It’s been a hectic start to the year. Thank you to 2017 for all the lessons and the blessings. It has indeed been a year of tremendous learning. I am ready to embrace 2018 and all that it offers. 2017 saw me inspired with finishing my dissertation for my Masters, which incidentally, took up all my free time. I underestimated the effort required but was deeply grateful for having passed and able to attend my graduation at the University of Liverpool in London. An amazing achievement celebrated in style and in good company. How often do you get to spend two solid weeks, celebrating life, uninterrupted and in complete appreciation. To journey from London to Los Angeles with my two beautiful daughters was incredible and a memory I will treasure forever. It has always been a tradition to travel to at least one new place every year. In January 2017, we chose our destination for December 2017 and fulfilled our goals. We were blessed with a peaceful festive season and it is always a reminder that no matter how far in the world you travel, the best Christmas is always spent with the people you care most about in this world. Despite all the wonderful gifts that Christmas brings, as you get older, you realize that the real and true gifts are the inspirational messages you get from friends, the quick whats apps to let you know they thinking about you, the unexpected phone call to check on you because they genuinely care about you. They are not too consumed with their own egos that they forget to make time for matters close to the heart. No matter where you go in life, no matter how many material possessions or how much wealth you have, you will find very little joy if you cannot be part of an integrated system of connected individuals who care about you enough to acknowledge your presence and your life. These gifts of togetherness bring an inner peace that cannot be comprehended. 2017 was indeed a year of many beginnings and endings with an array of emotions, both excitement and disappointment. It highlighted once again, the need to live life to its fullest having been reminded of the fragility of life with close friends diagnosed with terminal illnesses. It also yielded a year of loss through the end of precious relationships. Life is an ever-changing phenomenon. Sometimes change is deliberate, sometimes it is more subtle. You may go through life accepting the way things are, questioning if this is all life has to offer. Until one day, experience teaches you differently. Life is a transformation and things are constantly changing, challenging you, stretching you, and testing you. Everything in life requires hard work, whether it’s being a parent, a committed employee, whether you are in a marriage for 30 years or a relationship for 5 years. The past few months were just a reminder of how easily our lives can be stolen in a quick and brief moment. Death is not the only thief of life, there are many thieves ingrained into our lives, waiting to turn us into dust, depriving us of a future, riddling us with guilt and leaving us faced with a life of deep despair and umbrage. We give people far too much power in our lives, the power to control us, to own us, judge us, label us, hurt us. The power to condemn us, ridicule us and destroy us. This web of emotions entangles us, leaving us breathless, tired and apathetic, wishing our lives away, hoping that the storm will soon pass and we can be given some peace to pick up our pieces again. It revealed to us the colossal impact that people can have on our well-being, on our dreams and on our future. Of all the greatest gifts you could receive in this lifetime, peace of mind would be top of my list. Nothing is more precious than being able to sleep with a clear conscience and wake up filled with an energy that is quiet, yet strong and focused. There are no raging rivers in your heart. An energy that is clean and still, without negative thoughts racing through your mind. An energy that is pure and embracing without any hidden agendas in your day. An energy that is real and captivating, reminding you of your great purpose and entrusting you to live it fully. The peace of mind that comes from focusing on the present and not living in anxiety over the future or in regret about the past. Every day is seen as a small step in your journey to greatness. The vigour applied to the present moment is as intense as the vision is towards the end goal. When you are gifted with a free heart, there is a constant glow. People are drawn towards you and you engender love, peacefulness and inspiration. This energy discharges a current of strength, wisdom, belief and faith. Our energy is what attracts situations and circumstances. The more we crowd our lives with soul stealers, the more negative energy we dispel and the more doomed we are to the wasteland. The more we are possessed by the energy of soul stealers, the less room we leave for discovering who we truly are, for chasing our dreams and fulfilling all we were meant to be in this lifetime. The greatest hour of truth and possession by the soul thief, is when you lay your head down to sleep. It is this one moment that no matter how significant we are in this world, that no matter how famous and rich we are, that we are all succumbed to the moment where rest is essential and where we are one with our soul. Your only companion is your conscience. It is at this time that you are either consumed by thoughts of joy, fear, regret, or heartache. The soul thief waits in the wings to snatch any flicker of hope you have, robbing you of health, peace, hope and faith, leaving you empty and desolate. Life’s greatest rivals are your ego and your inner spirit. This war is real and destructive. Ego drives materiality and desire, the need to be superior, the need for aggressive social acceptability. Your inner spirit drives humanity and peace, it seeks to find love, compassion and understanding. Humanity respects the vastness of this universe and our vulnerability within, acknowledging that we are part of a great plan, a great purpose and in fulfilling it, we must give of ourselves. Ego respects superiority, acknowledging that power is essential. When your ego is in charge, you are restless, there is a constant abyss, an emptiness, as if the void inside of you can never be filled, waking up with a sense of trepidation and anxiety. Ego builds attachment, humanity heals detachment. Life is an ever-changing constant. Every day offers you an opportunity to rethink, reshape and reinvent. When life throws you with its curveballs, you realize that there are many ways to deal with these challenges, you can either rise up and be strong or your can allow the soul stealers to invade your life and rob you of the peace you so desire. They are waiting to surround you like the plaque, ready to diminish your existence. They know that as long as they control your soul, they control your life. You cannot bargain with a soul thief, there’s no negotiation, once you are trapped, freedom has a hefty price. To completely get rid of the dark force that surrounds your life, and the world that soul stealers thrive in, you must first acknowledge their presence in your life. Know your enemy, only then can you strategically forge an army of warriors against these spirits of darkness. What are these soul stealers we talk about, who are they? They are faceless and fearless! Complacency –the thief of inspiration, satisfied with life the way it is, failing to lead change and arrogantly accepting that you have arrived, that there is no need for any more effort. It steals your vigor, zeal and all that you have achieved leaving you obliterated, wondering if what you once had was real. Guilt – is like the silent plaque that is unsuspecting, slowly whispering in your ear, telling you how worthless you are, reminding you of your many mistakes. It clutches onto your will, commanding you to focus on the past. You are in a time trap, free falling and out of control. Regret – regret tortures you, it hangs in front, forcing you to reach out and relive the past, it keeps you trapped in yesterday and refuses to forgive you for your imperfections. It does not guarantee tomorrow because tomorrow is already stolen. Self-Doubt – self-doubt tiptoes slowly weaving its way into your confidence, building cobwebs so that the future becomes hazy and unclear. It second-guesses your purpose, your goal and your future. Uncontrolled debt – revels in the glory of lack. It shows you the scoreboard and it’s the only time you are pegged right at the top of the scale, not to show your value, but to show your liability. It magnifies your anxiety and diminishes your humanity. Worry – creeps up on you, it flutters from one shoulder to the other, it rides alongside you, directing your path, obsessing over disaster and lack. It creates a vision board for you, one that tells the story of failure, doom and destruction. It reminds you that you are a slave bound by the shackles of worry. Join me on this journey as we unpack every one of these soul thieves. Each upcoming blog post will deal with the extent to how these soul stealers rob us of our peace of mind and what we can do about them. Subscribe to my blog to keep appraised of upcoming posts. Until next time, keep on learning! Thank you for sharing.