IN Gratitude…

My heart has been breaking this last few days. Not necessarily in a bad way, – just breaking open again. More compassion. More love. More “more”.

I remember this feeling. From my early 20’s and through into my 30’s…. Joyous explorations and leaping into adventures with an absolute sense of trust and abandon…. And how, I was caught in the most marvellous synchronicities and co-incidences…

I remember this feeling. And I welcome it back!

I think I started numbing to survive round about the time my father passed. I took on sorting out his estate, and in the process got involved with volunteer permaculture work – this was all happening in South Africa, whilst, at the time I was actually based in Cumbria, England. I’d work for 2-4 months in the UK – self-employed, doing massage & holistic therapies, and part-time in the hospitality industry – and then I’d take the money I saved during that time, and travel to South Africa, do what I could with sorting out my father’s estate and trying to stabilise the health of my second mother and sister, volunteering in the local community and teaching in the local school. I’d stay for up to 3 months doing this, then travel back to the UK to carry on with my own practise there. It was an intense time, grieving, looking for solutions for my second mother and sister… Living with my mother and brother, often not making choices they considered “in-line” with what they thought I should be doing. The end result – I’d like to think fairness between all 3 of us children. We’re still talking, so I may have done it right!

I use the term second mother, as she came from a Zulu heritage, and this is how she called herself – the second mother. She has passed now, Aids related, and was a large part of being a catalyst for the work I did volunteering permaculture in the local community through a charity called UVHAA – Undoni and Vulamehlo HIV / Aids association.

I would have liked to have done so much more within the framework there. But, so much of what I did was self-funded. And I was getting so tiered without realising it….

There was one day, I was stood in a field, working with a group of women – I had had to borrow my brother’s shorts to wear under my jeans as the holes were so bad – and one woman called me “Madam” asking for my help with a job, telling me her story of loss…. Until then, for 2 and a half years, I had been called “Sunshine” by them. I realised that with all that I was already doing, I couldn’t do more – and I realised how badly I was burning out. Was already burnt out in fact. And in that moment, realised I needed to make a change – and remembered that, although this was work I felt passionately about, I had put aside something more in order to do this, for my family in South Africa. – An intuitive pull and call to create “something”. Something that kept calling me forward, a vision if you like that I was taking the steps towards creating…

Standing in the field, with this woman, I told her my story – explaining why I couldn’t help her with a job, why I was wearing my brother’s shorts under my jeans, and telling her about my second mother. “How!” She exclaimed – “but this is the name of my sister’s daughter – my little granddaughter – who lived on a hill in a house with a blue door in that place with a Scottish man”. Yes, this was my father… Her face just exploded with emotion and she responded – “But this means that you are my great grand-daughter! We are family! But you? You are Umlungu (White or European)! How can I have family who are Umlungo?!”

How we laughed – and cried! We are all family, all of us together. And it is good to remember this. To deeply recognise this…

In the breaking open I am experiencing right now, I am feeling more. Feeling more connected. Feeling more inspired. Feeling more grief and heartbreak. And I welcome this! This opening which is moving through me. Because I know it calls me forward to more… To doing more, to being more, to giving more… To sharing more.

What is causing this crack?

Feeling into the power of Gratitude with Kevin Monroe in 30 Days in the Power of Gratitude. It is powerful, life- affirming, nourishing, heart cracking opening and absolutely wonderful! If you know me, if you follow me on Facebook, you will have noticed that I often have my daily gratitudes that I acknowledge. This is a practise which has kept me sane – and possibly even alive – through a few difficult years. Yet there is something so powerful and affirming about diving IN – submersing in the Power of Gratitude and the community of Souls there…

I am so grateful for those 3 years of back and forth between the UK and SA, for the work I was part of, and the amazing inspiring people I met – and all the many many stories which come from that time…. And I am grateful for the numbing that allowed me to survive from then, till now. In the cracking I am experiencing, there feels to be a move from survive to thrive… And I am simply feeling grateful….

Thobil, laughing about mulching and dancing. Turning infertile soil to good growing soil.
Grass cuttings collected from local schools and guesthouses, transported by Dive Shop Owner Carl Elkington, and unloaded my him, Becky Redford, KV – champion instigator & myself. Used to cover newspaper & cardboard, mulching.

Mama Gori, & KV spreading the grass cuttings. Mama Gori was a local permaculture practitioner who opened her home and heart to us, and shared so much wisdom along with her seeds.

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