Give up and be surprised.

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At 11 am, one Monday morning in 1984, I had an epiphany in a dark movie theatre. I wasn’t meant to be there.

I was completely spellbound by Amadeus, the tale of the bitter rivalry between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri, who was a lesser-known composer at the Viennese court where they were both hanging out chasing fame and fortune. Pious and God-fearing Antonio was insanely jealous of lewd and obscene Wolfie’s musical genius. He concluded that God used Mozart’s talent to mock his own musical mediocrity.

The movie ends with Mozart dead and Salieri, a mad and broken…

Len Lye Kinetic sculpture — The Wand Dance
Len Lye Foundation Collection, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery , New Plymouth — New Zealand. (Photo credit: Author)

The wands and bells dance — a 6…

Post Office — Ulva Island (New Zealand) — circa 2020 (photo credit: the author)

but sometimes, we get what we need.

Going AWOL

There was a cheating spouse, divorce proceedings, and financial strife. Travel seemed like the perfect antidote for this unholy trinity of troubles. I decided to leave my troubles behind and go somewhere. Not exactly committing to a Wild journey, but some of us need to start small.

It has always been my dream to see an aurora. To see that dazzling display of purple, pink, yellow, blue, and green lights exploding into life and dancing magically across the night skies. Imagine the experience of seeing something so rare and beautiful! Imagine the amazing photos I would be taking!

I live…

Redwoods Tree Walk at night — Rotorua, New Zealand. Image credit: Juanita Nieuwoudt

Tall trees, a 6-word story.

A bad reference does not need to be the end of your working life.

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Landing a great job is exhausting. Some would say “any job" but let’s stick to the great job scenario. It could go like this: You spot a job advert that excites you and your skills match their requirements. You wrestle your CV into its best possible shape and write (what you think) is potentially a Pulitzer-prize winning covering letter. Application goes in and you wait…

They call you for an interview. You think: “ Wow! This is going well!” Your excitement is almost off the scale. After an interview with no major mishaps, you feel you have this in the…

Before going on your first yoga retreat… read this

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The road to your first yoga retreat probably starts with a reluctant, but certainly mildly apprehensive attendance of a first yoga class. This turns into a regular once or twice-a-week session at what you describe as “your” yoga studio with “your” yoga teacher. After a while, you experience the many benefits of yoga in your everyday life or “off the mat” as the yoga crowd says. You almost feel you’re a yogi or yogini.

To teach you to take your yoga practice “deeper”, your yoga studio will offer you a place on a yoga retreat. …

“Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy” —


Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Everyday we access a glut of information via the Internet. We are confronted with half-truths, exaggeration and sometimes down-right deception. Many of us don’t have the time, necessary skills or even the will to do the type of deep dive research necessary to uncover the “truth” of online information. Sounds dire? Read on, there is hope.

About a year ago, New Zealand joined the rest of the world with a total lockdown, the stay at home, stay in your…

Juanita Nieuwoudt

I write about life, love, and (almost) everything else, always aiming to see the good in it all. Scribe for hire. For more about me:

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