SOUTH AFRICA: What is Love?

What is Love

What is love? I believe that each one of us understands “love” differently. Our upbringing has a lot to do with the way we show our love to others, and in the way we interpret loving gestures. Sometimes this leads to hurt feelings and misunderstandings. In this era of internet communication there are myriad ways of being misunderstood and / or to be taken advantage of, because of our imperfect understanding of what true love means.

I’m sure that every single one of you reading this has a clear idea of what love means to you – and I bet no two ideas are the same. That said, love is a universal need. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy, as soon as the basic necessities of survival (such as food, shelter, warmth, rest, safety and security) have been met, the next thing humans crave is love and the feeling of belonging.

For the longest time I felt unworthy of love, until I was exposed to the work of Dr. John Demartini. In his book The Breakthrough Experience, Dr. Demartini defines true love:

True love is a synthesis of the two aspects of one wave, and one full wave is light, which can also be called love. Love is a full quantum state. In physics they know that a full quantum state is massless, chargeless, spaceless and timeless, which by definition is spiritual and unconditional. Consciousness is light, and it comes in full quantum states. God is full quantum light.

Many people have different ideas of what love is, but I’m defining it as the synthesis or perfect blending of all dualistic perceptions, the summation of all polarities. When happiness and sadness are synthesized, they make love. Like and dislike, positive and negative, pain and pleasure, electron and positron in physics, all dualities, when totally synthesized, are love. No matter what -ology you investigate they all lead to the same essence, which is love, which is the unified field theory that permeates every human being and links us all.

Another quote of his is this:

No matter what you’ve done or not done, you’re worthy of love, and there’s nothing but love, all else is illusion. If you take the time to ask the right questions and reveal to your awareness what your intuition and inspiration are constantly calling you to be aware of, you will discover this, and you will be grateful for your life and you will do extraordinary things.

What I got out of that is that we don’t need to be a particular way or do a particular thing in order to be loved. Our essence is love. We just need to remember that!

How do you understand and define love? Do you agree that everyone is worthy of unconditional love?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Mama Simona from Cape Town, South Africa. Photo credit: Simon Shek / Flickr.

Mamma Simona (South Africa)

Mamma Simona was born in Rome (Italy) but has lived in Cape Town (South Africa) since she was 8 years old. She studied French at school but says she’s forgotten most of it! She speaks Italian, English and Afrikaans. Even though Italian is the first language she learned, she considers English her "home" language as it's the language she's most comfortable in. She is happily married and the proud mother of 2 terrific teenagers! She also shares her home with 2 cats and 2 dogs ... all rescues. Mamma Simona has worked in such diverse fields as Childcare, Tourism, Library Services, Optometry, Sales and Admin! (With stints of SAHM in-between). She’s really looking forward to the day she can give up her current Admin job and devote herself entirely to blogging and (eventually) being a full-time grandmother!

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SOUTH AFRICA: Crime Hits Too Close for Comfort

SOUTH AFRICA: Crime Hits Too Close for Comfort

Crime Hits Too Close for Comfort

Crime is not part of my daily life. I live in a middle to upper-class neighbourhood in Cape Town. We have an active Neighbourhood Watch, and most of the people in my neighbourhood also belong to the Community Policing Forum (aka CPF). The CPF has monthly meetings where we discuss crime stats, share self-defence tips etc. We all have signs on our gates indicating that we’re part of the CPF. We also have a WhatsApp group where we keep in contact with each. We’re all just a message away in case of medical or other emergency. I have always felt safe enough to leave my front door unlatched during the day.

This month, my illusion of safety was temporarily shattered. One morning, in broad daylight, shots were fired on my road! At first we couldn’t believe that it was gunshots. After all, this is a quiet neighbourhood and it was at a time of day when our road is pretty busy. Neighbourhood Watch was immediately on the case, whilst the rest of us were left stunned and wondering what we could do to help.

Roughly 30 minutes later I pulled out of my driveway into a surreal scene. Police cars, Neighbourhood Watch personnel and private security company vehicles were blocking the road. The crime tape was around my next-door neighbour’s property! That’s right – an armed robbery happened in the house on the other side of our boundary wall! I felt as if I’d been cast as an extra in a movie or TV series. Surely this can’t be real?! It was.

This is what happened:

My neighbour (let’s call him Bill) pulled out of his driveway and realised that he’d forgotten something, so he quickly ran back inside the house to fetch it without closing his gate (as we’ve all done numerous times). Two armed men followed him inside, pistol-whipped him, tied him up and demanded that he show them where his safe was.

At this time my neighbour’s adult son (let’s call him John) arrived with his wife. She walked inside whilst he waited in the car. She walked in on the robbers and screamed. The 2 armed suspects fled with the safe, but then dropped it as soon as they saw John, and jumped into the vehicle which was being driven by a 3rd suspect. John followed them and they shot at him out of the window – just like they do in movies! By then (thanks to our CPF network), police and other response vehicles joined in the chase. Two of the suspects jumped out the car when it got stuck in traffic and were promptly arrested. The driver got away, but later the same day he was arrested too.

I’ve been left rather bemused by this. By the next day there was no sign left of what had happened. Apart from the shock that this happening caused in our quiet and close-knit community, no real harm was done. The stolen goods were recovered, nobody was seriously injured and the suspects were arrested immediately. Things could have gone a lot worse. In fact, in many ways this could be considered a win for law and order.

That said, it still doesn’t quite feel real. I don’t know if it’s because of the shows that I watch, or just because it doesn’t seem possible that this happened right next door to my house. The strangest thing is that my neighbour is one of very few people on our street who did not belong to the CPF, and I can’t help but wonder if that was a factor in him being targeted.

Truthfully (but possibly foolishly) I still feel safe where I live.

Have you lived through something that just didn’t seem real or possible? How do you feel about it with hindsight?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Mama Simona from Cape Town, South Africa. Photo credit: Alan Cleaver / Flickr.

Mamma Simona (South Africa)

Mamma Simona was born in Rome (Italy) but has lived in Cape Town (South Africa) since she was 8 years old. She studied French at school but says she’s forgotten most of it! She speaks Italian, English and Afrikaans. Even though Italian is the first language she learned, she considers English her "home" language as it's the language she's most comfortable in. She is happily married and the proud mother of 2 terrific teenagers! She also shares her home with 2 cats and 2 dogs ... all rescues. Mamma Simona has worked in such diverse fields as Childcare, Tourism, Library Services, Optometry, Sales and Admin! (With stints of SAHM in-between). She’s really looking forward to the day she can give up her current Admin job and devote herself entirely to blogging and (eventually) being a full-time grandmother!

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SOUTH AFRICA: Why do we do the things we do?

Why do we do the things we do

My 20 year old daughter and I have been having some very interesting conversations lately.  The latest is what prompted me to share this with you.

I believe that all of us have things on our “To Do” Lists that somehow never get done.  We feel badly about not getting around to them, but we console ourselves with the “I don’t have time to do it” excuse.  We might even believe that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, but the truth is that we make time to do what really matters to us.
It’s actually a relief to admit to yourself the real reason for not doing something. It might be fear of failure, or simply the fact that we haven’t yet reached the level where the discomfort of not doing it is greater than the relief / happiness / sense of accomplishment etc. that getting it done would give us. Of course this is almost always something that happens subconsciously.  It’s only when you take a step back and objectively look at how you have spent your time until now, that you realise what’s truly important to you, and / or what’s holding you back.
Now I could argue that what I do at the office Monday to Friday is not something that I necessarily want to do, or ever aspired to be doing, however bringing the paycheck home is a priority (because we couldn’t afford to pay for my chronic medication, send our daughter to College, live in the house and neighbourhood we do, etc.) if it wasn’t for the money I contribute to our household every month.  Moms of babies, still in the blur of sleepless nights, feedings and nappy changes could argue that they would rather be doing something else, but it’s not really true, because the well-being of our children trumps everything else (at least for most moms)!
So why do we do the things we do?  It’s all about the “payoff.”
As much as we don’t like admitting it, humans are self-centered.  This is a simple fact. It doesn’t mean that we’re necessarily selfish or egotistical, merely that we (again, usually subconsciously) don’t do anything unless there’s some kind of benefit for us in doing it. For example, I have chosen a charity that does amazing work with special needs children in my neighborhood, and I have volunteered to be their Fundraising Co-ordinator. The “payoff” is simply “feeling good” about doing something to help further a cause close to my heart. I have started a “secret” Facebook page called Living with an Invisible Illness (for everyone who is living with any kind of chronic condition). The payoff? It’s an online support group that helps me as much as it helps the other members.
I’m pretty sure that, if you really think about it, you will find your “payoff” for even the most altruistic things that you do.
Is there anything that you feel you “should” do, but never get around to? Can you identify the real reason for not doing it?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Mama Simona from Cape Town, South Africa.

Photo credit: Stacy Spensley / Flickr.

Mamma Simona (South Africa)

Mamma Simona was born in Rome (Italy) but has lived in Cape Town (South Africa) since she was 8 years old. She studied French at school but says she’s forgotten most of it! She speaks Italian, English and Afrikaans. Even though Italian is the first language she learned, she considers English her "home" language as it's the language she's most comfortable in. She is happily married and the proud mother of 2 terrific teenagers! She also shares her home with 2 cats and 2 dogs ... all rescues. Mamma Simona has worked in such diverse fields as Childcare, Tourism, Library Services, Optometry, Sales and Admin! (With stints of SAHM in-between). She’s really looking forward to the day she can give up her current Admin job and devote herself entirely to blogging and (eventually) being a full-time grandmother!

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SOUTH AFRICA: The Best-Laid Birth Plan

SOUTH AFRICA: The Best-Laid Birth Plan

The Best-Laid Birth Plan
Before my (now 24 year old) son was born, I was a SuperSitter. Not only did I work for a Babysitting Agency called SuperSitters, but I’d also studied Child Psychology, Child and Infant First Aid and aced a course which would have allowed me to open up a daycare facility of my own, if I’d wanted to. I was the person they’d call for challenging babies and children. I could soothe a colicky baby and have a normally hyperactive child fast asleep before the parents came home. They all expressed their astonishment at how well their young ones behaved when in my care. I felt supremely confident in my ability to be a great mother – after all, if other people’s children behaved so wonderfully when I looked after them, surely my own flesh and blood would be even easier, right?!
When I found out I was pregnant, I was thrilled. I read every single book on pregnancy, childbirth and parenting that I could lay my hands on, attended prenatal classes, and congratulated myself on how well-prepared I was for motherhood. A week before my due date I had my bag packed for the hospital and my birth plan written out. My husband had been prepped as to what I would need from him at each stage of labour. We were ready – or so we thought!
My due date came and went with no sign whatsoever of my son wanting to be born.  I was extremely bloated and hot (January in South Africa is peak Summer heat), not to mention anxious to hold my son. To make matters even worse, my husband and I were living with my grandparents at the time, and with every braxton hicks contraction they would ask, “Is it time?” Eventually I couldn’t take it any more, so 10 days post due date I had my husband take me to the hospital. When I got there my contractions stopped again. On examination I was 3 cm dilated. The doctor asked me if I wanted to go home or if I was willing to have my labour induced. I wish that I’d been smart enough to go home, but at that moment I couldn’t face going home again without having given birth. This was to be the first of many mistakes I made as a mother.
I will spare you all the gory details, except to tell you that nothing went according to my meticulous birth plan, and I ended up needing an emergency c-section due to foetal distress. That was just the start of our problems.  The surgical team struggled to get my uterus to stop bleeding after they’d delivered my son. My blood pressure nearly bottomed out and (much later) my OB-Gyn admitted that, if I hadn’t stopped bleeding when I did, she would have had to perform a hysterectomy to save my life! I thank God every day that it didn’t happen, because I wouldn’t have my beautiful daughter if it had! I’d lost so much blood that they had to keep transfusing me throughout the night. I wasn’t taken back to the maternity ward until the next day.
Because of what had happened to me, I wasn’t given the chance to breastfeed my son until much later the next day.  By then they’d already given him a bottle and I never managed to get breastfeeding properly established. Instead of the minimum 6 months that I had planned to breastfeed, I ended up switching to bottle feeding almost from the day I got home. I really wish that I’d known then what I know now, like breastfeeding on demand!
As if that wasn’t bad enough, my son had severe colic for the first 3 months or so.  Much to my surprise and dismay, this “SuperSitter” was completely and utterly unable to soothe her own baby! I also suffered through Postpartum Depression. I thank God every day for the unbelievable support I had from my husband, grandparents and aunt, who all stepped in and did for my son what I wasn’t able to.
Things went from bad to worse for my poor son. He projectile vomited every feed for almost 2 years, despite all our best efforts. He also often had gastroenteritis. Between puke and diarrhea we did a full load of washing every.single.day.  I cried a lot during those first two years, because I felt like the world’s worst mother, and I was sure that my son wasn’t going to survive given all the vomiting.
Fast forward to today and the child I was so worried about has grown into a handsome, healthy and intelligent young man.  In those early days I couldn’t even begin to dream of him becoming the man he is today. He has surpassed all my expectations, and I am incredibly proud of him.
He is now married, and is the step-dad of a lovely little girl. My son has learnt how to speak, read and write German fluently, and is currently studying Computer Science (Informatik) at Goethe University in Frankfurt.
The main reason for writing this post (apart from the fact that today is my son’s birthday!) is to give hope to all the moms who, like me, feel that they’re not “good enough” mothers.  What I have learnt is that all children need to know three things – that you love them unconditionally, that you’re proud of them and that they can trust you.  As long as you have those 3 things in place, nothing else really matters that much.  Most of the things that we beat ourselves up for they don’t even remember when they grow up!
Was your labour and delivery what you hoped it would be?  What do you wish you’d known when you were younger?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Mama Simona from Cape Town, South Africa.

Photo credit to the author. 

Mamma Simona (South Africa)

Mamma Simona was born in Rome (Italy) but has lived in Cape Town (South Africa) since she was 8 years old. She studied French at school but says she’s forgotten most of it! She speaks Italian, English and Afrikaans. Even though Italian is the first language she learned, she considers English her "home" language as it's the language she's most comfortable in. She is happily married and the proud mother of 2 terrific teenagers! She also shares her home with 2 cats and 2 dogs ... all rescues. Mamma Simona has worked in such diverse fields as Childcare, Tourism, Library Services, Optometry, Sales and Admin! (With stints of SAHM in-between). She’s really looking forward to the day she can give up her current Admin job and devote herself entirely to blogging and (eventually) being a full-time grandmother!

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SOUTH AFRICA: Unwritten

Unwritten

On my way to work this morning, the song “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield played on the radio. I’ve heard the song many times before. This morning, I really paid attention to the lyrics for the first time, and reflected upon my own goals.

Many of us feel trapped in the routine of our daily life. We’ve all said at some point that we don’t have enough time. I’ve been using this excuse for two important goals in my life: decluttering my home, and writing my novel. These are things that I know will make me feel happy and proud of having accomplished them. The truth is that none of us “have” time, we “make” time to do what we really want to do. So I must ask myself the question, “Why have I not made time for the two goals that I’d most like to accomplish?”

The clutter in my home is complicated, as much of it was inherited from my husband’s family. For that reason, I feel that my husband must make the decision regarding what to keep and what to sell. Of course, there is no excuse for me not to get rid of my own clutter!

I know that my almost pathological fear of giving things away stems from my childhood. My parents were terrible at managing our family finances, and in our house, it was feast or famine. When my parents had money, they’d literally buy champagne and caviar. When they had none, we had to make do with “mystery” tins (we had a box of tins without labels). I guess it’s the fear of being without that holds me back from doing what I should in this regard. The ultimate irony is that I usually can’t find what I need, when I need it, anyway!

This brings me to my unwritten novel, which I have dreamt of writing for as long as I can remember. A couple of years ago, I signed up to NaNoWriMo, and started to work on my goal in earnest. Then I was diagnosed with lupus and psoriasis – two severe autoimmune diseases that have since wrecked havoc on my life. I was unable to type due to numbness and pain in my arms and hands. Since then, I have abandoned my goal of writing my novel. While my health challenges are certainly a handicap, I suspect that the real obstacle isn’t lack of time or my health, it’s fear. As long as my novel remains unwritten, it can’t be rejected. I can hold on to my dream of being an author “one day”, whereas if I write it and it’s not good enough, I would have to give up on the dream.

You would think that, given the above insights, I’d be able to overcome my psychological hurdles and get on with it. I’m happy to be able to confirm that I’ve started taking baby steps in the right direction. I have given away two large bags full of clothes I no longer wear, and I’ve started writing for World Moms Network again.

To paraphrase Unwritten: each day we get a brand new chance to “begin our book.” No one else can do or say what we are meant to do and say. We’re all unique, and therefore uniquely qualified for whatever it is that we’re meant to accomplish in our lifetimes.

What goals do you have,  but “don’t have time” for? If you have already published a book, do you have any advice for us aspirant authors?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Mama Simona from Cape Town, South Africa.

Photo credit: Caleb Roenigk / Flickr.

Mamma Simona (South Africa)

Mamma Simona was born in Rome (Italy) but has lived in Cape Town (South Africa) since she was 8 years old. She studied French at school but says she’s forgotten most of it! She speaks Italian, English and Afrikaans. Even though Italian is the first language she learned, she considers English her "home" language as it's the language she's most comfortable in. She is happily married and the proud mother of 2 terrific teenagers! She also shares her home with 2 cats and 2 dogs ... all rescues. Mamma Simona has worked in such diverse fields as Childcare, Tourism, Library Services, Optometry, Sales and Admin! (With stints of SAHM in-between). She’s really looking forward to the day she can give up her current Admin job and devote herself entirely to blogging and (eventually) being a full-time grandmother!

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