Words & Pics by Mandy Antzoylatos
I feel as if I’m coming out of hibernation…
Spring has sprung here in the Southern Hemisphere, and me and my precious family are making the most of being surrounded by mountains, sea and nature here in Cape Town.
It has been a real indoor winter, with staying in our bubble to stay safe from the COVID-19 virus. So, now that shutdown is lifting slightly, we are making the most of being outdoors.
Seeing the beautiful flowers blooming, veggies flourishing, and my houseplants thriving (having had plenty of TLC with all the hours we’ve been at home) got me thinking about what lifestyle seeds have been planted in our life over the last few months of staying-home-safe.
Yes, this may be literal planting and harvesting if you have a garden, but there may be other ‘seeds’ you’ve planted that are now bearing fruit, whether you realised it or not…
We don’t see every flower opening or green shoot growing, but suddenly there is a plant there. So, a few questions to ponder might be:
- What seeds have been sown in your life over the last few months?
- What are you harvesting now?
- What has been pruned or trimmed in order to enhance your life?
Personally, as I look back over the last few months, I realise there have been a few seeds I’ve sown which are now seedlings or are starting to bear fruit.
Being me, they cover personal, professional, parenting and coaching insights, all of which are integrated in different areas of my life:
- Tackling small corners of my home that I’ve wanted to attend to for ages. This has led to a greater appreciation of my space and has inspired me to continue enhancing our home.
- Introducing small meditation practices throughout our day from early on in lockdown, and then finding my son meditating on his own on the balcony recently.
- Regularly reminding my son about the importance of being a team in ‘housekeeping’ from the beginning of lockdown. That process has him now playing his part in the running of the home as if it’s second nature. Well, most of the time anyway ;).
- An investment in our emotional and mental well-being early on in lockdown which resulted in us getting through it pretty well. Part of that was taking a pause from work for the first few weeks. A risk, but worthwhile.
- Shifting and tidying a bookshelf had me finding old favourites that I have been re-reading, and reminding myself of the wisdom they add to my coaching and facilitation practice.
- Having more time for morning and evening chats (without the pressure of the school run) has made them such a part of our lives. Even now we’re back into the school run, they’re still a big part of our time together.
- And then yes, taking cuttings from the garden, rooting them, and now having more plants around the home than we did before 🙂
When climbing the steps towards the lighthouse at Cape Point, I was struck by this plant growing up the stairs…. Who knows how long ago, the first shoot grew onto the steps, or how long it has taken to get this far, but it will keep on going. Just like you (and me!).
I’ll end off by gently reminding us all to:
- keep planting your seeds,
- nuture your seeds, yourself and those around you, and
- doing the small things that take you on the path you want to follow, with purpose.
The benefits are sometimes unseen at first, but will come!
I’d love to hear what’s growing and hopefully
thriving for you at the moment?
Or, if you’re hunkering down for winter, what are you taking from summer and spring to get you through?
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend…
FABULOUS NEW EXPERIENCES…
My previous newsletters titled ‘Gifts in the Discomfort’ and ‘Resilience & Growth’ (which describes my journey to creating the Career Crossroads course) caught the eye of a friend and colleague from Ireland, James Sweetman.
James is not only an internationally recognized motivational & keynote speaker, but also a fellow trainer, writer, coach and lover of nature!
James invited me to be interviewed for his podcast ‘Your Time’ with James Sweetman…..so exciting and a little nerve wracking, but a healthy stretch out of my comfort zone.
I had the BEST time!!!
We laughed, got serious and both shared some insights, tips and wisdom.
If you enjoy podcasts, click on the button below to listen to the full interview.
Here’s to more podcasts on the horizon!
INVITATION TO CREATE YOUR OWN…
Invite friends, family or colleagues to do an online Vision Boarding session….such fun with amazing results!
- Time requirement: 4 hours
- Online with Mandy facilitating
- Fee per person: R550
WELCOME & THANK YOU…
A big WELCOME to all the new subscribers to my newsletter!
AND a huge THANK YOU to all my regular newsletter receivers…you are my inspiration!
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 😉
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.
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/