Recent posts

Tokyo day 2: Shibuya, Harujuku & Yoyogi Park

Tokyo day 2: Shibuya, Harujuku & Yoyogi Park

Travel to Tokyo with me for a few minutes as we enjoy a traditional Japanese breakfast with a view in Shibuya, marvel at dancing Elvis impersonators at Yoyogi Park and walk the streets of Harajuku at night.

Folding paper cranes in Hiroshima

Folding paper cranes in Hiroshima

This week marks 75 years since the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. I’d like to share a tiny story from this magical city.

How I became a runner

How I became a runner

In 2013 I was young and foolish enough to decide I was going to become a runner. All the “How to become a runner” articles suggested I start with walking, but no! No me! Walking is too boring (apparently we all believe we’re the exception and I bet a part of your brain is telling you you’re the exception to this right now).

Instead, I would all-out sprint for about 30 seconds before hitting the pause button and grabbing the arms of the treadmill while catching my breath. I would do this for like a whole hour. I remember the first time I ran 5km like this I walked down the street as if I had just won the lotto. “Bet that person doesn’t know they just walked passed someone who has run 5km,” I thought.

When I completed my first 21km last year I was the complete opposite of my first runner self. My motto was “slow and steady wins the race” and my only aim was to enjoy the run. Even if I was slow AF.

The lesson I was resistant to learn was to be patient. You’re stronger for taking it slow. Cliché as it might sound, Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day.

All the runs in between my first run and my first 21km were like single grains of sugar. Miss one, sure nobody cares. All the ones do add up to something bigger though and as much as one isn’t significant, there’s no cup without the grains.

Where are you running where you could be walking and enjoying the process more?

Slow and steady wins the race


PS: Spoiler alert – running doesn’t make you lose weight. Also an accountability partner or running app is defs the way to go!

When we’re not okay

When we’re not okay

We’re on the same turbulent sea and each of us is tending to our own boats. Are you okay?

Marathon mindset

Marathon mindset

Both the past and the future live in our imaginations. The present is the only real place where we can take any action. So what’s the point of a marathon mindset? The things that really matter to us are most likely marathons and not sprints. 

How to be more creative

How to be more creative

We’ve effectively eliminated boredom by constantly having our phones with an internet connection on us. Any spare moment can be used to scroll Twitter, Instagram or a news site.

The thing with creativity is it needs a little bit of space. A moment to stretch out and say hi.

It’s hard to be creative when you’re super stressed, depressed or burnt out.

Here’s where I’ve found creativity surprising me:

While journaling and reflecting on the past, present or future
While lying on the floor thinking
While doodling or drawing
While watching other people be creative on TikTok or Pinterest
While running
While showering
While listening to a stimulating podcast or audiobook

It feels like creativity often visits when you’re occupied but your mind is running free. You’re in thought but not worrying or overthinking. For me, to be creative is to let my mind be free.

Where has creativity found you?


How to use Instagram stories

How to use Instagram stories

See how you can use Instagram stories better to tell your stories and to connect with your audience. Here are four tips to get you started.

Limiting beliefs

Limiting beliefs

If you fight for your limiting beliefs, you get to keep them. What are you telling yourself you can’t do?

White women use your power (for good)

White women use your power (for good)

In a powerful article on white feminism, Rachel Elizabeth Cargle writes that “many white women believe that the worst thing that can happen to them is to be called a racist”.

To be honest, for me this rang true. One of my worst fears is being labelled a racist. To me, the word is synonymous with evil, close-minded, unkind and intolerant. Over the past two weeks, my view has changed.

In South Africa, each of us is reminded of our racial identity on a constant basis. To deny that we have racial biases and learned prejudices is to deny the truth. The more we are aware of it, the more we can address it, question it, dissect it and work on it.

Last week at a Global SheSays online event Pride Maunatlala said she believes white women can play a key role in fighting systemic racism. Cargle made a similar point:

White skin yields white privilege and an ally is willing to use their privilege to fight with and for those who are marginalized. Allyship means voting for elected officials who have a track record of ensuring the most marginalized among us are heard and advocated for. Allyship means using your sphere of influence whether it be your dining room table or the boardroom of your company to call out racist actions and ideals. Allyship means uplifting the voices and experiences of people of colour so that we are not continuously drowned out and ignored.

Rachel Elizabeth Cargle

A little story about my death wish at 23

A little story about my death wish at 23

Can you remember being 23? I do, thanks to this journal entry.

Still I rise

Still I rise

Let the words of Maya Angelou’s poem ‘Still I Rise’ carry you through today.’ Keep the energy.

Putting yourself out there

Putting yourself out there

Putting yourself out there can be super scary. You’re vulnerable and exposed. You’re out there for people to judge you.

In school, we’re taught that if you get good marks you’re a good student. You’re smart (and for some of us this translates to ‘you’re worthy’).

In the adult world, we don’t get to write exams so we can prove to ourselves and others how smart we are.

I had to realise this the hard way.

When I had a full-time job, I could rely on other’s feedback to prove to myself and others that I was doing a good job. When I started freelancing, however, that external feedback fell away. It has taken me a good long time to realise that the only critique or judgement I need to be listening to is my own (also thanks to my brilliant life coach Masha who helped me here). Otherwise, I’m forever giving up my power and living to try and please others.

Do you give others the power to tell you what you are?

Marshall Rosenberg

In truth, you never have to worry about how other people respond to you. Only how you take and respond to their response. If you rely on positive feedback from others, then negative feedback is likely to be devastating. If you have a strong belief and understanding of who you are then it doesn’t matter what others think or say.

I’ve just recently completed putting together my portfolio and it was so hard. I procrastinated for months because it’s so scary to try and put something out there that says ‘this is me’ (it’s just another website so it’s not really ME, but it might be the most of me some people see). You can check it out here: www.esteedevilliersphotography.co.za.

Your voice matters and there is space for each of us in this world. Remember that today.


Sitting in it

Sitting in it

When we hear of other’s pain it might be a natural reaction to comfort, sympathise or offer solutions. This rarely helps. Here’s what can.

Should I post a black square today?

Should I post a black square today?

If you’ve been online today you might have seen a flood of black squares for #BlackOutTuesday. In the tradition of social media, it’s damned if you post and damned if you don’t. Here’s a breakdown of why you should post and why you shouldn’t post.

The revolution will not be televised

The revolution will not be televised

A revolution has been pending. In his 1971 song, Gil Scott-Heron spoke the words ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised“. In part saying the media would not cover the revolution while also saying the revolution will not be brought to you, you will need to step up and join.

You will not be able to stay home, brother

You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop-out

Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

The funny thing about the word ‘revolution’ is that it also describes our planet’s movement around the sun. Happening, again and again, every 365.25 days.

This revolution is unlikely to bring about all the change we need. However as Dr.Cornel West encourages in the CNN interview below, we need to “try again, fail again and fail better“. And repeat.

The emphasis is of course on try.


Obsessed with this feature image by Julio Cortez/AP via Vox.com

Empathy & white fragility

Empathy & white fragility

The news about George Floyd, who was murdered by police in the US, has been heart-wrenching. It’s highlighted once again how pervasive racism is and with it white fragility.

Abundance

Abundance

There’s an abundance of space and opportunities. Are you taking up all the space you can?

Be the Trickster

Be the Trickster

In her beautiful book Big Magic, author Elizabeth Gilbert mentions that one should try to be the trickster, the jester or the fool. We should not take ourselves so seriously all the time.

This follows on the message of her popular Ted Talk, where she spoke of the trope of the tortured creative genius who has to suffer for their art.

There is another way to be creative that does not make a fetish out of suffering. There is an older way, a richer way, a more generative way — the way human beings had been making art for about 30,000 years before Europeans started taking things all too seriously.

This is the path of playful collaboration with the mysteries of inspiration. This is the path that says you are neither the slave to your muse, nor its master — but that you are its partner, and that the two of you (artistic mystery and you) can delight in each other.

This is the path that says creativity is a weird but never-boring dance, and that you are allowed to actually enjoy it regardless of how it turns out. This is the path that focuses more on the wonderful strangeness of the process and less on the result. This is the path that does not worship suffering and torment, and does not respect the reality police who say that life is nothing but a grim march of pain.

This is the path of the trickster, not the martyr. The trickster (represented forever in world mythology as the fox, the crow, the coyote, the monkey) sees through our delusions of seriousness and exposes the play underneath all our drama. The trickster says, “You are welcome to die for your cause if you really want to, but I’m not here to spend my life suffering.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

I think this is a beautiful concept that stretches further than just creativity. We seriously need to laugh at ourselves more. As if we’re all going to die one day.

Check out another 12 things you can learn from Big Magic.


Keeping good company

Keeping good company

You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Who does that make you? Here’s a secret I’ve learned about finding and keeping good company.

Revelations from the road

Revelations from the road

While cycling almost 360km accross Europe with my sister I had a few revelations that I rediscovered and would love to share.

Authenticity is a claptrap

Authenticity is a claptrap

In social media ‘authenticity’ is the buzzword du jour so imagine my surprise when one of my marketing heroes said it’s claptrap (I’m paraphrasing).

In one of his Instagram lives, Seth Godin said he doesn’t care for authenticity. You may not authentically show up the same way every day (as a scatterbrain on a new rollercoaster of emotions every day this definitely resonated). What trumps authenticity, for him, is consistency.

Can you consistently show up? When you make a commitment, can you stick to it?

When I commit to something I often want to force myself to stick with it, even if it isn’t in my best interest anymore. Maybe consistency can also include consistently correcting course. To consistently recalibrate what is the best course to take.

We also know (now more than ever) change is the only constant. The universe is showing us consistency by being unpredictable, we should return the favour and consistently show up (to mix it up).