Our world is moving at a dizzying pace. Life is no longer as we know it. The old news is that we live in a society that is largely impatient, has high expectations and which calls for continuous instant gratification. I quote a good friend of mine – “everyone wants 2 minute noodles!” The ‘new’ news is that it all seems to be getting worse with our coping mechanisms dwindling. Many of us are saturated with diaries that we can’t keep up with, children that demand copious amounts of time (and money) and distracted husbands that are trying to keep up with their own demands. We barely get a chance to breathe. We were simply not meant to live this way.

Yes, it takes a village to raise a child, but who is raising up women? We are depleted from the demands of our children, tending to our husbands and forging careers. We are running at break-neck speed towards a wall. No matter how fast we go, we’re not really getting anywhere. We awake each day to the same problem. All of this is making us sick…sick in the head and sick in our bodies. We work so hard that it makes us ill, all our hard-earned money goes towards trying to feel better. We spend money on all sorts of doctors, medication, holidays…anything that will take us to a better place only to find ourselves back where we started. It really doesn’t make any
sense does it? Where are we going wrong?

Many of us have thrown all those old-fashioned good values out of the window, thinking we don’t need them anymore. But, we need them more now than ever. One of those values is living in a community where each person has the chance to be heard, where heartfelt feelings can be shared – this is what feeds the soul. We weren’t designed to be robots – we feel, we hurt, we experience. Who is holding our hand in this big scary world?

I’ve chosen the topic of Divorce and Separation, having facilitated groups on the subject with women who are struggling with this extremely painful life event. The magic lies in how each of us are able to relate and share our stories and encounter the progress that naturally begins to unfold. Recent statistics in South Africa show a steady increase each year in our divorce rate with 4 in 10 marriages reaching a demise. That’s a whopping 40% of us! How do we come back from the ravages of a once happy union, leaving unsuspecting and innocent children in it’s wake? Did we sign up for this when signing the wedding register?

Never more than now do we need community. We need to be getting together with people who are struggling with similar hardships to uplift, guide and stand alongside each other. There is such a massive need to heal the wounds of our souls and we simply cannot do it alone.

The topic of Depression and Anxiety has without doubt become another ravage of society. This is the illness that stems from too many undisclosed traumas, issues, resentments and the bad cards that have been dealt to us. When there is unfinished business, depression and anxiety creeps through insidiously. Although depression also has genetic factors, it is still a debilitating condition which is often linked to or exacerbated by anxiety.

Many of us feel ashamed to carry this label, much less feel inclined to talk about it as ‘club duvet’ often seems the only antidote. But, once again, this is a space that needs to be shared with others who are going through the same formidable condition. Depression and anxiety can be beaten, many can attest to this, including myself.

In my own practise, I have seen more and more people seeking therapy for depression and anxiety than any other condition which is creating a prevalent need for help. What is more daunting is that there is a trend towards younger adults experiencing this dilemma – and they haven’t even had a full life yet! Old patterns and toxic behaviours need to be broken, boundaries need to be reset so that there can be freedom from these damaging effects.

My belief is that each woman is born with an in-built confidence, however, not every woman knows how to manifest this. Life will try to beat us down at times. A lack of self-esteem usually stems from childhood where this false notion finds its roots and becomes a monster towering over the adult.

Without confidence, we don’t reach our full potential. Enough time has been wasted thinking you’re less than who you are – it’s time to take back what you were born with and enjoy an empowerment never before experienced. It is every woman’s right to feel confident and fully empowered and to ‘write’ their own story.

The Open Table invites you to enjoy meaningful discussion on your selected topic which offers a plate of good food (according to your dietary requirements). On departure, you will receive a goodie bag including further guidance on the topic, a small treat, recommended reading and some words of wisdom to read each day.

The Open Table offers this safe space where firstly confidentiality is key. My
discovery of group therapy is that it’s medicine for the soul; but I wanted to step this up by offering a relaxed space where discussion takes place around food and perhaps a good glass of wine. This is a chance to speak the heart in return for receiving solid guidance and being heard by people who are keen to listen.