Day 125…Rather the Night

“The pale stars were sliding into their places. The whispering of the leaves was almost hushed. All about them it was still and shadowy and sweet. It was that wonderful moment when, for lack of a visible horizon, the not yet darkened world seems infinitely greater—a moment when anything can happen, anything be believed in.” ― Olivia Howard Dunbar, The Shell of Sense

…sometimes the only thing that we need to change is our perspective…our focus…it will change our whole world…and more importantly…it will change our experience of that world…reality may stay the same…but the experience will be totally different…

The time difference between the two photographs was only a short span of time…and a slight turn to the left…from exactly the same point…

Yet…in those few minutes…the lit house directly in my line of sight…seemingly impeding our view…was “poof”…gone…and the evening seemed to be strewn with diamonds and shiny pieces of glass…shrouded in elegant black velvet filigree…

That is what gratitude does for me…it changes my perspective…what I focus on…reality doesn’t change…but my experience of the moment does…

There were days at the office when the girls and I were ready to scream…the boss was unhappy…customers were screaming and needing everything right now…at this particular moment…and all at the same time…our teammates were not being cooperative in helping to find solutions…in a nutshell…swirling dust devils of anger and frustration…

The only thing that gave us perspective was…to take a gratitude break…I would stop and ask, “OK, what are we grateful for?”…it would help to break the negative emotional downward spiral that we were on…the irritation..the exasperation that we felt building…

…working close to work…having a job…flexibility in leaving if we had an emergency…not grandiose ideas…but enough to change the momentum in a breathe or two…

It is the same here…living in this new environment…when the loneliness and frustrations arise…I soften up and breathe…sit in the moment and count my blessings…Mr. P first and foremost…my not dealing with the incredible stress and frustration of my old life…the beauty that I am surrounded with..all of the new experiences that I have the chance to encounter…the dreams and creative and artistic endeavors that I now have the opportunity to explore…

“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?”
― C. JoyBell C.

people walking near steel rack
…awww yes…perspective really is everything
Photo by Drew Patrick Miller on Unsplash

Day 121…Blooming

It does not matter if you are a rose or a lotus or a marigold. What matters is that you are flowering…Rajneesh

https://www.azquotes.com/quotes/topics/marigolds.html

Hard to believe that it has been 4 months since I have arrived here in Port Elizabeth…so much has transpired…

Most of all…coming to terms with retirement…a major life change…for me, it came with a sense of loss of purpose…my work defined my life…and even worse…a loss of identity… I was good at what I did…people depended on me…needed me…

Don’t get me wrong…it was incredibly stressful and so unhealthy for me…there is now this incredible feeling of relief and freedom..the demands and responsibilities are gone…I can breathe again…

21 Insightful Quotes About Embracing Change

I am finding my way…slowly…learning to slow down and breathe…to heal…and enjoy the wonderful and myriad blessings that I have been given…here and now…

I think for me…that has been important part of this process…breathing…being in the moment…enjoying what is…right here and right now…not needing to figure everything out…RIGHT NOW (that is definitely been a challenge for this Control Freak)…

I am learning embrace each and every breath that I am blessed to be given…To celebrate my life…to live my life fully and passionately…for by being fully present in the here and now…the light of my current joy, peace and happiness will light the path in it’s perfect time…

Play Time at the Park

…Sharing my life with indomitable Mr. P definitely adds so much flavor and makes life so much more delicious…and often desire to find the path becomes less needful..and I become more content and at peace with just blooming…in the here and now…and that may be all I need to do…

“If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.”

― Thich Nhat Hanh, Being Peace

Day 113…Expat Holiday Blues

“Snowflakes swirl down gently in the deep blue haze beyond the window. The outside world is a dream.

Inside, the fireplace is brightly lit, and the Yule log crackles with orange and crimson sparks.

There’s a steaming mug in your hands, warming your fingers.

There’s a friend seated across from you in the cozy chair, warming your heart.

There is mystery unfolding.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Canal Walk Shopping Centre in Cape Town

The snow has already fallen in Indiana…a little unusual this early in the season…but a perfect beginning to the Holiday season in the U.S….

Thanksgiving is just around the corner…a Holiday that is not celebrated here in South Africa…there is a pang that hits the heart as I realize that I won’t be sharing with friends and family… all the fun and frivolity…and total craziness that happens during this season…

I had thought to start a new tradition here and share a traditional American Thanksgiving meal…we even found a frozen turkey…although it traveled from Brazil to get here…apparently turkeys are not a product of South Africa…

Yet I haven’t found the answer yet…to this weepy feeling…Mr. P is in the throes of a new project and issues with the company…so his attention is needed elsewhere at the moment…and there are the feelings of rejection from his children…all which makes the loss of family even more poignant…

But I will call and keep in touch with family and friends…try and remember that part of the emotion is romanticized…forgetting about the stress that invariably ensues with the season..

It’s all part of the journey…a few dark threads that are intermingled with the golden and colorful…

Day 94…Date Night

Dressing up…Rose Bouqet lipstick…Talking and Laughing…Holding Hands…A Table for two…a local Craft Beer…A Boschendal Rose Garden Rose…

Two Olives Restaurant and Tapas Bar

Adding my solitary lonliness with Mr. P’s demanding work schedule and recent Fascia Back situation…it was such a magnificant way to reconnect and fall a little deeper into that yummy feeling…

The Two Olives is located in the historic area of Richmond Hill. This marvelous Farm-To-Table Artisan Restaurant is located on the second story.

The alluring side entrance to the stairwell winds up to the warm and open arms of the Authentic Mediterranean Restaurant…

Our Traditional Friday Night pizza drew Mr. P to chose the Salami Gorgonzola Pizza…had a slice…yummy looking as well as delectable…although not wood fired…Mr. P’s preferred type of pizza

It took me a while longer to figure out my desired dish of the evening would be…the many variations on our traditional choice of pizza on Friday’s plus the plethora of mouth watering plate descriptions made my decision extremly difficult and took more time than I would care to freely admit…

There was some anxiety with my choice…I have a fondness for certain seafood…such as shrimp…so I leaned towards choosing the Prawns…but there was several downsides to that choice…

I had seen Prawns served here in SA…and they are served all intact…heads with little beady black eyes and whiskery antennae…and all 10 of those pesky legs…how was I to eat them without making a fool out of myself and having a mini panic attack…

The desire to investigate something new that I hadn’t tried before here in SA won out…I chose the Pan Fried Prawns with the Chili Sauce… and in keeping of low carb eating…exchanged the rice and fries for a Greek Salad…and that was an exceedingly excellent decision…so delish!!!!

Now just saying…this was exquisite on the palate…the chili sauce was something I would have paid extra for…my desire for piquant, zesty food is not not often placated here in South Africa…but this definately did the trick…

And the waiter brought a fingerbowl of warm water with lemon…so at least my fingers ended up clean…can’t say that for my blouse though…

ahhhh…but then to offset the carbs I gave up…we had to try this decandent Treesome …the Fried Lindt Ball was to “die for”…

Definately a Richland Hill Magic Kind of Evening…

Day 82…Transplanted

Amost three months have traveled their way through my life, since I arrived here in Port Elizabeth, South Africa…and interwoven among those threads of time… almost every conceivable emotion that a human is capable of…anxiety, awkwardness, excitement, joy, nostolgia, romance and love, sympathy, confusion, aesthetic appreciation, fear, despair…and innumerable others…

I have traveled and even lived in different places within the beautiful world we reside on…but this time it is different…I am changing in profound and enigmatic ways…and I know within the depth of my soul that I will never be the same again…

The warm thoughts of this beautiful country and the incredible life that I am now living…with the delightful and lovable Mr. P… is counterbalanced with the knowledge of all the things that I am missing…the parties…the Holidays…my awesome family…granddaughters growing and changing… life is going on without me…and their lives are changing…they will become different people…and so will I…

That is a dark thread…that sadness that will become a part of my richly woven tapestry…interspersed among the resplendent colors of my new life…I do not yet see the whole design…I know that the dark will magically intersperse with the light…leaving a unique composition that will be my singular Masterpiece…yet, only a piece in the great measureless, collective canvas of universal life…

Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury

Day 65…Joie de Vivre

The Joy of Life

We often make life so much harder that it needs to be…and often, than it really is…we keep saying…one day…one day I will be happy…when I get the raise…when I get married…when I lose those last 10 pounds…when the kids grow up…when…when…when…and we never are happy…because there is always just one more thing in our life that needs to be “right” or “perfect”…

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
― Rumi Born: 30 September 1207, Balkh, Afghanistan

A universal and forever and always human predicament…apparently…

Yet, the very act of waking to a new day…the here and now…this wonderful…dazzling…crazy…miraculous…world that we inhabit…that should fill us with bubbling…effervescent joy…every “present” moment…afterall…it is a “gift”…

“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”
― Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life

It’s the Simple Things
Such as…Collecting Pinecones for Starting the Grill

“Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” ~Unknown

Day 55…Elephants

Addo Elephant Herd

“There is a mystery behind the masked gray visage, and ancient life force, delicate and mighty, awesome and enchanted, commanding the silence ordinarily reserved for mountain peaks, great fires and the sea.” ~Peter Matthiessen, The Tree Where Man was Born

I unequivocally enjoyed our trip to Addo Elephant Park…with the zebras, ostriches, kudu, water buffalo, warthogs…all the expected and much more…it was the majestic elephants which just took my breath away…incredibly fastinating to watch…and I don’t believe that I was the only one…

Like a Troop of Baboons Around the Watering Hole

Lesson #1…Live in a community…There was such a sense of community…you can see their love and enjoyment of each other… it is rare that they live alone…most thrive by living in clans with family and friends…strong social ties have been proven to increase longevity…

Mud Bath Enjoyment

Lesson #2…Flap your ears…happiness has been linked to a longer life…and definately will increase the enjoyment and quality…

The Gang is All Here

Lesson #3…Eat your veggies…and don’t forget about the roughage…elephants typically eat grasses, small plants, fruits, twigs and their favorite tree bark…and they live to about 70 years of age…

We sat and watch a elephant troop…led by a very large Matriarch…who, you could tell, was utterly frustrated that she had to walk around a stupid group of humans in their tin can cars…she didn’t stomp or scream…or create any huge ruckas…

She just kept walking and dumped a huge pile of excrement next to our cars…we had to laugh…and sometimes, I believe…we need to do that that too…figuratively, of course…when people and situations get in our way…anything that threatens your self respect, peace of mind, or self-worth…just “cluck it” and walk away with dignity (and attitude of course)…just saying…