Category Archives: A Balanced Life

Growth

Trees and stress reliefWalking amongst the trees to observe their seasonal change and growth was the one thing I really looked forward to during the second lockdown here in Victoria. These trees were planted many years ago and the park is part of a precinct that now includes an art gallery and a library. The trees were most likely planted by some settlers of Irish origin who took up farming in the area who may not have envisaged the growth of the urban sprawl that has since happened.

I have a fascination with how things grow. From germinating seeds to seeing the growth of people when they have had a coaching or hypnotherapy session and have resolved a long term issue.

The metaphor of the seed, that it just knows – given the right conditions – how to germinate. The wind may blow a seed many kilometres away from where the tree stands, but if the soil is fertile and there is enough water and nutrients to  nourish it –  it will flourish and reward us with its growth.  Some seeds may lie dormant in the soil for many years, waiting for the right conditions to germinate.

So too with us humans…. we can wait until the conditions are suitable until we nurture the seed of a thought and allow it to grow, nourished by curiosity and a belief that anything is possible.

 

Art for Art’s sake

find yourself in artCreating a work of art…. how often have you heard (or even told yourself) someone say that they are not creative or they are “no good at art”?

Let me tell you a secret………

You don’t have to be an accomplished artist or proficient in techniques to create a work of art. Doing an “art activity” is more than creating an artistic masterpiece. The act of creating an image engages the kinaesthetic as we move pens/pencils/brushes; the visual as we choose colours and shapes; and perhaps even the auditory senses as we hear our chosen implements move across canvas or paper.

Take a mandala or a picture from one of those popular colouring books. I have given these out in workshops and am always delighted to see such variation in colours and textures from the same pattern given to everyone.  Some chose to create their work of art with many colours, others with just a few and some made a bold statement by using a black fineliner.  Each one was a work of art in its own way, because while the participant was creating and getting in touch with their inner artist, they lost their conscious filters as they engaged in mindfulness. Many were surprised at how the time had flown past, demonstrating that they had entered into an altered state of consciousness where time had no meaning.

I have an upcoming stress management workshop that I will be putting online and it will incorporate an “art activity” as a precursor to the inner work to be done on identifying stressors.  Keep an eye out for the announcement of the online course!

Art Therapy

How can Art Therapy help in our current times?  But what if I’m not “good” at art or “don’t have an artistic background”.  These and more questions have been asked of me in recent days. I have responded with examples of my own portfolio which demonstrates that I am not necessarily an accomplished artist. It is about the symbolic nature of what you create and bringing to your conscious mind feelings or emotions that need resolution. What you do with it later, can be either even more creative or cathartic. Art Therapy is more about the Therapy than being an accomplished artist.

Art helps with feelings of sorrow, particularly the medium of photography. It can convey the immediacy of a situation and captures – particularly in black and white – to the collective and subconscious emotions of the viewers.

Situations viewed through the photographic lens allow the viewer to simultaneously view an event whilst experiencing it as a disconnected viewer. Focus and contrast can be easily manipulated to draw the eye to a specific area. This is beneficial, in that emotion that may not have been otherwise expressed or subconsciously repressed can be brought to the fore and by the expression of same, healing can begin.

Imagination

We all have an imagination. Whether we use it creatively or destructively is ultimately up to us. Art and Music can transport us to places that allow our imagination to run free, you don’t have to be a VanGogh or Matisse to create beautiful art, even the act of colouring in a mandala in a purchased book can create beautiful images that relax our conscious minds and allow the subconscious to find solutions or a better way of doing things.

When our imagination is less than helpful by focusing on negative things  or overthinking The art of Stress Managementoutcomes, it is time to pick up a pencil, a brush or some clay and allow the subconscious mind to have a play. Likewise, we don’t have to be an accomplished musician to enjoy the benefits of music. The notes can transport us to a different time and place as the subconscious retrieves the memories of times gone by. An added benefit of being able to play an instrument is that it engages the kinaesthetic as well as the aural senses. The powerful effect that art and music have on the psyche and our wellbeing cannot be underestimated.

Focus

So here we are….. in lockdown #2 for Melbourne.  I’m actually not complaining as I have more than enoufocusgh to keep me busy with the distraction of Lucy the Labrador and studies that not only nourish my mind and soul, but will create a new focus in my business later in the year. It’s a well known adage that what you focus on, you will find. If you have ever been shopping for a new car and decided on the make and model, then you will most likely start to see these more frequently. Likewise, if you start to focus on negative things or calamities, then you will most likely start to see or experience these things too.  I know a person who constantly expects the worst of people and businesses that they buy from and you can guess  what they create.  Vehicles that  break down or have defects,   dream holidays that turn into nightmares (& litigation) .. the list goes on….

In regards to the current situation, I certainly don’t want to minimalize the seriousness of the situation, but if the precepts of the Buddha are applied, then a positive outlook will support  you at this time.Imagine your good health (& take appropriate steps), keep in regular contact with like minded, positive souls to check in and buoy your spirits, reach out to those who you think might be struggling and offer some time to listen and affirm how they are going.

Let me explain…. if you are fearful – then you are in a stress response. Your stress hormones will signal  – and animals are sentient to this – your current emotional state.  Are you in  flight, fight or freeze mode?

Your imagination can create any amount of scenarios – good, bad or catastrophic.  By regular meditation/visualization/hypnosis- whatever you want to call it, you can create in your imagination a better or positive future, which your subconscious mind (like a 2 year old) will think is your current reality.  Imagine feeling good more often than feeling fear – you still need to to be sensible about precautions around social interactions.

 

 

Leadership

leadershipLeadership can be interpreted in many ways and that is very evident in the differing styles of leadership exhibited by our world leaders. Today I drew this card – Leadership – from Doreen Virtue’s Archangel Oracle cards. The writing on the face of the card suggests that it is time to lovingly guide others and comes at a time where I am about to return to face to face delivery of workshops.  In these workshops it is my intention is to inspire and guide others to learn more about how they can live with greater Emotional Intelligence.

I do enjoy the messages that the oracle cards can give me, and this one particularly resonates.

My oracle cards have been sitting quietly on the bookshelf for some time and having a good selection of them, I’ve decided to use them as a stimulus to create more regular blog posts.  You can look up the meaning given by the authors with Google, if you don’t have the deck yourself.  During this time of inner reflection I have also revisited several books, one of them being Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss. The insights from that book have also been as valuable as the last time I read it.

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Stretch not Struggle

stretch not struggleSo much has changed since I started this Ten Weeks of Intentions journey. Most of the time it has been a stretch not struggle to get a weekly post up in what started out as an “occasional blog”.

So how do you feel after a stretch?  There are times when we need to stretch, not just physically like a cat, but emotionally. When faced with making a change, there is a conscious and an unconscious response to the impending change.  Conflicting thoughts and emotions result in a struggle as we overthink, filter the information and maybe even jump to negative conclusions about the outcome. An emotional stretch may involve changing habitual actions or thoughts and our inner self talk can often sabotage even the best intentions. A little bit like what we are going through at the moment. This is where you need someone to walk alongside you and cheer you on as you stretch to move out of hibernation and towards setting some goals for our “new normal”.

One way to make reaching your goals a pleasant stretch not struggle, is to use the SMART method of goal setting.   Setting a goal or intention using this formula works. Make the goal or intention Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timed.

Specific: Write down as much detail as you can about your goal. It helps if you have a genuine belief that the goal can be achieved. ? It helps to create a vision board to focus your attention on the end result and in Reiki classes we have a saying “Where attention goes, energy flows”.

Measurable: How are you going to measure that you have obtained your goal? Trackers are great as you can see your progress.  Start with the end in mind and work backwards to now or when you commit to starting.

Your bank account?  x amount of $ saved per week/fortnight/month

Your ideal weight?  x amount of kilograms/pounds reduced by each week/fortnight/month

Actionable: What are the actions you must take to reach your goal? They can be baby steps or great big scary steps. For example – how many subscriptions do you still have that are being used? Which ones can be suspended so that you can save precious dollars while we are in uncertain times? If you find that you have been making too many trips to the fridge or pantry – what actions must you take to get to your ideal weight? Being honest about food intake/portion sizes or daily activities will help to get you to goal weight.

Realistic: Is your current spending rate going to allow you to save for something special or do you need to economize on certain expenses? If you love a garment that is 3 sizes smaller than you currently are, will you realistically fit into it once social distancing rules have been lifted?

stretch not struggle

Timed:  Mark the date that you want to achieve your goal on the calendar, regardless of social distancing rules.  If the goal is a big one, then it is a great idea to break it down into smaller time frames. Likewise with reducing weight. Adjusting your timeframe to acknowledge that you may have a couple of occasions where there is the likelihood of not reaching your weekly or monthly target, will mean that you are less likely to have a negative self talk session with yourself. Make it a stretch not struggle.

My intention for this week is to reflect on the journey thus far and to use the energy of The Fool from the Rider Waite Tarot to continue journeying on.

The Power of Intention

the power of intentionThe book by the late Dr Wayne Dyer “The Power of Intention”  is an easy read and over the Easter weekend I have delved back into it as a distraction from the current situation. I’m treating social distancing as an opportunity to have a pause from the “normal” and to re-visit many of the books on my shelves as part of my Ten weeks of Intention project.

In an early chapter he writes “Intention is something that I believe we can feel, connect with, know, and trust. It’s an inner awareness that we explicitly feel, and yet at the same time cannot truly describe with words.”  

He says that there are four steps to intention. These are:

  1. Discipline
  2. Wisdom
  3. Love
  4. Surrender

Collectively we can use this time to re-calibrate and use the power of intention to create a draft itinerary for when we can emerge from this hibernation and begin to work in our new normal. The book is packed full of practical strategies to help you with developing your power of intention in a creative way.  It is important to pay attention to your feelings as well as the way you think. A journal is helpful here – so that you can later reflect and notice any recurring themes. It’s well documented that what you focus on is often what you get.

For instance if you are focused on what is scarce in your life, then you will continue to experience scarcity.   Set yourself an intention to change your thoughts and feelings to a more positive mindset. The vibration of your positive thoughts will contribute to a change in the energetic field around you. This will have a ripple effect as the changed energy within you will also be experienced by others. As you continue to work with the power of intention, release any fears as you work towards creating a new and extraordinary lifthe power of intentione.

Apart from reading over the Easter break, I have been planting trees   – with the intention of creating a productive and organic supply of fruit. Every so often I have stopped as I catch a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye …. I’m sure there are garden fairies watching and I was amused to get this card from the Healing with the Fairies oracle deck by Doreen VirtueYou are now allowing yourself to experience and express your true power. The fairies ask you to affirm, “It is safe for me to be powerful!”

 

The Power of Intention – Learning to co-create your world your way. Dr Wayne W Dyer. Hay House, Carlsbad, California 2004

What gifts can I give myself?

ten weeks of intentionMy intention for this eighth week of intentions is to look at what gifts can I give myself during this time of change. It’s not going to be a physical gift as I am minimizing trips outside of the house. Like many others, I need to have my mind stimulated. With social interaction limited to phone calls and the occasional online call, I am heeding the messages of Mother Nature and beginning my hibernation. However, I do have several bookshelves full of motivational books and a collection of audio courses that I can revisit and revitalize my synapses. Therefore the gift I can give myself is the gift of further or ongoing education!

How interesting is it to re-read a book and discover something you missed the first time? I find this quite remarkable. It seems the passage of time allows the subconscious mind to accept what has been already read and be open to previous deletions.

With the visit of a beautiful Lacewing inside today, I was reminded of the faeries that I used to look for as a child. The gossamer thin, translucent wings with a touch of iridescence…. just what a faerie would have.  As a result, this memory drew me to one of my many Oracle card decks – this time Healing with the Fairies by Doreen Virtue. Lovely artwork and I should use them more often as their energy is very peaceful.

gift of financial flowThe two cards I drew after setting an intention to discover what gifts can I give myself are :

Financial Flow: You have manifested a new sense of abundance in your life. Any financial blocks have successfully been removed, and you are now in the flow of increased prosperity. gifts

 

 

 

Dreams Coming True: Your Heart’s desires are manifesting into reality. The fairies ask that you hold fast to your faith and expect positive outcomes.

Listening To Your Inner Voice

Listening to your inner voiceAmongst my many sets of oracle cards there are a couple of small and often overlooked sets. These were the precursors of the glossy, very artistic cards that abound on the shelves of bookshops and the like.  Listening to your inner voice in these uncertain times can be difficult as the constant stream of information via TV, radio and internet may scramble the messages. Fear will also hinder listening your inner voice. We are hardwired to respond to danger – you would have heard of the flight, fight or freeze responses that our subconscious mind gifts to when faced with a dangerous situation. Fear is like this virus, quietly acquired and infecting our very thought processes until we manifest the symptoms externally.

UnderstandingToday for this 7th week of intention, I reached out to my ancient (last century) container of Angel Cards. Tiny by today’s standards, but in their simplicity – just one word in beautiful calligraphy and a line representation of an angel – I found an antidote to the fear that had crept up on me.  Feeling incredibly stuck as how to best move forward in a time of uncertainty, the Angel Card that I picked from the container was Understanding.  When paired with a randomly selected card from the little purple box that sits next to the Angel Cards, it made more sense.  The subsequent card from Treasures from Tikashi was the Treasure card! I believe that this card has relevance not only to me, but to you as you read this week’s intention.

“Your life has purpose and meaning that you can value and treasure.

It is time to acknowledge your dreams. Listen to your heart and discover what you really  want!

Be prepared to do what it takes to follow your heart, and you will find your treasure!”

My intention for this week is to: spend more time understanding my calling and purpose, by

gracefully exploring my dreams and creating a space to be nurtured in an amazing and transformative way.