Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something. - Winne the Poo
Time was when a sign on the door announcing the proprietor had Gone Fishin’ meant the shopkeeper had seized the day and fetched his rod to spend an afternoon whistling to himself on the banks of a river catching whatever fish came to pass by.
That’s the spirit of today’s restful tone, it’s a do nothing day to take the day off and do exactly as you please. Leave the dishes, the laundry mountain, the empty fridge and read a book, watch an old movie, make love, draw, knit, play with lego. ……..Or do nothing!
And to help you get into the spirit of it, here’s a little story.
A rich man was on vacation lying on a beautiful beach in Mexico. His attention becomes drawn to a man who comes to shore and climbs out of his row boat with a bucket full of fish he has caught. The man’s children come running towards him greeting him with squeals of delight and help him to pull the row boat onto the sand. His wife waves to him as she sets up a table with fruit and breads and the man moves to make a fire on a circle of stones. He guts and cleans the fish and his children marvel at the colours of the fish scales then they run to splash about and skim stones in the water while the fish cooks on the hot stones. Later the man and his wife murmur contented conversation as they watch the children roll and chase about. After a while they pack up their picnic and the happy family head home together to their small cottage nearby as the sun sinks low into the horizon.
Each day the fish man witnesses the same ritual and eventually one evening he strikes up a conversation with the fisherman as he arrives in with his catch.
"I see you spend a number of hours each day out fishing for your family’s evening meal."
“Yes," replies the fisherman. "We have abundant stocks of the most delicious, nutritious fish swimming in these waters and my family can’t get enough of it."
"But do you know," says the rich man, "that in a few years you could be a wealthy man like me? You could raise a small investment and buy two boats, hire some young men and catch many more times fish.”
“Well, what would I do then?” the fisherman asks.
“You could sell the fish to all the restaurants along the coast and they will pay you a lot of money for it.”
“And what would I do then? the fisherman asks again.
“Well then you could get more investors, buy a fleet of trawlers, hire more men, stay out longer, catch more fish, have it ready prepared for market and sell it to a chain of supermarkets!” The rich man spoiled broadly at the genius of it all.
“And then what?” the fisherman asks one more time.
“Well then you pay back all your investors and you’re a rich man. You could take your family on a wonderful holiday to beautiful places like I do. You can do what you like - take a boat out fishing all day and watch the sun setting knowing they are living the good life……..”
“Then I am already a rich man for that is the life my family enjoys already!” the fisherman shook the rich man’s hand and waved pleasantly over his shoulder as he walked towards his children and his evening meal set out in the sun. He turned back to the rich man and called to him “Come join us won’t you, there’s plenty for everyone.”
Nothing really happens in our future or in our past. It only ever happens now because now is all there is. Today take the day off.
It’s time to go fishing!
Methinks that the moment my legs began to move, my thoughts began to flow. - Henry David Thoreau
Observations of astronauts shows that when they return from space, these super-fit men and women ‘walk like old people’. The problem? Lack of gravity in space—and lack of a horizon to orient themselves to—which results in deterioration of vital connections in their balance or vestibular systems.
Joan Vernikos, Ph.D., former Chief Life Scientist at NASA and author of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals, made the study and realised that what we call the ageing process—including walking like an old person (wide based gait without swinging arms, eyes fixed downwards)—actually has nothing to do with a person’s age. It is simply that as people get older, they stop moving their bodies through space in ways that maintain balance. Long periods of inactivity, sitting down, causes us to lose our orientation and disconnects us from our vestibular system or ability to balance.
Vernikos’s astronauts returned to their former fitness levels and achieved perfect balance once they returned to normal activities and exercise routines but If they had tried to stabilise themselves simply through immobilising their bodies and being afraid of falling, their deterioration - or ageing - would have continued.
The message here is that muscle and balance doesn’t deteriorate with age - only with lack of use.
What’s the use?
Doing a little exercise every day contributes more to your general health and wellbeing than two or three longer weekly sessions. Just 20 minutes is enough to change the way the brain processes information and memories and then the benefits multiply over time - even after only one session your brain function will begin to improve and after a week of regular exercise you will feel your energy levels increase and your cells will start to benefit. After just one month you’ll have increased your muscle mass and your metabolism and after six months your heart will be bigger and stronger. There’s icing on the cake…….. for every day of exercise your mental health benefits more and more.
An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day - Henry David Thoreau
Including exercise in your morning routine helps you get the day started in a wonderful frame of mind and has such positive benefits for your mood and the energy you’ll have for other activities throughout the day.
Use the following stretching practice to begin each day to develop a strong core and be able to move with a confident, elegant stride. My daughter Katie (KatieKFitness) says that when you focus your mind on the muscles you are moving or stretching, it multiplies the effects of those movements making your practice much more effective.
How flow can you go?
Why not check out Tai Chi or Chi Gong - these along with yoga are often described as meditation in motion and are ancient practices which improve health, fitness, wellbeing and longevity, each cultivating the chi or life force that flows through the body’s energy pathways by combining movement, breathing and meditation.
Enjoy your day,
Surround yourself with people who are good for you, good to you and good for your soul.
We become like those we keep closest: There's an old saying that we become like those we choose to hold closest. Look around at your inner circle of friends and confidantes. Are they who you would like to become? Do you admire and respect them? If not, perhaps you should consider why you don’t and open your circle to new inspiration.
One of the best ways to find happiness is to find those who know how to create their own happiness, and share it freely. Spend time around these people and you’ll find yourself seeing the world differently because it is not only good for you mentally and emotionally but physically we thrive when we’re amongst people who ‘get' us. Life expectancy is said to increase by up to six years when you feel you belong to a group where you are valued and appreciated - even if you have other unhealthy habits such as smoking or not taking exercise!
Today’s theme is the subject of the company you keep. Have a look at your companions. Are they drains or radiators? You know the drain - they suck your energy and leave you feeling in a low or negative frame of mind. You often feel you want to step back from them when they’re talking. Radiators raise your spirits. They make you smile and you feel hopeful and positive around them. You have an instinct to touch or hug them so that you’re a part of their energy.
Your Vibe attracts your Tribe. What are your essential qualities and your core values? Do those around you share these qualities? Can you be yourself or do you dim your light in order to fit in? The most important rule in life in order to thrive is to be true to yourself and to be happy. Is this how you feel around your companions?
Identify the people in your life who are supportive, and positive and will celebrate your successes. They are on your team. Look at the people around you. Write down their qualities and how each of them makes you feel.
Our tribe, team or circle may be much larger than you think and can be made up of the people around us who support us in many different ways. We have people with whom we have a relationship and those who support our health and wellbeing. Others are part of our personal development and still others are members of our wider community. Here's a list of people who can make up your Dream Team or tribe (and is based on a normal level of socialising and not current restrictions).
This is just a suggested list but often once you start, you'll discover others that come to mind. It could be the local florist who is friendly and you love to chat to her about growing herbs or beautiful gardens. Friends of friends can come to mind too - write them down, everyone has something to offer.
Look at your list of people and their qualities. Answer the following questions.
Do you feel supported by them?
Do you find yourself weighing up your words around them or anxious to please them?
Are they interested in your plans and ambitions?
Do they help you see your strong points/ your good qualities?
Do they inspire you?
Are they drains or radiators?
Do they bring growth / connectedness / expansion to your world?
Based on your answers, do you need to make changes?
Remember that what you choose to fill your screen, tv or tablet, is also a choice of company you keep. Does watching the news or checking Facebook make you feel good, lower your mood or flood you with fear and negativity?
In a tribe, sisterhood or team, as each member rises, all others rise with them. If you’re not feeling this, then it’s not your tribe.
I founded the Wise & Ageless Goddess tribe for women who see growing older as an opportunity to share their wisdom and embrace their unique gifts sharing them with the world rather than settling into the onset of decline and ageing. Everywhere I go I meet people who identify with this and this happy group is growing all the time.
Today of course we don’t need to meet in person to enjoy each other’s company. There’s a large volume of motivational, enriching and positive support available through audiobooks, TED talks, YouTube, Podcasts, Soundcloud etc. where you can find groups of people with interests and the kind of thinking or philosophy that appeals to you. They don’t replace social groups or friendship but they do help sharpen and focus your thinking and mindset about how you want to feel in all areas of your life.
On that note my Living Magically Everyday members group will be available from 1/1/21. Announcement shortly.
Wishing you a lovely evening in good company.
To be sensual is to perceive the world through your senses rather than logic or reason. - Sarah Ban Breathnach
Dr Christiane Northrup says that a daily dose of pleasure is her prescription for a long life and happiness. It seems that our body is hardwired to heal itself when it experiences pleasure and responds with the release of Nitric Oxide which sends helpful hormones through our system reducing inflammation and promoting healing.
Appreciation of pleasure doesn’t have to be about the big things like holidays, it’s about the small things we feed our senses daily. It’s in a long scented bath or savouring the flavour of a freshly picked strawberry. It’s in laughing at the antics of your pet dog or being enraptured by the sound of birdsong at dawn. The healing nourishment of pleasure pours into our being when we are present or sentient in the moment of pleasure.
Today’s the day to fill up each of your senses with pleasurable moments. Every now and then stop and be aware of how your are experiencing the world. Which sense is most engaged and is it an experience of pleasure? Then be conscious that this feeling is restoring you, renewing you and filling you with radiant energy.
And just to add a helping of cheese, here’s a link to the John Denver Annie’s Song (You fill up my senses). It’s been in my head this morning so I had to pass it on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyJRsp5t9mA
My idea of heaven is to wake up, have a good breakfast and spend the rest of the day drawing. - Peter Falk
The funny thing about the above quote is that my artist husband Alan’s idea of heaven is to waken up, have a good breakfast and spend the rest of the day watching the Peter Falk detective series, Columbo.
And today’s restful activity is all about drawing and the art of colouring-in. There’s a theory that if a box of crayons were placed on the table of every war council meeting, the world would be a very peaceful and colourful place indeed.
Did any child ever say 'No thank you, I won't need crayons, I'm not going to be an artist'? Of course not and that's because we are born knowing how to relax and free our creative expression. When do we lose that? There is something deeply satisfying about the art of colouring-in and even the most excitable child is calmed by placing a box of crayons in front of him. Today adult colouring books are a huge craze with doctors prescribing them as an aid to reducing anxiety.
A little like meditation, colouring forces us to put aside intrusive or troubling thoughts and act as a calming tool. And the amygdala - the part of the brain responsible for the control of flight or fight responses, is calmed down during the exercise of colouring. This brings much needed rest to a mind that in today’s world, is processing as much information in one day as our victorian ancestors did in a lifetime!
So if you’re feeling bored, anxious, overwhelmed, troubled with recurring thoughts or simply wish to be engrossed in (mindless) creative expression for an hour or so, get out the crayons, markers, paint box etc. and plain paper, a sketch or colouring book and get drawing.
You’ll find that colouring brings us back to our childhood, a simpler time when we had no responsibilities and we could spend our time as we wished. We often forget how to do this and even that we can give ourselves permission to take time out in 'non-productive' and pleasurable activities. Tapping into this memory can help remind us of how pleasurable the simple things such as jigsaw and crossword puzzles and card or board games can be.
Treat yourself to a box of crayons or colour pencils today. You can download a free mandala online and print it out. Mandala comes from ancient sanskrit language and loosely means circle or centre. It ranges from a simple or very complex geometric shape that has no beginning or ending.
Today be neat, or messy, or pastel, or psychedelic. Play music and suck lollipops! But most of all have fun.
Laughter is the fireworks of the soul.
- Josh Billings
A few years ago on a camping holiday in France with my family, we experienced a powerful example of contagious laughter.
In the dead of night all was quiet in the campsite when one camper not far from our tent sneezed loudly and he started to laugh waking his partner. She too started laughing and pretty soon laughter was heard from their neighbouring tents. Very quickly the hilarity crept through the surrounding tents and dozens grew to hundreds of campers laughing hysterically. It was enormously contagious and impossible to stop for a number of minutes with aftershocks continuing for a good ten minutes before everyone settled down and quiet was restored.
Literally everyone smiled at each other the following morning as we were reminded of our shared hilarity. There had been a lot of thunder storms keeping everyone awake in the nights leading up this one and campers had grown a bit gloomy, not to mention tired! After this the gloom lifted and the sun came out again too.
What's so funny about laughter?
Studies show that laughter has an enormous bearing on our physical and mental wellbeing. At the Gesundheit Institute, founded by Patch Adams (played so memorably by Robin Williams in the film of the same name) laughter and humour are the key ingredients in the healing and recovery of patients from surgery and illness.
Laughter is like taking our insides for a jog, massaging all our vital organs. It perks up sluggishness and released endorphins - nature’s happy juice. It makes our memory sharper and reduces brain fog while also lowering blood pressure.
There’s even a theory that forced laughter (the body can’t differentiate between fake and real laughter) releases a cocktail of hormones, neuropeptides and dopamine which will improve your mood when the winter blues sets in.
You might get a giggle out of this...
Researchers at the University of Michigan have calculated that just 20 seconds of laughter could be as good for the lungs as three minutes exercise on a rowing machine. So today’s restful activity is to take a large helping of medicinal laughter which may actually give you a belly ache but in the process cure so much more.
What makes you laugh? Films, comedians, bloopers, cute animals, slapstick humour, jokes…
The above image is of Holly and Philip (ITV’s This Morning) and their bloopers and outtakes are hysterical. I’ve just had my medicinal dose selecting this link for you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL-Z0lfDa9E
Whatever it takes make today a day of laughter. At the very least do what puts a smile on your face.
Have a super day,
Mere colour can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.
Many years ago I enjoyed reading the books of healer and psychic medium Betty Shine. One day I read an exercise she recommended in order to balance the energy level of the entire body and to assist in healing inflammation especially. She called this a Colour Bath and it came to be my deeply relaxing, go-to practice to wind down, sleep, let go and let God when times called for it especially during the menopause.
The colour bath is an exercise which uses the seven major chakras, the spinning vortices of energy which run in a direct line from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. These chakras spin at different frequencies and are precise monitors of our physical and mental wellbeing. When they are spinning at their perfect frequency we feel emotionally balanced, a deep sense of wellbeing and optimum physical health.
Each chakra relates to a colour which affects aspects of our being - mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and energetically and a colour bath is intended to inhale fresh vibrant energy by means of imagining breathing the corresponding colour of each chakra and exhaling or releasing the old, tired energy.
Chakras and colours:
Colour Bath exercise.
And relax………..falling asleep in this bath can do you no harm at all!
In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past but you will find yourself.
- Deepak Chopra
I have a jar that I keep at the centre of the room during workshops and each of my participants have a block of sticky notes. I call this jar the RELEASE jar and as we work our way through the process of the workshop program, from time to time a folded note of what will no longer be tolerated or done, is thoughtfully placed in the jar.
It’s a powerful ritual at the end of a two day workshop as we place all the release notes into a metal container and burn them, releasing the vapours to the cosmos for cleansing and clearing. There is a sense of being lighter, of having been freed and as it says on the jar, released.
Burning the letting go notes from the RELEASE jar at close of retreat or workshop.
My friend Trina told me a fabulous story which illustrates so well how we get caught up with carrying on old traditions and family stories without ever questioning their relevance to our lives.
This is Trina’s Ham Pot story.
A woman was preparing to cook a ham. She cut it in half and placed the tow halves in the oven to cook. “Why do you cut the ham in half?" asked her husband. “Oh my mother always cut her ham in half before cooking it.” the woman replied. Next time she saw her mother she asked her why she cut the ham in half before cooking. “Well that’s the way my mother always cooked the ham” she replied. Next time the woman saw her grandmother she asked her about the ham. “Why did you always cut your ham in half before cooking?" asked the young woman. Well my dear” the grandmother replied. “My pot wasn’t large enough for the full length of the ham so I cut it in half and it fit nicely that way.”
Are there things in your life you’re doing because it’s always been so? Perhaps you have your own way just waiting to start its own tradition. Is it time to let go some of the inherited habits and stories of your family.
Today’s exercise is to write up your own Release or What I’m no longer available for List.
Here’s a list taken from the book The Art of Extreme Self Care by Cheryl Richardson. Read down through the list and check in with how you feel as you come to each of Cheryl’s I Will No Longer sentences.
Begin your list today and keep a block of sticky notes and your own release jar handy. At the end of every week or month, read your notes and then burn them safely. You’ll get better and better at this and sometimes you’ll find that jar is quite full!
Looking forward to seeing a many of you as possible tomorrow evening at 7pm for our week 3 zoom check in. Don’t worry if you haven’t been keeping up. You can always schedule Magical Rest at any time of the coming days, weeks and months. Just know that it’s always available to you.
My eyes are my favourite part of me. Not for how they look but for how they see.
- Frau Feuermeise
Of all the parts of our body in need of consideration in our month of rest, surely the eyes are top of the list. When we wish to sleep, we shut our eyes. We call a nap a bit of shut eye. Our eyes are at work from the moment we open them when we waken in the morning to the moment we shut them to sleep.
Soothing the eye muscles and taking the pressure off them and resting the optic nerve by shutting out light is the best way to rest tired eyes. So firstly, here are some soothing eye-dee-as for tired or puffy eyes to put the sparkle back into them.
Mix together 1 tablespoon of rosewater and 1 tablespoon of cold almond milk. Dip a washcloth into the mixture and once lying down place over your eyes for ten minutes. Relax.
Cover your eyes
Cover your eyes with an eye mask or some kind of soft material to block out all light. While sitting or lying down in a relaxed position (but not sleeping), imagine the world around you is black. By “relaxing into the blackness,” you are teaching your brain that your eyes do not have to always strain. Your eyes will function better through relaxation techniques rather than stress.
Wear polarised sunglasses to protect the eyes from the sun’s glare and from UV rays. This is every bit as important in winter sunlight as in summer.
Rub your hands together for 15 seconds to warm them and then cup them over your eyes touching your forehead sightly with your fingertips and resting the heals of your palms on your cheekbones. Allow the eyes to absorb the darkness like a sponge and bathe in the warmth.
Sunning is a great way to start your day! Stand in front of a door or window that receives plenty of natural sunlight. Close your eyes and allow the sunlight to gently warm your eyelids. Be sure to do this without your glasses or contacts lenses. Sunlight can help the retina release dopamine, which leads to healthy eye development.
* Be sure to not directly stare at the sun for this relaxation method.
Blue Light Lenses & Anti-Reflective Coating
Blue light is transmitted when you look at your tablet, phone or computer screen. The eye does not block blue light well, therefore causing digital eye strain and eye fatigue. Such light can damage the cells of the retina, as well as mess with your sleep/wake cycle. Blue light glasses, as well as anti-reflective coating on your regular eyeglasses, help to filter out harmful blue light to combat eye strain and sleeplessness caused by excessive screen time. Rest your eyes from a computer screen every twenty minutes by looking away and focusing on something at a distance of ten to twenty feet. Blink and re-focus.
Remember to use your eyes to notice and observe too. Research shows that doing this in nature increases our levels of happy hormones - especially in the winter months when nature is not especially parading its beauty and we least expect to come across a flower, a vivid red leaf, a glorious dawn or a sunset etc.
Eye rest exercise for today
Watch the film The Eye has to Travel on Vimeo here https://vimeo.com/153660328 It looks at the life and career of Diana Vreeland one time editor of Vogue magazine. Or watch Finding Vivian Maier available at iTunes film rental for €3.99 - a documentary film about a mysterious nanny who took over 100,000 photographs that were hidden in storage lockers and discovered decades later. Vivian Maier is now considered one of the twentieth centuries greatest photographers. No one ever knew she took photographs and she never showed her work to another soul. Each of these films show you how others use their eyes to not simply see but to notice and observe how the ordinary can be extraordinary. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…..if the eye is exercised to behold beauty. And witnessing beauty is one of the most powerful forms of resting the mind and spirit.
Have a super Tuesday,
You are the spell the universe has cast - Phyllis Curott
Abracadabra! Did you know that this word associated with magic incantation is from an Aramaic word meaning I create as I speak.
It is actually as magical as that. And proven studies have shown that our inner dialogue, what we speak to ourselves, has a direct and immediate effect on our emotional and physical responses. Therefore we are what we speak and the words that follow I AM magically and powerfully manifest our reality.
Today we rest from negative 'self speak’ and most especially we rest from words of judgement, guilt and habitual put-downs.
The late Louise Hay, author of You Can Heal Your Life plus many other books and founder of the Hay House publishing and broadcasting company, felt that the best route to self acceptance was by means of what she called Mirror Work.
Louise kept a mirror on her desk and every day, several times a day, she looked into her own eyes and said I am a perfect, whole and unique being and I am loved. She also looked into the eyes of her reflection and said I love you first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Louise loved affirmations and believed they are the most powerful tool in self care, healing and manifesting a life of joy.
Commit to doing Mirror Work for one month - Begin today.
So let’s have a look in the mirror shall we?
You may find it awkward and a little uncomfortable at first when looking into your mirror and gazing into your eyes. It can feel as though someone is watching you. There is. Your ego is watching very carefully and will be quite worried about what’s going to happen to its years of conditioning. After all, some of the greatest damage done to your ego was done while someone looked you in the eye and said harsh words that made you feel small and powerless and uncomfortable. You too have looked yourself in the eyes and made some of your harshest criticisms. So ego thinks I'll have to stop this and will remind you of past judgements.
Then you’ll likely feel embarrassed and make absolutely certain no one is around to catch you. This is because there is something quite profound going on. Once you pass ego, you realise that you are connecting through your eyes with your spirit being and remembering that you are a soul in a physical body. You remember who you were before the world told you who you should be.
Very shortly after this though you experience the peace that comes from being present, honest and open to loving yourself despite your vulnerability and apparent imperfections.
And here’s what you can expect in your outer life…
You begin day 1 and feel awkward. Isn’t this a bit self indulgent you’ll think.
After day 3 you’ll feel a little less awkward.
End of week 1 you’ll find the critical voice will begin to soften. You’re still seeing flaws but you’re quicker to bring your attention back to unconditional love.
During the second week you find you’re becoming kinder and noticing your self dialogue more. This perspective radiates out into your daily life and you become more patient with yourself and others.
Week three you find you are less likely to do what you don’t want to do and are finding it easier to say no with less concern about needing the good opinion of others.
At week four you notice there are less stressful episodes in your life. You’re remaining calm, centered and distancing yourself from the dramas of others. You turn off the news and play music you love while you cook a meal that makes you feel good from the inside out.
By the end of the month you no longer find it difficult to ask for clarity rather than worry about what someone meant by what they said or did. You feel a greater sense of control over your life and consider how you want to feel in any given situation then make decisions that reflect that. You find that life is kinder, sweeter and becomes a reflection of the value and self worth you are feeling when you look into your eyes and say I am beautiful, perfect and loved unconditionally.
Remember that the words I AM are the two magic words that creates as they are spoken. Make sure that the words that follow them are what you desire to manifest! What follows I AM follows you.
Lots of love,
Magical Rest companion workbook available.
Rest is the potent elixir that fuels the efficiency of everything we do, are and wish to be. We rest for healing, for wisdom, for radiance and for love. I have created the Magical Rest 30 day program as a stand alone personal month long journey through the resting of all of your being, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, creatively, sensory and socially. Each day gifts you a restful exercise, practice or ritual and sets some reflective work to help you connect more fully to your own inner wisdom and personal magic.