Are you standing in front of a closed door?

Where I am in my life right now is a result of all the doors I have walked through, all the decisions I have made. My continued self development depends on my willingness to keep moving into new spaces. My grandmother used to tell me that when you find yourself in a space where all the doors are closed to you, God will always open a window…

“What’s wrong with Doc Oz?” my best friend asks me bewildered.

“Doc Oz is cat on a cloud,” I explain my need for change. “I like you being Bakerman for some time. Like the song. I want to come out of lala-land. Dorothy has gone away. Daily bread is closer to Jesus. But bread makes me fat. Oh come on, be a sport.”

“Ok,” my friend shrugs his shoulders and looks at me expectantly of what is to come.

When an opportunity presents itself to you, welcome it. Walk through that open door. Trust that everything happens for a reason and you have been guided to it. Sometimes I have a tendency to overanalyze or agonize over the decisions I have made, but it is a waste of time to second guess yourself. It is much more beneficial to simply go through the door and discover what’s there. Even if it doesn’t seem right at first, opening this door may lead to another door that will take you where you need to go. Nothing is written in stone. Mistakes can be corrected. Contracts are made to be broken.

I have passed so many doors in my life, leading me to new relationships, jobs, friendships, and creative inspirations. Every time I walk through an open door, I create my memory encourages me to move into the new fearlessly. When I enter a new space, I feel a thrill of confidence. I love stepping across the threshold into a new life. What about you?

Fiona

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A woman in the midst of patriarchal culture

When was the last time I gave myself a rest? A really, really, really good rest? And let every inch of my land lie fallow? I remember it quite vividly. It was Easter and I went with my three little cherubs down to Normandy in France.

“Happy Easter!” I cheer at Bakerman down my webcam over Skype.

“Thank you. Happy Easter to you too,” Bakerman smiles and waves back at me. “Are you on your way yet?”

“We arrived in Normandy yesterday,” I wink at him. Surely he notices the change in scenery through my webcam. Then again, maybe not. “Weather is awful but that was to be expected as I am a cloud and rain goddess. What does Easter symbolise to you?”

“Easter symbolises the plagiarism of Passover that Jesus Christ enjoyed before being arrested,” Bakerman spits out and I notice immediately I have gotten him started on something. “Catholic church bastardized the celebration much like Islam did.”

“Okay so it’s really about Passover. But what is it about?” I say trying to suss his rant. “Plagiarism sounds quite harsh. It’s normal for religions to adopt things from other cultures to gain more following.”

“Yes but to take the truth and twist it into nonsense is very bad,” Bakerman booms with a loud and heavy voice. “Worth a whipping at the least.”

“Liberation from slavery. I wish to be liberated from slavery. But without the whipping,” I reflect on his weird remarks. “You’d have to go back and whip Emperor Constantin.”

“Yes passive is about the biggest slave revolt ever. Passover,” Bakerman corrects his lapsus. “What besides chocolate does Easter mean to you? And besides little bunnies.”

“Family, chocolate, flowers, Jesus is resurected, hope,” I sum up everything that comes to mind on my fingers. “I’m not passive though, I’m really trying to make this work. Passive is no revolt, it’s apathy.”

“True,” Bakerman nods encouraging me along the path of philosophical discussion. “You will make it.”

“How can you be so sure?” I ask him as my voice quavers a little betraying my deep-rooted insecurity. Letting things lie fallow feels… biblical.

We don’t live in a world that honours just being still, like a plot of land unseeded. We are all celebrated for how much we do and how hard we work. And the weight and breadth of the what we accomplish is actually quite spectacular.

So stop a moment and reflect. What feels like an obligation that isn’t? Where could you make space for something unknown? What could you let go of? What could you say no to? Where will you allow a clearing to lie down and rest, praising the moon above?

In peace and love,

Fiona

Bread is very important

This morning I waited impatiently for my doorbell to ring. The previous day I had received a short message from the Bakerman asking me if he should look into social media marketing and why.

This subject is right up my alley. Very enthusiastic about the possibilities SMM can bring any business, as well as the wide variety of social platforms. I have been digging deeper into the subject over the past months. Reading blogs and taking course paths and certification exams along the way.

“Morning!” I cheer as I am almost jumping up and down in my own doorway.

“For later, will you Skype me or shall I Skype you, or Mary?” We had settled on talking about social media over Skype, after the Bakerman had finished his rounds of delivering his goodies to the world. And then safe back in the warmth of his own house he would call me with his lovely daughter, Mary.

“And which Skype address?” I hold his gaze as he hands me by bread and buns, still warm in their brown paper bags.

“bakerman.gingerbread2,” the Bakerman replies as he stands there quite still smiling at me for a brief moment.

“I will send a list of all online courses in online marketing. That way Mary can have a look and decide where to start.” I tell him as I reach for my phone. I fumble about for a moment searching for the article that I had in mind, finding it, then copy pasting the URL link to send via text message.

“This article actually lays it out very well, with all relevant links,” I am always super enthusiastic about sharing my knowledge with the world. Even greater is my excitement when I can share newly found resources around me.

“Thank you,” Bakerman replies as he slowly heads back over to his van to continue his morning round.

I always believe that life belongs to those who dare to do. It doesn’t matter if you fail, it will teach you something. And at least you tried. Those who never attempt anything will never fail, but they’ve also never really lived. Not by sitting lazily behind their computer awing over the failures of others, whilst sippy sipping their hot cup of tea.

The philosopher in me is awake and has joined the kids at the breakfast table. Life is about feeling, I think as I lay out the bread and the fresh buns for hungry little hands to grab at. First you feel, then you think. You think out your plan in detail, find the pitfalls, work out your best success strategy. Then you dare. You dare to believe in your dreams, that you can make it great. And then, only then, do you do.

No time for ‘what if’ games. ‘What if’ doesn’t exist. Those are just mind games. Don’t second guess yourself. Find someone to team up with. Someone happy and positive. Tell them your dreams and your plans. Let them encourage you and hold you responsible to live up to your ideals. There is a certain romance in thinking together, reading together, daring together.

Be bold.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

Charity for a spiritual sponge #PeaceOfMind

The next lunchtime the Wizard finds me in a disgruntled mood. He hovers around me observing my overall attitude.

“Good day,” I say to the Wizard with a voice that conveys I am not in a happy place right now. “The Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe is still harassing me about money. She is adamant I still owe her 289 Euros. Shall I just ignore her?”

“No. Pay it,” the Wizard says matter of factly.

“What really?” I say in disbelief. “But I don’t agree. Her calculation is wrong. At the most I might still owe her the 89 Euros. Seriously? Why? Why can’t I ignore her?”

“Fight if you want to,” the Wizard sighs. “Cheap price for peace.”

“There will never be any peace,” I say angrily. “Ignoring isn’t fighting.”

“Once she has nothing left to harass you about cut her off as much as possible,” the Wizard advises.

“Why can’t I do it now?” I want to know. “And what about her calculation being wrong?”

“You can,” the Wizard reassures me. “But there is a discrepancy in the amount so this will go one forever. Plus don’t be cheap. Money will come back to you. See it as charity.”

“Charity…,” I trail off. “For the poor little Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe.”

“Yes,” the Wizard smiles.

“Stupid Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe,” I snap.

“Yes,” the Wizard nods.

“Pffff what a scam,” I roll my eyes at him. “What a cheap excuse of a mother. She’s a piss-poor mother. Will this ever come back to her?”

“No you gain the upper hand,” the Wizard starts laying out the big picture for me. “Tell her you disagree with her calculation but you give her the benefit of the doubt out of sympathy. You tell she needs it more than you do, so she can have it with pleasure.” He waits a moment to make sure I have understood that part, then he continues: “Yes it already has. The punishment has already begun.”

“I am telling you this will never stop,” I say bewildered. “She will find something else. Oh yes, which punishment?”

“Yes she will but you can negotiate it or ignore it as she no longer has any power over you,” the Wizard says calmly. “Punishment, old and bitter. Maybe in time lonely too.”

“Old, bitter, dried-up, single, horrible Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe,” I snap again.

“Yes with no grandchildren to spoil,” the Wizard goes on in a monotonous tone. “In short ‘zero value’.”

“Well one. She has Tweedledee’s little girl,” I point out. “She doesn’t know how to spoil.”

“Until he too gets tired of the bitterness,” the Wizard predicts.

“Too anally retentive,” I mock.

“Ok I got to go,” the Wizard’s ears start twitching as his cloud starts humming to take off again to the warm white sands of Cuba.

I blow him a kiss but still want to set the record straight on the so-said discrepancy: ” I did pay it, but just one payment from a different account. I have an SMS text message of her proving receipt of this payment. If I go proving everything, then I am the one counting Euros in a plastic bag. If I pay it, she will have had her interests like she demanded. I will never get the upper hand and the pestering will never stop. So I draw the line here. I am not paying the Old-Woman-who-lives-in-a-Shoe a single cent more. And I am not communicating or answering her anymore either. It has to stop somewhere.” That was my first response, but reason soon sets in. “But you’re right. I’ll pay her off. With disdain. And I am going to be soooo successful. Watch me.”

“I am not watching,” the Wizard teases.

“Poop. How am I going to be successful then?” I sulk. “Okay I won’t be big, successful or famous. I’ll just remain sweet little me forever.”

“I expect you to succeed,” the Wizard looks at me intently with his big blue eyes. He then pulls out a tea pot and a chocolate muffin on a dainty little plate from somewhere in his pink fluffy cloud.

“Oooh I love that,” I say with radiating warmth and comfort. “Looks delicious and the pottery is just so cozy and beautiful. Really wow. Well done both of you.”

“Thanks,” the Wizard beams with pride. “Still a few small hurdles to overcome and then sales begin. Plus I have a teaching post. My partner wants me to also do conversations in English on Sunday evenings. Busy busy boy.”

“That’s good!” I cheer him on. “And great to see you complement each other.”

“Yes we do but only on Sundays,” the Wizard winks at me mysteriously.

“Not sure I get this,” I ponder which double meaning he could be hiding in that simple phrase. “You and Debbie are always together… or you only speak English on Sundays?”

“Always speak English on Sundays,” the Wizard corrects me.

I smile at him for the comfort his friendship brings me and fondly wave him off as he takes off on his cloud.

 

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

Connecting to life #surrender

Determined to continue on my path of self improvement, I sometimes whisper a soft word to the Wizard cat, who like all angry cats is still blatantly ignoring me. My efforts to talk to him have been undermined by my health issues. Dealing with flu for an entire week completely wipes out my energy levels. Talking in such situations can be strenuous.

“Good morning Doc Oz and buenos dias to you,” I smile at the Wizard fondly. “How are you? I’ve been down all week with flu. Got one new client in Google Analytics and Adwords coaching, following a hot lead with a web agency, totally failing with the Star’s new client. I know nothing about email marketing and she doesn’t want to help not even on invoice. Haven’t heard from the Shepherd, London lady, the au-pair agency or you. Maybe everyone has the flu. People are also liking our conversations a lot on my blog. That’s a bit scary.”

I have decided to surrender to the whims of the Wizard. Why surrender? Surrendering best defines what I feel is necessary for a great experience during life. A complete surrender, a way of letting go, abandoning myself to a master, my guide through life.

Stop resisting an enemy or opponent. Instead submit to their authority. In this case, a thought system and the words of a mind artist who travels around the globe to bake our daily bread.

Choose your best synonym : capitulate, give in, give myself up, yield, concede, submit, climb down, give way, defer, acquiesce, back down, cave in, relent, succumb, quit, crumble, but most of all, let myself go, live or …

The Wizard is the driving force behind my new business plan the “Center for Inspiration” and my famous tarot evenings. The Wizard of Oz is a very versatile man and a free spirit.

Surrender. Live your life with love and passion.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

Friendship issues

Later that morning as I am tidying up from breakfast, the Wizard drifts lazily into the kitchen, clearly looking to speak with me for a reason.

“Buenos dias and good morning,” I smile at him. “I am skyping with an au-pair from South Africa tonight. Exciting, isn’t it?”

I dazzle around the kitchen clearing away the dishes humming happily to myself. I suddenly stop and look at the Wizard blankly: “I realized this morning I am still sabotaging myself with my blog.”

Immediately I feel embarrassed, as I give myself away too much to the Wizard. Only it feels so comforting talking to him. So I throw a question his way too: “How is your ‘broodjeszaak’? Sold many sarnies yet?”

“Yes your blog needs fictional structure,” the Wizard blinks at me with bright turquoise eyes. “A South African au-pair could be interesting. I see your sissy fit has passed.”

“Haha,” I laugh remembering the so manieth panic attack with garbage waffling out of my mouth. Let me change the subject quickly: “What do you mean by fictional structure?”

“Broodjes are still under testing  regime,” the Wizard answers in guise of two can play that game. “Finding the right flour and products is a not difficult for me but I am getting there. Sales start in February. We hope to open a coffee and baguette place in February.”

“That sounds really nice,” I smile at him encouragingly. Wouldn’t it just be lovely if everything works out just great for everybody? With that comforting thought in mind, I put the kettle on for a nice cuppa.

“You need to change the conversations and omit stuff that is too envious,” the Wizard finally answers my question about my blog. “Too obvious, I mean.”

“You can display Debbie’s pottery there too and sell those as well,” I can already imagine a quaint little Cuban coffee and baguette shop where the Wizard of Oz and his Debbie sell their artisanal products with tender love and care. “Yes and stop stepping on the Star’s toes.”

“Something like that,” the Wizard evades an easy answer. It means I will have to try it out for myself.

“That’s a huge challenge,” I remind him thinking deeply about my blog and what I write about. Sometimes I have a difficult time remembering exactly what I wrote. And what I deliberately omitted. “Can you give an example how I could twist things?”

“Change names, place and edit conversation so it seems to be someone else,” the Wizard looks at me annoyed as if the answer is so blatantly clear. “Then you can say it’s based on so and so but not real. Different outcome.”

“Ok will see what I can do,” I muse as I sip my tea. A piece of dark chocolate would be just right at this moment.

Inspired by the launch of a new chapter in my life, I finally understand that BFFs beyond the age of 20 are co-dependent relationships. However, when I round up the adventures I share with the Wizard of Oz, I realize I have come to think of him as a dear and beloved friend. What makes our interaction special is that we talk to each other just-because. He inspires me to chase my dreams and make something special out of my life. After all, I only have one shot at it.

 

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

 

Who’s that woman ? #SillyCindy

When I next see Dorothy Friday evening, you can picture us curled up in my sofa sipping a nice glass of bubbly and enjoying a box of pralines.

“Why did you call Cindy a manipulator?” I definitely can’t let the details go. I have to know. And I have to show off that I’m a smartass: “The French invaded England, but surely that was in 1066?”

“Yes yes, you are right,” Dorothy humours me.

“So I was a witch and got burned,” I continue staring out in front of me. “Hence the faint spots on my legs.”

“Cindy got Shrek in the end, you know.” Dorothy throws my way and I can see her gauging me for a reaction.

“And I got my head chopped off at least once,” I think back to past lives and the influence these human experiences have left on my current state of being. “It was Fiona who got Shrek. Get your facts right!”

“Aren’t you Fiona?” Dorothy teases me.

“I am,” I say and I get a mental image of Alice in Wonderland talking to the Caterpillar.

“See,” Dorothy says pointedly. “Question is, who is Shrek?!”

“Cinderella caught Fiona’s wedding bouquet in the movie because she desperately wanted to get married,” I just can’t help myself correcting her. “Shrek should really find me. And then convince me he is Shrek.”

“And he will,” Dorothy states in an all-knowing tone.

“He sure did in the last movie, the one with Rumpelstiltskin,” I am having vivid flashbacks of that film. “You think he will?”

“Yes he will,” says Dorothy a little too sure about herself. “It’s in your cards.”

“But you haven’t done my cards…” I look at her questioningly.

“How do you know?” Dorothy gives me a defiant look.

“You have?” I’m not hiding the element of surprise in my voice. “You shouldn’t though. Not without my permission.”

“I gave myself permission,” Dorothy says smugly.

“Well I’m glad you did. I can’t read myself, you know.” I smile at her. “Thank you for that. Anything else exciting you saw in the cards?”

Dorothy shakes her head.

I continue questioning her: “Any idea who he is, Shrek? Will we be successful with our project? Did the cards say anything about me becoming rich and famous? Anything about love, friends, happiness, abundance? Good health? Any warnings?”

“You don’t ask much,” Dorothy finally opens up. “You will have a lover for one night.”

“Nooooooo!” I shout incredulously and I feel a strong disapproval towards myself. My own inner warning not to be silly again. No more Silly Cindy for this woman. “Whoever it is, we can talk and drink cocoa all night but nothing more.”

“Oh yes, you will. You will give up yourself totally to this lover.” Dorothy nods at me and looks me intently in the eyes. “All night long.”

I’ve started to sulk and have crossed my arms and legs.

“Can we smoke a joint?” Dorothy asks out of nowhere.

“Oh no darling, that’s a dangerous thing to do. I’d tell you all my secrets if we did.” I nudge her softly.

“I think that’s a pretty good deal,” Dorothy’s eyes are sparkling. “Oooh wonderful. Yes!”

“I’ll need to find some though,” I have not a clue who I could ask a joint from, but I’m going to be tough and pretend it’s just a matter of a few phone calls.

“Do you know where to get a joint locally?” Dorothy urges me on.

“I’ll ask around.” I tell her. This tactic kind of puts the problem in the future. And I change the subject back: “What else did the cards say?”

“Nothing more,” Dorothy is sulking. It’s her turn now.

“Oh pooh,” I blow. “Not much then.”

“No not much. Just the usual.” Dorothy is sulking and keeps her voice evenly bored.

“Or just what suits the moment,” I am sabotaging her all knowingness. She must be wrong about the cards.

“Yes,” Dorothy replies. Oh I hate it when she gets all moody like that.

“You sound like guru Marc now!” I gently mock her, but to no avail.

“I say we drink champagne instead of smoking joints,” I decide to set the record straight. “I don’t want to smoke marihuana anymore. It messes up my head.”

Still no response from Dorothy, so I push a little further. If she’s going to be off, then I can certainly give her more reason to be annoyed.

“The Battle of Hastings took place in 1066, you know.” I’m waiting for a reaction, any kind of reaction, but she’s just sitting there completely lethargic. “1666 was the year of the Great Fire of London.”

Dorothy finally looks up, downs her champagne glass in one go and gets up. “Talk to you tomorrow maybe.” She kisses me softly on the cheek and disappears in a halo of mystery. What was all that about?

 

We all have that inner voice that seems intent on self-sabotage, stopping us from taking risks, sticking to diets and vows to exercise, or raising our hands for new opportunities. It is that part that simply says, “You can’t, you’re not strong enough, you’re not good enough, you don’t deserve this.” In fact, these limiting self-beliefs are so pervasive, even with people who seem imperturbable and unstoppable.

 

What do you think? Will Shrek find Fiona, and who is he? Let me know in the comments below.