Cesar decided to hitchhike along in the Bakkie while many were busy doing firebreaks in what we dub “the big field”. Every year during winter time which is our dry, and so also our fire season – we burn the edges of the farm in the case of fire breakouts, so that the fires can’t travel from field to field, farm to farm – which can happen quick when it’s dry and windy. The whole process took a bit more than two hours, which we observed mostly from inside the bakkie, watching what everyone is doing, explaining what each person’s role is. Oh, and fitting on sunglasses he found in the bakkie, insisting that ‘upside down’ is really the right way one should wear sunglasses.
Within wondering whether I am doing ‘the right thing’ and ‘providing the best’ for my son, I can easily find myself wondering off in my mind comparing myself, my life with that of others. Whether it’s people in my life, strangers I meet or people on social media. I start to wonder whether ‘their life is easier’, ‘how can they be so confident in what they’re doing’, ‘I wonder if that lifestyle would be better for my son’,… This goes on for a little bit and then I find myself in a dark space where I am jealous of other people and the lives they live in the belief that ‘it might be better’ than what I am currently living and providing for my son. Within that, I find myself accessing a more and more passive zone – where instead of actively moving, creating and participating in my environment and reality, I kind of sit back more and simply observe everything that is ‘wrong’ and ‘unfair’.
The one day I found myself scrolling through my Instagram feed where I was subconsciously comparing my life to what other people were sharing their life to be. And I could sense myself sinking inside myself as if I was becoming smaller, smaller and smaller. So then I stopped and looked up from my phone going ‘Hey, what’s going on here’. Because one moment ago I was fine – and suddenly I find myself in this dragging experience where everything is just wrong and unfair. Where’s all this coming from?
I looked back at my phone to ‘replay’ what I just went through when I saw the subtle comparison and insecurity playing out in the background. How my mind just automatically wondered off imagining what it would be like to ‘live their life’. I decided to play a bit with that notion. So what if I was living say, this random person’s life? If I was living their life I’d still be looking at everyone else’s lives, including mine currently, and believe that ‘maybe the grass is greener on the other side’ still. I could place myself in different scenarios and see that the fear of possibly missing out would still be something that existed. I went through more people and noted what I saw as pros and cons in their lives, and how no matter what life you envision – you always have a selection of cons and pros at play (say if you live in the city you have easy access to things but then you miss out on a more calmer lifestyle – if you live in the countryside you have a calmer lifestyle but things are not as easily accessible). So I concluded that in the end, you’re always going to end up with some pros and cons – and that at the end of the day, you have YOUR life, the life YOU’RE living. One life, one path, one scenario of many. There could have been so many ways that my life could have turned out differently, but my life is where it is. This is the path I have created, this is the life I have chosen for myself.
I can either sit back passively in a sense of superiority and entitlement that I deserve ‘better’ and whine about everything that’s wrong and unfair – waiting for reality to change and adapt to my whims and wishes — OR – I can move myself with what I have available, and zealously move MYSELF to change and adapt to the reality that’s at hand. Instead of allowing my environment and my perceptions of my environment to dictate who I am and how I experience myself; I can reverse the roles through inspiring myself instead of waiting for my environment to inspire me. (Funny note here, to inspire also means to breathe – and breath is what gives us life. Where either I give myself life or place myself as dependent on my environment to breathe life into me)
In the end, no one parent or family finds themselves in the exact same situation as another. We all have different lives, different struggles and blessings. What defines us is not our situation, but who we are within it and ultimately, what we make of it.
Cesar enjoys being around when Gian is working on the little viewing/picnick deck that’s in the process of creation. He’ll try and put nails into the slats, or find a rock to imitate the work being done on the structure. Cesar enjoys putting things together, seeing what he can create from different elements, seeing how they can fit together. In a way, the structure being built is of a similar nature, and when you hear the men on the farm discuss these type of projects, can see that childlike expression bubble up as they discuss and explore the possibilities and take pride in the progression and creation of whatever they are working on. In those moments where Cesar is intently focused on putting something together and seeing those moments where Gian is intently focused on a project, can see that this drive to create, to explore, to expand is naturally inherent in us all. Exploring the yet unknown “possibilities”. It would be great to have this natural drive nurtured and fostered, instead of beaten out of us in the quest to survive and comply to some narrow and limited view of “how things are done”. How things have been done and are done = we have the result before us today, a bleak picture. Let’s explore the possibilities!
Making seedrolls for the birds using toilet rolls, peanut butter and wild bird seed. These will go to the birdfeeder in front of the mainhouse. Earlier he picked berries from our bush and went to place them for the birds. When he is eating fruit and doesn’t finish it, he’ll ask to give it to the birds or chickens. I enjoy doing these little activities with him where he can practice different skills and have an outcome that has application to our living environment. In school we learn so much knowledge and information that has little to no relevance to our every day, all of which is soon forgotten once we’ve passed our tests. Education and learning, should be a natural extension of living, a source of enhancement for our personal development and mastering the art of living a life that is best for self and all.
Through speaking and interacting with the movie, we assist each other in remaining grounded in our bodies and remain aware of our environment, instead of slowly slipping into a ‘zoning out’ mode.
Cesar totally loves the tractor. He has a few tractor toys of his own he likes to play with – but nothing beats the real deal. Whenever we go about walking around on the farm, he keeps his eyes open for any bakkie or tractor action he can get into. When he was more of a baby, he didn’t like car rides, now he can’t get enough going places by car and pointing out every single truck and bakkie. We make a game out of it to catch and count the trucks and to name the colours. Learning happens everywhere!
Other times he throws himself off balance.
In this moment, he got really upset when I started going around the trampoline in a different direction . He often goes into a controlling state when he is in an experience he doesn’t like and/or understands. Where instead of focusing on his internal reality and grounding himself, he gets obsessive in arranging things in his environment to be a certain way – whether it’s objects, animals or people. If he doesn’t get the desired result he explodes. If he does he get the result, he goes unto controlling the next thing, and the next – until he still inevitably collapses as he realises that re-arranging his external reality doesn’t re-areange his internal reality. When he goes into this, we take him to a quite space, remove distractions, relax and sit down. Saying is name in a low, grounded voice. Guiding him to calm down and let go of his experience. Showing him that through fixating, we only hurt ourselves more, as anything but our way then becomes ‘wrong’ – instead of moving, embracing and flowing WITH life, rather than resisting and being against the currents life takes us. As he goes on and expels all his excess energy, he starts grounding himself. Once he has centered himself we move on with our activities and embrace the new moment.
Toddlerhood is definitely not easy as he is able to explore, interact and do more – yet is still lacking vocabulary in so many ways causing frustrations. Imagine having so many questions about yourself and the world around you, yet having no way of asking them.
This is me at the movies for the first time in about three years, Gian’s treat. Becoming a mother definitely turned my life upside down, Gian’s assisting in reminding me to not take motherhood too serious, to remind myself that it’s okay to relax and let go. With babies/young toddlers who require a lot of care and attention – you are initially forced to give up much of your individual self, and stand as a humble servant to another. But as time goes by and they grow up and develop their independence, so can you grow in your individuality once more.
Why do words create our world?
For everything that exists, we have a word. Words as concepts hold the essential information of what something is. We first have the idea/notion of a chair – and then we can create/manifest a chair according to our understanding/definition of a chair. When we encounter a chair, we can know it is a chair by virtue of the definition we hold about it within ourselves.
In a way, words as language, are the same as coding and programming languages. When we browse the internet, any page we enter or stumble upon has behind it a source code – just lots of text and characters that don’t make much sense unless you have some programming knowledge, which together define all the elements we can see with our eyes, their relationships to one another and all the different actions those elements need to perform on the page we’re on. What we see as visually appealing the webpage is held together and dictated by this source code, which is in essence words/text.
Say we see a blue button on the page that says ‘Next’.
The source code would contain information such as: blue button: colour=blue; width= so many pixels; height=so many pixels; link to=some hyperlink that is the next page.
Whenever we want to implement another such button on the page and have it be executable we can simply make reference to ‘blue button here’, and the button will act according to the same information above.
How is this information useful to ourselves as human beings, and how does this relate to words creating our world?
As individuals, we also each carry a ‘source code’ that together forms ‘who we are’, and who we present ourselves to be to the world.
Let me use myself as an example.
Leila in itself is a word placement to refer to myself as a name.
Leila is female. Leila is married. Leila is a mother. Leila wears glasses. Leila grew up in Belgium. Leila now lives in South Africa. Leila lives on a farm. Leila has two siblings. Leila went to university. Leila doesn’t like conflict. Leila likes animals. Leila’s favourite food is pizza. Leila works with graphical tasks on computers. Leila is shy when meeting new people, ….
Any person you meet, just like yourself, you can describe and ‘capture’ through the use of words.
So how do words define who we are and what we create in our world?
Let’s take the word female.
I am female. In terms of a dictionary definition, this merely means that: I am of the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biologically by the production of gametes (ova) that can be fertilized by male gametes.
Yet, through my upbringing and experiences as a child, the personal definition I carry may look something like this: being able to birth children, weak, fragile, submissive to men
Whenever I am confronted with the fact that I am female in my life (which would be a constant thing, being aware that I am a female at all times) – how I act, behave and see myself – is per my definition of the word ‘female’.
When I speak to another male, my automatic behaviour will be to present myself as weak, fragile and submissive; because that’s the definition I’ve placed for myself for the word ‘female’.
All the words we’ve associated and defined ourselves according to; contain specific information as ‘tasks’ that we perform and execute. Through our own personal life path and journey, we all contain different, personalized definitions of the words associated to ourselves. All these words and definitions together, define who we are, how we act, what decisions we make. A website is limited to perform only that which is contained in the source code, it’s predictable and limited to the range of code that backs it up. Depending on the extent of coding involved, we can have very elaborate websites. And depending on the soundness/effectiveness of that coding – the website will perform successfully/smoothly or poor/buggy.
How expansive and effective we are as a person, is just like a website, dependent on the words we contain and whether they have been effectively defined.
We may want a blue button on our website, but somehow it always shows red; because the source code wasn’t scripted effectively and defined it as such (red instead of blue). I may want to be a confident female, but as long as my source code as my definition dictates that a female is weak, fragile and submissive – I won’t be able to successfully be a confident female.
Within my parenting journey, I’ve found it imperative to investigate all the words associated with parenting, so that I can be the mother I want to be rather than the mother I’ve been conditioned to be.
During the first 7 years of a child’s development, most of our behaviour and personality is shaped. We are literal sponges that absorb everything coming our way and specify who we are and who we need to be to be able to ‘survive’ the conditions we’re faced with. This all happens on an unconscious level, where we are not involved in making conscious decisions about who we are and who we want to be – it all kind of just ‘happens’. Depending on the circumstances and events we face as a child, we will develop a particular personality. This is very well known in psychology, where clear patterns have been observed where adult abusers where once abused themselves as children. Or where children left in the woods, who by some miracle got raised by other animals like wolves – will show all the traits of ‘being a wolf’. What comes in when you are a child (input) will equal your behaviour and personality as an adult (output).
If you were raised with parents who were very anxious about the world, that the world is ‘not a safe place’ – you too will as an adult perceive the world as such and behave and make decisions accordingly.
Luckily, just as we can go back to the source code of a website and edit and correct any bugs or corrupted scripts; so too can we go back to our source code as the words we live and correct them, script them in a way that empowers us and allows us to live our utmost potential.
For more information on how to use words as a tool of self-empowerment and living your utmost potential, visit http://schoolofultimateliving.com/