Be sure of your aim and never miss your mark

Building on last night’s post, I can feel a whole flow of dharma related posts coming on. Consider yourself forewarned.

Today we went to the park at lunch, to sit on the grass and be in the sun. My meditation stroke web master employee was there and he shared a lovely Japanese story about not worrying about things we can’t control. I told this story that our yoga teacher shared last week, which struck a beautiful chord.

Krishna and Arjuna are talking before the battle. A bird flies over and tweets for mercy; her nest has fallen, baby birds and all, right into the middle of the battlefield, and would be crushed as soon as the fighting began. According to one telling Arjuna empathises but simply says she must accept her fate. I liked our telling where he waves her away, still young and a little foolish and focused on Krishna’s telling, ignorant to the bigger message she was chirping, whilst Krishna listens on in silence.

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Dharma vidhya. Into action.

On Saturday evening I returned from a deeply magical and very special week on a yoga retreat in the Portuguese mountains. Many things emerged and started to settle. I learnt a lot, both about the history and meaning of the practice, and also as I continued to uncover and get to know more about myself. I won’t try to fit all of it into one post because it was so wide ranging and varied and I wouldn’t do it the justice it all deserves by rushing to write it down. And some of this is only just beginning.

One theme we touched on during the week, and returned to again and again on a number of the days, was indecision, which has been playing through my mind. Paula, our incredible teacher for the week, would open each day with a short talk and some storytelling on an aspect or teaching of yogic practice. She spoke a lot – and more beautifully and naturally than I likely will – about how yoga is a way for us to turn inwards to connect with ourselves, to know yourself, to awaken, find and connect with your ‘dharma’ – your work, truth, sacred duty – and then upon knowing this, to turn back outwards and connect with the universe, the wider world and give back.

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The butterfly counts not months but moments and has time enough

Its lucky that I made a public commitment last night to blog about my recent butterfly encounter because I have to say I couldn’t think of anything else to write about today! (Note to self, must think of a compelling blog topic tomorrow). For a rare change recently, its actually not because I am sleepy. Its actually because I have just had a really good, uneventful, happy, content day! Which is a wonderful thing, but doesn’t necessarily make for the best writing.

I’m partly attributing my good mood to the sunshine which is an instant mood-lifter. I am a proper little sunflower and the (finally!) change in weather just lifts my mood. The other part of it was starting yesterday with a morning of reiki and spending the rest of the day with a newly found dear friend. (Oh, and I’m sure the end of Mercury’s retrograde and the Aries full moon last night is also to thank).

So, time for the tale of the butterfly. As I mentioned last night, it was my reiki healer Vickie who said she saw a butterfly around me as we went through the session (sceptics, please bear with me, or at least don’t give up on my blog for good!). Afterwards, we looked up the meaning of the butterfly and for a number of reasons it made me smile at the time:

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Tonight my darling this is for you

For picking me up not once but twice this week, for your wise words, friendship, humour and all round brilliance. For reminding me what true good and kindness look like. For being the thing I was actually looking for, not the fake dopamine hit I thought I needed. And for the endless stream of compliments about my sexiness and brain and for also correcting my spelling mistakes.

You are a superstar and gem of a friend Rosie Luff AKA my pilot Luffstar. Here’s to many more years of basically being the same person and endless opportunities for me to impart birthday twin horoscope insight.

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I’m so good at sleeping I can do it with my eyes closed… Five Tried and Tested Tips

There was a blog about connecting with others that I really wanted to write today but in all honesty, I’m just too damn tired!

So I’ll save it for another day and instead, inspired by yesterday’s post on Matthew Walker’s brilliant book ‘Why We Sleep’, I thought I’d share my finely tuned pre-sleep schedule that sets me up for a divinely serene slumber. (Remember, World’s Best Sleeper….I am really good at this!)

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Morning Ritual #1

A collection of my daily gratitudes from recent weeks:

  • Serenity, new sobriety, serendipity and signs
  • Fresh coffee and my cats
  • The courage to choose, choosing to stand in the sun
  • My spirit and my soul
  • Re-discovery of the healing power of sleep, another great night’s sleep
  • Being unconditionally loved and being lucky enough to have and be making such wonderful friends and family that I can connect with and completely love
  • My dear friend’s toddler Leo for showing Auntie Alex the best time!
  • Being brave
  • Feeling, connecting and my heart’s healing
  • Vulnerability
  • Waking up excited for work – the people, the challenge, the pace, the creativity, the ability to change and to solve
  • Learning to reach out, speak up, ask for help
  • Finding my real life human butterfly (this story will come at some stage!)
  • Discovering new writers and writings – especially my newly found favourite poet Nikita Gill, two of her’s for today:

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Magnificent Majeka Hotel, Stellenbosch 

It was summed up it perfectly when, as I commented on yet another thing at Majeka House that I wanted for my house, the reply was ‘you want lots of things here for your home!’

Perhaps a few less pigs (the owner Karine apparently has loved pigs since she was a child and has filled the hotel with an assortment of pigs of all shapes and sizes). I like a pig, but I’m personally an elephant woman through and through, as my growing collection attests to. But apart from that, yes, I did basically want everything about the interior design at the stunning Majeka House hotel in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

From Kartell Louis Ghost chairs to the bright electric blue garden furniture, it’s no wonder that Majeka House was crowned Best Design Hotel, Africa and the Middle East, in the Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence 2017. I only left yesterday and I’m already missing its beauty.

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A Different Kind of Design Inspiration from Malaysian Travels…. Part Two

I was lucky enough to spend New Year’s in Malaysia, and came back with a whole host of photographs to inspire me with decorating my new home. I won’t recount all the reasons why I loved Malaysia, and Asia more generally; you can read that on the Malaysian Travels Design Inspiration Pt One.

But the other day I was going through the rest of my pictures to find some more for a second blog when a package arrived from Malaysia containing a photographic print I’d ordered whilst I was out there from an art studio in Penang called Studio Howard. As it already feels like the trip was a lifetime ago, I’d slightly forgotten exactly what it was that I’d bought. But opening the package to find this vibrant shot of a Georgetown entrance, with its vivid yellows, pinks, greens and blues, took me right back to why I’d fallen so in love with this shot on first sight.

Georgetown, Penang - Studio Howard

Georgetown, Penang – Studio Howard

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Interior Design School Inspiration Day

Firstly I should begin my explaining my till now unexplained absence for the past couple of weeks, which was down to very nearly loosing my dream house. The good news is that at 4.49pm on Monday 9 February we finally exchanged. I won’t go into all the boring details, or emotional turmoil, other than to say my buyer turned out to be more than a bit of a headache, but needless to say whilst that was going on the last thing I wanted to do was blog.

But now I’m back! We’re scheduled to complete in just under two weeks, on Friday 27 February. I cannot wait to get in and get my hands on the place. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I spent some of my holiday thinking about things I wanted to do. Sewing was one of them, as was learning about interior design. So just like with cushion making, I scoured Google to find a short course on home interior design for beginners. It was actually harder than it looked. There’s a lot of online only classes, but I have always preferred to learn in a classroom, and many of the classroom based ones were more intensive/longer than I was after. But then I found The Interior Design School in Queens Park, London, which offered a one day ‘Inspiration Day’ course. To be honest, unlike with Saturday Sewing Session I didn’t jump right in and book straight away. Firstly, you can’t avoid the fact that its on the pricey side at £145. Secondly, there isn’t a great deal of information about what exactly it is you’ll do on the day. That said, the overall reviews were good, I liked the look of it, and besides I’d just ordered a slightly obscene number of interiors books on Amazon and was feeling a bit trigger happy.

Taught by professional interior designers, this is a stimulating and practical day that introduces the process of creating a design for an interior – whether you’re interested in designing your own home or thinking about a future career as an interior designer.

So off I went up to Queens Park on Saturday 31 January and found tucked away down an 18th century mews, a fabulously light, airy and modern interior design school.

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Fabrics, so many beautiful Indian fabrics

I’ve only been to India once but I forever will be captivated by the colours. My interior design is inspired by many counties, but there’s just not anything else quite like Indian fabrics and silks. I read once that Indian fabrics have been called ‘exquisite poetry in colour’ which seems very apt.

Colour is used in a vivid, kaleidoscopic way.  It takes special meaning in Indian society, from bright pink to celebrate life in the spring festival of Huli, the iridescent rainbow of colours as millions of fireworks explode in Diwali, the festival of lights, through to saffron, the colour of religious asceticism.  The town of Jodhpur in Rajasthan is painted blue to echo the colour of the blue god Krishna – Indian Interiors company

As I said in another post, my mother bought me a little ceramic elephant from Indian a number of years ago and spawned a love for those. She is also one of the reasons that I have such a love for Indian textiles and am building up a little collection! Here’s some that I picked up from Malaysia and that she brought me back from a recent trip to Jaipur. With my new sewing skills, I’m excited to start turning some of these into cushions.

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