There is an often overlooked rule in history; far more is lost and forgotten than is preserved and remembered. The rule relates to progress. As a species we are on the information highway and know more, but are we wiser?
When I think of wisdom, I am always reminded of this quote from Brian O Driscoll “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.”
Our attitude, spirit and tenacity can affect the outcome of any challenge that comes our way. To be proactive, you must also be self-aware to understand who you are and your purpose. Long term thinking and planning allows us to reap the rewards in the future.
We’ve all heard it over and over again about the
irreversible damage caused to the planet because of our habits of over
consumption. Social media or plain “green” activism is great to create a sense
of awareness. It is a nice feeling to like or share a post on planet friendly
causes. But this will not change anything. Our daily habits affect every part
of our life. Taking time to practise habits that care for the planet, remind me
of self-care too.
House plants have become a topic of conversation lately as
people are reconnecting with all things nature and organic. They have always
been a design feature and for me it makes my house look fresh and stylish. If
you choose the right plant, they can be relatively low maintenance and the
plant sings out your green fingers. I believe nurturing house plants is a win /
win situation – if you have enough large house plants, they remove volatile
organic compounds from an indoor environment. Indoor plants offer the joy of
taking care of something and seeing it respond and connecting to the plant that
way helps in our own personal growth.
Mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plant/ Sansevieria
Swiss cheese plant / Monstera deliciosa
Rubber tree / Ficus Elastica
Fiddle leaf fig / Ficus lyrata
Radiator Plants /Peperomia
Cactus / Cactaceae
Some such as fiddle leaf fig, Swiss cheese plant, Rubber
tree and Philodendron can get very big. If you are a novice at growing, you are
better to get a full sized one or if you have a bit of experience, you can get
a smaller one in spring and nurture it to full size.
Now that I have my
plants what next…
Get yourself off to a good start by buying the right plant
for your space and lifestyle.
I like to place a used kitchen sponge or kitchen cloth
between the pot and the saucer. I believe this retains some of the moisture and
prevents the roots drying out.
The plants mentioned above like to dry out between waterings
which is why they are user friendly. They will thrive best with bright,
indirect light. You can group two or three plants together and make a living
Tips to take care of
Make yourself a
routine of inspecting the health of your plant and watering on a regular basis.
Perhaps in the initial stages you can make a time on your calendar until it
becomes a routine.
Do the “finger test” to avoid over watering – pop a finger
in the soil. If it’s still wet, don’t water it. Over watering is a common
mistake and the reason why house plants die.
When I go away on holiday, I fill my bath tub with about an
inch of water and I lay old towels in the bath tub. I place all my house plants
minus the saucers in the bath tub. I have left my house plants this way for up
to five weeks over summer and they all survived.
Friday night drinks have become a
ritual in our household. Weeknights are busy with work, school and gym but Friday
night is special as we are all relaxed and we get together around the island in
the kitchen. This one was my son’s creation. Looks decadent and tastes amazing.
60ml rye whiskey
½ teaspoon triple sec or Cointreau
15ml simple syrup
30ml lemon juice
Red wine (Shiraz/Malbec/Bordeaux
Soda water (optional)
Put whiskey, triple sec, simple
syrup, lemon juice and egg white in a shaker. Shake without ice to mix
ingredients. Then shake with ice to chill and dilute. Pour into a desired
glass. “Float” wine into glass by pouring over spoon. Top with soda and serve
immediately. Makes one drink.
There are maintenance jobs to do at this time of the year –
pruning roses and feeding your spring bulbs with liquid fertilizer come to mind.
I guess the leaf raking goes without saying because it is winter. Everything is
so sodden and water logged so be careful when you tread on lawn – you don’t
want to compact your lawn by walking on it too much. The other usual winter
jobs in the garden are pruning lightly pruning any deciduous fruit trees and
giving them a spray of neem oil.
If your roses are infected, it would pay to spray them with
neem oil. In fact even your ornamentals can do with a spray of neem oil from
time to time. It is also good time to plant summer lilies. Talking about
planting – a few weeks back I planted garlic and potatoes. You are meant to
plant garlic on the shortest day to harvest on the longest day. Both garlic and
potatoes require heavy feeding and well-draining soil. I have planted some in
soil and some in pots. Garlic is a first for me and seems promising with the
shoots appearing already.
For winter colour, you can’t go past cyclamen and primulas.
They are just so bright and cheery and once you plant, they require the odd
feed once every few weeks and reward you with their cheerful blooms weeks on
I do use a lot of herbs in my cooking so I have also planted
Italian Parsley, sage and rosemary all in pots and placed them on the patio
where the afternoon sun comes. I did the mistake of planting mint in my garden
and it grows wild everywhere. Just as well I love the freshness mint delivers
be it for sweet or savoury dishes or Friday night drinks so I don’t feel bad.
When I was working, I did not have enough time to care for
my citrus and even though I have a few in the garden, they never fruited. Now I
can tell you that I have learnt the art of taking care of them so they are
fruiting abundantly. Here are my tips:
Citrus are hungry and big feeders. You may need to feed them
with a citrus fertilizer three times a year. When the tree is giving out new
shoots and flowers, I feed it a generous amount of Epsom salts (the variety you
buy in the supermarket). Every time you feed make sure you spread the
fertilizer around and water it in. During dry season, you must not forget to
water once every few days at least. Lastly, I mulch them with pea straw –
spread the pea straw around the tree leaving some space empty around the trunk.
If you feel the leaves are curling, then give it a spray of neem oil.
The geraniums I planted towards end of summer are still
going strong and adding some brightness to the patio. I dead head them
regularly and feed liquid fertilizer once every three to four weeks. A couple
of months back they got a bad case of caterpillar infestation and yes I
hand-picked the caterpillars out but also sprayed with my trusted neem oil.
A friend of mine Rachel, sent this to me just over ten years
ago. I saved it because it is an inspiring message delivered well and makes
George Bernard Shaw said, “People are always blaming their
circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people
who get on in this world are people who get up and look for the circumstances
they want, and if they can’t find them, they make them.”
Well, it’s pretty apparent, isn’t it? And every person who
discovered this believed (for a while) that he was the first one to work it
out. We become what we think about.
Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn’t know
where he’s going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion,
anxiety and worry – his life becomes one of frustration, fear, anxiety and
worry. And if he thinks about nothing …. he becomes nothing.
How does it work? Why do we become what we think about?
Well, I’ll tell you how it works, as far as we know. To do this, I want to tell
you about a situation that parallels the human mind.
Suppose a farmer has some land, and it’s good, fertile land.
The land gives the farmer a choice; he may plant in that land whatever he
chooses. The land doesn’t care. It’s up to the farmer to make the decision.
We are comparing the human mind with the land because the
mind, like the land, doesn’t care what you plant in it. It will return what you
plant, but it doesn’t care what you plant.
Now, let’s say that the farmer has two seeds in his hand –
one is seed of corn, the other is nightshade, a deadly poison. He digs two
little holes in the earth and he plants both seeds – one corn, and the other
nightshade. He covers up the holes, waters and takes care of the land – and what
will happen? Invariably, the land will return what was planted.
As it’s written in the Bible, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”
Remember the land doesn’t care. It will return poison in
just as wonderful abundance as it will corn. So up come the two plants – one corn,
The human mind is far more fertile, far more incredible and
mysterious than the land, but it works the same way. It doesn’t care what we
plant ….success….or failure. A concrete, worthwhile goal… or confusion,
misunderstanding, fear, anxiety and so on. But what we plant it must return to
You see, the human mind is the last great unexplored
continent on earth. It contains riches beyond our wildest dreams. It will
return anything we want to plant.
Years ago when my kids were still in primary school (so
possibly 15 years ago) I printed these commandments and we used to read it
aloud together. I was rummaging through stuff in my study and came across the
printed version. They are still so relevant.
Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the
people who treat you right. Forget about the ones who don’t. Believe everything
happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If
it changes your life, let it.
Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is
fighting some kind of battle.
If you want your dreams to come true, you mustn’t oversleep.
Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.
The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your
The heaviest thing you can carry is a grudge.
One thing you can give and still keep … is your word.
You lie the loudest when you lie to yourself.
If you lack the courage to start, you have already finished.
One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.
Ideas won’t work unless ‘you’ do.
Your mind is like a parachute … it functions only when open.
The 10 commandments are not a multiple choice.
The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime! It is
never too late to become what you might have been.
I believe Dr Seuss was a literary genius and while his prose
about Green Eggs and Ham may have fired our childhood imaginations, there is
great wisdom and life lessons to be learned.
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one
alive who is Youer than You.”
You are you – so special and unique. Why bother trying to be
someone else when you can be the best version of yourself. Celebrate your uniqueness
and stand proud. Here are the lessons I learned along my journey and I hope
they help you become confident and the best versions of yourself.
This does not necessarily mean getting a degree or diploma –
it means a quest for learning and improving/ developing yourself every day for
the rest of your lives. It is a thirst for knowledge and whatever kind of
learner you are, make sure you learn something new every day.
I still believe in the relevance of SMART goals as it gives
you direction and purpose not only at work but also in your personal life.
Think about what you want to achieve in life and work on specific, measurable,
achievable, realistic and time bound goals (SMART). They could be for the next
six months, or in the next five years.
INVEST IN YOURSELF
Self-care can never be underestimated. Look after your
physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Eat well and regularly to
nourish your body. Exercise regularly. Take time out to smell the roses. This
is not selfish and I am often reminded of the flight attendant instructions of putting
your oxygen mask on first, before helping others. … Because if you run out of
oxygen, you can’t help anyone else with their oxygen mask!!
DON’T BE A PEOPLE PLEASER
Learn to prioritize and say “No”. Once you try pleasing
people there is no end in sight. This is very good advice given by my mum when
I got married. Initially it might be hard but at least you are clear on your
boundaries and people will not take liberties (aka you won’t get hurt or upset)
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
Keep doing what you love. Stay curious and interested
blocking out all the social media noise. This is your life and no one else is
better at living it than you. A famous Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you
can, or you think you can’t – you’re right,” Be the fairy tale little engine
that could. Yad Bhavam Tad Bhavati is
a line from the Ancient Vedas which means your inner thoughts make your outer
appearance. You are what you believe and you become what you believe
THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH
There are no shortcuts in life. Be very wary and guarded if
something seems too good to be true or does not seem reasonable. All that
glitters is not gold after all.
THINK ABUNDANCE NOT SCARCITY
This is an attitude that allows you to see more, do more and
be more. Make a conscious effort to recognize the unlimited possibilities
surrounding you. You are restricted by the limitations/ restrictions set by
your own mind. So start breaking free.
SAVE BEFORE SPENDING
It is okay to have delayed gratification. Things bought on
credit card end up being more expensive if you can’t pay the credit card within
the month. Saving money is good for you and puts you in financial control.
Saving gives you a sense of achievement plus everyone needs to save for a rainy
day. You are your own unique self and you do not have to keep up with the
It is human to make mistakes. Own your mistakes, take
responsibility and try your best to make it right. Every encounter is an
experience we need to move us forward. Setbacks and failures hep make your
resolve stronger and you do become more resilient.
HUMILITY IS UNDERRATED
Humility is considered a state of being, highlighted by your
behaviour and approach to things. Humility is not about hiding away or about
becoming a ‘wallflower’, but it is about the realization your abilities and
actions are not better or less. Humility doesn’t require the ranking of things,
but it calls for the understanding of the true value or worth of things. Staying
humble will keep you grounded.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of
yourself less.” – C.S. Lewis
THIS TOO WILL PASS
Time and tide wait for no one and time is a great healer. We
are all transient in this world and luckily the hard or difficult time you are
going through is temporary and will pass soon. A new dawn brings with it the
promise of a new day, new experiences and opportunities. Believe in yourself
and you shall overcome.
WHO IS IN YOUR INNER CIRCLE?
Do you have a sibling or parents or a partner or close
friends who love you unconditionally? They are loyal and care for your
wellbeing and you know you will not be judged. These people in a way are your
care mentors and as we navigate through life we need to nurture our inner
For as long as I can remember I have always dreamed big –
wild fantasies and visions of achieving big great things in life. I know I am
not the only dreamer. Dreaming involves holding tight to a vision of a better
life, one of success and abundance. While getting there might be difficult,
having to deal with setbacks and failures along the way, it’s surely well worth
it. Anyone who’s achieved a big goal knows just how true that statement is. It
all starts with a dream which is a thought, which becomes your vision and then
The dictionary defines gratitude as the quality of being
thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. John F
Kennedy so aptly said “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget
that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
In the spirit of making the world a better place, you have to share to show you care. Share within your community, share with a neighbour, family, friends. Be it knowledge, experience, time or money – emulate the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett but do share at your level. Give what you can afford – share with the Universe in an unselfish and not wanting anything in return way and the Universe gives you more.
I wanted to share this quote from Anne Lamott with everyone as it is so apt for anyone who finds excuses for inaction:
“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written, or you didn’t go swimming in those warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”
Don’t be a bystander – be bold and confident and do your thing .. whatever it maybe.