I have been in South Africa since December 2019, and so much has happened since then. At the beginning of the lockdown, I experienced fear, sadness, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed. Will it ever end? Will life be positively normal? Now it’s December 2020, and how my life has positively changed. A New Year begins.

Sometimes we have to leave our comfort zone to grow and make beautiful.

It’s Christmas eve 2020, and tomorrow I will visit my 85-year-old mother. She is never excited about Christmas but realises how grateful she is. At the end of November, I had to move my mother from her flat of 18 years at an old age centre, into frail care at another old age home. I find moving to a new house can be very stressful, imagine how much more it is for an 85-year-old. Leaving behind her friends and four cats, whom she had from kittens, was a huge adjustment for her. She often says she wishes to go “home”, as she misses her cats terribly. But I do believe it’s the lifestyle of independence she once had that she misses most. Moving my mother has made me realise how being in the moment and enjoying every minute of the day is so important, instead of wishing time to pass. Life is fragile. Let us nurture it.

Shannon Alder once said, “one of the foremost important things we’ll do on this earth, is to let our loved ones know that they’re not alone.”

For me, the new “normal” may be a time of acceptance and new challenges. To manoeuvre forward, embrace it and learn. We cultivate our memories through rituals, and daydreams, joyfully lost in our thoughts. Allow them to live alongside us, offering an everlasting  connection to loved ones lost, bringing comfort and a spontaneous spirit to life. It’s a time for empathy and taking note of my mother share her memories with meNostalgia is often the salvation for the aged; don’t let it fade away.

Helen Keller once said, “whatever we enjoy can’t be lost, and everyone that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”

As I enter into a new era, a new journey mindset, new challenges and personal growth, I keep my dreams alive, reflecting. Now is the time to adopt new approaches to a new life: Focusing on the four “M’s” – movement, mindfulness, mastery and meaningful social relationships. Speaking things into being, whether by prayer, journaling or observation. Creating balance through heart and mind. I can’t go back, and I can’t create through past experiences, only forward. Learning self-compassion, kindness, empathy, tenderness, forgiveness, a caring conscious living. Realising my fear and what is in my subconscious.  

How I have changed through these uncertain times! Attitude is everything, no matter what life throws at you. I have focused on my growth and not the situation, gaining more confidence in myself. I embraced this time of being in lockdown, becoming more accepting and resilient, with family support. The way to self-mastery: always remaining a student, keeping an open mind, and staying humble. Though there is pain, it’s how we relate to it, how we work with it.

 “Gift from the Ocean,” by Anne Morrow, she writes. “Loving someone doesn’t mean that we have to love them all the time, every minute of the day. Most of us demand this, and it’s not possible, even if we pretend to. Having little faith in the flow of life, love, and relationships, we are afraid it will never return. Insisting on permanency, duration, and continuity. In life and love, the only continuity is in growth, fluidity, and freedom, as the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern”.  

My goal is to achieve self-mastery, to become less influenced by outside influences. See how things are, not how they should be or could be. To have a more authentic life experience. Being in the moment, slowing down, embracing more immersive, curious, authentic, and interactive experiences. Building wellness, me-time, cultural experience, mindfulness, sustainability, and happiness into my life.

I have learned new things such as watercolour painting, journaling, and spending more time meditating, building my spiritual and physical fitness. Focusing on a healthy lifestyle and walking in nature. I can’t walk the new path if I am hanging onto the old. This new beginning is a time for emotional cleansing and rejuvenation.

We cannot escape time. We age, and life brings its joys and sorrows. Enjoy as many experiences as you can in life. Travel, engage with people along the way, experiencing their cultures, and indulging in many books. Life is about creating memories to sustain us through sad times and happy times of our lives. As we learn we progress through the journey mindset, learning how to survive what is to come. Let’s focus on the positive and practice gratitude every day.  

 VISHEN LAKHIANI once said. “Pushing ourselves into something new, allows us to discover a world of many opportunities. We’d most probably get hurt along the way, but amazingly once we heal, we’ll be somewhere we’ve never been before.” 

Born in 1917 and educated at Oxford University, Diana Athill was one of the great book editors of the twentieth century. She was also an excellent memoirist, as evidenced by her book, “Somewhere Towards the End.”

For those of us who demand answers to the meaning of life, Diana Athill didn’t mind not knowing it all. Diana died in 2019 at the age of 101.

Life is a journey, let us not forget to embrace it. Looking at the beauty of the world, lets’ take the journey and not focus on the destination.

Words from Sai Baba. “Life is a song, sing it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a sacrifice, offer it. Life is love, enjoy it.” 

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