Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Saturday, 3 June 2017

INNOVATION CLUB - June 2017 - Jean De Villiers

Thursday night 1 June, was Innovator's Club time again. The last one I attended was Andrea Bohmert's Venture Capital talk in February. This time it was hosted at the slick new Citadel Investments building in Claremont (I think it's not THAT new, I have just not seen it or been there before).
 
And the guest speaker was Jean De Villiers. Yes, he of Springbok rugby fame. It turns out he is Citadel's 'Head of Philanthopy'.

What does Jean De Villiers have to do with innovation, you may ask? I was also wondering... in fact that was a big part of why I went along this time, to get the answer to that exact question.

So it seems that's a pretty obvious first question and one Jean addressed immediately as he got his talk started. He said that if we were there for tips on tech innovation, he had none, and we were in the wrong place. He went on to say that if however we were there for tips on the Springbok's rugby game play and how they can get back on top... he has none of those either, and again we were in the wrong place. And if that was the case, we'd better leave.

No one left and so he had to go on to tell his story. And what he did was give us a brief run-through of his development into and then extensive and lengthy career in the game of rugby, starting at the age of 5. I have admittedly not really followed the rugby scene closely for the last *cough* 10 *cough* years since the 2007 world cup win, but I do at least know who he is.

Jean has a candid, open, engaging and slightly self-deprecating and humourous style, which is quite endearing. This coupled with his story about his rise to fame in the rugby world, which was marred constantly by many and varied injuries at critical points, made for an interesting and engaging tale of repeated cycles of success and set-backs at every turn.

For me personally, and due to my own life experience, I related strongly and quite emotionally, to his message about how in those moments of set-back and failure you face your biggest choices. The choice to give up or try again. How you can either accept defeat and stop trying. Or you pick yourself up, learn and grow and try once again. And how each time you have to make that choice to keep going it actually gets easier. Not necessarily easier to do, but easier to make the decision to do so. Because you build grit, tenacity and resilience along the way. In my experience giving up also feels bad. Keeping going and trying to be and do better and to build on the failure to hopefully achieve possitivity feels much better.


He also brought in the sentiment of how you can't really claim to be innovative unless you have failed. This is a pretty widely held belief...




Jean then also spoke briefly about his philanthropy work much of which seems to focus on Early Childhood Development in underprivileged communities.

It was great to see speakers from many of the other Innovation Clubs I have attended there too, Sihle Tshabalala, Marlon Parker, Mark Forrester, and Andrea Bohmert and as usual getting a chance to network, chat and interact with interesting, dynamic and successful innovators and entrepreneurs is always inspirational.

I have been lucky enough to get a chance to speak to Sihle at several of these events now and each time he appears to be even more confident, successful and driven. He certainly seems to be doing things right and I was very impressed to hear that he is not only running his not-for-profit ventures which seem to be thriving but has now also running a for-profit set-up too which is doing really well - evidenced by his slick suit and the MacBook and iPhone he was toting. I just love his story and what he is doing. What an inspiration!

I'd probably break down and cry

Both Andrew and I watched Captain Fantastic  recently and independently of each other while on planes. Both of us found it to be a profoundly provocative and emotive movie and both of us were so so struck and moved by the scene at the end where this song is played. It made us both cry big round and wet tears of love, sadness and longing.

It's written by Guns & Roses, but I know it best from the version Sheryl Crow did....

She's got a smile it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see her face
She takes me away to that special place
And if I'd stare too long
I'd probably break down and cry
Oh, oh, oh
Sweet child o' mine
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Sweet love of mine
She's got eyes of the bluest skies
As if they thought of rain
I hate to look into those eyes
And see an ounce of pain
Her hair reminds me of a warm safe place
Where as a child I'd hide
And pray for the thunder
And the rain
To quietly pass me by
Oh, oh, oh
Sweet child o' mine
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Sweet love of mine
Where do we go?
Where do we go now?
Where do we go?
Oh, oh

Where do we go now?
No, no, no, no, no, no
Sweet child,
Sweet child of mine

Friday, 2 June 2017

How long will I love you?

This song played on my iPod while I was running yesterday... it made me cry.

How long will I love you
As long as stars are above you
And longer if I can
How long will I need you
As long as the seasons need to
Follow their plan
How long will I be with you
As long as the sea is bound to
Wash up on the sand
How long will I want you
As long as you want me to
And longer by far
How long will I hold you
As long as your father told you
As long as you can
How long will I give to you
As long as I live through you
However long you say
How long will I love you
As long as stars are above you
And longer if I may
We're all travelling through time together
Every day of our lives
All we can do is do our best
To relish this remarkable ride

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Grief is tidal

I read this posted by someone on Facebook today....

Grief is tidal.
Lost in the depths of despair. 
Plunged under by relentless crashing waves of sadness, gasping, drowning, floundering. 
He is gone, I cannot be left. 
Just when all is lost to the deep, I am washed into a pool of calm. 
Coping. 
Salt sanitised by tears. 
Only to be caught and sucked out by the strong relentless current of memories.
Fingers of feelings pulling me down.
Back into the depths.
And so it goes, circular. 
Until I learn to swim, swimming makes me stronger, to become one with the water. 
The memories of you. 
Moving with the squalls. 
Until one day I know I will reach my depth. 
Stand on the shore and watch our love vanish over the horizon to the next place - leaving only your salt stain in my story. 
Gone too soon. 
Like so many broken shells make the sand on which I stand.
Goodbye my dearest.
I am yet learning to swim.

Image result for dark sea shore

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Running: The Cape Town 12 One Run

I ran the first Cape Town One Run 2 years ago. It was a great event, and I was keen to give it another go. Last time I finished at just a few seconds over 1 hour, so this year when my amazing friend Dave (who is doing an INCREDIBLY inspirational life and health turn-around) said he wanted to enter this year as his first race I was IN. For some reason despite entering about 6 weeks ago, I was not seeded and was placed in Batch F right at the back. Meh. So I arrived this morning on my own, lonely, and feeling pretty glum. But I had my #DoingItForNatey sign on my back and knew I had to just do it. Before the race I walked towards the lagoon on the edge of tears... and then a huge crow flew over me and then off towards the sea. It was so big majestic and beautiful. I remember thinking 'Haha, I actually couldn't make this up!' That gave me a big smile and so I headed to the start determined to go do it. They started us a good 10-15 mins after the first batch started. So by the time I crossed the start line at least 10 000 of the 14 000 participants were ahead of me... ARGH! I started trying to fight through the mass of people. I came so so close to thinking 'fuck-it' and just giving up and walking as it was almost impossible to move. In stead I ducked, dived, jumped, and scampered, in and out and around one after another of all those people. And any gap I got I ran as fast as I could. It took at least 7kms before I was able to get any kind of clear path. The whole was was a fight through hordes of other runners. (I am not used to this I normally start as close tot he front as I can!). But I ran and ran and wouldn't allow myself to slow down or walk at all. By the time we got the the 'Usain Bolt 100m sprint' I ran my heart out... almost literally. I actually thought I might go into cardiac arrest, I was pushing so hard. With 1.5kms to go I kept going. As I got to the last 500m I realised my time was not terrible and my goal of a sub-60 - which I had abandoned before even starting - seemed possible. But by that stage I was so tired I actually couldn't sprint any faster. So it was all I could do to carry on plodding down to the end and to finish in 1:00:24. Still that's an average of 12kms/hr or 5min/km over the race, which is not too shabby! And although results are still being finalised it seems I came 60th female and 9th in my age category. That was hard work though, next time I want my bloody seeding! Despite the seeding grumbles it was an amazing event and wonderful day out, and the absolute cherry on top was watching Dave Luis finish his first ever race and longest ever run.... like a boss! #SoProud #DoingItForNatey

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Twinkle boy in the stars with his crows

Natey was our Little Prince....

At his memorial his Aunt Edie read from 'The Little Prince'

"You—You alone will have stars as no one else has them… In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so, it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night. You, only you, will have stars that can laugh! 

And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me… You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure… It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

It was a beautiful and poignant reading. I had never actually read The Little Prince at that point. But I got myself a copy and read it cover to cover one Saturday afternoon in January while tears streamed down my face. It is a lovely and evocative book which really struck a cord with me.

The symbolism of Natey as the Little Prince and also his 'Twinkle Stars' association was set.

Within the first few weeks of January I knew I wanted to get a tattoo to commemorate Natey. I spent a few months mulling over ideas and elements I wanted to include. I had too many ideas. But stars, crows and the Little Prince kept coming up and stayed pretty constant. The other elements came and went and never felt completely right.

I had several different ideas.. and then suddenly it became clear and I knew exactly what I wanted. Just like that.

It started with this picture I found of a tattoo someone else had which actually pretty much encapsulated what I wanted to do...

I love the circle, the stars and the way the little prince was portrayed. But his hair needed to be like Natey's and he had to have his crows (Odin/Thor's Crows Huginn & Muninn 'Thought & Memory')



Elements were inspired by these...



And in the end I had a vision conceptualized. I mulled it for a few weeks or so, and then just after my birthday the time suddenly seemed right. And I acted - fast. I decided on the Friday that I was going to do it and 2 hours later I had an appointment for 12:00 the next day.

I contacted Cape Electric Tattoo. And when I went in Waldo worked with me to turn my conceptualization into a final design and he got it.

Next thing I was on the table and under the needle... for 1.5 hours. Waldo was great. It could have been extremely emotional and overwhelming. But he is a lovely guy, hee was so kind, caring and respectful and he did a great job of distracting me (so I didn't focus too much on the pain and physical trauma) while still allowing me to be present and feeling what I needed to feel at the time.

I LOVE what he produced, and I now have a permanent physical connection to Natey and his memory.

It is nowhere near as good as having that precious beautiful boy here. But I have to accept that this is all I have now... his twinkle stars laughing in the sky and his crows that I see every day. Pretty much without fail.