Introduction to meditation

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Find five minutes in your day.
Sit anywhere which will allow you to be comfortable and free from distractions for this period. My favourite places are in bed, in my back garden or at the beach.

Now focus your attention on your breath.
Breathe in and out through your nose, noticing the rhythm.
Notice how shallow or deep each breath is.
Don’t try to control or change this rhythm, just notice it and let it be.

Observe how your neck, shoulders, arms, stomach, legs and toes are feeling.
With each breath feel these areas relax.

If at any point your mind wanders, return your attention back to your breath and let any other thoughts drift by.
The purpose of this meditation is for you be be focused on the present moment, right here and now.
Keep focused on your breathing.

As you finish your meditation and prepare to move through the rest of your day, picture yourself having been filled with light.
Trust that this light will allow you to positively interact with those you come into contact with,
and that the light will protect you from any dark feelings that try to present themselves.

That’s a wrap. Feel better?
Five minutes may not sound like much, but very quickly it allows you to receive benefits to the mind and body.
Finding this space each day is a simple and effective tool for boosting energy and gathering your thoughts.

Enjoy, Karla x

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The art of saying no.

 

the art of saying no

Frazzled? Stressed? Busy? Exhausted? Does this sound familiar? At some point we have all felt like the victim of a hectic lifestyle. But we need to pause and remember that we have control. The power to design life to your standards is in your hands, you simply need to learn when to say ‘no’ so you can regain balance.

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Like everything else in life it takes practice. If you have a background in people-pleasing it can be difficult to understand when or why to say ‘no’ as you don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings or let someone down. You need to keep this in check though. You are worthy of love and affection just as much as they are, so stop saying ‘yes’ to others if it comes at an expense to your wellbeing.

I’m not suggesting we shrug everything off and never take on extra work or help our friends, but when every single request you receive causes you to divert your attention away from the most important activities of your day, everyone involved ends up frustrated.

The better you get at saying ‘no’, the more you come to understand and appreciate yourself. Saying ‘yes’ to these precious moments of alone time and ‘no’ to those others is a beautiful experience. The pictures in this post are from a day I had to myself at Balmoral beach.

Below are my 4 key steps in understanding when to say ‘no’.

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1. Identify what your priorities are. To make an informed decision about when to say no, identify your personal priorities. You can do this this by reflecting on what the top 10 things are that make you feel happy and purposeful in life. Rank these by order of priority. You can then use this list as a resource to help in future decision making by asking yourself how saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to requests you receive will impact these priorities.

2. Be realistic. We only have the capacity to do so much. Over-extending on a regular basis is detrimental to our wellbeing. While optimism is generally considered a desirable trait, we can often become too optimistic about how quickly and how well we will be able to achieve something. Take time to reflect honestly over whether or not your skills and abilities, and the length of time available will enable to you achieve the requested outcome.

3. Honour your personal boundaries. Reflect on what your emotional, physical and mental boundaries are. Say ‘no’ if these boundaries would be compromised by saying ‘yes’.

4. Ask. If after your own evaluation you are still unsure about how to respond ask someone you trust for advice. Talking it through can assist you in seeing the bigger picture and offering a fresh perspective.

Light and love, Karla x.

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Easy like Monday morning

Today I am sharing a few simple strategies to kick start the week ahead.

This month we welcome a new season in Australia – Spring. It’s absolutely my favourite season as I no longer need to carry a coat with me and my daily walks are accompanied by an abundance of flowers just coming into bloom and smelling so sweet.

Similarly it presents as the perfect opportunity for us to awaken something new within ourselves and rediscover how we might make each day shine a little more brightly.

Give good weekend. The way we spend our weekend has the potential to ignite our mindset for Monday, a topic I have touched on before – Making friends with Monday. Learn to appreciate and organise your weekends so that your personal needs are met. Whether you needed to study more, lay low, switch up your exercise routine or spend time with your nearest and dearest, if you have met your personal needs and appreciate what your weekend has been filled with then you are able to awake on Monday knowing you made the most of your time and being completely energised for the week ahead.

Soak up the sun. I don’t mean sunbake, but to invigorate your senses spring is a great time to start incorporating more outdoor activities into our lives, getting your daily dose of vitamin D has never felt so good. This doesn’t necessarily mean a complete overhaul of your daily routine, but try to sneak some sunshine into your everyday activities. Perhaps going for a walk at lunch time, eating your breakfast outside in the morning or making Monday the day that you exercise outdoors instead of at the gym.

Goal & go. Monday mornings have potential, but it will stay just that unless we harness it. Turn possibility into reality by setting aside time on a Monday to set your intentions for the week ahead, alongside with specific action points as to how you can realise these intentions.

Create a happy healthy habit. There is something so satisfying about forming a new healthy habit. You feel proud and you feel inspired to cultivate more of the same. Again this need not always mean enormous change. If you are a serial snooze button hitter then perhaps the habit could be to wake up at the time you would normally hit snooze for the first time. If you’re not quite ready to get out of bed yet then ease into the day by doing a little reading safe in the comfort of the covers. Otherwise this could be an extra half an hour in which to meditate, exercise or prepare your breakfast and lunch for the day. If your trouble is perhaps with getting adequate vegetable or water intake each day, then your new habit could be as simple as having a green juice or a few glasses of water first thing in the morning. Choose a new healthy habit to implement, commit to it and enjoy feeling proud of yourself next Monday when you’ve been able to stick to it.

Love and light, Karla x

Celebrating change.

While I consider goal setting a helpful and necessary component to personal growth, it has the potential to cause confusion as far as creating happiness is concerned. This happens when people start associating happiness with the desired outcome instead of viewing happiness as a key factor in achieving a set goal.

We can fall into the habit of making a goal (e.g. studying in order to gain a qualification and a better job) and cultivating the mindset that ‘when we reach this goal we will be happy’. Even though it is often not the goal self, but how we feel in ourselves once we’ve reached it that is creating this happiness. Because you will have conquered a part of yourself and become the ultimate version of you. Who doesn’t want that feeling?

This habit of believing that the only way we can be happy is to reach this goal causes misery within our current situation and leaves us scrounging around for a way to reach this goal immediately. How torturous to be in a situation where happiness is not with you but instead exists in this far away land of ‘goal realisation’.

It creates a situation wherein you believe you don’t deserve happiness now and will need to change yourself in order to be happy.

When we associate happiness with having to change ourselves then the process of changing ourselves also becomes miserable.

It equates to putting ourselves down because we are not yet ‘perfection’.

We need to realise that happiness is right here and right now.

If you have identified that you are ready for a change and have planned the steps on how you will create this change for yourself then give yourself permission to rejoice in this.

Allow the process of creating this ‘changed self’ to be a journey that you enjoy taking.

Know that you deserve happiness just as much now as you will when you reach your goal.

Also that the likelihood of reaching our highest potential is increased when the journey to getting there is an enjoyable one. The satisfaction experienced from reaching the goal is also heightened when we can honestly say that we enjoyed the processing of getting to this point.

This is not to say that the desire from change cannot be sparked out of anger of frustrations. Many great change journeys start because we are unhappy with a current aspect of our life.

Rather that once you have made the decision to change this and penned your plan of action you should own this as a positive steps towards creating your desires, instead of hated journey away from your current self.

Choosing to be happy despite how you may feel about your current situation is what will help fuel you with the energy to move forward and propel you to achieve what you desire.

Giving into the negative voices of self-doubt will do nothing but deflate you and serve no purpose in creating what you desire.

When you hear these voices, turn the volume down.

Amplify only the self-talk that celebrates both who you are now and who you will be when you reach your goal.

Because they are ultimately the same person. Your future self can only exist because your current self has decided to make a change.

Enjoy and embrace.

6 secrets to happinees

I’ve had lots of practice being happy and unhappy. Through trial and error I’m sharing with you today the 6 core elements that I find essential to my prevailing happiness.

Breathe. In the craziest moments just breathe. This can be difficult when you brain seems loud and the world around you won’t shut up, but breathe in and out for as long as it takes for your heart rate to slow and the brain fog to clear. With each inhale picture bringing your worries to an open window and with each exhale picture letting those worries fly out the window and far away from you. Know that beauty radiates from within and stay still for long enough to find your inner peace.

Grow. Trust that each moment is a growth opportunity. If you are faced with challenges have faith that it presents an opportunity to help you grow and better yourself. It is incredibly difficult to do this at times, but when  you embrace the challenge and realise there is no right or wrong it will help tremendously. Just as trees grow with age as their roots become deep-seated, you grow and become more grounded each time you learn to embrace and overcome adversity.

Being vulnerable is powerful. Showing the real you, the exposed you is often scary and sometimes extraordinarily difficult, but it is also freedom and exhilaration personified as you learn to overcome fear and find your authentic self.

Forgiveness is freedom. In order To have peace it is necessary to forgive. Forgive yourself, forgive others and say sorry in order to clear the air and release the poisonous energy hate harbours.

Control what you can. You may not have control over what happens to you but you do have control over your reaction to the situation. While perhaps not necessarily in the occurring moment, certainly over its longer term implications. Ask yourself  – how do I want to react? What happens to you is not always direct relection of what you did, but instead sometimes a challenge designed to test how you respond. To become stronger you must first choose strength.

Know your value. You don’t need anyone else to tell you what you are worth. Tell yourself. Self love is your responsibility. “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Buddha. Happiness is believing that.

Let the beautiful you shine through and inspire others to exude light and love.

Beating procrastination.

Procrastination impacts the best of us. Just last night while researching concepts for a University assignment I unwittingly found myself in a Wikipedia vortex and returned hours later with no relevant content, but a newfound interest in plate tectonics. I think I’ve learnt to factor procrastination time into my assignment timelines because I enjoy it so much. It’s a little like hitting the snooze button. When crunch time hits though and you need to get work done now, here are my tips on how to become a more productive version of yourself.

1. Map out your ‘Top 3’ for the day
Before you begin your tasks, set 5 minutes aside to write down the three most important items to attend to for the day. No matter what the day brings, these will be non-negotiable.

2. Set yourself a time frame
I draw inspiration from the Pomodoro technique a lot and use my phone to set time intervals for myself. For example if I have to write the introduction for a research report I will start by setting a 40 minute interval. That becomes my uninterrupted task time. If after this time I’m still not completed, I will give myself a 10 minute break and then get straight back into it. Make sure your break takes you away from the environment of your task so your brain can reenergise properly. Perhaps you could go for a short walk or read in the sun.

3. Create a space that supports your plan
Rid your space of any clutter, be it rubbish or your breakfast plate from yesterday. Put your mobile phone out of sight and leave it there. All important emails and pretty Instagram posts will be there if you wish to check on your break. Create a space in which everything need is at your fingertips so you don’t have to leave the room constantly to get something

4. Keep yourself accountable
Avoiding procrastination can be difficult, but if you catch yourself trawling through Pinterest before your tasks have been completed, nudge yourself back on track. Remember what’s important and that the more quickly you get these tasks done the more time you will have to yourself later. Adopting small (but necessary) changes to your routine will contribute towards a more productive day.

5. Reward yourself
Once you have completed your top 3 tasks, celebrate! Take time to do something you enjoy, you’ve earned it.

3 Signs that you are ready for change.

The only constant in life is that nothing is constant and the perfume of change forever lingers in the air. I think I feel particularly in tune with that right now as I have been personally attracting change into my life, and I have noticed that all around me others also appear to be pushing forward and pursuing something ‘better’ for themselves. It is a momentous occurrence when we consciously pause to listen to our soul in order to recognise which parts of our current situation are not assisting us. Many recent conversations among my circle have centred on career, living, friendship and relationship changes, and this is beautiful because it means we are growing and evolving to become improved versions of ourselves. The best we can be in the here and now. It suggests that we are actively choosing to change what we are not happy with and ignite the spark inside us so that we may pursue what we desire.

So, how do you know that you’re ready for change?

Here are the three personal indicators I have found:

1. You do not feel invigorated.

Perhaps it is your job, relationship, lifestyle, friendships or your living environment. If you feel yourself stuck in a space of simply ‘going through the motions’ then maybe it is time to shake things up. This does not necessarily mean that you need to quit your job or leave your partner, but that it is worth considering your approach to these aspects of life. Look for new activities you can enjoy with your partner. Expand your social circle. Learn a new language. Start studying again. Redecorate. The focus need not be on ‘ditching the old’, but instead on ‘adding the new’ to ensure you are filling your life with people and moments that inspire and engage you.

2. You are envious of the lives other people lead

Perhaps the green monster has come out while you’re looking at someone’s life through Instagram, listening to your friend talk about their incredible adventure through Asia or hearing a colleague talk about how much they are enjoying taking surfing lessons. Either way, envy is a time waster. The more time you spend being envious of someone else’s life, the less time you have to cultivate a life that you love. Time to flip the switch and think about what it is that you are lacking in your life – a hobby, a new challenge, a change of pace or scenery? Whatever it is, it is absolutely in your grasp and there is no better time than now to start planning how you can make it your reality.

3. Your daydreams revolve around one persistent thought

Paul Coelho said it best when he said “If it’s still in your mind then it’s worth taking the risk”. If your mind keeps coming back to the same daydream then perhaps it’s time to begin working on turning that dream into reality. Pluck the dream out of your head and put it onto paper. Then break it down into what you can feasibly do today, next week and next month to make it happen.