Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dancing Dog!!

Last night , I had some friends over for dinner as we were celebrating my brother-in-law's birthday. I had to take a call and I left the room for a while and when I returned a number of my guests were dancing but there was no music playing. I asked them why there was no music and they continued dancing and one of them said , "of course there is music! " ....they were all dancing to music inside their heads. They were laughing so much and they asked me to join was so funny dancing to no music.
We danced alot last night to music and no music, we also laughed till our sides heart. My son danced with me - with everyone cheering him on because he was reluctant to dance at first. The two young ones - a teenager ( my daughter ) and my friends daughter in her early twenties were making fun of our dancing...that our dance steps were too "old" and we asked them to teach us more "cool" steps and of course they laughed at me when i tried to dance like them.

This afternoon, I met some people from the party again and while we were chatting outside our cars , one of them decided to play some music and he turned it up loud and started dancing on the road outside the car, he asked me to join him and i did...until my son dragged me away ..saying " come on mum stop dancing , you are embarrassing us"

This evening, I was in a shopping centre , looking at computers and they were playing a Korean Music video, a song I had sung with my team in Korea ... of course I stopped and sang the chorus , which was in English and ...maybe ...I danced just a little ... my daughter drags me away this time and says " stop doing that ... you are embarrassing me"

I laughed ... then i thought about it while driving home with her. I think I was the same when I was young. My grandma using to talk loudly to all her friends at the market and whenever i went with her , I would stand far away from her so that no one saw me.. I was embarrassed.

Something happens as you get older, you become less inhibited and less concerned about what others think... at least that's the way it is for me. Maybe its because, we have done so many things to embarrass ourselves that we just don't care anymore...maybe its because we feel a sense of urgency to live life fully as we get older.... its hard to tell.

I do remember those years when i was more self conscious and I actually feel relieved that I am not in that phase anymore... because its very freeing to be in the moment to enjoy every opportunity to be spontaneous.

Dancing to no music, dancing on the street, dancing and singing to music in a shopping centre ... why not... just clean fun and its quite special. One of the salesmen in the store, realising that I liked the Korean song, decided to download the music on a thumb drive for me... neat ? ... I think so!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fun Dog...

What do I really, really want to do this week ?

1. Play a full game of monopoly with my kids without trying to rush the game to end
2. Run away from work or take an afternoon off and watch a movie
3. Wake up late and have a leisurely breakfast at a park nearby
4. Lie on the grass with my children on a breezy day and make cloud pictures in the sky
5. Take a long , long walk with a dear friend and stop at coffee shops along the way
6. Go to an flea market or find a place i haven't been to, or rediscover a childhood hangout
7. Have a meal with friends, ideally cook with them first
8. Lie down to read a book and fall asleep listening to trees and birds chirping

That's bliss!! What's stopping me ...well nothing really except my sense of 'duty' and feeling that i need to do my chores first before enjoying myself... silly notion but i suspect alot of us do this. And yet if we played a little more, we will actually lighten up, be happier and probably attract more bliss! I met an accountant who decided to become a full time artist...he is following his bliss. Another friend of mine stopped at the height of his career to become a rock star photographer. He says, it felt right and he also says that he has never worked a day since then. Quite different from these two people I know, I also know many others who carry secret desires to play more but are afraid to do it. For example I know this one person who loves to dance but wont stand up for it because she needs to do the right thing by her family.

We make choices every step of the way and I think we wear those choices in the way we look and our outlook to life. I feel that doing more of what we really want to do ,will keep us young , happy and healthy . It does not have to be as drastic as my accountant friend or my rock star photographer friend where they took a turn in the complete opposite direction. It can be mini steps incorporating some play into our day to day lives.

Most of us have a kid in us that wants to come out to play, some of us take ourselves too seriously and need to lighten up. I am not sure if I will remember the targets I achieved or the business plans I wrote but I know I still remember some of the pranks we played at work. For eg. one time when we had a colleague arrive to visit us from another country, we had a garland waiting for him and we told him that it was our custom that he wore it all day. Another time , this person I used to work with changed the screen saver of her bosse's computer to say " I am so sexy" and he did not notice it until he was making a presentation in another country and the screen saver changed in the background behind him and his audience pointed it out to him!!!! ... luckily he had a sense of humour. One time we all came to work dressed up as we would for a profession of our choice... we had a flight stewardess in uniform , an engineer in overalls, a nurse and we even had a gypsy tarot card reader. It was the eve of a public holiday, and it was a slow day, we stayed in costume and character all day.... we laughed so much till we had tears in our eyes and our sides ached. I remember , I attended a course one time where we had to model /work out successful behaviours of other famous people. I was asked to be Mr. Li Ka Shing. I wore a pin stripped suit, gelled my hair back and wore glasses to look like a man. The best part of it all was that we had to attend a dinner party and stay in character all evening, we had Indira Gandhi, princess Diana and many other famous people at dinner that night.

Whenever we play, we allow for a little bit of inspiration / light to enter our lives and the lives of the other people who play with us. It helps us lift out of the mundane and routine to see things from a slightly different perspective .....besides.... isn't this what others will remember about us when we are long gone! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Vulture versus Dog...

The culture card is what people throw at each other when they try to separate themselves from another. And it goes like this " in our culture we don't do it that way...or you don't know our culture ,we are very different from your part of the world"

Whilst I agree that one has to be aware and practice cultural sensitivity when dealing with other cultures, I do think that some cultures and people within organisations use culture as the wild card and sometimes overuse it.

Let's take a closer look at cultural sensitivity and see what it is really about. There are three aspects - Cultural Knowledge , Cultural Awareness that comes from the knowledge or information and it leads to cultural sensitivity. Will we know every aspect of some one's else culture ....No...Do we need to know every aspect ...I doubt it.

A friend got married to a French man and moved to Paris some years ago and she made up her mind to learn French. In a social event, when she was speaking to some people in french ( by this time , she was fairly fluent) someone made a sarcastic remark at her "not very good french" To this , my friend's husband replied, "she can communicate in 4 languages, how many can you speak"... Isn't it all about perspectives?

That's just language....whenever I set up an office in another country, the first thing that people tell me is... " but in our country we do things differently...or what makes you think you can come here and tell us how to do things...what do you know about our country /culture". Many years ago, when i set up an office in Indonesia , a man approached me at our opening event and asked me " do you know how many islands we have in Indonesia ?" I replied that I didn't know and asked him to tell me so that I could learn from him but in the same breath I also told him that this is why we have hired a very smart individual who was Indonesian to help us navigate through their culture.

Recently when I travelled to Indonesia with a new business partner , I described an aspect that I love about the Indonesian culture to him ,as we landed at the airport. I said " in this country, they refer to me as 'Ibu" ( mother) and they will call you "Pak" (father) and this is common practice here to refer to anyone older in this way. Everyone else is either brother or sister.... imagine having a whole city /country that does that... where everyone is "related" in some way or awesome is that for a culture? " Learning about someone else's culture opens up a window for us to understand how they work , live , their values and it enriches our lives. I really like the Indonesian culture and philosophy , its made me change my outlook to the way I view the people I work with, its added to me. I can say the same for most of the other cultures I have been working with.

In my view , it cuts both ways .... when people go on and on about how different they gets boring and it tells me that whilst they want others to be culturally sensitive, ...they are not because they are not making an effort to bridge that gap by understanding the other person's culture. Recently, I had someone tell me that I cant do business in Japan because I am a woman and I don't know Japanese culture. I just smiled on the inside ...if this person had made an attempt to understand my background they would know that I know more about Japanese culture than the average 'joe'. This same person also said that my business partner cant do business in Japan because he is American . So basically we are "damned if we do and damned if we don't" I cant do it because I am a woman and he cant do it because he is not Japanese!!!!

But that aside, it made me think , if any of this, still holds water anymore in today's world. I sort of wondered whether this person was caught in a "time warp" or something?? Avivah Wittenberg in her book talks about how today, more women make up the total work force globally than men. She also talks about how women make up half or more of the population graduating from universities. If global companies say that that they are employing the best and the brightest, then this shift needs to be reflected in their leadership teams.

In today's world, it is no longer about gender, race, colour, age, education.... its a flatter world and its getting flatter, thank God for that!! But I guess it's not such good news for people who use culture as their excuse to hold back an organisation or hold themselves back from progress and change. There is a new culture evolving - a planetary culture. Technological advancements especially in the way we can connect to people across the globe has cut through culture in many ways and active users of the net have evolved a net culture which is more open and accepting of others. The kids of today are more well travelled and certainly more knowledgeable about other cultures. Their focus is on cooperation, transparency and social responsibility towards the planet. This to me is more real in some ways because it focuses on us as human beings and less on individual differences especially individual differences that are put up as barriers in order to resist change. The change is happening whether we like it or not.

Its goodbye to culture vultures .... they are like vultures feeding off dead ideology and are opportunistic in nature... just hanging around waiting for the next victim to feed off or scare away!!! Sad way to live, if you ask me. Hiding behind culture and saying that we are a gracious society of people and yet being bloody rude and disrespectful behind someone's back is unacceptable for any culture or human being. Its base, unrefined and dishonest...because these people are lying to themselves and others . And in the process they are depriving themselves and others the opportunity to cooperate and learn. Business is the engine of society and many are dying today because of the self centred nature of the individuals in it who refuse to look at what the company needs but only at what suits them. Its not the country, its not the culture, its the individuals who are just trying to protect their own interest. It stems from fear and protectionism and a mind set of not wanting to learn. Forbes published the latest annual ranking of the top business friendly countries and the top 5 are Denmark, U.S., Canada, Singapore and New Zealand. These countries are obviously doing something right to minimise barriers and increase cooperation. Its about a mindset shift, the sooner we can see the truth, the sooner we can breathe life back into society and business and chase away the vultures... they may have been useful at one time, but are they still relevant in today's environment?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Space Dog...

Games people play at work...its really quite an eye opener. Sometimes you think you know someone and yet they turn out to be totally different. What really gets to me is the extent to which some people go to build their profile and careers. Loyalties and history are forgotten and they get so caught up in the game that they also forget about personal integrity.
We have all met these 'slimy' characters who sway where there is power and shift their game with total disregard to the people they affect. The bigger question is how do we deal with them.

Most often I walk around the corporate world with the notion that " if you give people enough rope,they can do what they want with it including hanging themselves because of their own ignorance" Somehow or the other , in my world, it doesn't pay to play "scarcity conscious " games where one needs to stab someone else in the back in order to move ahead. It stems from "fear based" thinking and from a belief that there is not enough to go around or lack. I prefer to focus my mind on abundance and that there is more than enough opportunity for anyone with skill and who puts in the hard work. You see ... the people who run around playing these games are insecure in some ways and aren't really skilled or confident of their skills...this is why they have to resort to under-handed ways. The sad part is ...many people in the work place accept this as norm and compromise their own standards and put up with it.

Sometimes Karma takes time and maybe this is why ...because we are not around long enough to see how those who play these games reap the fruit of their labour.

I have seen my own behaviour change under stress and when I feel I am caught in a web of politics, I either lash out or I withdraw. Sometimes I get sucked into the game where I am no better than the back stabbers because I am in a position where I have to defend myself...and in the process I am doing the same. And sometimes you can get so close to it that its hard to see what is happening. But the signs are there.. and its different for everyone, for me its sleepless nights, unhealthy lifestyle and health issues. I think the best thing I did for myself is to take a 10 day break to do a detox, even though it was physical , it had a tremendous effect on my mind but most of all , it allowed me to step back from the situation and look at it from the outside.

In some ways , it is very funny , especially if you look at everything like if you were a martian from outer space. Speaking of outer space, whenever my kids have had a bad day with someone, I usually ask them to put the person they are having trouble with in a space ship and to send them into outer space. These days I just say "they can spin in outer space" because people who operate without integrity don't belong in my world. Sometimes it is something as subtle as this to cause a shift for me. On an energetic level, I am not holding on to that negative energy, I have released it by floating it out on my sphere.

Some people call it the sphere of control - what is within our sphere of control and what is not...,there is no point fretting over other people's behaviour especially if its not in our sphere of control. Instead we are better off letting go of that energy, because it releases us to be more creative and we don't hurt ourselves emotionally or physically because any resentment we hold on to has a way of manifesting itself as a physical ailment. I tend to forgive people very easily and let go ... I often get asked how I can do that... I cant afford not to do that because i know that the only person who gets hurt is the person holding on to the resentment or injustice.

Nature has a way of creating checks and balances , sometimes it takes time but it always comes around and we don't have to wait, to see if it does because each person is on their own individual journey. All we have to do is mind our own journey and make sure that we keep coming back to balance whenever we go off track. Its easier said than done but isn't that our job as human beings to be better people during the time we have on this planet.

Here's to living to the best of our ability... there is a saying " If I change, my world changes" ...all we have to worry is about ourselves... and not about anyone else. And if we do a good enough job of it , we end up with a better planet. Space Cadet...maybe ... but hey..its worth a shot...its much better than whining constantly about others!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Green Dog or Yellow Dog....,

Yesterday, i was challenging someone about religion, obviously she didn't like it, even though she tried not to show it. I share the same sentiments about religion as i do with rules. Religion for the sake of religion is just not good enough for me. I feel religion has been created /interpreted by man to suit a particular time in history, some of the guidelines need to be updated and its almost like if people get caught in a 'time warp' and become 'born again vegetables' under the guise of religion.

I remember asking my dad about the differences between the various Gods that people pray to and he told me a a few stories. The one that i like is about these two men who were fighting about their religion and whose God is "real". So finally they agreed to see a wise sage to ask him . The old man points them to a tent and asks them to go in there , one at a time, to see whats in there and come back and report what they saw. So the two men did that, one came back reporting what he saw was green and the other said it was yellow and then they started arguing again..."green, no yellow, no green" . The wise sage pointed out that they were both right , they had indeed seen those colours. What they saw was a chameleon and my dad said that like the chameleon, God appears different to the different people who choose to see God. But the essence is still the same, there is still one God. He gave another example, if you take several glasses of water and drop different coloured inks in each glass of water , it will take the colour of the ink but water is water and it does not change, even though it takes on a different colour. He also used this analogy to describe people and how they come in different colours and shapes but are at core people.

I think my parents gave me the best upbringing for a planetary citizen because they took us to every place of worship and we didn't just go there to sight see, we learnt to pray within that context. What this gave me is the ability to embrace all cultures and religions and transcend the barriers that people usually have due to a lack of understanding about another culture or religion.

Its fear really,....fear of what we don't know but if we take a moment to understand the reasons behind what people do, it helps us to relate better to them.

I have fasted with Muslim friends on fasting months. I have prayed in churches, Chinese temples and shrines of various cultures. I always learn something new and it opens up a window for me to learn about someone else's belief system. What have we got to lose anyway from embracing other cultures and being open to learning..??

We have instant access to information about anything and everything at our finger tips , unlike the time my grandparents lived where TV was not even invented. Yet for someone who came from that age ,my grand dad has a natural curiosity about everything and he could talk to be about anything under the sun , even things he hadn't experienced in his lifetime. Teaching our children that natural curiousity is so important so tat they can open their minds.

I think my children had it right when they suggested that we should have one place of worship or temple that should have all the religions in it so that everybody had a chance to learn about the other religions. There are some places that have that for eg. with the Bahai faith , they embrace all religions and I took my children to such a venue where we just sat down within that environment to take it all in. I think the bigger question to ask is , not about who's God is " real" or what some holy book says but how we are a human beings , with one another. How do we embrace each other's differences and celebrate them? To me any religion that teaches that... is what we need more of. Instead of working out of 'differences' might do us all some good to look at the 'sameness' ...what connects us together.

Sometimes when i get into an argument of some sort, I feel myself drifting away and the questions that run through my mind are " is it so important for you to win?" and " we are both right but more than that we are both human , both trying to do the best we can , given our circumstances". This makes me realise that there are much bigger things to worry about and it makes me shift my thinking to become a bigger person. In Neuro- Linguistic-Programming, they have a term called "reframing" ...if you put a new frame on an old picture, the picture looks the same way , if we look at something from another perspective, we can sometimes shift our rigid point of view to see it from someone else's view point. This reminds me of a story a teacher once told me. She was invited to give a talk to meet a group of women and only when she got there, did she realise that these women belonged to an opposition group from her's. So when they met her, the women started talking about how the group that the teacher represented had hurt their people and how they had lost lives of their family and loved ones. To this the teacher , agreed, she said, " yes, you have lost many loved ones over this war but so have i ... I have also lost family and loved ones," She found that instead of going on the defensive by getting sucked into differences, she went for what's similar ...both parties had lost their loved ones. The minute she did that , the differences melted away and they were for the first time able to transcend the fact that they belonged to different groups and instead focus on what's similar between them and how they can work together for a better life for all parties.

When we bring it down to basics, I am a parent and so is the other person, I want to do a good job, so do others, we want the planet to be safe for our loved ones...we want our loved ones to be happy.... isn't that what it all boils down to?

Sometimes we get in our own way, differences are good because they add the richness of our planet and similarities bring us together as one people. Half the wars in the world are fought because of religion, what if we taught our children more tolerance, respect and appreciation of other cultures so that they know that their 'map of the world' is not the only way... this might be a good starting point for more harmony. A girlfriend once said to to me that because i was marrying into another culture that my children will be "nobody" from the outside looking in, not belonging to any particular culture on either side. I said to her " then my daughter can marry a Japanese and her daughter can marry a Maori , and eventually we will have a planetary citizen"... neat huh? ..

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Playing with Puppies...

I am biased kids are the best in the world. They are my best champions , they stand for the truth in everything and are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in. If I had half the amount of confidence that they have, when I was their age, I think I would have ruled the world.
Children learn from us, adults around them and yet I often wonder what I have to teach them. They know what they want in life, they know who they are and they have a strong sense of right and wrong... what else do they need to know?

I guess what I can do for them to ensure that their spirits don't get bruised along the way, that they continue to be themselves and that they are given enough encouragement to live true to themselves.

The things they need most from me are time, love, energy and integrity. And yet most often , I find ways (unconsciously most times) to be occupied and "busy". Their requests to do things with me are quite often " inconvenient" ...for eg. they might decide to swim when I don't want to wash my hair again or they may want to go walking when its raining ....maybe they want to help me cook ...meaning my kitchen is going to turn into a war zone.
I have been thinking about time with my children lately and there is a growing sense of urgency. I know that in a few years they will be occupied with their friends and have their own form of " busy -ness" ... I know that this is a one time journey and that time is rushing past us. I catch myself thinking these days that I have to find a way to spend more time with them - doing the things they want to do with me. It does mean that I have to think differently and instead of worrying about the next thing I have to cross off my list... I need to just stop and enjoy them while they are here.

Sounds simple but I think many of us make this mistake over and over again. There is a part of us that believes that we live forever and that we have time. " I will do this tomorrow" or "when I get this bit sorted, I will have more time to deal with this". Will we...really?

Sometimes, I wonder.... if I died today, would I have done enough to let my children know how much I love them. I don't think so. For eg. when I get caught in rough weather when travelling in a plane , my thoughts wonder to " I am not ready yet, my children are not ready yet, I need more time with them" And yet , the minute I land, these thoughts fly away and I am thinking about all the things I have to do....none of these have to do with making time enjoy my children.

I am writing about this because I need to see it. Time , Love, Energy and Integrity is what they want from me. From tomorrow, I am going be conscious of how I incorporate this into my day with my children. Time may mean cycling, swimming, playing monopoly ...Love - may be just asking how they are doing/feeling a few times a day and making sure I hug them at least 5-6 times a day. Energy -means being fit so that I can keep up with them physically - most days I am mentally exhausted but I need to find that energy to pick myself up to do things they like with them. And Integrity - this I think is key...its about me being congruent with with what I say and do so that I can model to them there is hope in this world...that not all adults are screwing the world to the ground.

Taking time to celebrate and play is also important, because at the end of the day, this is all we remember about our childhood - the fun bits.

Things I remember and smile about :

1. Walking into the living room and finding my sister and my two kids sitting at the dining table ...each wearing a moustache and pretending like if things are normal
2. Working at my desk at work with my back turned away from the door and having my daughter creep up behind me and give me a hug ( she does this quite often and I love it)
3.Lying on the lap of one of my children and watching TV while they stroke my hair
4. Drawing on my children with a marker pen while they are asleep- having them wake up with moustaches, and lots of pictures drawn on their arms, legs and bodies
5. Stomping on puddles and dancing in the rain with my kids, having a water fight
6. Eating mangoes by the pool, with juice dripping down our arms and jumping in the pool straight after
7. Giggling and trying to hold back our laughter when we spot something funny but its too rude to laugh out loud, especially in the elevator
8. Holding hands with one or both of my champions and walking to the nearby restaurants for a meal
9. Planting candles in flower pots, watermelon and anything that would take candles and singing happy birthday for no reason - my daughter loved blowing out candles - why wait for a birthday!

I was at a restaurant tonight, having dinner with my children and my sister. At the table near us was a big family, with little kids and adults. At one point , I saw a little girl marching to the dinner table and her dad who was walking behind her, laughed when he spotted her marching and then he started marching behind her. He then said to her that she marched " beautifully" ...that made me smile. Children are our future and they need as much encouragement as possible. They learn from us , how to treat their children and how to treat us as we get older. Children of the world give us hope and the reason to live and when we look at it from this perspective, I guess there is nothing more important than helping our children grow strong , happy and safe. They don't always get that from school, they get that from us, the adults around them. I think the best part to all this is that if we relax a little and find joy here and now, we as adults gain the most...we get to re-live childhood again!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friends for Life

How many people can say that they have had a friendship with someone for 30 years…I can…and one where we spent at least 23 of those years seeing each other everyday because we worked together.

One time, I got into trouble with a partner because I had said to him that if my friend died. I would not have the motivation to carry on with the business I was running. Our lives were so inter-twined that I couldn’t imagine life without my friend.

We have grown a lot since then and made our own paths. This is the thing about friendships, sometimes friends need to make their own discoveries and a true friend needs to let that happen. …”if you love someone, let them fly…”
We have both done that for each other at different times in our lives.

We are totally opposite to each other like chalk and cheese, sometimes we tolerate each other and other times we wind each other up. But the good thing is that no matter how mad we are at each other … there is a knowing that neither of us is going anywhere, we are still going to be in each others’ lives….much to the confusion of people around us. I can think of countless stories where my friend was there for me, he was there at every funeral, every wedding, when my dog died and for no reason. He will be here when my children get married and have babies, he will be there if anything happened to me… That’s a given.

My best memory of my friend was when my business partnership broke up after my first year in business I wasn’t upset about the breakup of the business as much as I was upset that my ex-partner took away a poster that he had given me to place in my office. When I told my friend this, he brought me another poster the very next day, to replace it. That to me was precious.

Will we irritate each other with what we do? …yes. Will we continue to wind each other up? …. Yes. Will I approve of everything he does?...No, will he approve of everything I do ?....No.
Life isn’t black and white, especially with long term friendships; there are many shades of grey in between. Friendship comes as a mixed bag – the good bits and the ugly bits and our job as true friends is to keep what works and throw the rest out without any resentment. I also believe that close friends are our extended family, like family, they will push our buttons and help us grow. I have learnt love, responsibility, tolerance for rules and tenacity from my friend. He probably, more than anyone else in my life, has made me grow so much and I am sure he will say that about me. Its almost as if we both took a pact in a past lifetime to come back and journey this lifetime together by nudging each other along.

My friend turns 53 today and I reflect on how we met. Little did we know that day that we will still be in each other’s life 30 years later. Our friendship has touched my life at a core level and I am glad he chose to journey with me all these years. I miss ‘us’ …they way we were…maybe we may travel one full circle and come back to that space in the future. For now, I am happy and thankful that our friendship has been able to withstand the test of time. Here is to another 30 years of friendship, let’s make a pact today that if we are alive in our eighties, we will drink a toast to the special bond we have that no one can break, not even us. Happy Birthday , My friend!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Gorgeous Dog….

I am reading a book called “ eat, drink and be gorgeous” by Esther Blum and I am really enjoying it. What I like about the core message is that in order to be gorgeous, you need to live life fully. This includes eating , drinking, participating in life 100%.

Many women in particular deprive themselves of food especially when they are young. They are influenced by the media and focus too much on themselves. Eating and not eating becomes an obsession for some because they plan their day around food or not having food. If we are depriving ourselves of one major part of life and sustenance which comes in the form of food…we are then shutting ourselves away from one part of life…. what’s the use of living? A male colleague of mine once shared his observation on women, he said that “ there is nothing sexier than watching a woman have a proper meal”

Sometimes we notice slim women with sexy figures but they are unattractive and other times we meet women who may have more weight on them but they are attractive. The media has sold us the belief that you cant be happy if you are not a perfect in height , shape and body weight. They have also sold us the belief that fat people are unhealthy…but no more unhealthy than a skinny person.!

The problem is not the media, its us… we have bought into this stupid belief about perfection. If we look at nature- it is perfect in its imperfection. As people we are meant to be all sorts of shapes and colours …and why not? Why do all little girls want to look like they came out of a Barbie doll package?

I think its about living “ juicy” as Sark puts it in one of her books. To me this means really enjoying what we do in every moment….its about living life 100% percent full tilt.
When we eat , when we drive, even when we chat with our family members, we are not there fully. Being present in the moment makes you feel alive. I think about times in my life where I have done that around food….most times I eat fast and rush off to the next thing and what comes to mind is a fabulous lunch that I was invited to in New Zealand. The chef prepared the food to match the wines that were chosen. The portions were just right and the presentation was beautiful. Before we started the meal , I told my boss and a good friend of mine, who were there at that meal, that they were wasting good wine on me because I don’t know much about wines. I also told them that if they asked for a comment on any wine I tasted , I was going to say that it was “ nutty, creamy and tasted like chicken!!!” …funnily, I was the one with the most feedback and I described every thing I tasted . My friend who was listening to all this, turned around to me and said “ not bad, for someone who says she does not know much about wine, you are real connoisseur of wine.” To this my boss replied “ No, she is a connoisseur of life” I was in the moment and really taking in the whole experience.

I like that label and in many ways because this is how I like to live my life. Its about taking every bit ( or every bite in this case) that life has to offer and really enjoying it and being thankful for it. I don’t always do it but it has certainly become easier over the last few years to stay in the present moment. Most times we skip the present moment into the past. Most times yearning for a past or a future but not experiencing what’s in front of us.

When we project our fears into the future, this becomes our reality. If we are constantly fighting with life over what we don’t have or what we are afraid of, it comes back with a vengeance at us. This I because when our head space is in the future or the past ,it cant possibly be in the present,/current moment. It is more fun to go with the flow and see what life unfolds for us….. “an expotition” as Pooh Bear would say ( expedition/adventure). Ever noticed how time flies when we are in the moment.. The same applies to eating, enjoying every morsel and really savoring it, it can be very satisfying. When we are truly satisfied at the soul level , the hunger and yearning stops. Sometimes I experience this fleetingly. Most times, I am still rushing through life to take notice. Writing this reminds me to do just that, to enjoy and savor each moment as it comes. Today, I am going to take in the colors, smells , tastes of food presented to me. I will look at the presentation of that food and think about the people who prepared it, the people who grew it and thank them in my mind for providing me this experience. I will take time to experience the different textures. The writer of the book I am reading calls this “Eating Gorgeous” and has a quote by Virginia Woolf “ One cannot think well, love well, sleep well. If one has not dined well”