ISLAND INSPIRATION || PHILIPPINES

Thursday, May 14, 2020













REALLY GOOD THINGS

Thursday, April 30, 2020

*purple flowers  *new notebooks *Baggy booty pants  *movie afternoons  *chips and dip  *catching up  *couches (for laying, napping, chatting)  *colour  *days that feel like summer *team work  *surprises *temple art *ponchos *misty mornings *dandelions *live music  *creative outlets  *bubbles  *girly dates  *burgers and beers  *short weeks  *rain  *azaleas  *lazy puppies *wild flowers *caribbean blue *tree hugs *collaboration  *celebrations  *letting go  *the smell of coffee in the morning  *beers on the roof  *lace at the top of my socks  *skirts  *being woken by the sun  *sprouting seeds *fall colours *homemade cinnamon flavoured rice milk *polaroid pictures *freediving *potato salad *stormy nights *mangosteens *bush walks *magnolias blooming  *cherry blossoms everywhere  *letters in the mail  *spring buds  *kiddie hugs  *the smell of dirt  *learning new things  *lace  *green tea lattes  *pink clouds  *fresh spring rolls  *Skype dates  *warm things *seeing new places *sleeping puppies *crocheted blankets *magic pens  *World DJ Festival  *anniversaries  *reflection  *exploring  *nanny blankets  *red nail polish  *fresh mint  *paying it forward  *vegan food  *roses that smell delicious  *fresh starts  *true friendship  *changing things up  *cooking dinner for friends *belly dancing *bubbles *cheese  *doing good things for others  *tea  *polka dots  *inspiration  *floating in the bath tub  *watching fish  *banana smoothies  *home made almond milk  *vintage clothes stores  *midweek dates  *strangers saying hello  *yurts  *sunsets over the city  *Ben Harper  *days off  *snow falling  *home made veggie burgers *fire pits *t-shirts with flowers *taking brave steps  *imagination  *green smoothies  *scarves + beanies + gloves  *floor heating  *coconut oil  *excellent books  *big silk flowers  *feathers  *helping people  *tabouleh  *hugs  *a good scare  *herby bath salts  *mint + chamomile + lavender tea  *fire hoops  *building community  *brothers *guerilla art *nautilus shells *summer rolls + minutes + fantails + redskins *cholalatey mint black tea *napping on the beach  *watching storms roll in  *walking in the rain  *having nothing to do  *anklets with bells  *sipping from a coconut  *cushions on the floor  *possibility  *long conversations  *left over’s  *Christmas spirit *owl earrings *boats *birthdays  *open and honest talks between women  *Christmas lights  *mulled wine  *art studios  *eastern medicine  *care packages in the mail *luxurious eating + bathing + sleeping  *jewelry making  *baguettes and goats cheese  *Christmas movies  *sunshine  * blue skies  *carpets of leaves  *walking in the mountains  *thanksgiving  *burning sunrises *beach sunsets *pretty lights *colourful umbrellas *flurries of autumn leaves  *mixed CD’s  *clothes that FIT really well  *lazy Sundays  *movies with girlfriends  *crocheting  *recycled jewelry  *dried cranberries  *dancing children  *green green leaves  *weekends by the sea  *swimming in the rain *painted cows *pink tights *getting dressed up  *the hospitality of friends  *yellow tomatoes  *thunderstorms  *first coffee in the morning  *fairy lights  *escaping  *love stories  *bracelets and bangles  *stripes  *hippies  *short hair  *sidewalk chalk  *clear mountain views *face paint  *sunflowers *home made gifts *hula hoops *spring *purple  *tickets (to anywhere)  *mojitos  *artful, outdoor fun  *onesies  *listening to the ocean in giant seashells  *pink pens  *puppy cuddles  *sangria  *new tricks  *checking things off lists  *teapots  *fires by the river  *mud festival  *long hot baths  *drinking wine by yourself  *sharing art  *stripey socks *tie-dye *Bob Dylan  *skates *new shoes  *freesias    *campers  *charm bracelets  *fish and chips on the jetty  *tulips  *longs walks on the beach   *wildlife  *doing the tourist thing  *frozen bananas  *bacon chocolate  *leg warmers  *arm warmers  *cardigans  *flower rings  *dark blue black nail polish *sea treasures *weekend retreats *frangipanis  *buttery popcorn  *pom poms  *heated seats  *hand made soaps  *ski trips  *recycled silver  *finger painting  *story telling  *yellow  *snuggling  *autumn  *Prince  * hot chocolate  *skipping  *patchouli  *batik *visits from old friends  *making art  *fall weather  *cupcakes *handstands on the beach *finding hearts everywhere

HOW TO CULTIVATE GRATITUDE

Monday, April 20, 2020

The word gratitude comes from the Latin word gratus meaning pleasing or thankful.  Gratitude is often considered to be the thankful appreciation of a kindness or generosity such as help, a favour or a gift.  But gratitude can be shown towards something that doesn't exist for, or have any relationship with a receiver such as a sunset or a colour.

Research in the field of positive psychology consistently finds that a strong relationship exists between gratitude and happiness, so I think that now it is more important than ever for us to cultivate gratitude.

Luckily it is not hard at all.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1.  Really Good Things


Set yourself a goal to write down 3-5 “really good things” every week.  For years I had a blog where every Friday I would post “Friday’s Fabulous 5” which meant that even if I hadn’t taken time to be mindfully grateful throughout the week, on Friday I would need to take the time to reflect and think about 5 fabulous things I wanted to share.  

2. Thankful Thursdays


Practicing gratitude is a great thing to do as a group.  When I was a classroom teacher I incorporated a mindful gratitude practice by hosting “Thankful Thursdays”.  Every Thursday during the morning circle time we would go around the group and everyone would share one thing they were grateful for.  Obviously this can be done on any day - I just liked the alliteration.   And it doesn’t have to be limited to a classroom - it’s a nice way to cultivate mindfulness as a family, or perhaps you can embrace technology and and host your own virtual “Thankful Thursdays” with your friends, extended family, or work team.

3.  The Gratitude Jar


There are many ways to manage a gratitude jar and it’s a fun way to cultivate mindful gratitude in your family.  Encourage everyone in your family to write down things they are grateful for throughout the week and put them in the jar.  Then once a week (or once a month, whatever works for you), spend some time  together where each person has the opportunity to pick a piece of paper from the gratitude jar and share with the family what it says.  

*If you are hoping that everyone in the family will cultivate gratitude it would be good to set a measurable and achievable goal such as “write down something you are grateful for every day” or  “write three things you grateful for every week”.  If you have younger children you can do it with them as part of their bedtime routine.

4.  Write a Thank-You note


Or a love note to a friend.  You can make yourself and someone else happier by expressing your thanks or appreciation to another for how they have enriched your life.  (This works better if you visit the person and give them their letter of appreciation in person, but if a visit isn’t possible put your letter in the post or email them - it’s better than not doing it at all!)

5.  Gratitude Journal


If you are someone who enjoys ritual this is a really nice addition to an evening routine.  Make it a part of your bedtime routine to reflect on the good things that have happened that day and write them down in a notebook or journal.  

Gratitude doesn’t have to be for something profound to make a difference.  On days that are more heavy than light, when it feels hard to find something to be thankful for, think of anything that brings you joy - the colour yellow, the smell of coffee in the morning, a warm jumper…

What are you grateful for today?

BODY SCAN MEDITATION

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Body scan meditations are perfect for beginners because they give you something physical to focus on.  The script below will help you lead a 10-15 minute body scan meditation.

I have used body scan meditations with school students for many years.  In the classroom it is a great way to start the lesson if the children arrive somewhat agitated, and it's a useful tool to break up longer periods of activity if you're finding your students are beginning to lose focus.  It's also an excellent form of relaxation during exam period or other high stress times.

When leading a guided meditation, softening and slowing your voice will help your participants to soften and slow their breath. Take pauses in between sentences to give your participants a chance to take a few breaths in between instructions, and in the places the meditation says "hold" encourage a hold of 3-5 seconds.

You may wish to use affirmations with this meditation.  This can be done towards the end. I have included it in the dialogue so you know where.  You can choose whatever affirmation works for your participants.  Some examples are "I am focused and ready to learn", or "my body is relaxed and free from tension".

This dialogue will get you started but does not need to be adhered to as a script.  The words are not the important part, the important part is the process, so change the dialogue to suit your participants or your own natural way of speaking.  

If you have any questions please get in touch.

Cath x

Let's begin!


* * * * *

Lie on your back.

Gently close your eyes and draw your attention to your breath. Inhale through the nose, exhale through the nose.  Notice the sensation of the breath as it enters and exits the nostrils. 

Place your hands gently on your chest.  Now draw your attention to the breath as it fills your chest. Notice how your chest expands as you slowly inhale and contracts as your slowly exhale.

Place your arms gently by your side, palms turned up.  Keep you legs slightly apart and let your feet turn out to the side. 

Feel the floor beneath you support your body.

Focus on your left foot.  Tense all the muscles in your left foot by pointing the toes and stretching the sole of the foot towards the floor.  Hold… and relax.  Tense your left foot again but this time push the heel out, flexing the ankle so that the top of the foot comes towards the body.  Spread the toes, hold… and relax.

Now squeeze, as hard as you can, the muscles in your entire left leg, the calf, the knee and the thigh.  Hold… and relax.  Now push your leg down into the floor as hard as you can.  Hold… and relax.  

Become aware of the difference between your right leg and your left leg for a moment.

Bring your attention now to your right foot.  Tense all your muscles in your foot, pointing the toes and stretching the sole towards the floor. Hold the tension… and relax.  Now flex your right foot, pushing the heel out and drawing you toes towards you.  Spread your toes wide, hold… and relax.

Now tighten, as hard as you can, the muscles in your right leg, the calf, the knee and the thigh.  Hold… and relax.  Now push your leg down, hard, into the floor.  Hold… and relax.

Notice the difference between the tense and the softened muscles.

Now tighten your buttocks, squeezing it together… tighter… tighter… tighter… Hold… and relax.

Focus now on your belly.  As you inhale feel your belly expand.  Inhale… inhale… inhale… hold, and relax.  Let your belly sink and soften. 

Now Bring your attention to the chest.  Feel your chest contract as you breath out… hold… and release the tension with an inhale.  Feel your chest expand… inhale… inhale… hold… and exhale and relax. Let your chest sink and soften.

Let’s move now to the shoulders.  Feel where your shoulder blade are resting on the floor.  As you inhale, bring tension to your shoulder blades by drawing them back and together.  Let the chest lift up, hold…. and relax.

Now shrug your shoulders, bringing them towards your ears.  Hold… and relax.  Now press your shoulders down towards your waist, lengthening the neck and creating space between your shoulders and your ears.  Hold… and relax.

Create tension in the lower back by gently arching the spine up, inhale lifting through the chest.  Hold… and relax as you exhale. Now press your spine into the floor, curling the shoulders forward and pressing your belly button towards your spine.  Hold… and relax.

Draw your attention now to your left hand.  Make a fist with your left hand, as tight as you can.  Hold… and relax.  Stretch out your fingers as wide as you can.  Hold… and relax.  Now tense all the muscles in your left arm, lifting it slightly off the floor.  Hold… and relax.  Now, with your palm faced down, press down into the floor, tensing your whole arm.  Hold… and relax.  Turn your palm up and let your fingers soften and gently curl inwards.

Become aware of the difference between your right arm and your left arm for a moment.

Move your attention now to your right arm.   Clench your right hand into a fist and hold it tightly.  Hold… and relax.  Stretch your fingers out wide.  Hold… and relax.  Now tense all the muscles in your right arm, lifting it slightly off the floor.  Hold… and relax.  Now, with your palm on the floor, press down as hard as you can.  Hold… and relax.  Turn your pam up and let your fingers soften and curl gently inwards.

Slowly lift the head, pressing your chin onto your chest.  Feel the tension in the back of the neck release.  Roll the head gently back to the floor.  Now let the head roll gently from side to side, releasing more tension in the neck, then bring it to a relaxed position in the centre.

Now focus on your face.   Frown and wrinkle your forehead as tightly as you can.  Hold.. and relax.  Let your forehead smooth.  Squeeze your eyes closed tightly until you can see colour.  Hold… and relax.  Press your lips firmly together.  Hold… and relax.  Fill your cheeks with air and puff them out.  Hold… and relax.   Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth.  Hold… and relax.  Now screw your whole face up, squeezing the eyes and mouth shut.  Feel the tension in your face.  Hold… and relax.  Now stretch your face opening the eyes and mouth as wide as you can.  Hold… and relax.

Gently close you your eyes.

Your whole body is relaxed.

Your feet are feeling warm, limp and heavy.  The heaviness moves up your legs… ankles… calves… knees… thighs… and continues up… buttocks… abdomen… chest… and shoulders.  Your whole body is warm and heavy.

Feel the spine sinking into the floor.

Your hands, too, are warm, limp and heavy.  Feel the heaviness spreading to the wrists, up to the forearms, elbows, upper arms and into the shoulders.

Feel your shoulders sinking into the floor.

Feel your neck sinking into the floor.

Your head is relaxed and heavy.  Your face is smooth and free of tension.

A wave of relaxation is moving through your entire body.

Now bring your attention back to the breath.  Notice the sensation of the breath in the nostrils. Inhale calm.  Exhale tension.  Inhale… Exhale…

***(if you want to use an affirmation, put it in here)***

Slowly start to bring your awareness back to your body on the floor. Wriggle your toes… rub your thumbs across the tips of your fingers… raise your arms over the top of your head and stretch your whole body.  Inhale… Exhale…

Roll over onto your right side and rest for a moment.  When you’re comfortable bring yourself into a sitting position.

When you’re ready, open your eyes.

ISLAND INSPIRATION || FIJI

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Pearl Meditation

Saturday, April 11, 2020


In the wild a pearl develops when a pearl oyster detects a foreign body inside its shell.  In order to protect itself it secretes layers of nacre around it.  A pearl is a byproduct of the animals own immune response.

We, too, can use an irritant - fear, anxiety or negativity - to create something beautiful.

The following meditation has been adapted from Alana Fairchild’s Kuan Yin Oracle cards.

Pearl Meditation


Gently close your eyes and bring your attention to the breath.  Imagine a light shining inside your heart.  Watch the light become brighter with every inhalation.  Now, just as a pearl oyster secretes layers of nacre around an irritant inside it’s shell, let the light inside you wrap around any discomfort, fear or negativity you’ve been feeling.  Feel the discomfort shrink as the light inside you continues to expand, wrapping itself around the issue with gentleness, peace and love.

Bring your attention back to your breath.  Inhale, exhale and be peaceful for a moment.  When you are ready, open your eyes and say “I transform negativity into light through compassion.  Anything that causes me discomfort I can use to grow my light.

INSPIRED BY AUSTRALIAN BUSHFLOWERS || BANKSIA + GREVILLEA

Sunday, February 16, 2020