Smiling Mind was live on The Today Show yesterday morning with 11-year-old Willow talking about bringing her latest idea to life: movie characters and meditation.
Since beginning to meditate consistently on a daily basis two months ago, I have found the Smiling Mind app to be a very valuable tool. Their guided meditations offer an array of helpful calming sessions, including sleep meditations, body scans, short 5 minute sessions and longer 30 minute sessions.
Now, they’re helping children meditate too, often speaking to many school students about the importance of mindfulness. Yesterday, young Willow’s idea came to life – coinciding with the release of the Trolls DVD.
All you crystal junkies out there, listen up! If you have never been to Byron Bay before, what I’m about to show you will BLOW YOUR MIND!
The Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens are located about 30 minutes away from Byron Bay in the town of Mullumbimby.
FUN FACT: Iggy Azalea was originally from Mullumbimby.
DOUBLE FUN FACT: Iggy Azalea’s actual birth name is Amethyst!
Well how bout dat, COINCIDENCE? I think NOT!
Crystal Castle is basically a theme park for all spiritual / crystal lovers out there. If you’re not open minded or into this kind of thing, save yourself the $28 entry fee. I understand it’s not for everyone. Wish I could say the same for me, but we all know that I loved every minute of it and walked away with $200 worth of crystals (special mention goes to Nick for the early Christmas present). Hi, my name is Catherine and I’m a crystal-holic. Don’t judge.
Ok, I promised myself not to ramble on with this post, I’d rather bombard you with beautiful pictures so you can all see the tranquillity and beauty of this place for yourselves. Make sure to visit if you’re ever in the area!
Crystal Guardians: World’s tallest geodes standing at 5.5m tall and weighing 20 tonnes.
Rose quartz: Feeling the love.
Flower up: Garden walks.
The Castle: How’s the serenity?
Om: World Peace Stupa.
Happy place: Crystals.
Oh Look!: More Crystals!
Who dat, who dat?: Amethyst Cave.
Last but not least: cash me outside in the bamboo reeds. So zen.
Hope you all enjoyed the humour and happy snaps within this post!
Remember to laugh & love this week.
Until next time,
Love & Light –
Within my last relationship, for as long as I can remember, all I wanted was to book a small holiday and getaway. It didn’t have to be as big as travelling overseas, nor did we have to go interstate, I would have been happy retreating to a small Victorian beach town. There was something about going on an explorative adventure with the one I loved which really appealed to me. Critics will tell you to hold off on going away with your partner because it can ‘make or break’ you, but I never saw it that way. I saw it as an opportunity to create new memories, and gain new experiences, learn new things, smell new smells, and expand our pallet with the tastes of new regions.
Unfortunately, the more I wanted and expressed this to him, the less he wanted to go away with me. I couldn’t understand after being in a relationship with me for three years, why he was always dismissive and disinterested in the idea. When it came to his mates asking him to go on trips however, he would greet the topic with much more enthusiasm. Was there something wrong with me? Was I not fun enough? This issue alone caused an array of insecurities within me as I struggled to understand the cause of his indifference. Perhaps this was one of many red flags, which ultimately lead to the demise of our relationship.
>> Fast forward two years >>
Step by step, I take in the sights and smells of the lush green leafy environment around me. Walking trails leading us through age old rainforests provide a tranquil and calming surrounding, leaving us at one with nature. A wild wallaby greets us as we explore the trails and wild bush turkeys scurry along the paths. The buzzing sound of insects increase as we walk by ponds scattered with lily pads and lotus flowers. Native birds sing to each other amongst the treetops. Finally, we reach meditation point – a bench overlooking the water, the epitome of stillness and mindfulness. Despite being at the peak of a relapse with my anxiety – I feel so safe and happy, I’m finally away with someone I love.
Nick asked me to be his girlfriend after dating exclusively for 9 months. To be honest, we were exclusive from the first day we met. I lay down the law pretty quickly one that one … hey, can you blame me for not wanting to share my men!? Luckily for me he doesn’t like sharing his women either! This set up automatically provided us with a foundation of trust that we were able to build upon as we continued to get to know one another. As I alluded to in my previous post, I have never dated anyone who knows the full extent of my anxiety, until I met Nick. He has taught me that I am worthy of love and being cared for wholeheartedly, despite having an anxiety disorder. I don’t feel like I need to hide the extent of my anxiety from him, if anything, he encourages me to teach him more about it so we can work together to better manage it. I can’t tell you how reassuring it is to feel as though we are combating this as a team.
You can just imagine my excitement when Nick suggested we go on a little trip together – a little retreat to help us relax before the busy Christmas period. I think I teared up when the topic was suggested. To think that someone who I had been dating for 6 months ‘unofficially’ – wanted to go away with me! I almost had to look twice, behind me, to make sure he wasn’t talking to someone else! And despite feeling very anxious the morning we were leaving, Nick held my hand, told me he loved me for the first time and said that we will get through this together. He asked me to be his girlfriend in this moment. #keeper #goals
The Byron at Byron Bay Resort & Spa offered the perfect getaway for optimum relaxation and tranquillity. I highly recommend this resort for those considering visiting the Byron Bay region and surrounds. Essentially, the resort is built within luscious rainforests, so you truly feel as though you are living amongst the trees. Walking trails within the resort allow you to explore the various wildlife, trees and fauna and there is even a trail leading to a beautiful lake. Another trail leads you to the lovely Tallow Beach – where Nick and I were lucky enough to spot a baby whale.
I can’t stress enough how vitalising this trip was, not only in helping me with my anxiety, but also for our relationship. I believe the trip brought us closer together, it was a well-deserved holiday after a tumultuous previous year (2015).
Being at one with nature is good for the soul, and I really felt this to be true while we were in Byron. Next week, I will post about our beautiful visit to Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens. All you crystal lovers out there – keep an eye out for that one!
In conclusion, I want to speak to those of you unsure or afraid of going away with your partner. Stop doubting yourself and the integrity of the relationship. Get out there and make new memories. You might discover something new about yourself or your partner that makes you fall in love all that much more. As far as I’m concerned, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Don’t let fear stop you from creating the best memories life has to offer.
Until next time,
Love & Light,
HAPPY NEW YEAR PEEPS! Welcome to 2017! I’m sure many of you are settling back into your work routines after a well-deserved Summer break! For me, although I am again unemployed, the hard work is only just beginning! Let me explain…
Towards the end of last year you would have noticed that my posts became less frequent, both on this blog and on my Instagram. The truth is, after jumping off my medication, my anxiety relapsed and I’ve been struggling to cope. My focus was to get through the last couple of months remaining at my job and utilise the summer break to work on myself, to try and better manage the anxiety. Of course, if it were that easy, a magical cure would exist out there for everyone struggling to cope and we could all be on the mend after a few short weeks.
REALITY: NO MAGIC CURE FOUND!
– So I guess the hard work is just starting for me.
To make things worse, the lead up to Christmas was nothing short of a nightmare. My mum had to have surgery after discovering a lump on her thyroid. It was not cancerous and all would have been fine had she not contracted an infection which saw her readmitted into hospital. Meanwhile, our beloved cat, Puss, had been eating less and less over a two week period. He had become skin and bone, and initial trips to the vet concluded that it may have been cat flu. No less than a day after mum getting discharged, the vet called and broke the horrible news. Puss had lymphoma. We had to put him down as his condition was worsening.
So as you can imagine, with only two days until Christmas – our family was in absolute turmoil. We were all emotional wrecks and the last thing on my mind was to take care of myself. I was just trying to get through each day. I think we all were.
So anyway, here we are – the 18th of January and only just beginning my journey towards better health. This is what I plan to do.
- Meditate every single day – even if it’s only for five minutes before bed.
- Get back into yoga – I started my first class in a few months yesterday and boy did it feel good!
- Exercise – for ages I’ve been saying that I need to strengthen up – now that I’m not working gives me both the time and the energy.
- I love this blog – it’s my form of therapy so while I have the time I’ll be utilising it as much as I can.
- Anxiety online course: Aside from seeing my therapist, I have decided to take an online course aimed at helping you manage your anxiety.
- Stick to the medication – back on the meds and not planning on jumping off any time soon. And I’m cool with that. I no longer want to feel embarrassed being on this medication. The stigma surrounding being on anti-depressants is slowly dying as more and more people require the assistance. If you can do it on your own – all power to you! We’re not all built the same.
For now, these are my main goals that I have committed myself to. I don’t know if they will work, and past experience has shown me that ups and downs are completely normal and to be expected. I’m at the point where I may even consider hypnotherapy in the near future. I am totally committed to trying my best to combat this. If it works – GREAT! If not, I will not have any regrets or guilt, because at least I can say I tried.
I think that’s enough word vomit for today. There’s still a big aspect of my life that I need to update you all on, given this blog was spawned out of heartbreak, love and loss. Amidst all of the struggles, ‘It’s all in a hug’ guy, also known as Nick – has stood by me through thick and thin. Many of my posts surrounded the ability to love again, and I’m happy to say that this is a reality that has come true for me. Nick and I are all coupled up and even went on a little trip to Byron Bay together which I will elaborate on in a future post. Never have I dated someone who knows the extent of my anxiety as he does. Where most would run away out of fear or difficulty, he continues to help me grow and overcome it. In his own words, ‘we’re in this together.’
There’s a little insight into us – more on that, next time! Stay tuned kids 😉
Love & Light,
As single women mature, they often hear the musings of their loved up friends and colleagues constantly telling them to stop being so fussy when it comes to men and dating. Luckily for me, I’m yet to hit that stage, although I have heard the complaints from many of my girlfriends, all of which are a vast array of ages, from late 20’s to early 50’s!
While I do agree that some women (and men) can sometimes set unrealistic expectations when looking for a potential partner – I truly believe that there are some major things that you should not have to settle for.
This revelation is something that has only come to me now that I have met someone else – someone who I have much more in common with than anyone else I have ever dated. This is not to say that this undermines my past relationships as being a waste of time or worthless, rather, a lesson. I would not be able to appreciate my current situation if it weren’t for those past experiences. As they say, hindsight is 20/20 – and looking back, I was blinded, and I probably settled for much more than I should have. Our deepest values were on different pages – and this ultimately caused many issues.
Like many women, the fear of being forever alone can get the better of you, and so you continue an exhausting cycle within a relationship that sees you happy only 40% of the time. As for the the rest of the time – you’re curled up in bed in a teary-eyed ball, with a tub of salted caramel Haagen Dasz ice cream and a mere table spoon as your only companion. Towards the end of my relationship, more often than not, I was always sad and I felt alone. How can someone be made to feel so alone when in a relationship?
Having said this, the situation wasn’t all bad, he never cheated on me, never laid a finger on me in an aggressive manner, and of course – I loved him. So why on earth would I break up with him? It is certainly a confusing cycle and when you’re stuck on that roller coaster of emotions, with its magnificently high ups and tortuous downs, you just don’t know what to do! Like me, you settle for the situation as is, because you think it could be worse, and you won’t know any better until you’re forced into a new relationship. Sure, it might be worse out there – but it also might be a million times better!
I’m beginning to understand the importance of being on the same page as your significant other. Of course, a few differences keep things fun and interesting, but for the most part, your ideals, values and beliefs need to complement one another, in order for things to come naturally and easily.
If you’re in a relationship that is causing you to fight in the first two months about some pretty major topics, then it is likely that this situation will only get worse – unless one of you settles. But you shouldn’t have to settle. Compromise and communication is integral in any relationship, but when you settle, the resentment from giving into something that goes against your own values can prove to be detrimental in the long run, and it works in a way in which compromise does not. There is a difference between settling and compromising – one will work negatively to tear you apart, and one will work to maturely bring you together.
Whether the value in question relates to drugs, finances, religion, marriage, work ethic, children or whatever – if you have a strong set of beliefs regarding the subject matter, and your partner is on the opposing end of your belief – I’m sorry, but it’s a ticking time bomb – and shit will totally hit the fan sooner or later! It might not be a deal-breaker, but it will cause constant underlying friction. If you ask me, that’s no way to live, and being alone and happy is a small price to pay than to downgrade your set of values. This will also open you up to meeting someone who is on the same wavelength as you.
Had I known this earlier, I wouldn’t have lasted in my own relationship for the amount of time that I did. But as I said, I needed to go through it in order to prepare me for the amazingness that would later be sent my way. The universe works in mysterious ways, but she damn well knows what she’s doing!
So this is my message to all of you out there stuck in your not-so-bad, can be great at times – but kind of mediocre relationships. If you’re disagreeing over something small – just let it go. But if its over something important to you, consider whether its really worth your time.
Love & Light,