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The Artists Way by Julia Cameron Book Recommendation

This book has been in my bookshelf for many years, but I never made the time or headspace to work through it. It was one of the few books that made it all way from New Zealand to our boat in Greece. I bought it second hand in the Little Red Bookshop in Hastings. One of the main practices is to write morning pages on a daily basis in freewriting, ideally by hand straight after you get up. The other practice is to have an artists date with yourself once per week.

I am only in week 1 so far, working my way through the program week by week and really loving it so far. With my key word being fluidity and really tuning into what works for me I have adjusted the practice to writing on my laptop. Handwriting just frustrates me, as I write with 10 fingers on the keyboard and its so much faster. While I love the idea of handwriting, I simply don’t enjoy it and if I don’t enjoy it I don’t do it.

The artists date can be anything creative. Whatever makes your heart sing, cooking, crochet, drawing, pottery, writing, tidying, decorating, parenting. I was always one of those people who thought that I didn’t have a creative bone in my body and I have since changed my mind. I am finding the idea of creative living and exploring creativity in everything I do fascinating. At the moment I explore my creativity in the following areas:

  • Writing (writing helps me release & process and it makes my heart sing)
  • Drawing with back ink and water colours (it helps me to visualise my thoughts and I love to play with shapes and colour and turn words and emotions into something visual)
  • Crochet (colour therapy, feeling texture, making something with my own hands, creating something unique that can be used, a mindfulness practice – ticks so many boxes for me)
  • Living in general – what else apart from the mainstream narrative is possible? (It feels so scary to do this as a family – hello fear and vulnerability)
  • Parenting (an ongoing mystery)
  • Marriage (getting better at it every year I think – but certainly requires copious amounts of creativity)
  • Business ideas – lets be honest everyone has to survive and earn money. I would love to find a way to feel abundant and prosperous in all areas of my life and money has always been a red flag for me. I would love to earn enough money with something that feels authentic and brings in enough money to cover basic living expenses in New Zealand and some luxuries like travel, alternative healthcare.

Would love to hear your thoughts on creativity and art and what makes your inner artist sing and if you have already read and worked through this book and how its impacted you.

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FEAR in watercolours

This is one drawing I did a few months ago. Its one of the ways how I visualise Fear.

Fear has been such a strong presence in my life and I am still struggling to manage it often. Fear has been following me around and stuck on me like one of those seeds with the sticky hooks that you hardly get out of your clothes.

Fear builds up for me too, sometimes into a really big wall, one scary, worrying thought stacked on top of the other and when I was younger I would just give up, once that wall of fearful thoughts got too high.

Staying in my “safe” zone did make me depressed though, so I had to make scary moves and I learned that the wall really isn’t there. Its imaginary, social conditioning, subconscious behaviors and traumas, the monkey mind playing games, other peoples opinions and judgements etc. Yet most of the good stuff is on the other side of the wall. Doing that drawing is a good reminder for me to pull that wall down and and get to the good stuff on the other side.

I would love to hear how you experience and visalise fear and what presence it has in your life.

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Heartspace in 2021

I have been taking a bit of a break from sharing via newsletter and facebook for my “Heartspace” presence. The past year has been an interesting year for sure, with my small world changing big time but also the world as a whole changing big time. I needed time to reflect and find out where and how I want to be and what my heartspace presence means for me.

This year has shown me very clearly that there are cycles for everything and that different practices are suited for different times, while some practices remain constant. Here are some things that came up for me in the past year:

  • Before we left New Zealand and in our busy life’s I really needed a nourishing, slow and mindful yoga practice. Yin felt totally home for me and I was almost resisting doing any Hatha – it felt too much most of the time. Now living on the boat our life is a lot more relaxed, but also I am not moving and running about as much, so I find the opposite is true here. I really crave a Hatha practice, strength building, as I get enough relaxation, sleep and don’t have much stress to cope with.
  • Meditation comes in different ways. I am still not one of those people who can sit still 30 minutes to 1 hour. Back in New Zealand I had shorter spells of meditation and I walked almost every day with our dog in nature, which was a beautiful, relaxing way for to process my thoughts and observe, relax or just tune out and be.  Sometimes reciting a mantra with every step. Now my meditation involves crochet, the mindful creation of one stitch after the other, sometimes sitting quietly looking out at the ocean or seeing the sun go down and sometimes if I get the chance and the weather and family play the game I set at the front deck and do a ‘proper’ meditation, sometimes I do a guided mediation. Also connecting with my essential oils, applying them to acupoints and sitting quietly with closed eyes, observing the change energy, for as long as feels right.
  • Rigid routines don’t work for me. I have been so frustrated with myself over the years hearing others having all those routines – morning routines, evening routines, yoga and meditation routines, journaling routines, work routines etc. I have read book after book and bought planner after planner to organise myself in those structures and it never worked for long. I always felt like a failure when I couldn’t stick to the routines others swore by. I have figured out now that my practices need to be fluid. I have even made that my key word for this year “fluidity”. Funny that, living on the ocean and having a very big water element in my astrological picture. I not only need to adjust my practices and routines by the seasons, but also by days or weeks or life circumstances. I am lucky enough that I have enough time for once to really listen to my body and mostly be able to do what nourishes me.
  • Finding a new level of vulnerability. Being out on the ocean, so exposed to the elements, living in foreign countries, where we don’t know how things work, sharing our journey so openly as a family has shown me a new level of vulnerability. I am not one for only showing a highlights reel of my experience. If I can’t be honest about my whole experience, the shiny, the good, the bad and ugly I wouldn’t want to share at all. What’s the point? The online world is full of BS, pretense, highlights reels that throw me straight into a ‘I am not enough” cycle if I look at my own life. I am over societal expectations and norms. I am over judgements and gossip. I am over people who only share one side of themselves to impress. However coping with other peoples judgements and their need to express their dislike of what we are doing and how we are doing it, often without knowing the full story or bothering to ask a few questions, feels challenging at times. Some never saying one single nice thing about anything, but thinking they have the right to critisize. It gives me cold shivers down my spine and I am still learning to cope with staying open, applying compassion, delete and forgive or taking the time to respond in some cases. My initial reaction is always shutting down and/ or defense but I am learning to do the opposite – staying open / practicing compassion. The world we live in now has so many “fake” aspects. I don’t want to be part of that and I want to encourage “real” conversations and sharing. I think part of the huge amount of mental illness we see today is related to unrealistic expectations and portrayals we receive from mainstream and social media and that we have unlearned to have open and honest conversations about “real” life in favor of pretense and showing success or a highlights reel.
  • Some things I have to let go off for now, which has been hard. My Tibetan Singing Bowls haven’t seen the daylight much in the past year, there hasn’t been the opportunity or space or community to share with much. Same with my yoga teaching. With much of Europe still in lockdown and social distancing its not really practical to try and teach at other studios and online teaching has proofed too complicated with sound equipment not working properly, being exposed to the elements, the sound on the foredeck of our boat is not ideal and the fact I have to “interact” with a camera lens instead of human beings. There will be a season to share those offerings again and for now I just feel into my own practice.
  • I still use my essential oils on a daily basis and still share in my Heartspace facebook group with my team and customers and in this newsletter things that support me. The business still resonates with me, with a fantastic worldwide team led by Elena Brower. The professional support I have received over the past 4 years to grow and learn has been outstanding and unprecedented in my professional life. I am so grateful to have those precious bottles of plant wisdom with me and they have helped me and my family in so many ways. I am still right here to help you open  or reactivate your account, find the right oils to support yourself and your family, answer your questions and teach you about the oils. I am not just as active sharing as we have limited data and internet access, but want to use the newsletter to share regular, valuable information. If I can help or be of service please be in touch.
  • Reiki – I have been practicing Reiki almost on a daily basis for myself and on occasion for the kids, another cruiser or Polly, our boat. I am so grateful to have this skill on board so to speak. I can offer distance Reiki if are interested in receiving some of this beautiful, nourishing and healing energy.

So what is Heartspace going to be about? I will just share for now what nourishes me, once every month or maybe only every 2 months – we will see how it flows. Essential Oils wisdom, routines that nourish me, some of my art and writing, books and podcasts I enjoy. I have combined my mailing list to simplify, so if you don’t want my updates in your inbox, feel free to unsubscribe. I certainly don’t want the newsletter to be a one way street of communication. I would LOVE to hear from you and what’s going on for you and share experiences and stories. I love human connection and its something I have been really missing this past year with all the social distancing and being away from my friends and community.

There are still a few of my online yoga classes available free of charge in our sailing you tube channel. You just need to scroll through the videos. Like and subscribe if it resonates. You can stay updated on our sailing journey HERE through our videos and HERE through my blogs.