Chew On It: What A Wonderful World

I’m incredibly grateful to live in the most beautiful city in the world, where I feel relatively safe and am able to enjoy an amazing mix of cultures and their accompanying cuisines. Travelling is a huge passion of mine and experiencing the myriad of cultures, people, food and nature.

I visited South Africa last month and had a wonderful time in Sabi Sands Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park. I met some fascinating people while I was on safari and am happy to report that the leopards, lions and hyenas totally ignored me! The safari experience is definitely something for everyone’s bucket list.

I also visited Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. For me, the highlight wasn’t the falls themselves (I’ve been to Iguazu Falls in Brazil/Argentina, and in my opinion, Victoria Falls is a distant second), but rather the long line of cheerful teenage students in bright yellow T-shirts who high fived me as I walked past them.

It was such a pleasure interacting with the people, and a delight to learn their names. I met one guy by the name of Reply, so-called because he was a reply to his mum’s prayer. Then there was Positive and Clever (those are self-explanatory) and someone named No Mistake because he wasn’t one.

Funnily enough, my name belongs in the same category – translated, it means ‘Blue Sky’. My parents seemingly had an inkling I would have a positive outlook on life because in amongst the terrible tragedies I have endured, there is also an abundance of joy and pleasure. My experiences have made me more empathetic, more compassionate and more appreciative of my limited time in this world.

Past, present and future
I find that so often, we look back on the good old days and forward to what awaits us in the future, rather than revelling in the present. The fact is that the present is the good old days of the future.

Still on the subject of the future, a strategy I use when it comes to making certain decisions, is to imagine that I am in the future, looking back at the situation and the decisions I should have made. I then make those decisions in the present to ensure that I have no regrets in the future. I follow my heart and passion, knowing that the path is not a straight one, but one filled with detours, bumps, and roadblocks en route to my final destination. And I constantly remind myself that I can change direction if I don’t like the path I’m on.

I recently realised my purpose in life after 45 years of actively participating in it: to make a positive difference in people’s lives. This also happens to be exactly what Elixr is about. Being able to teach (I became a karate instructor at 14 and a fitness/aerobics instructor at 21) has been incredibly fulfilling and the responsibilities that go hand-in-hand with being a good teacher – ensuring that the knowledge and experiences I share are credible and authentic – have motivated me to be a good student, too.

Essential viewing
I recently started watching TED Talks on YouTube, which I highly recommend as long as you research, analyse and challenge any information your hear – the experts have been known to get it wrong!

I also really appreciated a recent conversation between Stephen Colbert and CNN’s Anderson Cooper on the subject of grief, where both men were completely vulnerable about their own experiences. It’s a must for anyone who has experienced grief first hand.

Finally, make time to watch the speech delivered by Steve Jobs at Stanford University. He has some wonderful messages that most of us would benefit from hearing.