February Thoughts

February sees the very first early signs of spring for us in the Northern Hemisphere.  The days are slowly getting longer and I have been delighted to spot the first snowdrops and know that this means the Earth is quickening, awaking from it’s winter sleep.  As the Earth awakes and prepares herself for new growth we are reminded to make plans for our own blossoming.  It is around now that I feel the urge to purge, declutter and make space for what’s to come; so spring cleaning begins.  
Imbolc Blessings
If you are still feeling the Winter blues try some of these tips to put yourself in a Spring mindset and the spring back in your step:

 

1, Get outside for a walk, find a peaceful spot and stop.  Breathe in the fresh air, look around you at nature awakening from her winter sleep.  Use as many senses as you can to experience this peaceful moment and let it refresh and energise you.

2, Sit with a journal and a cup of herbal tea – something citrusy and zingy would be good, (or whatever you like to drink).  Write a list of everything that you’re looking forward to this year.  These don’t have to be huge unattainable goals, just little things that make you happy like family celebrations, trips out, the changing of the seasons, days off, new challenges, time spent with loved ones, new books, films and music, decorating or reorganising your living space; whatever excites and enthuses you. Revisit this list when you’re feeling low to remind you of everything you love and give you a positive focus.

3, Put on some music and sing and dance, no one’s watching, let yourself go!

4, Light a candle or two (safely) to remind you of the returning daylight.  You could also try candle gazing: empty your mind, stare at the flame for a few minutes and see what imaged and thoughts drift into your consciousness.

5, Do  something creative, it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece just enjoy creatively expressing yourself: doodle, draw, paint, use modelling clay, bake, cook, write, craft, do colouring, photography, scrapbooking, sing, dance, act.  Whatever it is try to do it away from technology or social media.  You are a wonderful creative, expressive, perfectly imperfect human being and you’re looking to express that, enjoy an inner connection away from any toxicity from technology and social media.

6, Meditate.  It’s not as hard or as time consuming as you might think.  Just relax, close your eyes, take some deep breaths then spend a few minutes visualising a beautiful spring day, see the blue sky and the green plants, feel the sun on your skin and the grass under your feet, smell the grass and the flowers, hear the birdsong and insects, lose yourself in Spring… rouse yourself gently and ground yourself by stamping your feet a few times before carrying on with your day.

7, Cleanse and purify your space by clearing out the clutter.  Burn incense or open a window to let in fresh air.  To help you decide what to chuck when decluttering repeat this affirmation to yourself: ‘If it doesn’t nourish my soul, I don’t need it” – Disclaimer – Obviously be sensible here, don’t throw away your vacuum cleaner because it doesn’t fill you with joy and then blame me when your floor is dusty! But just bear in mind that we do tend to hold on to a lot of possessions for security when actually making space would make us happier.

8, Move stuff around.  Gove yourself a fresh perspective and reorganise your space.  Move furniture and decor, re-hang pictures and mirrors in new places.  Changing things up can allow you to view your ‘stuff’ in new ways, proving you don’t always have to spend loads of money on new things to refresh and re-energise your space.

9, Pick or buy yourself some flowers that cheer you.  Or if flowers are not your thing put up some artwork that you love (a greetings card or image from a magazine would do).  Repaint a wall in a colour that makes you smile, put a new cosy cushion on your chair, use a scented candle, (remember to check out charity shops for homeware bargains), wear that favourite outfit, whatever it is, do something that makes your surroundings feel nurturing and happy.

10, Spend time with people who light you up and setter conversations away from things that you find draining.  Yes we need to address important issues but talking about the state of the world today ad nauseam just exhausts and depresses you (especially without actually taking action).  If you can’t or won’t change something give yourself a break from it and focus on something positive for a while.

11, Spend time doing what you love.  Don’t feel guilty about it, you deserve it and it’s helping you be happier person, which in turn can only be a good thing for you and those around you, those positive vibes ripple out.

I hope these ideas are helpful, I’d love to know which ones work for you add anything else you find that works to lift your spirits.

Some good affirmations for February:
I am open to change.
I let go of the need to control, I am open to positive suggestions.
I will not worry about what I cannot change.
I choose to see the bright side of life
 
I Love life and life loves me.
I am open to excitement and adventure.
I choose positive change.
I remain calm and balanced in the face of challenge.
I allow spring to inspire me.
Repeating affirmations helps you to replace unhelpful thoughts with more nurturing ones.  To help you remember you could write them on pieces of paper and stick them up or set an alarm on your phone to remind you.  If these affirmations don’t resonate with you create your own.  Remember to make it positive (stating what you do want, not what you don’t want) and in the present tense as though it is already true.   Repeat as often as you need to.
Wishing you a fantastic February.
Namaste,
Steph

A Card Reading As We Head Into 2020

I’ve drawn three cards for us to think about going into 2020…

 

Dance – Find your hearts rhythm. Step lightly and swing with the melody. Close your eyes and let joy lead the way. – Telling us to go with the flow, allow ourselves to follow our heart and be happy that life is not supposed to be all hard times and challenges and even when it is there is still joy to be found.  Your hearts rhythm is your own unique vibe and it is important to get to know and love it.  

 

Partnership – Learn to grow with others.  Overcome obstacles by working together. Touch each other’s hearts while life lasts.  – This card reminds us that we are not alone, that ‘no man is an island’ and that by working together we can achieve great things.  It is time for humans to put aside old differences and co-operate in order to build a happy and healthy future for ourselves and our home, the Earth.  This seems like a daunting task but it begins with each individual in small gestures.  Forgive the person who cuts in front of you, smile at the person who serves you in a shop, help someone in a small way, find community projects to volunteer at, get friends together and have a good time – Raise each other up.

 

Prosperity – Focus on the positive and more good will come.  Give thanks for blessings and they will multiply.  Prosperity begins in the mind.  This card asks us to approach life with a positive mindset and this can be done by focusing on the good things in life.  True wealth is in the good and happy moments.  Focusing on gratitude has huge benefits for our wellbeing and also attracts more to be grateful for.

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This card reading was taken from ‘Magical Times Empowerment cards’ by Jody Bergsma.

A depth year. How I changed my clothes shopping habits.

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Last year I did what is known as a ‘depth year’, which basically means not buying new things but instead going deeper into what you already own.  People usually pick an area to focus on during a depth year such as books, clothes, make-up, tools, stationery; whatever they tend to overspend on or have more than enough of.
I chose clothes for my depth year.  I’ve never been a fashion conscious super shopper but clothes were definitely the thing I would buy for a ‘pick-me-up’ and I had accumulated more than I needed or had space for.
You choose your own rules for your depth year so my rules were:
EmojiStart the year by going through all clothes and donating/recycling any that don’t fit/suit anymore.
EmojiOnly buy new clothes as replacement for necessary staples.
Emoji‘One in, one out’ system in the wardrobe.
EmojiRepair all clothes at least once before taking to clothing bank.
EmojiWear all clothes owned, what’s not worn gets donated (excluding ‘dressy dresses’ and very seasonal clothes)
EmojiWhen shopping for replacement items look for Fair trade, eco friendly fabrics.
EmojiLook in charity shops before buying new, especially for non essential items.
EmojiNo fast fashion panic buys as a confidence boost before going out.
EmojiNo ‘retail therapy’ buys to cheer myself up (there are many other ways I can cheer myself up if needed).
What I discovered from my depth year:
My wardrobe edit at the start of the year was not thorough enough and I need to do it again and be stricter with myself this time.
Other people don’t notice very much what you’re wearing.  I might have known that I was wearing the same thing I wore last time I saw them but everyone else is busy worrying about their own appearance and not noticing mine.  If other people did notice, it wasn’t an awful thing.
I owned several pairs of jeans at the start of the year and they all got holes/ripped seams at some point which I mended at least once before throwing them away and not replacing them straight away meant I wore other things more, getting more monies worth out of each piece of clothing.  I didn’t replace every pair as I realised I don’t actually need that many.
Having less clothes in general means wearing garments more often.  This helped me figure out which brands wash well, are the most hard wearing, last longer and are therefore better value for money.
Clothes shopping became a challenge in a new and exciting way.
I looked forward to buying a new item, guilt free because I knew I really needed it.
Finding 100% natural fibres or fair trade clothing is not easy, but more high street shops are doing more of this kind of thing now due to demand. It felt good that my choices were helping to drive that positive change.
Dressing to socialise was a challenge and I had to confront some confidence issues that would normally have been glossed over by buying a new top to feel good in.  This part I admit was not easy and I did find going out feeling dressed a bit out of my comfort zone was not a great feeling but it forced me to get over myself and realise that I was going out to meet friends and have a nice time with them, it wasn’t about how I look or feel about my appearance, it was about connections with others, fun and good times.  My depth year helped me to focus on what is really important to me.
True friends couldn’t care less what you’re wearing or how you look.
I like wearing dresses but tend to wear jeans most of the time because of my lifestyle and the type of work that some of my jobs involve, but having less clothes to choose from has impressed upon me that it is still important to me to make the most of the times when I get to dress in a more expressive way and in my own individual style.
I had held on to a lot of stuff ‘just in case’ but keeping a pair of jeans I used to feel good wearing, just in case I ever fit in them again was giving me a sense of failure rather than motivation.  Ironically, getting rid of them and letting go of those pressures and expectations and replacing them with trying to accept myself as I am has put me in a much better place to approach getting healthier from.
Only owning clothes that fit and suit me now, in this moment is a more mindful and present way of being.
I feel good and a great sense of control when I walk away from what would have previously been an impulse buy.
What feels like a totally necessary and life changing garment will usually be totally forgotten about as soon as I leave the shop.
I have saved money.
I have lost the urge to shop for fun.  Shopping is still fun but I don’t feel an unhealthy need to spend to feel better.  What is fun about shopping now is going with a friend and hunting the charity shops for treasure.
Buying a few decent, well made, good quality pieces that suit me are better value in the long run than lots of cheap, poor quality, short lived fashion items.  (Better for the environment too).  I’d now rather save up and look forward to getting one thing that I will really enjoy than buy a new item every time I go out.  
Will I be carrying on the depth year into 2020?
Yes I’ll certainly keep to the rule of replacing staple items on a one in one out basis.  I’ll also be repairing garments to get more wear from them before throwing them away.  I have already treated myself to a couple of dresses in the January sale and I know I’ll love wearing them but will continue to avoid those panic buys to boost my confidence as I know in the long run, not being able to rely on those will build my resilience and force me to dig deeper into how to feel better about myself.  Reiki and mindfulness have helped a lot already and I’m grateful to have those tools on this long and winding journey of self discovery and acceptance. 
If you’re interested in doing a depth year of your own there’s lots of ideas online about it but remember you do it for your own reasons and to your own rules.  I’d love to hear how it goes for you.
Namaste,
Steph

Radical Self Love.

Guilt, shame, indignation, self love, sisterhood and baggy trousers – I’ve got it all going on this morning!

I have a pair of trousers that I bought last year and haven’t worn because they skim my belly. I love the colour and pattern and wide legged shape but because they show the shape of my body I’ve avoided them.

Today I am on my own so I chose to wear them knowing that no one will see my shameful saggy belly. While doing my morning Reiki self healing practice I was guided to place my hands on my belly. I usually try to avoid touching that area of my body and flinch if someone else touches it. So much guilt and shame carried around because of the stretch marks and saggy skin left behind from carrying my precious children. Which has in turn lead me to ignore and mistreat my poor body. The gentle power of Reiki helped me to see that I cannot heal within myself what I do not love. I know it’s not going to be an instant thing but I am going to make the effort to love even the saggy parts of myself.

This realisation also lead me to feel full of indignation on behalf of all women who are shamed into hating their precious bodies because they don’t look ‘perfect’. I know that the guilt, shame and self loathing that I carry is not just mine but also generations of women before me and millions of women walking the planet now, who’ve felt the same. By healing ourselves we heal the generations past and future and send healing out to our sisters to rise above all that body shaming bull$#!t.

You are beautiful inside and out. Shine on Sisters.36929116_1304581146340522_6505652968308604928_n

My inspiration.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Inspiration.”

viewing the world from a new angle gives a fresh perspective.
viewing the world from a new angle gives a fresh perspective.

Being outside, on the beach, in the woods or in a field.  Just being in nature calms and restores me and allows me time and space to think, readjust, breathe, release old ideas and worries and make space for new ideas and plans.   I find myself again, reconnect with who I am and what I’m doing and go back at it with a renewed excitement for life and sense of purpose.

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Grounding is important to me, I like to feel my feet on the ground or in the water.

Big skies and open spaces speak of so many possibilities and adventures.

Big skies and open spaces.

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Even mud looks beautiful when the sun shines on it.
Even mud looks beautiful when the sun shines on it.

Thank you for taking the time to visit.  I enjoyed this prompt as it reminded me how lucky I am to live where I do.