Angelina Kalahari

"Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself." by Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Tag: real friends

What is gratitude and why is it important?

 

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According to the Oxford Dictionary, gratitude is the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

But what is it really?

“Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, argues that gratitude has two key components, which he describes in an essay, Why Gratitude is Good.”

You can read all about his ideas, here http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/gratitude/definition

The reason I wanted to write something about Gratitude today is because I feel 2016 was such a strange year. Well, for me, anyway.

Of course, good things have happened to many people, including to me. I published my children’s novel, George And The Gargoyle Who Lived In The Garden in 2016 and I was supported by so many lovely readers who bought it. The novel was even bought by the central library in Enfield, which means that it is available for loan throughout London. I was able to buy my gorgeous new car, my Abarth, that I’d been wanting for ages. My wonderful students have achieved great things which made me very proud. I have been blessed to have amazing friends in my life and I feel that my relationships have deepened with those people who are very important in my life.

I’m truly grateful for things like the fact that I am healthy for the most part, I can move around freely, I can breathe fresh air, I can see, hear, speak, I have a lovely warm home, I have enough food to eat every day, etc. I’m still here and I get another go at another day, and hopefully, another year

For all of those things, and more, I am extremely grateful.

But…

I feel the world has entered a rather darker phase now than I have ever seen before. Strange political events, terrorist activities, the refugee crisis and war has contributed to make me feel this way. It is difficult to remain grateful in the face of such events. As someone who leans towards the metaphysical truths in life, I know that even these disturbing events have their place, but the human, three-dimensional part of me, can’t quite get my head around the state of the world at the moment.

The fact that so many of our great icons, like Alan Rickman, Rick Parfitt, David Bowie, Prince, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Leonard Cohen, Robert Vaughn, Pete Burns, Terry Wogan, Gene Wilder, Caroline Aherne, Muhammad Ali, Victoria Wood, David Guest, Carrie Fisher and George Michael died last year, among so many other great people, makes me wonder if they all left because they know something we don’t.

The craziness of life can be overwhelming and then, feeling gratitude may be the last thing on our minds, but I feel that gratitude is very important because it allows us to turn bad things and obstacles into opportunities. Gratitude also turns what we have into enough.

Even though some scary things have to carry on from 2016, I trust that 2017 will bring clarity, joy and good fortune to us all. And lots of things to feel grateful for.

Telling people we love them is so important

View from Table Mountain

My family live in several countries around the world, which I guess is quite normal for families these days. It doesn’t stop me loving them the same as I have always done.

One of my sisters celebrated her birthday recently. She lives in Cape Town and leads a crazy busy life, but I managed to get her on the other end of a phone over the weekend. It’s always wonderful to catch up with her and to hear news of the rest of the family. She told me all about how great her birthday was, the lovely gifts she’d received, the dinner, and she told me how she went up Table Mountain via cable car with her whole family. They stayed there until eight o’clock in the evening, taking pictures of the setting sun. She said that was the best gift of all – having all her family with her to enjoy the views with her. She promised to send me photos, and I fell in love with the one accompanying this blog, which shows part of the cable car and the views of Cape Town below, the sea and Robben Island in the distance.

At the end of our conversation, I told my sister that I loved her very much, not only as my sister but also as my friend. She said my words created a cozy warmth around her heart.

Her reaction reminded me once again how important it is that we tell the people in our lives that we love them. Often we assume they know how we feel about them, and I’m sure they do, but it’s so important to say it, especially when they’re still around to hear it. Life is so short.

In the end, isn’t it what we all want – to be accepted and loved unconditionally for who are, warts and all?

Are virtual friends real? What do you think?

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Even though we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK as our American friends did yesterday, I feel everyone probably should at least look at the people and things they are grateful for. I’m grateful for so many things.

I was asked this question the other day, “Are virtual friends real?”

I’m grateful for all my friends, including my virtual friends, and I am lucky to have several virtual friends whom I’ve never met in real life, but who have become very important to me. Actually, I don’t even like the phrase, virtual friends, but to avoid confusion, I’ll stick to it for this post.

I regularly Skype for two to three hours every week or so with friends I have never actually met before.

A very dear and important virtual friend lives in Texas near a forest. She’s a writer and a musician, and when we Skype, we talk about writerly things and everything else under the sun. Perhaps because we share writing and music (voice, in my case), a love of nature and forests, we have a great understanding of each other, and exchange tips and advise about writing and life. We support each other and share in each other’s lives – our heartaches, sorrows, madness, creativity, lows and highs. She brings such deep joy to my life.

A much loved, treasured and significant virtual friend lives in Atlanta, America. When we Skype, I get a real measure of her essence and energy. I see parts of her home behind her, share in her joy of her dogs, and in her life, in a far more immediate way than only writing can allow. We discuss singing and voice, especially Adam Lambert’s amazing voice, life, our families, our careers, and we share ourselves in the knowledge that everything we tell each other is safe with the other. She is also my most important beta reader, and she enriches my life beyond measure.

Another friend, who lives on a ranch in Texas, became a virtual friend after we met one crazy night in New Orleans at an Adam Lambert show, when we danced together in a gay club until around four o’clock in the morning.  It’s always wonderful to catch up with her and to hear her tales of their goats and horses, and of her lovely family.

In 2015 one of my very first, wonderful, much loved virtual friends suddenly died. I can assure you, my heartache and sadness was very real. I still miss her every day.

I’m immensely grateful for the amazing opportunity to have met these special friends. I cherish them and the time I get to spend with them, in the same way that I value my friends who live near me. We share ourselves and talk on the phone, Skype, via email or Facebook regularly in the same way that friends who live near me, and I, share our lives and talk on the phone, WhatsApp, SMS, or meet up once in a while for lunch, dinner or just a coffee. I really don’t see any difference.

I have lived in other countries, and my friends who were once my real friends there, have since become virtual friends because of distance, but they are nevertheless still very much a part of my life. Thanks to technology, our world is now much smaller, and it’s always an amazing experience to Skype with someone across an ocean in another continent.

 

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