Do you ever feel somehow blindfolded in your life and have no idea where to go next?
Why am I here?
What's my purpose?
Is my life meaningful?
Before I went to the Retreat and during the time there, I thought I will leave with a set plan or goal and know exactly where to go next. I got quite worried at the end realising that I still haven't got this plan. But then someone said "how about focusing on being curious rather than a set plan?"
Changing my focus made me feel so much lighter.
Yes, I do not have my exact plan (yet) but I'm feeling okay about it. It’s almost like being an artist and starting with a blank canvas and enjoying using all sorts of bright colours.
I am the creator of the next chapter of my life.
Michele Reiher, Christchurch
If you have the chance to go there, please do so. Visiting Back Beach was very special to me and I will never forget how it made me feel.
I do love the beach and immediately agreed when a friend suggested to take me to Back Beach for a little walk.
Just knowing that I will go to the beach filled me with lots of excitement – a feeling I haven’t really felt for a long time. And I was VERY excited. A 35-year old was literally feeling like a little girl before Christmas. But I guess that’s what happens at the Retreat – It brings you back to your inner child who might got a little bit lost on the way of getting older or by experiences in life.
During the drive to the beach we – or I might need to say I – was talking a LOT. Full of excitement, joy and just being happy to see & spend time with my new friend.
After arriving we had an amazing view just standing there on the top of the sand dune overlooking Back Beach. Even though I had the WOW moment and was full of joy seeing the ocean, I wasn’t 100% there. You know I was still talking, concentrating on my story, and having all these thoughts in my head.
I started to walk down the sand dune – still talking. Fortunately, my dear friend said suddenly: “I’m sorry, but...” and I finished her sentence saying “... I should just shut up.”. She laughed (but agreed!) and said: “I just want you to really enjoy the moment when you walk or run down this sand dune.”
I smiled – because I knew she was right.
I concentrated – and this time not on all my thoughts and things which were going on in my head about the past and the future. I concentrated on the now. I felt fully in the present. Me standing on the top of the dune.
First, I walked slowly but then I started to run. I felt the ground, the light breeze on my face, I could smell the ocean and hear the waves. I felt alive and right there – at Back Beach.
Michele Reiher, Christchurch.
Whether he did or not, maybe we will never know, but from that potential event came the quote "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
What small step could you take in the coming month, that would be a stepping stone towards a goal, a dream or something you are wanting to change?
Even by just making the smallest of steps it can start something, it can start a ball rolling, it can give us a sense of achievement or hope, it could start a conversation, or give us some new info or insights.
Can you take that step straight away? What would you need to make it happen? If it seems like you are needing a lot for that step to happen, can it be broken down any further?
"I can't talk to my family about this Liz, they all tell me I'm the strong one, and that I've got my shit together."
But even the strong ones need that hug sometimes, that reassurance, that space, that support, that encouragement. The strong ones also need the faith and belief, the compassion, the buddy to walk the path with them
If you are a strong one who is propping so many up, who is supporting and encouraging, but then goes home and sobs, or can feel that pent up stuff building in your body, please send us a message. You can simply say I can't be strong anymore and we can start the conversation from there.
You do not have to walk this journey on your own. We see you, we hear you. We get it.
Get in touch, either for you or for someone else. https://www.taranakiretreat.org.nz/contactus.html
What is the kindest thing you could do for yourself?
Could it be to take 5 outside?
Could it be to change the bed sheets?
Could it be do to make that Doctor's appointment?
Could it be to say no to something?
Could it be to have ten minutes playing the guitar?
What could it be for you?
World Gratitude Day this month - 21st September.
More and more I am hearing about the healing powers of gratitude. I am a firm believer, but recently saw that it was being spoken about at a trauma event. I feel the evidence has become so much that a regular sustained gratitude practice can really have such a positive impact. It has been shown many times to change the neural pathways in our brain.
When we think of something enough, or often, it starts to form a pathway in our brain, just like when we take a path through some grass. If we were to regularly walk that exact path, or repeat those beliefs in our mind then we will create a pathway, and this pathway will continue to deepen and be carved out.
However with a regular practice, we can start diverging off that original path, and creating another one. One that, thanks to the gratitude, helps us create more positive outlooks, beliefs, patterns, habits.
And then the positive ripple starts spreading out, and after a while we know no other way, we are spotting things left, right and centre, that we are grateful for, and the best bit? Gratitude is about keeping it small. What are the small things right now that you are grateful for? Here's ten of mine right away....
My dinner (mine always involves food)
Great conversation this afternoon
Time to relax today
Someone remembering how I like my tea
A change to blog.
Look around, what are you grateful for?
Road trip time.
Car is packed and you are on your way, destination may be known, it may not be.
You've been driving for a bit, and there's a sign that says scenic lookout. Do you stop?
Bit further along there is a lovely looking cafe and you are feeling a bit peckish or maybe in need of coffee. Do you stop?
A while in to the journey you see a sign for some waterfalls that you've always wanted to visit, but alway driven past. Do you go and explore?
You see cars parked in the streets and there seems to be a market on. Do you stop?
I remember while road tripping about a year ago my heart and soul would be wanting to stop and explore/investigate, but my head would be determined to get to wherever we were going, even if we didn't know. That time my heart and soul won and I was so grateful, had a beautiful curious experience.
This can also be applied in life. When are you going to stop along the way, rather than constantly striving and driving to get somewhere. Where are the places, you can take in how far you have come, when can you recharge, or explore or have fun?
It's not about the destination, it is so about the journey...
You'll know if you are!
Lists for the week, the month, the year, life.
Lists for holiday, to do for the business, to clean the house, to get started on the project.
Don't get me wrong, I love lists, and I will be the first to put my hand up and say they do sometimes get rewritten more ofen than maybe is helpful, and yes I am a pen and paper list person, you just don't get that same satisfaction on a device/app when crossing something off!
How do lists work for you? Do you spend a lot of your time rewriting them when actually we could be getting another thing ticked off the list.
Do you ever use a list for self-care? For the things you want to do for yourself? Do you ever add me-time, reading a book, going for a walk to your list? I know for me some days, I am far more effective if I just go and do one of those things for me, and then come back to what I am trying to clear/shift/achieve than if I insist on ploughing through.
I am so blessed doing what I do, and walking alongside the people I do. I get to hear such wisdom and gems from people, other days I get greatly appreciated reminders. Last week was one of them. This beautiful soul shared she had been out to sit in the sunshine during her lunch break.
That stuck with me! The following morning I wrote lunch outside on my list. It wasn't a long time, but it was so beautiful and very effective.
Do you need to review your list writing?
Sometimes all the sleep in the world won't leave us feeling refreshed and energised, not if it is our soul that is tired.
We can be physically exhausted and mentally exhausted and sleep will help them, but if our soul is empty and we are not doing anything to fill our tanks up, have me-time, take time out, look after ourselves, things that bring us joy, then our soul is going to be what feels weary.
Could you start with writing yourself a list of all those things that bring you joy, those things where you get lost in them, maybe its a jigsaw,a book or a craft. I remember listening to a podcast once and it talked about two groups of people in this study, they both had the same amount of free time, one spent it on devices and social media, the other spent it on reading, taking classes, going out, getting creative, pottering in the kitchen. The second group reported that they felt they had more time, even though it was the same amount.
It tends to be those latter things that top us up, that recharge us, that get the blood pumping again and boost those energy levels.
So if sleep doesn't seem to be recharging you, is it time to try topping up the tanks? Something for your soul...
Something I hear very often.
It is often followed by a story about an art teacher or another influencing adult saying something that stopped us in our tracks. We could have been drawing away totally happy, and then that thunderbolt comes in and cuts us to the core. That, is then often followed by the person sharing the embarrassment or humiliation they felt in that moment.
I get it. I had that art teacher. As we were choosing our subjects she turned to my friend who sat next to me and said "how come you are not doing a creative subject?" To which my friend replied "because I don't have any spare options."
While happily tackling the bowl of fruit in front of me and feeling at least some connection to my efforts, I piped up "I'm not doing a creative subject either."
"That's because you're not creative. Your friend here is."
That was that moment for me.
Creativity is huge, it's not just whether you can draw or not, it's not just whether you can sing or not, it covers so much from dealing with situations, finding solutions, entrepreneurship, innovation, thinking outside the box, problem solving and much more.
What has someone said that is continuing to stop you exploring something new, fulfilling a dream, trying something different?
Is it time that changed?