An inner peace – Day 5 at Gaia

She awoke before her alarm sounded at 6.45am and prepared for her first yoga session. Obviously her body had gotten the rest it needed and was ready to face an earlier day. And she was so glad it had. Yoga was blissful – breathing, stretching, flowing through the poses for 90 minutes, lengthening her sore muscles, strengthening her limbs, by the end she was awake and buzzing with a happy, healthy glow that she was sure shone from the inside out.

Breakfast that morning was also a new experience, it was the first time she had sat at the communal table. Her and three other ladies enjoyed breakfast over chit chat and friendly conversation.

In fact, her day continued this way with a cooking class taken with new found friends by the head chef. There wasn’t much taste testing, but the learning was fun and everyone had a laugh and took home a little information they didn’t have before.

Before lunch the girl decided to take a walk. She had already ran around the property but this time she wanted to savour it. She wanted to look at the trees, feel the wind and take it all in because after all, this was her last day here.

Soaking in the sunshine and the view

Soaking in the sunshine and the view

The walk turned out to be even better than she had hoped. She wandered through nature, smile on her face and found the labyrinth; a section perched high on the property, in fact, at the highest point in the Ballina Shire. At its center was a Buddha statue. She bowed her head, put her hands to her heart in prayer and took the first step. She knew about the labyrinth, knew it was a section of the property that had a vortex of positive energy around it and she felt it straight away. Inside this labyrinth you are supposed to work out the meaning of your life. Ask and answer questions of yourself and the girl knew exactly what to ask. And, strangely enough, after all she had learned this week, she also now knew the answers. So instead of trying to work her way around the maze she just put one foot in front of another and trusted that she would get to the end. And she did. That’s what she had learned about life. You have to look up, trust in yourself and enjoy the journey.

Let your heart guide you through life

Let your heart guide you through life

She said another prayer and kissed the Buddha’s head before letting the paths lead her back out again, her heart bursting with love. She had opened up that space inside her chest and was able to let life in. Everything around her sang and life seemed to dance in the wind; she was at one with nature, and she loved it.

She touched the trees as she wandered along the rest of the walkway; she smiled, inhaled deeply, listened to the insects, the birds and heard them a little differently. It was as though their song was in time with her own breath. It felt surreal.

That afternoon she made her way back to the spa for a lymphatic drainage massage with Angelique. It was soothing, it was strong, lively and the chimes that centered her at the end left her buzzing. Everything about this day felt heightened and she knew she was ready to go home.

At dinner she sat with her new friends, enjoyed a glass of organic wine, another delicious meal and great company. It was her last night and she enjoyed every moment. Tomorrow she would see her amazing husband. She couldn’t wait to share this experience with him and cuddle up to her pup Sookie. She went to be that night feeling very content.

Run in the sun – Gaia day 4

She slept until 9am. This was becoming a bad habit, but she took the advice of both her practitioners from the previous day; the acupuncturist who said she may feel overly tired, and if so, to rest, and the astrologist who said to listen to her heart not her head when making decisions. This morning’s decision was ‘get up for yoga or go back to sleep’. Sleep won.

After a quick shower she went over to breakfast and found one of her favourite workers, Josh, was there. He was a young guy, always happy and always helpful. He served her corn and ricotta fritters and a lemongrass tea to go with the porridge she poured out for herself.

She felt great today. The acupuncture had definitely done something because she had energy, and she wanted to get out and see some things down this end of the world. So running gear on, she packed some bathers and a towel and drove the half hour to beautiful Byron Bay. It’s funny because although she had been here before, she didn’t remember it at all. The beaches were stunning – blue and silver hues with crashing white waves and azure patches of green. The streets were filled with hippies and holiday makers walking, riding bikes and driving their cars in search of the best car park. She found her park just a block from the main beach, paid the $12 to park there and set off on a 7km run to the lighthouse and back.

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In the hot sun she ran along the beach track, up steps and steep winding pathways, down similar tracks and back up again to Palm Valley. From there, she had 1.7km to go to the lighthouse and with determination, sore legs and a lot of sweat she pushed on up even steeper paths and slimmer tracks until she reached the top. It was a great accomplishment and she felt a sense of pride. It was getting even hotter so she had a sip of water and carried on back to the starting point, this time stopping here and there for a photo and to take in the breathtaking views out over the rocks, the ocean, the beach, the trees – it was magnificent and in that moment she felt totally content just being who she was, where she was.

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Back at the main beach she ran onto the sand, stripped down to shorts and a sports bra and dived in to the powerful swell. The cool water hit her skin and she inhaled the smell of the salt, licked it off her lips and dived under the waves one by one until she felt ready to get out and walk back to her car barefoot.

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Back at Gaia a smoked trout salad was awaiting and she ate it all before meeting with the retreats owner Gregg for a chat about how this amazing place all came to be. He was an interesting man, wearing a suit with thongs, she felt envious of this amazing life he has made for himself out here. She really enjoyed their chat; he was easy to be around.

That afternoon she was treated to an hour of luxurious bliss at the spa which presented itself in the form of a steam room body scrub and facial mask. Wow. 20 minutes in a spectacular steam room, complete with twinkling lights on the roof, she lay there almost naked and let the steam engulf her from head to toe until the therapist returned and lathered the most deliciously scented lemon myrtle and wattle seed salt scrub on her body. Starting with the legs, the feet, the back, the arms, the chest and stomach and then finally the face. A mask and cucumber on the eyes then soothed the face and she was left once again to absorb this into her skin while the steam took her into a warm cloud once again. By the end her skin felt crazily soft as the therapist showered her right there on the bed.

She floated back to her room and there she stayed lost in thought for a few hours until it was time again for dinner. She stared blankly out the window, something that felt natural to her from the day she arrived, but something she didn’t feel at ease doing until now. It’s funny how society tells you something is normal and something else isn’t, she thought. People don’t just sit and ponder these days. Now she was.

Dinner was fantastic as always – beetroot and ricotta arancini balls, Cajun chicken breast and black bean salsa finished with mango and peach crumble. Another day in paradise she thought as she made her way to bed, but that niggling headache that had found her every night since the massage found her again. She took it as a good sign though, if not an annoying one, but to her it meant there was change inside her body, things were moving and energy was flowing. It was a sign of re balance so she sucked it up and tried to fall to sleep.

Star light star bright – Gaia Day 3

She had a restless sleep. The wish to feel her husband’s skin and hear her dog’s breath made it hard to find stillness. She had watched a movie – Julie & Julia – and felt somewhat inspired before lights out but when the lights did go out she felt a little homesick. She also had a pounding headache! The massage had moved things inside her and although her muscles were like jelly to touch, the release of tension was now causing pain.

Sleep did finally come but not until quite late so when her alarm sounded at 6am, again she turned it off and kept sleeping. It was nearly 9 before she jumped in the shower and made her way to breakfast – headache gone.

She was hungry today. She ate mushroom frittata, porridge and a plate of fruit. She was feeling anxious this morning too – but in a good way – because today was the day she had her astrology reading. Something she never thought she’d do, but having a deep connection to the stars and the moon she was eager to hear what they had to say for her.

At 11.30 she began the walk back to the Gaia Spa to meet her reader Gisela. Gisela was a short lady with long brown hair let loose and a German accent. The girl instantly felt at ease and so Gisela led her to the secret garden where the reading would be held. There were two parts to the reading, Gisela said. The first was about how the stars and planets aligned at her time of birth, the second part was how everything aligned now.

Within about three minutes, the girl was in shock. The lines drawn out before her on the chart and Gisela’s words all made sense. Down to the tee. This was her. This was her life. This explained so many things she held tucked away inside her. To go into too much detail would simply take too long and well, the girl didn’t necessarily want to share her findings with anyone. She had her answers, she knew what she had to do and she felt as though a weight had been lifted off her shoulders because finally, things made sense; why she was who she was and why she felt things she did. These charts, and this magnificent woman Gisela whom the girl hugged before she left, had brought her peace. The shimmering stars could not have been more accurate if they tried.

The walk back up the hill to her room didn’t feel so steep now. Her eyes were wide open and she knew they were bright as sunshine, sparling like diamonds. She pondered her reading over lunch letting the wind blow across her face. She could hardly eat she was so happy.

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But it was not the end of her treatments for today. The stars had spoken to her, shared an insight into the inner workings of her mind and soul, now a Chinese Medicine consultation would teach her the workings of her physical being.

Cassandra made her feel right at home; in fact all the therapists at Gaia did that. She was led into the consultation room and sat down. Cassandra felt her pulse and examined her tongue – an odd feeling. She kept thinking lucky she brushed her teeth after lunch! It wasn’t much of a surprise when Cassandra told her she was flat. That’s exactly the way she had been feeling for quite some time. It was amazing what Cass could tell just from her pulse and tongue. She knew the girl had digestion issues, her adrenal glands were in overdrive, her liver was overworked and freaking out and her kidneys were in trouble. This is why the heart pain and anxiety was getting worse. The liver couldn’t take it anymore so he sent the problems up to the heart to fix. Then the heart freaked out. That was how Cass described it. ‘For someone so young, this is a concern because Chinese believe your kidneys are like a money bank. Your liver will withdraw money from there when he needs it to help him get through, but when all the money is gone… that’s it. When the kidneys are used up, you die,” Cass said.

It was strange how it all connected, the girl thought. The physical symptoms all matched up with the emotional ones, and without fixing the emotional, the physical couldn’t recuperate properly either.

Cass then gave the girl acupuncture; something that made her nervous. She wasn’t much for needles yet here she was spread out like Jesus on the bed with four needles in each foot/ankle, one in each shin, one in each wrist and one sticking out from her forehead like a unicorns horn. She felt tingling, a warmness in her stomach, heart fluttering and her left hand went completely dead. But at the end, the needles had done their job and the energy within her body had moved.

That afternoon she didn’t do much, just turned on the air con and jumped into bed, then sat out in the fresh air with a book, then took a bath. By dinner time she was feeling more awake and hungry.

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It wasn’t her intention to sit by herself tonight. She was inspired to exchange treatment stories with the other guests but the communal table was empty! So she enjoyed prawns and avocado salsa, sword fish and raspberry mousse on her own then went back to her room after a quick salute to the setting sun and went to bed.

It had been a big day.

Breathe in, breathe out!

Day 7 of ’10 days for 10 minutes’ and I’m feeling great!

The first 2 days of Headspace were very relaxing. I followed the prompts, I let go, I felt like I was getting the whole idea of meditation.

Then came day 4.

Day 4 was a bit of a road bump. I didn’t feel relaxed, I didn’t feel much else but anxious and annoyed.

In hindsight perhaps this was because of the change of situation. The first 3 days were pretty quiet, the room was the same, my position on the bed was the same and I got comfortable in this routine. The 4th day, my hubby was in the room on his phone, the fan was on and I just wast feeling right. I continued on though and well, failed.

But, back on the horse as they say, and day 5 was much better. In fact, I think I slipped into some deeper space on day 5 and again on day 6. I think I reached a ‘true’ place of meditation. And it felt amazing.

Translating this into real life has been a bit of a success too.  I am taking the things I’m learning from the meditation and adapting the lessons to real life situation. I’m breathing more, I’m centering myself, I’m stretching, pausing to think things through, relaxing my facial muscles… I’m being mindful!



Get into the Headspace

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

Mediation; the foundation of peace. This is how I begin my journey.

Today will in fact be day 3 of ‘10 days for 10 minutes’. For the past 2 nights I have rested my head, palms to the sky, lavender infused eye cover on and meditated for 10 minutes. And I feel great.

I downloaded the app Headspace which in itself is a 10 days for 10 minutes challenge designed to make people aware of meditation, what it is, why it’s important and how it can help bring stillness to your life.

Every day we are so busy with work, family, life that it’s easy to forget how to just stop. This brilliant little app is the first step in my journey to be mindful.

I’ve chosen to meditate before bed for a few reasons. Firstly, I don’t get to sleep easy, so I figure actively disengaging will help bring on sleep. Also, it means I am turning off the tv, phones any electronics earlier and not touching them directly before bed. I’m preparing myself for sleep. I’m being mindful of the fact it is time for rest and taking steps to improve that rest period.

It’s worked too! The past 2 days I’ve fallen asleep within 10 minutes of tucking myself in, this is a big improvement of about 45 minutes which is how long it usually takes me to switch off.

So as I said, today is day 3 and already I’m feeling a change.

What will you do to be mindful today?



Mindfull or mindless?

It doesn’t take very long to establish a bad habit. In fact, probably only 2 to 3 days.

For example, if on your way to work you drop in at your local coffee haunt on Monday, then again on Tuesday; chances are you are going to instinctively drop in again on Wednesday. (Typing this while sipping on said coffee from said haunt!!!!).

Unfortunately bad habits are easy to establish. Good habits, not so much.

In fact, some say on average it takes 28 days to change a habit. This of course is not a number set in stone, but the time frame it takes people to generally notice change in their habits.

When it comes to working out and seeing change in your body, well, this takes even longer!

After about 3-4 weeks you have developed the habit of training and eating well (if you stick it out that long) and this is when you get emotional results. The physical stuff doesn’t really show until about week 6. After 8 weeks your energy is up and then by 12 weeks your body has started to change.

I suppose my point is that shit tends to take its time! And we live in a world of impatience. We want everything NOW.

I’m a perfect example of this. The minute an idea pops into my head, I don’t want to wait a few weeks to carry it out, I must do it immediately.

Very bad habit.

So, now I get to the point of the post. I am going to take on a new approach to changing habits. Not just ones related to my fitness and health but to my life in general because I think that’s where we go wrong in this whole process.

We want to look like the perfect specimen (think Candice Swanepoel) but we want to look like that now! Reality check… that aint going to happen!

We want to feel good, fit, healthy, want our skin to glow, our hair to shine today… but we chowed down on nachos last night and our tummies are bloated as hell. So once again, not happening.

We need to first learn patience, mindfulness and find peace in our thoughts before we can translate this into actions. We need to learn that its ok to take time, we can reach our goals, 12 weeks isn’t such a long time in the big scheme of things and patience will allow us to push through and not give up so quickly.

In order to do this, I’m going to find my inner peace and learn how to be mindful.


So begins the ‘10 days for 10 minutes’ challenge. For 10 days I will incorporate one 10 minute activity into my daily schedule that will bring me a sense of mindfulness. Something that will force me to stop, breathe, and just be. I feel this will help me discover the importance of mindfulness and I will eventually have the ability to transfer this skill into other aspects of my life, ie. health and fitness.

After the 10 days are up, I will carry on the original activity and add another activity to the schedule. This challenge will go on for 30 days; about the time it takes to change a habit!

Check back in tomorrow to find out about challenge 1, and in the meantime, think about this…

Why is it important to be mindful? Well, what’s the alternative? Mindlessness?

I know which I prefer.

Peace out!