• Life Lessons

    “Looking beyond the Poop on the Window”

    The other day we were driving to school… it’s a stunning route! Mountain on our right, sun rising on the horizon, and gorgeous views of the harbour, city and coastline on the left.

    This photograph taken from the back seat by my son on the way to school
    (on a different day referred to in this post).

    My son, Li’l J, was sitting behind me and as he looked to the left he said “Mom, there’s poop on the window” (we had been parked under a tree, so it seemed a sweet bird had left us a ‘gift’ 😉).
    “Oh yuck” I said, “Poop on the window!” and then after a while said, “Anything else you can see, my love?”. He replied, “I don’t like poop on the window Mom!”

    I also don’t like poop on the window, but confess I was thinking to myself, “How can you focus on the poop when there’s the harbour and other such beauty beyond the poop?” Wisely, I think, I chose to hold my tongue…
    Just a minute or two later… “Mom, look at the beautiful sky!”

    The sky was beautiful… It was one of those mornings where there were puffy clouds, some blue sky and rays of sunlight that are visibly shining through the clouds (when I was a little girl I believed that was a sign of heaven).
    I so appreciated that he got to see past the poop, and this got me thinking about how often there is a beautiful horizon ahead of us, and all we can see is the small poop on the window, or the hurdles in front of us.

    Don’t get me wrong… we need to be able to see the poop, to be able to clean it, or identify the hurdles so that we can address them rather than tripping over them. But sometimes we can become so focused or distracted by the hurdles (or poop) that we can’t see beyond them, or become paralysed and give up.

    So with that in mind, how might this reflect in your life?
    Are you focusing on the poop or the horizon?
    What support could you put in place to clear your view of the horizon?
    How might you then be able to tap into new possibilities and opportunities?

    Lots to think about…

    Love Mandy xxx

    PS: I smiled to myself as I was writing this blog (while working at a local coffee shop on the same morning) as I noticed some bird poop on the usually immaculately cleaned window… lol!!! What a beautiful view beyond the poop 😉

  • Life Lessons

    Blind Spots

    The view of our mountain on a not-so-misty day

    Recently, I completed a Women in Leadership training, and received lovely (and what I believe to be sincere) feedback from the participants about my facilitation style, my way of being and the value of the training. It’s interesting for me that I am sometimes still surprised when I hear this, and I don’t always immediately believe it.

    The next morning, I was sitting at one of my favourite coffee shops, with the most beautiful view of our misty mountain. There’s a ‘working bar’ by the window with plugs for laptops etc and because the seats are high it’s not the most comfortable spot for me. However, I wanted to be considerate and not take up a whole table, so perched here next to a woman who was completely focused on her laptop with her notes alongside her. During a break, we got chatting and she’s on year six of her PhD… and completely challenged by it! (Familiar territory to me because I have coached a few PhD students, and I know it’s not an easy journey).

    Before we went back to work, she said that although she’s not into ‘energy’ as such (such a Cape Town thing!), she was struck by the fact that when I sat down next to her and settled into my work, I gave off a grounded energy which she appreciated and was a “welcome surprise”. (Apparently, there is another person who sometimes sits next to her, bangs their keyboard, saps her energy, and leaves her with a feeling of dread.)

    This got me thinking though…

    Considering the fact that I received this type of feedback two days in a row, how do I allow myself to believe it without developing a puffed-up ego, rather a gentle internal acknowledgement that some people appreciate my way of being?

    Much of the work I do supports people to uncover their blind spots, encouraging them to be open to feedback, receiving acknowledgements and recognising areas of potential growth. You’d think this would be automatic for me, but like all of us, I’m an ongoing student of life and still flexing this muscle.

    So today, as I gaze at our misty mountain, I choose to breathe in the acknowledgement and thank my life journey for who I am today.

    I’m me …

    Maybe I’m grounding for some, and maybe exhausting for others… either way, I’m me.

  • Reflection

    Meditation has different forms…

    I absolutely looooove swimming, watching the sea, being in nature, reading, and taking time to be still. While I don’t always meditate formally, this is my form of meditating and recharging my battery.

    Sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.

    Pre-parenting I had plenty of time for this, and spent many long hours on the beach, at Sea Point swimming pool (for those not based in Cape Town, this is collection of public pools alongside our beautiful Atlantic Ocean), or meandering on the paths of Table Mountain.

    Sea Point Swimming Pool with Lion’s Head in the background.

    Nowadays, when I’m visiting these spots, it’s not quite as still as it used to be, and I certainly don’t get to relax and read as much as I did before.

    But there’s a new joy in the way I experience them, through the eyes of my son… climbing rocks is a new pastime; floating, kicking and blowing bubbles in the pool at one another; building sand castles; and walking a bit slower on the mountain… this means I see things in a little more detail.

    I’ve also been introduced to new interests and activities, such as:

    • watching helicopters (Cape Town Helicopters viewing deck is our home from home, they are the BEST!);
    • tracking building sites, so we can watch the cranes and diggers, concrete trucks and people moving up and down, sideways… each person clear on their part in the ‘human machinery’ of the construction site; and more (yep, I take endless photos and videos which we watch often!)

    My son absolutely loves spending time doing these things, and so it has become part of our special weekend time together. I’ve come to realise that in a way it is part of a new form of ‘informal’ meditation for me.

    We can watch quietly for looooong periods of time, talk occasionally about what’s happening, and my stillness is sometimes interrupted by J’s excited exclamations as his favourite helicopter takes off, or the bucket is gently lowered by the crane to be filled at the concrete mixer truck, but actually, it is a lovely time to be still and reflect. They are often quite noisy spots, which in a way, prevents too much thinking, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Being a working parent, it’s not often that I get alot of time to sit and be still.

    Meditation takes different forms, and yes, I could still create more completely quiet time for myself (the meditation purists in my circle might be cringing at this stage!), but I also get to share these experiences with my son, which is truly precious time.

    So I’m curious, and would love to hear back from you…

    How do you take time for yourself?

    Do you have a formal or an informal meditation practice and what does that look like?

    If you’re a parent, how has your meditation practice evolved?

    In the meantime,

    If you want to take some more conscious time for yourself, I’m hosting a Me-Time retreat on Friday 16 March, which will include some guided reflections and conversations, some pampering, some meditation (both guided and your own gentle down time 😉), and gentle movement. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll add you to the ‘first-to-know’ list with final details.

    Taking it to a deeper level, there is also the Power of Purpose Course on Saturdays 3rd and 10th March 2018. A surefire way to get in touch with your deeper ‘why’, to get clear on what you’re wanting, and be given tools to get you there, bumps and all! Again, if you’re interested, give me a shout… It’s 2 full days, with a week in between, and includes all materials, an audio recording which you can go back to any time, and access to a network of people who have also done this work.

    For now, though, I wish you a glorious weekend, and look forward to connecting soon.

    Love always,



    PS: Sometimes J asks for us to do a meditation together and we love the treehouse one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWOHcGF1Tmc or the butterfly https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mX4JBBIcBk

    PPS: He also looooooves doing yoga (ok, for all of 5 minutes!), and his favourite guide is All Kids Love Yoga, by Gabriel Petra Becker. It’s available on Amazon in English and German, and I have a couple of copies available to buy locally. It is for kids of ALL ages, young and old 😉. Check out the reviews on Amazon. You want this, trust me! (great as a gift too)

    For those close to the Cape Winelands, try Jessica Louise if you’re wanting yoga classes in person for yourself, and/or your kids… she is amazing. Her Facebook page gives details for classes https://www.facebook.com/jessicalouiseyoga/