Saturday Night Lights

Image from chestersre.com

Image from chestersre.com

“There is no night life in Spain. They stay up late but they get up late. That is not night life. That is delaying the day. Night life is when you get up with a hangover in the morning. Night life is when everybody says what the hell and you do not remember who paid the bill. Night life goes round and round and you look at the wall to make it stop. Night life comes out of a bottle and goes into a jar. If you think how much are the drinks it is not night life.”

~ Ernest Hemingway, 88 Poems

 

I had a small adventure last night.

I drove ten minutes to a girlfriend’s apartment in town and then we took a short stroll to a charming Lebanese restaurant around the corner for an early dinner.

Do you know how many years it has been since I have ventured out at night on my own?

I forget sometimes how much Lyme disease has diminished my life. I’ve learned to live happily within a very small box. So small in fact, that I have become quite distanced and disconnected from things I once took for granted. I counted it. Twelve years. Twelve years since I have been out at night like this on my own to meet a friend for dinner.

Mind you, I didn’t think about that as I drove to my friend’s place. I was too busy concentrating on getting driving right. On listening to the twangy voice on my iPhone navigating me through the streets I once knew by heart. On hoping that parking would be easy and that my brain would work well enough to position the car without disgracing myself. Ben usually drives unless I’m having a very good day. I have not driven a car alone at night for some time. It makes me anxious as a learner.

When I socialise it is usually over breakfast, while I am fresh and have some energy. It’s coffee outings at early-morning cafes, if I am going out at all. By day’s end I am in my pyjamas, I eat early, meditate and retire.

2013-03-18 06.44.20

So last night?

It was still an early night by most people’s standards. I met my friend at six. By nine-thirty my night was over, and I drove homewards through Brisbane’s city streets and Fortitude Valley. I was a time-traveller sitting in the safe bubble of my car, my hands clenched tight to the steering wheel. Outside, my usual daytime vista was rendered unrecognisable. Bright lights obscured familiar landmarks. It was as if the world was on a strange tilt.

The restaurants I know only by early morning passings had been transformed from upturned chairs and empty windows to cosy places full of animated people. Queues of rowdy folk milled at traffic lights and outside bars and nightclubs.

Even my own suburban street was unrecognisable in the dark. I never knew one of the neighbours had fairy lights wound through the trees of their front yard just a few houses down from my own. Everything took on a shimmer of unreality.

It stirred memories in me of my younger days, and I was unexpectedly sideswiped by an intense grief. Where had my life gone? All those years between youth and now?

I already knew the answer. I have been at home in my pyjamas, while the world dined, strolled, drank, laughed, partied, romanced.

In my head I’ve been planning holidays for when I am well again. I am finally moving in that direction, so I have given myself permission not to just dream but to plan.

Helpful people keep offering me their kind and well-meaning suggestions. Most of them revolve around meditation retreats, detox places, quiet and solitude and nature.

Screw that.

Don’t get me wrong. I love meditation, my farm, tranquility, nature. But that’s been my life for over twenty years. And sometimes it has felt more like a prison than an oasis.

When I can rouse just a little more energy in these bones, then give me life. Give me people and culture and music and wine. Give me galleries and parties and cocktails. Give me noise and crowds and the thrill of the night.

Let me grab my husband by the hand, dive right in and immerse myself in those bright city lights.

Give me some night life.

I never knew until last night, just how much I’ve missed the throbbing heart of a city, and the part of myself that was once at home there.

Brita-Photography-_-no-one-looks-back-on-their-life-and-remembers-the-night-they-had-plenty-of-sleep1

Remembering Hot Chocolate

Image from Elite Decorative Arts

Image of Vintage Porcelain Cups from Elite Decorative Arts

“There’s something liberating about not pretending. Dare to embarrass yourself. Risk.”
~ Drew Barrymore

 

My early childhood was spent in a far-flung suburban estate in Brisbane, a place not noted for its cultural diversity let alone culinary delights.

And yet, one of my strongest food memories comes from this time.

One street over from our house was a block of low-set flats, a very unusual thing in a housing estate full of brick boxes with big back yards that served as family homes. It was an oddity, and few people spoke favourably about it. Because it was in the next street, it was out of bounds. My mother was very strict about safety. No talking to strangers. No wandering out of the cul-de-sac.

As I walked home from school with my small brother and sister one afternoon, we took the long way home, past the flats. My father worked in the city, and my mother had started a new job a few suburbs away. Mum wasn’t home before five at the earliest, and Dad walked home from the bus, arriving just before the six o’clock news.

It was my job to collect my siblings from the waiting area at our primary school, bring them home, lock ourselves into the house, supervise homework, and take the washing off the line. I was ten. Virtually a grown up!

To my surprise, Julie, a shy blonde girl from my class and new at our school that year, was standing inside the door of one of the much-frowned-on flats when we walked past, an old stout woman dressed in black by her side. She waved frantically, and out of politeness I made my brother and sister wait on the sidewalk while I went to the front door to say hello. Julie was staying with her grandmother, who stood behind the little girl, not uttering a word. This was Nonna, she said, indicating her grandmother.

Weirdly, I curtsied. Nerves I guess. “Good afternoon, Nonna,” I said politely.

Did I want to come for afternoon tea? Julie’s request had a pleading quality to it. Yes, I said. Thank you. I would love to. I will come back soon, I assured them. After which I felt ill. I had said yes because I was too shy to be rude and say no, and now I had broken one of Mum’s cardinal rules.

What a dilemma. This was rule-breaking at its most serious. I hurried my siblings home,  rushed them to change out of their uniforms and have an early bath, made afternoon tea for them, brought in the clean clothes, and then, as a bribe, let my brother and sister watch cartoons on television. Something else strictly forbidden. As soon as they were settled, I raced back to Julie’s grandmother’s hoping that none of the neighbours would see me. It was only a distance of about eight houses, but for me it felt like a mile.

As soon as I arrived, I explained that I could only stay until four-thirty. One hour. I said it very clearly, hoping that they would understand the seriousness of needing to be home on time. Julie relayed this to her grandmother in strange-sounding words, and I was fascinated to learn that my school-friend could speak another language! Yes, yes, Julie and the old lady agreed, home at four-thirty.

While I was gone, Julie’s grandmother had set the table in her tiny flat with a fine lace tablecloth. There were tiny cups and saucers, and plates of the most unusual biscuits I had ever seen, as well as slices of some dark spicy cake.

My eyes feasted on the old cuckoo clock, the pretty wooden dolls, the religious icons and the vases of silk flowers. It was the most exotic place I had ever been, and it was just a few doors down from my own home!

“Do you like hot chocolate?” Julie asked me.

“Oh yes,” I assured her. My own Nana made me cocoa all the time.

But what Nonna made for us bore no resemblance to any hot chocolate I had ever tried. In a saucepan on the stove she heated milk, and then broke real chocolate, milk and dark into the pot, stirring carefully. To this she added a tiny pinch of salt, and a pinch of ground cinnamon. The thick mixture was poured into a pretty china pot decorated all over with painted flowers.

“A coffee pot!” I said, trying to sound worldly.

“Caffé? No, no, shock-oh-lat!” Nonna said, shaking her head as if I was the silliest girl in Australia, and perhaps I was.

Nonna seated us at the table, and poured the thick, fragrant chocolate for us. She then spooned a little whipped cream into the top of the tiny cups.

I was disappointed that the cups were so small, until I tasted my hot chocolate. Julie showed me how to use the special little spoon to scoop the thick liquid up and drink it like soup. A cup any bigger would have been way too much. I almost swooned from the taste. It was, perhaps, my first truly sensual experience. So rich, so velvety smooth, not super sweet, but oh! Even now I find myself without adequate words to describe the experience.

We sat and ate our spicy gingerbread cake, and our almond biscuits and jam drops, and slowly, slowly savoured the hot chocolate until it was all gone. I had one eye on the clock the whole time, sick with guilt but unable to tear myself away. Nonna didn’t say much. She just smiled and urged more food on us, and when it was time to go home, she insisted on giving me a little parcel of left-overs to take to my mother.

My sister and brother were still in front of the cartoons. They didn’t even look up when I walked into the room.

I cut up an orange for them, and then tidied things away.

When Mum came home from work she was cranky, and I knew that I would cop the wooden spoon or the end of Dad’s belt from her if I even breathed a word. I gave her the little parcel, and told her just that Julie’s grandmother had made them.

“That’s nice,” Mum said looking vaguely taken aback.

“Can Julie come round to play on Saturday, Mum?” I asked, hopeful that she’d look favourably upon my request.

“No, you know I don’t allow friends home from school.”

And that was that. I never went to Nonna’s flat again, and Julie was so slighted that I never asked her to my own home that she would no longer be my friend.

I forgot all about that afternoon until 2010, when I went to Italy for the first time. In a little hilltop town called Gubbio I stopped to write in my journal and gaze out over the view. There I was served a hot chocolate that took me straight back to my childhood, and Julie’s Nonna.

All those years later I still felt the sting of being unable to reciprocate their kindness, even as I felt the magic of being transported through time by something as simple as a hot beverage.

hot-choc-gubbio

On that cold morning in Gubbio, the chocolate was thick and rich, not too sweet, with a delicious dollop of whipped cream on top. It was heavenly.

The staff at the little cafe were kind enough to share the recipe with me, and I’ve made it often since then. I’ll post it for you tomorrow!

Much love, and a really big hug, Nicole xx

Enhance Your Creativity

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” ~ Osho

Sometimes life loses its shine, and gets a bit ragged around the edges. When we’re in that space of busy-ness, exhaustion, or when we’re fighting the good fight, our Muse may desert us. When our creativity is gone, we often begin to despair that it will ever return.

But don’t be disheartened. There is so much that we can do to encourage her back into our lives.

Here are some simple steps you can take to get your creative mojo back:

1. Take a night off and do something that really unwinds the tangles in your mind. That might be a bath, reruns of ‘Friends’ or ‘Star Trek’, a glass of wine and a pizza, going to bed early with a good book or a lover, or simply turning in for some much-needed sleep.

2.  Eat well.  Brains need good food, and good hydration. Fresh wholesome food and plenty of water can work wonders for restoring inspiration.

3.  Go for a walk.  Walking does something magical to our brains. Walking clears out the cobwebs, grounds us and gets us firmly back into our bodies when we have been spending too much time in our heads. While we are out wandering our minds begin to find their own creative energy again.

4.  Start an Ideas Book. Most of your good ideas give you a momentary boost, and then are soon forgotten. An ideas book will put all of those flashes of inspiration in one place.  If you use one often enough you’ll soon start to see themes emerge. Before long, the Muse will be whispering in your ear, and you’ll be back in flow.

5.  Listen to Music.  Music is proven to lift our mood, increase the feel-good neurochemical dopamine, stimulate thought and build new neural pathways. Music also relaxes us, allowing thoughts and ideas to rise more easily to our conscious awareness.

6.  Read a Book.  Reading stimulates our imagination, and triggers images, thoughts and ideas that can lead you back out of the creative  wilderness.

7.  Learn something new. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the banjo, Italian, composting or poetry. When we learn new things, it creates a cascade of new pathways and new possibilities as we fit the fresh information in with our existing neural frameworks. Inspiration often strikes as we practice these skills and develop different approaches to existing situations.

8.  Do puzzles and other games that stimulate your brain. The brain needs to be exercised. As you work with these puzzles your brain becomes faster, more attentive and your memory is enhanced.  An exercised brain adapts faster to information input, and forms new pathways that can overflow benefits into many other areas of your life.  (I have been using Luminosity for about 6 months now, with great results!)

9.  Spend time laughing and socially connecting with people. Humans are social animals and we need hugs, interaction and social affirming. It sets up a flow of good chemicals in our bodies, relaxes us, and fills us with well-being.

10. Dance.  Yep, that’s right.  I’m a big fan of gumboot dancing in rain-soaked paddocks, but you could also dance in your pyjamas in the loungeroom, rock out with your friends at your favourite live venue, boogie with your kids or your pets, or go tango-ing with someone special. Dancing makes everything good again!

I heart this gumboot ballerina! Image courtesy of www.melslifeasasahm.blogspot.com.au

I heart this gumboot ballerina! Image courtesy of www.melslifeasasahm.blogspot.com.au

11.  Practice your creative passion.  Show up on a regular basis and do some small thing.  It doesn’t matter how small – just engage with your creative project. A friend of mine who is an amazing textile artist hit a very rough spot in her personal life. For months she couldn’t create, but every day she went to her studio. She cleaned out cupboards, put beads into jars, tore images from magazines, cut buttons and swatches from old clothes, framed canvases that had sat in dusty corners for months. And eventually she found that she was tinkering again, and that led back into making art.

12.  Meditate, or practice a moving meditation such as yoga, tai chi or qi gung.  Meditation clears out the clutter in your mind, and leaves it full of stillness.  In that energy of stillness the Muse will begin to sing to you, or show you a slide show, or thread your thoughts together like beautiful jewels on a necklace.

13.  Practice Gratitude. When we are grateful for life, and show appreciation, the dark clouds begin to lift, the fog clears and we find ourselves able to value and appreciate ourselves and the world around us, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.  Creativity is a natural byproduct of that state of emotional grace.

14.  Go somewhere new. Nothing quite connects the dots in new ways, or hands you whole new patterns and concepts like the stimulus of a fresh set of images, sounds, smells and experiences. When we live only in familiar surroundings, all sensory input tends to fade into the background and we become lost in our heads. New places require a high level of engagement.

15.  Choose to be optimistic – no matter what your current circumstances may be.  Alice Herz-Sommer explains this far, far better than me…

PS: This post is part of my 2013 Creative Challenge Project.  If you’d like to read more, visit these posts:

Join my 2013 Creative Project Challenge

Creative Project Challenge – February Check In

Lost your Creative Mojo?

When the Muse vanishes – thoughts on the loss of Creativity

How a Garden Can Teach You To Be More Creative

When the Muse vanishes – thoughts on the loss of creativity

Image from www.layoutsparks.com

Image from www.layoutsparks.com

“Creativity is our true nature; blocks are an unnatural thwarting of a process at once as normal and as miraculous as the blossoming of a flower at the end of a slender green stem.”
~ Julia Cameron 

If you’ve ever had some sort of creative block, where the juices stop flowing and the ideas dry up, then you’ll probably just find the quote above to be irritating, maddening and mocking.

Yes, we are all supposed to be creative.  Yes, creativity is meant to be our natural state.  But what happens when it’s not?  What’s wrong with us?  Why can’t we be creative like everybody else, or like we used to be?

juicingI actually believe that creativity is a little like a bicycle-powered juicer. You have to start pedalling BEFORE there can be enough power for the juice to be extracted. It’s the same with creativity – once you have some momentum up you’ll find yourself in flow, even if you weren’t there to start with.

But…

Sometimes we can’t even get on the darn bike.

Before you start gnashing your teeth, and muttering self-loathing thoughts, or committing to epic self-evaluation or a psychiatrist’s couch, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Has sleep been an issue lately?
  • Is there something on your mind?
  • Are you unwell?
  • Suffering from anxiety and/or depression?
  • Is there a situation that threatens your financial security?
  • Is there a situation that threatens your emotional well-being?
  • Are you stressed to the max, with too much on your plate?
  • Are you raising very small and demanding children (or bigger children who are going through ‘stuff’)?
  • Is there a safe and amenable place for you to practice your particular brand of creativity?
  • Have you already created something big recently?
  • Are you being creative and productive in another area as part of your work life?
  • Are you suffering from burn-out in ANY area of your life?

Sometimes we are simply just too tired, too sick, too worried, too stressed, too overwhelmed or too broken to be in a productive and creative space.

And that’s okay.

The biggest gift you can give yourself creatively when you’re in this place is time to rest and heal, and time to attend to the things that are sucking up all of your energy and head space.  Get that thesis finished.  Get that tax out of the way, or the divorce, or the bathroom finally renovated enough that you can shower and brush your teeth instead of standing outside with the garden hose.

There is a difference between ‘not feeling in the mood to create’ and being wrung out, battered, bruised and exhausted by life. Sometimes we need to rest and fill up the well before we can begin again.

Activity:

Think about what you want to create or the vision you have, or did have for a creative project.  (If you can’t even THINK of a project, then go with the desire to create rather than naming an actual project.)

Now tune in to your emotions. One a scale of one to ten how is your energy towards this project right now?

pain-scale

At 0 we are excited, motivated, happy and raring to go. We are emotionally engaged and enthusiastic about our project, and we are already sitting down and getting on with it. In fact, in the moments where we are not working on our project we find ourselves thinking about it, planning for it and wanting to get back to it.

At 10 we can’t even think of a project – it’s just a big black sucking hole, or a misty grey fog, or some other equally miserable and barren wasteland. We are flat out breathing and coping with life and that takes ALL of our energy.

What to do about it!

Strangely, one of the best medicines for a lack of creativity is creative exposure. Take some time this week to sit down with your journal and write a list of creative pursuits and activities that you have a flicker of interest for, but that are NOT your life passion.

For example, if you want to write the Next Great Novel, steer clear of anything to do with writing.  If you want to be the next prima ballerina, avoid anything to do with ballet. If you want to be a chef, stay away from food.  Are you getting the picture here?

Instead think of other cultural, artistic and creative pursuits.  Could you take up beading, chainsaw ice sculpting, macrame pot holders, hair braiding, decoupage, dancing the tango, painting some old chairs, making your own sourdough (no chefs – you guys go learn to make and fly your own kites!) etc. Do something that sounds interesting but where you don’t care whether you set the world on fire with your macrame skills or ability to compost garden scraps.

Image from www.acupfullofsunshine.blogspot.com

Image from www.acupfullofsunshine.blogspot.com.au

Make a list of music you’d like to listen to, bands you’d like to see, DVDs you’d like to watch, books to read, movies and theatre to see, galleries and cafes and markets and other places it would be interesting to visit. Think about painting those chairs on the back deck, or making a meal with a Moroccan Tagine.  Just because it’s fun.  Just because you can.

Over the next little while, dip into your list.  Don’t expect the Muse to turn up.  You don’t need her right now.  You just need some restorative time, some time with no pressure, no deadlines and no expectations.

That’s truly the meaning of Art as Therapy.  We do something a little creative and it restores a lost or damaged part of us to ourselves, so that we become fuller, more rounded, more whole.

Image by www.smashingchintz.co.uk

Image by www.smashingchintz.co.uk

This post is part of my 2013 Creative Challenge Project.  If you’d like to read more, visit these posts:

Join my 2013 Creative Project Challenge

Creative Project Challenge – February Check In

Lost your Creative Mojo?

Lost your Creative Mojo?

Image by Shareen M

Image by Shareen M

“Creativity – like human life itself – begins in darkness.” 
~ Julia Cameron 

Have you taken the pledge and signed up for my Creative Challenge Project yet? It’s not too late, and hopefully, if you stick with me, by the end of this year you’ll have something finished, a new skill or interest, or a bigger project in progress.

As I encourage you to embrace your creativity in 2013, I’ve had a steady trickle of private messages and emails from people who feel that somehow their creativity has left the building. For some there is a sense of loss, for others a quiet desperation.  How do they get their mojo back?

Having been in exactly that dark place at times too, I’m not going to try to jolly you out of your funk (as with depression, it doesn’t work and makes you feel worse!), or make trite statements that are supposed to inspire but that always leave you – the struggling, lost one – feeling lacking and even more useless or stuck. Instead I’m going to have a conversation about the nature of creativity as I have found it. Understanding the creative process has been a source of comfort and personal power for me. And it has allowed me to become far kinder towards myself.

Over the next four weeks, each Monday, I shall look at ways to understand and enhance your creativity, and to nurture this important energy within you.

Even if you are brimful of creative ideas and projects right now, long experience has shown me that there will be times ahead when you struggle with self-doubt, lack of creative direction, low enthusiasm and zero inspiration.

Don’t panic. There are always things that can be done to bring you from that place of stuckness back into flow.

The areas I’ll be covering are:

  1. Situations where creativity vanishes
  2. The seasonal nature of creativity
  3. Ideas for creative replenishment
  4. Emergency tool kit for blocked creatives

I look forward to our creative collaborative energies this year.  I know it can be a magical year for you, and one you will look back on with a sense of fondness and accomplishment. Humans were born to create, and creating is one of the best kinds of soul medicine.

Much love to you, Nicole ♥ xx

Image from www.vol25.typepad.com

Image from www.vol25.typepad.com

Join my 2013 ‘Creative Project’ Challenge!

Image from www.my-inner-voice.blogspot.com.au

Image from www.my-inner-voice.blogspot.com.au

“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things” ~ Ray Bradbury

It’s the start of a fresh year, and all these days are stretching out in front of us, begging to be filled. And just like last year, they will get filled. With shopping, sleeping, working, couch surfing, housework, coffee, yard work, cooking, worrying and maybe a bit of fun stuff. Whether we plan it or simply let it happen, this time next year, all 2013 will be is a bunch of lived days, and we’ll be looking at the possibilities of 2014.

But what about your art?  What about the creative project that’s always on the back burner? The thing you’d love to do, that you DREAM of doing, but never actually get around to?

Image from www.anonymousartofrevolution.com

Image from www.anonymousartofrevolution.com

My ‘Creative Project’ Challenge for 2013 is this:

Be bold and brave and take a moment to publicly name the project you’d like to give energy to this year in a comment at the bottom of this page.

Then throughout the year I’ll blog check-ins and little things to help keep you on track.  Your commitment to the project is about making time through out the year to work on your project. And you can all reach out and support each other, no matter what your project might be.

Maybe you want to take art lessons.  Maybe you want to work out how to use that expensive camera you bought. Maybe you want to write a novel, or edit a novel, or illustrate a children’s book.  Maybe you want to build a vegetable garden or knit a matching set of jumpers for the whole family by Christmas.

I have found that by being part of a creative-purposed group, my wonderful writing sisterhood – Sisters of the Pen – my productivity, accountability and sense of connectedness to my writing has improved.  I’ve gone from thinking about being a writer to actually writing!

So how about you? What creative project will it be for you this year?

Image from www.creativeeducation.co.uk

Image from www.creativeeducation.co.uk

Let yourself get excited.  Give yourself the gift of a whole year of little windows of creative time.  Imagine what might happen…

Are you in?  Will you join me?

Go ahead, and sign your name below.  Let’s make 2013 a year of Creative Action. That’s the kind of energy I want to see in the world!

Strengthening Intuition Week 4 – Sensing Energy in Places

Rossyln Chapel in Scotland – Image from www.sacredsites.com

“Spirit of place! It is for this we travel, to surprise its subtlety; and where it is a strong and dominant angel, that place, seen once, abides entire in the memory with all its own accidents, its habits, its breath, its name.”
~Alice Meynell, “The Spirit of Place”

Every place holds its own energy.  Wild places and nature places contain the wisdom and language of the Earth. Many of them also contain the echoes of history.

Man-made places absorb energy based upon what has unfolded there – the daily patterns of life, the intense emotions of happiness or tragedy, images and information seered into the very fabric of the place itself.

Hands on rocks at Stonehenge – Image from www.southmill.co.uk

Today, we are going to tap into the energy of places. We can find out all sorts of things simply by placing our hands upon the stones, or the walls, floors or the earth of a place. With practice you will be able to read energy from modern and ancient places.

What sort of information can you expect?  To start with you may just feel energy; a tingling or electric sensation, warmth or cold.  You may get colours or sounds, or a smell.  You might even get a taste in your mouth.  As you tune in further – with a childlike sense of curiosity – you may get images, emotions, words in your head, or a certain knowing.  Trust what you get.  If you stay open and trusting, suspending any natural doubt or disbelief, you will be far more inclined to receive a flow of energy and information.  Practice will build your ability over time.

To do this we will first need to start by activating our hand chakras.  If you can’t remember how, you can review that process from Week 2 here:

Activating the Hand Chakras

Places usually have quite strong energy, so we will use both hands for this process.  If you are feeling confident, you may also use just your receptive hand.  Here’s a quick review of that process from Week Three:

Sensing the Energy in Objects

Once your hands are nicely activated follow these simple steps to feel that energy of place:

  1. Clear your mind.  Allow yourself to become soft, relaxed and receptive.
  2. Place the palms of your hands against a surface, such as a wall, floor, a stone or the earth.
  3. Close your eyes and concentrate on the chakras in your palms.  What do you feel?
  4. Stay calm and quiet, waiting…
  5. Don’t try to force anything. Stay in contact with the surface for at least two minutes, eyes closed, calm, breathing in a relaxed and comfortable way.  This is the same sort of state you might move into during a meditation.

Places that are worth exploring include:

  • historical sites
  • homes and buildings
  • places of worship
  • places where people congregate, such as town squares or markets
  • ruins
  • natural places
  • sites of historical events, even if any man-made influences seem long gone

This is a terrific way of energetically opening to and exploring places when you travel.  It can also give greater connection to family and those who have passed over.  Some people even find that it stimulates connection into past life awareness.

Ruins at Delphi – Image from www.greekaudioguides.com

PS: If you’ve missed the first part of the program, you can catch up here:

Strengthening Intuition – A Program of Exercises

Image credit : Bibliojojo

Protecting a Good Idea

Delicate flower by Tyeise – innographx.com

We’ve all had them. Ideas that are special to us. Ideas that seem like they could turn into something good given enough time. It might be an idea about creating something or becoming something – but we sense that this idea is special, and has the power to be transformational for us.

A good idea is like a tiny seedling.  It is still young and delicate. It can be easily harmed, squashed, or damaged beyond repair.

Our job is to protect that idea until it has enough strength to stand alone.

So what are we protecting our idea from?

Image from typeanimals.blogspot.com.au

Elephants.

Well, that’s what I call them, anyway.

Ideas grow in a place in your mind that is much like a little garden. Your job is to keep the elephants out, because no matter whether it’s a well-meaning and friendly elephant, or an angry, rampaging, or just plain mean elephant , elephants have the capacity to stomp on your good ideas and cause irreparable damage.

Elephant foot ~ by Hoof_Lovers at flickr.com

An elephant might be a family member who says to you, “Honey, don’t be ridiculous, you’re not artistic. Didn’t we decided you were going to be a dentist? Stop being so dramatic and go finish your studies!” You deflate.  The idea is crushed beyond salvation. You cry a little when no-one is watching and then go dutifully study teeth and gums.

They might be a friend, who laughs or rolls their eyes when you share your idea with them. “That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard!” they might say as tears of laughter run down their face. You look at your idea after they’ve gone and it’s wilted and sad. Suddenly it seems hopeless to even try and revive it.

Or it might be a teacher, a room-mate, someone who you trust, a competitor, or even someone who in loving you and trying to support you still tramples on your dream. “Oh, that’s so interesting, but wouldn’t it be better if you…” Suddenly your good idea doesn’t look anything like the way it did when you started, and it just doesn’t make you feel the same way about it any more.

Worse still, they might steal it, and put it in their own garden! One day you come back to work on your idea only to find that someone else beat you to it and it’s thriving over there – and will never be yours again.

Image from pixabay.com

When an idea is tender and young you need to put a protective fence around it. Maybe you’ll need to keep it in a diary or a safe place. Maybe you’ll need to keep nurturing it in your mind. But respect this idea, cherish it, and help it to grow. Don’t invite elephants into your garden. Don’t even let them catch a glimpse.

If you love and nurture your idea it will grow. You may even find some people who can help you tend that idea, so that it strengthens and blossoms. As you get excited about it and clear about it, you’ll attract what you need to get your idea to thrive.

One day it will be strong enough and big enough that even an elephant can’t squash it. And then it will have the power to transform your life, and maybe even the lives of others.

Beautiful Tree by tomlinsonbomberger.com

Believe in your dreams. You are given them for a reason. Honour them, cherish them and trust that they have the capacity to grow into something beyond your most wondrous imagining. ♥ xx