Journal: The Space In Between

Pencil Page

Sharpen your pencil or pull up your keyboard, it's time to journal!

This week we're talking about the 'space in between', those moments of quiet in our daily lives that allow us to connect to our inner voice, our feelings, and to the world around us.
This practice is about resisting the temptation to constantly seek distraction, allowing our thoughts to wander.

In connection to this, it seems appropriate that this week's journal practice is to free-write. This practice is something I do on an almost daily basis.

To free-write, just grab your pen and paper, or laptop (internet, notifications and distractions off!).
Grab a cup of tea if you'd like, put your phone onto airplane mode, set the timer for 15 minutes and get writing.

What about? Whatever comes to mind! It doesn't matter - just write anything and everything that comes though your thoughts. This stream of consciousness helps you to connect to your inner voice and tune in to what's really going on inside.

As always, no one needs to see what you write - you can destroy the paper afterwards, delete the document on your laptop, or password protect it so no one can sneak a peak. Don't edit yourself. Don't correct spelling mistakes or grammar things. Just go….

Affirmations for your practice

quiet time affirmations

This week's affirmations help to encourage us to take some quiet time every day. Pick the one that feels best to you and use it each time you feel resistance to taking that time for yourself or as a reminder as often as you need one.

The Internet is tool, it is not my home.

I can unplug and not miss a single thing.

The greatest gift I can give to myself (and the world) is my own undivided attention.

I listen to my inner voice and intuition

The moments in between

moments in between

As a teenager I went to a school that had a silent meeting 6 days a week. It was mandatory, no excuses and no skipping, and there were no books, notes or other distractions (it was before the days of iphones!). Every student and teacher made their way to the meeting hall each morning where the four groups of seating all faced the middle of the room, and we sat in silence for 10-15 minutes every day.

In hindsight doing this consistently from the age of 11 to 18 was one of the best things I could ever have done (even though at the time I probably complained about it some days). It was the beginning of my understanding of the value in a little quiet time every day. In those few minutes of silence you could get your head around the day ahead, go over mental notes for a test, consider interactions with others or think about how recent or past events had affected others in your life or community. Sometimes we would connect to a quiet place inside akin to meditation, or be inspired by an idea, or perhaps contemplate a career path or dream about what we might do in the future. The key was just taking the time to be quiet, every day, without external input, noise or distraction.

This week I remembered that daily ritual and it got me thinking about the 'pauses in-between' that seem to be getting less frequent in our daily lives. I remember as I grew up that there were pauses and moments for reflection every day, even outside of those meetings we had at school. We had time to be with our thoughts while waiting for a train, (while travelling on the train!), waiting for appointments, drinking tea in a café, or when folding laundry just to name some of the many! There were moments of quiet every single day. Smart phones are wonderful things, but they are a constant temptation in those moments of quiet, and we find ourselves reaching for them out of habit to make sure we don't have to stand with nothing to do for more than a second. The more society advances technologically, the less we experience moments of quiet reflection.

Take a moment to consider how many of us fill every spare moment with some kind of input. Simple things such as washing up or vacuuming which used to be times to think or daydream a little are now filled with podcasts, music, TV, audiobooks or online learning. When we're waiting for an appointment, for a friend to arrive at a restaurant, or for the adverts on TV to pass what do we do? We scroll, listen, play games and read.

Before computers lived in our pockets, those moments were spent in contemplation, thinking, analyzing, sorting, planning and dreaming. That time was spent with our inner voice. I know that listening to our inner voice can be scary (we can be really mean to ourselves!) but it's no reason to totally ignore it and zone out with distractions. If we don't listen to what's going on inside, we will never have the opportunity to work deeper into understanding, there is no opportunity to explore ways that might still the mind and we'll never have peace!

It's time to build in some space - some moments of quiet into our lives that allow us to ponder. If your inner voice is mean, it's an opportunity to practice the yogic principles of svādhyāya (self study) and ahimsa (non harming), actively and compassionately replacing the negative thought patterns with more constructive and supportive thoughts, and letting go of things that no longer serve you.

The more you practice being present in the moment and practice being ok with the silence, the more you realise the magic in those moments in between - where you can people watch, see beauty in the world around you, and be present and at ease. In these moments you could discover some connection to the world around you, feel a sense of lightness, find a connection to your true self, or maybe come up with your next great idea!

To find some space for our inner voice we must overcome the habit of reaching for distraction! Begin today by finding just a few minutes to be quiet without distraction. If you'd like some inspiration, here are 5 ways you can practice finding time for your inner voice.

~ If you run or walk, go on your next run/walk without earphones
~ Try driving in silence without music/podcast/audiobooks
~ When you're waiting in line at the supermarket/doctors etc do not look at your phone or read a magazine
~ If you keep a TV on a low constant chatter in the home or office, turn it off for a set amount of time each day to have a quiet house while you do your tasks or drink tea
~ Enjoy a sunset in silence, alone or with friends or family (without taking a photo or sharing on social media)

How To Make New Habits That Stick In 2018

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For many, the new year is a time to start (or re-start) a new habit or journey to a goal. It's easy and exciting in the beginning, but have you ever started a habit only for it to fade after a few days or few weeks?

There are theories that it takes 21 days, 40 days, or even 60 days to make a habit stick, but I believe there's more to it than that. Whether you want to start writing, dieting, meditating, reading, exercising, decluttering or practicing yoga there's no stronger motivator to maintain the habit in the long term than your 'why'.

The important thing is, knowing your 'heart why' rather than your 'ego why' can be the difference between lasting, positive change, and a daily battle or the disappointment of another failed attempt.

The ego tells us that we want to be able to do all kinds of things, but when the ego decides what we should be doing the reasons are often superficial and do not hold enough meaning for us to stick with the habit. The ego is easily bored, easily distracted, and doesn't like hard work. Put a tough day in it's way, a road block, or maybe just something more shiny and appealing and it'll abandon the habit without a second thought!

Don't worry, all is not lost! There is a way that creates lasting change!

If we spend a little time digging deeper into the real reasons we'd like to do something, we can find our true motivation – our 'heart why'. These reasons are usually connected to our life goals and are often orientated around health, happiness and family.

Let's look at meditating as an example of digging into the 'heart why' – this is an example of the thought process I once had in my journal to find my true motivation to meditate every day.

Why do I want to meditate every day?

I've read blog posts and articles that say it's good for me. Similar responses to this initial question could be 'because it's the yogi thing to do' or 'because I've heard that lots of successful people do it'

If I were to stop there, this reason alone is probably not enough to solidify the habit into my daily life even if I've heard and read that it would be good for me.

So dig deeper and ask 'why is it good for me'?

It helps me to slow down, find focus, be more calm, and requires discipline.

Great! That's better, but it's still not the true 'heart why'. All those things are good but is it enough to solidify the habit? Is it closely related to my bigger goals in life? Nope! So keep asking...

Why do I want to slow down, find focus and calm, need discipline?

Slowing down reduces my stress levels and stops me being swept away with feeling of overwhelm. Not succumbing to overwhelm, and finding focus helps me to complete the tasks I want to do in a day. Finding discipline to do this one thing, lets me know I have the discipline to do other things in my life and therefore get things done even when they're challenging or not easy. Lower stress levels are lower stress levels, right?!

We're getting closer and all those things are great, but they're not the big reason yet. Let's ask again! 'Why are those things good?'

If I'm more calm and focused, and have the discipline to complete the tasks I need to do each day, then I have more time for the things I love to do – spend time with my husband, friends & pups, and to be outdoors. If I'm less stressed, I'll be more present when I'm with friends and family, and I'll be more fun to be around.

Do you see the real reason I want to meditate now? It's not because I read an article that said it's good for me or because successful people say it works for them. My real reason for sitting on that cushion every day is because I know it will allow me to spend more quality time doing the things I want to do with the people I love. That is my 'heart why'. That is the one to write down and have visible for the days that practicing the habit doesn't appeal to me for whatever reason. We've found the true motivation I need to stick with the habit in the long term.

It's important for you to sit down and be true to yourself in this process – we all have different motivations in life, and what motivates me, may not motivate you. You have to dig deep and find what YOU want!

This just doesn't work for a habit of meditating, it can work for healthy eating, getting more sleep, daily writing, exercising, and anything else you might want to add into your life!

Why not give it a go? Find somewhere quiet for 10-20 minutes, I recommend writing in a journal or on your computer to really work it though. Don't hesitate, over-analyze, or over-think about what you're writing, there is no right or wrong answer and no one else needs to see this so don't hold back, just keep writing openly without judgment until you find your true motivation.

It's time to get past the ego's reasons that you want to implement new habits into your life and ask why, why and why again and again until you find your true motivation. Ask and answer until you find a reason that really resonates with your heart so that you can follow through in 2018!

Don’t wait for the new year! This is why you should start a self-care practice today!

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We've all heard the saying 'you can't pour from an empty cup', but do you feel at this time of year that your 'cup' is emptier than ever? As we approach Christmas we find ourselves juggling our regular commitments of work and family, with additional celebrations, events, shopping, eating, drinking, extended family obligations and travel. Routines are abandoned and our schedules are packed full, so I'm fairly certain you think I'm crazy asking you, (at this of all times!), to think about doing anything for yourself. But I'm not crazy, there is logic in my madness!

Here's the thing - if you give give give, run run run, and stress stress stress, what is your mental state to those around you who want to enjoy the season with you? Are you exhausted? Short tempered? Stressed? Anxious?

Take a moment to consider how you would like to be during the holidays. How does it sound if you could be happy, present, relaxed and able to solve unexpected challenges with grace and ease?

Now, more than ever, you need to take care of yourself so that you can be there for those around you (and not as just a physically worn out slightly grumpy version of you that can't wait for Christmas to be over and normal routine to resume!).

Self-care doesn't have to be hours of luxury in a spa. However nice that might be, for many of us it's probably not going to happen (but if you can and you want to, please do!). Self-care is a practice, or practices that you weave into your day, that nourish and support you to help you feel energized, present, and stress free. They look different for everyone and can change depending on the season of life you’re in, as well as current commitments, and mental and physical health.

Be careful not to confuse self care with checking out; TV watching, gaming, scrolling on the internet and similar activities where we tune out and lose 10 minutes, 30 minutes, and even hours (and don't try to convince me that facebook time is self-care! If you're not in control of the nature of the content it's not guaranteed to be positive or helpful and there's a risk you'll end up more stressed and annoyed, most likely at someone you'll never even meet!)

Think of self-care as checking-in time; actions that make you feel better and more connected to the inner workings of your mind and body in a positive way.Here are some ideas of what self-care can look like - some are daily actions, whereas others might be something you do 1, 2 or 3 times a week. Remember we're all different so the practice should reflect what brings you joy and relaxation, not what you feel you 'should' do, or what someone else does. 

  • Read a page (or more) of something inspirational
  • Walk or run
  • Write down 3 things that you're grateful for
  • Take 5 deep breaths every morning before looking at your phone/laptop
  • Go to bed 15 minutes earlier
  • Take a yoga class
  • Draw/Paint
  • Free-write for 15 minutes a day
  • Walk in nature
  • Go to the gym
  • Meditate 
  • Spend time connecting to people that support, encourage and inspire you

Take a few minutes to think about what actions nourish you, write them down and decide how you will make time for one of them today, tomorrow, in the coming weeks, and even on your busiest days, so that the best version of you can shine through during the holidays and into the new year.

White Howlite For Patience

As you might have noticed, we've been focusing our attention this week on the practice of patience, both with ourselves and our personal growth, as well as with those around us. Keep your focus on patience in the weeks and months ahead with white howlite gemstones.

Gemstones are a great way to bring focus to a feeling or energy that you wish to cultivate and grow in your daily life. Each gemstone comes with it's own energetic qualities and can be used in many ways.

Read on to find out the benefits of (and ways to use) white howlite. We hand make all jewelry in Brookeland, TX - All items shown in photos are available in our online shop 

white howlite single

White Howlite is a calming stone of wisdom and insight. It encourages patience, and helps to calm an overactive mind and turbulent emotions, and as a result reduces feelings of stress.

White howlite helps the wearer to let go of anger, selfishness and criticism, and develop a positive outlook on life. It promotes kindness, compassionate behaviour, and peaceful coexistence.

There are no rules as to how to use gemstones, but here are some ideas of how to bring the patient and soothing energy of white howlite into your life:

White howlite mala

Jewelry: Knotted mala necklace, mala bracelet or single bracelet

Combine white howlite with your favorite gemstones for a beautiful piece of energy jewelry. The jewelry can be a visual reminder of your intention each time you feel impatience bubbling up, and allow it's soothing natural energy to encourage patience and calm.

Tumbled Gemstones: 

  • Keep some white howlite in your car if you get road rage. 
  • Keep some in your pocket when shopping or going out if you often get impatient waiting in line.
  • Keep in the home if you struggle to stay patient with your family 
  • I often keep some on my laptop because, between you and me, I tend to get impatient waiting for technology/the internet to load!
  • Place at the top of your yoga mat during your practice as a reminder to slow down, enjoy transitions, and to find joy in where we currently are in our practice. 
  • Place a gemstone in your space during a long project, whether it be in business or personal growth.

white howlite

Meditation: 

Setting intentions and meditating with gemstones each morning will encourage motivation and inspiration to carry the positive energy of the gemstone with you throughout the day. You can hold the gemstones while practicing a simple breath awareness meditation, or alternatively choose a mantra as your point of focus. Picking a mantra aligned with the gemstone is my favorite method as each time I feel or see the gemstone throughout the day, the mantra comes to mind and positively effects my energy.

Here are some suggestions for white howlite mantras, pick one, or follow your instinct and create one that feels good!

'Breathing in I calm my body, breathing out I smile' (Thich Nhat Hahn)

'I am patient, I am kind’

If you’d like to order some energy jewelry for yourself or as a gift, check out our shop or alternatively message us for a free custom design consultation. 

(Metaphysical descriptions are for educational purpose only and are not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any diseases.*)

The Key To Less Stress

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This popped up in my photos this morning and it’s perfect for what we’ve been focusing on this week so I had to share!

Forgive me as I can’t remember the exact quote by Joyce Meyer, but it’s something along the lines of:

"patience is not the ability to wait, but how we act while we’re waiting."

Today, refuse to stress yourself out about things you can’t change - being stuck in traffic, a slow server, waiting in line etc.

Check back later as I’ll be sharing a video with some skilful responses to impatience that you can do anywhere and anytime you feel a little impatient 

Journal Prompts: Patience

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It's time to put pen to paper yogis (or fingers on keys if you prefer!). Explore the role of patience in our lives by spending a few minutes writing in response to the following journal questions. I like to do this early in the morning before my mind fills with the days tasks and thoughts, but you can do it whenever feels right. Answer all in one sitting or over the course of a few days if you prefer.
Remember you don't have to share these responses with anyone, they're just to get you thinking and exploring feelings and habits.

  • Name a situation that made you feel impatient

~ Describe how that impatience felt mentally and physically. 

~ How did that impatience affect you and the people you interacted with in the moment, and in the following minutes and hours?

  • In your day to day interactions with others, do you consider yourself a patient person? Why would being patient be a good thing for you, and for the people around you.
  • Are you patient with yourself and your own personal growth? Name a goal you're working towards, skill you're learning, or habit you'd like to start/have started. Are you being patient and enjoying the journey? How could practicing patience affect your overall experience.
  • Note down at least one alternative response that you can practice next time you feel impatient.

Kshama

Kshama

Patience is defined as 'the ability to wait for an expected outcome without experiencing anxiety, tension or frustration.'

Join us in the studio this week as we explore kshama (patience)

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