Are You Almost-ing Your Life Away?

sick-emEarlier this week I attended an amazing lecture by Marianne Williamson with my friend Jayne (and then we popped my Sketch cherry for a bit of cocktail sampling – balance).

At one point during her talk Marianne said that many of us are “almost-ing” (a term from Ulysses). We’re on the right path and most of the time we do the right thing, but we’re not quite there. We’re almost living in integrity with our ideals, but not quite. Not all of the time, anyway.

While Marianne was specifically talking about our commitment to addressing social issues and standing up for global justice, I think it’s a useful concept for thinking about many areas of our life.

There are the times when we almost speak up, but we stay silent. When we almost take the plunge, but instead we hold back. When we almost do the work, but instead we make an excuse.

Think about it. Where are you so close, you’ve gone just about all the way, but you’re still almost-ing instead?

I almost live a healthy lifestyle, but I still skip my workouts more often than not.

I almost always live from a place of self-love, but there are still times when I don’t speak up about my needs so that I avoid upsetting someone else.

I’m almost fully committed to my deepest passions, but there are days when I tell myself I’m too tired, too stressed, too whatever to do the work.

Almost keeps us stuck at good when we could be great. It stops us from living the life we really want. And it prevents us from creating our heart’s work, so that we can make the impact on the world we’re here to make.

So think of concrete ways you can step up your game. How can you kick it up from almost to 100% committed?

Write them down. Schedule them in your diary. Make them a part of your daily routine. Share them with us in the comments.

Focus on being present in every moment and always being your best self, knowing that as you do, it will get easier. Your best self will get better. You’ll become strong where you were once weak.

Commit to making ‘almost-ing’ a thing of the past and kick ass everyday instead.

Watch as your life transforms.

You’ve got this.

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P.S. The earlybird tickets for our Full Moon Urban Retreat sold out in less than THREE HOURS yesterday. Thank you so, so much to everyone who has already booked. It’s nerve wracking to put something out into the world, but Jayne and I are completely humbled by this response. The standard tickets are also selling quickly, so if you’re planning to join us, please sure make sure you book yours soon to avoid disappointment. BIG LOVE!

Image by Liz Clements.

Join Me in London for a Full Moon Urban Retreat!

full-moon-urban-retreatYesterday’s #lovetober prompt was all about our biggest dreams and I wrote about my desire to make a living creating work that helps people fall in love with themselves, live a life they love, and bring their dreams to life. I want to focus all of my time and passion on helping you truly love and accept yourself. Today I’m so excited to be offering you a chance to get together in person for an incredible day of celebration, relaxation, and magic-making.

I wrote about attending Jayne’s urban retreat back in March and she’s quickly become one of my closest friends. I’m so excited to announce that on 6 December we’re co-hosting a very special Full Moon Urban Retreat before she jets off for a year of international adventure.

Women have traveled from across the UK to attend Jayne’s retreats, so if what we’re doing calls to you, I hope you’ll join us!

Here’s everything you need to know…

Many of us know what it’s like to feel busy and burnt out, forgetting to make space for the things we crave. This Full Moon Urban Retreat will be a day dedicated to delicious ‘you time’ and forging deep connections with other incredible women.

Part of being a wild woman is giving yourself permission to rest & rejuvenate. Lionesses don’t feel guilty for lying in the sun and neither should we. Together we’ll celebrate how far we’ve come and release anything that held us back in 2014. Then it’s time to dance with our desires, get clear on our heart’s deepest wishes, and learn the tools for making our wildest dreams come true in 2015.

full-moon-urban-retreatSaturday 6th December, from 10:30am – 5:30pm in Stoke Newington, North London

What’s included…
• We’ll greet you with a delicious cocktail of infused waters & you can enjoy all-you-can-drink herbal tea throughout the day
• Qoya session – a practice that combines yoga, dance and sensual movement, to remind us that, as women, we are wise, wild, and free. Taught by the UK’s only Qoya instructor (that’s Jayne!)
• Kundalini kriyas and meditations that will help you bust through your blocks
• A plant-based lunch that will nourish your body and offer a colourful slam to the taste buds
• Rituals to help you get clear on your desires and figure out how to take action towards them without being desperate
• A session on creating a daily practice that will support you in living the life you dream of – because it’s what you do everyday that shapes you and your life
• Nibbles and treats to keep you fuelled throughout the day
• A guided relaxation to round out the day before we finish with homemade chocolate and time to exchange details with all the new friends you’ve made.
• A gift and a workbook that will help you bring everything you’ve learned and experienced at the retreat into your daily life

full-moon-urban-retreat3All of this and more is included in the price of only £55 per person (limited £40 early bird tickets available TODAY ONLY, so book now).

You’ll be hard pressed to take a yoga and qoya class and have a nice lunch for that price in London, but we’re offering you so much more.

We all have desires that we want to fulfill and pieces of our lives that we want to look differently. But nothing will change unless we do. Until we take the time and invest in ourselves, we remain stuck. But change doesn’t have to be difficult. And we’re here to bring laughter, love, and support to your journey.

Limited places available. Book now or make a deposit to reserve your space.

We can’t wait to relax, laugh, and expand with you.

xx Jayne & Sarah

Please note that your place is confirmed once you have made payment. While we are 
unable to offer refunds or alternate dates, if for some reason you can’t make it 
then we are very happy to transfer the name on the booking. A two-part payment plan 
is available. Deposits are non-refundable. The second payment will be invoiced via 
PayPal and payment must be received by Saturday 29 November, 2014.

The Expat Diaries: Manifesting My Dream House.

house3Finding somewhere to live in London is a rat race. Properties are snapped up within hours (or minutes!) of being listed. Sifting through listings, making appointments, and darting across the city from viewing to viewing can feel like a full-time job. And it’s shocking how much even the dumpiest of places cost. Case in point: one of my co-workers paid hundreds of dollars a month to live in a converted shed when he first moved to the city.

I’ve already written about finding my first London accommodations.  Before moving I’d envisioned a terraced house on a tree-lined street with a little garden out back. But I’d just landed in England and I only had a week booked at a hostel. It wasn’t a lot of time to find a place, so my expectations weren’t terribly high. I knew I wanted to live in East London, preferably in zone 2 or 3, somewhere that felt safe, in a room that had a double bed and space for a desk. Beyond that, I knew it was going to be a compromise.

The flat I moved into was far from terrible. But it definitely wasn’t homey – there was five of us and only one bathroom, no den, and the aesthetic was very ‘college dorm.’ And I always knew it would be temporary. So with my licence set to expire at the end of September, it was time to start looking for a new flat.

house2I was ready to be pickier this time. I didn’t just want to find somewhere else to live; I wanted to find a home.

While I was visiting Canada, I decided to get really clear on what I was looking for.

I know the thought of “manifesting” might make you cringe. Perhaps it summons images of stroking crystals and chanting about your desires by candlelight while doing absolutely nothing to get whatever it is you want (Jen Dziura of Get Bullish put it well when she tweeted, “Every time you try to ‘manifest’ is time someone else is learning to code, or speak Chinese, or not be an idiot.”) But hear me out, because I still think manifesting is a useful concept.

Why?

Because manifesting is about crystallizing our desires and taking positive action towards them, while allowing space for synchronicity to help us along the way.

Too often we float through life, not really thinking about what we really want. But when we voice our desires we can do what needs to be done to make them happen. And it becomes more likely that we’ll get a helping hand from those around us – and yes, perhaps even from the proverbial universe.

But back to my dream house share.

house1I opened my journal to a fresh page and wrote a really vivid description of where I wanted to live. But I phrased everything as if I had already found it. “I’m so happy and grateful to be living in a house that…” and a list of everything I was looking for, from the big, non-negotiables (a garden, living room, within walking distance to work and, of course, in my budget) and even a bunch of smaller, perhaps ridiculously specific details (black and white tile in the bathroom, big windows, near a canal…)

Once I’d written my list I started reading it to myself everyday. And when I began hunting for a house on SpareRoom, this list helped me stay really clear on what I was looking for even as panic about my looming move-out date started to set in.

And I found it. In fact, I ended up moving into the very first room I looked at. With the exception of hardwood floors in my bedroom, I found a house share that ticked every box on my list and has some incredible bonuses (an en suite bathroom with a tub, French windows in my bedroom looking out onto the canal, a working fireplace in the living room). All for less per month than the rent at my old flat.

I moved in a week ago last Thursday and I already feel so at home. I have two terrific housemates and I’m really enjoying settling in and planning the decor for my new room. Now I really live in that terraced house, complete with the back garden.

So is this all a big coincidence or did I really manifest my dream house share? I’ll let you be the judge of that, but what I’m certain of is the undeniable value of getting clear about what you want and then taking action to make it happen for yourself.

Love, canal boats, & pink bath bombs,
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What I Learned From the Self-Love Book Club

rosie-harder-readerFor 12 months, myself and a small group of women (and one man!) connected online through our shared commitment to self-love, improving our lives, and more fully accepting ourselves.  Each month we read a different book related to self-love (you can find a full list of the books we read and links to the recaps here), sharing our thoughts and lessons learned with one another.

The experience ripped apart so many of my limiting beliefs and reinforced the truths that I held in my heart, while showing me how to bring them into practice in my day-to-day life.

While each book provided its own insights into what self-love means and how we can truly come to adore ourselves, there were also truths that came across again and again. Although they were often expressed differently depending on the particular worldview of the author, these messages came through as almost universal principles. The basic tenets of self-love.

Here they are, as I see them.

Self-love is a form of spirituality.
Last month I read Mastin Kipp’s debut book Daily Love and in it he writes, “Spirituality is a measure of how Loving you are, how unconditionally accepting you are toward yourself and others.” And in one way or another, I think this is what all of the authors we read were saying. All of them experienced some sort of spiritual transformation through their self-love journey – some through religious practice, some through new age mysticism, and others through a deeper communion with their heart and intuition. But ultimately, the practice of self-love is spiritual in and of itself because it’s all about getting in touch with your own unique spirit.

rosie-hardy-one-more-storyLoving ourselves is not selfish.
We can’t truly love others until we learn to love ourselves. Although most of us know this on some level, we still seem to feel guilty if we don’t prioritise the needs of everyone else above our own. Putting ourselves first and committing to self-love is the first step in being of service to the world.

Gratitude is the attitude of self-love.
Self-love happens in the here and now. We can’t hinge our self-love on some future achievement. This is a practice in savouring the present moment and learning to accept ourselves just as we are. When we practice gratitude we cultivate a pervading sense of contentment, we see the beauty that is all around us, we learn the lessons when things don’t go the way we wanted, and we free up space to stop wishing and start making things happen.

Happiness is a choice. Or rather, it’s the product of our choices.
We might think that one small choice – to act out of integrity with our beliefs, to fall out of line with our ambitions, to disregard our intuition  - doesn’t really matter, but each time we make a choice it becomes easier to make that choice again. And those choices add up. They become our habits. We are the product of our choices. They dictate how we feel and how we think. With intention, we can create happiness and a life we love.

Surrender breeds clarity.
We hold on to things so tightly – our hopes, our feels, our relationships with other people – that we can no longer see them clearly. We become confused about who we really are and what we really want. When we learn to let go and surrender the outcome (which we aren’t really in control of anyway), we give ourselves the space for clarity.

rosie-hardie-a-new-chapterWe already have all of the wisdom that we need.
Self-help books, gurus, and workshops have the power to enrich our lives, but they don’t have all the answers. You can’t learn anything until you’re ready to learn it. Self-love tunes us into our inner knowing – the wisdom we already have about who we are and what is best for our unique spirit.

Loving yourself is a radical mode of being.
We aren’t taught how to love ourselves in school. In fact, for most of us growing up means being instilled with the belief that we aren’t good enough and that we need to repress what we really want in order to climb society’s ladder. Loving yourself is a radical act and it has the power to transform your life. But you can’t just say it once and be done with it. Self-love is a lifelong commitment that you must reaffirm everyday through the choices you make, the thoughts you think, and the very way you live your life. But it’s never to late to get started (or start again).

The Self-Love Book Club is currently on hiatus, but I want to hear from you: should we bring it back? How would you most like to participate? Did you like the monthly linkups and Facebook group or would it be easier for you to engage if we held the conversation in the comments of a blog post? Would a Twitter chat be more fun? Do you have an entirely different idea for a format? Is one book a month too much? What books would you most like to read? I’d really appreciate any feedback you have!

Love always,
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Photographs by Rosie Hardy.

This is London: VegFest

VegFest London 2014A couple of weekends ago, Matthew and I headed over to Kensington Olympia to check out the London VegFest – a cornucopia of shopping stalls, entertainment, expert speakers, and mouthwatering food stalls. While crowded convention centres tend to put me on edge, we spent a fun hour or so browsing the aisles and finding delicious things to eat.

Vegan Tuck Box at VegFest London 2014We meandered through the stalls, sampling the treats that were on offer and doing a bit of shopping. There were so many great brands to check out, and being relatively new to the UK, there were lots that I’d never seen before. I was particularly tempted by Vegan Tuck Box (pictured above) – a monthly subscription service that includes ten vegan treats delivered to your door each month. But rather than signing up (such restraint!), I bought one of my favourite Go Max Twilight Bars (like a vegan Mars bar) and a Vego Hazelnut Chocolate Bar. Throughout the afternoon I also picked up cacao nibs, Breakfast Without Cereal, and the first issue of Vegan Life, which was on sale for £1.

VegFest-UKVegFest-UK-2After doing a circuit of the food stalls, we both decided we wanted to get lunch from The Hungry Gecko. Matthew decided on a Bahn Mi Buddha stuffed baguette (with gochujan tofu, roasted pate and pickled veg), while I opted for these baked “veggie duck” spring rolls. I tried a bite of his and have to say that both were absolutely delicious! I would have happily gone back for seconds, if I wasn’t so stuffed.

If you didn’t make it to VegFest in September, don’t fret as it happens every year and they also do fairs in Brighton and Bristol. In fact, there are lots of vegetarian and vegan events happening across the UK all the time. Check out the VegFest events directory to find out what’s happening next! And perhaps I’ll see you at the Animal Aid Christmas Fayre in December.

Have you ever been to VegFest? What’s your favourite veggie brand?

Love, hazelnut chocolate, & cacao smoothies,
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Top two photos courtesy of VegFest UK.
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