Thief of Time…

So…the entry for ’procrastination’ on the Oxford Online Dictionary reads: ”


[mass noun]

  • the action of delaying or postponing something:your first tip is to avoid procrastination “

Yes, I am guilty of procrastinating, that heady mix of psychologist and blogger is sometimes too much for me to handle and I retreat into a fantasy world also known as ‘if I don’t think about it it’s not there/happening/impending.


My apologies for the lack of posts, and as a grand gesture, I present to you a new guest/mystery blogger, simply known as MK. MK is a pretty skilled writer and often writes from the heart. MK’s first entry into the OneHeadspace bloggospere highlights a concerning issue in South Africa- the early parole of convicted gangster, Rashied Staggie.:


-A Giant Leap for Staggie-


It’s not that I don’t believe people have the capacity to dramatically change their character. To truly give up what makes them feared and powerful in exchange for freedom. It’s not even that I don’t believe a man who orders the rape of a 17-year old girl deserves to be forgiven. What chills me is the curdling fear faced by a community that has not yet recovered from Rashied Staggie’s actions 10 years ago. A community feeling naked against a man who is the monster under the bed for grown men.


Let us all hope that Staggie is in fact the changed, peace-seeking man that the Breede River parole board believes he is. Let’s hope the Hard Living’s gang is not waiting for him to lead them to greater glory. Let’s pray that the escalated violence in the Cape Flats is not in reaction to
Staggies’ coming parole. Let’s hope the Communities’ extremely heightened levels of fear are unwarranted.


As a woman, the early release of a man powerful and evil enough to order an act of gang rape in retaliation and as a warning gives me nightmares. As a member of society, I am angry that he was able to preach peace again and be forgiven for such an atrocious act. After his brother’s death in 1996, Rashied Staggie toured schools advocating anti-gang and anti-drug messages to children and claimed that rape was ‘the lowest thing’. In 2004, he was convicted of several crimes including ordering the violent gang rape of a 17-year old Chantelle Knight.


To Chantelle Knight, the courageous young woman who stood up to the monsters that brutalised her, became a state witness and put Staggie behind bars for a decade – to Chantelle Knight who was shot five times in August this year – thank you for making South Africa safer for others. If you are in witness protection – stay safe. If you did not survive the shooting, we will remember what you did for justice.


To Rashied Staggie – I hope you truly have changed your ways and can be judged by history as a man who used his past to save the futures of young people on the Cape Flats. Mr Staggie, I hope you’re not thinking: Now I can go back to being ruthless again.

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Happy Mandela Day 2013


Wishing everyone a very Happy and Reconciliatory  Mandela Day!

A tradition of mine is to make food parcels to give to people on the street or as a means of saying thank you, for example, to car and security guards. Every year brings a new improvement to the food package itself and more food packages in general.

Not sure what you’d like to do for your 67minutes? Visit the following websites for some fantastic lists of things to do on Mandela Day:

Mail & Guardian Newspaper Online: or

Mandela Day Organisation: or


Happy Birthday Tata!!


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The Changing Role of Fathers in Society


I stumbled across Nathan Ripperger’s posters featuring some classic quips he’s found himself saying to his kids, let’s just say I laughed out loud for long enough to get stares from my fellow internet café patrons (the fact that I spluttered coffee all over myself doing so may have had something to do with it too)


What I loved most about his posters was the fact that here was a father who saw the beauty in what can often be tedious and taxing times in parenting.   It also reminded me of how humour can be used to transform the seemingly mundane into the extraordinary. The following post provides some helpful tips on how fathers can be more present in their children’s lives.


The emphasis on the role of fathers in parenthood has had a
few waves. In the olden days, dad was the boss and primary bread-winner, the
family decision-maker and the one who wore the pants in the relationship. In the
70’s fatherhood took a backseat to the mother-child attachment, with
psychologists playing a guilty part in emphasising the mother-child
relationship over the father-child relationship. The role of fatherhood is once
again in the forefront of research and media interest.


What’s Research Got To Do With It?

Research has found that children with involved
fathers/father-figures are more likely to be emotionally secure and confident
with better social connections and better educational outcomes. Girl children
are more likely to have better opinions of men, and are more likely to achieve
cognitive and academic achievement.

The emphasis is of this article is on the involvement of fathers in their
children’s and family’s lives. This does not exclude fathers who are already
present in their family! Ask the questions: how involved am I in my child’s
life? Do I spend quality time with my children? Do I enjoy being with my child?
Am I being a good role model to them?


Tips for fathers:

  1. Let your children know that you enjoy being
    their father. Fatherhood comes with a lot of responsibility, but also a whole
    lot of fun!
  2. Spend enough time with and take responsibility
    for your children
  3. The way you treat the child’s mother/mother-figure/other
    parent is a key aspect. Show that you support and respect your children’s
    mother (if your relationship with the mother is a difficult one, at least make
    the effort to be civil towards her- do not bad-mouth her in front of the kids)
  4. As a role model, live by your word and by your
    example, that it is ok to mistakes-can you learn anything from it? It is
    important to be able to show your children how to decide between what is right
    and what is wrong
  5. Show your children affection, demonstrate your
    love for them
  6. Be careful to not place unreasonable
    expectations on your children, instead help them achieve realistic and
    achievable goals
  7. Take an interest in your child from a young age
  8. Play with your kids
  9. Protect them (financial security, physical security, etc)
  10. Help with the ‘mom-stuff’, help change their
    nappies, help put them to bed (this gives you more time with your children and
    you help the mother)
  11. Teach them about how to be responsible with
  12. Set firm boundaries with them. Discipline is
    still important to uphold, be careful to not over-indulge your child
  13. Have a sense of humour (I highly recommend
    reading Ripperger’s series)


Families do not all look the same, so it is important to adapt some of the above points to suit yours, regardless of whether you are a married/unmarried couple, a single parent, gay/lesbian/hetero, grandparents raising children, etc.

The more the role of fathers is validated the more conscious fathers will be of their value, which will ultimately lead to a greater desire to be involved parents.

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Happy New Year everyone, it’s great to be back post-failed-apocalypse! No doubt 2013 will present us with new opportunities, adventures, challenges, milestones, heartbreaks, and laugh-out-loud moments.


I hope to post more regularly this year and want to thank my
readers for all the great words of encouragement. Watch this space…

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End of Year Slump?

Hi Everyone! I’d like to introduce my first-ever guest blogger, Telana Simpson. She’s a Life Coach and creator of One Matchstick (read all about it on This can be a tricky time of year for people, more often than not we find ourselves experiencing a lag in energy or motivation, it can also be one of the busiest times of year with financial year ends and kid’s final exams. I asked Telana to share some of her wisdom on how to manage this end of year slump:


It’s almost the end of the year.  Christmas
decorations are going up in the shops.
Work is frantic as everyone tries to finish off projects before the
December break. You’re feeling exhausted. It’s been a long year with some good
times and some challenging times.


There are still weeks to go though before you start your holiday break, and you find
yourself wishing the year would just end already.  How can you get through the last few weeks without feeling like you’re wishing your life away?




End of year slumps are common.  They’re also
similar to the slumps we sometimes experience when we’ve been working on a big
project and the end is now in sight.  You were fine a few weeks ago, enjoying what you were doing and taking it in your stride.  However, something seems to
happen to our motivation when the end is closer, and that’s when we need to
push through.


Static and Dynamic Motivation


Motivation has to do with the motives that cause you to take action (or not).  There are thus different types of motive-a(c)tion, as for different actions, you need different motives.  For example, dynamic motivation is more useful when you need to start a project, or at the beginning of the year when you are ready and eager to get going.
Your reason for starting would be different to your reason for
finishing, and thus the enthusiasm and feel of dynamic motivation is
different.  It’s fun, engaging, and exciting when we begin something new, and we find it easier to be focused and motivated.


When it comes to the end though, static motivation needs to kick in.  We need to shift our Motive Gears into easons to see something through, to complete what we started.  The feel is different, as the excitement may ave worn off, and it’s now about the quiet joy you experience from routine and habits.


Top tips



One way to develop more static motivation, and to keep going when the end is in
sight, is have a focus.  Know the direction you are going in. Remind yourself of the end goal, or create a new goal to be excited about, something that you’re interested in.


Count your Progress

Then notice the progress you’ve made. Often because we haven’t reached the end goal, we discount all the steps and stages we have covered to get to be so close to
the end.  Acknowledging what you have already achieved this year and the progress you have made, boosts up our motivation to get to the end.


Be in the NOW

Then keeping our attention on the now also
helps.  Too much “time travelling” into
the future, to the end of the year, just leads to missing life that is
happening around you right this minute.
When you send your conscious awareness into the future or the past,
you’re more likely to feed your slump.


Time travelling breeds fear and worry, or just reminds you where you are not.  So concentrating on being focused and present
in the now, allows you to touch your potential in this moment, and do something



This brings us to another resource – taking action.
Doing some small activity now that will take you forward has a way of
bringing with it motive-a(c)tion.
Instead of indulging the slump you feel you are in, do something active
and you will find you get some momentum.


If you physically feel that you don’t have energy, look at your diet, starting
with the very next meal you are going to have, and choose to eat for vitality
and energy.  Some exercise and getting
out and about with good friends also lifts the spirits.  And then, take some action.


Think Quality Thoughts

These points should help you also quality control your thoughts.  Notice what you are saying to yourself about this part of the year, and then you’ll be at a choice point to say something more constructive and positive, that will help you take some action in the now.


You choose

Life is a wonderful gift, where through our powers of our thoughts, feelings, words
and actions, we get to express this gift.
Even if it’s the end of the year, and you can feel yourself and others
winding down, you can still choose to enjoy the last stretch of 2012 with a
dose of static motivation.  After all, as
Kris Carr says, “If we don’t make time for our lives, our lives won’t make time
for us”.




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Change is as good as a holiday!

A wind of change is a blowin’!

I’m excited to announce that the website will be getting a make-over in the not-so-distant future, while the content will remain the same (hopefully with more posts!) there will be changes that make it more user-friendly and will incorporate my new logo that I’ve already started using.

Your helpful comments and suggestions will be welcome and appreciated as usual!





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Danny Wallace is a self-confessed cult leader. Sort of. He
calls his cult, the ‘Karma Army’, a “friendly cult” and it has a super simple
message: undertake a random act of kindness for a stranger when you can. He now
has a mass following, with annual celebrations of ‘Karmageddon’ where hundreds of
followers descend on London town to perform good exploits.


The virtues of kindness have long been extolled in
fairy-tales, religious parables, literature and educational institutions. A
question that came to mind is, other than leaving one feeling all warm and
fuzzy inside, what are some of the long-term effects of such kindness?

A research study was conducted in 2005 at Stanford University
where psychologist, Sonja Lyubomirsky, gave students the task of carrying out
good deeds over a five week period. Results showed that the students reported
higher levels of happiness than students in the control group (who weren’t given
the task of performing random acts of kindness).  Other studies have established that altruistic
people tend to be happy, but Lyubomirsky’s was the first to find that good deeds are actually the direct cause of
an increase in well-being.


Being kind can help one feel in control, and while many
people act kindly for purely altruistic reasons, the benefits to oneself cannot
be denied. There is also a positive social response to kindness, it feels good
to be appreciated for your good will. But if we only focus of being kind to
strangers, there is less chance of you seeing the value. For this reason it is
recommended that acts of kindness are not limited to being random nor that should
the recipient be a stranger only. Kindness is a great way to build on
interpersonal relationships. So visit that sister who’s feeling sick. Send that
email or sms to your dad who’s maybe missing you!


There are countless stories through history and in our
present day of people who have acted for the betterment of humankind. The story
of Paul Rusesabagina was made into a book (‘An Ordinary Man’) and a movie (‘Hotel
Rwanda’). It relates his experience of sheltering over twelve hundred Tutsis
and moderate Hutus in the hotel where he was general manager, during the
Rwandan Genocide, knowing full well that he could be killed were he found out. He
chose to stay at the hotel despite having the opportunity to flee with his wife
and children as he was concerned that with him gone there would be no one to
protect the refugees in the hotel.

Irena Sendler was
a Holocaust resister. During WWII she worked in the Warsaw Ghetto as a plumbing
specialist. Irena smuggled 2,500 Jewish children out; infants in the bottom of
the tool box she carried and older children in a burlap sack she carried in the
back of her truck. She was eventually caught, tortured and sentenced to death
(she escaped by bribing the soldiers on the way to her execution). She
continued her work and later in life, like Paul, received numerous awards and
acknowledgements for her humanitarian work.


A recent story is of Mike Trowler who gave an injured and
ill fox a home after it was decided that he could never survive in the wild


And of course, closer to home, there are numerous sporting
events that take place where people (laypeople, corporations and celebrities
alike) participate to raise funds for a wide range of charities, for example, the
Johannesburg 94.7 and Momentum Cycle Challenge where charities/groups such as
CHOC, NSPCA, etc benefit.


Some of the random acts of kindness detailed in Wallace’s
book include:

  • Give a slice of your pizza to the delivery man
  • Phone someone at a call centre and tell them
    they’re doing a good job
  • Do a chore at work that someone else usually has
    to do (what about washing those coffee
    mugs in the kitchenette sink-Hazel)
  • Find old scarves and gloves you don’t need any
    more and, on a cold day, offer them to strangers in the street
  • Write to an old teacher, and say thanks
  • Pay for the order of a person behind you in a
    drive-thru (expect some suspicion from
    the teller-Hazel)


Some acts of kindness can brighten the day of a single
person, or can save a life while others can change the nature of the world we
live in. It can change YOU for the better.


Good luck!


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I am Woman, Hear me Roar!

I was recently interviewed by freelance journalist, Bronwyn Katzke, for a local magazine (I’ll include the magazine name later once the article is published) on what it is to be a woman. The interview appears below, hope you find it useful. What are some of your conceptions of what it is to be a woman? Or a man for that matter?


1.       What is the difference between gender
identity and sexuality?

It is the difference between socialisation
and biology. Or culture and DNA, our sex is determined by examining our
chromosomes, interior and exterior sex organs, and secondary sex
characteristics. All societies recognise a distinction between male and female
based on some of these features, the definition of male and female (or
masculine and feminine) or some other gender, varies considerably from one
society to another. The term ‘Gender’ means the culturally-based meanings that
define sex-based identities.


So gender identity is a person’s sense of
being a female or male and sexuality is determined by one’s anatomy,
physiology, psychology, etc and includes a person’s perception of being female
or male and thoughts/behaviours and feelings associated with sexual


2.       What determines or influences one’s
gender identity? Is it as simple as how we are raised, or does the development
of a person’s gender identity go much deeper than that?

In most people gender identity develops in
early childhood and usually (but not
corresponds with a person’s biological sex. It develops from
numerous prompts or signals from our parents or primary care-givers and the
culture at large (which are in themselves reactions to the baby’s genatalia-
e.g. the feminisation of the colour pink).


I do not think it is 100% cultural
influence or upbringing, though. And the experience of many transsexual people
is evidence of this. Sometimes people have an unrelenting desire/insistence to be of the other sex (that is not based on a whim, but an ingrained sense of self) and have great discomfort with one’s assigned sex or gender role.


3.       We all know the physical aspects that
differentiate man from woman, but what are the most prominent psychological
differences between the sexes? and
4. What qualities
or thought-process would you say make a woman’s mind unique?

books have been written based on the psychological differences between men and
women, for example ‘Men are from Mars,
Women are from Venus

Sometimes it is dangerous to assume that
there are set psychological or behavioural differences between men and women,
because it becomes limiting for the individuals who break those ‘rules’. Some
psychological ‘differences’ between women and men are influenced by the organic
make-up of the brain, by environmental factors, by personal experiences. So for
example, it is said that the communication centre in a woman’s brain is larger
than a man’s, thus women are better at verbal fluency than men, women are more
sensitive to the nuances of reading between the lines, etc. This is then linked
to the way women and men problem solve differently. Men often prefer to work
things out on their own, in their own heads, whereas women find it more
beneficial to talk things out with others. Another area where difference is
identified is around aggression, men are seen to be more aggressive than women.


5.       Do you think that with the way society
is changing and with the emphasis on gender equality that there is almost a
switch in gender roles? For example, men are being more emotionally expressive
and women are being more assertive. What are your opinions on this?

Not so much a switch in gender roles as a greater allowance for gender
roles to be broken or expanded on. What I mean is, for example, women don’t
have a monopoly on nurturance. Why should it be considered out of the norm for
a man to be more of a nurturer than a woman? Take for example what more and
more couples face in today’s society, in a heterosexual relationship the woman
being the primary breadwinner and the man having more time to raise the
children. While it is still considered unusual by many people, it is becoming
increasingly commonplace and acceptable than it would have been 100 years ago.


6.       From the psychological perspective, what
do you think makes a woman, a woman?

makes a Woman a woman? The Feminine Mystique is a book by Betty Friedman
written in the 1960’s (granted, it was specifically aimed at American women,
but I think just as relevant today in other contexts).  It speaks of how women faced (and still do) a
crisis of identity, that they are bombarded with images of women from the media
used to sell countless products, washing machines, cake mixes, deodorants,
detergents, face creams, etc. But the power of those images is based on the
fact that women are unsure of who they are.  So with all these options being produced for
women, how does one embrace ‘woman-hood’? What makes a woman a woman? A number
of things, but most importantly I think it is how a woman makes sense of being
a woman herself, whether it is in
line with her cultural surroundings and familial beliefs, or if it goes against
and challenges those.  It is how she finds
meaning in the clothes she wears, the make-up she puts on, the fact that she
gets her period once a month, her role as a partner/ mother/daughter, her power
as a citizen. It can encompass but not be limited by or to dress, role in a
family/community, her biology, etc.



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I just wanted to add a quick thank you to those of you who took the time to comment on some of my posts. Sometimes it’s the simple things that make the most impact. You’ve inspired me!



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Off The Top Of My Head: Book Review

Title: The Key to a Loving and
Lasting Relationship by Dr. Sonja Snyman

Author: Dr. Sonja Snyman

Date of Publication: 2012

Publisher: Thomas Stein

As the title suggests, this book looks at how healthy long-term relationships become so, and how they differ from relationships that are unhealthy or toxic. It highlights some of the problems that exist in many relationships today, and identifies patterns that emerge within them.


Some of the topics that are dealt with include: how relationship expectations change with time, i.e. that what we want from a relationship in our 20’s and 30’s generally differ from what we anticipate in our 40’s and 50’s; that some relationships can survive infidelity; the importance of identifying our fighting styles within our relationship; the nature of boundaries in our relationship and looking at the three levels of a relationship (content, dynamic and foundation)


The book is divided into two parts: the first looks at the nature of long-term elationships. It addresses some of the myths that have been created about what a ‘perfect’ relationship should be or look like, for example the ‘happily-ever-after‘ myth as well as some of the varying dynamics that emerge in many relationships. It also
explores couple’s fighting dynamics, which may surprise people as they may
pinpoint their own fighting styles against the ones described in the book.


Concepts are discussed from various perspectives, including anecdotal stories from the author’s professional and theoretical experiences. The author addresses relationship issues in an authentic way, never veering too far from the precept that if you want a successful relationship, it does take two to tango and that we must take ownership.


This book is suitable for both psychological professionals, as well as the general public. Its concise discussions of theories and practises allow for the book to be accessible to the reader.  The lay-out of the book is also user-friendly, with short chapter that are clearly demarcated and helpful case vignettes from the author’s own practice, it is easily digestible and practical.


It also comes at the very nice price of R150 (Exclusive Books, South Africa)



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