Enabling the How

An erratic garage door, elastic dough, a birthday and the conclusion of an anxiety study, plus name changes and new platforms fills this week’s slightly extended newsletter.

The garage door refused to budge. It would not work. At all. A click. No whir. Before it was erratic, now it was completely static. We were mystified and mad as we huffed and puffed the heavy door up and down manually.

“Well, we’ll have to get the garage door people back again,” sighed Chantal.

“Just hold on, while I try something else,” said Matthew, “One last thing and then you can get them in.”

Some research, a look through the downloaded garage door motor manual and voila a solution. We now have a working garage door that we can rely on to do what it is supposed to do. Thanks to Matthew’s determination and perseverance.


Rounder and, er, rounder? Getting the perfect pizza shape is an art

Bouncy dough and flat fires

After several weeks of being rained out we made pizzas again. Matthew and Tristan made the dough early and let it sit. It was one of those days where the time passes by and then someone wakes up.

“Are we making pizzas tonight or not?” asked Tristan, barging into the big office.
“Yes, of course we are,” replied Matthew, prying his eyes away from the screen on his desk.
“Then we better make the fire.”

Storm clouds were threatening. The pizza oven weber was moved under cover. Fire made, nursed into flame. Cheese grated, tomato pureed. Flour-washed surface ready. On your marks, get set, dough!

“This dough just won’t stretch out,” said Tristan as he pushed and flattened the dough and watched it spring back. “We did nothing differently but it is different today.”

He managed to get it into an enlarged, flattened blob and marched out with it to the fire. But it stuck to the peel and had to be crow bared off with a spatula, falling in a squashed heap on the stone. Matthew prodded and turned, smoothed and coaxed the crumpled dough. Like that first pancake, this puckered pizza served as our starters, eaten directly from the fire.

“Might not look much like a pizza, but it still tastes like one!” shouted Chantal to Tristan working furiously in the kitchen at the second attempt.

It took three more attempts with ever improving versions of dough and filling. Tristan would not be defeated. Matthew stood, bleary eyed, in swirling smoke from a fire that kept on going out. Chantal juggled cheese grating, pizza cutting, salad making and general cheerleading. Eventually we all sat down to our dinner of pizzas and salad.

We laughed at how so much had not worked to plan. We could have given up. We could have settled for a limp salad and a solid moan. But we kept on going and as a result we had a fabulous dinner and leftovers to enjoy the next day. That is grit, that is resilience.


We have honey! Jars of it in fact. Delicious golden streams of nature’s nectar

Getting through with Grit

Matthew had to be specifically resilient while doing the anxiety case studies. These were completed with final feedback from all twelve of the participants. Three sessions times twelve participants with multiple reschedules. It was a great deal of work.

Tickings of time was spent waiting for participants to connect, for internet connections to stabilise, for interrupted sessions to be rescheduled. Matthew did not give up, he plugged on, showed up for each session and did the work. And great work at that.

The results are evidence of his commitment as well as the efficacy of the programme. One hundred percent of the participants exhibited reduced anxiety levels after the three sessions and every one reported a positive impact to their wellbeing. A cause for celebration.


During times of madness, we are grateful for highlights like these

A happy birthday?

We had another birthday celebration this week too. Chantal has mixed feelings about her birthday and not just because she is not that young anymore. Birthdays were such a big thing in her family when she was young. The morning excitement of opening up presents on her parents’ bed to the oohs and aaahs of her three siblings. One spotlight for one day on one of the four.

The thrill at the arrival of friends and relatives in the afternoon for the after school party. A table heaped high with sweets, treats and a fancy cake. Pin the tail on the donkey, I wrote a letter to my love, and pass the parcel in big circles on the grass. Maybe an egg and spoon race and a pony to ride. Ice cream in a cone later.

Of course things change as you get older and have your own children. Suddenly the focus is on others, not on yourself.

“I’ve had some amazing birthdays but many not so amazing birthdays filled with sadness, disappointment and dread. Just awful, awful times. Who would want to be reminded of those? ‘It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to’,” she said.


Peace man… He obviously feels something we don’t!

Bubbly baby buddhas

This year, however, the day was soft and flowing. With baby buddhas as gifts peppered throughout the house. Four smiling miniatures that can’t help but lift one’s spirits.
Morning coffee with friends and later tea with children who are now adults themselves bearing orchids to add to the others on the bathroom window sill.

“I don’t have green fingers, but somehow I manage to keep my orchids alive and reflowering. They are the gift that keeps on giving,” remarked Chantal smiling widely at the table with her two.

There were no real plans. No party to arrange. No crying needed. It was a reminder that a really tough year had passed and been survived. More or less intact. Resilience played a part for sure.


Enabling the how. Your how if you so choose

A new name and a different platform

You would know how difficult the year has been if you have been reading this weekly newsletter. In amongst the other work pulls and responsibility pushes the thinking and writing, the layout and picture finding, for this communication has to be done in time to send it out on Thursday. We could skip a week here or there. Who would notice? But we stick with it as a means of upholding the 5th Place qualities of community and connectedness.

On that note we will be migrating our little newsbulletin to Substack. Nothing will change for you (or shouldn’t!) you will still receive it in your inbox. We just want to get our words and work out to a broader audience and Substack lets people like us publish directly to our audience and even get paid through subscriptions (wow wouldn’t that be nice!). Don’t worry we aren’t going to expect you to pay. You can still enjoy our words free to your inbox weekly.

We will also be changing the name of the newsletter from The Week That Was (did you even know it was called that?) to Enabling the How. In a world consumed by the What we enable your How to make the world a better place.

Enabling the How will continue to highlight the escapades of Chantal and Matthew, co-owners of 5th Place, as they stumble and trip, dance and whirl their way through very normal and not so normal weeks in their drive to make the world a better place.

This ‘How’ comes in the form of sharing life, loves, and loss. It’s also a whole lot of what living in South Africa is like. We look at how to better manage the excessive stresses and challenges experienced at the tip of Africa through the lenses of the pillars, qualities and principles of 5th Place.

Come laugh and cry, learn and yearn, and enjoy some light reflection from a part of the world that you know only too well or not at all. We hope you will continue to share in our journey.

Until next time,

Yours in feeling,
Chantal & Matthew

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About the author

5th Place

5th Place is a dynamic organization that's passionate about emotional fitness. We're the creators of Shape of Emotion, a revolutionary tool that's changing the way we understand and manage our emotions. But we're not just about theory - we're about practical, tangible change.

We offer Emotional Fitness Classes and courses that help individuals, from children to adults, build emotional resilience and well-being. For our younger audience, we've created the Vibarealm, a vibrant universe that encourages a healthier interaction with emotions.

Join us on this journey to emotional fitness and let's make the world a better place together.

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