The Abyss of Despair❣

The monster Fear grabbed by hand and led me to the edge of abyss of despair …wrapping its arms around my shoulder, whispering …”there is no hope” ….”Make it easy and just give up”…”the pain will be unbearable” … “there is no way around or through” …”You have always failed, ALWAYS” ….

A recent professional diagnosis of ADD (ADHD) encouraging me to fall to my knees, one more time …some close to me denying the diagnosis …saying that it was incorrect … I do not outwardly exhibit the symptoms that people typically think of as ADHD …I appear calm and peaceful on the outside … not hyper or fidgety …feeling alone because others in my life, do not understand what it means to have to struggle every day with the inability to stay focused and the myriad other mental challenges that ride the coattail of ADD …  “It’s like being a cat with 100 people with laser pointers.” ― Jamie Hynds

“They said I could pass as normal, that I was clever and no one would ever know. They lied. Not about passing. The lie was hidden beneath, in the desire for me to be the same as them. I am extraordinary. They should have helped me soar, be more of me, not less.” ― Anna Whateley

Anna Whateley

Trying to understand myself …I recently read that ADHD can Drastically shorten a patient’s life …”ADHD can reduce life expectancy by as much as 13 years, but its risk is reversible.” https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-life-expectancy …and the darkness enveloped me …shrouding me with the coldness of hopelessness …

That’s all I could focus on … ‘Drastically shorten‘ … “and much higher in women as men” https://edgefoundation.org/does-adhd-shorten-life-expectancy Here I am… enjoying the “best” years of my life, after finding ‘my knight with only moderately dented armor’ and I am being handed a notice of eviction from life sooner than I had planned on …fear saturated every nook and corner of my mind …then I took the keys back …

“As they have taught me, I believe that without asking, we are given all we need. We must have the wit and wisdom to recognize the strengths and tools at our command, and find the courage to do what must be done.”

Dean Koontz, Life Expectancy

The second part of the quote reads, “but its risk is reversible.”… and reading further, “mainly due to accidents” …due to our distractedness and impulsive thinking …I raise my hand 😱…falling after a shower with a nerve damage from a deep shin cut, because I wasn’t paying attention,my mind far away on thoughts of a possible photographic setup …

Although my primary concern is with the health of being at optimum weight for longevity …Hallelujah!!! I understand now, why even though I always have known what I need to do to lose weight and become healthier …I have never been able stick with a program long to lose weight and then keep it off …or lose some weight and then gain it back when life became stressful …

Not only are people with ADHD wired for obesity, but also struggle with the routines that support health …😫ADHD is an executive function deficit disorder …which in laymen means that we lack (in various degrees) the mental abilities that people need to actively pursue goals …our self-regulation …our self-awareness, self-restraint, the ability to hold things in our minds (how we picture things mentally), our internal monologues, emotional self-regulation, and self-motivation, and our planning and problem solving abilities .

My brain craves dopamine (as most ADD brains do) …the neurotransmitter that impacts mood …although exercise increases dopamine …so does the bread, chips, and sugar …which is so much handier and easier to get quickly …

Symptoms like impulsivity make us more prone to give in to cravings for high-fat, high-sugar foods. And the dopamine rush we get from carbohydrates and sweets becomes addictive; it feels as if our brain needs that grilled cheese sandwich.

By ADDitude EditorsJohn Fleming, Ph.D.Roberto Olivardia, Ph.D.

This week, it was heart wrenching to hear again that the one person that I rely on for support had given up on my losing the weight and being healthy 💔…what is more devastating is the knowledge that there is no way to explain sufficently the difficulty that I deal with on a daily …a minute by minute struggle …when I am actively doing my absolute best to do what I know is supportive of weight loss …even more of a struggle, because I am also in an incredible stressful situation currently …

I had no idea, how much the ADHD worked against me with this goal of becoming healthier …

ADHD creates problems with self-regulation — of attention, short-term memory, and emotion—that extend to food intake. Trouble with impulse control keeps people with ADHD from thinking, “I won’t eat that because it’s not healthy, and I will regret it later.” Instead, we grab an unhealthy snack without considering if it’s a good idea or not.

The ADHD brain has low levels of two neurotransmitters: dopamine (responsible for feelings of reward) and GABA (responsible for inhibition). We crave sugar to stimulate dopamine production. This, paired with a lack of inhibitions, can set the stage for weight gain. https://www.additudemag.com/slideshows/adhd-weight-loss-tips

Still, possible …just more challenging …’Diets’ are not going to work …but that’s the case for even the 90% +/- of the world’s “neurotypical” … So where do I go from here???????????

It’s going to be one beautifully, blessed day …or minute, or second at a time …even a nanosecond, if necessary … because I have not come through burning hell to lie down now …I am determined to live … I will fight for that privilege with every breath that I have … if a few more scars are incurred…I am willing to pay that price …my scars are my beauty

Always sending love, happiness, and magic for your day … for those who are struggling …please hold on and find beauty in the darkness …it is there, if you search …You are never alone …I promise❤

“My thoughts are like butterflies. They are beautiful, but they fly away.”
― Anonymous

Flying Free …

“If you want to fly in the sky, you need to leave the earth. If you want to move forward, you need to let go the past that drags you down.”

Amit Ray, World Peace: The Voice of a Mountain Bird

This is difficult writing …my diagnosis of having ADHD … I started therapy for support and tools for finding out why I could not climb the mountain of weight loss …and then suddenly, I found myself in the twilight zone … wrangling with a mixed bag of emotions that I am still untangling …

I’m 66 years old and just now finding out why I have struggled all my life is heartbreaking …Exhaustion, both mental and physical, has been a constant companion in my life…pushing hard to accomplish my goals and dreams …yet never quite attaining what I felt I could do … I would get tired and would give up for a period when I didn’t have the ‘umph” to try that day …yet, the minute ember of hope for my magnificent and heartfelt dreams would not die …

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” ~Ghandi

I mourn for all the self-hatred, self-criticism, low self-esteem …heartache for the impulsive decisions that cost me years of happiness …resentment and grief for the years that I struggled alone…sadness for lost opportunities … for thinking that I just wasn’t strong enough …a lifetime of depression …there is grieving to walk through …

Don’t recall. Don’t imagine. Don’t think. Don’t examine. Don’t control. Rest.

Tilopa

… Now there are answers and new shining possibilities … as I accept and understand what Adult ADD is, there is Hope …I’m not broken …it is a quirky, fascinating thing that’s just part of who I am; and is manageable …

“All adventures, especially into new territory, are scary” ~Sally Ride

I have only been on the medication for less than a week …and it already makes a difference in the goal of becoming healthy …before I received the diagnosis, I still had been trying to figure out why I felt mentally resistant to losing weight …and a part of the stubbornness and refusal to be consistent appeared to be from coming from the point of view of weight loss for beauty …or the common social media type of beauty …

Becoming thin for the accolades of people (in particular the male species) …for beauty only …seems to be more effective short term …and that does not work for the long-term healthy life that I want to create for my future… I am modifying my ‘why’s’ for climbing the weight loss mountain …

It takes a great deal of pressure off …it’s not about losing weight quickly for the vacation and then gaining it back again …but gradually learning new healthy habits that I can be consistent with day-in and day-out …changing how to relate to food so that it becomes an aspect of my life that I enjoy …that I don’t need to obsess about every single moment of the day …

A much easier path to take …longer and more circuitous …but the path is easier and less stressful to walk daily …for lifelong sucess, it will be the slow building of self-care habits … I started last week by Intermittent Fasting …not every day, but most days (80/20) make life more realistic …it’s been easier this week to maintain consistency …not worrying or tracking every bit of food …but learning to be conscious of what I eat …even enjoying a wonderful date night with my husband relishing wonderful flavors of well-prepared food …

Exercising began with just a 1-mile (15 minute) exercise in the morning …dog walking in the afternoon if not raining or recovering from a fall on slippery tile …last week was a definite win …not perfect, but I’m giving myself grace to not be ‘perfect’ …especially since it’s an impossibility …

I lost less than a pound …it’s ok …I moved forward toward my goal …this week is another step forward …a little more practice with consistency and just learning to function with my diagnosis …I read that ADHD can contribute to health problems such as compulsive eating, substance abuse, anxiety, chronic stress, and tension …all which causes emotional eating (in my case) …

I had lost hope of things working out the way I had dreamed (I am incredibly blessed to have my Mr. P and his loving support) …my big goals had been reduced to faint misty illusions …I had fallen into a tenacious holding pattern … just keeping my head above water, so no one knew how close to drowning I was…my dreams had kept collapsing …now there is a gleam of light through the streaky dirty window that my spirit looked onto the world with ….for me it now suddenly feels even more awesome and incredible …a beautiful journey ahead …

I have lived enough of life to know that it is not going to be all smooth sailing …but now I remember who I am … that my story is important, eternal, and sacred …I may have been taking the longer route … the sights along the way are going to be pretty incredible, now that I can see more clearly …

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “life is a journey, not a destination”

“Dance. Smile. Giggle. Marvel. TRUST. HOPE. LOVE. WISH. BELIEVE. Most of all, enjoy every moment of the journey, and appreciate where you are at this moment instead of always focusing on how far you have to go.”

Mandy Hale

A word of Advice from a dreamer …NEVER, EVER, EVER GIVE UP! Life is challenging with its twists and turns …when you least expect it, the world will open into the most magical of places

This was a Magical Hidden Place in Hogsback, South Africa❣

“Life can be so unpredictable, always remember that!
The rain can pour down and the winds can blow hard,
sweeping away those peaceful moments you had.
It’s never the end of the world when things go wrong.
Just keep faith in yourself, keep going and stay strong.
Never give up on your dreams and never give up hope.”

― Mouloud Benzadi

Blowing magic your way with Love ❣ and Hope

A Place that Time Forgot

In the heart of the sizzling arid Karoo lies a small quaint village…Nieu-Bethesda…A little artist town with dusty untarred roads…approximately 50K (31 miles) from the town of Graaff-Reinet…

Karoo…not a Kangaroos in sight…maybe a herd of  Springbok or the ever present dorper sheep with their distinctive black heads…a mountain tortoise crossing the road…now and then…clean shaped hills or koppies capped with the hard jagged rock formations formed over millions of years..

The original inhabitants were the Bushman or San people…who named the area the “Karoo”…a Bushman word meaning “dry space”…

I had never traveled into this semi-desert region since I arrived in South Africa… on the central plateau of the western half of South Africa… place of relentless sunshine… a vast, open, arid region dominated by low-shrub vegetation and abundance of rock cropping’s…

Halfway to Camdeboo National Park in the Karoo

Doesn’t look like a desert…looks can be deceiving though…in stopping to take this photograph…the surrounding area told a vastly different story…the photos below were all taken at the same location…recent rain in the area had brightened up the brown to a more vibrant green…

Mr. P and I had taken a couple of days to breathe the desert air to check out a birding route that was located in a national state Park named Camdeboo…a park that literally surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet… over 240 bird species and the famous breathtaking Valley of Desolation…towering dolerite columns rising to heights of up to 120 meters…formed by volcanic and erosive forces over a period of 200 million years…Wow!!!

It was over 100F that day…hot and windless…sweating (or glistening as the ladies are more prone to do) as I climbed over stones and up a narrow dirt path to the top…the view was breathtaking…towers of Sheer cliffs and precariously balanced columns of Dolerite rise 120 metres from the valley floor … worth the trip to see what millions of years have created…makes me wonder what the next 120 million years will create on this magic blue marble in the sky…

We still had some time in the day and following the suggestion of our hostess at the B&B…we took a short drive to visit the renown “Owl House” in Neiu Bethesada…off we went to check out this quirky little town…

Almost missing the turnoff…just a small country road…surrounded by fence…scrub land…with interest in what we might find…we traveled on…

The narrow road started slowly spiraling downward…descending we were on the outside edge of the road…I held my breath, closed my eyes, and wondered if we should go back when I saw a car coming towards us…just nowhere to turn around… and …after all…just another adventure

Breathing again at the bottom of the hill…we continued forward…around a sharp bend in the road…almost running into a white farmhouse smack dab in the middle…delineating where the road changed from blacktop to a dirt and gravel lane…how could we be on the right road to the famous “Owl House”…where thousands of visitors stop in to see this treasure of either weird or wonderful (depending on your preferences) art is located…onward, Mr. P…

Dusty, dirty road that seemingly led nowhere…passing abandoned buildings…now only inhabited by Mother Nature and her children…

Like a valley of desolation…everything in ruins

We continued…the road would eventually end up somewhere…we hoped…

Tree lined dirt roads…a dusty padstal…which is an Afrikaans word that many locals use, and roughly translated means “shop next to the road”… so, there was life somewhere…at least at one time in this remote part of the world…finally the town came into sight…

Quiet street scene in Nieu Bethesda
It was not what I had envisioned…but there was an other worldly charm about it…https://www.karoo-southafrica.com/

Our first stop was not the “Owl House”…but the Kitching Fossil Exploration Center…Mr. P’s ongoing fascination with dinosaurs, our history, and how the earth began…

A small museum that shows fossils of life 50 million years before the dinosaurs…what life was like in Nieu-Bethesda 255 million years ago…James William Kitching (6 February 1922 – 24 December 2003) was a South African vertebrate paleontologist who was born in Nieu Bethesada…at six years old he scoured the countryside to find specimens for a paleontologist named Robert Broom…his becoming one of the world’s greatest fossil finders had begun…I had never been aware of the life in the Permian Period, “populated by mammal-like reptiles called therapsids”…learned something new

https://www.sa-venues.com

Down the street to the where Helen Elizabeth Martins who was a shy, retiring recluse… rarely seen outside on the streets of Nieu Bethesda… where she create a magical inner kingdom that she breathed into life…

Miss Helen’s imagination transformed humble materials such as cement, glass, mirrors and wire into a secret, magical world that she shared with few, drawing upon Bible stories, the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the Orient, and everyday objects – all of which blended to create a personal cosmology.

https://theowlhouse.co.za

Her life had been tragic and unhappy…after the death of her mother and abusive father…she began to use her inner creativity and imagination to transform her home into a wonderland of color, light, and texture … an escape from the dullness and despair of her previous life…

She transformed every space within her house…changed by finely ground glass of assorted colors using an old-fashioned coffee grinder…

The sadness of her life was palatable to me…the black ground glass in her father’s bricked up old room…called the Lion’s Den… the fact that she committed suicide when she found out that she was going blind due to the long-term exposure to the crushed glass she used…yet, she had been happy creating and envisioning new work daily with her helpers…and left behind the richness of an “outsider” artist …

“Over the years Miss Helen and her helpers added to the mostly quasi-religious tableaus. Mythical figures started to appear, half human, half creature. Today it is a forest of some 500 statues, intense, baffling and compelling. Miss Helen committed suicide in 1976 by swallowing caustic soda. She left behind a legacy of intrigue – her kingdom sparks the imagination like few other places in South Africa…”

https://www.sa-venues.com

At the Owl House…I focused on the beauty that spoke to me…the vibration of the earth…alive and creating poetry for those who listen with their heart and not just their eyes…for me it is always in the perspective…

I embrace the journey to Neiu Bethesada…not what I expected…”old places have soul” …a place of that will fill my own soul in the remembering… may your journey’s take you to all the magical places you never even began to think about…

Love, laughter and lots of magic for your life travels…

Delightful Disappointment

“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment. ”

― Ansel Adams

Sometimes it is just best to enjoy the moments…when everything seems to be failing…falling apart and nothing seems to be cooperating with your agenda…find some pleasure in what is and let it wash away every drop of frustration…sometimes you may find what you were really needing in the space of time you are in…

Yesterday was like that…the photographic club takes a yearly outing for a Whale Dolphin and Penguin Island Cruise…last year had been my first and I had been new to the club and just relearning the new camera equipment and post processing applications after several decades of being out of the photography business…I felt exhilarated…everything was going to be perfect…well, I girl can hope and if I had come back with even one or two awesome photographs I would have been satisfied…I must not have gotten to 10,000 yet🤣…“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” ~Henri Cartier-Bresson

The weather had predicted rain…but the day was grey…but not raining…everything packed…lens, camera, extra batteries, snacks, water…and off Mr. P (with his binoculars) and I went…we met up with the other camera fanatics at the pier…there were more than the boat could take, and we split into two boats…

Off we went…the men in black leading the pack

The water was incredibly choppy…I had chosen a seat in front of the cabin…most had chosen to seat under the canopy…I wanted to photograph different viewpoints than the average…and then it started…

The front of the boat went up and then it went down, and the salt spray came up over the front of the boat and smacked me…from the top of my head to the seat of my pants…looking like a bedraggled puppy at that point…I wasn’t about to give up my prime spot for a little water…luckily I had used my coat to cover the camera…I would see something that I wanted to take a picture of and the boat went up and down again…as I tried to get my balance…I would slide the other way…back and forth…up and down as we headed for the island…giving up after the numerous time and with no respite in sight…I wrapped the camera up and enjoyed the sea air and roller coaster ride…it became rather exhilarating…not worrying about camera speed, aperture, ISO or composition…I breathed and smiled with the beauty of life…salt…sea…blue of sky and water…the most healing medicine for that frazzled feeling…

The sea was filled with diamonds…for the bride-to-be…the variegated colors of my entire world at that moment were too numerous to name…the white of foam and clouds…aqua…green to dark blue…shades of clearest turquoise reflected in the playful wild splashes of waves hitting the rock and bursting into joyful exuberance…I was beyond contented…

I did not come back with one photograph that I felt was great and none were exceptional…too much distance…too much movement…but sometimes we photographers just need to lay the camera down and breathe in the world and the creative energy that the entire world is filled with…

“Life keeps throwing me stones. And I keep finding the diamonds.” – Ana Claudia Antunes

More photographs of the trip at.. http://beautifultapestryoflife.com/2021/11/21/delightful-disappointment/

LIFE IS FULL OF MAGICAL DIAMOND MOMENTS….hope your life today is full of them

With Life, love, lots of laughter and magic💖…Renée

Misty Morning

“Life is foggy; always try to see what lies behind the fog!”

― Mehmet Murat ildan

That dream-like state…you know you’re awake but then maybe not…the path is a little unclear and the mind feels dull and full of cobwebs…the days feel like you’ve been holding your breath because you forgot to breathe…and you might pass out any moment…that’s been the past several weeks…

I’m waiting for the sun to burn off the fog… yet I am enjoying this misty magical feeling…keep looking for the fairies and the unicorns to arrive any moment…

It’s been 2 1/2 years since my replanting to this beautiful South Africa…like any movie…adventures galore…some heart pounding, breathtakingly scary and some amazingly magnificently beautiful…but all I hold tightly in my heart…

Let’s see…

The last few months…not including the pandemic…cancer surgery, chemo…canceled trip home…we’ve recently renovated the house…and are still in the process…although we can now use the kitchen…had a helper quit unexpectedly…Mr. P’s crown and implant…6-month cancer checkup…my request for renewal of my visa application that was delayed due to the pandemic…which meant I couldn’t leave even if I needed to…applying with immigration for a wedding registration…YES!!!! Mr. P and I are getting married…nothing big…casual and very small❣

In two weeks’ time, I will be married to the man of my dreams…after a millennium of dreaming and believing…and more often than not…telling myself I was stupid for hoping that I could still find a knight in shining armor…often joking that at our age…the armor has a few dents and dings…but then my ‘damsel in distress’ robes are a bit tattered and torn…and everything is viewed through the lens of love and care…and that changes everything…

When I write it out…it sounds hokey…but it is a true as the sun rising and setting…we had wanted to get married with family in the us and Europe but all that was nixed when we couldn’t travel last year…we will be blessed to share the day with a small part of our South African family to celebrate with…and now we can party all next year when we meet up again with others…

Which brings me back to trying to put it all together in a country where I don’t know who to use for catering, cake, or flowers…although everything will be wonderful no matter what…sometimes the most memorable events are those where things didn’t go as planned…

I wish for you the same magical life in the midst of living the day-to-day…wonder and wander like a child…get lost in dreams…in your hopes…never ever give up…connect to the moment…to what is…to yourself…to the universal energy that flows through everything…find gratitude until it overflows your cup…play…in everything play…doing dishes…dance to the music of life…

Dance Like No One Is Watching Pictures, Photos, and Images for Facebook,  Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter

Embrace the mysteries of who you are…make wishes and believe that they will come true…I will warn you that probably not when you want them too…but they do…be crazy in love with life…it is short…to short not to live in joy…for breath, life and love…My life changed when I became content with what and where I was…happy…just plain delighted to be alive…when you find happiness and joy where you are…sharing the magic of the now…you would be amazed at what happens…

Sending love, laughter, lots of magic…don’t forget to dance…it is quite liberating…

Magnificent Messy Life

This is my life at the moment…incredible messy…renovating a kitchen means that everything that was in the kitchen ends up somewhere else (for us that was the dining room)…now all covered in dust…waiting to be cleaned and put away…🤣…Russel Westbrook wrapped it up well…

“Messy stuff irritates me. I don’t like messiness. If you leave something around my house, I’ll tell you to move it back, clean it up, throw it in the trash – don’t matter, just get rid of it. I need stuff neat, organized… Otherwise I’m irritated all day.”

~ Russell Westbrook

For someone who is a neat freak…living like this for a couple weeks…washing dishes in the bathroom sink…only cooking with the microwave and air fryer…is enough to make me want to crawl into bed and cover up my head…hoping to wake up from the dream…well more like my nightmare really…

There is a Japanese way of life you may have heard called Wabi Sabi…an ancient Zen Buddist belief…an elegant philosophy that motions us towards searching for the beauty in imperfection…that everything …life itself is in this constant flux of being “impermanent, incomplete, and imperfect”…change itself is the only constant……it is the “Becoming” that is irritatingly messy…https://www.omaritani.com/blog/wabi-sabi-philosophy-teachings

It reminded me of all the times that my life unseen was a place filled with broken filthy shambles…in fact most of the time it still feels untidy and tangled…like the back of a beautiful tapestry…life itself is inherently complicated…never is it what you feel it should be or what you want it to be…Unpredictable…only death is simple…it is the living that is difficult and messy…I am constantly in the process of learning to embrace the imperfection and trying to find the beauty of it…

Wabi sabi is an artistic sensitivity as much as an ephemeral feeling of beauty. It celebrates the passage of time and its sublime damages. In many art forms in Japan, this notion of prettiness through imperfection is present.https://japanobjects.com/features/wabi-sabi

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“I don’t have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect and beautiful journey of my life.” ~ Kerry Washington

Stemming within this philosophy, there is an art called Kintsugi. The masters will delicately patch up broken ceramics with powdered gold adhesive, leaving the restoration clearly visible to others…should we not apply that same principle to our lives…being proud of the dents and cracks…taking our broken pieces and turning them into works of art…

Now that I’m older…I really appreciate the idea that I don’t have to throw away any of my broken pieces…the scars of our lives can be seen as exquisite…repaired with the gold of grace…they tell a story…a display of dignity and pride in our strength and fortitude in living…we don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful…we are beautiful because of our imperfections…

Photo by Motoki Tonn
We’re not quite there yet…but isn’t life about the progress😉

You may be a mess…yet, you are a masterpiece…embrace it all with self-love…remember that you are loved…always and forever…sent with prayers for all the love, laughter and magic your heart can hold…and then some❣

"Embrace the glorious mess that you are." Elizabeth Gilbert

Amakhala…Game Drive

Another Day Another Sunrise

With over 240 different birds in Amakhala…no sounds of morning traffic…I woke to lovely songs of the birds…Mr. P grabbed his binoculars to tell me the names since he the avid birder…I just enjoyed the melodious sounds…opening the tent to sunrise light and grabbing a cup of coffee…I crawled back between the warm covers and just luxuriated between the sheets…no rush to get anywhere…time just delightfully relishing the morning until the grumbling stomachs forced us from our indulgent pleasures…

September is still a little cooler and I debated whether to shower in the “great outdoors”…thinking I might have to contend with something besides Mr. P and the chilly morning…picturing Norman’s trunk coming over the top…closing my eyes and I could imagine being in the middle of the jungle under a waterfall…only with warm water…I do think Tarzan would approve…definitely a repeatable pleasure-loving experience…

A short jaunt to the dining room…friendly morning greeting and smiles…no skimpy buffet…an eye pleasing array of cereals…fruit…cheeses…jams and all the accompanying accouterments…the fresh air is a great for the development of monstrous appetites…so we dug in…several times…breakfast was leisurely…the butler then handed us a menu for a “hot” breakfast…we had no idea that we had that option…vacation and over indulgence are a synonyms…do I need say more…

After breakfast we sat on the veranda outside of the lodge and watched the antics of the Nyala and Impala as they grazed the grounds…and Big Daddy trying to keep his harem in line…

Grazing Female Impalas

As a photographer…I couldn’t sit still for long…after running breakfast off…lunch was served before our game drive…there are not enough superlatives to use…

The mist was nippy and enveloped us with a cool hand…provided with warm ponchos and rain gear…it didn’t stop us…hopping up on the land rover…we were off with one of the most knowledgeable guide that I have come across with…

Game Drive View

Our guide would stop and show us indigenous plants that were used for natural medicine…such as a plant that if you pricked your skin…it would go numb…used for toothaches…species that were used for colic and almost anything that ailed a person…you forget what people did before there was a doctor a phone call away…we made a special stop so he could show us this particular spider that he watched spin and weave…never a question that he didn’t answer with pleasure…and I’m sure he heard them all a thousand times…

Surreal & Beautiful…it was like living inside a movie scene..

Every moment was full of amazement…but if I had to choose one favorite scene it would be the magnificent lion brothers…it was misting..yet there they were sleeping as though they had not a worry in the world…mist on their manes…sparkling like they were sprinkled with diamond magic…we turned the engines off and just watched them…

They are brothers and appeared almost human in the way they behaved together…I could just image the older one thinking…”sheesh, such a clown”…and then the younger rolling over and putting his paws on his brother…”but I just Looove you, bro”…

Giraffes are fairytale animals…beautiful faces with big eyes…I have this fascination with them…maybe because it was the first animal that I saw in the wild when I arrived here in South Africa…there is something so regal about them…

“A giraffe is so much a lady that one refrains from thinking of her legs, but remembers her as floating over the plains in long garb, draperies of morning mist her mirage.”

– Isak Dinesen

I am at a lost to describe the thousands of Mother Nature’s miracles that we saw that day…I do hope that you enjoyed the game drive too…❤

There is something of the marvelous in all things of nature.  

~Aristotle

~Sent with Love, laughter and magic

Amakhala…Nature in all it’s Glory

“The beauty of Africa is not man made, it is natures gift to humanity.”
― Paul Oxton

When life becomes hectic and emotional turmoil…the panic…agitation…and confusion surrounds the soul…John Burroughs said it best…”I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”

Amakhala is such a peaceful balm…nature’s delightfully restful and calming potion

Situated only about an hour (84 km) from home…a luxurious Safari Lodge is hidden in a valley of native bush…Amakhala is home to 5 of the 9 plant biomes here… the most common biome is the Albany Thicket, which is made up of dense shrubs, herbaceous plants and succulent trees…

Mixtures of Rich and Subtle hues being brushed against the canvas of the evening sky

This is a “Certificate of Excellence” award winning four star safari lodge…beginning in 1999 as a joint conservation venture between 6 families that were direct descendants of families that settled in the area in the 19th century to farm sheep and cattle…little by little the land was rehabilitated and animals that had freely roamed the area were reintroduced

One of the unfortunate consequences of Pandemic has been the loss of bookings in the tourism industry…with an unbeatable package deal we were able to book a 2 night, 3 day Safari package…a new mind boggling event in my life living here in South Africa…

I felt like I had been dropped into a magical wonderland…better than any “rabbit hole” I had gone down before…the colors of this world…the natural smells of earth and nature…the exquisite culinary tastes…the feeling of peace and calmness that can only be found in the wild…

Greeted by the most warm and amicable staff…we were immediately made to feel right at home…Norman being the most surprisingly unexpected of our welcoming committee…

We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals… In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.

~Henry Beston

Norman is the wrinkly grumpy old man bachelor that freely roams the park…after luggage drop off and stretching legs…we had almost gotten to the parking area and out of the bush comes one of the largest elephant that I have encountered…and I have never seen Mr. P. reverse so quickly…Norman just slowly ambled down to us…taking his sweet time to come and investigate who the new interlopers were…

Like a crotchety old geezer…didn’t care that his lunch crumbs were still stuck on his truck…he continued to snack while he contemplated whether we should be allowed to stay…finally deciding that we were harmless…he slowly sauntered off in search of more twigs and leaves to fill the never ending elephant pit of a stomach…an elephant’s life…eat…sleep…and poop…eating about 16 hours out of the day…sleep 4 to 6 hours and producing lots and lots of manure…200 to 250 pounds per day… oh, and produce enough methane gas – LOTS AND LOTS OF GAS😂…Properly equipped, a car could travel 20 miles on the amount of methane produced by one elephant in a single day https://elephantconservation.org/elephants/just-for-kids

Quotes about Elephants (182 quotes)

I just adored the time worn gnarled and tuskless Norman…he made the entire stay specially entertaining and we missed him when he left to wander far from the camp…

A refreshing chilled glass of lemonade while checking in and then we were escorted down a path winding through native brush…escorted to our tranquil suite…tented and thatched…the perfect combination for me…I think it was what I’ve heard described as “Glamping”…the experience of the “Great Out Doors” with the essentials of mattress, indoor toilet and running water…this was the epitome of elegance and good taste…wrapped with the wonderous sight, smell and energy of nature in all of her abundant splendor…

After a deliciously scrumptious dinner…warmed by the fire and conversation with new friends….we were escorted back to our hideaway…with all the fresh air and excitement we fell into an exhausted sleep….dreaming of all the wonders that the next day might hold…

“A well spent day brings happy sleep.” — Leonardo da Vinci

Focus your intention on your dreams, you can wave magic when you set your heart and mind to it – Author: Miranda Kerr

Hiding Among the Tall Grass…

“That’s your solution? Have a cookie?’ Astrid asked. ‘No, my solution is to run down to the beach and hide out until this is all over,’ Sam said. ‘But a cookie never hurts.”

― Michael Grant, Gone

I was going to write about the incredible adventure at Amakhala Game Reserve…7500 ha, Big 5 and an accredited luxury four star Safari Lodge is nestled in a valley of indigenous bush…that Mr. P and I had a couple of weeks ago…with Covid came the loss of revenue and bookings at all the game Reserves and Parks…most are offering incredible discounts to native South Africans…A first for me

I will write and display the pictures of this magnificent…breathtaking…phenomenal…adventure…soon, I promise…I digress…

From the quote, I am sure that you could discern that I am deluged with things that need to be accomplished and not quite sure how to get it all done in a manner that doesn’t just cause me to have to take an emotional and physical timeout (I have been there more times that I want to remember)…being an HSP or extremely sensitive person defiantly adds to the need to proceed deliberately and calmly forward and not to the nearest exit…

Practicing what I preach…Breathing…Breathing…Deep…long and intentional breathes…practicing mindfulness…

Having finally found my path in retirement…now I experience that “in-your-face awareness” that time is shorter…more fragile…I am just now catching up with the world…knowing that I don’t have all the experiences and life information that most people do…

My childhood consisted solely of being raised in an unusual religious organization with it’s novel ideas of how we should live to be worthy of a beautiful afterlife…I was not allowed to listen to music (other than was of the Christian genre)…no television…no reading of anything other than the bible or books that were written by the leader…no school activities…nothing that would “infect” my mind…curtained from reality…

I am about 30 years behind in everything…which is not all bad…everything is a exciting new adventure…which I absolutely am in love with…

The focus is my supposedly retirement is finally on my creative endeavors…with the “magic number of greatness” supposedly 10 years or 10,000 hours  to become a “master”…I freak out about not doing all I want to do and become…although now there are alternative thoughts…such as this by…


Matt Trajkovski
…Founding father, EScooterNerds, LearnDigitalMarketingApp

“I like to couple it with another rule that everybody knows – the 80/20 rule. Together the equation becomes like this: You can become 80% as good as a master with only 20% of the 10,000 hours. That’s an expert for 2,000 hours. Keeping mind, if you’re 80% of a master of something, you’re probably already in the top 5% in the world for that field. And 10,000 hours, you’re great in 5 fields. You’re probably Elon Musk by that time.”

I can still become really good what my dreams…80% is acceptable…although the perfectionist is screaming in the background that it is not🤣…I’m ignoring her and going with the child that colors outside the lines with great joy…

Just to share with where I’m at and what I’m struggling with at the moment…where I want to be in the future…

I have always loved photography and do have hours of experience…though more on the other end as a photographic artist…retouching negatives…restoring old photographs…but before all the “modern” equipment such as digital camera’s…postprocessing with Adobe…ewww that is “old”…

*Goal – to be a Master Fine Art Photographer and sell prints…

Writing is a relatively new endeavor…starting about 4/5 years ago when a novel starting growing within me…and it hasn’t left…but I have so much to learn to write well…and reading to catch up on…

*Goal – to write a fantasy trilogy (Skye Phoenix)

Those are my two strongest and important goals…(Outside of my first priority, my relationship with Mr. P) but by no means the only ones…becoming Bilingual, healthier, more spiritual…traveling…strengthening relationships with family and friends…

I know that it is said that you need to focus on one at a time…but every time I focus on either the photography or the writing…the other sticks it’s head up…seeking attention with an entry for a competition in photography or a request to complete a writing challenge of 1,000 words a day…

Then there are the everyday projects that need to be completed…the completing of restoring the house…painting…plastering…I also try and keep up with the accounting for Mr. P’s company (personal secretary…which has it’s benefits)…walking the dog (which is a duel purpose activity)…cooking meals…and I could go on…

Would I trade any of it…No!!!!!!! I do enjoy it all…yet I am still teeter tottering and trying to find the balance..

Finding Balance

“Somehow, we’ll find it. The balance between whom we wish to be and whom we need to be. But for now, we simply have to be satisfied with who we are.”

― Brandon Sanderson, The Hero of Ages

Any comments as to how you find balance in your life while pursuing your goals in life would be most welcomed…

Sending Light, love and magic for your day…I think I’ll go find some pink marshmallows…

Couldn’t find the pink marshmallows…but my pink elephant appeared…this is “Norman” from Amakhala (although he’s not normally pink…after a hot chocolate with a big dose of Kahlúa…he’s my pink elephant in the room…

“Norman”

Looking for the Future…

“The fog of illusion, the fog of confusion is hanging all over the world.”
– Van Morrison.

Lost in the misty fog of life…that’s how I feel most of the time…unsure of where to head next…how to proceed forward into a place that I’ve never been before…I wish we were handed maps when we were born that would lead us directly to the path toward the purpose we were sent to fulfill…

I probably still would have tossed the map out the window…I have never liked being told what to do and imagine all the excitement that I would have missed…

“Sometimes when you lose your way in the fog, you end up in a beautiful place! Don’t be afraid of getting lost!” ~Mehmet Murat Ildan

Often when we feel lost…the mind and heart are not working in harmony…it does not mean that we’re doomed to wonder around in the cold misty gloom that blankets us…for often it is just a knocking at our heart… a call toward something better…if we were contented with the status quo…there would be no impetus to search for the warmth and light we yearn for…satisfaction of the soul…

It is good to feel lost…because it proves you have a navigational sense of where Home is. You know that a place feels like being found exists. And maybe your current location isn’t that place but, Hallelujah, that unsettled, uneasy feeling of lost-ness just brought you closer to it.”

~Erika Harris

Venturing into that grey unknown frontier is intimidating and downright scary…that cold tight knot in the pit of your stomach that never seems to go away…it’s really just butterflies waiting to be released to fly…leading you to an enchanting place of freedom and possibility…

It really is OK

I promise…we all feel alone and lost at times…everybody…no matter how bleak the road appears you won’t feel that way forever…but how we travel through is important and can make the arrival time of our destination appear on the horizon more expeditiously…

“I give you this warning: your journeys will rarely go as you plan. You will make mistakes, and you will feel lost. Whenever that happens, look to the light and keep moving forward in faith.” ~Seth Adams Smith

I am not a doctor or a psychiatrist…and I don’t have a magical quick fix (my wand ran out of fuel and is in the shop)…but I humbly offer what works for me…

Sit with the feeling...The first step for me is just to sit with any turbulent and nightmarish emotions…just watching while they swirl and dance their crazy black tendrils…and not becoming overly attached or overanalyzing (which I do a lot)…knowing it will be ‘ok’…although it may take awhile…”Sitting with our emotions simply means allowing them, resisting the urge to get rid of the pain and not judging ourselves for having these emotions”…it is a lot more difficult than ignoring and/or dismissing them…it’s painful…often the first thing we do is to try and numb those feelings by a glass of wine or three…food…work or anything else to soothe the discomfort…the key is to ‘avoid’ those distractions…distractions that often just adds to our exhaustion…

Stay in the Present...it will help you get your bearings…figure out where you’re at… you have lost your compass…that vision of your life and the future..at the moment…wandering around aimlessly can be very dangerous…it’s a survival necessity to pause…like getting lost on a trail in the middle of the forest when the sun has descended…Stop, throw on an extra layer, relax, have a brew, and then pull out the map…often a sleep and a new day will bring new light…

Healthy Habits…Eating…this is critical for me...I crave carbs when I am stressed…it is a natural serotonin booster…and makes me feel better (for a little while until I crash…then crappy)…Exercising…A good cardio workout…Yoga is significant in unlocking of stuck energy for me…Meditation…doesn’t have to be traditional…just sitting in quiet…focusing on your breathe…reciting affirmations or scriptures….whatever makes you feel positive

Change Your Environment...Taking a walk in the fresh air and just concentrating on what’s around me changes my perspective…grounding or realigning your electrical energy by reconnecting yourself you to the earth…walking barefoot…lying on the ground… even swimming or wading in a lake or stream…sounds very woo-woo…I love this and is extremely calming…one central theory from one review study Trusted Source is that grounding affects the living matrix, which is the central connector between living cells…before you just throw the idea out…it wouldn’t hurt to try it…..

Take Action...Read…Listen to Podcasts or whatever presents itself in your search for self development and understanding…Seek and the teacher will come…Journal a lot…writing helps me to put all the jumble on paper and often I can sort through the threads that need to be thrown away and those I need to continue to follow… Deliberately be grateful…even if it’s just for your gift of that moments breath…

Go out and do things that make your life feel full of purpose and meaning. Identify what it is that you love doing (Not your mother, sister, husband or friend…especially society and social media), what brings you joy and get out and do more of it. Remember, nothing changes if nothing changes…do things to create meaning and purpose…

And never ever be afraid about Asking for Help…Friends…coaches…doctors…you are a valuable part of this world…very important to those around you..so many people care and would love to support you…they’ve been there…

“Light is coming to give back everything the darkness stole” @Naijamisfit

Love💓, laughter🤣 and magic🦄 for your day…