It has happened to me twice now, that as we wind down each year, I end up in casualty.
Once, at our holiday town in the Cape, Hermanus, and once in Pretoria. All due to stress…
As a nursing sister scolded me once in Hermanus, while I was lying on the bed, hooked up to machines and IV drips in casualty; “You F-$%!@ high-flyers, you work yourself to a F-$%!@ standstill during the year and want to quickly come and F-$%!@ relax in our town, then I F-$%!@ sit with you.”
I clearly got the message – but did I?
Two years later, the same thing happened.
A slow onset of dizziness and headaches – coupled with nausea at times – and pain in my chest, which resulted in a panic attack and wham – back in casualty!
Fortunately, it was not the same sister treating me this time!
Afterwards, I made an appointment with Anita’s staff (two neurophysiologists), who performed a battery of extensive tests. The staff were amazing, and the diagnosis did not surprise me… the dizziness, headaches and pain in my chest and stomach were all caused by one thing …. stress!
“Nico, you can’t walk with an overfull cup the whole year and then want to go on holiday with an empty cup. Your stress levels can’t ‘rev’ in the red and drop to green in a week. You need a change in lifestyle; you need to start thinking differently; practise intentional MINDFULNESS (living in and appreciating the moment) this should become part of your new lifestyle. You need to press into God more often, appreciate nature and the moment you are in – because who knows, there might not be many more moments left! It’s okay if something is skew, live in the moment, not in the future – you will have to start thinking differently.”
And faithful as God always is, the Holy Spirit’s reminders came to mind, given to me over the years…
- Slow down the pace of your life.
- Beware of a hurried lifestyle – the busyness of things.
- No overenergized activities and programmes.
- In quietness and confidence is your strength…but you’ll have none of this (Isaiah 30:15).
- Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5+6)
Why did it have to take two nearly catastrophic personal events, to bring me to my senses, while God warned me time and time again to “slow down!” As Anita so often said – “it’s not the end goal that counts, you’re not enjoying the journey, take time to smell the roses and stop living in the future!”
With the help of Anita’s amazing staff, I have never had such a profound turnaround in my life. I drive slower and try to listen more and ‘want to fix’ less. I give myself more breathing space, time to live in the moment, to sit down rather than stand when I speak to people and time to listen to everyday sounds – birds, cars, aircon, coffee machine and the laughter of people. Anita insisted I start taking guitar lessons which I started last week – she clearly has a plan.
My friend Jan then also gave me an important word – “Nico, a new lifestyle does not mean the lowering of standards, but it does mean we handle it differently when things go wrong… you need to teach, encourage, entertain and bless.”
Jesus said that we need to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and then all these things (those things that you worry about Nico) will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow (will I be sick, dead, have a job, survive the virus?) for tomorrow will worry about itself. (Matthew 6:33+34).
Take one day at a time…and enjoy the moment. Slow down the pace of your life.
On a personal note, I would like to thank Anita and her staff (Jorina and Hanneke) for the caring and understanding way they are guiding me on this new path of my life.
You are angels sent by God.