Category Archives: Wellness

We can fix society, one story at a time

The screen is cracked. The screen of my cell phone, which I’m currently using to create this post, that is. Like a hideous spider web, it obscures my vision. Already used to the broken fragment, I swiped on.

With cell phones being so fragile, I’ve seen many a person walk 🚶 around with the same kind of blemish. Odd how quickly we adapt. We accept as normal. And I’m not just talking about the inconsequential cracked cellphone screen. Obvious. Maybe not.
After all, if everyone is doing it – then it is perfectly acceptable. I’m not just talking about drugs here. So if everyone comes to work late, it becomes perfectly acceptable to be late, each and every morning. Before your boss has whipped out his eyes, the company culture has changed.

child blowing bubble earth

What’s the big-y about culture?

Culture is something which governs our actions. What we find acceptable. What shocks us. How we react to things. This is why buzzwords such as ‘rape-culture’ are so big in our online discussions. What’s more, culture is formed by the collective experiences. I.e. What we believe, how we react to life is filtered by our past experiences. 

Did you know that storytelling creates experiences? Yes, and not just from a writer’s perspective. It only takes two different stories with a similar outcome to convince someone to rethink how they react towards that type of outcome. Two similar tales spun, and someone has gained a different experience. This in turn will not only determine his own perception, but changes the way others in the community think and act.

Think about that, for two tics.

Your stories, whether written or spoken can influence how someone else perceives the world. I’d like to hope all of us aren’t that impressionable. While stories may be used for the force of good, often they are used for the dark side.  How quickly your mind can change really depends on our point of reference. Your upbringing and your experiences.

Let’s say you are a woman. You hear from a friend about a guy whom you have never met, let’s call him Joe. Joe charmed your friend out of her socks, but got bored pretty quickly.
A few weeks later, another friend tells you she went on a date with Joe, but after a great night he never returned her calls. A random night out, you meet this Joe. Would you not approach Joe with caution? Perhaps avoid Joe altogether? What about if you met someone completely different who reminds you of Joe?
You get where I’m going here. Your friends shared experience, has become somewhat your own.

See how easy stories influence us?

If one guy gets away with a certain conduct, the next one will try a similar thing. Soon it becomes common.
Like my cracked cellphone screen, as a society we all too conveniently find some things acceptable.
I really don’t want to go into all the heartbreaking things this world has found acceptable. As mentioned, it’s sometimes the little things, such as coming to work late which rob us.

Sometimes, it takes some real strong-willed determination, not to do what everyone else finds perfectly acceptable.

The impact these stories of such strong-willed determination have on our society is sometimes the only thing that stands between us and degradation, impoverishment of the human condition.

Why? Because these uplifting stories give us a new point of reference.

While I’ve been terribly philosophical with this post, which certainly would have benefited in me being more specific, I hope it has at least given you some food for thought. Now, go forth and shine.

This post has been the tenth day of it does not need to be perfect a series I’m currently writing on this blog.

*child blowing bubble picture courtesy of pixabay.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


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In the age of Social Media, is the fear of rejection keeping us from genuine friendships?

I have a love-hate relationship with Social Media. On the one hand, I realize how toxic Facebook, Twitter and their comrades can be. On the other, used correctly Social Media can be a tool to help us grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally. In this ever-speeding society, Social Media can help us keep in touch. It can help us make new friends.

Some time ago I was surfing Facebook when I came across a post in a group, by one of my high-school friends. We are not friends on Facebook. In contradiction to my better judgment, I hoped over to this woman’s Facebook wall. Since I was not ‘friends’ with her I could only see what she has shared publicly.
What I found was some stunning array of profile pictures. Damn! After some ten plus years, she looked even hotter than before. There were some pictures of her skydiving and others of her looking good in some stunning scenery.

I admit that the big ugly green-eyed monster immediately assaulted me. I’m carrying around 30 plus kilograms from when I was in high school. I hardly ever leave my dull monotonous spaces and apart from that one time – I defiantly don’t go around doing extreme sports. Sh*t, to anyone looking in from the outside, my life is pretty much mundane and boring.

The fact of the matter is that I don’t go sharing much of the mundane and boring things online. In all honesty, since I’ve starting using What’s App, I’ve shared very little of anything personal on open sites such as FaceBook and Twitter. While there is certainly a measured degree of vulnerability to the things I write on this blog, it is camouflaged by the persona behind which I hide.

To make it as a good writer, it takes a certain type of finesse and courage to be vulnerable in a genuine and especially non-attention seeking manner.

As Paul Gallico put it:

“It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader.”

Perhaps this is why so many of us, writers, hide behind a pen name. While writers hide behind a pseudonym, people, in general, hide behind an invisible mask. A façade.

How many of us are governed by our fear of rejection?

In today’s society, we want to it appear we lead the ideal life. We would like to say; “Look at my FaceBook hall of fame.” Thus, we share only that which would gain us the validation we seek from our family and peers. Whether on or off-line, we talk about and share only that, which would entice, entertain and solicit amazement.

“I patted an ostrich on the back.”
“I went skydiving”
“My kid/pet did the cutest thing”

We share only life’s highlights. We make it seem that our life consists of sparkly high notes. Forget those mundane, gray things. Erase those downright dark and dreary things. It is almost as, if there were no public record of these things, they did not exist.  We somehow hope that people who were friends or lovers in the past look at our timeline with a certain longing envy. This is my life! This is me!

I am a liar.

Because life is not perfect. I am not perfect. Nobody is perfect, not even Tom Cruise, J.K. Rowling or the Queen of England.

This mask only comes off, when we really get to know someone. Underneath their perfect, we find an authentic human being. Underneath their perfect, we can see someone as they are. Only when we choose to love each other underneath our perfect, is a friendship or relationship worth having, genuine and beautiful. Underneath our perfect is where the true connection lies.

Ironically, we often seek this connection when we venture out into the world of Social Media, when we go sit in a pub, or when we try to impress someone at school or work.

We fear to say, “this is me, accept me as I am.”
We fail to realize, “I am enough.”

 

p.s. This post has been the ninth day of ‘it does not need to be perfect’, a series I’m currently running on this here blog.

 

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


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Learn to be more #mindful with a free online tool – #Instagram

Have you checked me out on Instagram? Not? I’ve been finding this Social Media platform most useful. Although I must confess, when I first joined I did so solely that I can ‘online stalk’ someone there too.

I mean that (online stalking) in the most positive light of those two words. Cause let’s face it; some online personalities literally ask you to follow them everywhere. Most of these people, who are obsessed with the collection of followers, usually label themselves: blogger, writer, social-media-butterfly or all of the ‘above’. You get the type?

Any-hoe, I decided why ever not? After all,  Instagram was the perfect platform for my new endeavor, which was to post one motivational picture per day. Alas, it was yet another New Years resolution I could not keep. Here we are a year and some months later and I’ve been getting back on Instagram. You could say I’ve newly discovered my cellphone camera. The truth is a bit deeper than that.

A post shared by Sarina (@shiningseeds) on

Inspiration is all around us. Instagram is a free, fast and easy tool to share that inspiration with the world. In a mission to have something to share on that platform, I’ve become more mindful of my surroundings. It is often the small things in life that we overlook.

As I sip my morning cuppa, I'm reminded to enjoy the small things in life. #mindfulness #coffee

A post shared by Sarina (@shiningseeds) on

Sometimes the inspiration does not come in a neatly wrapped photogenic scene. Sometimes a little editing or creation of a picture is required.

One crisp morning the very first words I heard as I switched on my car radio were these: “What are you waiting for?”

It is quite amazing what happens when we merely pay attention to our present tense moment. Yes, mindfulness.

The little angel figurine which hangs on my bedroom mirror ‘prompted’ me to share something, after I’d not done so for a few days. A newly discovered photo-editing app and a recently watched You Tube video lead to this snippet:

Perhaps this post is a change of perspective, you were not expecting.

Life is a journey.

A post shared by Sarina (@shiningseeds) on

No, it’s not all selfies up in there. As I said on a recent post, it is all about how you use a platform. In an attempt to look for the beauty in the mundane, some of my friends post stunning landscape, city-scape and nature pictures.

So, what are you waiting for? Come check out @shiningseeds on Instagram and let your own surroundings inspire you.

*This post has been the seventh day of ‘it does not need to be perfect‘, a series currently running on this blog.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


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April , April, it will do as it will

One of my teachers in school had her birthday on April first. She was a well-loved woman, already quite old by the time I had gotten there. Being as it was her birthday some of the kids decided to give her a gift. It was also the ideal opportunity to prank the poor ol’ lady.

Some of the boys took a matchbox and put a giant armored ground cricket. Now, if you ask me that is one of the ugliest insects to crawl this earth. And while it may be argued that I’m most defiantly not an insect person, this was an ingenious way to prank someone (I would be jumping out of my socks if it was me)The boys’ then gift wrapped the matchbox and gave it to the woman as a birthday present.

Unfortunately, I was not there to see her reaction – but she seemed to have taken it in good spirit. Maybe it was not the first time someone had thought to prank her on her birthday.

cow-sticking-out-tong

Over the years I’ve witnessed many a practical joke on April first. Some of them weren’t so funny. As I guess it really depends on the point of view if something is funny or not.

Be that as it may, laughter is really the best medicine. So here for April Fools is a video for your enjoyment. I’ve gone to look for a video from South African prankster Leon Schuster.

(Taken as there’s always someone who finds something offensive on the internet these days … This one is relatively safe and hopefully not offensive to anyone.)

Enjoy!

P.S. This was the fourth day of ‘it does not need to be perfect,‘ a series I’m currently running on this here blog.

 

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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12 Days of it does not need to be perfect – Is the pursuit of perfection blocking your creative blogging outlet?

On the 12th day of Christmas …, oh wait Christmas is over! So is 2016. Wait I think I missed the gap to put up my New Year’s resolutions. But before January completely ticks by and I like totally miss that too …

Writing consistently, keeping a blog supplied with regular content is not as easy as it seems. Life is demanding of a mother, wife, woman, employee, … . What with so many things demanding to be done right now, is it really such a surprise? Yesterday I did not even get time to make proper lunch or dinner.

That is not the only problem. Don’t worry this is not going into a long rant about my problems as to why this blog does no receive more regular content. The only reason I mention it, is, that I know I’m not alone. I know t as a blogger and writer to grow an audience; you need to connect with your reader on a personal level. The only way to do that is to be human. i.e. be relatable. That sounded really technical, boring, and somewhat manipulating.

what-writers-want

You see, I know quite a few things about building an audience, writing better blog posts, etc., etc. . I subscribe to several blogs which blog exclusively on this subject. And these would be major blogs with hundreds of thousands and even millions of readers. I go to the Pro’s when I look for blog advice. Not that I’m judging any regular ol’ blogger for posting blog advice, as many do. I too used to write much on the subject. We each have our own blogging goals, methods to our own personal blogging madness etc.  but I’m not going to go into blogging tips and tricks, or even writing tips here, because let me face it; after three years of blogging I have very little to show for it. My only accomplishment so far has been that I’ve not yet quit this hobby.

I’m getting side tracked. It is not often that I allow my thoughts free rein. Don’t you just hate being interrupted every time you try to string together two thoughts? If it’s not my own thoughts getting in my way, my children interrupt me at every second sentence. All of which is not the point of this post.

Learning as much as possible about writing, blogging and all other things that go along with that, such as Social Networking, SEO, correct grammar, etc. etc. (I’m using that abbreviation way too much in this post) as I can muster in my limited time over the last few years; has pulled a plug on my creative spirit and basically drained this blog of content.

That entire paragraph has been way too wordy. Did you even get the jest of it?

Suddenly it has not merely become about writing a blog post, but about writing a super excellent blog post. A blog post so divine it’s better than death by chocolate cake.

take-over-the-internet

It is the kind of perfection, which takes hours to compile. After all, one does not simply take over the internet by compiling dull blog posts.

No, that one is too short. That’s too unoriginal. That’s too long. That’s too boring. That’s too mundane. Who’d even be interested in reading five words of that? Wait I’ve got to go do this, that, that, and that other thing. Tick, tock – no writing published for this week the next week and the entire moth.

You get the core of the problem?

To overcome this little hurdle, I’ve come up with my one and only blogging New Years resolution.

I’m calling it:

12 Days of it does not need to be perfect.

While in school, I took five years of art class. My teacher (who was also art shop owner) once told me that I have a really unique talent. She hoped that I would not quit art after school, but that I would continue.

To me, my abstract works looked like rubbish. Pale in comparison to the fine art my mother is capable of. There is no market for art in these parts. I’ve never been able to put it too much use. Don’t get me wrong you learn a lot when you study art, and not just which colors go well with each other. You learn, problem solving, to think outside the box. The creative part of your brain gets a workout. However, my artwork will never be perfect. My still-life’s will never look like the real thing. My self-portraits don’t even look like me.

My writing will never be perfect either. Writing like art is a creative outlet. And part of blogging is not to compile works of perfection, but to develop your own unique writers voice, to see what connects with people, to have fun.

Hence, I will schedule 12 posts this year, one for every moth. In other words, one for January, one for February, one for March – you get the idea. I should be able to schedule 12 posts this year – I hope. In an ideal world, I’d have typed them all up already and have scheduled them. Nevertheless, this is called 12 Days of it does not need to be perfect, for a reason. I can’t manage the blogging ideal.

These won’t be part of any blogging prompt or any other link up.

These random posts, while seeming perfectly sound, normal and acceptable will fit into my category of:

It does not need to be perfect. At the end of each post, I’ll ping back to this one.

I’m just blogging here. It could be poetry, prose, You Tube videos, memorable quotes – you get the picture.

Once I’ve scheduled my December post – and I find that I still have more time and ideas etc. I’ll just post it.

If this idea resonates with you, feel free to join me in my pursuit of non-perfection. You can ping back (or drop a link in the comments) here or to any of the other posts throughout the year. Although I’m not expecting too much of a response. Most bloggers don’t have a problem scheduling these random what not’s. If you do however join me, I’ll at least try to tweet your post.

I don’t really like writing posts merely for the purpose of having created content. I will still pursue the goal of it being somewhat of benefit to anyone who stumbles across the post. Most likely, all these posts will fall into the very broad niche of blogging I am writing here. (You can read all about that on my About Page)

The first day of “it does not need to be perfect” will hopefully be scheduled some time during mid-January. I’ve already drafted something, actually a poem which inspired this entire idea.

If you have stuck with me through these thousand plus words, I thank you. May it be of benefit!

P.S. Happy New Year!

 

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:

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Let’s talk about #Politics, you, me and dancing – baby. Let’s talk about . . .

In the one corner, we have that dude with the fake hair. You know whom I’m talking about it’s the guy who invented the word “fired”. It’s no other than Mister Donald Trump. The crowd cheers as he turns to wave, or are they booing him off? In the other corner, we have Miss former white house first lady, Hilary Clinton. Her wave is somewhat more composed, but the crowd seems to react in quite the same manner.

By DonkeyHotey (Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump - Caricatures) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By DonkeyHotey (Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump – Caricatures) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
“Ding, Ding, Ding”

There goes the bell folks as we look at these two American white house nominees go head to head. Donald is about to throw the first punch, but wait . . . What’s happening in the crowd?

Someone wearing all blue has just dived onto someone wearing all red.  Here come the men in black, who are rumored to have blue blood. Sheesh! The crowd has become a mob. The MIB is pulling out the big guns. Time for a well-timed distraction. In walks, Helen Zille, wearing a light blue dress suit. That won’t calm down the crowd Misses Zille. What’s this? She is starting to sing and dance!

Yes, Darlings the official opposition to the ANC, in South Africa – the DA which was led by Miss Hellen Zille a white lady I may add, dances along on her political rally just like the rest of the comrades in politics in that country. The rest of us Africans look along in wonder. Only the South Africans dance when they are doing political speeches. They dance when they are “toyi-toying” (that’s slang for protesting, political rallying etc.). They dance when they are sad. They dance when they are angry. Oh yes, they do! Right before they burn stuff down, they dance. You will find the South African mob dancing through the street with the Knobkerrie in their hand.

What did you think this was going to be another post on the American political scene? Contrary to popular belief the U.S. of A. is not the entire world.

Y’all should stop watching the Kardashians and take a look at the South African parliament. Much more entertaining. For sure! Apart from the hilarious nose picking (right there) on International TV, there is always some kind of commotion going on.

If it’s not Julius Malema, booing of the President of the South Africa – Jacob Zuma during the state of the nation address, then it’s some other thing that would get the former ANC Youth leader forcefully escorted out of the building. And of cause, he sings and dances all the way out. Nevertheless, seriously, if the fact that one of the biggest South African online shops was selling toilet paper printed with the face of Julius Malema, isn’t an indication of that man’s personality, I don’t know what is.

Y’all think you have it bad with Trump? Let’s compare him to Zuma. Not only did Zuma very recently steal billions of Rands for his private homestead at Nkandla. No. The polygamist (which is traditional and legal here) was accused of raping a young woman. His other five wives must not have settled his,”em” appetite.

Yes, of cause all allegations from his political enemies.  He has been acquitted. It was consensual. (Big sarcasm). This is debatable. What is not debatable is that the woman is HIV positive. And what does this African leader tell his nation, which has one of the highest HIV rates in the world? Oh, no he did not wear a condom. Not to worry! He took a shower afterward. Because, people, hygiene is obviously more important than wearing a condom.

I could go on and on here. The entire region is tired of that man. Not because he treats women like property. No, we are tired because he single handily is ruining the economy of that country and the Southern African region with it.  The same basket of food a year ago would have cost me R50. Today it costs me R150. That in a region where most of the people are living in shacks, below the bread line!

With the huge gap between the rich and poor here, is it really such a surprise to see students burning down educational facilities? You know what the problem is? It is corruption. I’m all for Free education. #FeesMustFall ! Yo! However, fees cannot fall if corruption rules these lands. Don’t be fooled. While the South African and Zimbabwean corruption has been exposed on international media, other leaders in the region are just as cunning in their ways of obtaining fortune. And still, there are those who blame it all on Apartheid.

Nevertheless, I feel for you America. I worry for you. Cause let’s face it. Jacob Zuma can’t just flip a switch in his “Oval Office” and nuke the entire planet.

But take it from an African. Corruption has just as much destructive power has a bomb. It kills a society slowly. Brick for Brick. Layer for Layer.

There seems to be a wind blowing in the political air these days. If the Brexit is anything to go by, the world may soon wake up to one of the wealthiest economies lead by a cutthroat businessperson! Does this man care about his own interest or is he interested in the state of his nation?

Is it really, such a surprise, that Americans voted that man into a white house nominee seat? The United States of America is after all the nation that brought us this man:

Picture courteously of Facebook
Picture courteously of Facebook

That would be Pastor Steven Anderson from Arizona. In case you did not know this is the man who praised the Orlando shootings. What you may not know is that this “Pastor” was banned from entering South Africa recently. South Africa have enough of their own hate speech. They do not need to import y’alls. Although sadly this man did visit Botswana (was later deported).  As a region, we still have a long road to go, to do away with the anti-gay law. Long, Long, Long road.

Americans have woken up and smelled the coffee. There is defiantly something wrong with y’alls political system. The USA has become a trigger-happy country with a huge national debt. It is something to be worried about. Is Hilary really the person to save y’all? Your choices do really seem somewhat limited.

If I go to the voting booth here, I have no less than thirteen candidates to choose from. Not that most of those will make a dent in the ruling parties 70% majority, but still. People vote based on culture or because they have always voted a certain party. You will find some family members disowning their own if the kid, for example, he decides to vote for the opposition.

Still, I can see the appeal of three or four strong parties up for election. It is not always, about who wins but about who will be representing you in parliament. A voice of reason when two parties are darn out not agreeing, or when both have gone insane.

That, however, is not a realistic choice for Americans going to the polls soon. So instead of becoming hooligans on the on-line forums, perhaps y’all should take a leaf from the South African political book. Y’all should start to sing and dance when y’all are angry, when y’all are sad or when y’all just feel like pulling out each other’s hair.

So, let’s talk about politics baby. Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things, all the bad things that may be. Let’s talk about politics.

 

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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Arrive Alive: 13 Tips to keep you safe on the road

Every weekday, I drive a stretch of road that adds up to about 30 kilometers (roughly 19 miles). If you total in the factor that in 2014 (the last time they did one of those survey study things) the country I live in, was the worst rated for road accident fatalities in the world – those 30 kilometers stretch of the road become somewhat of a scary prospect. So when I get into my car, I make sure I do my best to keep my family safe during our travels. No matter if, we take a five-minute or a five-hour drive. Here are some of my road safety tips:

1. Buckle up

Sometimes you think you are only going to be driving around the corner. Just going to buy a loaf of bread? According to a survey done in the U.K one in three accidents happen, when we are close to home. Most likely it is at these times that we are driving on “autopilot” or that we are not hyper-vigilant.
There is a rule in my car. I make sure my daughter is well aware of this rule. All people in the car need to be seated and buckled up at all times. I cannot even count how many times I see children in other cars standing. Not only is this hazardous if you suddenly need to hit the brakes but such children tend to be a distraction for the driver. The safest place for a kid under the age of 12 is buckled up on the backseat, even if you are just buying a loaf of bread.

2. Cell phones and driving

A driver, texting while driving is said to cause more accidents than a drunk one. Seriously, peeps, you can send that “What’s App”, when you have safely stopped somewhere. Hands-free kits enable us to answer the phone if we really can’t live without taking that call.

3. Speed kills

We were once driving home when a car raced passed us on a stretch of city road with a speed limit of 60 km/h (roughly 40 mph). He must have been driving 200 km/h (roughly 125 mph). We were shocked at the speed this dude was doing. Our home was only a few kilometers down the road. At our gate, we noticed that the car which had just zipped passed us was sitting in a head-on collision with a tree next to the road. The car was written off. The driver was severely injured. To this very day, I still do not understand why he was driving so fast. It is better to arrive at your destination five minutes later than never arrive at all. There are reasons for speed limits.
That being said, I’ve also driven a stretch of road slower than I was allowed. I don’t drive the long road much. I don’t feel safe doing 120 km/h so I’ll do 100 or 110 instead. It is important to feel safe with the speed you are driving.

4. Overtaking safely

Frontal collisions are the highest cause of road fatalities here. Many of these accidents occur when drivers overtake other cars in the most terrible manner. Overtaking while driving uphill, into the rising or setting sun, is a bad idea. Not only does the driver put himself in danger but the people in the other vehicle, who probably cannot see him coming … It’s a worst case scenario.
It is best to overtake when you can clearly see what is happening in front of you.

5. Sunglasses

Talking about, what you see – I find wearing sunglasses during daytime driving, useful. Obviously, we have lots of sunshine in these parts. What you may not know is that your sunglasses or regular specs can also act as safety goggles if they have been fitted with the right type of lens. Here good quality plastic lenses out-way the risk associated with glass lenses. If you wear spectacles, talk to your optometrist about this.

6. Tissues

Eyestrain can really be a pothole in your driving skills. If you have spent an entire day sitting behind a computer screen, driving can become a tearful event. For this reason, I always keep tissues handy. It has helped me get to a safe area to pull up next to the road until I was able to see better.

7. Blind spot check

Are you changing lanes? Do a quick blind spot check! Don’t know exactly what that is? Here is a video.

8. Hazards

Sometimes you have to abruptly slow down or come to a standstill while driving. At these times, putting on your hazard light can alert the driver behind you that there is an obstruction in the road. It’s like saying, “whoha wake up dude!”

9. Mindful driving

Try not to drive on autopilot. Be present while you are driving. Keep your eyes and mind on the road. Put simply: Drive mindfully.

10. “Leave space in your schedule for life’s little-unplanned events” – Joyce Meyer

A post shared by Sarina (@shiningseeds) on

Life’s little-unplanned events include traffic jams and accidents on the road. Giving yourself those extra ten minutes to arrive at your destination will make you a less stressed driver. You will be more courteous to other road users. You will be less likely to speed.

11. Slow down when …

I hate it when children play next to the road. This is just an unpleasant fact. The same applies to dogs, cats or other pets. It is better to slow down when you see these things. It is also courteous when passing a cyclist to slow down.

12. Other drivers and traffic rules

man-peeping-in-his-side-mir

While all of the above are very important to remember, the best piece of driving advice I’ve ever heard was this: “Don’t expect other road users to follow traffic rules”.
Drivers may; run a red light. Forget to put on their indicators. Put on their indicators but not turn. Drive on autopilot. Speed. Swerve unexpectedly into your lane. … the list goes on and on.
Being vigilant about such things has saved me on many a close shave.

13. Pray

If you are the kind of person that prays, then doing so before driving is a good practice. If you are the kind of person who talks to your God, Jesus, angels, your divinity – all the time, then doing so while driving is a good practice. Having spiritual protectors along your journey has never hurt anyone.

What other tips would you give on road safety?

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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Welcome to an imperfect world. And that’s okay …

I love tomatoes. My husband, not such a big fan. Guess what? We still live in the same house. We hug and kiss, a lot.
Sometimes I drive past a house in my neighborhood and see it painted in some ghastly pink color. Guess what? I don’t go throwing the house with mud or shooting at it with a paint-ball gun.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Style is a matter of opinion. We can’t choose the skin or class we are born into. All of these things, don’t make any of us any less human than the next person.
Variety is the spice of life. Everybody is different. Our opinions and likes differ as much as there are food choices. We are a tribe of multiple races, religions, and whatnots. There are some whacked up crazy folks – who do the damnedest things. You know what? As long as they aren’t hurting anybody I should be able to deal with it.

Here’s the thing; just because these people are different from me I don’t need to dislike them. Just because we have a difference in opinion, I don’t need to get up on my high horse. One can learn a lot about the world if one can respect the viewpoint of another.
And even if I do dislike them – for whatever reason, I don’t have to be cruel. I’m not going to throw some house with mud. Nor would most others.

So, why oh why, do we think it is okay to do the online equivalent by leaving malicious comments on a facebook wall, blog post, website or other social media platform?

woman-looking-at-bridge

In addition, I don’t need to like you to live peacefully in the same neighborhood as you. We don’t need to be the same race or religion to live next to each other without killing each other. We don’t need to belong to the same political party to be civil.
In my street alone, we are from at least four different types of racial/cultural backgrounds. While we don’t sit and barbecue together over the weekend, we are polite to each other when we pass each other. I’d greet my neighbors as I drive past them. Moreover, as long as they don’t plan on opening a shebeen (informal bar) next to me, I don’t sabotage their plans to extend their house etc.

We underestimate the power of words. We miscalculate the destructive power words on an online forum can have. Let’s build bridges not create wars.

I leave you with this YouTube video by Waylon Lewis from Elephant Journal as he speaks about – how to win those Facebook arguments. May it be of benefit!

 

 

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:

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Time to say goodbye

Say what you say. Do not be afraid. Afraid.

A lullaby to the tune of Andrea Botticelli and Sarah Brightman’s duet: “Time to say goodbye” has been stuck on repeat in my mind. “Say what you say. Do not be afraid. Afraid” is however not part of the lyric. Has my mind suddenly turned into the jester? Or are these kinds of things messages from a “higher realm”?

The classical music ballad consists of entirely Italian lyrics with the English words “Time to say goodbye” thrown in. I don’t understand any of the Italian, so obviously my curiosity was sparked.The English translation of that song is poetic. Profound. Rendering the audience in awe of what they were listening to.

Here is the original in its splendid glory.

The words we use have unknown power. We can use them to encourage or to break down. It is thus we must choose with the greatest care for which purpose we use our words.

How easy is a false rumor spread? Damage done by such a lie can often not be undone. How often can words lead to a climate of fear?

As Yoda said:

yoda-fear-quote

“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

 

How often is fear the motivation behind words splattered out into the world? Some throw their muck onto the masses. Use hate to claim clicks and popularity. On the other hand, some will use overly emotional articles to gain their clicks. As writers and speakers of words, we need to think about what motivates us to put what we do out in the world.

Will our words build or burn bridges? Do we create out of a desire to gain ratification, through likes and views?

Now this does not mean we need to bury our personal stories. It is indeed brave to share a part of one’s, journey, however, traumatic it may have been. We must not do this from a place of seeking validation.

We must consider the impact our words have, regardless of them being spoken to someone in real life or written online. This does not mean our opinions do not matter, but rather that they hold more weight if considered carefully.

When it comes to online content, being either on websites, blogs, or social media a good measure is to consider how these words would affect our nearest. Would we want our mother to read it? How would our children be influenced by what we say?

This then leaves the other side of the coin. Sometimes we would swallow our words, even though they hold great importance. We leave things unsaid because we fear rejection. Keep it to yourself. No one cares anyway. It is in these instances that you need to “Say what you Say. Do not be afraid.”

As Marc Chernoff put it:

“To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room.”
― Marc Chernoff

Marc-Chernoff-quote-on-brok

None of us are perfect. Some of us don’t know how to use our words perfectly. In our own mind, we are terrible writers. We are terrible storytellers. We believe that our own stories don’t matter because there are just too many other stories out there. Everyone, after all, has a story. What should make me so special?

The underlying truth is, no one can tell your story but you. Would sharing your experience be a benefit to society? Can you do it from a place of compassion? Can you do it from your heart and not your fragile ego?

Remember it needs not be perfect. It needs to be heartfelt. It needs to build bridges. You need not be perfect. You need to be human.

Perhaps we need to say goodbye to words originating from a place of people pleasing. We need to say goodbye to words spoken from a place of hate and fear. When words fail us, let our hearts be open. We must remember for all of us will come a final time to say goodbye. Before we voyage to cross seas which no longer exist, we should leave this shore better off for harboring us.

I close this post with translated lyric from the song “Time to say goodbye” by Sarah Brightman & Andrea Bocelli. Thanks to Jos van Greefen for this translation.

“When I’m alone
I dream of the horizon
and words fail;
yes, I know there is no light
in a room where the sun is absent,
if you are not here with me.
At the windows
show everyone my heart
which you set alight;
enclose within me
the light you
encountered on the street.

Time to say goodbye.

I’ll go with you to countries I never
saw and shared with you,
now, yes, I shall experience them.
I’ll go with you
on ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer;
it’s time to say goodbye. With you I shall experience them.


When you are far away
I dream of the horizon
and words fail,
and, yes, I know
that you are with me;
you, my moon, are here with me,
my sun, you are here with me
with me, with me, with me.

Time to say goodbye.     I’ll go with you
to countries I never
saw and shared with you,
now, yes, I shall experience them.
I’ll go with you
on ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer,


with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you
on ships across seas
which, I know,
no, no, exist no longer,
with you I shall experience them again.
I’ll go with you.

You and me.”

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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Is Amazon really the place we should be buying our digital books?

Amazon is the Internet equivalent of fictions Lord Voldemort. As of late, many authors have complained about the bad treatment received by Amazon. I can’t claim the title author. I claim the title reader and consumer and it is from this point of view that I approach this subject.

A few years back I purchased myself a kindle. Back then Amazon’s Kindle was the only brand name worth remembering when it came to e-book readers. While the Nook Book started making a name for itself, here it has still not reached the same statuesque as Kindle. I happily found my Kindle at one of the IT shops. Happily yes. I don’t like purchasing on-line.

You may think that I’m contradicting myself. The whole point of a Kindle is to purchase on-line. Yes. But there is a difference between purchasing digital content and purchasing physical items. Physical things such as a printed book or a device such as a kindle can be lost or stolen in the mailing system. In this part of the globe, that tends to happen a lot.

The first tablet I bought, for the mere purpose of reading, was a cheap android thing manufactured in China. Albeit it was not all that expensive, I was still very upset when the thing did not reach its destination – which was me. I bought a second of the same type of item. I found its battery did not last longer than two hours and reading was strenuous on my eyes. So when I ventured out to buy another product, I did my research. I was willing to pay a little more for a quality product. Still the problem remained. Where to source this device? If a more expensive thing went “lost” in the mailing system, I’d have thrown my money down the drain. So yes, I happily stumbled across the Kindle device in a physical retail outlet.

amazon-logo

Reading on my ‘Kindle Paperwhite’, was a dream compared to the previous device I owned. At first, I was very happy with my purchase. After all, I was not obligated to purchase all my books on Amazon. I could source from other places as well. Some were purchased or “won” from the author directly. Yippy me.

That is until Amazon quite without my permission did a software update on my kindle.

One day I opened the Kindle to find that its entire content had been changed. For one, things did not work the same as they usually did. What is more, I found that all my books not purchased from Amazon were gone. GONE! In their place books, I’d purchased but had thrown off my device (I had my reasons).

It is then that I started looking with a more critical eye at the Internet giant. The things authors complained about, frankly sucked. Readers being able to return a digital book after purchasing and reading – for one I find that not quite right. Additionally, I found many authors complaining about copyright infringement or having their books “pirated”. The complaining authors sold exclusively on Amazon. You have to ask yourself, why does this happen to authors who publish on Amazon? Search the Internet. There are many sites offering books free. While these sites claim to be legitimate, when one can get a reader’s entire Amazon library of 600 books for absolutely nothing – one needs to wonder:

Is there something wrong with the customers who buy on Amazon or is there something wrong with Amazon?

Having had my kindle content altered by Amazon made me look at said content in a new light. It is quite evident to me that the content does not belong to me. The physical Kindle may belong to me. But, anyone knows the hardware is worth nothing without functioning software. The software on my Kindle belongs to Amazon.

As for the books, I have purchased?! I do not have a special kindle account. So, I can’t loan my book to a friend – as you would be able to do with a real physical book. I’ve come to the realization that the content or books I’ve bought don’t really belong to me. They belong to Amazon. I’ve merely purchased the right to read them. It’s like lending a book from the library for an undefined time. At any point, the library can demand to have its books returned. Worse, what should happen if said library suddenly burnt down? Would the content on my Kindle disappear if Amazon took a bad turn?

big-library

A brave new world, it is coming

In light of all points mentioned above, some brave authors are now venturing into a No-Amazon territory. One of these is Waylon Lewis, whose book “Things I’d like to do with you” is exclusively available on his site Elephant Journal. In a post titled “10 Points to Writing, Marketing, Publishing, Touring and Selling a book post Bookapocalypse” he points to this New yorker Article. Therein lies the inside scoop, from former Amazon employees who lay it all bare in how horrible the company treats its own and how they view business.

Waylon most defiantly has it right in his title “Bookapocalypse” world. Writing has become a cutthroat type of business. There are fewer readers and more books than ever, to choose. As readers, we have become more selective on how we spend our precious time. With all the “smut” out there, I really do my research on a book before I purchase it, even if it were only a digital copy. I’ll read the reviews on Goodreads. Check out the first chapter and hop over to the Author’s website. You have to.

Physical books versus digital?

With all that I’ve now told you on Amazon, digital has somewhat lost its sparkle for me. A physical book is yours once you’ve bought it and it is in your hands. There are however a few problems that come with it.

  • Bookshelf space is limited.
  • Books are expensive.

I went to a local bookshop the other day, just to see if they stocked a book I really wanted to read. I was appalled to find the average paperback will set me back nearly US$13. That is a lot of money when your priorities are food, diapers and education for your child.

Books have always been a luxury. Most of the physical books I own were bought at the second-hand shop, where the average book would set me back about US$6. The problem is that this shop does not stock the latest books. I’m a fussy reader. I want to read what I want to read.

Digital makes it so much easier. You can get a book right off the Internet within minutes. No need to worry if the thing gets lost in the mail. In addition, digital books are usually cheaper than their paperback counterparts are. I can get the latest book for the same price a dated book at the second-hand shop would cost me.

reading-outside-on-kindle

So, we are stuck with Amazon?

Many authors sell exclusively on Amazon. If that is the only place you can get your beloved new read, then as a reader, you will just have to go there. You may also be stuck with the same problem if you own an Amazon Kindle. There is a way around the Kindle monopoly.

With digital content not purchased on Amazon, you would simply need to make doubly sure you have it backed up some place, or you run the risk of losing it forever.

Even with my newly acquired knowledge on the evilness that is Amazon, the snake has me trapped inside its lair. From a consumer’s point of view – if you own a Kindle it simply is easier to buy on Amazon. If within reasonable price limits, on the other hand, my newly beloved read were not available on Amazon I would venture out to the other side to buy what I want to read. Sincerely, I would – if it is something I want bad enough.

When the day comes that I would need to buy a new e-book reader – I would not go for the Amazon version. In addition, by the time that I make the switch, I hope to see much more, brave author souls – boycotting Amazon, or at least offering readers other shopping outlets.

This should not be very difficult with so many other book-selling platforms out there.
As many others and I have come to the same realization, I predict there will eventually be a shift in the on-line book market. Do not be caught unaware when it does.

 

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:

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