Feast your senses

Yesterday’s Knick knack shopping so satisfied my sense of touch and feel, so today I unleashed my other 4 senses. I scheduled my day around tastes and flavors and trusted that the rest will appear.

With Gelateria on almost every corner in Firenze I was spoilt for choice. I settled on Grom – 2 scoops of creamy hazelnut and chocolate gelato had my tastebuds doing the Macarena!

This equipped me for my step back in time at the Ufizzi Gallery. The Renaissance art left me in awe of the magnitude, depth in Colour and detail of the pieces produced by the Italian legends. And the building itself, with original frescoes and the view from the balcony. A sight for sore eyes.

My tired feet seemed to forget their woes as the gold jewelry stores flagged me as I crossed the Ponte Vecchio. And not more than 10 feet on the other side of the Arno river was Gino’s Bakery – with Gino himself serving up his renowned cannoli. This Italian pastry was thin and crispy and filled with a cappuccino flavored sweet mascarpone on the inside.

Savoring every last bite I headed towards Piazza Santa Maria Nouvelle only to be met on a side street by the scent of the most beautiful flowers. I literally backtracked and stopped in front of the Santa Maria Nouvelle Perfumerie. What a sensual delight. From Almond oil soap bars that smell like ‘royal creams’ to ‘rose water’ incense sticks and ‘spring flower’ room sprays – I was transported to fields of flowers at every turn. A few hundred euro later – having engaged my senses of taste, sight and smell I made my weary way back to the hotel.

With the sun setting behind me I reflected on how much I enjoyed stimulating my senses today only to be met by the resonating sounds of UB40’s timeless ‘I can’t help falling in love with you’ echoing in the square ahead. Parcels in hand I headed to the steps of the church and joined the rest of the rest as the nostalgic voice of this lone guitarist brought to an end my sensory buffet. What a feast! Fit for a queen …. or a Medici!

Timelessness

I feel like I’ve lived many lives in this one blessed lifetime i am in. Wore many masks and got the opportunity to try them all on for size. I remember less that a decade ago running my life by the clock, being productive, multitasking. Efficient and respectful – i called it! So that didn’t work … i was overwhelmed, always in my head, outwardly looking sooo successful but miserable on the inside …. no surprises there. So … typical me i explore the extreme opposite, threw my watches away, and ambled through my day, cancelled coffees on a whim, ran late for almost everything – and while i was a lot calmer and forgiving of myself – I didn’t get much done in the way of everyday living. So the balance between the two is where I’m currently operating and on this pilgrimage the question keeps coming up – how much to plan and how much to just wing it and go with the flow…

I started yesterday with an intention to being the master of time, or maybe it was just submitting to time and its will. Relinquishing control. And what do you know, as i left my boutique hotel in Firenze, just about 50m away from a hotel in a usually vacant park was a Saturday Antique market.

Now anyone who knows me will tell you i love other peoples stuff, i find it tells a story and has so much more depth and meaning. I find myself making up stories about pieces of furniture, ornaments etc. that i usually pick up for my home from Melville in Johannesburg.

So this was quite a feast for me – opened up a whole new range of stories involving the Renaissance, Medici family and Italia Mamas… So my inner child was loving this spread, touching and taking in amazing pieces, smelling musty old people smells and spinning tales all at the same time. Quite sensational.

I then stopped at a rather inconspicuous store that caught my attention cos of the old grandfather clock. Similar to the clock from my grandparents home that donged every hour in their lounge. I remember it disturbing my sleep on my holiday sleepovers on the pull out sofa bed. Well this store owner was clearly as committed as i was to understand time and its meaning in our lives. He had made jewelry, rings, bracelets, pendants (everything other than watches) with old watch faces. Every shape, colour and size. Something out of Alice in Wonderland – i tell you.

I was intrigued, captivated! As i played with the intricate pieces, it dawned on me – I’m standing in an antique market that has evidenced the timelessness of items -showing me how the time has passed for an item in the hands of one but just begun in the hands of another. How one mans junk is another mans treasure. And how we can throw away history and time or cherish it.

So i guess my learning was to put time into the perspective that serves me best. Not to be enslaved by it, not to try to control it, but instead to let it be as it is and to include it and shape it for my life as it best serves me. For this trip i have earmarked how to spend 20% of my time on sights, tours and reflection activities and as for the rest………

Time will tell!

My pilgrimage – go lightly

This last week has been so effervescent – i have found myself in the lead up to my month alone with ALL of me in the rolling hills of Tuscany feeling like i need to whisper – as if sharing this secret will cause it to evaporate. The child like excitement has had me feeling butterflies in my tummy (a feeling I haven’t had for ages) as a i packed and prepared to embark on what i can only call – my pilgrimage to me!

Pilgrimage according to Wikipedia means to travel to a far off land for spiritual enlightenment and another definition talks about worship. The more i think about it this pilgrimage is to connect and worship all aspects of me and then naturally my creator – cos the older i get the more I realize you can’t build love forthe one without the other.

I sit here today with 2 hours left of my flight to Bologna (one step closer to Florence) with a nervous unknowing of what lies ahead and who i am to be. And as i contemplate the possibilities of who i will be in a months time when I’m heading back home – i cant help but smile as i feel all the cells in my body vibrate with aliveness and freedom at the endless possibilities.

Like all journeys in pursuit of increased light and love this journey too has come with its challenges in the last week. Many many opportunities challenging my commitment to leave it all behind, all the kids, family and relationship issues. Four hour flight delays, racing to connecting flights bringing to light my levels of patience and submission forcing me to relinquish control.

I left OR Tambo on 9/11 and as i stepped through immigration and the home affairs officer blankly stamped my passport – with that thud i dropped all the suitcases and baggage i carry – as wife, therapist, mother, friend, healer, daughter, sister and committed to me and god.

………… i go lightly ………………….

Kay

Fond memories dissolve distance

After much needed physical rest and restoration I’ve spent the day reacquainting myself with Firenze. This beautiful renaissance city proved to be a perfect choice for my journey within. My journey to my creative self. My inner goddess.

Florence itself is the creative capital of Italy and walking the streets I am surrounded by beautiful, solid architecture that has proven to stand the test of time, bridges that whisper stories and artworks and sculptures that draw me into myself. So inspiring!

The bustling piazas help keep me connected to people and even more special is the holograms that the stone walls and cobbles seem to have stored. As I turn tight corners into streets I have once walked with my partner a few years ago, these images seem to pop out and I can’t help but smile with warmth at the words I recall and the laughter still so tangible. Such a delight – even though I left all behind me I have taken them with me – now that’s been insightful for me. Never knew how much these fond memories would soothe me in my first leg of my journey.

Alone! But not quite….. feeling so grateful

K

I’m coming out

While I have been very quiet on my blogs the last few months, i assure you that’s about the only area in my life that has been ‘quiet’. In every other way my life has been overwhelming, exhausting, exciting, tedious, overflowing with creativity, fulfilling – just crazy mad! You know that kind of crazy mad, that births masterpieces – like Van Gogh’s ‘ Starry night’!

Well my friends – with much support from the Universe and friends and family – Wellness on Alon has become my masterpiece. Wellness on Alon is a wellness centre that offers a space to recharge mind, body and soul. We honour the physical, mental and emotional bodies in our combination of medical and holistic service offerings. And the team we have in the various spaces, are phenomenal individuals who all share a passion for client care.

I feel humbled as I recall my husband and I driving past a ‘for sale’ board less than a year ago – walking in to view the oasis in the middle of Morningside, and knowing right there and then that this has potential to morphe into this vision, I held safely tucked away in the back of my mind. Considering I’m a CA – I’m quite embarrassed to admit that there was no business plan, or market analysis – there was only heart, vision and mountains of trust in the higher power that drives us.

This 4th (unplanned child) is a project that challenged and transformed my relationships – with my partner, as we navigated our relationships with money and our own egos. My kids as they resentfully made space for this 4th child that at times was quite colicky. Even my dad who brought his renovation team to the table.

Like my 3 children whom I wrongfully thought I would guide, nurture and teach; my 4th child – my Wellness Centre too – has held up the mirror on numerous occasions to show me my shadows and taught me patience, perseverance and tenacity to work for my dreams.

And while this baby Centre is just two months old – I already feel the joy of having fought my fears and slayed my self doubts, as I see people walk through the doors, leaving happier and healthier.

I’ve realized that life is going to give us challenges in one way or another – so I’m going to choose and celebrate (no matter how exhausting), the challenges, that keep me moving forward towards my dreams. I dare you to try it! Throw caution to the wind today and live YOU…..

Check out http://www.wellnessonalon.com or follow us on Instagram @wellnessonalon

Have ‘mistakes’ just been given a bad name?

So what’s your greatest fear? Your greatest challenge? Whatever it may be – losing weight – showing yourself – speaking in front of a crowd – applying for your dream job. – What’s the actual fear that holds us back? What are you actually afraid of? It’s not dieting, nor delivering the speech. It’s the fear of failure. Fear of making a mistake and then living with it. Living with the shame (cos we shame ourselves, it what we do, even if we don’t have family members that stand in line waiting fill that role for us) and it’s the blame – it has to be someone’s fault! OURS! And the regret of making that mistake. That’s what keeps us frozen in our tracks.

What if I redefined mistake or failure? What if mistake has just been given a bad name, when in fact it is merely a rung in the ladder to the top.

Going back to Mauritius this December – my honeymoon venue – still married 20 years later just with 3 more kids now, has resulted in quite a cathartic summer holiday. I walked in and was amazed at how much the serene resort hadn’t changed. And before I knew it everywhere I walked I caught glimpses of my 20 something self strutting along, confident, happy, self assured, that she had all the answers to the questions the next 20 years of married life was going to throw at her. I marveled at her innocence and confidence. Smirked at her romantic view on life and mourned the loss of the dreamer that once sat on the very same hammoc on the west coast beach.

After a day of this time travel I found myself filling with regret and blame for all the silly mistakes I see myself having made in the past 20 years and oscillated between self reprimand and shame at my stupid choices.

Poor ‘mistakes’ – so harshly judged and tried. If the thesaurus states that the antonym for ‘mistake’ is to ‘understand’ – then surely another word for ‘mistake’ is to ‘misunderstand’. That doesn’t sound so bad now does it? We can afford ourselves compassion for misunderstandings right?

When I look through the looking glass of the past 20 years I know that for each instant, each mistake – for that moment in time, it was the best I could do. Surely some self-compassion is called for. What if I looked back and celebrated each mistake? Honored it, knowing that each one helped me expand – helped me grow – through the pain of failing and mistaking – helped me become wiser, clearer, more conscious and more clear. Just like moving from primary school to middle school and then on to high school and graduation. Looking back we could just as well self reprimand for not knowing what 2+2 is in grade 1? Or at middle school, for not understanding equations? Instead when we look back, we honour those steps and mistakes – not shaming or blaming ourselves about it. Instead looking back at that younger child who was still learning and honoring those failures for equipping us to becoming the best mathematicians alive.

So how’s this for a spiritual definition? ‘Mistakes’ – the choices we make within our limitations for that time that serve as a catalyst to move beyond that exact limitation.

Now do they sound fearful? Hardly! So for 2019 and beyond …I say let’s celebrate our choices (mistakes). Lets look at them with self compassion and eagerness. Let’s mistake superbly so that it may translate to amazing breakthroughs #celebrating mistakes

So no regrets! No shaming! No blaming! From the point on the ladder that we find ourselves let’s look back down, at all those rungs behind us, that got us here – all those mistakes (misunderstandings) – let’s look back at them with compassion and honour and let’s look up at all the misunderstandings (mistakes) that lie ahead of us and let’s say to the Universe ‘Bring on those mistakes’ – ‘I will leap towards them’ – cos they help me get towards the best version of myself.

Kareema Mitha

Stress Less Life Coach

Soul Purpose

Renovating, upgrading.. shifting

…this has been the theme of my life for the last 3 months.

Having purchased a property towards realizing our dream of a wellness Centre some 10months ago – little did my husband and I realize that in renovating the property, we ourselves would be breaking down and rebuilding aspects of our relationship and ourselves.

Its as though, each wall that was smashed down at the Centre, revealed a piece of me that was nicely bricked up inside. And once that piece was dislodged there was no way I could squeeze it back, it wouldn’t fit no matter which cement I used. I had to look at it, declare it ‘useless’ right now, acknowledge that it served a significant purpose previously but now needed to be replaced – upgraded! And find the correct dimension, colour, material to replace it.

Wow! Processing and shifting all the way….

So while ‘Wellness on Alon’ has been in the birthing process – I feel an intense 3 months later (with the finish line in sight) – I too have been rebirthing!

I lie here in my bed mentally fatigued, emotionally exhausted and physically damaged!

It was just two days ago that I twisted an ankle at the building site – that brought me to a dead stop and forced me to look at my battered and bruised foot, my unkempt hair, my sunburnt skin and more importantly the woman in the mirror whom I just don’t recognize well enough anymore. I was forced to truly ‘see’ her and take the time to familiarize myself with her new and improved ‘spaces’ and also patiently mourn away the too-familiar aspects of her (whether they were needed or not), that were comforting, and now refurbished.

Change my friends, is the order of the day. It seems like the last quarter of 2018 is all about software upgrades coming quick and fast and then trying to get the hardware that seems a bit outdated to adjust to the software upgrades.

So right now, I’m thanking my weak ankle- and for me its about pausing… pausing to integrate the new aspects of myself, getting myself familiarized with all my changes and appreciating the smell of the new leather. I choose to do this and be patient and gentle with myself – surrounding myself with loved ones and nature- all who feel privileged to support me.

‘The Universe conspires with you’

Stay Blessed

Mentally alert and Physically calm

Matt Kahn and his Love revolution is credited with this paradoxical yet very calming phrase. ‘I am mentally alert! I am physically calm’. Try out this almost contradictory statement for yourself. Repeat it a few times. It’s strangely peaceful …..

This statement, I believe resonates so much because it is the desired state to be optimum as a human being in this crazy time we are living in. As a stress-less coach I engage with a number of people trying so hard to juggle all these balls and as a result of their mental overstimulation, I find their minds and bodies take strain and inevitably give in.

Being mentally active is important – it helps us learn, communicate and organize our careers (our passions). However, allowing this mental stimulation to affect our sleep, overwhelm our nervous system, trigger the chemicals that swim through our bodies and in turn result in physical pain, inflammation and disease is counterproductive and no way to live fully!

So being mentally active is every humans desire and being physically calm at the same time – would be the ultimate success formula.

To me this, is the conundrum of our generation and I have realized that in pursuing my career and life goals with mental alertness I need to punctuate my pursuit with moments where I manage my nervous system (cos that’s where I feel it first).

By practicing 30second breathing every 2 hours. Or taking a 10minute silent (cellphone free) stroll, in the sunlight. Or even just meditating for 5mins at lunch. Basically incorporating mindfulness practices into my day, I feel present and not wired.

I also use TRE (Tension Releasing Exercises) and Yoga Practise, at least once a week as well as my exercise regime to ensure that my ‘physically calm’ state is maintained. Being mindful for me extends to mindfulness around toxicity. I stay away from food that is not ‘alive’ and ‘real’ and I am also very aware of avoiding ‘toxic’ people too.

So I challenge you – repeat the words. ‘I am mentally alert! I am physically calm!’ This is HUMAN ‘BEING’!

Can you be these seemingly contradictory states, simultaneously?

Watch how life flows once you achieve this…

Do I belong here?

Over the last few months I have been dappling with this need or feeling of belonging that seems to elude me at most times. Belonging for me or the lack of it is synonymous to feeling lonely in a room full of people. A room full of people with whom I don’t share ideals, values or beliefs. It can even be a room of family or friends.

My latest mini-pilgrimage this last week, has forced me to come face to face with this challenge head-on! Do I identify with my roots, my culture, my religion? Can I feel like I belong joining in the rituals that millions are performing together alongside me in synchronicity? How can I feel alone in the presence of all this physical ‘oneness’? Where do I belong?

It is this burning question (burning being quite apt considering my solar plexus was physically flaring up while I was exploring this) that brought me to the realization 5 days into my journey – that I do belong! Exactly as I am! I belong with ME and with MY creator who smiles down on me (letting me know that I am enough), and who I carry with me on all lands of the earth!

A sense of belonging and reconciliation came to me as a knew that I belong to myself! The ‘i’ being the one who is most authentically me – no pretenses, no faking, no judging, no being hard on myself – just the ‘i’ who unashamedly belly laughs, doesn’t like crowds, dunks cookies in tea and crumbs the bed. That ‘I’ belongs everywhere and belongs nowhere as long as that ‘I’ belongs safely with me.

It is of no surprise to me that once I made peace with this belonging to me that my tummy burn subsided and I was overcome by peace, love and contentment with who I am – and this in turn (irrespective of who was around me), led to a strong feeling of belonging in the sacred lands.

As Murphy’s law would have it – 2 days later – on the second leg of my pilgrimage I tuck into the latest book from Brene Brown (I love her work) that I downloaded and lo an behold! the title is ‘Braving the wilderness: the quest for true belonging’. Co-incidence? Never! Divine Synchronicity – that’s what I call it.

Halfway through the book what sticks out is when Brene says ‘True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are. It requires us to Be who we are.’

Brene quotes Maya Angelou in this book – from an interview in 1973 saying ‘You are only free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all.’ Maya then continues to say ‘The price is high. The reward is great.’ ……. I think my self doubt manifesting in my fiery solar plexus the first few days of my Pilgrimage, was just part of that high price I’m learning to pay…… this peace and self love that’s within my heart right now can only be part of that reward Maya eludes to.

I belong with me……

Enigmatic Family

Family is like an enigma…

I always love the idea of them -maybe cos i watched too many damn sitcoms as a child. It is only always once the present moment hits and I am surrounded by parents and siblings and their better halves who ‘only pick on me cos they want what’s best for me'(irony not missed here) – or when I feel myself being squashed back into the box that fits their label of who I’m supposed to be – that I wonder what ever happened to what was supposed to be a fun weekend away?

By the Sunday morning, over a glorified family breakfast with far too much food, noise and even more resentment, I am left wondering why I ever left the haven of my own home for this picture?

Be this as it may, we have to acknowledge that each of our family members were handpicked to be our greatest ‘teachers’. Think about it – how far have your family pushed you and how accurately have they pressed your buttons?

Over time I have stopped buying into the myth of the perfect family and began honouring each member of my family unit for all they have pushed me (sometimes painfully) to be. My family are not my sense of belonging nor are they a solace – My belonging resides within all of me, and God is my solace – my family are my greatest teachers, for that I am grateful – best taken in small doses.

Love them or hate them it’s your choice…..