If you let beauty in, you will feel more beautiful – Day 2 at Gaia

Her alarm went off at 6am but a need to keep sleeping stopped her from rising and attending the yoga class that morning. Instead she shut her eyes and drifted back off to her dreams tangled in the cushions and sheets. When she did wake at 8am she felt better, ready to face the day and her morning run.

The track that led around the property was 1.5km but traversed steep grassy slopes, winding rocky paths and rain forest. It was beautiful. Her lungs hurt pretty quickly with the higher altitude but she pushed on and took in her surroundings trying not to stop as she caught her breath. She remembered a passage from the book she was reading, The Alchemist, that said ‘the secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never forget the drops of oil on the spoon’. The girl wanted to drink in the beauty of this place but needed to remember her own goals and ambitions outside of this week too. Her promise to herself to run 3.2km every day for a year. If she let altitude and sore limbs stop her from doing something as simple as a run, how would she be able to face the real obstacles in life? And what was the point of running with your head down missing the stunning scenery?

Time to run

Time to run

Feeling proud, and very sweaty, she wiped down and went for breakfast where she joined another guest who was checking out that day. They spoke about their reasons for coming to Gaia, the treatments they had or were having, and the girl began to feel quite comfortable with this stranger whose skin glowed and eyes sparkled, she had been there 10 days! ‘That’s what I want to feel when I’m ready to leave’ she thought.

Instead of joining the 10.30am nature walk she stayed in her room, book once again in hand, determined to uncover the truths of life and the answers to her internal questions. As she flicked through the pages the rain poured down on the roof, the battering of the elements going on above her head was strangely peaceful.

At 11.30 she made her way to Kukura House to give clay sculpting a go. An idea that turned out to be immensely satisfying. Over the next two hours she turned a square lump of brown clay into a voluptuous woman. Who would have thought this exercise in patience could be so rewarding. Using her fingers she smoothed the clay woman’s shape, rounded her breasts and carved out blossoming buttock cheeks with her hands. She gave the sculptured woman a neck, a waist, shoulders – life. It was highly therapeutic and the two hours flew past with a focus on nothing more than molding something boring into something of beauty.

Lunch went by; alone she sat enjoying a vegetarian extravaganza on her plate while looking out through the glass windows across the fields. It was almost time for her first treatment in the spa and she was eager to get there.

On a stroll to the spa

On a stroll to the spa

Robe and slippers on, she meandered through the gardens; hedges flanking brick pavers, towering palms and trees the colour of spun gold. When Dan, her therapist, greeted her in the waiting room she followed him through the corridor to the third room, de-robed and placed herself on the bed.

The warm oil seeped into her skin as his strong arms kneaded her tension away, stroke by glorious stroke she felt muscles unclench, bones crack lightly and the energy realign inside her. His breath showed hers the way as the massage continued on, pushing, pulling, stoking, guiding and nurturing her body and soul to a place of joy and sheer relaxation. It was one of the best massages she had ever had.

In the waiting room he gave her fruit and water spiked with citrus so her fluids would replenish, then she made her way back to the room.

http://www.gaiaretreat.com.au/day-spa

It was almost cruel and unusual punishment after such relaxation to have to climb the hill back to her room. Small steps got her there uneasily as she floated on pampered feet. A bath called to her, as did a relaxation tea, and the warm water washed away whatever small bit of stress was left in her body. She smiled, a deep hazily fulfilled smile and soaked.

That afternoon as the sun shone through grey clouds she took a walk around the property again, this time to the lookout. An energized scattering of rocks and ethereal white womanly statue mark the lookout and the view was breathtaking.

lookout large lr

Gazing out over pastures, trees and rolling countryside, orchards to the right and forest to the left, it was almost too perfect, like someone had painted this on the horizon. She thought to herself ‘I suppose that’s what nature is, its perfect in its imperfections and it’s the embodiment of beauty’. She stayed there a while, perched on a rock first taking some time to meditate, then she laid back on a sunbed and watched the clouds float by, the chirping of insects the only sound. As if on a search for thriving life she then wandered to the veggie garden, a square fenced section of beauty, sprinkled with herbs, veggies, citrus fruits, and all the colours of the rainbow. She stopped to inhale the fresh scent of vine ripening tomatoes – one of her favourite smells – and sat watching the bugs for a while before heading back to her room to change, ready for another scrumptious dinner.

Bursting with life and colour

Bursting with life and colour

Something about the way she felt tonight made her choose to sit alone again. She wanted to really take it all in. She noticed the green grey gum standing proud directly in front of the pavilion. It was so still you could make out the tiny black ants traversing the branches. All you could really see were tree tops on the horizon and when the sun peaked through the grey clouds it sent slivers of light to illuminate the leaves. Inside, the cane chairs contrasted with crisp white linen on the tables and the copper glow from the candles matched the burnt orange hue coming from the lamps, each uniquely and intricately designed in unusual shapes and sizes scattered throughout the room.

During dinner she read a little, wrote a little and ate a lot – tonight’s menu was Harvey Bay scallops, baked chicken and veg and panacotta with lime and dragon fruit. The thing about food here was that it was always healthy, fresh, bursting with flavours and so vibrant on the plate. Perhaps the best part was that it was designed to your dietary requirements and simply placed before you. No choices, no hassles, just there ready when you were.

When she had finished it was back to her room, another glorious sun shower (at 8pm) sprinkled down on her skin during the walk, then she drew the curtains and snuggled up in bed to watch a movie.

And she glowed from the inside out…

When I started operation nutrition my skin was dull, slightly red and it didn’t look as smooth as I’d probably like it to.

Now, 11 weeks on (almost to the day) my skin has a glow about it. The redness is subsiding and it’s smoothing out. My cheeks don’t look so dull and the softness is returning.

At the start of the journey back in September

At the start of the journey back in September

After the 11 weeks!

After the 11 weeks!

It’s amazing what a difference food can make. Just by putting the right nutrients inside your body you can make a real difference to the outside appearance as well.

For example, if you are stuffing your face with fast food, processed food and bad fats, your skin will start to reflect the amount of grease and saturated fats you’re ingesting.

Similarly, foods that are good foryour body weight seem to be equally as good for your skin. So if you consume a lot of fruits, veg, lean meats, nuts, legumes, etc then your skin will reflect this freshness and radiate health! This is what I’m now starting to see!

And, appearance aside, after 11 weeks I’m really starting to FEEL a difference as well. My energy is up, I’m finding that by eating the right types of food for my body I now have more energy to do longer gym workouts or to push myself more which in turn equals fat loss (bonus!!). I am getting less tired during the day, I feel happier in general and my mood swings are not so frequent. Even my periods are becoming more regular and less painful (which any woman knows is a bloody good thing!).

Bloating was a regular thing at the start of the journey

Bloating was a regular thing at the start of the journey

At the 11 week mark, bloating is gone!

At the 11 week mark, bloating is gone!

When I started on this journey with my wonderful nutritionist Jessica Cox I had an idea of what I wanted to get out of it. I really wanted to learn what foods weren’t right for me and I wanted to learn how to replace those foods with ones that were right for me. I have certainly achieved this! I suppose in the back of my mind I wanted to be eating better so I could lose some weight, which I also achieved! Simply feeling better in general was the main purpose of seeing a nutritionist in the first place. This, I have absolutely achieved. The cramps, nausea, fatigue, headaches and bloating have pretty much stopped completely. Of course I’m still adjusting to this lifestyle so there are occasional slip ups which leave me a little bloated but these are few and far between now.

They say new habits are formed and results start to happen after 12 weeks and I think this is pretty spot on! One important thing I’ve learnt throughout this journey is that you need to be patient and you need to be kind to yourself and your body. Health is a journey and there is no quick fix. Sticking it out is the only way to prosper. And getting support, such as I did with Jess, makes the journey soooooo much smoother and soooooo much easier. I could not have made these changes without her!

So for all of those working on their 2014 resolutions, if getting your health back on track pops up, see a nutritionist. You will not regret the investment. And if you give it a bit of time and stay positive and on track, when you get to the 12 week mark you WILL be able to look back and see some stand out changes to your health, your body and your skin!

Check out www.jessicacox.com.au –make health your priority next year!

PS she has some DELICIOUS recipes on the site as well!

Balayage & bangs baby!

balayage hair

I DID IT! I CHANGED MY HAIR!

So after having long and blonde for so long i took the plunge and changed it up a bit.

Thanks so much for all the suggestions and likes on the previous hair post. It really helped me make up my mind.

Balayage is something I have wanted to try for a while and I’m so glad I did. I LOVE IT!

I’ve gone from long and blonde to a light balayage with bangs!

Shout out to Hannah at Hair by H.S.M.B for doing an awesome job 🙂

What do you guys think??? Maybe I’ve given you the courage to go out and change your own hair style 🙂

HELP! I need a change

Does anyone else have those moments where you just NEED a change! Not want one, but feel deep in your bones, your soul that you really, really need one and your head may just explode if you don’t get one?

Ok perhaps it’s not quite that bad but lately I have been feeling as though it is time for a change. I’m happy in my job, so I don’t want to change that, I love my little charmer of a home, I don’t have the money for a new wardrobe (dam!) so hair change it is!

Let me give you a bit of a history condensed into a few lines about me and my hair.

First of all, it kinda resembles a lion’s mane. My hair is big, buffy with a natural wave and it’s been some shade of blonde most of my life. I have dyed it brown twice before and black once (this was an accident and a whoooolllleeee other story). But that’s about it. It has also been mostly long. Although a few years ago I did chop it all off with a bit of a concave do that fell under my ears.

Me now (with beautiful grammy)

I have decided I don’t want to cut my hair this time… I’m really loving it being long again, except for maybe a really cute fringe (bring on the bangs!!!!) and some layers. I do possibly want to colour it but like many women out there I’m fickle and well quite frankly scared to make a drastic change.

I think this all comes down to identity. I know it shouldn’t, and in my next blog I’m going to get a bit more in depth about this, but let’s face it, we do see our hair as part of our identity and we are afraid to make too much of a change in case it somehow changes the person we are… although deep down I’m sure we all know this wouldn’t actually happen.

Anyways, let’s leave the deep stuff for next time. This post is really just to throw some ideas out there and see what you all think? So… what do you think????

Til next time…

(post comments here below or on FB (www.facebook.com/lahneeland)

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