We know some very interesting people. In fact most people we know are interesting. It’s being able to uncover the depth of wonder beneath the glib topsoil social chat that takes some ingenuity, good questions, a listening ear and some luck.
It might have been a little bit of all of those that resulted in us being invited by a couple that run an architectural firm specialising in sustainable building to the site of their latest project. Matthew’s interest peaked by the information that one of the walls was rammed earth, he dragged all of us, Tristan included, to go and have a look.
The exquisite dragon skin wall, because the bricks are laid to look like scales
A conductor without a baton
Not quite dressed for a building site, (who thinks of safety shoes and hard hats as you scramble out of the house?) we waited in the heat, dust and very busy noise for Nic. He swept in, later than us, which makes a change, his ever present leather satchel banging against his side. He stopped at this contractor and the next to speak earnestly and with conviction to each one. A roving conductor without a baton, who knew exactly what each person should be doing and when.
He took us on a guided tour of the humming place, and explained the rationale for each room. The way the light, air and sound would be invited in or kept out. The textures that played out on the dragon skin wall outside, called that because the bricks are laid to look like scales. Inside, the horizontal lines of the Oregon pine floors juxtaposed against the vertical grey brick stairs, and a sense of the interplay of the upright books that would fill the shelf that hugged the wall.
We were shown what had been discarded or reincorporated from the original building into the renovated one. The innovative spaces for meetings, breaks and work. How the edible garden was going to sustain the employees as well as some others that floated outside. We were given a mini history on South African architecture, gabled roofs and Herbert Baker.
We left feeling full and fascinated. We were given far more than we bargained for from a passionate and deeply committed expert in his field. His energy infused the site, everyone wanted a bit of his wisdom and direction. The contractors were focussed and purposeful. A welcome change from what we are witness to out there.
Losing touch with our feelings
We are observing a stress overload resulting in blurred sight, blurred boundaries, fuzzy brains, distractedness, disorientation and downright ugly behaviour. People are in distress weighed down by the ever-increasing, never releasing problems that have become part of life here at the tip of Africa.
Our stress management course that we facilitated online this past week offered some insight into the phenomenon of allostatic overload, something that can result in burnout, and how easy it is to overlook the warning signs. Losing touch with how one feels on the one hand and disregarding the body’s distress signals on the other is a recipe for emotional fraying.
This is one of the reasons for our focus on children and the youth. Let’s give them some sound strategies and tools now before they fall over in a burnout heap as adults. Who was ever taught how to resourcefully deal with stress? Not us. Increased self awareness of the signals our bodies send us is important for more than staying well
A SNAK for me to heal and grow
The next hit song
Matthew spent some time this weekend developing a song to teach the touchpoints to children too young to do the full Shape of Emotion process. We expect it to be a hit soon.
Our bees, who do get stressed but are not at the moment, produced the most wonderful harvest of honey this year. 18.5kgs of it. Rich with a sweetness that can only be described as flowerful.
We could learn a great deal from bees. They each have their role, they know exactly what to do and they do it. Perfectly. with the kind of attention to detail and intent we could only wish for. Be more like a bee, we say. Just hold off on the stings.
The Beira sports car
A Beira built by a Bentley
Rounding out our week we were invited to breakfast by a fellow Lindenite. Talk veered from the dull repetition of the state of the nation to more colourful endeavours. Amongst all the other mad things that he has done in his very interesting life, Bentley designed, built and manufactured the only fully South African motor vehicle ever. The Beira. Is there anyone reading this who remembers that car?
Inspired by a Ferrari he sacrificed in order to avoid a relationship WW3, he designed his own sports car and then manufactured it. He couldn’t call it a Bentley seeing as there was one of those already so he gave it his surname: Beira.
“What the hell, Bentley, how do we not know this about you?” exclaimed Chantal over the rattle of the generator ruining our breakfast.
We moved on to a quieter place where he told us of other magnificent things he has designed.
“The only time I have regretted not doing something was when I listened to the “experts” who said it couldn’t be done, even though it had been.” he chuckled.
Bentley is a real inspiration. Undeterred by naysayers, he just gets on and does it. When Bentley has not listened to his gut and or gone with his intuition, things have not worked out.
Our work helps us all cultivate a deeper sense of connection and alignment within ourselves, with others, and with the world around us
A bit like the work we do at 5th Place, if we had listened to all the people telling us what we do is not possible, probable or real we would have stopped a long time ago. When we have tried to bend to the whims and will of those “in the know” we have invariably ended up flat on our proverbial faces, bruised, battered and sore.
We love that we have people like Nic and Bentley to remind us of how important passion, focus and knowing is. That “knowing” that sits in the gut, works beyond the realm of the rational and talks directly to Something Bigger than us.
We wonder if you have a Something Bigger and if you are working towards it. We wonder if you have noticed what happens when you stray from its path. We urge you to get back on it. The world needs you to.
Until next time,
Yours in feeling,
Chantal & Matthew
About the author
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.