It's so easy to get caught up wanting more, feeling like you have to get more, do more and be more to be happy, to be enough. In today's short exercise, inspired by Robert Holden's Happiness Course I invite you to experience what it is like to be free of wanting....
In this short video I share a yogic breathing practice to help cool you down in the hot weather. It's called Sheetali Pranayama, it cools you down from the inside out and is great for lowering stress levels....
If you have any questions please do get in touch!
Life holds no guarantees. No certainty that what we expect to happen will be met.
Yet how often to we place expectations on situations or others, then feel disappointed and let down when they don't go our way.
What we often can not see is the greater plan, the bigger picture for our lives. Often these twists and turns that we resist are actually teachers or opportunities for us choose love over fear. It's all part of a Divine tapestry, we are on this earth for a reason, and the journey is just as it is meant to be for each of us individually.
How do we do this though? When we are in it, stuck, afraid, frustrated....
We sit, we breathe slowly, we observe what is going on within. With in our bodies, our minds our feelings.
We ask......where have I felt like this before?
What is this triggering within me?
Under all of this what is really going on?
Is there anything to learn, change, forgive, share with someone?
Hand on heart, connecting with your love, your essence, higher Love. Asking your self....
What does my soul want me to know today?
How could I treat myself with love today?
How could be loving towards someone else today?
Noticing the shift. From the busy mind to the loving spacious heart.
Living from the heart isn't weak. The power of the heart is vulnerable, it's brave and there need be no fear because it's pure. It's who you really are, and that is all we need to be.
I learnt something really interesting this morning, whilst doing the Happiness Course with Robert Holden, the mind doesn't process pronouns. So if you're having a day when you're feeling a bit envious/ competitive of someone else and say to your self "they shouldn't have it this easy" "why should they get all the luck", "I wish they weren't so happy"....your mind and nervous system will interpret it as "I wish I wasn't so happy", "I shouldn't have it so easy", "why should I get all the luck."
We all know by now the power of the mind and the law of attraction, that the thoughts we think create our reality.
Whilst it's not something we like to admit too it can happen sometimes that competition or jealously creeps in when someone else is getting what you want. The lesson is that we are all one, the mind only sees it like this, when we feel negatively towards another this impacts them and us.
Happiness is equally available for us all and when we can be happy for others (even if we feel a bit resentful) this helps to heal our hurtful feelings and open our heart to the world.
An easy way to practice this is through Buddhist Loving Kindness Meditation. First of all being kind to yourself...
May I be happy today
May I be free from suffering
May I dwell in peace today
May I be well today
Then extend this prayer to:
Someone you love
Someone you know but not very well
Someone you find challenging
The whole world
Robert shared a wonderful thought, isn't it amazing to think that there are people all over the world praying for you right now in monasteries, temples, yoga classes, churches, and just on their own.
I wish you happiness and peace.
Sometimes it's healthy to let go of the to do lists and do what you really feel like doing instead.
Sometimes it's ok to not care about what other people think and do what you really want to do.
Sometimes it's ok not to have it all together but to scream and shout and cry and have a good old winge.
Sometimes it's ok not to do your yoga that day.
Sometimes it's ok to want a break from your kids/ partner.
Sometimes it's ok to eat that whole bar of chocolate.
Sometimes it's ok to not fight back but to just forgive and move on.
Sometimes it's ok not to be right.
Sometimes it's ok to have a wobbly belly and love yourself anyway.
Sometimes it's ok to just buy the things you really want, even though you don't need them and don't have the money right now.
Sometimes it's ok to tell someone how you really feel.
Sometimes it's ok to stay in bed for the whole day.
Sometimes it's ok to ask for what you really need.
Sometimes it's ok to say no.
Sometimes it's ok to stay out all night and still be dancing when the sun is coming up.
Sometimes it's ok to go for what you really want in your life even though it's scary and people around you disagree with your choice.
Sometimes it's ok to not have a goal but just allow yourself to just enjoy what you have right now.
Sometimes you just need to say "F**k It!" and just do what is best for you right now in this moment........
How about this sometime be now. and then now. and then now. and then now.
Live your life fully, moment by moment from your heart, listen to what you need and the rest will follow.
Have a lovely Easter Weekend!
For ages now I have been struggling with sending texts, I was blaming Apple for making the letters on the iphone screen too small. Also recently I have been noticing how I have to pull something away to be able to read it, so off I trotted to the opticians.
I now have a shiny new pair of reading glasses, and it's amazing - everything looks so clear!
Often we don't question what we are seeing, whether it's through our eyes or how we are interpreting life. We see life through a filter, like tinted sun glasses, of all our past experiences, our beliefs, our hopes and our fears. We make judgements on how we think things should go according to our way of seeing the world, our filter.
Then sometimes something happens to change this, to shift us, and we see everything in a new light. It's like taking off the tinted sunglasses, when you're used to everything looking a bit orange and thinking that's normal.
I have experienced these shifts a few times over the past 10 years. The first experience was when I did my first personal development course, Landmark Education. It completely shifted the way I saw life the the world, the next week after the course felt a bit surreal, like I was walking on clouds. I felt so present, so in touch with my heart, so in my power and so clear. It was like I'd taken those tinted glasses off.
Over time that has become my reality and has shifted again a few times through yoga, developing a faith in God and getting married. (and of course now I have my new glasses :-))
So what I am trying to get to here is that, how you think, your experience of the world does not have to be this way if it's not serving you. You can question your beliefs. You don't have to believe the repetitive story going around your head that scares you or holds you back. There are new ways of looking at things.
Maybe this is the year for you to take some steps for positive change.......Go on a course that catches your eye. Contact me for life coaching. Get an inspirational book (I can recommend lots). Question what you are saying to yourself, "why is it rubbish?". Don't put up with anger, jealousy, greed, hatred, playing small, being scared, any form of lack or any other feeling that isn't from your heart. You can shift things around and see the world it a new light.
Happy New Year!
I ran my last workshop of the year yesterday, and loved every minute of it. I just love sharing what I have learnt and what I benefit from with others. The day ended with a gong bath, an opportunity to lie down ad let the healing vibrations of the gongs wash through us.
This year I have ran 10 workshops, 6 retreats, moved in with my, now, husband, got married, been to Bali on honeymoon, and taught all my usual classes and 1-1s. It's been a busy year! And now it's time to slow down, in tune with natures rhythm. As the days are getting shorter and I'm naturally drawing towards slowing down I am going to listen to it.
December is going to be a month of no blog posts, way less social media, and no retreats or workshops to plan. I'm dropping my ambitious side, to be still. I know from slowing down and doing something other than my usual routine my best inspiration arises.
It's so easy when you work for yourself to be switched on to your business all the time. At least that is my experience. I am lucky because yoga really is how I live my life so I am always living it but there's still the drive to be thinking about what to create next, what to post next and so on.
So this is me signing out for a few weeks. I'm still running my usual classes (and 1-1s) until 18th Dec then I take a 3 week break altogether. I've got an extra special one at the moment on a Thursday night - candlelit yoga for a peaceful mind (7.30-8.30pm Revitalise Hove) for the next 3 weeks on the run up to Christmas.
My next workshop is to honour the start of the year on 7th Jan at Unity Studio (Lewes Road) 2-6pm and the next Adventure Yogi retreat is in Norfolk 3-5th Feb.
Enjoy the festive season, love, grace and blessings.
This week is a wonderful opportunity to release what is no longer serving you, the darkness, and welcome in the light. It's the Hindu traditional celebrations of Diwali which ties up with the New Moon on Sunday.
A great time to be saying "No More!!" and then celebrating your loving choice to free yourself of what ever it is. Maybe a habit, a person, a situation, a job, or a belief that holds you back.
There's something so powerful about doing a little ceremony to mark what you are letting go of. It doesn't need to be fancy, you don't need anything special. Just a candle and some quiet time.
Before you light the candle take some time to bring to mind what you are releasing. You might like to write down what you have learned from it so you take something positive and avoid repeating the same pattern again some how.
Get into a state of gratitude for what you have learned, for those who have helped, for your inner resources and so on. This is all part of bringing in the light, the goodness, the hope and wisdom.
Say a prayer to the God of your understanding, offer it up, ask for support, and love, what ever feels best for you.
Then light your candle, to acknowledge bringing in the light. Shining love into this situation.
In Hindu traditions they have a big celebration at the end of the week, when the new moon is, so Sunday this week. They light candles, they clear out their clutter, they decorate their homes, put on their best outfits, give gifts and have big parties full of lights and fireworks to celebrate!
How wonderful! Maybe you could bring a bit of that in your celebration to on Sunday!
The new moon is always a great time to mark new beginnings and Diwali adds ceremony, celebration and light to it.
The word Namaste is particularly poignant around this time. It means the light within me, acknowledges the light with in you. It's such a beautiful expression of our oneness.
I am off to run the Happiness Retreat with Adventure Yogi this weekend, and we'll be celebrating Diwali there.
When you feel tired or stressed or lacking inspiration, what do you do?
Is it really nourishing, does it have a long lasting effect? Or is it a quick fix?
In fact sometimes what we think we need isn't actually the most nourishing thing at all.
I know I can have a tendency to reach for some kind of reality/ dating show on TV when I am feeling depleted, like I just want to switch off and get lost in something. However afterwards I never feel very rested, I often watch with half interest, the other part of my mind thinking about all the things I should be doing.
However when I do what will really be nourishing for me, like a yoga practice, yoga nidra, a salt bath, a walk by the sea, a cup of tea with a friend.....I feel rested and refreshed.
What is food for our soul, what is healing, is doing things that connect us to our true nature, to peace and to love.
Sometimes it can take a bit of discipline not to reach for those old ways of release. Turning to food, cigarettes, drink, drugs and other not so supportive ways to find release become habits over time, patterns that we go to with out thinking.
This is where mindfulness comes us, paying close attention to the moment. Observing what is going on and then asking potent questions like...
What will nourish me from the inside out?
What will connect me to peace?
Making a healthy choice, noticing how the mind resists sometimes but doing it anyway, then savoring the sweetness of doing what is really good for your soul.
From the prelude to “The Dance”
What if there is no need to change
No need to try and transform yourself
Into someone who is more compassionate, more present, more loving, or wise?
How would this affect all the places in your life where you are endlessly trying to be better?
What if the task is simply to unfold?
To become who you already are in your essential nature:
Gentle, compassionate, and capable of living fully and passionately present?
What if the question is not
“Why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be?”
But “Why do I so frequently want to be the person I really am?”
How would this change what you think you really have to learn?
What if becoming who and what we truly are happens not through striving and trying
But by recognising and receiving the people and places and practices
That are for us the warmth of encouragement we need to unfold?
How would this shape the choices you make about how to spend today?
What if you knew that the impulse to move in a way that creates beauty in the world
Will arise from deep within
And guide you in every time you simply pay attention
How would this shape your stillness, your movement,
Your willingness to follow this impulse
To just let go
From the Prelude to “The Dance”.2001
Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Harper Colllins. ISBN:0007112998
One thing we can all be certain of is that life never stays the same. Just like the seasons our lives ebb and flow, new people, situations, things, appear and go.
Change is inevitable yet can cause us much disturbance when we resist the change.
Or sometimes we embrace the change yet still it effects us in some way.
For example in the past 7 months I have moved in with my partner, got married and now have 2 step children coming to stay every other weekend. It's all amazing and I still can't quite believe it's all happened so quickly.
However, there was a point recently when I just needed a couple of days down time on my own. I'd gone from living on my own with all the time and space I needed to suddenly a very full life! Once I had some space to reflect I noticed that my inner child was reacting to everything getting so busy, although it was what I wholeheartedly wanted it was just a bit of a shock to the system! My body started to give me signs I needed to rest with tiredness and injury.
We don't always choose a change in lifestyle though; relationships break up, jobs are lost, babies appear unexpectedly, people die, we're forced to move and so on.
Unexpected change can send us into a state of fear, anxiety, depression and if not dealt with early on, illness.
So how to deal with change, whether we like it or not. I suggest connecting to the one thing that doesn't change. Your centre.
Your centre is a place you can trust. It's that peaceful place with in you, with that sense of just being. It's away from the busy chattering mind, it's deep within your belly. It's your feeling, intuitive centre that is able to listen to the voice of your heart. It's where your sense of balance comes from.
How to connect with this place?
Place your hands on your belly, draw your attention deep within and breath slowly into this area, until you experience the feeling of peace washing over you. I suggest doing this for at least 10 minutes at a time.
Another way to connect is through the earth, feel your feet on the ground, stand tall and breathe deeply. Relax the mid line of your body from forehead, chest, to stomach.
Find quiet places in nature away from everything, let yourself relax and let nature restore your peace.
Taking just a few minutes in the midst of what seems like chaos to connect and restore your natural state of peace will help you to think clearly and to answer truthfully questions like:
What can I do to nurture myself during this time of change?
What can I do to make a difference in this situation?
What do I need?
If nothing ever changed and we never got out of out comfort zone we would never learn or grow. Change keeps us moving forward, evolving. Sometimes we can't see it when we are in the midst of upset around it but then look back later as say "ah I see what that had to happen now".
If there are changes you want to make in your life but are scared, again connecting to this peaceful place with in you will also connect you to your inner strength, to your natural power of being able to take steps forward even when a bit scared, knowing that what ever happens you will be ok. Knowing that you deserve to live a full life, full of love and of your choosing. You don't have to put up with second best.
If I can help any further please do let me know.
Connecting with my sweet self
Feeling that peaceful place
Where nothing else matters
Whilst the world continues to whirl on by
I can simply close my eyes and remember
Who I truly am
Just oneness with love
With every living being
All I am and all that is
Right now in this sweet moment of connection
Someone asked me recently "do you ever get stressed working for yourself?"
To which I replied "of course!"
Thankfully it's been a few years now and things have built momentum, are flowing and those tough days are not so frequent anymore. I started taking steps to work for myself over 10 years ago now, it's been a long journey to where I am now......but an amazing one.
When I first relocated to Brighton 4 years ago, not really knowing anybody, there were endless days where I was just putting in the background work to find clients and build connections. I was starting all over again. Days when I wasn't actually earning any money and days when my creativity just wasn't flowing leaving me a bit stuck as to what to do next. Fear, worry, doubt all would rear their ugly heads.
There were many moments along the way when I came close to looking for employed work again.
Thankfully I had a yoga practice, a belief in God and very supportive parents and friends. I truly believe now that it took so long to get things to where I am now purely to deepen my spiritual faith and practice. I am not sure I'd be who I am now if things had just been easy. In fact I know it.
If you're on the path to working for yourself and find yourself experiencing those stormy seas here are a few suggestions of how to manage the tough times:
Be realistic. When I was in London starting my business I also had part time contract work, doing what I loved (training and coaching) but for someone else. This was my bread and butter income and it stopped me from getting desperate around money. This meant that if new clients came my way I didn't have to get pushy to keep them, neediness drives people away! Part time work can really help in the first few months/ years of working for yourself.
Trust, determination and self belief. Once you are ready to take the plunge and be fully self employed you really have to have trust and conviction in what you are doing. It's time to 100% go for it and believe in yourself that you can. You need to be ready to put yourself out there to get in front of people, take some risks and do things that scare you. It's an incredible journey of highs and lows but above all trust it will all work out just the way it is meant to and believe in what you are doing. Keep going, don't be put off, even on those days, weeks, months when nothing seems to be happening. (this is where prayer really helped me!)
Get a coach. In the first few years of working for myself I had a life coach. This helped me to clarify my goal, keep in action, keep inspired and to learn along the way. It's amazing how negative beliefs about myself would hold me back with out me even realizing it. At work you have a manager, when you work for yourself a coach is like your manager, your motivator, your path to inspiration when you feel stuck. (I can help you with this!). I still now every now and then have a coaching session with an expert around an area I may feel a bit stuck in.
Patience and Gratitude. Don't expect it all to happen immediately. Celebrate the small things and acknowledge yourself every day for what you get done. Each year look back over all you have achieved/ learned and celebrate it. (yoga/ meditation helps with this)
Be Creative When I first started working for myself I was so tuned into work being something that was done sat behind a computer that I sat there staring at my laptop for hours not really doing anything, chatting on msn, feeling like I was working but not really. Then it hit me, as an image consultant (this is what I started with) I should be out there in the shops and looking at what people where wearing on the streets. Of course! This is why I was doing it because I loved people, clothes and shops! So off I took myself down to Knightsbridge, Kings Road, Nottinghill, Soho and so on. I went to talks and fashion shows. Life started to expand and creative ideas for my business flourished.
It's easy when you work for yourself to be stuck indoors unless you are out working. You don't need to be though! You can take your laptop to coffee shops, you can go on adventures......this is why you are self employed to be free to choose how you spend your day!
Meet other self employed peopleThere are lots of us out there, we can be found at networking groups, classes in the day time, on courses, and even working in coffee shops :-) Build your tribe and support each other.
When you do earn money save a bit of it. This might sound obvious but as much as you can save a little of what you earn so you have an emergency fund for those quiet times. I prepare for Christmas and Summer as much as I can in case it goes a bit quiet when people are on holiday.
Read inspiring books. I always like to have a book on the go that will inspire me and uplift me. In the early days when I experience anxiety around if my business was going to work out I read books like "The Power of Now" Eckhart Tolle, "Embracing Uncertainty" and "End the Struggle and Dance with Life" both by Susan Jeffers. Just picking them up and reading a few pages would soothe me.
Money. I had to shift from a mindset of relying on money coming in on a set date each month to it dripping in through out, and sometimes not at all. I developed a belief that "money flows to me when I need it", which I have found to be true. I often don't know when my money is coming in or where it is coming from but again it's about trust. I have developed a trust that it will come. I have learned to survive on very little and to be grateful for everything I have. I have learned to save a bit but also that sometimes I do need to spend out money for my own personal development or for business promotion, for things that will help me and my business grow. You do have to invest as well as save. Again it comes back to self belief in what you are doing and determination. (yoga, meditation, present moment awareness have helped with this)
Self care. You are your business, you need to be healthy, full of energy and in your best state possible. It's so easy, especially when in the well being industry, to give to everyone else and not to yourself. You need a break. You need your sleep. You need little treats. You need fun. You need to eat healthy to maintain your energy and ward off illness. If you ignore your tiredness your body will get ill to force to you take a break. Listen to the warning signs and be loving to yourself. (again this is where yoga has helped!) Holidays away from it all give you the space to get perspective on it all, it can be hard to get this when immersed day to day. Creativity and inspiration also flows when you are doing something completely different.
These are just a few suggestions. I love helping people on this journey so if you'd like me to please do get in touch.
The way I see it, if you love your work and really believe in yourself you just have to go for it. You only have one life so why not give it your all and you know what, if it doesn't work out who cares. At least you've followed your heart and something amazing will come from it what ever direction it takes you. I started off as an image consultant in London, now here I am as a life coach and yoga teacher in Brighton (with a few shopping trips on the side every now and then)! Life is for living.
Do you ever get in that rut of lack of inspiration, new ideas, not sure what to do next?
Whether it's with your work, in your relationship, your writing, your art or maybe just life in general.
I know when I feel stuck I feel bored, I yearn for something to uplift me but if I just sit there and "try" to get my creative juices flowing again they refuse. Like a stubborn child.
Here's what I have learned to do to get me out of the rut.
1. Take yourself out and do something you haven't done before, or have been wanting to do for ages. It doesn't have to be related to anything you're working towards just something you think will be fun. It's often when you are doing something completely different that a new idea appears.
2. Write morning pages. Julia Cameron, The Artists Way, recommends writing 3 sides of A4 non stop when you get up in the morning. Just write what ever comes to mind, it doesn't have to make sense. It's a great tool to brain dump what ever is going on in your mind to allow space for new ideas to flow.
3. Spend some time in nature, in silence. Leave your phone at home and just go outdoors. Natures beauty inspires.
4. Have an adventure. Just get in the car, on a bus, train, plane and go somewhere new to explore.
5. Spend a couple of days doing everything differently, from the route you walk to work, the time you go to bed, the clothes you wear, the music you listen to, the food you eat. It's amazing how much we are creature of habit and it requires a lot of creativity to think up new ways to break them. Plus it's fun!
6. Do some yoga. I often find Savasana at the end is where my best ideas and insights pop up. When I am still, when I have emptied my mind, when I am not trying to do anything other than relax.
The main things is there's no point trying to force creativity to happen, it will flow naturally again when you've created some space for it, and when you are having fun.
4 years ago I finished my first yoga teacher training in India, I never really expected yoga to become my "job", I was just doing it because I loved it.
When I moved to Brighton I was continuing to run Create Yourself as I had in London, with life coaching and image consultancy and I started to just teach one yoga class. Again I never really expected to teach any more than that apart from on retreats too.
4 years later I am teaching 7 classes a week, regular weekly 1-1s, monthly workshops and on retreats through out the year. All I did was go where the energy flowed, focused on just doing what I love and being brave sometimes to put myself "out there" to be able to follow my passion.
I say "all I did" but it hasn't always been easy, faith and trust have been my biggest friends. There have been times where I have been close to giving up but I have reminded myself of how important it is to me to do what I love. After all this is the basis of Create Yourself which I set up around 8 years ago now. This journey has deepened me spiritually more than I could ever have imagined, I know the tough times have been to bring me closer to God.
If you are wondering what career change to go for, if you're stuck in the rut of trying to find the "perfect thing" to do. I simply suggest going where you feel most drawn too now and seeing where it takes you.
10 years ago what I most fancied doing was shopping for a living, I became a personal stylist and loved helping people to feel good about themselves through what they wear. This lead me to taking an interested further into personal development and helping people on a deeper level. Yoga followed on from there with the body, mind, breath connection. A completely holistic approach to self healing, care and awareness.
So what ever it is that has your interested right now just go for it don't allow it needing to be the "perfect" plan/ change to stop you. Go where there energy is flowing right now and what lifts your heart.
Just see where it takes you. Watch your life unfolding moment by moment, and enjoy the ride.
I love yoga retreats, going on them for myself and teaching on them. There is something so special about getting away from it all to a beautiful place and having time to purely focus on yourself, your yoga and relaxing.
If you're wondering whether or not to take the plunge and book on one (my Turkey retreat is coming up in August/September :-)) then here are 6 benefits you'll get from going on a retreat:
1. Space to breathe and reflect
A yoga retreat offers you the time to just stop, By going on one you are giving yourself permission to step away from the to do lists and actually have a proper break. There will always be free time in the day for you to sleep, swim, chat to new friends, read, walk, rest, what ever you feel is best for you. Retreat centres are often away from busy towns, in beautiful nature, which gives you a chance to slow down, enjoy the moment and reflect on what's working and what's not back at home. Often these breaks away from the norm are catalysts for making changes back at home.
2. An opportunity to deepen your yoga practice
This is an obvious one but it doesn't necessarily mean to learn new yoga poses or to do really difficult things. It can be easy to let a regular yoga practice, by that I mean daily, slip when our lives are busy. On a yoga retreat you'll practice yoga at least 2 times a day, this really helps you to dive with in, to really connect with your body, with your breath, to experience the benefits that a daily yoga practice has to offer. If you don't have a regular practice it will give you the opportunity to get a taste of what it is like to practice more often and get inspired for your own routine at home.
You'll have a yoga teacher (me!) on hand as well to answer any burning questions you've had but not got round to asking anyone yet.
3. To experience yoga as a lifestyle
Yoga is not just a physical practice. On a retreat you learn about other aspects of yoga too such as diet, meditation, self inquiry and karma yoga. As I am a life coach also I share tools from coaching to help with getting to know yourself deeply and shift patterns that are holding you back.
4. To feel the benefits from eating a delicious healthy diet, that you don't have to cook yourself!
On retreat your meals are cooked for you, vegetarian, healthy meals with out any nasties or toxins. Aside from the food being completely delicious it's a chance to give your body a break from toxins such as sugar and alcohol. It's so tasty you won't even realise you are eating so healthy and you'll get to experience the benefits when you do.
5. Making new like minded friends
I have made some great friends through retreats and the yoga world. What's wonderful is we all share the same interests, a love of yoga, feeling good and a desire to learn more about this thing called life. It's amazing how you bond so quickly with people on a retreat and some great fun is had too! Yoga does not have to be serious :-)
6. A break from your phone!
On the retreats I run I encourage a break from your phone/laptop. Our lives are so filled with technology these days it's blissful to just switch off and have some peace. No texts to reply to, no emails to interrupt your day, just time to be in the moment. To experience the joy of being truly present in a beautiful place with lovely people. It's up to you how long you switch off for but I recommend at least a day......if you can manage the whole week then fantastic!
As I mentioned above I am running a week long retreat in Turkey from 29th August - 5th September. It's from £425 (if you mention my name to Free Spirit Travel when booking) plus flights. For that you get your accommodation, 2 meals, 2 classes of yoga a day and me sharing all I know with you all week! To find out more please see: Turkey Retreat