Winter Survival Plan: November 2016

Welcome Back

For a number of reasons I find the winter months very difficult, so for all those whose hearts also sink as the light levels drop here are a few sites n projects that I would like to share to help us through the long winter evenings. These are just a few ways I’m going to use to distract from the anxiety and depression and hopefully add to my mindfulness options as a gentler way to deal with difficult times. Enjoy

Poem A Day (PAD) Chapbook Challenge over on Writers Digest

This is a twice yearly event one in April and another in NOvember, where the lovely people post daily prompts for you to write poetry too. You can post your finished pieces to the site, or submit them to the competition itself, but for me I just like to write down all the prompts and write as the muse grabs me. If you would like to join in, I’ll add a link at the end of the post. All you need is a journal and a pencil so its free to play at this level.

Susannah Conway e-course Daily Guidance

As those of you who read this regularly may know, I have taken Susannah’s The Sacred Alone course earlier in the year and it was AMAZING!!!!! I adore Oracle cards and it was mention of this course that got me into them when I first visited her website earlier in the year. Daily Guidance is going to cover using Oracle cards and Tarot cards in an intuative way, for personal growth and journalling. I adore journalling, when my hands allow. I have to admit that until recently I have had no interest in Tarot and if I’m really honest viewed it in a bad light. BUT being open minded I wanted to learn more and although when I signed up for this course was going to focus on the Oracle deck side of things, I am now the proud owner of two lovely Tarot decks, and am eager to learn to use them for healing and spiritual growth. Link to the class at the end of the post. My two Tarot decks are The Dreaming Way and also The Gaian Tarot, I could continue of my love for these decks but that is for another post. I’m trying to sit on my hands and NOT fall into the collector of Tarot decks like I have become with the Oracle decks but perhaps different Tarot decks also share different energies like the Oracle decks do so more may well happen in time.

There are other e-courses on different subjects on Susannah’s website too.

Joanna Powell Colbert e-courses

One of the Tarot decks I purchased was Joanna Powell Colbert’s The Gaian Tarot, there will be a very gushy post at another time as to how wonderful this is but on visiting her site and following her on Twitter I found out about an E-course called 30 Days of Hecate –Β  A Daily Sacred Pause of Welcoming Hallowmas. Link at the end of the post. I admit to knowing nothing about Hecate but I am expolring my spiritual options this year, I adored Denise Linn’s book Kindling the Native Spirit and my body is certainly very in tune with the weather and seasons as pain levels and more are also very effected by them so I am interested in learning more about earth based practices. Join up quick on this one as it starts 24th October.

When my hands allow I have also been batch making soup n such for the freezer so when I feel exhausted or my hands don’t work there will still be another option to a ready meal as an option in the freezer. Yes food does make a big difference to mood, so eat as well as your health allows. May the weather be kind, may you find hope courage and comfort in what ever you do to plan a coping strategy through the long dark evenings. Let me know what your strategies are, would love to hear about them, and your fave Oracle and Tarot decks too. #Confession I’ve also started a collection of Tarot books, but not all have arrived yet and I will hold off reading them till AFTER Susannah’s class.

Rise Sister Rise by Rebecca Campbell

This is my book of the month, need to swap the copy I have as it arrived damaged but she is an amazing empowering writer and since I loved her Light is the New Black book so much I HAD to get this too.

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, look forward to hearing your strategies for winter.

Namaste

B x

Wellness Wednesday 4: Affirmation cards and Oracle Decks

Welcome Back

Its the time of the week when we check in with ourselves and ask; ‘How’s it going?’ today I’d like to share my daily practice, what led to it and how it helps, when the answer to the question above isn’t a positive one.

Daily Practice

This started after taking Susannah Conway’s e-course The Sacred Alone. My day currently starts with. Meditation, before my head has a chance to get too busy on me. This is followed by picking a card or more from one of my decks, if the cards really ‘speak to me’ as in I really connect or react to an image, then I journal about that for a little while. Then I finish with a daily reading from Kyle Gray’s book Raise Your Vibration to give me a positive start to the day.

Breakfast with gentle music not blaring TV n doom n gloom news. I know this doesn’t sound achievable for a lot of people but for those of us who are shun ins (agoraphobia means I can’t go out) then it can have a massive difference to the way your head starts the day. It can in time also help you want to preserve that softer, gentler head space and for me that means, I’m less likely to put tv on unless there is something I really want to see and instead invest the time in a book I really want to read or a magazine that inspires me too.

When you start to achieve softer spaces in your day, they can make a really big difference to all areas of your life. I hope you are finding your own ways to create this with this project we have been doing this month, with Self Love September.

My journey with these kinds of cards began after my husband died. Am I trying to contact him with them NO, its not about that, its about tuning into my own heart n soul. Listening to the heart whispers, the soul whispers. We all have them and they don’t always just whisper, still a skeptic? Think of the last time you saw an amazing pair of shoes, or car and your heart skipped a beat or did that happy squeal of delight at even the thought it you could one day own them, that’s a soul whisper πŸ˜‰

The thing is, for me when I lost someone who was my soul mate, it made me feel like I had been blown in to a million pieces, it takes time to find all the pieces, and they sure as heck don’t always go back where they came from and you don’t always find them all.

There is some massive rewiring that goes on when you loose all that made sense to you in the past as well as the person you loved so deeply. You look at this ‘new world’ that you don’t feel part of anymore and feel like you are in free-fall. Someone once said ‘When you have your heart broken, or become that broken, it leaves you open toΒ  new things’ and that’s how its been for me.

Since nothing made sense, the rules have gone, lets see what else is out there. Do what you always do get what you always got, so what happens if I try different things. That is the page I’m on now, trying new things, seeing what feels nice n what doesn’t its square one day one for me. Sometimes only through complete surrender to a situation, does it make shifting into new patterns possible.

Affirmation decks

Before you take to the hills at this title, lets start slow. Are you one of those people who has a board on Pinterest for all those amazing quotes that really touch your heart? Yep hands up me too. I went on to make my own affirmation cards from my favorites and have a little note book with some that were really special as a go too book for hopeful messages, when I feel low. Its good to step away from technology, have something tactile in your hands.

If all that sounds a bit hard work, did you know you can buy beautifully made decks of cards with these healing words on? Well ya can! The two I have gone for are The Four Agreements and also Miracles now. I love the concept of The Four Agreements and hope to buy the book later in the year, the images on the cards seem quite art journal style which also attracted me too them.

Walk through on You Tube by Madam LaVey

The other set that I have on order and I hope by the time this goes live, will be in my hands is; Miracles Now. Rebecca Campbell speaks highly of the author Gabrielle Bernstein and I saw a video of them by New Age Hipster on You Tube. If you are enjoying Light is the New Black, these are along similar uplifting, motivational lines.

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Oracle Cards

Still with me, YEY high five! Don’t be worried these aren’t all woo woo, not all scary images (not the deck’s I’ll share with you) and certainly NOT about calling up those who have gone before, well not to me in how I use them. I’ll tell you the story if you grab a brew n settle in for a long post πŸ˜‰ Well the nights are drawing in and maybe you like a story πŸ™‚

After a visit to Susannah Conway’s website where she wrote a post about Oracle decks I was curious. Followed a link and ended up on Blue Angel Publishing’s website n found Kuan Yin deck. Went to the author’s website Alana Fairchild where she has an online oracle version of the deck for you to try out. Go for the one with the lady with her arms above her head. The writing next to the deck image is a cut down version of the books description but you will get the idea. You can also buy these decks on Amazon.

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Still being a cautions soul, I next went to You Tube to see a walk through of the deck, this is controversial and dubious copyright but I don’t see it that way and although it has put me off buying some decks, it has encouraged me to buy way more than I otherwise would habe bought. (They are addictive, because the art is so nice and each deck has different vibe n different focus on things). I ordered Kuan Yin from Amazon and its AMAZING, so kind, so gentle so healing. My late husband used to say ‘listen to your heart’ but I am indecisive n any decision I would bat too and fro for ages so I struggled to do that. For me I meditate to slow my busy head, shuffle the cards and see what comes up. Sometimes and particularly with the Kuan Yin deck I just let one card fall out and read the book. It has such kind healing words, I needed to hear that. I don’t see or talk to people enough to hear kind words as often as I need to hear them and this deck fills that gap for me.

I also have Gaia Oracle with art work by Toni Salerno, I love this deck as there is so much in the images that I often don’t read the book but see what they say to me. Before you scoff, we all do it, look at the cover of a book and feel a reaction to the image, this is no different to that. As for interpreting the image, think English Literature class at school you all read the same book and all had your own view on it. That’s how the card reading goes for me.

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Being drawn to nature I adore the Denise Linn Native Spirit oracle. Personally although I have no known connection to Native American culture, I have always loved and respected it, for the way it honors everything around it in nature. These cards have stunning images which I wanted to meditate on and again this deck I mostly just feel how i feel about the image n don’t read the book

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You Tube walk through of the Native Spirit Deck by Lavender Moon Witch

Well this post got way longer than I expected, and way more personal than I’d intended. But these cards can be really useful for healing old wounds and I just wanted to share some options for healing and therapy when you can’t access or don’t feel comfortable with other routes.

Thank you so much for reading, most of these come up on Amazon as and when available or you can get them through the publishers especially if you are outside the UK.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon. Namaste.

 

 

Feel Good Friday 4. The Sacred Alone

Welcome Back

We made it through another week, phew, how was it for you? Its that time in the week where we treat ourselves to a little something special to celebrate making it though. As we near the end of this course with me, I want to share details of the most wonderful e-course which I took earlier in the year and would highly recommend to everyone. Its called The Sacred Alone by Susannah Conway.

The Sacred Alone

the sacred alone title

Like me Susannah was widowed young and has had to find new ways to find her way in the world. This course isn’t just for the bereaved, its for anyone who is or feels alone and really isn’t that cool with it…YET. This course is so amazing, kind, nurturing, healing. Becoming used to being alone is a process and evolution takes time but with this course she helps you find ways that make it feel different, kinder, softer, less intimidating.

This course was a life changer to me, and using the practices from it I hope will help me through another long winter. During the course you will receive a daily email, Monday to Friday with such healing words of hope n comfort and at the end a pdf to download and keep of the entire course, which I love! There is mindfulness, meditation and visualizations. Let’s let Susannah explain more about it on her website

You deserve to treat yourself to this, if you read the description and like I did, cry because it sounded so perfect, then listen to your heart and go for it.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon, Namaste.

 

Wellness Wednesday 3: Gratitude

Welcome Back

This is the day to check in with ourselves to see how things are going, and how we can look for ways to tweak what is no longer working for us. Today I’d like to talk about Gratitude practices.

When something happens to us, we react, one of two ways; from a place of fear or a place of love. When we have been stuck in a headspace of fear for a long time, its all we can see, we can loose sight of anything good that may be happening.

First thing first, please check out Davidji’s video about 16 seconds, its a way of not reacting so fast but taking a moment to pause, to gather and center yourself before you respond. He says reacting is reACTING re creating old patterns of behavior that we may not like in ourselves or mean or want to continue with. Lets take a moment n watch that video before we go on.

David ji 16 Seconds

Makes you think doesn’t it, when people say things to you that hurt, when you tell someone something and hoped they would show you love or praise but they don’t they ridicule you or ignore it like your special ‘thing’ you shared wasn’t that special. If you take that moment you can ask yourself, is their reaction from a place of love or fear? You don’t know what happened to them earlier in the day or week to leave them in a headspace where they can’t find loving words. Instead of giving them their same energy back, step away, no one said that everyone is going to love everything you do. They might be entitled to their opinion, but in the same way you are not required to agree with it.

Gratitude

Lets find some love in the world. NOT from others but from ourselves. How can we start to notice good things happening? Well we could journal it, decide to make a note of every time something positive happens, anything that makes us smile. REALLY small things count, for example, Its sunny: so my pain will be less today, I won’t get wet going where I’m going. Yey I thought I’d run out of milk but there was another in the back of the fridge after all.

If you are glued to your phone, you could photograph things that make you happy and make that a mindfulness focus. Perhaps picking a theme for the day, notice flowers, or pick a colour and photograph things in your day that are that colour? The plan is to stop and notice things around us.

For me, as a shut in (agoraphobic) I like colour in my world, so have a dish of pretty marbles, and when I notice something good, (or not as terrible as usual,Β  if you are in that head space) put a marble in a different dish. This is also good if you can’t write for long either, lost count, not sure if you have counted something already, don’t worry if you noticed it again, it counts again.

Gratitude Practice with marbles

Gratitude Practice with marbles

What have I got to be grateful for?

Lets see, what is there to be grateful for at the most fundamental level and move out from there. Do you have shelter? Do you have clean water to drink? Do you have food in the house or that you can get? Can you see? Can you hear? Can you move? Has someone spoken to you today? Can you go out? Did you have breakfast, dinner, tea? See where I’m going with this, when you start to notice the things around you, even before you step out of the door for those more able, there are still things that you have that others don’t, perhaps never have had and perhaps never will have.

Keep it small and simple. You could use two pots n a pile of pens or pencils anything that works for you. All you need to do is be here, do your thing and notice what isn’t so bad in the day. Then at the end of the day, look at all the marbles of gratitude, DON’T count them! Its not about judgement in the sense of; there were more yesterday, I should have or wanted more. Its only about there are some things today that weren’t so bad. Good things did happen to me today, there were kind things in my world today.

Notice the small things that are trying to show you kindness. They really matter. Can you offer someone a smile today? Help their gratitude pot, you never know, they might just smile back πŸ˜‰

Did you give this a go? What worked for you, how do you notice things to be grateful for?

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon. Namaste

Meditation Monday 3: Get more from your meditation practice

Welcome Back

Today a book that really helped me get more from meditation. It is by Tara Ward and is called Meditation and Dreamwork.I can highly recommend this book to everyone who may have been meditating a while and still wondering if they are doing it ‘right’. The book is full of really useful techniques to help you begin and get more from your meditations.

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If funds are tight, this is a good one for your Feel Good Friday treat, as on Kindle its 99p and by having it on the Kindle you can let the Kindle read it out to you, which acts like guided meditation without you reading it as you go πŸ˜‰

Meditation and Dreamwork by Tara Ward, on Amazon UK

How is your meditation going, are you finding it helpful, how many days last week did you meditate? Do you prefer a guided meditation where someone talks you through things, just music alone or maybe silence and only the sounds around you at the time?

Best wishes and thanks for reading, Namaste

 

Feel Good Friday 3; Miracles Now

Welcome Back

We made it through another week, yey us! High 5! What will be your chosen treat this week? If like me you are a Pinterest fan and love all those quotes, then I’d like to introduce you to a deck of positive affirmation cards, these are by Gabrielle Bernstein.

Self Love September Bookshelf

My Treat of the week is:

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If you enjoyed the concept of the achievement cards we made, these are a similar idea. Positive messages to read or have on your desk each day. Thought for the day, that sort of thing.

There are other decks available in this concept, type in affirmation deck to Amazon and see which style grabs you. I admit to always popping over to You Tube to search for any deck going on my wish list, to see if there is a flip through of the deck to see if the images or words are what I was expecting. πŸ˜‰ LOVE the colours used on the deck and they have some really positive, uplifting and motivational words on them too.

Free fun Friday

Why not create your own, either on cards like we did earlier in the week, or perhaps with a small journal, write down your favorite quotes from Pinterest or that you come across during your day,to create you own Feel Good Journal to turn to when you are feeling low.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon. Namaste

Wellness Wednesday 2; Achievement Cards

Welcome Back

Today’s the day to check in with ourselves and ask ‘How are things going?’ There are times, when the world spins too fast, and times when some of us fall off. For those times, when you just can’t cope, here is an idea to help get you through; A set of Achievement Cards. You are welcome to use the idea for your own life and modify it accordingly. If you find it helpful, a link back here would be appreciated.

Achievement Cards

Achievement Cards; Rewards and Healing

Achievement Cards; Rewards and Healing

To make your cards

You Will Need

A sheet of paper to plan.

Some card, cut into pocket size rectangles, I went for 2.5 x 3.5″ as you can cut quite a few from an A4 sheet but you can buy packs of ATC cards in this size pre-cut if you don’t want to cut your own.

I used different coloured card, for different groups but you could go with white and highlighters or coloured pens/pencils or stickers to categorize if you like.

If coloured card doesn’t work for you, use a symbol for different sections instead.

Method

Make a list of tasks, under each of these categories on your planning sheet.

  • Essentials
  • Indoors
  • Outdoors
  • Healing: things you find nurturing and healing
  • Rewards: (see Feel good fridays, think things from your What Lights me up list. A magazine, something from your wishlist, something that makes you feel good about you.

From this list create your personalized deck of cards.

Use different coloured card or symbol for each of the categories.

How to use your deck

If you are going to bed feeling bad, put out some cards for the next day. Essentials are essential, so get those out first, in the order they need doing. Next add in something from your indoors or outdoors list if you would like to have a go at one of those too. If you are feeling better put out what needs doing, if you feel bad, just lay out what is achievable plus rewards and healing cards.

Achievement Cards: Essentials

Achievement Cards: Essentials

Add in a healing or reward card for each of the bigger goals you set. This maybe where you need to give a bit more thought to your rewards and to keep costs sensible use things like wearing my fave jumper, watching my fave film, tea from my favorite cup, a nice bubblebath, sometimes there is a cross over from Healing things and rewards so go with what ever feels right at the time. Its about supporting yourself through difficult times. If you have done something you feel is massive, you totally deserve a reward accordingly. Perhaps something from your wish list or from your Happy Box if you have been putting out treasured items into one for your friday rewards.

Achievement Cards: Tasks or Goals you want to try

Achievement Cards: Tasks or Goals

Achievement Cards; Rewards and Healing

Achievement Cards; Rewards and Healing

 

Stack them up rather than spread them out, so they feel less intimidating and stack them in the order you would like to do them. As you complete a task then is the time to lay them in a line, this is an important visual reward for achiving things, it might sound daft but believe me when the world feels that dark it can make a big difference. At bedtime you can look at your card spread and say however bad it felt I did achieve all this. Its important to honor the page that you are on, your current abilities and health, please don’t use this as another way to beat yourself up over what you couldn’t do. Tomorrow is another day, things may go differently tomorrow.

These cards help with keeping you on track when your head is all over the place and you can’t remember what you have done, or needs doing. This way you don’t have to hold it in your head all day. If you need some help perhaps someone else can help by laying out the cards of the day for you, as long as they know your current state well enough not to set the task too high. Also just because a card is out, it might not mean its something for you to personally do, say you have the card ‘Mow the lawn’ if you physically can’t it can be used as a reminder to ask someone else to do this task for you.

I’d be very interested in how you get on with these cards, I do hope they help you through difficult days too. Help you feel empowered and owning what you have achieved especially when ‘just’ eating three times in a day is massive for you.

Sending you peace and light, may your day be as gentle as possible. Namaste