Five fab reasons to take a mini getaway

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In matter of healing the body or the mind, vacation is a true genius. Mehmet Murat Ildan

I recently I went away for the weekend. Initially, I didn’t want to go as I had ‘so much to do’ and was ‘way too busy’ to ‘waste’ a weekend having fun and relaxing (fun and relaxation? What’s that, right?). The end result of packing up the car and driving just two short hours away to the beach for two days was tremendous.

I’ve come to the realisation that mini getaways are good for the body, mind and soul.  I haven’t interviewed hundreds of people to ascertain my data is true for everyone, the following is simply my anecdotal evidence of the benefits of time away.

Going away for a mini break has had five significant outcomes for me

1. More focused attention
Since arriving home I have found I remain focused on tasks longer without drifting off. I’ve procrastinated less and just got in and ticked off multiple tasks each day with a renewed sense of interest and clarity.

2.  Heightened senses
Something I noticed when I was away was that my senses were heightened. After several hours in the fresh air and walking on the beach. My senses of smell and taste had intensified.  Food tasted better and I could smell the subtleties of the place; the dank earth under the fig trees, the salt spray and the clean air in the pastures.  The early morning sounds of crickets and small unseen insects played melodically in my ears.

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3. A new view of the world
I spent some time talking with different people. People with diverse backgrounds, people with fabulous perspectives on life and learning. An added bonus of my time away is I now have new ideas to ponder, new ways of being to consider and new points of interest to investigate.

4.  More energy
Returning home I feel more energised. I feel like I’ve had a holiday. In some ways I feel more relaxed than I do when returning from several weeks overseas. I guess the lack of jet lag has something to do with it. My mini break was simple. I stayed in a cabin in a caravan park, I walked in the open air, I ate simple food and I slept soundly. It was truly refreshing.

5.  Balance
This mini break has provided the momentum and the energy to see me through the next few weeks, until the Easter break. I was struggling with a monumental workload and the daily grind. I was lethargic, grumpy and fed up. With a lightness in my thoughts I can now continue. It’s like I’ve granted myself a small reward for progress made before I reach the final stage. Balance is restored.

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Without a doubt I’ll be adding some more mini getaways to my routine from now on. These breaks away don’t have to cost a lot of money. Instead of a whole weekend away a few day trips to country markets, a picnic and a hike or breakfast and a swim at the beach.  Lunch at a rural tea shop, a ferry ride to a local island or a day visiting galleries and antique stores will, I am certain, bear the same benefits for body, mind and soul as an extended break.

Where are you heading for your next mini getaway?

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Inspired by Artistic Expression

I have a friend who asks “What inspired you this week?” It’s a great question. Often I have to scratch around and ponder deeply in order to respond. This last fortnight, however, I have been greatly inspired by a number of sources. The energy of these artistic sources have remained with me as daily companions.

I visited GOMA, in Brisbane, where Cai Guo-Qiang’s Falling Back to Earth exhibition is currently showing. I find my thoughts returning to linger over the works on display.

I had purposely not read anything about the exhibit prior to attending not wanting reviews to interfere with my experience. I was not prepared for the grand scale of each of the installations.

The cavernous space of the gallery itself usually overwhelms me but it was perfect for this exhibition.  On entering the first room, to view Heritage, I felt as though I was transported to another time and place. Interestingly, I think everyone else felt the same. There was an incredible hush in the room despite the number of people in attendance. There was almost a reverence with which we viewed the waterhole and considered the circumstances under which all the animals would have come together at that one place.  I felt very blessed almost to be in attendance at what appeared, to me, to be a sacred gathering of the worlds’ animals at the waterhole.
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I was initially disgruntled at seeing a large, uprooted tree in the open space between galleries and realising part of my admission ticket was for the pleasure of viewing this ‘piece of art’. My melancholy dissipated very quickly and I was immersed in observing the magnificence of this mighty tree. It’s textures, colours and form, not to mention the surreal nature of having a fifty metre tree, suspended horizontally inside a sleek, modern gallery.

The final instillation was again of gigantic proportions. On entering the room I was immediately drawn to the smooth, almost graceful loop created by close to one hundred wolves. Each wolf unique in its expression was also part of a greater community working together to achieve a single goal. Sadly, it seemed, they were misled and the goal unattainable.

The size and scale of the installations were both mind boggling and impressive. But the deeper statements about humanity behind each piece, the artists skill and talent in bringing such pieces into form and the thoughts and emotions each piece stirred within me have been nudging and poking and prodding my mind these last two weeks.

In last week’s blog I shared my excitement at having heard Elizabeth Gilbert talk on her creative process. Snippets of her talk keep rolling into my waking moments on gentle waves. I’d say I was inspired, wouldn’t you?

I read a novel this week, Left Neglected by Lisa Genova, purchased for three dollars at the local op shop. I literally inhaled it. I could not put it down. I was inspired by the protagonist for overcoming the obstacles she faced and the author’s brilliance at taking on such a formidable topic and engaging, educating and evoking great emotion in the reader. Not only that but I found myself questioning the decisions I’ve made and the consequences of my choices. “Is there another way to live that is more fulfilling?”

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I was awestruck too by the words of Rumi shared with me by a friend, who herself is an inspiration. She is an alchemist, a wise woman and a spiritual teacher. Her own words move me to seek deeper levels of knowing and understanding. On this occasion the words of Rumi she shared struck and stuck at my core. I have attached the poster below for your enjoyment.

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It has been, without a doubt, a magical fortnight. Full of great and inspiring people, creativity and thought. I feel moved, moulded and changed as a result of not only my initial contact with each source but by the lingering impressions each have made on me.

What inspired you this week? I’d love to hear!

Shameless magical thinking

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I was greeted by the universe to morning and I revelled in the warmth of the moment. And so my day began with a smile and the lingering feeling of having been wrapped in a gigantic hug.

What do I mean? Well, I woke at exactly 4:44. For me the numbers 444 and 333 are significant. Whenever I see them I take note, I feel like a friend has just called to say “I’m thinking of you”.

My relationship with these special triple numbers began many years ago when I was experiencing some mighty physical, mental and emotional battles.  I would wake regularly at either 3:33 am or 4:44 am. I then started to see these numbers everywhere. On billboards, signs, in telephone numbers I was dialling, in statistics and tallies I was working with and on car number plates. Therein began my exploration into the metaphysical or the world of magic and miracles.

For me triple numbers are call signs from the universe.  Sometimes they appear to let me know I’m on track, other times it’s simply to let me know I’m not alone and that I am supported and loved.  It’s heartening and encouraging, especially when things get a little blurry in life.

I cannot tell you how many times in the last month I have woken at exactly 4:44 am or walked into the house, or glanced at the clock in my car at exactly 4:44pm or 3:33 pm.  Last week I walked by a house, that I walk by quite regularly, and saw the bin on the footpath sporting the house number. Yep, you guessed it – 444.  I’d never seen it before.  Today, after rising and meditating I took to the streets for my morning walk and was literally bombarded by triple threes and triple fours.

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What is the meaning of all this you might wonder? I had a focus for my meditation this morning. The topic was something important to me that I’d let wane for a while and I was seeking confirmation and clarity around whether I should continue to pursue it or not.  I guess the answer is pretty clear. I’m being told to “go for it”.

‘Coincidence’ you might say. Yeah, could be. ‘Delusional’ too, you might think.  Maybe. But it’s a nice place to be. The joy and surety in life comes for me in belief and faith. I’ve mentioned before I do not follow any particular religion but have identified for myself a spiritual belief system that supports and nourishes me.  But not all my signs are as ‘random’ as triple numbers repeating themselves.

This week I attended a talk here in Brisbane by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love. My friend invited me and initially I had reservations as it was on the same night as my yoga class. When I weighed up the opportunity to hear an accomplished author who’d travelled across the world to be here with skipping one yoga class for the year, I  attended with a great sense of anticipation and excitement. I might mention also, I rarely go out at night these days, particularly week nights. The topic for the night was on the creative process. Imagine my surprise when Ms Gilbert began talking about magic, about ideas coming to her in dreams and  being gifted to her as if by magic.  Imagine my surprise too when she told the audience how she doesn’t remember  writing a particular piece as ‘they’ simply told her what to write.

If I wasn’t sure that the triple numbers I’d seen today, and over the last month, were encouraging me, I definitely know, as a result of attending that hour conversation with Elizabeth Gilbert that I’m being given the nod, gently pushed to follow my path and  strongly encouraged by the universe to go for gold.

Are you open to the signs around you? I’d love to hear your stories.

Shamelessly yours in the magic and wonder of the universe,
Shannyn

February flies by in a flurry of photos

February was a mad crazy month for me. It went by in a blur. I continued my ritual of taking a photo a day and looking back I can see nature played a big role in keeping me sane. I was greatly entertained by the footpath garbage collection and enjoyed the tableaux of ordinary household items set out for removal. Farewell February.