Tag Archives: Peace

In the Stillness, I Remembered

10 May

Today, I stopped for ten minutes, and I suddenly remembered why I was here.

I stepped out onto the balcony, and, as the fresh smell of wet earth hit my nostrils, I realised that this was the first time in months that I’d paid attention to my immediate surroundings.

I stood in silence – smelling, listening, looking.

I smelt the earth, the grass, the rain, and I remembered that I am living in a place with abundant and beautiful nature.

I heard children laughing, birds chirping and a rooster calling, and I remembered that I am living in a place full of simple joys.

I saw clouds gliding slowly across a blue sky, and I remembered that I am living in a place of peace.

The trees were barely breathing and the magnificent sun lit up the remaining drops of rain on the leaves, giving the impression that all the trees were covered in jewels.

Ten minutes of silence, ten minutes of stillness – that’s all it took for me to remember.

For months I’d been unhappy, unfulfilled and confused. For months my thoughts had been on the future – on what I should and could do to be happier, on where I should and could go to be more fulfilled, on whom I should and could meet to see things clearer. For months my thoughts have been on vague plans, on vague people, on vague possibilities. For months, I have been seeking happiness and fulfilment everywhere but here and now.

And then today, I stood still in silence for ten minutes and I remembered…

I am here, in this place, because I wanted to be somewhere quiet.

I am here, because I wanted to be close to nature.

I am here, because I wanted to be near the sea.

I am here, because I wanted a calm life.

I am here, because I wanted to live simply.

I am here, because I wanted to experience all of these things with the person I love.

I am here, because it was my dream to be here.

Funny, how we forget such important things in the rush of daily life.

What will YOU remember in ten minutes of silence?

Jazz and Collages

5 Feb

One of my favourite things to do on a winter evening is listen to jazz and make collages.

Collage

A recent collage

I started making collages two years ago, after my yoga teacher asked everyone in the class to “go home and make a mood board”. In fact, “our subconscious works with images”, she said “so it is more useful to look at an image of what we wish to bring into our lives, rather than to make a list of New Year’s resolutions, for example”.

In order to pick out images that relate to our subconscious, our yoga teacher gave us the following instructions:

1)      Set aside at least half an hour in your day for solely this activity.

2)      Create a calm atmosphere: light candles, put on relaxing music, dim the lights, take a few deep breaths, clear your mind.

3)      Have a selection of magazines and newspapers ready. It doesn’t matter what they are, as long as they have pictures in them!

4)      Flick through the magazines and cut out all images that you feel immediately attracted to. Don’t think about it – your ‘gut’ choice may be surprising or unexpected to your rational mind, but the important thing is to go with your gut feeling.

5)      Put all of the images together either into a frame that you can hang up in a visible place in your home, or into a large art notebook, to which you can add images regularly.

6)      Keep on looking out for images that seem meaningful to you – ask friends to give you their old magazines, pick up free newspapers and leaflets, take photos, print out images from the internet that you love. Keep on building up your mood board and make new ones when the older ones no longer seem relevant.

After having made our collages, my yoga classmates and I began discovering amazing things manifest themselves in our lives. A girl who had chosen an image of a horse walking on a beach was soon invited by a cousin to do horse-riding along the sea. I had made collages based around photos of the beach and nature, to find myself moving to the South of France half a year later.

Collages not only remind our subconscious of what we truly want, but they add a personal and warm touch to our homes. In my kitchen and my living room I have collages that reflect my desires. These carry so much more meaning for me than the artwork of an unknown (or famous) artist hanging on my wall, because they are something that my subconscious itself has chosen and created.

Collage

Kitchen Collage

I also have a large art book, to which I regularly add images from any magazines I can get my hands on. I choose a page in the book that I particularly like and put it on a visible place in my home. Looking at these images brings me a sense of peace and comfort.

 Collage

Another favourite from my book

Try it yourself: set aside half an hour this week to make a mood board. Follow the instructions above and keep your mood board in a visible place. Let your subconscious and the universe do the rest!

Old Year Resolutions

28 Dec

The New Year has become associated with new beginnings. We wipe the slate clean and give ourselves another chance. The New Year is the first day of the rest of our life. We write New Year’s Resolutions in order to take the positive with us into the New Year. Yet we often forget about leaving the negative behind.

In these last few days of 2011, think about what you do not want to take into 2012. Use these last few days to prepare yourself for a fresh start.

Here is a list of the things that I would like to do before 2012, in order to start the year with good energy and positivity:

Clean my home

Leaving behind: mess and dirt.

I would like my home to be tidy and clean for the New Year.

Bringing in: cleanliness, openness, light.

 

Sort out my papers

Leaving behind: mess, disorganisation and disorientation.

Paper is my weakness. Leaflets, flyers, receipts, notes, bills, lists….these are the things that stack up in all corners of my house. They create a mess in my home and a mess in my mind. I would like to sort these out, by throwing away anything I do not need and by putting the rest into folders.

Bringing in: organisation.

 

A new wardrobe

Leaving behind: the habit of hoarding clothes, settling for clothes that look less than great, and feeling guilty about buying new clothes.

I would like to sort out my wardrobe, in order to get rid of clothes that I no longer like or those that do not flatter me. This will give me space for new clothes and it will give me the opportunity to choose clothes that I love and those in which I feel good.

Bringing in: respect and love for self, confidence, beauty.

 

Friends Only

Leaving behind: unnecessary relationships

Letting go of: past ties that no longer serve me.

I would like to sort out my address book/contact list, leaving only close friends. I have telephone numbers, addresses and e-mails belonging to people who I have not contacted for years and who I am unlikely to contact in the near future. This contact information takes up space and energy in my mind, as I am always thinking about contacting the various people on my list. I would like to limit my contact list to only the people that are dear to me.

Bringing in: love, honesty, friendship, peace, time.

 

Give Plants Life

Leaving behind: dead energy, and the lack of care for living things.

In the past few months I have completely abandoned the plants on my balcony. There is not enough daylight or enough warmth for me to spend as much time as I used to taking care of my plants. My balcony is not looking its best, with empty pots and dead flowers. I would like to take care of the plants on my balcony, to prepare them for a year full of life.

Bringing in: responsibility, simplicity.

 

Inbox Clear-Out

Leaving behind: information overload, all unnecessary gadgets that make me lose time and energy, and the obsession of always having to be available for communication.

I have five email addresses. One for friends, one for work, one for subscriptions, one for official correspondence and one for my blog. Despite putting up filters and unsubscribing from every newsletter, I still receive junk mail. What’s worse, I have emails stored from years back and have to check all five email accounts regularly. My head is starting to explode from this overload of information and this waste of time.

I would like to create one email address that I use for all correspondence. I would like to sort out all of my old emails and start with a clean, fresh inbox.

Bringing in: simplicity, calm, peace.

What Gets You up in the Morning?

5 Oct

Waking up in London is easy. From 5am I hear the delivery and rubbish trucks moaning in the streets. From 6.30am buses open and close their screeching doors every fifteen minutes outside my window. From 7.30am the hum of cars at the cross-roads signals that the city is awake. Millions of people are already preparing for a day of action and decision, of learning and discovery, of fulfilment and happiness. By 8am I bury my half-open eyes into the warm pillow, relishing the smell of sleep and sweet dreams. I know that in the neighbourhood someone has already done a morning work-out, had a fresh fruit juice, read the paper, got their kids ready for school, prepared lunch for the family, and is on the way to work, looking fresh and full of energy.

“I gotta get moving,” I mumble to myself, stretching in bed and reaching for my diary. “How many things are programmed for today?”

Waking up in the South of France is a challenge for the unprepared. Heck, even the locals seem to have a hard time making out of bed on time for work. Shutters keep out the sunlight, making the body insensitive to the time of day. Living in suburbia, my morning alarm is a rooster calling out from a neighbouring house. Birds tell each other their dreams and I listen, lulled back to sleep by their songs. The elderly gentleman in the house opposite is no doubt walking around his garden, checking what changes the night brought on his crops. The cats are stretching on their fences, wary of getting their paws wet on the shimmering morning dew. The sun, like a ripe grapefruit, is peeking out to check that the world is ready for him. My plants are shivering in the shade; the warmth won’t get to them until the afternoon.

The alarm rings for the third time. “I should get up,” I think to myself, seeing the sunlight creep in under the door “Or else I’ll miss the cool smell of morning air, the shadows cast on the kitchen walls by the rising sun, the rare stillness of the trees, and the silence that falls upon the whole of nature in the early hours of day”. I open the shutters eagerly and a smile spreads across my face. “Good morning to you too, Mother Nature!”

A True Moment of Peace

29 Apr

It was a mild and clear evening today; I had dinner on the balcony and decided to stay outside until it got dark. Legs crossed in half-lotus, I sat and watched.

I watched aeroplanes draw pink lines across a blue backdrop. I watched the leaves on the trees wave gently to me. I watched a thin purple cloud spread its thin limbs for the night in a comfortable place in the sky. I watched the wind play hide and seek between the branches. I watched the sky put on its grey pyjamas. I watched the trees fall asleep when the wind got tired of playing with them. I watched pollen float from left to right, as if unable to make up its mind about where to land.

There were sounds too, of course. Leaves whispering secrets to each other before lights out, birds singing lullabies, and dogs tiptoeing outside the house.

As I sat watching and listening, I lost track of time. Was I outside for ten or twenty minutes? Or perhaps I was there for half an hour?

Absorbed by nature, I felt myself extending into its vastness. During this moment, I felt open, still and quiet, just like the trees, the grass and the sky around me. I was meditating without knowing it.

By taking a rare opportunity to observe a tranquil evening, I got a rare experience in return: a true moment of peace.