A Mindful Month : February 2019

A Mindful Month : February 2019

Welcome to my Mindful Month series, it was inspired by one of my fave health and mindfullness blogs . I really wanted to share part of my mindfullness practice every now and then but struggled to balance the raw feeling you get by sharing what is mostly very personal shit and the accountability posting on my blog provides me. Tessa M , the lady that inspired and guided this practice does her post once a week, i aint there yet! So i settled on sharing with you a few things i have set my mind on at the beginning of each month.

Here goes 🙂

January is over. Thank you Lordt. Now we can finally start the year for real for real. Anyone who lives in Zimbabwe or has heard about the month the country has experienced will overstand the relief that comes with looking at the calendar and thinking “ Ok, lets hope that was the end of THAT!”

I have a lot of fun stuff planned for the next 28 days, as well as a few hard things to get past . We are finally getting into the year at work and the regular programs are making their way into the mix. New projects and opportunities are coming up almost daily so….yeah, “booked and busy” 🙂  

So the way this goes is i will share a lesson,mantra,goal or focus each month. This mix of intention, visualization and reflection has helped me keep in touch with myself as opposed to my past life where I would tend to bulldoze through life and never take a time out to check in. That hasnt served me well so this is one of the practices that helps me keep shit tidy!

“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Mantra– ”Don’t water dead  things” I’m not really sure where i heard this for the first time but it’s graduated into my life commandments! I recently had a series of personal experiences that put me off balance temporarily and in checking in to understand why i realized i was giving energy, focus and time to things that were dead and gone. The leaves were still green (ish), slightly limp, and that spoke to the part of me that thought i could save it. WRONG. The roots were gone. I was wasting water and shine that could have fed something that had a chance to live or a chance for something new to grow

I love  how you can apply it to most things in life. Friends, work, routines, goals, and dreams. Things that have a chance to survive will respond positively to the attention you give them within a reasonable time. If it  doesn’t respond at all, even when it looks kinda alive…Well..it’s dead boo.

affirmation – ”Peace Is Yours ”.  As I was spinning from the experiences hinted at above , noting my distress, a friend of mine  said “ Peace Be With You” and i felt the sentiment in a way i never have before. Or ever. Peace has become one of the things i value the most in life. I work hard to create, maintain & protect it because of how rare it has been. In a moment of distress or discomfort it’s what i pray for. So this month i affirm that peace will never be far away or rare because it is mine.

“don’t water dead things”

goal –Is to drop the last few kilos to reach my initial weight-loss goal. I did a lot of emotional eating in January and not enough exercising. Lucky for me it hasnt derailed any progress ive made in the latst 6 months but it definitely hasnt helped either!

dream –  Is to complete the final phase of moving into a new home. Ive been dreaming of this forever and Im so close but the closer i get the further it feels! But i can see the finish line finally and the dream is alive.

vision- Is the intro to what could possibly be career defining work, which includes travelling to different parts of Africa , something I really want to do . I visualise being fully engaged and absorbing all the positive things these trips will uncover for me professionally. This month is for preparing my mind and body to be present and active when the vision is real life.

Do you have a practice that keeps you focused or brings you peace. Please do share?

Peace be with you x

Champagne Problems: Struggling With My Privilege

Champagne Problems: Struggling With My Privilege

I wrote this the morning of the internet shutdown, right before we knew what was gonna happen. I wasn’t sure if I should share it and actually thought not to for fear of it being problematic and possibly insensitive . I remembered that I made a promise to myself to not move scared and speak with my chest. If this post is indeed problematic I’d like to be called out on it so I can check myself and my privilege. Here goes!

I possibly had the deepest meditation I’ve had in my whole life this morning. I  opened my eyes and felt something similar to post-orgasm clarity. 

You see, for the last few days I have been excited to start my day. I’ve been a present friend, sister, daughter, dog-mom and lover candidate. As a person that lives with severe depression and its associated conditions, days like this are few and far between for a good portion of my life.

I live for these days.

However in the last couple of days I have felt guilty for being fully present in the days I live for. At the moment , Zimbabwe, a great love of my life is in pain, anger, frustration, confusion, heartbreak and depression. As an empath Im going to be honest and say Im struggling to balance these rivalling emotions. 

Should you be this happy Lo when the city is literally on fire? Isn’t it insensitive to be sharing your good days on your instagram while folks are going through the most?

I feel guilty to have woken up with a smile on my face and joy in my heart when so many of my people are making some very critical decisions for their survival while I decide which Nike set im going to wear for my work out this morning. 

Last night, a coworker messaged our group to tell us that soldiers were walking through her neighbourhood beating people up. “Be Safe, Stay Inside” one colleague responded. 2 mins later another said  “ Switch off all the lights” 

This is the reality in the country I love and the experience of people I know and care about. I feel guilty because I can’t even wrap my head around that. I feel guilty because as she was switching off her lights and locking her doors at 8pm I was trying to figure out what I would watch on Netflix.

I feel guilty because I have purposely stayed off timelines and news channels because I don’t want the national crisis to fuck up the 7 good days I have a month because my Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder  decided to take a break at the same time as the nation was shutting down.

But should I feel this way? God? Help! 

Photo Cred : Zanele Mhlaba

My meditation was solely focused on finding a balance with these thoughts and emotions on how  I could  still cherish my little window period and also do what comes naturally and dutifully to me. A lot of you may not really be aware of the fact that the core of my work and that of my organisation is rooted in civil society , freedom of expression and development. Speaking truth to power is our lead gene. A group of us literally wake up and go to work everyday to come up with creative ways that we can positively raise awareness, inform, contribute to and develop  the society we live in and care about.  I hope that can explain my internal struggle.

But in these early hours I made a decision, Ive decided that im not going to feel guilty. I can’t. Its irresponsible. If I don’t have the courage to do what others are doing, I can have the courage to do what I can do.

I have light and clarity right now in a place where things are clouded in dank submission.  I’m sure I can do something with  that. Surely.

If there is any kind of light in you right now I encourage you and implore you to take a second to feed it.  Let it shine. Please?

We need it. We need to BE IT. If you have the safe space and time to gather your self and gather your strength while others are brave enough to fight and stand for us do so. Please?

Let’s balance each other. 

So I hope when you are down you find the reminder, distraction and sign you need to wipe your tears  & think of a better day. Even if its just for a second.

There will always be light.

Shutdown Hashbrown

Shutdown Hashbrown

Picture this, you wake up one morning, the nation is in crisis and there has been a call out for a stay away. The country has quite literally shut down and you didn’t do a grocery run that week so you are now forced to use your imagination with the little that is there. Earlier this week I got creative with one of my favourite vegetables, butternut. I truly enjoy how versatile this veg is so expect to see a lot of butternut based dishes on this blog! Im happy to share with you what I appropriately dubbed, The Shutdown Hashbrown. Enjoy 🙂

perfect for breakfast or great alternate in your weekly meal prep

here’s what you will need :

  • 1 medium sized Butternut
  • 1 red Onion
  • 1/2 cup Mushroom
  • 1 Green / Red/ Yellow Pepper
  • 1 tsp minced Garlic
  • Salt & Pepper
  • pinch of Cumin
  • pinch of Cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp EVOO ( extra virgin olive oil )
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 shredded chicken breast ( optional)

here’s how you make it :

chop, dice and shred all your ingredients. don’t be afraid to have fun with your additions!

What I love about this dish is how simple it it is to make! You quite literally mix everything together and you are ready for the next part 🙂 Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix it all up until you can see the mixture is ready to be made into patties

Heat up your EVOO in a pan, grab a tablespoon and get ready to scoop up your mixture to place in the pan so you can fry them up. Once cooked through, place them on parchment paper to drain any excess oil out and you are ready to serve!

alternatively, the hashbrown also works perfectly as a stir fry! Add feta & its yum o’clock!

If you try this out, let me know how you liked it!

x

New me, is that you?

New me, is that you?


Me to myself, a year ago : “These people are actually trying to make this Tour De France look a thing ? It could never be me.”

Also me, yesterday : “Noreen, can you take a picture of me in these things?”

Noreen : ” Get on Dad’s car. I got you.”

Have you ever looked at a trend or hairstyle and thought to yourself, I could never do that? And you end up dismissing it because the real reason is because its your insecurities talking? Just me? Ok. Well…I’ve decided that this year is for trying whatever the fuck I want . Wanna join me?

who gon’ stop me boo?

So, here is a list of things I once believed I would never do in the aesthetics department :

-Wear braids or have natural hair , I thought it wasn’t my aesthetic. ( ma’am, have you seen how cute your girl looks in braids? Shiiyyyiiiiiiiit.)

-Shave the sides of my head. Always wanted to but thought….nah.

-Wear Tour De France 

These are real and true things I actually believed I would NEVER do. They were not “me”. At the time the images above did not match the one I wanted to project to the world. But guess what they did match? My actual true desires.

Part of facing yourself is asking yourself some really good questions. The one related to this post for me was, ” Why did you put yourself in a box Lo? Isn’t it bad enough that society already works overtime to do this for you?” I just had to over achieve, go above and beyond and do it for myself it seems. But why?

My answer ? Truth is I never took the time to sit and really get to know myself. Hell, your girl didn’t even try . I fully subscribed to who I thought I should be , what I thought I should look like etc because… well, because it was easier. The blueprint was already drawn , I just had to build from there. Trying to discover myself or nurture those lil’ voices in my head was scary and too much work. Worse, it was too different to what was “normal” or standard for me.

Guess what the crazy part was? No-one was really forcing me to be or stay in this box. Your girl was limiting herself. It’s me. Im your girl. The day I cut my hair or looked at myself with a head full of beautiful box braids not only did I look hella cute, I saw someone I wasn’t afraid to get to know anymore. I slowly started to realise that , those feelings were glorious moments of absolute freedom from precious concerns that I should have never held on to.

It’s still the beginning of the year and it’s that time where we are writing our lists of what we should or shouldn’t do to be that person we want to be. We are focused on making ourselves new again. I know I am. Putting on these 20 year old cycling shorts my mother let me have reminded me to listen to my inner voice and challenge the norm that I may create for myself out of fear and insecurity. I want to listen to the voice that says “try whatever the fuck you want girl!” .

Instead of daring myself to be different, im gonna dare myself to be…myself

I hope your new year has started off well even if it hasn’t started off as intended. More than that, I hope your new you, is your YOU you.

I think the excitement of doing something new and maybe a little dangerous is just what your psyche needs. Like me wearing cycling shorts (something new) sitting on top on my father’s favorite car (something a little dangerous)

I’m psyched.

What new and dangerous things are on your list this year? 

x


Welcome Back To LOCHNATION

Welcome Back To LOCHNATION
I remember when I first started the first version of this blog 5 years ago, my world as i had known it had changed. I was trying to find my old self in a new world and failed. However, in failling, I found something awesome instead; I found passion and purpose. I was inspired by the words of encouragement & comfort written by a mother to a daughter who felt lost – She said, “ Look inside yourself and find what’s holding you back, you can create whole worlds girl” (Ntozake Shange, Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo).
I remember exactly where I was when I read those words for the first time. I especially recall what I thought my life would have in store for me. I’ve never been so glad to be wrong! Ntozake’s words will remain with me forever , reminding me how i started discovering & believing in myself.
Your girl can create whole worlds plz. It’s me, im your girl. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how LOCHNATION was born. A world, my world, where I am King.  A place where I  celebrate and share my  love of life, art and culture and of the pursuit of happiness. I needed & wanted a space to document how I can create and celebrate myself (again) and find special ways to celebrate others while I’m at it.
This blog is inspired by my journey and fight from darkness; my pure and raw desire to design life, the pride in showcasing my work & the art that surrounds me and, most importantly, the audacity to explore, find and be my true authentic self. Here you will expect to see all the things I truly enjoy about being able to be alive ; from my work in the arts, my travels, my health and wellness journey and all the fun things I’ve always been too scared to try. 
I have reconnected with all the “lil’ accents that make me a King” and  I’m glad to be brave enough to restart my blogging journey again. Im shit scared because right now, today as I write this I really care what you think, I really want you to like what I have to share and I really want you to like me. But my goal is that somewhere along the journey, that will change, and I won’t give a fuck.
I DO hope  though, that every time you visit LOCHNATION you leave with some bit of enlightenment, entertainment, education or encouragement.
Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.
I hope you have YOUR year
x