The importance of rituals.

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If you’ve moved house a couple of times like myself, you’ll understand the feeling of not being quite able to settle in until you’ve completed your ‘homely’ rituals. Even after the long days of packing, hiring utes (and friends) for the heavy items and the inevitable unpacking, nothing feels right until your favourite items are in place and a candle has been lit. I could be sitting in an absolute mess of books, clothes and bathroom products at the end of moving day, but as long as my family photographs and rose quartz crystal are on display, and the scent of a (preferably lavender or lemongrass) candle is delicately touching the room – all is well in my world.

So why are these rituals so important to our happiness? I think it comes down to a sense of grounding, of bringing us back to our perception of ‘home’ after engaging in activities that are perhaps unusual or exhausting. We all like to end our day with a familiar routine so we can feel calm, centred and peaceful. If I don’t get the time or chance to wind down after a stressful day at work, or a night out with friends, I feel uneasy and tense going to bed. I think it’s extremely important to ensure these little rituals don’t get pushed aside when life gets too busy, because it is precisely in those times that grounding ourselves and checking in is most needed.

In the last 9 months I’ve also become a huge believer in meditation. Before I got into it, the idea of taking 20-30 minutes to just focus on my breathing seemed ridiculous, and it did take quite a few weeks to feel comfortable with it. Before long though, I actually found myself craving those precious minutes, where all I had to do was focus on the in and out rhythm of air through my lungs – something so simple yet critical to overall well being. Learning the art of deep belly breathing can also help in times of tension when your body goes into fight or flight mode. Now that I’ve made meditation an almost daily ritual, I feel in tune with my body all the time. Even if I’m feeling a little agitated, I’ll enter that mind space of simply breathing to bring myself back to focus.

Whatever your little rituals are – keep at them, relentlessly. These are the small things in life that make us smile and keep us grounded, and sometimes that can make a world of difference.

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Photo credits – fleaandbear & theophelia_

 

On getaways and gaining clarity…

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They always say you need to lose yourself in order to find yourself. I honestly believe this is true, and after experiencing a mini getaway this weekend I’m feeling in tune with my emotions, goals and direction in life. From the rainforest bungalow retreat we stayed in, lost among the trees with no WIFI, the sound of cicadas in the humid air and the scent of candles burning, to the gentle lapping of the ocean at a place aptly named ‘Hydeaway Bay’, I experienced some things this weekend that I won’t forget.

There’s nothing quite like the stillness, isolation and peace of the rainforest. Wooden textures, leafy greens and ever-present wildlife made for a lovely retreat into nature, and nature at it’s undisturbed finest. I definitely know I’ve made the right choice moving out of the noisy, hustling city. I just felt so centred and calm in this hidden spot, where the fast moving world outside can pass you by with ease. I have to ask myself though, why am I craving such an escape at this time in my life? I think I’m honestly just exhausted from the last few years and desperately need this down time to recharge, and there’s no shame in that.

We all reach a point in our lives where the questions start flowing… Is this the right job for me… Is this how I want to spend my days… Are these the people I want to surround myself with? The list could go on forever. I think for me personally, I nearly came to breaking point with a few areas in life before deciding I needed a shake-up, and I’m so proud I took that step. It might be a step into the unknown, but at least it’s a step away from something that wasn’t serving me in any kind of positive way. I spent an hour yesterday just dozing in the shade of a palm tree, the sound of waves gently lapping a few metres from my feet and it was magical! Such a simple, relaxing moment in time where I didn’t have to answer to anyone or pretend to be anything I’m not.

Now to steal a (fitting) poem from one of my favourite novels,

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be the blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
(J.R.R. Tolkien). 

There’s a few things that I’ll be taking away from my relaxing weekend, but I think the most poignant one of all is that I’m on the right path. I need to trust my instinct, and instinct is telling me that I’m very close to a break through, and knowing exactly what it is I want from life. The butterflies in my tummy are reason enough to smile.

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Photo credits – michellebishoff & hubsunited

 

 

 

In my own good time…

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How many times in life have friends, family or colleagues tried to get you to do something – whether it’s a new restaurant, TV show or book, or perhaps something health related or ‘for your own good’? They mean well of course, but there’s just this innate reflex in me to be stubborn and do the opposite, despite knowing deep down that they’re probably right and have my best interests at heart. So what does this say about me? That I’m only human I think, and that we each have to tread our own path, make our own mistakes, and arrive at our own conclusions.

We’ve all been there before. Someone has recommended something, a year or two later we try it… and absolutely love it. Why didn’t we do this before!? We tell our friends and family, and someone says ‘I told you to do that years ago’. Well… yes, you did. But I was stubborn (or maybe just stupid), and wanted to discover my own things. So why can’t we listen to people we actually trust to make good recommendations? I think it comes down to a silly sense of pride. WE want to be the ones to unexpectedly find trendy new cafes, or stumble across fantastic books we can’t put down. WE want to be the original source of information, and spread the word. It’s ridiculous isn’t it?

So many times I have finally started watching a new TV show from a friends suggestion, and become completely engrossed in the story line. Game of Thrones, True Blood, The Killing, Dexter, The Tudors… the list could go on forever. Had I listened to the people who knew me best, who knew what I would love, then perhaps I could have brought this enjoyment into my life a little sooner!

As I get a little older (and hopefully wiser), I intend to genuinely take on board anything my loved ones suggest to me. I do think that it’s important for us to take our own time in making positive changes to our lifestyle however, when it comes to more serious referrals. Anything health related – whether it be physical, mental or emotional, is something that we need to decide for ourselves so we aren’t filled with resentment or regrets. It is absolutely important that we genuinely listen to these suggestions, and make changes if our actions are negatively impacting anyone around us. I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you (Joyce Meyer). 

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Photo credits – vzcomacro & tuesdayswithpaulo

On not giving a damn.

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How good is it when you finally reach that age where you just DON’T care about what other people think anymore? It’s like this huge weight off your shoulders, a time where you can go wherever you please, do whatever you want and not fret over what your friends and family might think. Staying in every Friday night to eat caramel from a tin and watch documentaries? Sure thing. Rocking up to work in joggers because it’s comfy? Hell yes. I’m personally loving this transition in my thinking patterns, and shaking my head at my former self.

Most of the time if you saw me out and about, I’d be there to avoid feeling guilty if I’d cancelled, or to keep a promise to a friend that I’d be their wing-woman. Nowadays if I don’t want to go out, I simply tell my friends straight up – and it’s TOTALLY fine. There’s no begging me to come or guilt tripping me. It’s fantastic! We’ve finally grown up and realised that everyone’s different, and maybe we’ll just go out for brunch tomorrow instead.

You know what else is great about growing up? Wearing bikinis to the pool with NO shorts to cover up your butt and thighs, and NOT giving a damn when you feel it all shaking. This is me and I’m a woman! Deal with it. On a similar level, navigating life in winter has become much easier now that I’ve accepted I will look like a pasty whale for a few months. We’re all in the same boat honey so pop your uggies on, make a hot chocolate and settle in for the night.

Not apologising for being yourself is a truly great place to be in life. Don’t get me wrong, I still need to work on a few areas before I can truly say I’m living life at my own pace. But I’m certainly on the right track, and there ain’t no better feeling than that!

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Photo credits – rachael_adkins & folksouls

 

 

Small town manners.

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I’d just like to say a big THANK YOU to the nice people I have encountered in the last few weeks since moving back to my hometown for a while. I’m not saying that nice people don’t exist in big cities, and perhaps it’s only because I have significantly lowered my social outings (thus limiting my dealings with the human race), but I’ve met some genuinely nice people in the last few weeks – so refreshing!

As you might know, I (thought) I had completely bombed this job interview last week. Well in saying that, I didn’t get the job so I can’t have gone fantastically, HOWEVER – I just bumped into one of the interviewers while grabbing a coffee and he stopped me to say how well I had interviewed! I was completely shocked. I mean, he could have just walked past and ignored me. But no, he stopped and took the time to let me know he would have liked to work with me. I was completely over the moon – after spending the last few days in self pity this was music to my ears. Thank you kind man!

I encountered another simple example of small town manners this morning, when the phone rang. Low and behold it was my Nana’s chiropractor checking in to make sure she was doing her home exercises. How lovely is that! Now what chiropractor working in a large super clinic would ever stop to make a personal home call? None that I’ve met, that’s for sure. That level of service to me is just wonderful, and I’m sure my Nana would agree.

All in all, I think once you open your eyes to the small, heartfelt deeds occurring between strangers, patients, friends and family each day, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to put a smile on someone’s face. Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness (Lucius Annaeus Seneca). 

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Photo credits – thejungalow & zeebachi

 

The volcano in my head.

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I’m dead serious – there’s actually a volcano of thoughts erupting all over my head, and I’ve been frantically trying to channel them into a variety of creative outlets for the past few months.

MUST

EXPRESS

MYSELF.

It’s like this burning itch that I’m constantly scratching, uncovering, exposing. Since quitting a job that had become quite toxic to my life in late November, I’ve literally been unravelling all these thoughts and feelings into whatever I can find – writing, art, photography, reading etc … Don’t get me wrong, it’s WONDERFUL. I’m just wondering where the hell I lost my creative self along the way, and what I’ve been doing for the past few years.

As an only child growing up (until the age of 10 when my sister was born), I was pretty lonely. I didn’t have many neighbourhood friends so had to make do with the imaginations in my mind. I would get lost in fantasy books, travelling to incredible lands and often wishing reality was more… well, magical. I essentially learnt how to be alone, something that’s transcended into all avenues in life. Given the choice of a rowdy night out with friends or a quiet night in cooking and reading by candlelight, 9 times out of 10 I’ll choose the solo affair.

I expressed myself (pretty terribly, in hindsight) through a variety of craft-making activities such as mosaics, water colours and beading. For some unknown reason I went through a phase of super-gluing little shells onto items of my clothing. Why didn’t anyone stop me? Well to be honest I’m glad they didn’t – I obviously needed to express myself somehow, and as long as I wasn’t harming anyone then who cares!?

Somewhere along the way I lost all these creative pursuits, until my recent life overhaul. I went through University, share-housing and meaningless jobs without giving much (if any) time to those activities which I knew brought me great joy. Since taking a step back from the corporate grind I’ve used this blog as a form of self expression, letting all my thoughts and feelings pour out. It’s been cathartic to say the least. I’ve taken up my life-long love of reading again, and have been dabbling in a photo journal of my recent travels. While I definitely won’t be taking up the art of gluing shells on my clothes again, I’m looking forward to the journey ahead and seeing the world in vivid colours once more.

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Photo credits – emiliycornelius1 & ratedmodernart

On picking yourself up, again.

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I’m writing this blog today because I’m feeling particularly glum. After an exhausting weekend and a crappy job interview on Friday, all I feel like doing is laying in a dark corner for a few hours. So do I listen to what my body wants, or keep on keeping on?

Life is all about the ebb and flow of the tide. There will be days where everything seems easy, breezy and carefree, and there will be days where you feel like it’s all too hard. Your emotions will go up and down, round and round. Your family and friends will drive you nuts one day, and be your life support the next. This is it – this is life and it’s not about that end destination, it’s about the wild ride in between. For so long I didn’t even notice the quote stuck on my Nana’s fridge, it was only recently that I paused to read it.

For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So treasure every moment you have and remember that time waits for no one (Souza). 

How utterly succinct.

I don’t know if any of my readers believe in astrology or tarot cards (and to be honest I don’t care if you think they’re ridiculous), but I follow Doreen Virtue on Instagram daily. To be more accurate – I look forward with great anticipation to her daily tarot card, and while I’m not silly enough to believe they are directed at me (she does have thousands of followers), the point of the exercise is to take the meaning behind each card and apply it to my life circumstances. In a way, I use these daily affirmations to reflect on my feelings, actions and reactions that day, and to think about ways in which I can positively manage those thoughts. I don’t think there’s anything harmful about self-reflection, as long as you don’t beat yourself up over it – use the time to benefit your own journey.

In conclusion I think when you’re feeling a bit down, do yourself a favour and listen to your body. Take some time out for yourself to breathe, decompress and compose yourself. Do whatever you need to do – whether that’s having a cup of tea, going for a run or calling your Mum. You don’t have to feel guilty about taking time out for yourself – everyone should be doing it more often so we don’t run ourselves into the ground. With that being said, I think I’ll go boil the kettle 🙂

 

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Photo credits – portraits_mf & helloemilie