Category Archives: Grace

Light

My Word for the Year is Light

Me

Last year my Word for Year was Trust. As I reflect back on the year just gone, I am grateful to my dear friend, Erin, for introducing me to this concept of a Word for the Year. It was like carrying a talisman in my pocket all year long reminding me of the intentions I had set at the start of the year and to remain courageous on the journey. And what a year it turned out to be…

Now it is time for a new word, to set fresh intentions and continue to dream big.

This is not the first time Light has resonated with me as a significant word. Quite a while back now while grieving the loss of broken dreams and at a very low point in my life, in a moment of stillness in my grief, I had a vision of sorts that part of my life’s purpose was to Be Light, to Be Sunshine. Sounds odd, I know, which is why I dismissed it as a crazy thought in the midst of my brokenness. Now, I am beginning to see this vision of sorts playing out in my life anyway.

Last year the incredible Shan came into my life. The concept of Light came back to me in a big way then as I wrote her story. Especially in the context of the Viktor E. Frankl quote:

What is to give light must first endure burning.

Viktor E. Frankl

The healing journey of my heart has been a long one and there was much to relearn. I say relearn because I believe our hearts and souls understand a lot of the world as children but somehow growing to adulthood means we lose that intuitive knowledge. I had to relearn to Trust my connection to the Universe. I had to relearn how to Dream big again. I had to relearn that Hope floats.

I had to understand that for every Big Dream there is also the bitter and the shadow. That is the trick of life’s journey. To live Wholeheartedly you have to embrace the sadness, the loss, the pain as well as the joy, the abundance and the freedom. Life brings both. To learn to sit with shadow without it swallowing you whole is the key. To learn the infinite Joy that comes from Gratitude….. this is the Light that shines the way when you are in shadow, guiding you as you navigate life’s journey.

So now I need to be Light. I need to be Sunshine. I need to be Light for all mine, for all who cross my path…. this is my purpose….. a guiding Light, working with the Universe, shining light into dark corners even if just to bring a moment of comfort.

To continue to find those Pure Spaces and hold them open for my heart to find rest and all those who are with me, those I carry close in my heart.

So my Word for the Year is Light.

Me

Light is sunshine, starlight, moonlight…. all that connects me to the Cosmos.

Light is connected to fire, connected with cleansing, honing and purifying that happens with burning…. somehow I find comfort in this idea.

Light is about colour. The rainbow of colours through the prism. This year is about living life in full colour just like the colours of my art…. the creative process that sparks pure joy for me.

Light is also the absence of heavy. This year is about embracing all that is light and bright, spontaneous moments of joy…. truly living wild-hearted.

Light is connected to Love. I will love wholeheartedly but lightly…. a free-spirited love that is about holding unconditional love space loosely. Ready to hold it tightly when needed. Ready to let it go if or when its season has ended.

Light is connected to Being, to spirit and soul. This year is about being in the moment, about being fully present to shine all the more brightly.

Light is about the positive energy of a bright aura…. the energy of hope, love and gratitude…..

Wishing you all Love and Light

Extraordinary Voices: Shan Living Life

My recent posts speak a lot to adventure, dreams come true and living my dream life. During the pandemic I wrote quite a bit about grief, loss, resilience and hope. Life’s ebbs and flows for the able, healthy, incredibly blessed human that is me.

But what if you get dealt the kind of blow that turns your world upside down and inside out? The kind of tragic situation that is completely out of your control. That makes no sense. The kind of blow that breaks your body and has the potential to break your mind and spirit too. How do you come back from that kind of tragedy? What’s more, how do you come back from that kind of tragedy with graceful strength, determined courage and peace of spirit?

I have had the incredible privilege of meeting someone who can answer these questions. This is Shan 💜

Instagram @shan.livinglife

Facebook @shanlivingherlife

I first heard Shan’s story from her brother.

Graham came into my life unexpectedly, shortly after I arrived back in South Africa adventure-bound. He and I are a couple of old souls now getting a chance to spend some of this life together. We share a similar connection to Nature and the same passion for wildlife conservation here in magical Mzansi. We also share the same love of adventure and have already had opportunity to travel together. A road trip with a kindred spirit can be the perfect way to genuinely connect and share story openly.

To take in Shan’s story shared through her loving brother’s voice was deeply moving. To then hear Shan’s story via her online presence was extraordinary. Shan and Gray have both graciously allowed me to share this story here.

My life’s journey has become entangled with the journeys of these two beautiful humans with extraordinary voices. One of these extraordinary voices speaks the same soul language as mine. The other extraordinary voice floors and inspires me with her beauty, grace and courage.

So, there are the big picture, philosophical aspects of Shan’s story. The aspects that speak to the tenacity of the human spirit in the face of such challenge. It’s these aspects that make up the focus of that famous quote from Viktor Frankl:

At the start of this post I pondered how do you come back from a circumstance like this? How do you survive becoming a quadruple amputee after sepsis sets in from a mongoose bite? I wonder if the answer is that you don’t. You don’t come back. I think Shan will tell you she didn’t come back. In her suffering and pain she was burned, purified, honed into a different version of herself. There is another great quote from Viktor Frankl that comes to mind here:

Shan does give light. In the short time I have known her, she has illuminated my life. I have been offered a different perspective on life from Shan’s light. I can also see the light she gives into her brother’s life. I see it in his eyes and hear it in the tone of his voice when he talks about her. And I am sure the inspiring content she posts online gives light to many.

But philosophical thinking aside, the day to day challenges of life need to be faced. There are the realities of living as a quad amputee and enduring the ongoing symptoms of post sepsis syndrome. Medical costs continue. Family and household costs continue.

As I write, Shan is undergoing yet another procedure. The next part of the lengthy process that will ultimately allow her to walk again. This procedure is happening across the country from where she lives. Her support system, in the form of her husband Ant, goes with her. There is time away from work necessary. There is time needed for recovery.

Put yourself in this position for a moment. How would you deal? Yet with all Shan faces over the next couple of weeks, she returns my messages with requests for detail to pen this story with dignity, kindness and grace.

For those of you reading who do not live in South Africa, I need to try and convey that there is very limited government support in a situation like this. Social services are pretty much non-existent here. Shan’s wellbeing and quality of life is largely determined by financial support she can gain through the generosity of others.

How to help? Honestly, the most practical support we can offer is monetary. So this is my request for donations. Please help ease the financial burden if you can. Every little bit counts and your support is very much appreciated.

Another way to help is to pass this story forward. Let’s continue to share this awesome story of Shan Living Life. This story of one incredibly determined woman who still has a lot of light to give in her beautiful and courageous way. I am honoured to share her story with you….

Details of how to donate…..

https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/support-for-shan-living-life

The Shaninlea Visser Special Disability Trust 💜
FNB Broadacres
Acc Type : Trust
Acc: 62712541863
Branch : 250655
Swift Code; FIRNZAJJ
Please note this Trust is audited annually. If you require a donation certificate, one can be arranged.

Support Shan so she can keep Living Life and Giving Light 💜

Pelo Tales: Lilac Sky Ellie

This is Solomon, a charming elderly elephant who frequented our little island in the heart of the Okavango Delta. He especially liked when the Marula fruit were ripe. I had three Marula trees on three sides of my house so Solomon would often spend the night carefully collecting as many fallen Marula as possible. Then he would shake the trees for more and finally have a short nap leaning against a termite mound until the first lilac streaks of dawn stole across the sky 🖤

Pelo Tales: Sunrise Lion

A deep belly roar echoes for kilometres across the bushveld. Another answering roar as they come together after a night on the hunt. Its daybreak and the lion pride is announcing their presence in the cool of dawn before they settle in a shady spot to rest away the day light hours. Another magical day begins in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve in the north west region of Mzansi 🖤

Pelo Tales: Sunset Leopard

Nothing says Africa more than a leopard up an Acacia tree. This lovely she-leopard enjoying the sunset as the nearby baboon troop bark their annoyance and fear at her presence. She frequents our little island in the heart of the Okavango Delta. One evening we nearly ran into each other on the path from my house. We both stopped abruptly a few feet from each other, startled at this unexpected presence. A Heart moment passed and then she melted into the bush. Shoo… 🖤