Love letter to a New Year

 

Dear New Year,

 

May you be fresh and fun.

 

May you have ups and downs, sunny days and storms.

 

May we walk together with mutual respect.

 

May you surprise us all.

 

May you remind us of our shared humanity and of our care for each other.

 

May you take us places we weren’t expecting and couldn’t have imagined.

 

May there be laughter, tears, hands held and hugs.

 

May there be plenty of space within you for sitting under trees and having bare feet on earth, bare legs in cool water.

 

May you shift and change us in ways we weren’t expecting and might not have been brave enough to do alone.

 

May you challenge us so that we find our core values over and over again and so that we finish you feeling brave and resolute and strong.

 

May you cradle us when we feel tired and gentle and soft so that we finish you feeling loved and held and safe.

 

Dear year, may you offer us many moments of curiosity, joy, reflection, peace, adventure and hope.

And may I remember that whatever you are, however you unfold, I have choices in how I respond, that my inner world is a space I can shape through learning, healing and mindfulness.

Thankyou for sharing your wonderful self with me new year.

 


 

Letter writing is a format we can use to process and capture our hopes and wishes for the year. Why not give it a go yourself? 

And once you’ve reconnected with what matters most to you this year, see if you would like some company, support and input while you take practical steps towards your dreams. I have openings for 2 new coaching clients to work with me this half of the year. See my Coaching page for package details and get in touch. 

Mini creative recharge project – noticing beauty

Checking in and focusing on the beauty around me is one of my low key, completely free self care activities. If I’m feeling tired or noticing that I’m very ‘in my head’ I bring my attention back out to the world around me. I often use flowers as a focal point – what flowers can I see in my neighbourhood that completely capture my eyes and lift up my heart? The more I set out to notice, the more I see. I then shift into feelings of awe, appreciation and wonder. I notice myself slowing down. I feel more abundant and expansive.

Here’s your invitation to notice something beautiful this week.

Flowers not your thing? Try looking for striking shadows, or amazing angles and lines in the urban environment, or colourful tiles, or maybe the changing colours in the sky. I find having just one thing I’m looking for keeps the project feeling more fun and do-able.

To create a permanent record of your noticings try making an album on your facebook page or in your phone and saving photos into that.

Or print your photos old school style, and make a huge artwork of them for your wall.

A simple creative recharge project that is free and you can do anywhere.

Have fun!

Let me know how you go!

If you were going to do this project right now, what thing would you look for daily to bring your attention to beauty and wonder? Let me know below: your idea might inspire someone else too! 

Dabbling in rest

As a busy scanner with lots of projects that light my brain up, engaging in ‘passive’ relaxation activities is not my ‘go to’. I often want to jam pack my ‘down’ time with painting, or writing, or gardening, or community projects. Which I love doing but eventually my body does need rest and quiet time. If I don’t give it the rest it needs sometimes it responds with exhaustion, illness, burnout or low mood.

It can be a challenge if we have a long list of ‘fun’ projects we want to work on. The fear can be that if we don’t work on them NOW when we have a day off we will never get to them.. we will never ever get them done.. and that it’s a ‘wasted’ day.

But just like sleep is just as important as awake to creating balance in our lives, so to is passive relaxation* a balance to active relaxation.

A book.

A bath.

A cup of tea feeling the sunshine on my face.

Laying flat on the couch and watching a tv show that isn’t wildly engaging.

A slow meandering walk with eyes really open to my surroundings.

Having lunch laying on the green grass of an inner city park looking up at the leaves of trees.

Being absorbed in music.

A brief nap.

 

Slow.

 

Not tied to productivity.

 

In and noticing the body.  

Through these activities I slide from a more activated and excited, engaged, ‘creative’ state into a more restful and calm state… even if just for a few minutes, a half hour. I soak in the essence of rest.

I recharge. I ‘refuel my tank’**.

I prevent exhaustion later by taking little sips of rest along the way.

This is part of how I aim to prevent future experiences of burnout, and keep myself working and playing steadily into the future.

—-

*I’m using the word relaxation synonymously with ‘leisure time pursuits’

** Terribly fossil-fuels-centric metaphor isn’t it? I ‘recharge my solar batteries’??

Attending the inner seasons

Coming into awareness of our physical selves is a great first step in working with the energy levels, inspiration and whims we have, rather than forcing ourselves to act like a robot that feels the same every day and is capable of the same activity/ concentration/ energy every day.

Back in a galaxy far far away, a few years ago, I found the rhythm of working in a busy office in consulting mode, exhausting. And part of that was because of the lack of cycles that made sense to my body. A large report deadline would be followed the next day by a presentation to a client group, followed by a public lecture, followed by an… etc. I work better in a seasonal way – work hard to a deadline and then need a few days to file, do busy work, recalibrate, adjust, wind down, rest and recharge. Multiple projects and multiple teams instead meant my workload felt discordant – perhaps a wild ride of impenetrable improv jazz a bit beyond my comprehension.

As an introvert (are you surprised??? Yes I am – a chatty, writes-a-lot introvert) I need time to reach equilibrium in my body after a huge download of sensory input. The emotional dimensions of work are felt just as keenly as the ‘cognitive’ ones and I need time to process, sift and sort my responses.

So what does to mean to attend to the inner seasons?

Knowing that not every period needs to be a summer, bursting with fruit.

Knowing that winter may look drab and sad but is essential for growth.

Knowing that there are times to suck in the goodness from something you’ve made and let the remainder drop to the ground.

Knowing that new growth comes forth when it is ready.

 

For me now work is still a complex rhythm (I thrive on diversity), but a more balanced feeling affair. I have days of intense productivity, and days of lots of ‘people time’ and other days when I don’t speak to anyone at all in office hours, and get to go inward and think and rest and play.

I try to notice when I need some empty space, to let my soil rest fallow. I try to trust that Spring will come. I try to remember that Summer isn’t meant to be all year ’round.

 

And just like different parts of the world have a different expression of seasons, a different ratio of hot to cold, length of seasons, need for rest between productivity, so too maybe do people. Figuring out our own inner climate and appreciating it, working within it, feels like a helpful step towards self care and understanding.


If you would like to join my next Women’s Creative Wellbeing Group, starting July 2016, and explore the metaphor of seasons in your own life (along with other tools and processes for self knowledge and acceptance), you can register now on the special Early Bird price. I also have 2 ‘pay as you can’ spots for women on a low income. Register HERE.

7 Days of Flower Love Challenge!

OK so I seem to be sprouting challenges EVERYWHERE at the moment as if Southern Hemisphere spring energy has caught me and my business garden is sprouting new shoots.

Today is an invitation to join my FREE ‘7Days of Flower Love’ challenge.

What is the challenge?

  • Find a flower each day that you feel like taking a photo of
  • Take the photo (phone cameras are fine)
  • Share on the internet (our group or elsewhere) that same day, using the hashtag

I like to do these at the turn of the season as a great way to bring focus outwards to nature, and also to gently foster a sense of beauty and appreciation.

The last one was gorgeous!

So if you’d like to join we start on the 1st September (wherever you are in the world, just start on your 1st September) and we take and share one flower photo A DAY for a week. That’s it. Simple!

Where do you share? 

  • Share all over the inter webs using #7DOFL as the hashtag
  • (Optional) share in the dedicated face book group I’ve made for this challenge called ‘7 Days of Flower Love’ (just click the link or type this in your FB search)
  • If you do share in the group feel free to ALSO share on your own page. Your friends won’t see what you post in the group, only group members will.

What are the benefits?

And you might be wondering what is the point of all this. Are you? And I would answer: Oh so, so much. Joy. Generosity. Simple creativity. Engaging with nature. Connecting with other people. Learning about flowers. Brightening up your Facebook Feed. Helping you get outside for a walk. Helping you see beauty all around. It’s just generally good. And a week isn’t very long so you can totally do this even if you are busy.

IT STARTS ON THE 1ST SEPTEMBER! 

I will send some inspiration each day to the facebook group for those who want prompts for their looking and seeing, and their photographing. You can read those or just go right ahead and start sharing.

How to fudge the rules

Please DO find a flower to photograph each day of the challenge.

But in terms of what flower means…. If you can’t find a LIVE one feel free to take a photo of a bund of dried flowers, a fake flower, a statue, a seed head from a flower, a flower type shape in nature – be imaginative. But the idea is really to find real living breathing flowers and take their pic.

This isn’t a competition or especially for people skilled at photography, anyone can play along.

Join us!