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.

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Value your life #accident

I had just arrived leisurely at the office this Friday morning when one phone call upset the rest of my day. Totally panic stricken I look around the empty meeting room I have used for my private call. The Wizard must have sensed something disturbing was up, because he appeared with a loud “plop” out of thin air blinking at me with his big dark blue eyes.

“Good day. How are you?” I ask him politely but with haste. “Prince Charming, my gay ex-husband, has had a car accident and has a cervical fracture. I know it’s not my problem but still find this upsetting.”

“That’s bad,” the Wizard sighs with visible relief. “Or just punishment?”

“He has nobody,” I continue as my breath sounds shallow. “Just punishment? He has had so many car accidents.”

“He has his parents I think,” the Wizard retorts annoyed with my involvement.

“Last time was 12 years ago with me when I fell pregnant with Winston,” I recount the car accident with horror. Still seeing the images in slow motion pass before my eyes.

“Drink and drive don’t go together I think,” the Wizard is spelling out the rules for me.

“Yes his parents will have to take care of him,” I nod with my head in my hands. “It was this morning. He wasn’t drinking. It’s awful.”

“I see,” the Wizard rolls his eyes. “Can you help him?”

“I feel… bad for him,” I sigh deeply. “No I can’t fix his broken neck. He’s going to have an operation.”

“But you could cook and stuff,” the Wizard shows me there is still comfort food as healing.

“I am not mother Theresa and I am not taking him in,” I wail as I try to fight back the tears stinging my eyes.

“Why not?” the Wizard demands of me.

“But yes, I would want to take him in till he is better,” I admit. “He is horrid to me. But he is my children’s father.”

“I see,” the Wizard glances sideways this time.

“I should take him in temporarily until he is better,” I am thinking out loud to the benefit of nobody really. “What do you think?”

“Well do what you think is right for you,” the Wizard is wise enough to stay far away from delicate decisions like these.

“Can’t just ignore this,” I tell him. “I don’t know.”

“Ask Wim,” the Wizard encourages me to remember our conversation of yesterday. Or was it some kind of prediction?

“He is the father of my children,” I repeat again thinking of my little darling cherub faces.

“So what?” the Wizard snaps at me. He can see I am getting far too emotionally involved.

“Wim says it is not my problem,” I am breathing very fast and my head is spinning. “I don’t agree.”

“I understand,” the Wizard calms me down with his deep hypnotic voice. “Do what makes you happy. You have to face the consequences.”

“I will,” I decide as I get up to vacate the meeting room. “What a year. Thank god for the au-pair.”

“Yes I know that will work out nicely,” the Wizard winks at me as he watches me leave the meeting room. He fades out of sight slowly.

“You think so?” I turn to face him as his image dissolves into clear smoke. “Wim won’t be happy for taking Prince Charming in. Maybe Wim is right. Prince Charming is not my problem anymore. Where was he when I needed help? Or shouldn’t I think like that? Maybe another blessing in disguise. Prince Charming will be out revalidating 6-12 months. I get kids fulltime and can make them happy and robust again. Wonderful. Prince Charming will have to be his parents’ problem now.”

That day was stressful. Adrenaline filled my body as my muscles tensed up. My neck had started to hurt really bad as if I myself had been caught up in the car accident with Prince Charming. At home later on that evening, I crashed in the sofa suffering the first symptoms of a heavy strain of flu. The past couple of weeks of worry and anxiety had finally caught up with me. And there is only one thing for me to do. Rest.

The Wizard appeared briefly at my bedside that evening just to blow me a distant kiss. I looked at him with sore eyes and a heavy body aching with flu. I whisper at him from afar: “He’s fiiiiine. Prince Charming is okay. Poop. And hurray!”

The Wizard doesn’t reply but smiles at me gently as he floats around my room keeping an eye on me in my restless sleep. It is time to rest and to take care of me first.

 

* 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.

Ties that bind

Whenever the Devil card appears in a tarot reading, people are immediately frightened by its meaning. Really it’s not all that bad. However the card does heed a message to examine your relationships more closely.

The Devil card actually represents ties that bind. Toxic relationships. Addictions. But it can also indicate stubbornness. Or being the black sheep. The meanings can vary greatly and as with any piece of information, context matters.

Ties that bind

There are certain relationships in life which are unbreakable. I’m thinking along the lines of family ties. First of all there is the unconditional love for your children. This kind of love is eternal and limitless. It has no end and no beginning. There is nothing or nobody who can interfere in the love a parent holds for his/ her child. Whether this parent wants to feel or face this feeling is another matter. The condition is what it is. You love your children unconditionally. It is what it is.

Then there are all other kinds of family ties and emotional bonding from love for your parents, your grandparents, your siblings. As the degree of affinity distances itself, then so does the bond uniting people. Only in extreme circumstances would you want to break these bonds. Yet it happens so often. I look at my own life. And the lives of people who I engage with in deep conversations. The heartache is all around.

The ways in which we bind ourself

Then there are the ties we impose upon ourselves. We choose our partners. In our Western society we enter into marriage on a free will basis. We consciously say “yes” to our life partner and then place expectations on this relationship. Expectations which sometimes are very unrealistic and which lead to disappointment and heartache.

Or we say “yes” to a life partner who we view as an equal. To whom we open our souls, our minds, our bodies. Together we decide to honour each other and to give the best of ourselves each moment we consciously can. We are aware of our own flaws and the hurts of the person we hold so dear.

You see, my dear reader, the choice is ours. The Devil gives us many options. We are so free to choose what to do with our lives. It is up to us to choose correctly and to love wisely.

Deconstructivism

Every now and again, a relationship will turn sour. We want other things in life. This just isn’t working out. Or worse, our needs are not being met and our boundaries transgressed. We want out. And that’s okay.

The most painful part in any separation, be it a divorce of marriage or a friendship ending, it means carefully deconstructing the life and things we built up together. Carefully taking the pieces apart. Like unraveling a piece of intricate knitting. And then wondering what to do with the ball of wool that is left over.

Hopefully you had enough pillars in your temple to support the construction of your life so that if one pillar falls down, the others are still there to keep your world together. This is your network. Your friends. Your family. Your children. Your hobbies. Your job. Anything that keeps your world a marvellous place.

So the word of caution here is to not become addicted to one certain person or one certain condition in your life. Because if it falls away, you’re whole life will come collapsing down around you. Remember to treat yourself as the most important person in your life. This is the only way you will be able to give the best of yourself back to the world. If you have children, this is the best way to be the example of a happy parent. Your children do deserve a happy parent, don’t they?

Leap of faith

Have you ever felt stuck? And I mean really stuck. When it feels like the world is caving in on you and there is no way out. When you ask yourself day after day what the point is in getting up and doing it all again, the same old routine, bringing no joy to your life. And you sit there wondering to yourself “is this all there is to life?”

Do you notice certain patterns in your life? You’re suffering from a problem that seems to be recycling over and over in your life. Even better when you notice the pattern crawls all the way back up your family tree and you see history repeating itself over and over ad infinitum. Waiting for some special offspring to break the code and end the dreaded cycle once and for all.

You want to make a change, but you don’t know how and really you don’t have the time or the energy because you’re busy doing all the things that suck and that continuously bring you down.

I used to be that person

But I’m not anymore. I took my power back. I grasped my life in both hands and turned it around into something worth living. I have come from rock bottom to living the life that inspires me daily to do better, to create more, to bring inspiration. Best of all, I have learned to tap into the abundant flowing energy of the universe and let myself be inspired daily by the beautiful souls that surround me.

That means you too

That’s right. You inspire me. Whoever you are and whatever you’re doing, you inspire me in one way or another. If you’re the person bothering me, being obnoxious towards me in a meeting or giving me the cold shoulder? Then I am probably seeing a reflection of myself which I might want to change. Or maybe not.

The clue is to first sit with the energy. Not really wanting to do anything with it. Then listen to the messages, watch the negative energy dissolve and then do something with the message that remains. Listen to the lessons learned. If the universe send you a message or a lesson, then that is what was required at that moment.

In response to the situations above: you will inspire me to smile more and brighter during meetings. And I’ll be even warmer, kinder and politer to you whenever I see you. You see, no matter how bad you wish to behave, I will not lower my standards. Good manners are valuable. You never know who is looking on.

Take the leap

Now to the more daring part. When you really notice that “this” just isn’t working for you. That “this” way of living just isn’t fulfilling, well you’re right. It probably isn’t and yes you do deserve better. And know what, you can do it. I did it. And I’m just this little woman, with children, all out on my lonesome. Kicking ass and drinking champagne. Oh yes my darlings, I do know how to live the life I adore.

First of all, you need to find the courage to make the changes you need to feel fully alive. This starts by identifying which areas are bogging you down with frustration. You say a big fat cheesy “NO” to the negative stuff. Enough of that. No more. No sir.

Then you skilfully direct your attention to what you do want for yourself in life. Just like when driving a car, you guide your life in the direction of the solutions, away from the problems. And you do this by focusing your attention on where you want to be. Not where you don’t want to be. Because if you focus on the negative, guess what, you’ll end up precisely where you didn’t want to be in the first place.

Next you spend some time dreaming about your desired destination. See yourself there. Savour the feeling. Own the dream as if it were already part of your reality. Now comes the fun part: how to get there.

Break free

The leap of faith isn’t taken by jumping from a cliff wildly flapping your arms. When you dream, notice the baby steps it takes to get you where you need to be. In time. Remember, happiness is not a destination. Your dream is the destination and happiness is what you find along the way.

You start by taking baby steps towards your dream. Visit the area you want to live in. Research your dream vacation online. Talk about your desires to the people who matter most to you. And listen carefully for the answers you receive from the universe. You will be guided along your way.

You can definitely become the best version of yourself. And it all starts by wanting nothing but the best for yourself. There are many online courses and guided meditations which can help you on your way.

What gets to me most though is that people tend to think that all they need to do is believe and wish and it will happen. Yes, believing and wishing and dreaming is definitely part of the process. This process does however require you to actively participate in your life. To act as if you really want it. To go out there and do whatever it takes to get there.

You are so very loved. And when you tap into that energy of love, you too will be surrounded by all the things you desire. Try it. Believe me, it works.

Listen

Listen to your spirit. Learn to respond to your gut feeling. Cultivate courage. Take responsibility for your life and your actions. Discover the motivation and insight you need to move confidently in the direction of your dreams. You can do it! I did 🙂

Clairvoyant reading

I hesitated a long moment before writing this post. Then decided it had to be put out there. Before dying my grandmother had asked me to tell her story after she would pass away. Unfortunately, I know only brief anecdotes of her full and adventurous existence. However I do know my own story well enough and believe to be able to convey her life learnings through my own.

But that is not what this post is about. I recently went for a clairvoyant reading. It was an experience which turned me inside out, chilling to the bone. To be honest, even if the experience were to be seen purely as symbolic more than actually channeling the dead, it was still a feeling of drawing aside two dark curtains that had previously closed the entrance to a sacred pathway.

I am currently at a moment in my life where I am at a cross-roads and deciding in which direction I desire to take my activities. For some time now I have been wanting to go down a different pathway, or to combine several aspects of my life to have a more holistic approach to work and home. Whenever you are faced with the need to change, you must first do some spring cleaning. Out with the old, in with the new. This can only be achieved by allowing your negative beliefs and childhood stories to resurface, observe these without suppressing them or running away, and then finally letting the negative energy dissolve. It’s a process we all have to go to when starting a new cycle.

So I approached the clairvoyant with a head full of questions. Or so I thought. To my surprise the first thing she told me was that she didn’t want to hear any of my stories but that she wanted clear questions. And that took me aback. I had imagined I would first explain the entire situation to her and then expose the questions and blocking problems I was encountering. I had never thought of condensing all that into a few simple questions.

The symbolism in this formulation forced me to re-think the issues at hand. And by doing so it empowered me to draw aside confusion and obstructions that were impeding my vision. My questions, so I found, immediately made me realise where I could be right now or where I could be heading.

To venture down new pathways or to investigate new possibilities requires a grand leap of faith and overcoming your fears. It is a process well worth it. When you actually muster up the courage to venture down this path the universe will flow there were your focus lies, enlarging new perspectives opening up to you. But I am becoming cryptic in my explanation. Back to the clairvoyant stuff.

After having stated my question, I was asked to lie down at which point the clairvoyant placed her two hands on me and started channeling the energy surrounding me. She called upon the mysteries that are shielded from our view. It was an invitation for communication with the unknown. She was in fact listening to the language only the heart can speak.

The experience was deeply soul touching it felt as intimate as undressing. To make a long story short, I was visually guided in being shown the secrets which had been kept from me surrounding my family and parents. How they had lived, the dark secrets they had kept, the true picture of how they had felt and the truth about how others had experienced them in this lifetime. At the end of the seance we parted our ways gracefully, each being continuing in separate directions. Such a feeling of peace and a weight lifted from my shoulders. For the responsibilities had been put back with the person with whom they belonged. Not my burdens to carry. Not my secrets to tell.

 

Again, what is the actual worth and truth in this experience, if it were not for the symbolism alone? It was well worth the while, and I would recommend to anyone who has an openness to the other side. If not, it makes a great tale to tell your friends, for what it’s worth.

— Leuven, Belgium (May 2017)

Habits of happy women

When thinking back to all the remarkable women I have met during my career, Laure is one of those who really stands out.

I have had the opportunity of working with Laure twice in my professional career. First at Fredell & Co Structured Finance. We would drive around Brussels in a taxi and buy the best cakes from Wittamer or Pierre Marcolini. Working for a bunch of crazy but highly efficient and competent Swedes we were immersed in real business life. The sky was the limit and you could be the person you decided to become.

What I love most about Laure is the easiness she employs in life. Life is easy. Such a valuable lesson. And then her sense of humour. Really, she taught me that a dirty mind is a joy forever. That a woman who looks innocent can get away with anything. And that peace of mind is the ultimate grail to aim for in life. I agree. Little house on the prairie and all things based in normality are the targets of my ambition.

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Because of Laure’s exceptional skill and professionalism, I had further invited her to apply for a position at Capital & Finance, the company I worked for after my mission at Fredell & Co.

We loved doing simple fun things, like walking in the woods during lunch time. Or driving around in my car to pick up soup on Avenue Louise. To quote Lewis Carroll’s rhyme from his Alice in Wonderland :

BEAUTIFUL Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

Beau–ootiful Soo-oop!
Beau–ootiful Soo-oop!
Soo–oop of the e–e–evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,
Game, or any other dish?
Who would not give all else for two
Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?
Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?

Beau–ootiful Soo-oop!
Beau–ootiful Soo-oop!
Soo–oop of the e–e–evening,
Beautiful, beauti–FUL SOUP!

We would spend our time discussing issues like meditation, tree hugging and tai chi. I took my first steps in yoga at that time and was deeply enthralled with shamanism too.

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During the time I have known Laure, she has distinguished herself as a conscientious and energetic pioneer in the field of human resource management. She spent late nights studying to get extra degrees and to pave her way to career success. I admire her enormously : now senior vice-president at Bank of New York Mellon.

The most important life skills I learned from spending time with this wonderful woman : natural, genuineness, intelligence, and integrity. We also share a strong chocolate addiction.

Since that then, fostering an abundance mindset has become a beneficial practice I pay attention to daily. Laure taught me that creating an abundance mindset allows you to:

  • Live a fun and satisfying life
  • Exude happiness no matter what life throws your way
  • Give and receive easily
  • Be creative, feel inspired
  • Say “yes” to opportunities that come your way
  • Create wonderful memories of a life worth living
  • Feel safe and be confident about successful outcomes

While it may not be completely natural at first, happiness is a muscle you can flex. Create an abundance mindset and live a meaningful life. You decide to live in healthy abundance.

— The universe (here and now)

Dare to be a woman

 

Nathalie used to be a close friend of mine. I first met her when I started working at Capital & Finance Asset Management. This company was all about wealth management, and it is here that I took my first steps in web development, and ultimately in digital analytics. But that’s another story all together.

Nathalie was one of the relation managers. She was 7 years older than me and we hit it off. We were such bad girls. We loved glamour and glitter, high heels and beautiful lingerie.

We would stay up until the early hours talking. We would smoke way too many cigarettes. We drank scandalous amounts of red wine and magnums of champagne. We discussed the many lovers in our life. We were definitely as inspirationally wrong as Bettie Page and Dita Von Teese.

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We both ended up fired from Cap-Fi, yet here I am today, flourishing and at the top of my game, whilst Nathalie is but a ladybird. Allow me to explain.

Nathalie’s drinking habits were worse than I suspected. She would drink all the time, every day. She had an accident at 9 AM and was found under influence. She was unable to hold down any job. She was always attracted to the wrong type of guy, the married type. She had known hardship and didn’t have enough resources to face up any longer.

She died… unexpectedly, as it was so carefully worded. In fact, she followed the same path her father and younger brother had taken years before. They left this life by choice, not by chance.

I was shocked when she left us that nobody could find a single good thing to say about the friend I had once known. They saw only the bitterness which the alcohol consumed.

Each time I see a ladybird, I stop and smile. I say “hi Nathalie” and take a moment to reflect on the current moment. What would she have said in that quiet moment, those moments of inner reflection? The sweet Nathalie I had once known.

— The universe (here and now)