Month: November 2014

Fevered Mutterings | Mike Sowden and Story Telling Everything

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I came across this guide from Mike Sowden on Fevered Mutterings about Story Telling Everything. I really enjoyed it and thought others might find it useful. Mike’s free guide is here

His humour is great, with just the right mix of vulnerability and self-disclosure. Let’s hope he is not suffering from too much hillside exposure right now. His storytelling resources are great, find them at this page.

My own travel image, a street that I used to know, in Durban, South Africa.

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Cross Country Ramblings II

Leaving Bloemfontein in the Free State, the little green Suzuki Alto drove into what seemed a desertification. After the glittering fields of the day before, the endless vistas ahead were bleak, bleached, literally blanched. It seemed as if the whole area, including the Northern Cape, had suffered from a combination of geological and human evisceration, an emptying out. Homesteads ghostly, crumbling and deserted, seemed to stare out at the passing cars, vacant with loss, poignant with history, nothing left but the whisper of buildings, a pointing to what once was. The living creatures seemed sad, gathering in small groups, thin and hungry looking. I felt so moved and sad as we drove on, an overpowering sense of yawing fatigue took over me. We almost missed Graaff-Reinet, since Google Maps pointed to a way which would have added on hours to the journey. It was a kind of time warp space, what should have taken 4 hours took 6.

Finally we arrived by way of a major detour, at Heather’s Guest House. There we met Heather and Barry, a most delightful couple. Their motto: “Arrive as a stranger, leave as a friend, return as a regular” certainly rings very true. Warm and inviting, not only as people, but also their home and the Fig Tree Cottage where we stayed. As I stepped through the front door of their home, I was transported to another time, another place. To the Karoo farms I visited as a child, the homey feel of the place, the lamps, the “voorkamer”, (I could almost hear the milk machine “ting tinging” in the dark). The “voorkamer” even had the ladies sitting, doing their needlework, amidst crochet blankets, beautiful old porcelain dolls, patchwork, doilies and all manner of goodies from yesteryear. Barry whispered conspiratorially later, that they were all gossiping. What a lovely but brief stay this was. I would recommend Heather’s to anyone wanting to visit Graaff-Reinet a lovely, very pretty little town, with so much to see and do. Below is an image of Fig Tree Cottage and the other is the church in the centre of town, opposite where we ate that evening.

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Top image from Gratisphotogrpahy

Photos taken by Carol Knox.

Cross Country Ramblings 1

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The tiny Suzuki Alto is crammed with clothing, birds in a cage and a rabbit in a pet carrier. K had been freaking out because she felt it couldn’t be done. The journey is about to begin. We get a late start. Climbing the hill towards Hilton’s verdant green, I begin to feel the relief of leaving Durban behind. Something seems to fall from my shoulders like a veil slipping from my face. I can see more clearly, feel more intensely, dream more bigly, and hope more fervently. I am leaving behind KwaZulu-Natal and going forward and toward the Western Cape, literally and figuratively. As we progress towards the Free State, the skies become more blue and seem to occupy the windshield space with a hugeness not known in KZN. This big sky blue and white take my breath away. There are fields that have been planted and harvested both left and right of my vision. They glitter gold in the late afternoon sun. The golden glitter of the fields of the Free State I will not easily not remember. As I walked on the beach in the Cape Southern Peninsula, I thought of this and felt the need to write down some parts of the journey that have brought me to this destination, by the sea, with the view, with the loveliness of pink late setting suns, of whipping winds and cold sea air.

Images Carol Knox. The beach I walk on, approach five minutes from where I live, the sand fine like talcum powder, large strands of kelp almost the size of an arm strewn across the beach, white, windy, a wildness not quite tamed.

An earlier post: The Felt Weight where the relief from the weight can be likened to the slipping of the veil.

“She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.”

― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Shaking Up and Giving Up | A New Life

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Having encountered Dr Viktor Frankl in studying the Introductory course in Logotherapy at the University of South Africa, (UNISA), in  2012 and meeting Dr Teria Shantall at the workshop, I discovered my own vehicle to unfolding my meaning. At the time I was not sure how this would unfold. I really wanted to become a Logotherapist, but was not in the financial position to continue with the other courses offered at UNISA. In the time since then I have been in the process of paring down, which began with the letting out of my home. I moved in with my sister and then into a tiny “cupboard” as I put my house on the market, sold it and waited for my funds to come through. During this time of waiting and paring down, I worked on a fictional short story: Belongings in the Sand: The Tale of the Red Heeled Shoes, and a small How to Guide on How to Reduce Stress, which I learnt how to publish as an ebook through BookBaby, which is nearing completion and due for submission to BookBaby for distribution.

As I struggled with the confines of the small space and many disruptions and lack of peace and quiet while living in my “cupboard”, I came to the idea to do a PHD to work with sufferers of trauma and PTSD. The underlying inspiration for this came from my relationship with Brett Pelser, who suffered so from depression and what I feel was PTSD. Finally and tragically he committed suicide. The idea also is deeply inspired by Logotherapy and Viktor Frankl. I really feel that trauma sufferers experience an existential crisis, their world no longer makes sense, they have no language to speak this senselessness, this schism in their very being and at the heart of their lives. My journey has taken me across the country to the Western Cape, which has the highest trauma statistics in the country. I have been accepted to do this PHD through UNISA and the Psychology Department. Things are uncertain for me in terms of creating an income to support myself and this study. I am staying in the moment, being positive and looking forward to new opportunities. A new life, a revealing and unfolding, the time is now.

Image of the beach five minutes from my new space. Courtesy Carol Knox.

Unleashing Your Potential | My Journey to Releasing my New Avanoo Program | Calming the Storm: How Meaning Making can Change your Life

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I am delighted to announce my new partnership with Avanoo Avanoo (pronounced “Avenue”) comes from the words Ava, which is Finnish for “Open”, and Noo, which is Old English for “now”. So Avanoo means being open to all of your potential right now! It is also a road we travel as we move forward in life.

In 3 minutes a day, Avanoo offers dozens of personalized 30-day programs ranging from Happiness to Productivity from renowned experts on those topics.

I am working currently on my program called: Calming the Storm: How Meaning Making can Change your Life. I will publish here my progress. For now I have almost completed all the Daily Noos, (pronounced”Daily News”), and I give you the titles of 20 here:

1. “This too Shall Pass”

2. Finding Something to Live for is Critical

3. The Question of Meaning in Life

4. Love Can Come to the Rescue

5. Putting your Focus on a Project

6. The Power of your Mind-Set

7. Finding Meaning from Suffering

8. Turn Suffering into a Challenge

9. Learning Self-Compassion

10. Suffering can be an Inspiration.

Today 29 November, I am adding some of the new Daily Noos that are now ready:

11. Filling our Unique Life Space

12. What is Your Choice of Response?

13. Appreciating Life Right Now

14. Your Watershed Moment

15. We are Whole as We are. We are Alright.

16. The Experience of Love. “The Salvation of Man” (Viktor Frankl)

17. Are you Your Own Best Friend?

18. Is it Ever OK to Give up Hope?

19. It’s Time for Self Transcendence.

20. Igniting Humor.

For more please visit Avanoo once my program is launched. I will keep you posted about the launch date. This program is intended for those who are facing life challenges or storms. I am aiming for a pre-Christmas or New Year launch date. In the mean time do go along to Avanoo to view amazing programs offered by experts from across the globe, to help you unleash your potential and overcome challenges and storms.

Influenced predominantly by Dr Viktor Frankl, Dr Teria Shantall, Mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn and others, Buddhism and Zen thinking.

Image purchased at Creative Market

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A Birth Story

Longreads

Meaghan O’Connell | Longreads | Nov. 6, 2014 | 57 minutes (14,248 words)

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It was Monday, June 2nd, and I was wide awake at 6 a.m. Maybe to some of you this hour doesn’t sound remarkable, but for me it was. It was the first day in a lifetime of six in the mornings, and I made the three-hour leap all in one go.

By this point, it was 10 days past my due date, and I had a very specific and recurring fantasy of being moved around town in a hammock flown by a helicopter. I wanted to be airlifted between boroughs.

When I told my fiancé, Dustin, this wish, he was quiet for a second. He had learned to reply to me with caution, but I imagine in this case he just couldn’t help himself.

“Like a whale?” he asked.

I laughed…

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Day Five: 30 Days of Gratitude

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Quote About Saying Thank You Photo Credit: Pinterest

The rain is falling on a chilly fall evening here in Kentucky, making curling up on my couch with a hot cup of green tea feel even cozier.  It is the type of night that lends itself to quiet solitude and self-reflection, and I am indulging in both.  One of the many topics traipsing through my mind tonight is gratitude, and a definite theme or pattern emerged.  So, here are the three things that I truly am grateful for on day five:

  1. An unexpected thank you note.  As I sat in my office this afternoon, feeling a bit overwhelmed and frazzled by the tasks at hand, I heard a knock at my door.  My first reaction was one of annoyance, as the day had been wrought with interruptions, throwing me off track and behind schedule, but that annoyance quickly dissolved when my boss handed me a “special…

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