Finding Clarity (On A RoadTrip)

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Sometimes in life you catch a break and you seem to be riding the perfect wave unexpectedly and everything that could possibly go right is going right. Then the rug is ripped right out from under you. Your head is in a spin and you are left wondering what happened.

Then you start on a journey trying too hard to find the answers.

Navigating this foggy path is daunting to say the least. When we try too hard to find answers, sometimes we miss the ones that are right under our noses. Intuition often works best when we aren’t trying too hard, when we stop trying to figure out the “cursed how’s or why’s.”

As adults we grow up and think we have all the answers, that we have the world figured out, only to discover later that we don’t and that we probably never will have it all figured out. When we are born we literally dive into life headfirst and it is a bumpy ride from there on out. Life never turns out exactly as we expect it to. Sometimes it is much less, sometimes it is much more, and usually it is quite different from what we imagined it would be.

Left a bit bewildered and suddenly unsure, the last thing I felt like doing this weekend was putting on a happy face and facing the world as if all was right in my world when in fact nothing felt right. But I’d made a commitment to share in a friend’s birthday celebration over lunch and I knew I had to go. The one thing I was really looking forward to was the drive there, it was something I could use to my advantage. About an hour out of Cape Town, I would head out on the road towards the small town of Riebeek Kasteel, driving through the valleys and taking in the beauty all around me. Nature soothes me when I’m out of sync, maybe somewhere along the way I could find some clarity in the confusion that suddenly seemed to creep in like a thick fog.

With the birthday gift on the seat next to me, I glanced at my watch and then the road ahead.

I should be there in about an hour.

With the sun shining and my music playing I began to drive.

My car, as it often is, is my sanctuary as I drive.

I can breathe.

I can be still.

I go inwards.

I took it slow, determined to enjoy rather than endure.

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As the suburbs began to change from houses packed together to sprawling open fields of lush green and bright yellow flowers I began to let go of perfect. I began to let go of control. I began to let go of expectations. I reminded myself to be authentic and to let others be authentic, too. I realised I must make room for surprises and to give myself (and others) permission to change my/their minds, to realise that maybe even if I unknowingly did or said something to upset someone else, that I made a mistake and that’s ok.

Change, especially when it’s unexpected, brings us to the edge of what we know, waiting for us to plunge into what we have yet to discover. I’ve been where I’ve been and I am where I am; what’s changing now is where I hope to be.

This place, the softening edge where the light meets the dark, where what is known slips from the top of my shoulders, trickles down the back of my arms and drips poignantly off my fingertips; the last moment before a free-fall, where my breath becomes sharp and caged, longing for the richness of an exhale, this is where I am as I question where I want to go from here.

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I reach a point in the road where I think I am close but I can’t be certain.

Something feels wrong.

I can’t quite find the road that I am meant to be on as I pass through another little town.

My GPS is telling me to go one way but my gut is telling me something else.

I follow the GPS because it’s supposed to be right.

Another 8km’s later, my GPS is telling me to take a dirt road but it’s now going to take me another 48 minutes to get to my destination. But I know I’m closer than that.

I turn around and begin to head back to the small town to find the road I missed.

Life is like that sometimes. It’s unpredictable and fluid, always keeping you guessing about what lies ahead. Just when you think you know the ending, life throws in a curve.

But that’s what makes things in life worth pursuing and life worth embracing.

As I drove I reminded myself that by putting value only in the end result, I have been ignoring the small victories along the way. I had lost sight of one of life’s simple truths: The journey is more important than the destination.

I blinked and looked straight up at the road ahead.

The curve in the road beckoned and I drove toward it, ready to embrace what lay just out of sight.

By being willing to not have all the answers, to ask more questions, and to allow them to be unresolved, stirs the beginning of a deeper wisdom and understanding within myself. I still long to understand, but I know that’s its ok if I don’t.

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I long to reach out to make to make sure everything is ok because that’s just my nature.

I tried but was shut out.

So all I can do now is step back and allow what ever is to be

Trusting the solution will come.

In the blindness of this change, I am finding clarity. As I continue into the unknown, my inner knowing becomes more and more apparent.

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Sometimes you have to turn the confusion into something beautiful. If we don’t make space for mistakes to happen we may be missing out on some of the most unexpected beauty and creative solutions we’re capable of. Because sometimes we think we want a monster when, really, we have no idea of the beauty we are about to create.

I remind myself to embrace change… It is our greatest teacher.

A short while later I arrived at my destination.

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My smile feeling a tiny little bit more real.

My soul a tiny little bit more at peace.

I felt a little bit more ready to face the world.

Accepting the unresolved questions, because they lead me to my next creation, to growth and change, to new beginnings.

Somehow, I continue to connect the dots.

Instead of seeing the rug being pulled from under me, I’m learning how to dance on a flying carpet.

~ All Photos By Me ~

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Cry Our Beloved Country

BlackWhiteKids

Five days ago, First National Bank, released a new brand campaign called “You Can Help.” It was a message from the youth of South Africa, voices that are often silent.  It was a message carried out to every South African who was prepared to watch and listen, and it was a message the bank believed would inspire a nation.

I watched it three days ago and it inspired me. The message carries everything I believe in, love, faith, hope and forgiveness. Then I kind of forgot about it. That was until today. South Africa began watching and political parties started taking offense.

I do not partake in politics. In fact, I hate politics. It doesn’t interest me and usually it just gets my back up with the sometimes (read mostly) incompetent people trying to run this country. I prefer to focus on what’s good in this country and what’s right about this amazing country I live in. Politics, mostly, has no place in my life.

Suddenly, political parties, sorry let me correct that, a political party and its youth branch started crying foul, saying that the bank was making random and uncalled for accusations against the government.  The party is appalled that the bank has blatantly attacked them. When I watched the video I heard no mention of any political party. To me the party crying foul whiffs of a guilty conscience. It doesn’t actually just reek of guilt, it slaps you in the face. I can’t help but laugh as I shake my head. It’s not the first time. In this country, everything that is said or done is a direct attack against this particular political party. The finger of blame never stops getting pointed and more often than not it’s the same party doing the finger-pointing.

Since the video was released and a political uproar ensued, the bank has stated that the statements made by the children in the ads were not scripted or edited and that it never intended to attack the political party or our government.  During the making of this campaign, the bank spoke to over 1300 youths between the ages of 10 and 22 years from all around the country and from all walks of life. In a news article earlier today it was quoted as one child saying, “If I was President for a day, I would make South Africa safe for children, women and teens who are abused.” Another 10-year-old boy added the following, “I get scared when people are killing each other.” In heart-rendering words the bank said that our youth are “losing their innocence, not to apartheid, but to the many social ills and tragedies that came after it.”

When I watched the video three days ago it brought tears to my eyes but gave me hope at the same time and it inspired me. So many of us want the same thing for this beautiful country and our youth, despite the negatives that no doubt many countries around the world deal with too,  share a belief that this is their home and by working together we can achieve our goals.

South Africa’s Bill of Rights states that it “is a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom and that the state must respect, protect, promote and fulfill the rights in the Bill of Rights.”

When I read the section entitled “Freedom of Expression”, which includes

–          Freedom of the press and other media;

–          Freedom to receive or impart information or ideas;

–          Freedom of artistic creativity;

It appears a certain political party is throwing a tantrum and in their usual spectacular style, stomping all over people’s right to freedom of expression and throwing their toys all over the place. I hope FNB doesn’t crumble under the pressure and pull the ad campaign.  It’s an age-old saying, the grass is greener on the other side. The truth is, it’s not and as the saying goes, the grass is green where you water it.

This is our future speaking.

There is hope for our country.

There always has been.

I will never run.

My feet are firmly planted here on South African soil.

I believe our countries future is in good hands.

You be the judge.

What we need is more people to stand up for what they believe in. We need unity and forgiveness. We need love.

Let our youth gather strength, let their voices be heard.

I don’t know how long this ad will be available for viewing. Maybe it will be gone tomorrow. Maybe it will stand the test of time. I hope it’s the latter.

We are here to take a stand ~ because we can!

Viva FNB. Viva our Youth. Viva South Africa.

My home.

My beloved country.

There will be a day…..

When South Africa will only shine.

You just have to believe.

In Nelson Mandela’s words, “If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.” Let us join hands in helping to build this beautiful South Africa we all dream of.

Kids picture found here

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