Attitude of Gratitude

Every minute of every day is a blessing on every level. A few years ago when I started my journey with chronic pain I began to realize what truly matters and what is important. In my search to understand my disease and myself more I read and researched and googled every remedy and every avenue to get on top of it.

Living with constant pain has at times felt overwhelming and resulted in a feelings of depression and incredible anger. It has had me question everything from why me to how and to when will it end. It can at times feel all consuming and utterly exhausting, however on every level I have learnt that it has ultimately been the greatest teacher and blessing in my life.

Now I know that sounds complete insane, but let me tell you that in this day and age we have become complacent and often take the simplest things in our life for granted. We forget to be grateful and focus so hard on “STUFF”. What we have, what we need and want we don’t have becomes this constant fight in our world. In the end the “STUFF” is just that, clutter and unnecessary noise.

What matters really is your personal health and wellbeing. It’s the most important thing for all of us. It has to start and end there ultimately as if we are not the best version of ourselves we really can’t help anyone else or contribute to the world in real terms.

Belief systems and rules are drummed into us from a young age through society our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the media. The fact is that these are actually ultimately about choice. It’s the greatest blessing we all have, the freedom of choice. The opportunity to have your own voice and to make your own rules” and create your own belief systems.

Learning to adopt an attitude of gratitude every day has been my journey over the last 7 years. Believe me it has at times been my greatest challenge as some days I am just pissed off and gatvol.

Some days the searing pain in my right arm that is there 24hours a day gets the better of me. On those days having an attitude of gratitude takes immense focus and commitment. I have learnt to find something, anything to be grateful for. Even if on that day my focus is to just be grateful for being able to feel the pain and listen to my body.

So today I ask that when you start your day and begin your focus on what you wish to achieve just stop for a moment and be grateful for all the blessings in your life. There are so many you just have to sometimes stop and appreciate them.

Celebration of Love

This weekend has been another amazing celebration of friendship and love. A few years ago these 2 beautiful ladies would not have been able to get married due to laws and marginalization. It was truly wonderful to be part of this special day and a reminder to always be aware of the challenges our LGBT 🏳️‍🌈 community live with every day of their lives.

I have been blessed to be warmly welcomed in by this incredible community through our Steampunk saloon and every one of these special folk have stood by me in some of my toughest moments over the last few years.

These ladies have all taught me to really just love who I am regardless of my size and own complexes. They have added color, laughter, debates and plenty of good music to my world. They have helped me to grown as a person in so many ways and it really is such an honour to be their friend.

The weekend was filled with a lot of laughter and one or five tequilas. In true MischMash style the tunes were legendary and we were treated to great music from Live music to welcome us, a great set by the Betsie Beers after the Dinner and an amazing lineup of DJs to wrap up the celebration.

Riebeck Kasteel is also one of my favorite little towns 1 hour out of Cape Town filled with such soul and quirkiness. It’s combination of great wine, olives and art gives it a really eclectic feel.

This was another step on my journey of connectivity. The one on one stolen moments with special people and reconnection in real time is what makes my soul smile.

I am truly grateful to be blessed with such abundance and so many amazing friends

Getting in Touch!

After an amazing 5 week journey around the USA and the U.K. I found myself hitting the ground running on my return. The journey I did was definitely life changing and I achieved all that I hoped for and more on this journey.

In this day and age we have all become so busy and while everything is so “connected” digitally that is, we as humans, I believe have become less connected in real time.

I decided to do a little experiment over the time I travelled and that was to unplug and take Facebook off my phone. While my blog still fed into my newsfeed I personally did not go onto the platform. What a revelation! I have loved being away from the noise!

Facebook definitely has its place and I love to check in and see how my mates are doing far and wide, however I am choosing to be more connected on a one on one basis. I found through my travels of reconnection how important it is to just have one on one time with mates and family.

I have always been a person known to make an effort to stay connected with friends but have found that I too had slipped into a bit of a complacent space of seeing what was going on in some of my friends lives on Facebook which made me feel like I had been in touch somehow.

There is a big problem with this way of connecting and that is that people often only put the best version of their lives on Facebook for all to see. They are not saying that they are possibly struggling with something or having a tough time and so depression in our world has increased massively.

It’s so important now to take the time and just check in on your mates and family. Make time to have a coffee with them and look into their eyes and listen to their stories in real time. I must say I have loved this reconnection and am so glad I have done it.

In closing all I can say is just remember communication is the essence to all relationships.

London Calling

Yesterday was my last day and it did not disappoint. My last day started with the boys having a nice cuddle in the bed with me and heaps of laughter. It was then up and off to London to see Lee and Kerry Leigh.

Ints jumped on the train with me and kindly escorted me to London as I look a bit like a pack horse with all the additional luggage.

I arrived in London and first on the list was a catch up with the girls filled with lots of laughter. We then headed to my favorite Chinese restuarant Gerard’s Corner in China Town for Crispy Duck and Dim Sim.

We then pottered around London did some retail therapy and then headed home for a bit of a chill. We then headed to Brickley’s (Kerry-Leigh’s local). The tequila fairy then suddenly appeared and much dancing and laughter followed.

Another magic day and night shared with two of my oldest mates. I have really been utterly blessed on this journey to laugh a lot and really enjoy each moment with each friend to the fullest.

Today I am finally heading home and am looking forward to seeing my family and friends back home.

Journey drawing to a close

As I sit here tonight after another day filled with meaningful, necessary conversations and connections, I am quite speechless. I can't quite believe that I am nearing the end of a 5 and a bit week journey of self discovery, appreciation and reconnection.

This journey has been one that I have dreamt of for the past seven years as I fight the constant pain and challenges of my life. I have had some Brutal pain days over the trip but have found them so much easier to embrace knowing that I am living and owning every moment of my life.

The journey over the last 7 years of my life has been hectic to say the least. It has challenged my OCD, control freak, ADHD personality on every level.

It drove me insane in the beginning as I had NO control over it. The blessing in this is that I learnt to simple allow things to just be whatever they needed to be. I have grown so much as a person as a result of these daily challenges that this attitude allowed me to make this incredibly important trip.

To step on a plane 10 days after getting out of hospital with pneumonia, and deciding to embrace every second of this journey has been my greatest achievement yet. Not giving in and believing with all my heart that an attitude of gratitude and a conscious mind would win the day.

Each step of this journey I have been welcomed with open arms and warm hearts by friends who love me unconditionally and who have each brought utter joy to my life. Wow how blessed am I?

Tomorrow I get to see 2 more of my unbelievably special friends who will complete the circle and make this the ultimate trip. Tomorrow it's out of the countryside in Kent and off to Chelsea.

Meeting the Pickles

As I head to the end of this incredible journey of reconnection and appreciation, I am once again utterly grateful for the opportunity I have had to reconnect with people who hold space in my heart.

Yesterday was another special day with Justine, Ints and the Kids and I finally got to meet the Pickles. My cousin Angela was blessed just over 1 year ago with these two little munchkins. There are no words for the cuteness. It is always wonderful meet the little people that have come into our loved ones lives.

It was also so cute to watch how the boys, especially Kayden, embraced these little sweeties. Lots of laughter and cuddles were shared and it was so lovely to spend time with precious family and friends. I am so incredibly blessed and thankful that I have had the opportunity to take this time and reconnect and reflect.

This journey has left me with so many teachings but most of all it has left me with an immense feeling of love and gratitude. It has reminded me of all the important things in life and it has highlighted the importance of surrounding ourselves with the people who add value to your life and to simply release those that don't without judgement.

I have only 2 days left on this journey and a few more incredibly special people to see. Today my heart and prayers go out to my dear friend Chay, husband John and my godchildren Cassady and Camaryn as they face a truly challenging day. I may be miles away but I am with you in spirit.

English Countryside Connections

Arrived safe and sound in the UK. Having just completed a rather mind blowing tour is the States, it was great to step out at Heathrow to see another special mate waiting to welcome me with Open arms. Arriving after a rather brutal flight with a screaming baby, I was certainly more shattered than expected but so happy to see my mates.

England was definitely decidedly colder than Miami and I had to put on a pair of jeans and a jersey for one of the first times on this trip. We left the airport and ventured out into the beautiful English countryside to the beautiful little town of Ide Hill, seven Oakes Kent.

The roads were lined with lush green trees and beautiful brightly colored flowers. Ints, Justin the boys and Ints folks have all moved into a beautiful country home with a gorgeous country view. I can't believe how much the boys have grown since I last saw them 2 years ago but what little sweethearts they are. It was also so wonderful to see Ints folks again. These special moments are to always be treasured as each one makes a lasting memory.

We pottered down to the local Cock Inn for good old Fish and Chips for lunch and a catch up. It was the perfect welcome to the U.K. followed by some hysterical laughter.

The rest of the week promises to be filled with connections to some very special friends in my life and some great catch ups. It is so lovely to just see the people I love so much. Tomorrow I shall be seeing my cousin, aunt and the twins (who just turned 1) and shall finish the "gift" shopping.

On the Water in Miami

My second last day in Miami was nothing short of spectacular. This entire trip has taught me how incredibly blessed I am on so many levels. I have the most incredible friends and have made some new ones in each city too.

Yesterday was all about being on the water and seeing the city from the many water ways of Miami. We got up early and took the pooches for a 4km walk through the city, then headed to Evans boat with some mates and 1 very cute Labradoodle.

Meredith sadly had to work half way through the day but we took her to work by boat and picked up Evans Cousin and Boyfriend who joined us for the second half of the day.

We took a drive down Miami river and then headed to Key Biscayne to lie in the emerald green water, listen to some great music and have a bit of picnic.

We then headed back to Kara's beautiful new home to chill in the pool for a bit. After a few hours of cocktails and pool time we headed out to see a place called Stilltsville.

There used to many more of these houses out in the middle of the ocean on Stilts but Hurricanes and currents have destroyed a lot of them.

We had a magnificent school of dolphins join us for a while following the boat and ride the wake of the boat as we enjoyed the sun setting over the city.

The day ended with one final dinner at The Butchers Shop. We had planned on have another dance but with a long day in the sun and water behind it was definitely time to call it a night.

What a special day with special mates. I am absolutely at a loss for words on how spoilt I have been by each set of friends in each city. My USA trip ends today as I head for London tonight. I will be very sad to say goodbye.

Downtime in Miami

Today was a very chilled day. The bodies were taking a bit of strain and of course the only way to fix that (and pretty much everything) was to get out on the water and have a paddle.

2 of my willing partners in crime from last night were game. A bit jaded but definitely willing. They took me off to a bay launch near South Beach and we paddled through Billionaires land. My god the size of some of the houses and the boats outside them was quite unbelievable.

It was 34 degrees with about 80% humidity but it was exactly what we all needed. I put some gusto in it and had a bit of a workout in honour of my fellow Wahine's racing at home tomorrow.

We then headed back to Wynwood this time for some Cerviche and a reg maker beer at Concrete Beach. It was an extremely chilled day. Tomorrow we head out on the boat and we shall spend the day on the water.

My last day and a half in Miami and I head off from USA to the UK.