The Voice

As I continue to face my fears, pursuing this singing venture … my singing teacher tells me these three points as I work on building my confidence:  

1) Get to know the sound of your own voice and then learn to trust it.

2) You’re hitting the notes, but you get nervous, overthink, forget the words, and miss where you’re supposed to come in. All because you got caught up in a few words you forgot, or your timing went off. 

3) try this: sit on the edge of your chair so your diaphragm has room to expand, but relax into the song, feel the emotion behind the words, what do they mean to you, close your eyes if that helps, and sing the words softly. You know the words, let anxiety go, and the words will come back to you.

4) When you mess up the words, learn to skip over that part, just humm over it or ‘ad lib’ over that part until you can pick up the song again.  It’s your version of a song, and in making it your own, most people will just think it was part of your version. 

Have you ever looked back on your life and questioned the life choices you’ve made? 

Over the last couple of years I have been doing exactly that.  Re-evaluating all the choices I’ve made over the last 25 years.  I can say I honestly believed I was making choices with my life that were in line with what I believed was the plan and purpose God had for me at that time.  And I still believe that … however, now I seem to be on a completely different journey.

But I think we probably all do it at some point … look back on life, maybe overthink it, and question if they were infact the right choices after all.  It’s a tough challenge to face because if I was wrong, then 25 years is along time to be getting it wrong.  

Maybe you’ve been in that place where you chose in line with what you believed? Or maybe you didn’t.

Maybe you’ve been in that place, when life and purpose has not outworked itself the way you had pictured it?

Maybe you’ve been in that place when repeatedly, things didn’t go as you believed, hoped and prayed they would. You began to doubt, and then lost confidence in who you believed was ‘The Voice’ to follow?

Maybe you questioned everything? 

Was everyone right when they said “You’re crazy!”  Maybe you should have been “looking after your own future…” 

But ultimately it comes back to what I believe … and I believe I’m accountable for my one chance at life, and so it’s important for me to follow my heart and the conviction that it carries in order to see the plan and purpose for this life to be outworked.
Well, even as I’m still on that journey, sometimes doubting, sometimes messing up, questioning The Voice, then rediscovering The Voice, learning to trust The Voice again, I’m learning that while the journey has not (thus far) turned out as I had believed, hoped, and prayed for, what is important is that I was faithful to The Voice (which I believe is the voice of God) as He speaks to me.  I followed The Voice to the best of my belief, knowledge, and ability. 
Then, however it works out from there, including those ‘off notes’ in difficult times is all just part of the process of learning to sing my song, to make it my own, and not be a copy of anyone else.

I love (sometimes) how art imitates life… And for me singing is doing just that … and maybe this speaks to you too. 

1) We have to trust the voice! Be it the voice in your head that pushes you to face a new challenge, or the voice of God that  prompts you to follow a dream or take the road less traveled. Get to know what that voice sounds like, feels like, or however it is that it presents itself when it ‘speaks’ to you. Learn to recognise it. Then go with it. 

2) We can be trusting the voice, following it as it leads, hitting the mark, and then for whatever reason, we get nervous, pause, trip up, and then if we’re still caught up in the bit that we got wrong, we can miss what’s coming up. So we need to be … 

3) … living on the edge of our seat, where our lungs can fully expand to breathe in all that they need to, so as to be able to do all that our purpose requires. But then to also relax into that purpose, allowing ourselves to feel what it means to us. Let go of our fears, and then the direction of that purpose will come. Then go with that, and allow it to outwork itself, whatever that looks like …. 

4) And when we mess up, we need to be able to skip over that part and pick up our song as soon as possible. In the meantime, ad lib to fill the gap, and most people will be oblivious to the apparent mess.

 In Jessica Mauboy’s song ‘Wake me up.’ a line that hits home for me is: 

I don’t know where the journey will end, but I know where to start.

None of us know where the journey will end, but I believe if we do our part and listen to The Voice, that’s the start.  Then the rest is up to God … only He knows the end. We can have our own idea about how it might go, but ultimately that’s just our idea … 

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Facing fears.

​After years and years of: believing I don’t have a good voice, declaring that “my singing is so bad I don’t even sing in the shower,” fearing the person standing beside me in church might be traumatised by my voice and forced to change seats, and lastly … I definitely don’t sing in the car when I have a passenger! But then…. 

In December last year all that changed… and I had my first singing lesson.  Surprisingly I wasn’t nervous or anxious about it … the appointment had been in my calendar for a few weeks  … so there had been time to get used to the idea. But I did have some fleeting thoughts as I was driving there: 
“Why aren’t you trembling with fear?” 

“You do know you’re going to have to sing solo in front of your teacher don’t you?”  

“What were you thinking in signing up for this?”  

Maybe I was numb with fear? But in any case, I prayed a “God help me!”  prayer.  I sang, I conquered, and I even learnt some stuff. 

1) The way you hear your voice and the way others hear your voice are different. Because the singer is hearing it from ‘internally’ as it moves through the nasal bones. The listener is hearing it externally separate from the nasal sound of the singer’s experience.  

2) Record yourself and listen to your sound, it will sound different on the recording to that of hearing yourself live.  For the above reason … because what you hear from your head, and what you hear on a recording are different.  
It’s about recognising what’s off key (and correcting it), and what is actually not off key but your own unique sound.  And learning to accept that as your sound. 

Life can be like this: 
1) The way we see our own life and the way others see our life are different.  While many have watched it or seen portions of it from an onlookers perspective , there is only one who has lived it, breathed it, felt it, loved it, feared it, and totally been inside of it like no one else can know. But in any case appreciate it from both sides. 

2) Sometimes we need to take a recording as such because how we see day to day life in the now, and how we see day to day life at the end of a season, are two completely different perspectives of the same experience. 
As with a song recording, in reviewing the ‘life season’ recording we can learn to recognise where we went ‘off key’ in life (and make the necessary adjustments or corrections), and where we were actually ‘on key’ with our own unique (albeit different) life sound.  Then it’s about learning to accept our life ‘sound’ as our own.  

Different doesn’t necessarily mean bad.  We weren’t made to all have the same sound. How boring that would be.  
Sing your song (and your life song) with a sound that is all your own …  and sing it loud! 

The Measuring Stick. 

Since moving into my ‘new digs’ I’ve been consumed with looking for good second hand furniture to set up my new home.  

I was previously in a fully furnished apartment (right down to the towels) but I recently moved into an unfurnished apartment, and with no furniture other than a bar table and 2 chairs (which I bought for the former balcony so as to enjoy the city views), I had nothing.  

So began my search of numerous second hand shops, Gumtree, and my local ‘buy swap sell’ site looking for things I needed at bargain prices. 

I love shops because you can see the item, examine it thoroughly and measure it up for size.  Online however, you’re relying on a photo and what the seller writes about the item they have for sale.  

The one thing that surprised me most in the ‘buying process’ online, was the number of people who don’t put in the size dimensions of the item they’re selling.  For me that was the most important information, so that I could know straight away if the item would fit the space I wanted it for or not. If it wasn’t going to fit the space, then all other factors such as color and style were irrelevant.  And so it was, I was constantly asking sellers to tell me the length by width by height by depth so that I could make sure my first decision on space and “Will it fit?” would be met.  

Another factor when buying online is that a photo doesn’t always give a true perspective of the item depending on the angle and the lighting. So that was something I learnt to clarify with the seller, rather than to assume the photo was a true reflection of the item,  only to be disappointed when collecting it. 

While it’s difficult or maybe even impossible to put an exact measure on, I believe we all desire to know to some degree a measure of the length, height, width and depth of love, value, and acceptance we have.  Be it to ourselves, by God, or by those in our world.  

I think the most important thing is having a right perspective on our love, value and acceptance and not like that of a distorted photo due to a wrong angle or bad lighting.  Because choices made thereafter are based on these three: what we see, what we believe, and what we perceive.  

So in the same way that we often measure 3 times to be sure we measured right, we need to apply the same rule to ourselves.  Always checking our perspective…  because while our perception would show and suggest it to be true, in reality our perspective is not always accurate and true of that which we see, believe and perceive.

Most important is that we love, value and accept ourselves. Those who are meant to be in our world will do the same.  And ultimately we can know that our love, value and acceptance by God is unconditional and immeasurable in its unlimited capacity.  

What I learnt from being unwell. 

​Recently I had some issues with dizziness, nausea and vomiting which was thought to be due to a viral infection going around. But after further investigation it was found to be due to tension in my neck, back and shoulders. So I’m now seeing a physio to resolve the problem. 

While walking home after a physio session where we had discussed the abnormal curvatures in my spine due to mild schermanns, mild scoliosis, and some kyphosis of my thoracic spine which contributes to my poor posture, a thought bomb dropped: “It’s time to get serious about your walk.” 

I’ve always known about these conditions, and at various times I’ve   done stretches for awhile. I’ve also been taught how to walk taller, stronger, better to minimise the resulting limitations, but I just don’t stick to the program.  And so eventually pain occurs that ultimately points back to the original problem. 

Sooo … what about you? 

Where are you at?  

Is it time to get serious about your walk? Be it your physical walk, your faith walk, or your life walk.  

To be the person you want to be, to reach the goals you want to reach, you need to ‘walk’ well. 

In life we need to constantly be stretched in who we are, so as to  continually grow towards who we want to be.   
In life sometimes we also need to be taught how to walk taller, stronger, better, so as to remove the conscious and subconscious limitations we put on ourselves. 

In our not sticking to the program we are repeatedly held back by the same original problem.  Be it low self esteem, lack of determination,  or some other negative issue, it’s not helping us in the long term and if left unaddressed will just permit the conditions to exacerbate, thereby making them more and more difficult to correct as time goes by.  
Dire Straits have a song ‘Walk of life.’ As I read through the words, I know this is not the intended meaning, but I’m taking writer’s liberty with the last verse:

“And after all the violence and double talk, there’s just a song in all the trouble and the strife, you do the walk, you do the walk of life.”

I think the negative way some of us talk to ourselves (sub consciously and even consciously) could be compared to that of self abuse (violent) and double talk. But that’s the ‘song’ we sometimes sing to ourselves, and negativity does bring trouble and strife.  And as a result that ‘song’ determines our walk, and can affect our walk through life.  

The singer mentioned in the song lyrics is said to perform “down in the tunnels, trying to make it pay”, which is a reference to busking in the subway. But with my writer’s liberty I see it this way: sometimes we need to get out of the ‘tunnel of our isolated thinking’ and out into ‘the light of day where we are exposed to a new way of thinking’ in order to change our ‘life performance’. 

If life is not ‘paying up’ for you, then maybe it’s time to review your walk.  So you can “do the walk, the walk of life”... that you dream of, that you were made for!  

Here’s another thought … I learnt from my spine assessment that by walking incorrectly I’m exerting 140% EXTRA force on my physical self. 
If you’re not ‘walking’ correctly, how much unnecessary extra force are you exerting on yourself because you’re not “doing the walk, the walk of life” the way you were made to? 

It’s just a thought … 😉

The omelette and the chai. 

​When it comes to food choices, I’m realising just how much a creature of habit I am. I have my regular cafes and restaurants where I almost ALWAYS order the same thing every time.  

Which might be fine for you, if that’s what you do too. And that’s okay… 

But I started asking myself “Why do I make the same choices I do, ALMOST every time?” 

And I heard my response: “Because I’d rather stick with what I know, and in doing so, know that I won’t be disappointed by my choice.”
And so now I’m on a mission to find new places to eat, and consciously choosing something other than my usual ‘eggs benedict’ brekky option for example.  
But what I’ve come to realise is this: that in stepping out of my comfort zone to make a new choice, sometimes it is a pleasant surprise… like the omelette I had in Cafe Lulu last week.  

And sometimes it is not what I expected, like the chai I ordered to go with my omelette.  

I was expecting a chai latte, but I was served chai tea in a pot (they don’t serve chai latte). 
I was initially disappointed, and wished I had been more specific with my question “Do you do Chai?” when I was checking out the menu, determining my decision to stay or go. He said “Yes!” So I stayed. 

But unknowingly we each had a different interpretation or understanding of my question.
But once I adjusted my expectation to my reality, and appreciated my chai tea for what it was, (rather than comparing it with the anticipated chai latte), I found myself ordering a second pot … 
On the road of self discovery, some of us learn just how much we are creatures of habit, always doing the same thing, never stepping out of our comfort zones to explore new interests, which may or may not lead to new appreciations. 
We fear being disappointed, and therefore maybe unconsciously decide to stick with what we know within our comfort zone.  

Then sometimes we need to be nudged… 
In checking out the menu, I was not fully stepping out of my comfort zone… I was still seeking the chai (latte) safety net.  But due to a communication glitch, I made the decision to stay, was served something different … and in the end was pleasantly surprised … enjoying my cafe brekky… even though it wasn’t what I expected.  

So while sometimes we are disappointed by the outcome of choices made while stepping out of our comfort zone, sometimes we are pleasantly surprised.  
So I’m learning to: learn from the disappointments, enjoy the unexpected pleasant surprises, adjust through the communication glitches, but not to give up on the journey of self discovery.  

Disappointment doesn’t have to be a negative thing.  Especially if it shows us what we don’t want, thereby pushing us forward in the direction of what we do want. 

The key is to push on in the search of what we do want, in spite of the disappointments… 

Don’t allow the possibility of disappointment to hold you back from ‘having a go’ at something new.  You just never know what great possibilities may be waiting for you in taking that step out of your comfort zone…. 

The ski lesson.

​Today I was reminded of a skiing adventure I had back in the early 90’s…

Imagine this… you have never been skiing before, but you’ve just spent a couple of hours out learning some new skills. You have mastered the art of snow ploughing, and the ‘pizza’ stop, and you now stand at the top of the home trail, feet pointing inward and poles ready.  You push off.  You are skiing down at a nice comfortable pace ‘feeling’ like you are in control.  Your focus is on your ski position, adrenaline pumping with excitement “I’m skiing – what a buzz!”  

You remember your instructor’s advice “Keep your eyes on your ski stance to stay focused on where you are at and just a few metres in front of you. Don’t worry about what’s further ahead of you than that.”

But after travelling a distance you take a moment to look up and what do you see?  A pine fence ahead and the trail bends sharply to the left. You think “How am I going to take that bend? I’m not!  I’m heading straight for the fence.” 

Now imagine you’re a melancholy,  you see the problem, you analyse it,  and now you need to find the best possible solution.  One problem: there’s no time for gathering information to figure out the best possible solution!  This is now a crisis situation, in taking your focus off your skis, you’ve lost your stance, your skis now parallel have picked up incredible speed, and your legs are like iron that can’t be moved. So what else can you do but in a moment of panic yell “HELP!!  SOMEBODY  STOP  MEEEEE!” in what seems like a slow motion voice filled with fear and anticipation as that pine fence looms closer and closer by the second.  But nobody did stop you … 

So you had to implement Plan B… to fall.  Which you do!  Well it was more like a ‘drop’… but not safely off to the side like you were taught, but with both feet parallel your feet come together, your knees go out side ways, your ankles buckle under you as the underside of your skis come together and you fall landing on your back with your spine and your skis in line with one another like some sort of magnetic attraction to each other.  

Unable to move, you lay there, in the snow, thinking of all the things you’ll never be able to do again. 

Several minutes later, feeling returns to your body, along with the pain, but you are up and walking down the remainder of the trail, carrying your skis as everyone skis right on by.  

When you ski like me, at times life can feel like a ski adventure.  
You think you’ve acquired enough skills to do something, so you step out and give it a go. You’re enjoying yourself… but along the journey, you take a moment to look up at what’s ahead (or maybe you didn’t look up to see) and ‘SURPRISE SURPRISE’ disaster is approaching fast.  

In that realisation, you panic, now it’s approaching even faster, you cry out for help (or maybe you didn’t), but nobody responds, and so there’s nothing else to do but fall here and now.  Because if you don’t fall now, the fall ahead is going to be far worse.  

We don’t always know how to fall properly and safely so as to minimise the injury. We just anticipate that hitting what’s ‘ahead’ will be far worse than ‘dropping’ to the ground now … and so we ‘drop’ now awkwardly and painfully, but thankful to have avoided the anticipated injuries of what lay ahead.  

Eventually feeling returns to your body, and while you might not ‘ski’ again till next season (if at all), at least you took the safer option of incurring the lesser injuries.  The road to recovery is already much simpler.  

Be encouraged on your journey, if you see disaster ahead … to act sooner rather than later, in the best possible way you know how. 

Even if you get it wrong, you will still have got it right. Confronting a situation (real or perceived) sooner rather than later is always better for the outcome. 

Choose the Voice! 

​Earlier this week driving to an appointment, I had my GPS on and was following the voice direction as I was unfamiliar with the route.  However, along the way I was distracted by my thoughts, and without realising it I was no longer listening to the voice direction, but instead just traveling along in the far left lane I was in, which meant I was now taking the exit off the M1 onto the M80, only to look at my GPS and see that I was supposed to stay on the M1. Aghhh!!! 

DANG! those thoughts, distracting me, causing me to lose focus. If only I had kept my focus on listening to the voice direction.  

Thankfully, my GPS rerouted me and the voice directed me to get off at the next exit of Boundary Road (State Route 32), then right back on the M80, then back on the M1, which would then have me back on track for my destination.  Delayed, but at least back on track!

I did have some options though.  I could take an alternative route which was slower by a few minutes,  or I could just trust the voice and it’s advice of the fastest reroute. But I was momentarily challenged by what I had seen as I took that wrong exit …  the peak hour traffic, bumper to bumper, going in the opposite direction.  Surely there’s a faster way. I regretted the distraction all the more.  I so did not want to have to move with all that traffic.  

With moments to choose, I decided to listen to the voice, hear the voice,  trust the voice, and to go with the choice of the voice, back on to the M80. So I joined that bumper to bumper M80 traffic, merging from my far left to the far right to get back on to the M1. Along the way, I saw vehicles moving too fast, while others patiently crawled at the pace set by the traffic.  

Looking at the traffic I perceived it was going to take forever to reach my destination, but my GPS calculated only an extra 15 minutes.  Could that be true with all that traffic?  

In life we can have a plan for a desired destination, and set the direction accordingly, then SOMEHOW, SOMEWHERE  ALONG  THE  WAY …  our thoughts are distracted, and we find ourselves off course. We stopped listening to the voice of direction! 
But we CAN get back on track.  The voice will reroute us, BUT are we prepared to hear it, to listen to it, and to then make the choice to trust it, and follow it?  OR despite what the voice advises, we can choose to look at the circumstances we see, and take one of the optional routes, albeit not the best option. As can be the case with the GPS, we often fear “But what if the voice has got it wrong?” But then on the other hand “What if the voice has got it right?” 

Either way there is always going to be ‘traffic’ on the roads of life. Distractions, detours and rerouting are all part of the journey. But at least rerouting after distraction is an option. The original desired destination is not lost.  Which ever reroute you choose, you will eventually get there.

While some people move slowly and patiently, others are eager to get to where they want to be, as fast as possible, regardless of the pace of the traffic.  I certainly encountered one particularly eager driver very nearly on my bumper, but everyone else let me merge so I could cross … it was the difference between my perceived possible ‘road rage’ behaviour, and extra road courtesies given to me, even though no one knew my journey. 

It’s about learning to read the traffic conditions with or without direct communication. It might mean moving slower than we’d like to at times, slowing down to let others merge safely so they can also get back (or keep) their journey on track.  The apparent disadvantage to us (in slowing down to let another merge in) on our journey, might just be that which gives a far greater advantage to someone else (not missing their lane or exit) on their journey.

Our encounter of a person’s behavior, is not necessarily true of who they are, it is only an indication of where they are at, in that moment.  

So… 

Be kind, because everyone you pass on your journey is ‘dealing with stuff’ on their journey, that you know nothing about. 

On the journey we need to be less focused on the time lost in distraction and rerouting, and more focused on what is learnt on the journey, and in continuing to pursue the destination we desire.

And in regards to the eternal question “How long will the journey take?” 

I’m reminded of a common ‘line’ I encountered in Zambia, a friend might say: “I’ll come by your place to see you tomorrow.” to which I would then ask (so I can be ready) “About what time do you think?”  and the answer I had to get used to was:

“When you see me, then you will know I have arrived.” 

… and so it is, as frustrating as it may be at times, the journey will take as long as it takes. But you will get there… so don’t give up,  but continue to pursue it.  

The little red boat. 

​Today as I was walking along Nelson Place, Williamstown after having had lunch at the Groove Train, I was turning into Ferguson St, when the boats on the water called me over.  

In particular, a little red one caught my eye. So I detoured right instead of left, crossed the road and walked along the pier where I took this pic. It was one of those pics, I knew I had to take … 

Putting thoughts and feelings into words, now four hours later, here’s the reason … 

Somehow I felt connected to the little red boat … maybe just because I was wearing red jeans?

I thought about that little red boat and how it was moored close to the shore, when it was obviously made for bigger things out at sea. That little red boat amongst so many other boats floating on the water, feeling the wind, rocking, but not doing anything, just each being a boat. Some small, some big. Some with a mast, some without. But all were secured underneath by some sort of cable, anchor, or line (unseen but obviously so) so as not to drift out to sea. 

Thinking … Hmm …
We all need to be ‘moored’ close to the shore at times.  Not doing anything, just being who we are. Secured underneath by that which keeps us from drifting.  
Then when the weather is right, the cables will be released, the anchor lifted, the lines cut, and the Master of each boat will take us out to sea to do that which we were made for. (Whatever that might look like for those of us who are not a boat, and regardless of past adventures.)

But until such a time, there is only one thing to do, and that is to be. Just be!   Float a little, feel the wind, rock with it, but don’t do anything other than be you. But in being you, don’t just be like all the other boats. Be like the little red boat, and draw people to you by the expression of who you are. 

When your Master has you moored, remember: You don’t have to go somewhere, You don’t have to do something, But you can always be someone, right where you are, who stands out amongst others, drawing people to you. 

Be a little red boat to the world moving around you.  

White elephant talk… 

Saturday morning while enjoying a cup of tea on the couch in my loungeroom, I was looking at my white elephant … thinking about his upward gaze. Which somehow then took me back to a time in Zambia…
I was going into town on public transport by myself.  I had done it many times before. I knew to carry my backpack on my front as a theft prevention tactic. But when walking through the streets, I never knew quite what to do when ‘suspect’ people coming towards me would stare me down.  Should I stare them back? What if that provokes them? Maybe I should avert my eyes elsewhere? 
A Zambian friend gave me the following points … 

1) Always walk with your head up, bold and confident, like you know where you’re going…even if you don’t! 

2) Never stop to read a map on the street, or carry it as you are walking, because that’s a sure sign you don’t know where you’re going, and makes you a possible target. 

3) If you’re feeling lost or unsure, go somewhere safe and private to work out where you need to go. Then continue on your way.   

4) Remember thieves are out there looking for an opportunity.  And as a white woman traveling alone, you are a sure target! 

5) So NEVER look away from the stare, but hold it.  Because in looking away, they see and feel your fear, and if they are ‘suspect’ then you’ve just given them a taste of victory, and a reason to go through with their plan.

It’s interesting how this advice against possible theft on the streets of Zambia can be applied to preventing theft in our everyday lives, on the journey that is life.  

1) Just like my white elephant, keep looking up … to God! Know the plan and the direction of your purpose, and walk in it boldly and with confidence. If you don’t know it, then ‘fake it till you make it’.  You will discover it! 

2) Never try to workout your journey on the street amongst the crowds.   People can be unhelpful for a variety of reasons … we are all working out our own journey (because we all have stuff), while some may have ‘suspect’ motives. 

3) Find that safe and private place, with God, a trusted friend, someone who ‘knows more’, to find your direction again, and then continue your journey boldly and confidently, with your head held high.  

4) We all know people: who have died before their time through ill health or misadventure, who have not seen their dreams come to pass, who have been overcome by their circumstances and never recovered to live a full life . The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. Which means that  mankind as a whole, is a target for theft of the life purpose we were made for on this journey of life.  

5)  When confronted by a stare, don’t let your eyes avert from it … because that’s when what you fear, can take you unaware. Looking away from a situation, doesn’t make it go away. Denial doesn’t fix it either. It’s still there staring you down, moving closer to you, seeing and feeling your fear, tasting it’s victory. 

BUT  INSTEAD  Face your fear! 

Keep your eyes open to what is confronting you and DON’T give in to possible ‘suspect’ motives. You’ll disarm them and they’ll either avert their stare, and / or walk on past you. But either way, if there was a ‘suspect’ motive, you will have thwarted it.  

“Courage is not the absence of fear,  but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela. 

“You don’t need to be fearless, you just need to be faithful.”  Christine Caine. 

So be faithful to yourself, the plan for your life, and the direction you need to take, in order to see the purpose for your life come to pass. 

The drum: ‘Out of Africa’ Johannesburg.    The print: The Women’s Market Kampala. The elephant: Ikea Melbourne.  

The pepper grinder 

The pepper grinder holds whole pepper granules, that must go through the grinder on the way to the plate of food in order to enhance and add flavour. To put whole pepper granules on your meal would be unpalatable.  

Likewise in life … 
We are all on a journey, working ourselves out, living life, making mistakes, learning lessons, seeking to improve ourselves so as to be a better person. 
It’s the never ending process of moving through the grinder, for more and more refining. 
We all carry thoughts, beliefs and attitudes, that must go through the grinder ‘challenge’ on the way to the plate of ‘daily influence’ that is life. We all want to ‘enhance and add flavour’ through our influence, to those we encounter.  
But when we step away from the grinder process, any negative thoughts, beliefs or attitudes can influence our words and actions, thereby potentially adding a negative flavour to those we encounter in our day… making the experience unpalatable.
In saying this, we don’t all like the same seasonings on our food, and so likewise we don’t all have to hold the same thoughts, attitudes and beliefs. That’s the beauty of being able to have your own opinion, (rightly or wrongly in the mind of others), it’s yours to have and to own. 
But regardless of our thoughts, attitudes and beliefs, we can all apply the same gold standard. That is to put those thoughts, attitudes and beliefs through the grinder process, resulting in a positive palatable expression of words and actions on those who are the recipients.  
And when all else fails,  apply the following: 

If you cant say /do something nice,  then don’t say / do anything at all. 

Be like that of ground pepper . . . because the refined you is the best you that you can be!