Heartfelt food matters

On the last day of an energetic and happy holiday, I suffered a heart attack. Although I had ignored slight twinges in my heart for a few months, it was a shock. Fortunately, I knew what was happening, having lost a partner like this 10 years ago, and, aware of the symptoms, I received timely and good care.

Caucasian female standing on boat with ocean in the back ground
Jeunesse, the picture of health on her epic trip last year

What attacked my heart I asked? Genetic high cholesterol, I am told, exacerbated by an often-careless lifestyle and diet. Though mostly vegetarian, fit and active, and has alleviated the stress of a hard-working life in recent years, I have not paid due attention to diet. The medics casually told me to follow a Mediterranean diet, though the first meal the hospital offered was a lump of minced meat on white bread topped by a hard-boiled egg!

In an attempt to recover as quickly and sustainably as possible, and though I have known about good food all my life, and even worked at the first raw, vegetarian, health food restaurant in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, I have again been researching current trends in healthy nutrition.

The clear message about our diet and our health

There is a lot of conflicting information to wade through, but the trend towards veganism and cutting out sugars is resounding. Since so many of our illnesses, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and various cancers, are linked to inflammation, caused by ingesting animal fat and sugar, this makes a lot of sense.

Increasing numbers are also becoming aware of the severe impacts of animal products on the planet and climate change because as meat and dairy are ingrained into our diets, they are also rooted in our environment. To produce one kilo of meat requires 25 kilos of grain and 15 000 litres of water. If all that grain was fed to humans, we could feed an extra 3.5 billion people. Livestock farming uses 30% of the earth’s surface, in a world where water, land and food are becoming scarcer, massively inefficient and inequitable!

Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions and when livestock byproducts are added this accounts for 51% of emissions! This industry is further a major cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction, including rainforests.

70 billion farmed animals are reared annually worldwide and 6 million are killed for food every hour. Most of these animals, sentient beings, are reared in terrible conditions causing them to suffer.

This morning I sip my tea with almond milk, grateful to be alive as I contemplate the good news that food marketers have realised the potential and now offer a wide range of delicious plant-based foods and alternatives to every kind of animal protein that helps me to feel better about my body and the planet.

Resources for healthy eating from Jeunesse (online, deliveries and some Cape Town restaurants and caterers):

Spar offers over 100 options for plant-based meals, and there are more on Woolworths shelves daily. Unilever has just bought the Dutch based Vegetarian Butcher.

Here are some plant-based food deliveries and restaurants:

http://www.puregood.co.za/ a corporate catering business that dishes up super affordable, deliciously wholesome and ethically produced meals to working professionals in Cape Town

https://www.wellnesswarehouse.com/shop/foodmarket/ order healthy ingredients online, including dairy alternatives and snacks

http://www.vegansa.com/foodstuffs-ready-made-meals.php a directory of food for vegans in South Africa: what’s available and where to buy it

https://www.faithful-to-nature.co.za/food/food-types/vegan a great variety of organic vegan foods to help you enjoy a balanced and wholesome plant-based diet

http://justvegan.co.za/ deliveries of vegan meals in the Johannesburg area

http://www.plantcafe.co.za/ Cape Town restaurant where vegans and people with food allergies can find amazing food without sacrificing taste

https://orders.fitchef.co.za/ online food without preservatives, no man-made chemicals and no added or artificial sugars – delivered to you

https://www.facebook.com/TheYummyVegan/ Vegan comfort food filled with all the necessary nutritional value, from frozen meals to cater for small functions to large Conferences, Weddings and Parties

https://www.facebook.com/rawandroxy/ Cape Town raw vegan gourmet restaurant. Winner of the Condé Nast Gourmet award, best Wellness and Vitality restaurant in South Africa.

The practice of happiness

Can you recall how many times you have said, “I just want to be happy”, or have uttered the same sentiments to your children or loved ones?

Happiness is a basic human need; everyone deserves to be happy. Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her 2007 book, The How of Happiness, describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”

Happiness, or being happy, is not often easily achieved. Let me explain by asking you this: Do you set tasks or goals in the pursuit of happiness? Do you start your happiness sentences by giving yourself a deadline? For example; “If I had …, I would be happy” or “When I accomplish …, it would make me happy?”

The pursuit of happiness starts from within. Happiness exists within each of us. And here’s the truth: we are the catalysts of our own happiness. So, to be happy, you must know what makes you happy. You have to discover that place in your heart that makes you leap for joy. And that takes courage. The courage to embrace the opportunities that life brings your way.

Happiness asks you to be brave, to actively challenge yourself to embark on journeys that may scare you, and to be fearless in your pursuit of that which brings you joy.

When we allow others to decide for us, permit the voice of fear to enter our minds, play it safe or prioritise pleasing others ahead of ourselves, it is then that we lose our way in the pursuit of happiness.

The key is to be authentic and true to ourselves.

Here are my top four tips for actively practising happiness:

  1. Life is a journey, not a destination
    Life itself is the great journey. There is no destination. Be conscious that each moment of every day is a part of this journey and that each moment has the potential to fulfill you. Our family life, work, hobbies, morning walk, time with friends – all these are unique opportunities to experience moments of happiness. Hidden within these simple daily activities lies the meaning of our lives. Simply appreciate what is in your life today. Practise finding joy today. Practise feeling compassion today. Experience today to its fullest potential.
  2. Celebrate your uniqueness
    Your uniqueness is your greatest gift. Applaud your own ‘me-ness’ and that of others. Just being who you are, and authentically being yourself, brings a special gift to the world.
  3. Personal reflection
    Have conversations with your inner voice – that voice that reminds you of who you are and what you need to be fulfilled. Listen to your intuition. Prayer, meditation or just spending quiet time with yourself, by yourself, will facilitate an awareness of a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in your own life.
  4. Every moment counts
    Practise finding simple moments of joy in the everyday. Notice how many daily experiences bring you pleasure. Think of happiness as something to be experienced and enjoyed many times.

Author of Mindpower, John Kehoe reminds us to practise happiness rather than to search for it. He believes that happiness is a choice; if you want to be happy, look at your life and find reasons to be happy. Likewise, if you want to be unhappy, then you will find many reasons to be unhappy.

I’d love to hear what brings you happiness and am excited to share many happy conversations with you this year.

Warm regards

How people perceive beauty

In his project to track how people perceive beauty, from a child to an older person, Louie Schwartzberg records an interview with each. It is the older man’s profound insights that were most striking. Click here to watch the TED Talk.

Here are some gems from the project:

  • You think this is just another day in your life? It’s not just another day. It’s the one day that is given to you today. It’s given to you. It’s a gift.
  • If you do nothing else but to cultivate that response to the great gift that this unique day is, if you learn to respond as if it were the first day in your life and the very last day, then you will have spent this day very well.
  • Begin by opening your eyes and be surprised that you have eyes you can open, that incredible array of colors that is constantly offered to us for pure enjoyment.
  • Open your heart to all these blessings, and let them flow through you, that everyone whom you will meet on this day will be blessed by you, just by your eyes, by your smile, by your touch, just by your presence. Let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you, and then it will really be a good day.

Around the world in 90 days!

Traditionally, a Bucket List records aspirational trips to unexplored destinations. Chartered client, Jeunesse Park, took a different route – literally – on her recent travels: she made her Bucket List all about seeing people who mean so much to her.

Around the world in 90 days!

Traditionally, a Bucket List records aspirational trips to unexplored destinations. Chartered client, Jeunesse Park, took a different route – literally – on her recent travels: she made her Bucket List all about seeing people who mean so much to her. Here is Jeunesse’s account of her epic journey to connect with special people in her life. Be inspired!

The Reason

I realised that, having worked so hard all my life, I had left little space for enjoying family and friendships. In recent years, I have lost my parents, my life partner and, in 2018, my close childhood friend and another two friends died. Other friends and family were facing transitions, and some were feeling a bit adrift, even depressed.

I decided to live life to the full while I can still walk, talk and think for myself, to revisit people I care deeply for and places I have lived. To finance my trip, I used money I earned running my family home (all children moved out years ago) as a BnB for four years. I bought a round-the-world trip, not more expensive than flying return to the furthest spot on the planet.

Jeunesse’s epic trip included beautiful places and memorable experiences.

Here is a brief travelogue.

The Route

My first stop was London, beautiful in the summertime, where I visited a cousin I have loved since we were tiny girls. We now work together on a Bushman project that is close to our hearts. Together, off we went to Paris to drink wine, eat oysters, walk kilometres daily, chatter and laugh a lot.

The following destination was not my favourite, but it was where (it turns out) I was needed. My brother in Los Angeles needed input on some family issues. I always love seeing him and hope I helped.

A dear friend, the first ever Mexican Ambassador to South Africa who studied his Masters in the ‘greening’ of Mexico City via UNISA, invited me to visit Mexico City. He had translated my ‘Greening Booklet’ and distributed it to a million Mexican schools. I was delighted to stay with him and his wife and explore wonderful museums and galleries. The terrible pollution, and seeing my friend suffering from asthma, was disturbing, though. Like Cape Town, Mexico City is drying up and he introduced me to top water people in government. Some may join us in May 2019 at the W12 Congress in Cape Town for the first 12 major world cities running out of water.

Back in the USA, I spent 10 days with my ex-husband. Forty years ago we had travelled across the country in a camper van. We had planned to camp in Yosemite National Park and for us then to drive north to Seattle, but the park was closed owing to raging fires. The North-West Pacific, full of beautiful natural places where I am most happy, was besieged by fires and choking smoke. This was truly, as the Plume app* describes it, an airpocalypse. We did find some lovely places to camp along the magnificent coast and engaged in fiery climate change, political and philosophical discussion en route. Our marriage had ended badly. This time, we resolved much: with time to chat, we heard each other’s side of the story and agreed that we are friends forever.

My next sojourn, beautiful Seattle, USA, where I had visited my uncle four years before while on a climate training with Al Gore. Back then I believed it was the last time I would see him, so was excited to celebrate his 90th birthday with him. He is quite deaf and succumbing to Alzheimer’s, though remembers his youth. He quipped, “I may be losing my mind and my hearing, but not my sense of humour!” We giggled and reminisced.

My next stopover was the garden island of Kauai, Hawaii, but climate change beleaguered me there, too. I had booked a small AirBnB between a beach and a river. On arrival, flood warnings greeted me as a hurricane approached. I relocated to a hotel, the hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm and my beautiful Californian niece joined me for a week of hiking, cycling and swimming.

I next went to Sydney, Australia to connect with a great environmentalist friend and some family. I cruised the magnificent harbour with a young cousin and her new baby, swam in Byron Bay, where the water is so clear that I could see the flash of fish swimming around me, and walked McMasters Beach with another young pregnant cousin.

I visited relatives who had just lost their son and spent some time hugging trees on his birthday in his favourite spot at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens. His bereft mother, who had not ceased weeping, smiled for the first time. Such is the healing power in nature and in bonding with it and each other.

Finally, I stopped off in Bali for a week. My friend, Solar Marc, took me on his motor bike to visit an eco-village. We wore masks to filter out the terrible air pollution and though the seas were cleaner than when I was last there, the island is tragically nothing like the exquisite paradise I lived in in the 1970s.

Jeunesse undertook a People Bucket List trip, to connect with her special people across the globe.

The Highlights

I highly recommend such a relationship Bucket List. I was on my own, but was never lonely.

My most memorable moments were those spent with people and in nature. Many I stayed with said that I brought good energy and joy into their homes which, along with the feeling of closing circles of life, made this a most fulfilling trip.

I was present in each moment and really appreciated people in my life. Though I visited places I had lived before, I did not reminisce so much as reflect on who I had been then, who I am now, and how I can consciously live the rest of my life.

A family vacation gives birth to a passion for conservation

When Louise and Roger Ketley returned from a series of family scuba diving and snorkelling holidays at Rocktail Bay in northern Maputaland (KZN), it was with more than fond memories!

Having witnessed turtle nesting and hatchings, these Chartered clients set the goal of volunteering with a project to fulfil their hope of witnessing baby turtles’ frantic race to the sea. This objective recently found its fulfilment in a conservation programme in Greece – a volunteering project that suited both of the Ketleys, as a ‘senior’ married couple.

Louise and Roger signed up for the final two weeks of a programme run by GVI (Global Vision International), a UK-based volunteer organisation focusing on wildlife conservation and community-based projects around the world. Here is their experience in their own words.

Duties and discoveries

Man in camp kitchen
Preparing meals in the camp kitchen

Based in Giannitsochori, a small, traditional Greek village, we were housed in a modest and comfortable bungalow with proper bedding, a private toilet, hot shower, air-conditioner and bar fridge.  We met the other volunteers and staff members at dinner in the campsite taverna (it became a welcome oasis with superb local cold beer, metaxa, and first-class coffee!).

We were seven volunteers (the average age of which shot up to about 35 once we joined!) and three GVI staff members: two Spaniards, two Columbians, two English, and one American and Hungarian, plus us two South Africans … 10 in all, and only two men.  Being somewhat older than the others, we did not know quite what to expect or how we might fit in, but the GVI staff made us feel welcome and we enjoyed mixing with the youngsters – I couldn’t help wishing that I was 40 years younger!

The project coincides with the loggerhead turtle nesting and hatching season (June to September) during the hot summer months.  Although we had the weekend off, we three new volunteers received a briefing on that first Sunday, and then duties for the week were allocated to the teams.  Volunteers participate in different roles depending on the time in the season, including daily beach surveys to record nesting activity and to protect turtle nests against predation by mammals and inundation by sea water, measuring the turtles and recording data, excavating nests, stacking protective nest grids, and camp duties when not on surveys. Volunteers also provide important conservation information to overseas visitors and the local community.

In the stretch of beach monitored by both GVI and ARCHELON (the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece) were over 3,000 turtle nests: the beach was segmented – both north and south of the camp site – and in the GVI areas alone, spanning roughly 10 kms of beach, there were over 800 nests. September being the end of the season, many had already hatched, but we still expected to see some hatchlings. Nest excavations would be our main task, though, as it is important to determine how successful nests had been.

Group of volunteers on the beach
Morning beach survey team with enthusiastic local tourist: Roger and Louise on the left

Camp duties included cleaning and cooking, and stacking protective grids once returned from an excavated nest. Provisioning and cooking were interesting challenges given special dietary requirements, from vegans, vegetarians and low carb diets to straight-forward carnivores! The local water is drinkable, but we bought bottles of spring water just in case.

Female volunteers on beach excavating
Eunice (GVI leader) and Louise’s early morning excavation

Each beach survey team comprised the GVI leader for the day plus two or three volunteers; the camp duty team consisted of the two remaining volunteers, while the third member of staff would have a day off, or would shop for supplies or collect the two survey teams from the beach. The plan was to be back at the camp site for lunch. On occasion, after dinner, we would enjoy a spectacular sunset swim together.

www.archelon.gr

www.gvi.co.uk (there are projects in South Africa – wildlife conservation, including Elephant research in Limpopo.)

Hooked on the Ketley’s account of their volunteering adventure?  Don’t miss the last instalment by clicking on the article below:

 

And for Roger’s Record of Turtle facts, click on the article below:



Giving back on a Greek beach

Giving back on a Greek beach

The Ketleys continue to recount their adventure as volunteers for turtle conservation in Greece – proving that giving back can be both fun and rewarding.

Each nest is carefully identified with a beach sector code, a unique number and date of discovery, or laying if an earlier team had observed a laying turtle (she would be tagged and measured). Sometimes a nest is discovered by predation (by stray dogs or foxes), but in every case the nest is protected with a metal grid and anchored by bamboo stakes or flat stones. A “do not disturb” warning sign in three languages is placed at the nest, with the necessary identification information.

Guide and voluntree excavating a turtle nest on the beach
Eunice ( GVI leader) and Roger excavate a nest

On our first day on the beach, we immediately saw a number of nests … and, with dismay, the many (illegal) summer beach bars (one named Caribbean Bar!) right on the beach with semi-permanent grass umbrellas and sun beds – right amongst the turtle nests, competing for beach space. The fear is that these bars contribute to light pollution and so prevent turtles from laying or lead to the disorientation of the hatchlings. Beach goers had also constructed less permanent bamboo dwellings of their own, and there was evidence too of beach fires – all potentially obstructing a hatchling’s dash for the sea! Our task was to photograph (surreptitiously) all these obstructions and count the umbrellas and sun beds for reporting to the authorities. In addition, we would come across vehicular tracks on the beach, again with the potential to carelessly destroy established nests. We were warned not to antagonise beach-bar owners or their patrons in fear of deliberate destruction of nets or nesting sites in retaliation – a delicate balancing act, complicated somewhat by the language barrier.

Safeguarding survival of a species

If we came across hatchling tracks, we recorded this, and then swept the tracks away in case there was a further hatching the next night to be added to the tally. Sometimes we came across a “mass hatching” – a nest’s first hatching of 20 or more babies – and, if even luckier, we would witness a hatching and then ensure that the baby turtles made it safely to the water’s edge. It was important not to handle the hatchlings – they had to exercise their flippers and have time for their in-built GPS systems to register their whereabouts. If a hatchling showed signs of disorientation, we could dig a shallow trench to the sea for it to follow … a necessary human intervention. Hatchlings showing signs of stress or fatigue were reburied, and the place marked with a bamboo stake.

It being the end of the season, our main task was excavating “expired” nests: carefully

Turtle hatchling making tracks to the sea
Hatchling making tracks to the sea

Locating the nest’s egg chamber by removing the protective grid and scraping away the surface sand, then digging down into the nest proper to remove all the eggs. On occasion we found live hatchlings, later to be “escorted” to the sea. All hatched eggs are counted and recorded, and unhatched eggs broken open and examined to see if embryos existed, or if there was no evidence of fertilisation, and then total clutch size recorded.

My most successful nest was 125 hatched eggs, but the record (held for two successive weeks) was held by the American volunteer: 133 hatched eggs – a remarkable outcome.  Initially, our tasks were quite gruelling, not the 5km walk, but more the regular getting down and up off the soft sand while excavating nests. I developed a “prayer mat” to protect my knees from the rough sand paper! It got better as the days progressed, and I’m proud to say that we never slowed any of the teams down, and completed the tasks assigned to us … perhaps to the surprise of our much younger colleagues! While on beach surveys we engaged with local and foreign visitors (mainly from Germany, Austria and France), many very interested in what we were doing – in some cases, they gladly offered to assist with shepherding hatchlings to the water’s edge.

Turtle hatchlings emerging from the nest
Hatchlings emerging from the nest

Such were our tasks for the two weeks – with a visit over the intervening weekend to the local historic town of Kyparissia. We had great fun with literally hands-on work with one of the most endangered species in the Mediterranean, living in a quiet area near a traditional fishing town. With the thrill of watching the hatchlings head for the sea, we knew that, if we were not able to make a difference in the two weeks, we certainly made a lasting one-off contribution to the preservation of endangered turtles and the wonder of God’s creation!

ARCHELON website – www.archelon.gr

GVI – from which can be found projects in South Africa – wildlife conservation, including Elephant research in Limpopo.

If you missed the beginning of this account of the Ketley’s Greek adventure, click on the article below:



And for Roger’s Record of Turtle facts, click on the article below:



Roger Ketley’s Record of Turtle facts

Here are some fascinating facts about these endangered creatures.

If you have missed Louise and Roger Ketley’s account of their amazing adventure in Greece as part of a team of volunteers for turtle conservative, then click here: 



Here are some fascinating facts about these endangered creatures.

  • There are seven species of sea turtle worldwide, all descended from the Archelon, a now extinct prehistoric reptile (100 to 66 million years old); this late Cretaceous turtle grew to 4m in length, twice the size of any present-day turtle. The largest Archelon fossil, found in the Pierre Shale of South Dakota in the 1970s, measures more than 4m long, and about 5m wide from flipper to flipper.
  • Sea turtle populations are under threat worldwide – a direct result of the degradation of the nesting beaches, accidental capture by fishing vessels, commercial use and pollution.
  • Greece hosts about 60% of the total number of nests of the loggerhead turtle (Carreta carreta) laid in the Mediterranean. Every summer, from May to end August, hundreds of female turtles come out at night to the nesting areas of Peloponnesus – by instinct they return to the beaches of their birth, using their internal magnetic compass. There are few places in the world where this occurs and fewer in the Mediterranean. They dig an egg chamber in the sand to deposit about 120 fragile eggs the size of golf balls (about 4cm in diameter). The eggs must remain undisturbed in the warm sand for about 60 days to incubate. The temperature of the sand seems to determine the hatchlings’ sex – warmer sand makes female hatchlings more likely. From mid-July to end October, the hatchlings emerge from their nests, usually at night, and race towards the sea. It can take up to three days for the full clutch of eggs to hatch and hatchlings to exit the nest.
  • A female loggerhead turtle can lay up to seven times per season, every two to three years. Sadly, even under natural conditions, an estimated one in 1,000 hatchlings reaches sexual maturity, and, for loggerhead turtles, this can take 12 to 15 years.

ARCHELON 

GVI  from which can be found projects in South Africa – wildlife conservation, including Elephant research in Limpopo.

Now you can volunteer from the comfort of your couch!

Want to give back but don’t know how?  Want to be involved but you are somewhat home-bound?  Want to make a contribution but quite busy?

The organisation For Good, has made giving back easy!  You can contribute your time, skills and expertise to helping organisations achieve their charitable aims.  Become part of the Virtual Volunteers.

By connecting to causes online you can get involved with social change in a real and impactful way – and all without having to rework your busy schedule.

If you can’t find anything at For Good online that speaks to you, think about CREATING AN OFFER of something you can do – giving back on your own terms! Click here to see what is needed.

Here are some ideas:

  • Researching subjects,
  • Writing, editing or writing proposals, press releases, newsletter articles
  • translating documents
  • developing material for a curriculum
  • providing legal / business / medical / agricultural or any other expertise
  • counselling people
  • tutoring or mentoring students

To find more ways to do your bit to make the world a better place, contact contact@forgood.co.za

Giving back is good for you

If you have experienced a life planning meeting at Chartered, or attended one of the RetiremeantTM workshops, you will have encountered the colourful and very useful Wheel of Balance.

The Balance Wheel is a tool that Chartered Life Planners use in their meetings with clients. The purpose of this approach is to assist clients to create a balanced and holistic life, one that takes all eight categories into account.

Because Chartered believes in living its own philosophy, each year the Chartered Family commits to giving time and money to support those who are championing give-back initiatives in their communities.  The give-back category in the Balance Wheel is essential, we believe, to living a well-rounded and content life.

Chartered aims to give back across a number of projects:  in education, in animal welfare, in sharing our expertise in financial planning, in caring for vulnerable people.  In addition, the Chartered Family participates in ad hoc fund-raising projects such as Tekkie Tax Day, Casual Day and 67 Minutes for Mandela Day.  For the latter, the Chartered Family created a number of hampers for the staff of the Baby Moses home for abandoned babies. These days are co-ordinated by new staff member,

This year, members of the Chartered Family ran Financial Literacy workshops for the public, as part of the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa’s broader programme to educate the South African community.  The programme includes essential skills such as budgeting, managing debt, saving and planning your finances, and runs throughout the year.  Chartered also ran these workshops with the staff of LEAP Science and Maths School Alexandra.

Chartered Legacy & Trust provided invaluable services to the staff of our long-time partner, Iphutheng Primary School in Alexandra, by providing advice on Wills, and helping those staff to set up valid Wills.  This will be an ongoing relationship, as Wills are reviewed every year to remain an accurate reflection of testator’s wishes.

This year it was Border Collie Rescue that received two visits from the Chartered Family, to paint and plant and play.  This project has had an influx of animals from deceased farmers, and so was very grateful for the donation of plants, food and toys.

Also caring for animals, our Family responded to a crisis for water at shelters in Cape Town by collecting bottled water.  This was the Water for Paws temporary project that enjoyed much support. Our environmentally conscious Tanya Correia continues to challenge the Chartered Family to be aware of the impact of plastic on the environment.  She drove a challenge to recycle plastic for owl houses – an initiative with a dual outcome: homes for these amazing feathered creatures and repurposing plastic.

Partnering with Women At The Threshing Floor for the fourth year, Chartered supported the Winter and Christmas Outreaches by this not-for-profit organisation that helps child-headed households in Alexandra.  The ladies of Chartered Tax again threw their weight behind the collection of stationery packs for the children.  The Chartered Family generously pitched in and added toiletries to the donations.

Finally, Chartered has been collecting clothing for youth work acceleration programme, Harambee.  This project prepares young, unemployed youth for interviews by running interview, CV and life workshops.  It has grown to 39 branched countrywide and has created significant corporate partnerships with well-known brands.

Chartered clients are always welcome to become involved with Chartered, in whatever capacity they wish.  You need only contact Tom Brukman or Kim Forbes.

Giving is Receiving

The festive season is fast approaching and if you’re anything like me, you already have a long list of gifts planned for all the special people in your life. There is much to be said about the joy of giving. Simply gifting someone with something, no matter how big or small, brings so much joy! The joy is not measured in the smile, the gratitude or the ‘thank you’, but in how it makes you feel.

Female posed on couch with a cappuccino and book
Kim Potgieter, Director and Head of Life Planning at Chartered Wealth Solutions

According to research, giving produces endorphins and studies have found evidence that the act of giving increases our sense of happiness. But what then of receiving?

Giving through growing our relationship

In order to give, there must be a receiver, and most of us are somewhat uncomfortable receiving. To receive graciously is to acknowledge the intention of the gift. Giving and receiving are reciprocal and something that happens in flow. Deepak Chopra says: “The universe operates through dynamic exchange . . .  giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. In our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.”

As I reflect on the client RetiremeantTM workshops that we hosted for the first time this year in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Johannesburg, I realise how powerful this relationship of giving and receiving really is.

We were extremely touched by the feedback from these workshops. We loved hearing what Chartered means to our clients; how they value the support they receive from our RetiremeantTM Specialists, and appreciate our newsletters and events. It was an extremely humbling experience and we are so grateful for all the positive feedback and messages of gratitude.

Giving through sharing your stories

For us, the circle of giving and receiving is ever expanding as our relationship with our clients grows. We love giving back to our clients, whether it’s a special event, a workshop or a communique. But in return, we receive so much more. Without fail, after every single event with our clients, we bring home a wealth of wisdom, sincere stories and a deeper insight into what RetiremeantTM really means to our clients.

Thank you to all our clients who so openly and honestly share their real life experiences with us. There are many transitions in the RetiremeantTM years, and so many stories to share: stories of hope, of loss, of emotional strain, stories of new beginnings and exciting adventures, difficult stories, happy stories, RetiremeantTM stories. Whatever your story, it is a story worth knowing – and telling.

We treasure your stories and, with your approval, it is our privilege and pleasure to share them with other clients navigating the same transitions. And this is exactly why our giving-receiving relationship adds value to us and our clients. Your stories are inspirational, motivational and empowering. Your insights are a wonderful source of comfort to clients; it helps them know that there are people who share the same experiences, it helps them connect to a community of like-minded people and it provides wisdom and insight into dealing with the many transitions in retirement.

Thank you for your stories and for allowing us to share in your lives.

I hope that you have a wonderful festive season and return in the New Year with many more stories to share.

Warm regards

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