Funny story… 🙂
After my first year of University, I returned home to the family farm in Mooi River, Kwazulu-Natal (in South Africa).
In that year, I had put on about fourteen kilograms!
When my father saw me, he was horrified as this unattractive extra weight was bound to decrease my chances of a happy future and securing a good husband…
He tried not to say anything, but he would eat extra dessert before I could have seconds…. (Saving me from myself!)
Then I went into the kitchen to see Katie and Nombusa (who worked for us), who hadn’t seen me for 6 months.
As soon as they saw me, they danced around me:
“Haau Joollie (Jill) Maye Babo- you’re Mafuta now!” they said…
“You’re so beautiful! You’re now fat enough to get married!”
They were delighted that I was now ‘Mafuta’ (The Fat One). Zulu culture dictates that a fat woman is a healthy one, with good childbearing prospects!
1) Being ‘fat’ would decrease your chances of getting a husband, causing you to be unhappy.
2) Being ‘fat’ would GET you a husband – giving you reason to BE happy.
Two completely opposing paradigms, and two different paths or definitions of happiness! Both existing, functioning, and serving both cultures.
So each culture (more specifically, my father and Katie/Nombusa) could argue that their paradigm is the truth.
One of the reasons why I’m holding my upcoming retreat in South Africa is because I want everyone to WAKE UP to the paradigms that we live by, that you most likely aren’t even aware of, that aren’t necessarily fact – and then challenge them!
On the last night of the African Soul Retreat, we will stay in the Zulu village (Shakaland). You can’t help but feel the drums IN your body, smell the earth and ‘get’ the cultural diversity.
Over the first few days, attendees would have seen a live kill, had dinner under the stars, and been awed by the grace of the giraffe.
These are mild examples of clashes in paradigm differences in Africa – but participants are bound to experience a shift in perception and a questioning of your own set of paradigms by the experiences and interactions we have there.
It is just SO different.
There are many paradigms, mindsets, habits that we form that may not necessarily be serving us at all – but we’re doing them and believing in them because ‘that’s what we were taught’.
Challenging these paradigms goes a long way to figuring out who you REALLY are –
at your TRUE centre – and come home to the ‘YOU’ that is uniquely YOU.
Keep in mind – It’s quite a process to navigate through – because our paradigms are so deeply ingrained in us!
When we strip and peel them back, we start to see things we hadn’t seen before.
We get to CREATE our paradigms the way that we want to, and in a way that will SERVE us, and provide pathways – NOT boundaries.
So my lesson for you today is first just to be aware what paradigms you currently have, that are in your way – the ones that are not serving you.
– What things have you accepted as ‘fact’, that might be untrue, or misinterpreted?
The best thing you can do for yourself is to dive into other cultures and other environments. I just can’t think of a better way to QUICKLY see what really is true, untrue, different, unbelievable, shocking even…
…and CHALLENGE those paradigms you have – to find your OWN definition of happiness.
Enjoy the rest of your Chooseday!
P.S The official webpage will be up very soon, but if the sound of my African Soul Retreat intrigues you in any way, please don’t hesitate to quickly reply to this email, and I’ll send you all the information. 🙂
P.P.S: No-one else can MAKE you happy. Partners can add to your happiness, but it’s no-one else’s fault if you’re not happy! It’s our thoughts that dictate our mood, happiness is an inside job!
Alan Chesney says
Good on you Jill…Im certainly enjoying that beautiful “In the NOW” attitude from the Zulu people over here..a lot of the Zulu guys are certainly very slim and fit….there is no judgement either way..we can learn a lot from these wonderful people…all the best with your Retreat..Im sure everyone will enjoy some wonderful experiences over here..cheers! Alan
Thanks Alan! Yes things have changed in Zulu culture, especially from farm to city, and dare I mention it – from 1989 till now! I won’t count how many years that has been. Glad you’re enjoying SA. I am so looking forward to getting back into KZN, especially the game Reserve!