Tag Archives: inspiration

Sacred Adornment

I wear jewels and adorn myself with beautiful things because it puts me in touch with my dream world.  It is so important to me to express my inner vision in a way that makes me a part of it.

If you’ve read much of my blog you’ll know that I’m a big fan of all forms of creative expression.  It’s a magical process in itself.  When the expression takes the form of adorning the body, your dream comes to life directly through you.  By wearing a piece of jewellery or item of clothing that represents a quality or ideal that you hold dear, you are literally embodying your sacred vision.

anklet blue

Macrame gemstone anklet from my Etsy shop. Details here.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching, and self image is something that I’ve struggled with.  I used to be so image conscious that I wouldn’t leave my house without curling my eyelashes, let alone without mascara, afraid that if I didn’t look ‘perfect’ people would like me less.

I’ve gone to the other extreme too and embraced my wild side, washing in rivers, wearing clothes with far too many holes in, and letting my hair become what can only be described as one big accidental dreadlock.

I’m coming out of my ‘don’t give a s**t what I look like’ phase now (although I still have my moments!), and jewellery has been the key to unlocking my inner goddess.

sacred adornment

Bracelets, necklace and earrings available in my shop.

Paying too much attention to how we look is seen as vanity.  However, the art of sacred adornment, for me, is about pure joy.  You can’t argue with joy.  When I put on jewellery or clothing that makes me feel like the sacred being that I am, it’s not about what I look like.  It’s about remembering my ‘specialness’, and that I don’t need anything external to make me happy.

I was glowing for hours yesterday after dressing up and taking pictures wearing my favourite jewels.  It wouldn’t have mattered in the slightest if someone had torn them from my neck and I was left with nothing but the bare skin I was born with.  I don’t need jewellery to make me feel sacred, it’s just a beautiful temporary expression of it.

Jewellery, clothes, make-up and accessories are all just tools at the end of the day.  Whether you use them to bring joy, or to cover up insecurities is entirely up to you.  I recommend joy.  Always.

If you’re looking for inspiration or something special to adorn yourself with you can check out my Etsy shop here.

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How To Create Your Own Heaven

Developing the inner landscape of my imagination has been, and continues to be, the number one thing that helps me to overcome challenges and grow in everything that I do.

Whether you’re bursting with dreams and desires yet to be fulfilled, or are happy to take each day as it comes and rarely think of the future, you can use the power of your imagination to bring more joy into your life now.

flowers

 

I do not claim to be an expert on the inner workings of the mind, but I do have a LOT of experience with bringing myself from an uninspired, tired or agitated state, into one of peace, clarity and creativity.

It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking too logically when it comes to making dreams a reality.  I talk myself out of things on a daily basis because I try to predict the future, and plan an exact sequence of action.  When I’m able to let go of the outcome, everything flows so much more smoothly.

Nepal

Nepal

Step 1: Discovering inspiration

It’s important during this step to understand that inspiration isn’t just something for artists and inventors.  Finding the things that light us up is crucial in providing motivation for reaching our goals in life, as well as bringing us joy and an abundance of energy.

The view from Poon Hill in the Himalayas at sunrise.

The view from Poon Hill in the Himalayas at sunrise.

If you have visions that seem totally unrealistic, all the better.  Imagining flying during my yoga practice led to some of the freest movement and floatiest handstands I’ve ever experienced.  Visualizing myself as a magical being with an ability to create enchanting music has allowed melodies to pour out of me when I’m playing my guitar and singing, even though I’m not an experienced musician.

You may already know what inspires you, or you may need to work on finding out.  When I first started making jewellery I knew I liked doing it, and was mainly trying to re-create things I’d seen on my travels.  I later realised it was the peace, beauty and freedom of expression the bohemian jewellery represented, that I resonated with.  That led me to find my own unique style, and start making my dreams a reality.

One of a kind black onyx macrame necklace from my Etsy shop.

One of a kind black onyx macrame necklace from my Etsy shop.

Pinterest can be a great place to start your search for inspiration.  By collecting images that inspire you, your visions evolve, and you can revisit them whenever you need to.  Look at images that you love and figure out what it is about them that you love.  What emotions do they stir in you?

Think about things that have brought you joy in the past, and things that you find yourself daydreaming about doing, having and being in the future.  What feelings do these evoke?

Step 2: Finding your unifying theme

This may be a word, a collection of words, a grand vision, or a feeling, that links everything together.  I struggled for so long because I had no idea where to focus my energy.  I had so many different dreams and goals, and felt completely overwhelmed when I thought about how to attain them.  (I attempted to put this into words in one of my earlier blog posts ‘Living Your Passion’.)  I still have all these dreams and goals, plus new ones now, but I feel much calmer and happier on a day to day basis.

Initially, I was unable to see how my passions for travel, music, making jewellery, yoga and massage were related.  It seemed completely infeasible to pursue them all, and I felt I had to pick one.  Now I can see the underlying feelings that inspire my interests are very similar.  Peace and freedom are words that come close to representing my unifying theme.

Beach on Sentosa island, Singapore.

Beach on Sentosa island, Singapore.

Visualize yourself doing all the things you love, or that inspire you, in your own version of heaven.  What overall quality does it have?  Try to describe it in words, images or whatever comes most naturally to you.  This should help you to see the whole picture of how your dreams and goals could work together, rather than being in competition with each other.

Desert in Peru.  I felt my freest during the time I was away travelling in South America :)

Desert in Peru. I felt my freest during the time I was away travelling in South America.

Travel plays a big part in my vision, but it is the feeling of freedom and expansiveness I feel when travelling that appeals to me.  For others it may be a fascination with different lifestyles and cultures.  There is no ‘right’ answer, since our motivation is a personal thing.

If you dream of wealth and luxury, as many people do, why is it these things inspire you?  Is it the feeling of safety and comfort that wealth can bring?  Or would you enjoy the freedom, the confidence, and just the feeling of general awesomeness?!

Step 3: Creating your heaven’

Once you’ve got some kind of overall vision which represents your passions and sources of inspiration, you can start to move into that reality.  It doesn’t matter if it’s not clear yet, or if there are still some bits which don’t seem to fit together.  It’s a lifelong process and your visions will grow with you.

I feel a great sense of peace and inspiration when I visit beautiful temples and other grand monuments.  This is one of the temples we visited at Ayutthaya, Thailand.

A vision of heaven:  Ayutthaya, Thailand.

The secret to getting this step right is to let go of the final outcome and live your dreams NOW.  There is absolutely no point in putting all your energy into achieving goals in the future if doing so makes you unhappy in the now.  But, on the other hand, there is immense value in fulfilling your dreams, so ignoring them isn’t the optimum thing to do either.

But with such grand dreams, how do you begin to live those now??

This is where your unifying theme or vision comes in, or at least the feeling behind it.  There may be no practical way to be travelling the world indefinitely right now, or to become a millionaire overnight, but there are certainly many ways to give yourself the feelings that motivate these dreams.

Simply spending time in a park or a beautiful garden, immersed in nature, brings me a great sense of peace.

Simply spending time in a park or a beautiful garden, immersed in nature, brings me a great sense of peace.

If, like me, freedom is very important to you, try to find ways to bring more freedom to your day to day life.  For me, this looked like starting my own business, allowing me to decide how I spend my time.  For you it may be booking a trip, or opening a savings account.

A piece of my freedom:  starting my own business doing what I love.  My Etsy shop.

A piece of my freedom: starting my own business doing what I love, my Etsy shop.

It’s not about what you do, it’s about how it makes you feel.  Prioritize your core desires.  If you want to be filthy rich because it would make you feel awesome, special and amazing, do everything within your power to feel awesome, special and amazing NOW!  Take pride in your appearance, constantly remind yourself of your skills and positive qualities, and expect the best from yourself and others.

If you crave comfort and luxury but are flat broke, prioritize self care.  Enjoy taking long luxurious baths, learn some self-massage techniques, or take extra care to make your living space feel heavenly.

Summary

Prioritizing how you feel NOW doesn’t mean giving up on your goals.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  When you get into the zone of feeling good NOW, you’ll find it much easier to work towards achieving the things you desire for your future.

In my opinion, dreams are to be lived.  If you use your dreams as an indication of what to bring more of into your life NOW, you can begin to enjoy them immediately!

Walking around Warmley Forest Park near home (Bristol, UK) is a great way to re-connect with my inner peace.

Walking around Warmley Forest Park near home (Bristol, UK) is a great way to re-connect with my inner peace.

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The Most Important Lesson Travel Has Taught Me

I’ve learned so much about the world while travelling, it’s impossible not to.  But for now I just want to tell you about the number one thing that has been reinforced, again and again, by every meaningful travel experience I have had.

When you spend an extended period of time outside of your normal routine, exploring, taking in wondrous sights, and discovering the astonishing variety of life that exists on our planet, it shifts your perspective on things.  You realise that there is so much more out there.

The view from Poon Hill, Nepal

The view from Poon Hill, Nepal

It isn’t just the endless physical possibilities you now know exist.  More significantly, it is the depth of peace and the overwhelming feeling of aliveness you discover.  The world becomes a so much more enchanting place, and you have a much deeper appreciation for all of it.

Monkeys in Hampi

Monkeys in Hampi

It can be difficult to balance this new found sense of wonder with day to day life in a 9 to 5 job back home.  I struggled with it several times after returning from long trips abroad.  I needed the money, (mainly so I could go off and have more spectacular adventures!) but, more that that, I needed to slow down and enjoy the small pleasures in life.

I could no longer deny the importance of my day to day experience in the hope of experiencing more peace in the future.

I unequivocally had to live for the now.

This brought with it a whole heap of challenges, but my shift in priorities also led me to discover so many wonderful things that I wasn’t open to before.  I got into yoga in a big way, I became a qualified massage therapist, I started making my own jewellery, I picked up my guitar again after years of neglecting it, and I even began writing songs.

I've now turned my jewellery making hobby into a business.

I’ve now turned my jewellery making hobby into a business.

Now that I knew how much peace and beauty was available to be experienced in this world, I had to find a way to ‘live it’.  To only have access to this seemingly magical realm when I was on holiday from real life was an impossible thought to bear.  I experimented, failed more times that I could ever manage to relay to you, and gradually found more and more of this peace that I had been looking for, exactly where I was.

Someone tweeted the other day, and I forget who it was or the exact words, something about creativity being a “scavenger hunt for the soul”.  Those 5 words really stuck with me.  It certainly does feel that way sometimes, but my god it is worth it!!!!

Finding the treasure at the end of the rainbow!  Photo:  Iguacu Falls, South America

Finding the treasure at the end of the rainbow!  Photo: Iguacu Falls, South America

When it was just the shortest moments of peace, following so much of the absolute opposite, I feared I had chosen the wrong path.  However, I must have known somehow that things would get better, because I kept trying.  The more I learned how to get my monkey mind to cooperate and tune into my heart’s longings, and the better I became at expressing myself creatively, the more profound and longer lasting the feeling of inner peace was.

So I continue on my journey, collecting pieces of myself along the way.  But now instead of desperately searching, I go wide-eyed in wonder on my quest, knowing that really, all of it is me.  I have learned to live in the moment, content with where I am, amazed at where I have been, and excited for where I am about to go.

Ushuaia, the 'southern-most city in the world'.

Ushuaia, the ‘southern-most city in the world’.

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Re-Connecting To The Magic Through Writing

I want to share something that works for me on a regular basis when I become disconnected from the beauty and magic of life.

A Himalayan Sunrise

A Himalayan Sunrise

I started this blog because I wanted to share my passion for peace, travel, creativity, nature and everything that inspires me.  I thought that the process would be rewarding, but I had no idea of the extent to which writing about my experiences would bring me a sense of wonder and possibility in the here and now.

Nearly every time I sit down to write, I can’t imagine what I could possibly have of value to share.  However, I know that the process greatly nourishes me so I find the courage to begin.  Once ideas and images start to flow through my mind, I am reminded of the value of the initial insights and experiences that inspired my writing.

Trekking in Nepal

Trekking in Nepal

There is something very powerful about putting meaningful experiences into words and pictures.  We may remember that a place or idea was of particular importance to us, but the exact feelings associated with it may have faded.  When we revisit it in our minds in detail, and are able to convey the essence of it to others, its energy comes through into the present moment.

When was the last time you felt that spark?

Can you remember what it was about that moment, place or thing that stirred something deep inside you?  When you begin to describe a very special experience, its essence comes through and captivates you once more.

Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey

Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey

For a few brief moments you view your current reality with enchanted eyes, and a heart that has been opened by the beautiful memory.  This brings feelings of contentment and well being, and the fresh perspective can lead to inspiration and new ideas.

Writing about treasured memories often has a considerable influence on the way I view my present circumstances.  I feel calm, and have a much wider view of the possibilities open to me.  I am more focussed, energized, and frequently experience breakthroughs in my thinking.

Even without these beneficial side effects, the process of writing about meaningful moments brings an important reminder of the magic of life during times of discontent.  This makes it both an extremely valuable and enjoyable thing to do.

Special memories - Bathsheba beach, Barbados

Special memories – Bathsheba beach, Barbados

 

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Make Peace A Priority

Relaxation.  It’s so easy in theory, but it can be difficult during a busy day to take the time to unwind when we’ve forgotten the value of doing so.  If we were already relaxed, we’d know it truly is where the magic happens.

When you think about the things you value in your life, how many of them do you appreciate when you’re in a stressed out state?  My guess is not many!  We can lose sight of the meaning and beauty of life without even realizing what’s happened, and it’s not until we relax that we can see the difference… and what a difference!

rose

 

When you do what soothes your soul, you will notice the ripple effect that it has both in your own life and the lives of those around you.  A peaceful walk in the woods may feel like a waste of time when you’re busy, but if you allow the stillness of the forest to enter your being it will be there to serve you when you most need it.

Light some candles or play some music and allow your mind to wander.  Later, when challenges arise, be grateful for the time spent in this relaxed state.  Allow your body’s cellular memory of the feelings of peace to inform your response, so that you can remain steady even in the midst of chaos.

Make time for peace and become steady as a mountain.

Make time for peace and become steady as a mountain.

If you regularly do the things that make you feel calm and centered it will show through in everything you do.  You will naturally feel more joy in even the mundane aspects of life.  You will gain perspective on your problems and make wiser decisions.  You will appreciate all of the good things in your life and the positive qualities that you already possess.  You will connect more with those around you, and be more sensitive to their needs.  Your open heart and easy demeanor will allow more joy to emerge in all of your relationships.

Whatever your role in life, you will make a difference.  It’s amazing what a little inner peace can do.  Whether you’ve found your calling in life, or are still working your way towards the job of your dreams, a calm heart and a peaceful mind will ensure that you maximize not only your own happiness, but that of the people you interact with along the way.

If you’re unhappy or wanting to make changes in your life, regularly connecting to these feelings of calm and contentment will allow you to see the way forward.  When things go wrong, or your mood is low, it’s easy to think that worrying will help you to find a solution.  However, it can have quite the opposite effect and block your view of the possibilities that are available.  Taking the time to relax, and allowing peace and tranquility to inform you of what truly matters, will bring you much closer to where you want to be.

Hampi, India

 

Give yourself the time to delve deep into the present moment and see what you find.  Let your mind drift in swirls like the smoke of burning incense.  Allow the hypnotic beat of the music to leave its impression on your subconscious mind, and serve as a reminder to you in the hours and days to come of this gift that you have given to yourself and to the world.

When you make peace a priority in this way, you will find ease and lightness when there was previously strain and struggle.  Your mind will be clear and you will carry a ‘piece’ of this peace with you wherever you go.

I would love to be inspired by hearing about how you like to relax, or anything else related to this subject that you would like to share. 

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It’s Not What You Do, It’s How You Do It

Felt a sudden inspiration to write this post.  I’ve not written anything apart from my daily gratitude diary for the last month.  Indecisive would be a massive understatement to describe how I’ve been feeling lately.  If you’ve read some of the things I’ve written in the past you’ll know that I have a lot of interests and passions, and am working on a LOT of different goals all at the same time.

So many mountains to climb!

So many mountains to climb!

The last few weeks I’ve been getting stuck more than usual and have found myself completely unable to focus for long periods of time.  I think all that has changed now with this very simple realization which just came to me, and inspired me to write this much over due post.

What I realized is, there is no wrong thing to be doing.  It doesn’t matter if I choose to do some writing, do some yoga, take some photos, promote my business or play my guitar.  I’ve been so caught up in thinking I have to choose wisely how I spend my time that I missed the entire point.  It’s all about the HOW.

If you’ve read my ramblings in The Super Power Of Visualization, you’ll know the kind of thing I’m talking about.  I’m all about breaking through limiting beliefs and realizing our infinite potential.  When I say infinite, I mean infinite.  I’m talking about using my imagination to dream up things that make my spirit soar.  I could be playing a simple few chords in a song I’ve played a thousand times before, but when I really engage my imagination in this way that’s when the magic happens.

Iguacu Falls

Iguacu Falls, South America

I can make improvements in many other ways through dedication and hard work, but it’s so much more thrilling to let it happen through the beauty and grace of the present moment.  When I’m busy visualizing an ‘out of this world’ scene of myself playing unconstrained by limiting beliefs, I free myself up to channel an infinite source of creativity.

This infinite potential is always present, and can light up my photography, inspire me to connect with new people, inspire me to write a lengthy blog post in a few minutes, or give me the energy to get on my yoga mat and play.  I used to think that in order to get the energy to flow I had to pick the ‘right’ thing to be doing.  There is still a part of me that believes that, but after today’s realization, the part that knows that the infinite potential is everywhere is growing.

Clear quartz raw crystal necklace

 

This energy can flow into whatever we’re doing if we go for it wholeheartedly.  So it doesn’t matter if I’m listing a new item in my Etsy shop, promoting my holistic massage business or making jewellery, as long as I’m doing SOMETHING.  Sitting around worrying about not doing the ‘right’ thing isn’t going to get me anywhere.  Taking action is what makes stuff happen.  It doesn’t matter what I choose to do, but it does matter HOW.

Me being Tarzan with my superhuman powers!

Me being Tarzan with my superhuman powers!

I’m blessed with highly charged emotions.  If there’s a slight hint of straining or resistance to what I’m doing, or I feel I’m doing it for the wrong reasons, I really know about it.  I’m not as bad now as I used to be (thank god!), but I can still wind myself up in to a right old state when I’m trying to get stuff done.  Through trial and error I’ve found the absolute best way for me to flow easily with work, and any activity involving effort and concentration, is by using visualization to tap into my infinite creative potential.

Most times when I get stuck it’s because I feel like I’m not good enough at whatever I’m trying to do.  So visualizing gives me a clean slate to work with, free from these limiting beliefs.  If it doesn’t work, I reach even further with my imagination.

Sunset on the river Amazon

 

Too tired to write that next blog post?  I’m a divine being with infinite creative capacity, of course I can do it!

Instead of slogging away and creating things without passion that bore me and make me feel drained, I can put my all into whatever I’m doing, feel my soul at peace, and create something I truly value.  Then I’m not so hung up on how much I’ve achieved (even though I achieve far more with this approach), because I love doing it so much!

Made with passion.

Made with passion.

Maximizing my potential is what gives me a sense of meaning and purpose.  Not because I want to be the best I can be (I do, but that’s not the meaningful part), but because the creative process never ceases to amaze me.  When I allow myself to visualize being capable of absolutely anything, I am staggered by the things that happen.  I adore the process of releasing those habitual limiting thoughts (if only for a few seconds at a time while I concentrate on the ‘heavenly’ image in my mind), and seeing how this gives me more energy, clarity and ability in whatever I’m doing.

I’m guessing if you’ve found your way to my site you’re somewhat creative/free-spirited/alittlebitcrazy, so I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject… Bring me back down to earth with a BUMP, or skyrocket me into space with your dreams, either is fine with me!  Thanks for stopping by. 

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Why I Travel

Travelling brings me a sense of wonder, awe and enchantment.

Varanasi, India

Varanasi, India

When my only objective is to explore, I am in the present moment and everything feels ALIVE. I slow down and absorb every detail of my surroundings; the colours, the smells, the sounds and the FEEL.

Scene from window of train just outside Cairo, Egypt.

View from window of train just outside Cairo, Egypt.

With fresh eyes I see beauty in everyday scenes that, in familiar surroundings, I would likely pass by without a second look.  I am mesmerized by the most ordinary aspects of life in a foreign land.

Travelling teaches me to find contentment in the here and now; not waiting for anything, just living fully and completely.

As well as the magic experienced in the simple things, there is the profound impact of experiencing nature in all of its immense glory.

Iguacu Falls on the border of Brazil and Argentina.

Iguacu Falls on the border of Brazil and Argentina.

There have been moments I will remember forever, and places that stir up ancient memories that surface from deep within.  Memories that don’t belong to this life, but to a time when a connection with nature was ever present.  Now, during precious moments in a contrasting age of separation, the beauty of this bond can be perceived.

Often when I’m travelling, unexpected situations lead to the most wonderful experiences.  When the stifling heat in Marrakech forced us out of our bedroom to sleep on the roof of our hotel, I had no idea it would be so nourishing and inspiring.  Calls to prayer reverberated around us from all over the city, coming together with the dark night sky and thick warm air, to form a protective blanket around us.  Magic was quite literally in the air.  I woke up with the sun, a new person, with clarity about my path in life.  I knew what I valued and vowed to live more in harmony with this great force of peace.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

I have shared so many extraordinary experiences with special friends, old and new, knowing that we felt the same joy.  Travelling with good friends, spending 24 hours a day with them, dissolves all social boundaries and leads to spectacular amounts of fun.  These times have brought me so much happiness, and to begin to describe them here would turn this short post into a novel.

Along with this peace, wonder, contentment and connection with nature, travel provides the opportunity for something that is even more valuable to me.  Adventure.

I sometimes suffer from quite debilitating anxiety.  If it weren’t for my love of adventure, my mental state could be a LOT worse than it is now.  I still have my struggles, but knowing all the crazy things I have done (and survived!) really helps when I’m having a crisis of confidence.

I’m not what you might call a dare devil.  I have a healthy amount of caution, but my desire to experience new and exciting things has put me in some pretty hairy situations on more than one occasion.  I could do without adventures like being stuck halfway up multi-pitch rock climbs, or escaping The Great Fire Of 2012 in Laos; but they have taught me how much I can actually cope with.  I’ve overcome my fears sky diving and bungee jumping, and survived many a minor accident while testing my boundaries white water rafting, handstanding in inappropriate places and riding mopeds on potholed roads.

White water rafting in Peru, just before we flipped over and smashed my face on the rock!

White water rafting in Peru, just before we flipped over and smashed my face on the rock!

These things are all great learning experiences (some more fun than others!), but it’s the feeling of limitless possibility that being out of my comfort zone brings me that keeps me coming back for more.  Whether I’m looking out over a new city from a tall building or viewpoint (one of my favourite activities), trekking through beautiful unknown landscapes, or pushing my physical and mental limits, adventure to me is about possibility.  That is what I find so exciting.

When I do something out of the ordinary, I experience a feeling of expansiveness, and I know that there is so much more to explore and do.  I know that I am capable of so much more than I thought I was, and my heart longs for the next adventure.

View from the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, Bangkok

View from the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, Bangkok

 

 

 

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The Super Power Of Visualization

I used to have absolutely no clue how to use visualization.  I tried it in guided meditations, yoga classes, and in attempting to manifest things I wanted in my life “Law Of Attraction” style.  It always felt forced and frustrating.  Instead of slipping into a peaceful relaxing meditation I would spend the whole time wondering why when I closed my eyes I had no clue what anything looked like.  I wished my inner world was vivid, detailed and bright, but all I saw were fleeting shapes and the colour of my own eyelids!

I think previously, because I didn’t believe it would help me in any way, I didn’t really want to visualize what was being suggested to me.  I had to come to it on my own.  It sounds corny, but I had to find the magic of reaching for the stars within my own imagination in order to access the ability to visualize.

Ability to use the imagination comes so easily to some people, but even as a child I never really got it.  I remember being so bored writing stories or drawing pictures in school.  I only really enjoyed doing things where there was a clear right or wrong answer, like maths.

Now I use it constantly, whether I’m singing, massaging, making jewellery or writing.  It started with my yoga practice.  After thinking my yoga teachers were all a little bit crazy talking about putting roots into the ground with our feet and opening our hearts to the heavens, I now regularly out-metaphor them on the mat with the wild imaginings of my beautiful mind.  Because it works.

I had to really dig deep to tap into it though.  Sometimes I can feel so lacking in energy that I don’t even want to get up and make a cup of tea, let alone do a handstand.  But one day something clicked.  I imagined myself as an other-worldly yoga goddess, and for a moment I wasn’t limited by any of the beliefs I held onto about my body and its abilities.  I rolled out of bed onto my yoga mat, and bunny hopped up gracefully into the most elegant handstand I’d ever managed to do.  It revived me, and it definitely didn’t feel like exercise.

I’m not trying to suggest that if you’ve never done a handstand (or some other crazy yoga posture) before you can just visualize it and then you’ll be able to do it perfectly.  The point I’m making is that one image in my mind made a massive difference to how I felt in that moment, which consequently changed my whole day.

That moment, and countless others since then, have changed my view of visualization completely.  I actually sing better when I visualize.  I don’t know if it’s just the distraction from worrying about what I sound like, or if there’s something more complex going on.  It doesn’t really matter to me.  The results are what I care about.

We’re subconsciously visualizing whatever we’re doing constantly.  I’m becoming more and more aware that a lot of negative emotions, that seem to come from nowhere, are actually coming from deeply held beliefs about myself which play out as images flickering through my mind, so fast I barely notice them.  The emotion is a reflection of these images in my body, and I tend to become the things I am imagining.  So now I make a conscious effort to constantly challenge these pictures of myself and replace them with ones that feel good.  Low and behold I feel better, and can function much much better, as a result of it.

I’m sure this is just scratching the surface of the potential uses of visualization, and I look forward to continuing my exploration of the super power of the imagination!

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Hampi- An Enchanting Indian Wonderland

When I think back to my time in Hampi, in southern India, I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside.  It has so much heart.  Not the kind that knocks you over with its power when you arrive, but more of a gentle glowing that washes over you without you really noticing, until you’re feeling better than you have done for a long time and don’t know why.

Hampi was a world away from the chaotic towns and cities that we’d spent much of our time exploring.  A land of giant boulders and stunning temple ruins, with the most beautiful intricate carvings that tell enchanting stories.  The pace of life was leisurely, the air was hot and dry, and the landscape was barren yet alluring.

 

We were drawn to Hampi by the prospect of climbing the huge granite boulders, although once we were there the combination of the heat and relaxed way of life meant that I did more sitting on boulders, gazing at magnificent sunsets, than climbing on them.  But that didn’t matter in the slightest because my time there was perfect.

 

We had to wait until sunset to climb to avoid the blazing heat of the day.  I made it to the top of a few boulders and then sat, perfectly content, soaking up the warmth radiating from the rock.  The landscape looked less arid in the gentle evening sun.  The rocks took on a pinkish tone and the sparse patches of vegetation stood out against them, a deep rich shade of green.

The rest of the time we sheltered from the intensity of the sun in laid back restaurants with low tables and cushions on the floor, or wandered around the majestic temples.  Indian tourists outnumbered the foreigners, although there were plenty of both visiting the temples that had been built hundreds of years ago from the rock that surrounded us.  It was easy to find quiet spots to admire the architecture amongst the sprawling temple complex though.

 

We rented mopeds to navigate the local area and found ourselves at a nearby lake.  It was just us, the lake and the boulders.  The water was cool and refreshing, and it was amazing and slightly eerie to have the whole area to ourselves.  Other days we explored the ruins in the surrounding area on foot, walking far enough away from the town that our only companions were the goats that grazed on the land.

 

Hampi was the perfect mix of leisure and activity.  By the time we left I felt completely rejuvenated and ready to rejoin the mayhem of travelling through extraordinary India.

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Annapurna Base Camp Trek, Nepal

There’s something about doing a long trek in the mountains, away from modern civilization, doing nothing but walking, eating and sleeping for days on end that relaxes you in a way that nothing else can.  A ‘shower’, consisting of a bucket of hot water in an outdoor cubicle, as the evening draws in and the air rapidly cools feels like a wonderful treat after a day of hard physical exercise.  The mornings so tranquil, the views so consistently spectacular.

The Himalaya are both formidable and beautiful.  To climb to the height we did and then gaze up at the mountains that reached high into the heavens was staggering.  We walked for days and days up steep rocky paths, through some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, and through the loveliest mountain villages, full of some of the most beautiful people in the world.  When we finally reached the outermost point of our trek and looked up at the mighty Himalayan peaks, it was a truly humbling experience.

 

We decided on the Annapurna base camp trek because it was long enough to get us right up amongst some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in Nepal, but not as long as the entire Annapurna circuit which takes around 3 weeks to complete.

 

We observed the contrast between the lush green valleys and forests with idyllic streams and rickety bridges, and the huge rugged snow capped mountains above us, as we undulated and wound our way through the varied landscape.  We sometimes sang Nepalese songs with our guide to amuse ourselves as we walked, other times we were quiet and alone with our thoughts.

 

A natural rhythm brought peace and harmony to our days.  We woke early to watch the sunrise, then set off for several hours of steady climbing to our first stop for a welcome rest.  We would usually arrive at around sunset at our accommodation for the night, which were lodges with very basic facilities.  We exchanged travel tales with our companions, ate mainly rice and dal, played cards and got very early nights in preparation for the early morning starts.

For me the best part was forgetting where I was.  Wrapped up in many layers and a winter sleeping bag for the chilly nights, it would be difficult to drag myself out of bed when it was barely light outside.  I had this feeling every morning, and without fail, every morning, I would be overcome with happiness when I stepped out of the door.  To be greeted by the fresh mountain air and the sun rising from behind the magnificent peaks was the perfect way to start the day.  Not a trace of sleepiness remained.

 

The October skies were clear, so the cool mornings became blazingly hot days, the sun beating down on us as we walked.  We cooled ourselves down by dipping our feet and hands in the icy streams that flowed down from the mountains.

 

By the time we started our descent back towards civilization we were ready to continue with our journey.  After 10 long days of non stop trekking our feet needed rest, our stomachs craved the variety of the delights available in the restaurants in Pokhara, and we longed for contact with the rest of the world again.  We would recharge with some much appreciated home comforts, before setting off for more Nepali adventures.

There was no end to the active outdoor delights available in this beautiful country, and next on our agenda we would be taking advantage of the modern high adrenaline side of the adventure scene… in the form of a 160 metre bungee jump!  Sublime in a completely different way from the tranquil stillness of our immersion in this magical mountainscape.

 

 

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