched straight to this unsuspecting client, who was now paying the price for accepting him.
What could I do? Resign and walk away. I would have preferred to stay and root out the corruption, but one person can only be effective up to a point.
To my surprise, once I handed in my resignation, people from various corners (including the client who was losing on all fronts, and my employer who finally realised that I was not crying wolf) approached me - not to stay, but for me to provide as much evidence as possible of the rot that I had observed. They all realised that I would never thrive in a situation that will take a very heavy hand to change, and nobody tried to stop me. I handed it all over and walked away - after observing the emperor being fast asleep in a client meeting, while an irate client explained how the emperor and his team had failed. And nobody took any action - they were too busy admiring the emperor’s invisible clothes.
I could have taken a strong case to the labour court, but as tarot teaches us, justice (where each one of us has to account for our deeds at the end of our lives) is far more important than judgment (where I could win a huge victory, but at the expense of my own wellbeing).
Rumour has it that the emperor will be marched off the premises again soon, this time in disgrace with no option of a new victim who will unknowingly accept him and the damage he does. I am happily working in a new environment where everything I can contribute is accepted with open arms.
There is hope for the diplomat as well – he acted and he will get his reward. On a cosmic scale, he played his role by speaking up. And he is not the only one. The tide of voices against the corruption is rising world-wide.
This is how we make the world a better place. We speak up and voice our concerns, and we take action, even if it is on a small scale, because if we don’t say or do anything, we condone our dark sides. Are you part of the tide of integrity and well-being?
Karma is a bitch – if you approach her from the wrong angle.
Do you often get into situations that affect you emotionally?
Do you want to be less emotional and more in charge?
Do you want to get a quick fix that works every time?
Listen to this video - not while driving - and find a quick way to overcome those emotions.
Did you think that spirituality is separate from business?
Or that there is no place for anything you practice at home when you get to the office?
Or even worse - do you have a business selling esoteric stuff but you don't apply spiritual rules to your business?
Do you say what you do, and then do what you say? Do you do this as a business owner and also as a customer?
Listen to this video and see how you can improve your business by using spiritual rules.
Do you need to end a relationship?
Or have you ended a relationship which is still troubling you?
This short talk will give you a way to finish the business and move on.
Do you need to forgive anyone?
Do you find it difficult to forgive?
Why should you even bother to try?
Here is the very important answer that will change your life.
Have you tried everything to get out of an unacceptable situation and nothing is working?
Or have you put all your efforts into creating the next phase of your life and it is just not falling into place?
Are you physically exhausted from doing planning and affirmations, and finding opportunities?
Then you have hit that no-man's land.
Watch this video to understand why it is happening and how you can get out of that space.