Do you make New Year resolutions every year only to find that half-way through long and dreary January you’ve abandoned most of them? You’re not alone. It’s been proven time and time again that New Year resolutions don’t work. Here’s why.
Every first of January it’s the same old story ─ all over the world people make New Year resolutions. We promise ourselves to lose weight, hit the gym, give up drinking, quit smoking, eat vegan, go gluten free, stop drinking milk… The list is endless. So why is it then, that half-way through January most of us have abandoned all of our good intentions and carry on as before?
The reason is simple: most of the time, we set the stakes too high. If we’ve been overweight for years, we won’t suddenly lose thirty pounds by the end of January only because we’ve gone full-on into the next diet or hit the gym running. We’ve committed to doing things that don’t come naturally to us and that often don’t really interest us, truth be known. Do we really feel like getting up at 6 am just to make more time for a hard gym session? Probably not. Unless we’re fit and healthy already, hitting the gym will leave us feeling sweaty, tired and rather horrible ─ not exactly a great way to head off to work! And not very encouraging either if we’re not really into exercising. Dieting in January is also very hard indeed. After indulging over the holidays, a feeling of sudden depravation can set in. Plus our human bodies are genetically designed to hibernate. In other words, they store more energy in winter when it’s cold and dark, making it twice as hard to lose those pounds. January is often damp, cold and miserable. Not exactly a great motivator and mood lifter. The odds are really against us, in other words, and failure to stick to our resolutions makes us feel even more horrible than the cold weather.
Especially women tend to put themselves under a lot of pressure to perform every January, on top of their many existing pressures already. And yet this is so unnecessary. So, instead of making and breaking new years’ resolutions, why don’t we simply nurture ourselves all year round? Take time out every day to just be. Go for a walk, read a chapter of a good book. Listen to music. Dance. Paint. Sing. Do whatever makes us totally happy. Even if it’s for just half an hour, ten minutes even.
Whenever I have a busy day, I use the time I spend walking my dog for mindful meditation. I leave my phone at home, go to the local park, field or beach and focus all of my attention on engaging with my dog, looking at the sky, the clouds, the sea, the trees. That’s the trick to mindful meditation. We can do it anywhere and at any time. We just need to focus entirely on what we’re doing at the time and let any thoughts about other things drift by. Acknowledge them and switch our attention back to the present moment. No worrying about dinner, the job or any other stressful event. Just be.
In those moments when we allow our brain to relax, we get a lot of clarity, focus and inspiration. These are the moments our dreams and plans come to life. That’s why those little breathers are so utterly important to our wellbeing. Even once a day for just ten minutes if life is really busy. In the lunch break at work, when the kids are sitting quietly or have gone out, on the train during the daily commute. There are endless possibilities to fit a little time out into the day. If we start getting into this simple yet powerful habit, all other areas of our lives will fall into place and we’ll find our true happiness and joy in our lives. And once we’re at this point, we don’t need any New Year resolutions any more because we live our best life every single day.
If you want to find out more about how to find joy in your life, follow me on Facebook and Instagram, listen to my upcoming podcast “Time for Joy” or send me an email.
As I’m writing this it’s only five days left to Christmas Eve. A scary thought ─ where exactly did this year go? I guess we all know this feeling. We hustle, we bustle, we do, we make, we break, we cope. Somehow we always seem to cope, no matter how much we have to deal with all the time. The only thing is that by just coping all the time, life is racing past us at an ever increasing speed and we don’t get to slow down enough to enjoy the ride. And before we know it, another year has disappeared without us even knowing exactly where it went.
The lead-up to the holiday period in December is particularly busy for most people all over the world. Especially for women. We want to create a perfect time for our families and friends. So we hustle even more to get all those extra chores done, like Christmas shopping, baking, cooking, taking the kids to additional activities, such as their school nativity play or choir singing. Even people who don’t celebrate Christmas tend to get sucked into the whirlwind of endless parties and festivities around them.
This added stress can take us to breaking point quicker than we think. Because it also comes at a time of the year when all of nature slows down and goes into its winter sleep in the northern half of the planet and is at its hottest, and therefore also slows down to cope with the heat, in the southern half. And this pattern also applies to humans. It’s therefore particularly important to look after ourselves during this dark / hot part of the year. We need to plan in more breaks and rest to recover from rushing around. Grabbing a cuppa and a good book and snuggling under a cosy blanket is such a lovely way to spend a short and dark day! Likewise, just chilling by the pool or seaside and letting the world go by is another day well spent! We need these breaks to recover our senses, clear our heads from the daily chaos and make space for our true feelings and desires to surface.
In my “Time for Joy” pgrogramme and one-on-one coaching sessions, I remind people time and time again of the importance of those little breaks. Without them we lose our personality, the very essence of ourselves. Much too often, we are so occupied with looking after and appeasing everyone else that we completely forget about No.1. The thing is, if we forget to look after ourselves we won’t have the strength left to look after others properly anyway, plus we end up deeply unhappy and unfulfilled because we push our own feelings, desires and loves to the back of our minds. And one day we wake up realising that life is passing us by, we haven’t done a fraction of the things that make our heart sing and we’re full of regret of those lost moments and opportunities. Deeply unhappy and dissatisfied with life at this point, we try to fill the gap inside ourselves with hustling even more. After all, it’s impossible to think about being unhappy if you keep busy! Or we throw ourselves head-first into addictions such as compulsive shopping, drinking, smoking or even worse. The whole thing is a downward spiral that becomes increasingly difficult to break free from the longer it continues. Yet the simple act of regularly taking time out could change all of this.
I regularly get asked how it’s at all possible to take time out if our lives are so busy already? The answer, in my opinion, is quite simple. Do you watch mindless TV at night to chill out? Turn it off and go for a bath, or meditate or do both. Do you have a lunch break at work? Go for a short walk, even if it’s only down the road in an industrial estate, and think of nothing but the wind, trees and other impressions on route. Do you sit on a train every morning commuting to work? Take this time to meditate or simply let your mind wander whilst looking out of the window. Time out can be as little as ten minutes to be effective if you do it regularly, but at least once a day. And no matter how busy we are, we can always find ten minutes. Myself, I always practice mindfulness when I walk my dog. Her walkies are inevitable so they are a fixed part of my daily schedule, they cannot be avoided. So I make use of this time. I leave my phone at home or turned off in my coat pocket and focus all of my attention on my dog and the nature around us. I admire the sea and beach, the woods and fields that we walk in. I play games with my dog. That way I clear my mind, get lots of time to think and clear my head for creative ideas and my dog adores it, too. A win-win all around.
Making time therefore takes a degree of creativity, thus increasing our creative thinking in itself. In the beginning this may all feel very overwhelming. I totally get that. I’ve been there myself. I’ve overcome burnout. Everything I’ve written comes from my own experiences in the past. But because I’ve been there, I also know that it’s entirely possible to turn things around. The start is always the hardest. So go easy on yourself and choose something that is easy for you to do. Even if it means meditating in bed just before going to sleep or just after waking up. Once you start, the improvement will come with surprising speed. And once you’re on a roll, you’ll wonder what ever stopped you from being your real self in the past.
I also get asked a lot how to meditate correctly. Lots of people have problems with meditation even though they know it’s extremely beneficial. The answer is that there is no right or wrong way to meditate. Meditation is highly personal and whatever works for you is right for you. As simple as that. In my opinion, the problem is that we have been conditioned to believe that in order to meditate the “proper way”, we need to sit with our legs tied into knots in some position that for most people in the western world is highly uncomfortable, and sometimes downright dangerous if they have certain health conditions, and clear our minds of each and every thought until we’re nothing but divine vessels. Whilst this all sounds romantic, and may be possible for people who have practiced this kind of thing from a very young age, for most of us it’s a utopian ideal that we’ll never be able to achieve. This kind of high expectation sets us up for failure. In truth, meditation isn’t at all about any of these things. Meditation is about sitting quietly and observing your thoughts, then letting them go without judging them. It’s about walking in nature, thus quieting the mind by focusing on the beauty around us. Meditation can even be practiced whilst exercising. In fact, certain practices, such as Chakra Dancing, Yoga, Pilates, etc., are specifically designed to encourage moving meditation. By focusing entirely on the chakras and body during movement, they clear the mind and are thus another form of mindful meditation. Most people find it easiest to meditate with the help of guided meditations. They provide relaxing music and give the mind something to focus on.
I love recording guided meditations because they are so beneficial and relaxing. Each month, I post a guided meditation in my free Facebook Group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/1000petalswellness, for my lovely group members to enjoy. So if you haven’t joined yet, come on over to the group. All over the holidays, from 24 December to 1 January, I will also be going live every night in the Facebook Group for a casual get-together and short meditation with my great group. I want to provide an opportunity for everyone to take some time out from the Christmas hustle and relax. I also want everyone to know that there is a safe and nurturing place to go each day to just be, hang out, talk, or simply listen and forget the business for a little while. Having a good laugh is optional but highly encouraged!!! You can even hang out in your PJs and bring yourself a cuppa. So come on over to https://www.facebook.com/groups/1000petalswellness, I’d love to see you there!
For all of you who can’t make it, please look after yourselves over the coming days and weeks and remember to take some time out for yourselves. You deserve it! Self-care is not a luxury but an essential part of life! I look forward to being with you all again in the new year. My next blog will come out just after the holidays and I will also be launching my own regular podcast in January for all those peeps who prefer listening to audio rather than reading. In the meantime, take care and go safely into a new year and decade which I hope will bring all of us peace, health and happiness.
Welcome to my first ever blog. I am really excited to share this new venture in my journey with you. First thing’s first. Let me introduce myself. Some of you already know me from my 1000 Petals Wellness Facebook page. I am an energy healer, Reiki master, Chakra Dancing and creative mindful meditation therapist. I am also studying to be an animal healer.
I have been asked by many people what exactly energy healing is. In the coming blogs I will discuss these questions and all matters that are of interest to my audience. If you would like me to talk about a certain topic, please get in touch and I will try to answer all of your questions in the weeks to come.
Today I would like to start my first blog with my thoughts on resilience and determination. Both are absolutely necessary to lead a happy and fulfilled life. In our daily life, we are often faced with situations that a difficult, unpleasant and upsetting. Often we cannot change these situations, but we can change the way we react to them. We have got the power to control our emotions and therefore our environment and the outcome of the situation we find ourselves in. I would like to tell you a story about a situation I encountered recently that gives an example of such resilience and determination and how it has changed the outcome.
I recorded a guided meditation a little while ago. This meditation is a free gift to all of my loyal readers and followers and therefore it was very important to me that the recording should be clear and of good quality. I want nothing but the best for my friends, readers and followers. I went out to buy one of the best USB microphones on the market in order to get a nice clean and professional recording. Full of excitement, I went to my quiet retreat in the loft of our house, which I call my girl cave, to set up this new microphone on my new laptop on which I had just installed all the recording software that I needed for the project. However, my excitement soon turned to impatience and later despair when my lovely microphone just would not install properly. It turned out that is way too sensitive and too powerful for the noisy room in the loft, which is the only space in the house that I have for recording.
I spent many hours trying to eliminate the background noise and hissing the microphone was picking up. I was getting quite frustrated. In the end I searched the internet for tutorials and indeed came across some videos on YouTube that showed me some specific settings that could eliminate the hissing and background noise. I applied the settings and voilá, suddenly the microphone was performing just as it should, recording my voice perfectly. This had only taken me two days, lol. But I never gave up and got there in the end.
Full of renewed anticipation and excitement, I then started the recording. But it soon became apparent that this microphone is so powerful that it was picking up absolutely every little background noise that you could hear in our noisy loft. On the recording you could hear cars driving past our house and honking, buses rumbling down the road, people laughing and shouting in the nearby pub, the train chugging past and every other little noise you could possibly think of. It was becoming clear that if I wanted a good recording I could only do this after midnight when the pub was shut and all traffic had stopped in the road. I therefore decided to call it a day and wait until the following night to finally make my recording of the meditation.
I was absolutely determined to get this recording done at all cost. When the time came and the road appeared quiet, I went into my loft room and again started my recording. This time it was successful – no noises interrupted the recording. I was over the moon. But less than two minutes into the recording it started to rain. And with our loft not being insulated, the rain sounded like a thousand drums beating down onto the roof and making their way onto the recording. To say I was a little miffed at this point is an understatement! I had made arrangements to spend this night recording to finally get my project done after all the previous delays. I was getting rather annoyed by now, but all the disturbances made me even more determined to succeed at my venture at all cost.
It was clear that I needed something to block out the sound of the rain on the roof and all other background noises. Looking around the room my eyes fell on my yoga mat in the corner. I wondered if that could be a temporary solution. I took my yoga mat and draped it over the microphone. Realising that this still left the side open, I also took my snuggle blanket that I keep up there and placed it over the top of the lot. I then got under the blanket and sat in front of the microphone. This makeshift soundproofing chamber appeared to be working as I could hear barely any sounds. So I gave it a go and started my recording. And it worked – I recorded the entire meditation and the background music to it on my lovely Kosmosky handpan drum in one long session that ended at six in the morning.
Totally shattered, but at the same time elated, I went to bed that morning knowing that this was a job well done. Even though I was very tired the next day, I was entirely satisfied because I had managed to successfully complete my project. It gave me a wonderful feeling. And it is with great pleasure that I can now offer this meditation as a free gift to all of my loyal readers and followers. Just follow this link to download the free meditation here:
This story is an example of how we can overcome obstacles if we have resilience and determination to work through the problems that a project or situation may present to us. It is a very common human reaction to want to give up if a situation presents difficulties. But giving up only leads to frustration and upset because we have not achieved our goals and what we have set out to do. If we push on, however, and push through all of the obstacles and think of creative new ways of overcoming them, we will succeed in our endeavours which will make us feel really good about ourselves. It leaves us with a feeling of satisfaction and achievement. These feelings are very important to our well-being. They give us confidence in ourselves. They validate our abilities. And this confidence is what we need to lead a fulfilled and happy life. If we go into each day full of confidence in our own abilities, we are much more likely to achieve positive goals. We stand up tall and speak our truth and do whatever is needed to reach our goals and achieve our dreams.
In today’s world, it is getting less and less common, especially for women, to go after our dreams and goals. We are bogged down with our responsibilities, jobs, childcare, home making, and a gazillion other tasks throughout each and every day. There is hardly any time for us to breathe and live the life that we really want. In order to change this, we first and foremost need to build up our determination and resilience. Once we are able to do this, all the other little things we need to change in our lives in order to lead a more fulfilled life that leads us towards our dreams and goals, will fall into place.
I get asked a lot how we can change and build up this resilience and determination. The answer to that is not always simple. It takes practices such as meditation and self- love. Self-love is a rather disputed term in our times. It is frowned upon because most people think that self-love is a sign of arrogance, big-headedness and narcissism. However, the kind of self-love that we are talking about here is none of the above. This is not a glorification of self but a true, pure and honest love that comes straight from the heart, for ourselves and every other living being on this planet. This is unconditional love. And we must love ourselves unconditionally if we want to be able to love others unconditionally. We need to be at one with our own body, mind and spirit. Only once we are entirely at ease with ourselves and happy in our own bodies can we start living a truly fulfilling life.
There are many ways of working towards this goal. We can sit quietly in meditation every day. We can also join circles of other women or groups of like-minded people with whom we can share a mindful practice. Groups and circles are beautiful places where we can sit in complete safety amongst our peers and talk about everything that is on our mind and listen to the stories of the others in the group or circle in order to learn something and to give and receive help. However, sometimes we are unable to attend such groups or circles in person. We may live in areas where there are no such groups, we may simply not have the time to attend them in person or we may have to travel too far to get to them.
Fortunately, these days there are marvelous opportunities on the internet to join up with other like-minded people. We no longer have to be alone if we don’t want to. I run my own Facebook group so if this article resonates with you and you feel that you would like to join up and meet with other like-minded people who are on a similar path to yourself, then please come over and join.
I would love to welcome you there and give you my spiritual guidance and also for you to meet up with likeminded souls.
Please let me know how you got on with the meditation and get in touch with me if you have any questions or if you have any requests or ideas for future blogs. I would love to write about topics that are close to my readers’ hearts. And I am hoping that my regular readers will develop into a beautiful blossoming online community. I look forward to meeting you all and seeing you at one of my future video calls in the free Facebook Group.