Man vs Nature

I have always loved the juxtaposition between nature and man-made objects whilst taking photographs. I feel like the harsh contrast illustrates the natural beauty in the world.

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Central Park - a moment of peace in bustling New York city.

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Nature behind bars.

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Reflections.

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Niagara Falls - a naturally formed waterfall, exploited for tourism.

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Cable over water.

There's Liberation in Limitation

 

How do you define the concept of freedom?

I suppose most people would say that it is the license to do whatever you want without much restraint.  However, just because something is permissible, doesn't mean that it is advisable or even necessarily beneficial to your overall well-being.

When we think about limits, we tend to view them as this dark looming force acting as the arch enemy of free will, oppossing our sovereignty, oppressing our liberated spirits, and stifling our desire for self-determination. If you only knew that in some cases, this view point could actually be the reason why you haven't yet fully achieved your dreams.

What I've come to realize is that there can in fact be such a thing as positive limits. I'm growing into the understanding that to achieve a certain level of personal success, most of the time setting limits and restrictions on ourselves and our behaviors is key!  Trust me, this timely revelation has allowed me of late, to happily bask in the glory of true freedom.

In my quest to mine the depths of self-discovery, I've found that some of the limits I've placed on myself have not only turned out to be positive, but they've helped me to thrive.  I'm beginning to go beyond the limits I'd previously imposed on myself, able to now push back the boundaries of what I had once thought was possible.  While digging throughout my life for the pearl of self-realization, through self-regulation, I've found my authentic self!

Flashback

Looking back on my misspent youth, it's almost comical how I devoted swathes of time studying the components of shallow living instead of attempting to develop my genuine self.  It would seem that I mastered the art of maintaining and projecting an image of how I wanted to be seen in order to satisfy the standards of others - thus forgoing any attempt to explore the properties of my own authenticity or full potential.

It's humorous how I actually viewed myself as a rebel, who fashioned himself as a nonconformist.  What I actually was, was a guy who lived a rather self-indulgent lifestyle, testing the limits of my own hedonistic capacity, while being insubordinate to my own true nature.

I sought happiness through and unquenchable amount of pleasure seeking, but never finding any true satisfaction, because I sought comfort in frivolous, noxious, and unhealthy pursuits.  My life revolved around unfavorable behaviors and habits, spending many years languishing in the shadow of who and what I hoped to become.

It turns out that I was less of the rebel I espoused to be, and more of an unfocused, undisciplined and uninspired ne'er-do-well, with foggy goals in life.  But once this withered lifestyle became far too painful to bear, I willed myself to find something that would pry me out of my rut and use it as a springboard to go beyond happiness to outright joy.

Think Inside the Box

There are certain limits that are frankly uncool, and these are the restrictions in life that we do not choose!

They are the ones that come from some man-made authority that dictates certain "do's and don't's" that don't always align with our belief systems.  Whether they are mandated to us from some institution or we picked them up doing our public schooling, these are the limits we tend to reject.

The cool limits I'm talking about, are the conscious restrictions we place on ourselves after we begin to find out who we are and what we want - and we are ready to develop laser focus in order to someday arrive at the place we want to be.

The more constraints we place on ourselves, the more free we'll be, because the lack of constrains can be paralyzing.

Living a life within the margins WE select gives our lives structure, which allows us to channel our energies and creative pursuits, directing them toward the goals we are trying to achieve.

There is a big difference between the common, in-grained limitations we readily encounter that are experienced through the lens of indecision and fear versus the ones we consciously choose through certainty and love.

Once we un-learn and shed the false information that was thrust upon us, we'll awaken to the fact that limitations are a test of our consistency, self-discipline, and willpower.  If you plant the seeds of these attributes you will undoubtedly produce positive fruit!

The limits we place on ourselves are not hinderances to our success, they are the tools that will set us free.  So use limits to live your best life imaginable.

MB

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11 Thoughts and Bits of Information Gathered This Week

 

Hello Everyone,

A barrage is defined as a "vigorous or rapid outpouring or projection of many things at once" - as in, "the receptionist was hit with a barrage of phone calls; or "when she entered the studio, she was hit with a barrage of colors."

This week, I want to hit you with a barrage of 11 thoughts, and bits of informationI've pondered and picked up over the previous week.

1. Tax Holiday Weekend

This past weekend we took advantage of the tax free holiday here in Virginia, by taking the 50 minute ride to the Richmond area, and turned it into a weekend getaway by staying overnight.  Just another way we are attempting to make the most of the summer.

2.  Inappropriate Reading

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Marley, our oldest, is heading off to middle school next year, and the new school sent the parents a list of mandatory summer and fall readings.  One of the books on the list, (Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata) strikes me as inappropriate after reading much of it - especially for our child.  The book contains some mature language and adult themes that leads me to wonder...should some books be off limits to children? For me, the answer is yes! At least until the parent feels that the child is mature enough to deal with the subject matter.  It's not about banning books, it's about doing our jobs as parents to filter the information our children consume until they are mature enough to discern for themselves.  What do you think?

3.  You Don't Need Weights to Build Muscle

This weekend I was doing simple lateral arm raises in the mirror, and after struggling my way to a count of 35, it donned on me that you really don't need weights to stay toned.

4.  New Term - Neoliberalism

Being a Neoliberal, is a term I came across this week after reading a scathing article written by Dr. Cornel West accusing Ta-Nehisi Coates of being one. I wasn't familiar with this idea so I looked it up.  By definition, Neoliberalism, is "a modified form of liberalism that favors free market capitalism.  But this simple description only scratches the surface.  In this article posted on The Guardian, Stephen Metcalf says that neoliberalism strips away the things that make us human.

5.  Our new show - Anne with an E

Anne with an E, on Netflix, is a smart, stylish, and beautifully acted series that we all like to snuggle up and enjoy watching together.  Based on the novel, Anne of Green Gables, the show also sparks some rather interesting family discussions about living an authentic life.

6.  What I'm Reading

A Course in Miracles, is not your typical summertime pleasure read.  This book is about making a lifestyle shift.  I read a passage every morning, and it's changing my life for the better one paragraph at a time!

7.  Quote of the Week

Step into the fire of self-discovery. This fire will not burn you, it will only burn what you are not.”
― Mooji

8.  Upcoming Author Visit  on 8/12/2018

I will be making an author visit to Oak Union Baptist church.  I look forward to meeting and greeting as always!

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9.  Baltimore Museum of Art has an artist in their midst

Shout out to my sister Andrea Boston, who curates all things social media for the Baltimore Museum of Art.  Follow her (them) on Instagram.

10.  Go over to Youtube and check out our new channel full of love and shenanigans.

 

11.  Last But Not Least - It's Barnes and Noble time!

Type in this promo code - F3V9K7K and save up to 20% off your next order at Barnes & Noble

Weekend Pics

At Target enjoying the tax free holiday

At Target enjoying the tax free holiday

Yet another late night hotel wake up call

Yet another late night hotel wake up call

Can't go to Richmond without stopping at Carytown Cupcakes

Can't go to Richmond without stopping at Carytown Cupcakes

Whoops, one didn't make is in the pic...it sure was delicious though!

Whoops, one didn't make is in the pic...it sure was delicious though!

Just a bit of weekend fun!

Just a bit of weekend fun!

Get Your Copy

Just click the link to head over to www.marcboston.com, to get your copy!

These students are thrilled to receive their copies of our latest book.

These students are thrilled to receive their copies of our latest book.

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Not Fair to Compare


"Always remember that you are absolutely unique, just like everyone else." - Margaret Mead

One of the most remarkable revelations I've ever received, was discovering just how useless comparing myself to others is.  Unfortunately, I struggled with this misconception for more years that I care to admit. 

It started around high school when I slowly began unjustly judging myself on a great number of things.  Whether it was my athletic prowess in gym class, my popularity among the student body, or my academic performance, I would regularly measure myself against the talent, charisma, and intellect of others.

This tendency lamentably lingered on into my young adulthood, where I put away my childish judgement ruler and began scrutinizing my strengths and weaknesses using a much bigger, more adult yardstick.  

I graduated to comparing job titles, income, vehicle make and models, and other worldly possessions as my perceived basic standards of success.

Too Hard on Yourself

"Comparison is the thief of joy." - Franklin Roosevelt

My tendency to compare may have worked in my favor had I used it as a motivational tool for personal growth.  Instead it became a source of pain because I took the strengths of others and compared them to my weaknesses, so it seemed to me as if I was failing.

This sort of self-criticism obviously doesn't feel good!

Self-judgement is often at the root of our pain.  We judge ourselves harshly, we judge our past, present, and future experiences, and we even judge our feelings.

From my limited and shortsighted perspective, everyone seemed to be doing better than me, as I hadn’t yet learned how to:

  • Create my own standards for success

  • Choose my own path of fulfillment

  • Set goals that were authentic and not superficial

As a result, I felt as if I were constantly marinating in a stew of disappointment, frustration, discouragement, anger, and anxiety.

The Consequence is Low Self-Confidence

"Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle or your middle to someone else's end." - Tim Hiller

When we compare ourselves, our self-esteem takes a major hit - This could cause us to stop pursuing our goals and dreams before we even really get going.

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For example, when I first began writing picture books, I would often compare myself to other authors.  However, I made the mistake of measuring my efforts against writers who had been in the game for years - writers who had paid their dues behind the scenes and were justifiability being rewarded the fruits of their labor.  They were experiencing a level of success that took them sometimes years to gain, yet I wished to be decorated with those same accolades right out of the gate.

Was it fair to compare my beginning effort to someone else's middle effort?

Instead, of comparing, I learned to focus on my strengths - writing honest, substantive stories that have meaning for me; knowing that with some effort and patience, I would manifest what success looked like for me!

You Do You, I'll Do Me

"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde

It's so cool that we have the ability to acknowledge the fact that so many people have a variety of talents - and when those people let their talent shine, we can all benefit from that.  However, we should try spending a little more time focusing on our own talents and strengths instead of the strengths of others.  We will be of greater service to ourselves and those whose lives we touch by developing a true awareness of our own value and self-worth.

How do we go about learning what our value is? Here's a link to The Seven Signs You Know Your Value.

Develop Resilience

"To love is to stop comparing." - Bernard Grasset

So how do we stop squandering our happiness and get out of the comparison trap?

Be aware.  We've been comparing ourselves to others for so long that it has become a bad habit.  Like other bad habits, we must first admit that we have a problem to become more conscious.  Becoming aware of the thoughts that are going through our minds helps us to identify who or what triggers our envious thoughts.  Be mindful of the fact that these thoughts add no value to our lives and STOP!

Pause.  Remember that these are real emotions that may show up every day, or even moment to moment.  Putting them in their proper place will take time and practice.  Don't beat yourself up! Acknowledge the thought and then shift focus.

Be grateful. Shift your focus back to yourself and what you’ve already been blessed with.  Count what you have and look forward to the things you plan to gain by focusing on following your unique path.

Have hope.  To compare as a source of motivation is one thing, but to "covet" is not cool! Do you admire these people, or do you want what they have?  Let's be real, you will never have exactly what they have.  It may look similar, but it will always be different.  Embrace that fact.  You can use people as motivation because they inspire you, but when you just want their "stuff" then you've entered into unhealthy territory.

The only person you should be better than, is who you were yesterday.

Remember that they are just people too, and if they can do great things, so can you.  

Don't fall for the okey-doke by allowing other people's successes to make you feel a sense of lack.  Flip the script and use comparisons as motivation to become a better person so that maybe you can use that energy to increase the joy in your own little corner of the world.

MB


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HOME: All I Had To Do Was Open My Eyes...


There is this concept of home that seems to ever circle the internet of people traveling to places that have yet to be molded by the hands of man with some ridiculous views, lush jungles, 100 foot cascading waterfalls, immense mountains, interwoven redwood trees covered with fog scattered along the coast. I, too, on my travels have been to places that just feel.... right. The earth feels as though it is breathing underneath my feet and I breath with it, as the waves crash on the shore or the trees exhale life back into my lungs. Finding the overwhelming sense of home within the Pacific North West forests of Oregon and California, or amongst the jungles of Kauai, as I was overcome by the feelings of empowerment, connection and awareness . With the views they have, how could they not? Additionally, each are inhabited by locals who have a strong sense of self and tend not to project their insecurities onto you. Who gaze into your eyes to weave a neuropathic connection akin to those formed by the trees in the forests they find daily refuge in. All these places brought a slew of feelings, sights, sounds and smells that reminded me of my first and most cherished mother, Zimbabwe.

However, very few of us live in places like this, but are we to feel unsatisfied or detached from ourselves because of it? I don’t believe so, or at least, I surely don’t hope so. Coming back from my most mind boggling trip to Kauai, I felt insanely drained and disconnected upon returning to the matrix ;). Knowing I was here, in Texas, for a reason gave me consolation, reminded me that my gifts are better used shared out here in the world that is greatly in need of more love, face to face, on the regular, love. Once I accepted this reality I found myself asking the question “how do I find refuge and the opportunity to recharge in Mother Nature if I feel as though I am in a giant cement box?”. Sure enough my question was shortly answered. What I had longed for for so long was in front of me all along. 

" i forgot my home was this planet, not a city/state/country. just as i had had previosly forgotten my souls home was in this body the way it was meant to be."

" i forgot my home was this planet, not a city/state/country. just as i had had previosly forgotten my souls home was in this body the way it was meant to be."

I found myself exploring southern American river habitats. Watching the king of the river hunt silently all day for minnows who unknowingly outed themselves to their predators as their scales flickered in the light to attract bugs as their prey. Walking carefully through the rocks and boulders sobered by the sight of the shed skin of a river snake. Resting peacefully under shady trees with cool water flowing by, making me forget the 100F (38C) summer heat. 

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"resting on the giant rock that paves the way for this body of water as it caves through the ancient stone. the waters constant flow a reminder to renew and let go the white rock etched with ancient markings a reminder to listen"

"resting on the giant rock that paves the way for this body of water as it caves through the ancient stone. the waters constant flow a reminder to renew and let go the white rock etched with ancient markings a reminder to listen"

I am humbled by my own folly, and overflowing with gratitude with how abundant the renewing energy of momma gaia is- her presence speaking volumes no matter how plentiful the modern distracts and concrete. All I had to do was open my eyes. 

Give Yourself Permission to Shine


I know now that striving to live authentically is an evidently more joyful and a far more beneficial way of living, yet it wasn’t always so plain or natural for me at one time.  However, since I have been awakened to the path of self-discovery, I’m more consciously aware of how lackluster my inauthentic life actually was.

Authenticity is a quality I’d been missing for much of my adult life, and this missing component was detrimental to my overall well-being!

Sadly, for years I lived in a world of illusion translated by marketing executives. They paint a picture of what “enjoying life” looks like and many times I fell for it hook-line-and sinker.  I spent years hiding from my true self, deaf to my calling and blind to any genuine purpose.

I was ensnared in a system that reduced me to a cog in economic wheel.  Money, and how much or little I had of it, defined my self-worth as I was hopelessly devoted to an endless cycle of joyless labor and mindless consumption. I learned to believe that the person with the most toys wins!

The powers that be may have created and administered the game, but I still chose to be an active player on a mission seeking MVP status - in vain.  So, I must concede that they can’t possibly receive all the blame.  Society taught me and reinforced it.

Shine Bright Marc Boston

I’m liable for looking on with envious eyes at what others had and did, measuring myself against their achievements. I was haunted by past failures marked by an endless line of fits and starts punctuated by unrealistic desires and expectations. The choices I made were conceived through the lens of unfocused intention. I had dreams with no plan of how to realize them, and blindly pursued objectives that often led to blank walls.

“Vision without action is a daydream – Action without vision is a nightmare.” ~ Japanese Proverb

UNHAPPY IN MY OWN SKIN

I lived a significant part of my life seeking the approval of others, preoccupied by social peer pressure.  Ultimately, this led me to literally being something I was not, a person I was displeased with existing in a state of unhappiness.  But I wanted to be happy and I wanted to be comfortable living in my own skin.  The only way to do this was to muster the courage to practice being genuine.  But how?

What the heck does it mean to be authentic?

I think it has to do with:

1.  Having my actions and words match up with my beliefs and values.

2.  It’s about doing MY thing, being who I want to be.

3.  Following MY passions instead of being an imitation of what I think I should be or behaving in a way society suggests!

4.  Learning not to look outside of myself to find self-fulfillment, gratification, and approval.

5.  Not allowing myself to believe that anyone else is inherently smarter, more talented, and that I was somehow less than and could never measure up.

I now look at my inner worth and take the time to REMEMBER who I am, decide for myself what my values are and what I believe in.  I had to evaluate whether I wanted to continue to live that life as a cog in the machine, or if I wanted to live for myself pursuing my goals and purposes and not those of other people.

I had to come to grips with the undisputed truth – I AM ME! And this truth will set “me” free.

NEWLY EMPOWERED

It is an amazingly empowering feeling to take the time to sort through your basic belief systems to craft an inspired life.  To determine which of your judgements and assumptions are coming from a mature and healthy place, and which ones are coming from a childhood place of anxious insecurity.  

I feel so vibrantly alive and filled with purpose by expressing my natural gifts, connecting with others, and forming a habit of giving unconditionally.  It’s a beautiful thing to inventory one’s own likes and dislikes and realize that what works for others is fine for them, but it doesn’t have to fit for me.  It’s fantastic to realize that this is my life, my unique experience, and it’s not necessary to duplicate someone else’s.

I am giving myself permission to focus on the things that resonate for me and to pursue those things with confidence.

 

MB

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Altered View


 

  You may cry over the broken bones and the lost lives.

You may feel anger towards those whom steal.

But if you can love the creatures that roam upon the earth,

love the warm arms that held you close.

If you can feel complete tranquility of the first snow fall of winter.

If you love the sight of dust particles floating in the ray of sun.

If you smile at the person in the mirror.

If you feel a sense of peace when the birds sing into your ears.

If you feel whole when your bare feet meet the earth.

If you are amazed by the breath you can see when the frost has covered the grass.

If you feel overwhelming gratitude towards your being and all of which surrounds you,

you are the happiest you could ever be.

There is not a cent more that you need to weigh you down because happiness begins when realization meets simplicity and the eyes no longer view dollar signs as value,

but rather valuing each moment makes you the wealthiest person alive.

Uncovering the Key to Happiness


 

Hello my loves. I hope you still remember me. I haven't posted anything for such a long time.

And I would like to start by, not even apologising, but explaining this.
I want to explore the emotions I have been navigating recently and share my discoveries with you.

I felt like everything that i feel, that i write, that i think is not good enough to write here. Like everybody around me is more creative, has a more interesting life and posting anything here is just a waste of time. I also thought my English was not good enough. But all the comments and messages i got on Instagram (where i also wasn't as active as i was few weeks ago) surprised me. I've seen some people really like what i write, like my photos. And their kind and warm words made me feel longing for this whole "Internet world".

The next reason why i had little absence is the end of the school year. After holidays I'm going to a new school where i know almost nobody. Going to a new school is pretty exciting, especially for such a sociable human like me, but also really nostalgic. I have always dreamt about freedom, making decisions and being adult, but really becoming adult is something different. And to be honest i am scared. Excited, but scared too.

And I think the last reason is my school exchange to Ukraine and when students from Lviv came to us. Both exchanges were very emotional for me, specially this last one. Exchanges have been most beautiful things during those three years of "gimnazjum" (highschool). I fell in love with Ukraine and Ukrainians again.I felt I was with my best friends, meeting people from other countries, seeing another culture. And suddenly I lost it. I was sad, frustrated and even angry. For me it was impossible to write about good and  positive vibes when I wasn't feeling them.

It's unbelievable how I have changed during these three years. Honestly, I am proud of this. I think the biggest change is that I stopped waiting and running for happiness. I understood that the key to happiness is appreciation. Little and big things. Seeing beauty in as many things, humans, situations as possible. Doesn't matter if it's morning yoga or time with friends or a big trip abroad. Life is an amalgamation of better and worse moments. We couldn't appreciate light without dark. Being happy is creating beautiful moments. As many as possible

Appreciation. This is my key to happiness.

Love u,
Zuzia


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Making Peace With The Inconsistency of The Path

 

One of the reasons I’ve been reluctant to share my work publicly is that nauseous feeling that takes over me when I look back at what I created, wrote or drew few years, few months or even few weeks ago.

It is something I noticed very long time ago, when I’d flip a few pages of my diary and feel like there was a completely different person logging in only a few days before. Needless to say, nobody was actually stealing my diary and pouring their deepest secrets on its dotted lines, but at times it’d almost seem so. My handwriting would change, the style in which I would write, the vocabulary I’d used - which are all pretty normal and temporary things that can change in short time-spans - but the aspect that horrified me the most was the essence of the human behind my scribblings, the opinions, feelings, approaches and mind-states which were transforming all so damn fast and abruptly that at some point I started to doubt all of my thoughts and opinions, asking if I’d be ashamed of them in a few weeks, just like now I am ashamed of what was standing in their place some ten days ago?

Horrified by these fast-paced changes in my creative expression and shame and disgust I’d feel when looking at my earlier work, be it writings, poetry, paintings, drawings or photography - I was postponing sharing them with others, even just with my friends on Instagram. On the other hand, I wanted to do it so badly. I’d be seeing other artists and creative souls sharing their work online and would feel so attracted to do the same, but there was that underlying fear of looking back and being ashamed of my work. I had been promising myself that I’d do it when I get just a tiny bit better, when my English improves, or when my paintings look a bit more “presentable”, whatever the fuck it means.

Time passed and nothing changed. My perfectionist side kept sabotaging me and preventing me from sharing my art with others and once I got aware of it - of the pattern that has been repeating on and on for years, I just decided to do it as I realized that I’d never be completely satisfied with anything I create or write and therefore there’ll never be the perfect moment to take the leap of faith and put myself and my work out there.

I got over my pride, told my fear to take the back seat and started to put some of my drawings and paintings on Instagram. When it stopped being scary and nerve-wrecking, I took it a step further and started sharing even the stuff I thought bad and shitty for the sole purpose of putting myself in the midst of discomfort and getting rid of the pressure that every single thing I create should be good. If I allowed myself to create stuff I wasn’t necessarily proud of and started to see it as a part of journey, step stones on the path of creative evolvement, it’d suddenly all become less important and I could focus just on that - growth, evolution, learning - instead of dwelling on previous work that didn’t meet the impossibly high standards that I tend to set for myself.

That step opened the gates to new creative freedom that I didn’t even know existed! Once liberated of the pressure to always create something “perfect”, my creative juices started to overflow and my production increased immensely! I rarely look back on my previous work and if I do so, it is only to see how much progress I made and not anymore to beat myself up for the lack of skills that I notice in my earlier works. The funny thing, also, is that some of my artwork that I really didn’t like from the beginning received the most praise and positive feedback while paintings I was stoked about and proud of sometimes received very average feedback. What does it mean? Absolutely nothing!

I want you to start creating more and do it for the mere joy that comes through the process. Share your creative magic with others and let it touch their souls - and, most importantly, don’t judge your work and keep it for yourself until it reaches ‘perfection”, you never know what can resonate with whom! Maybe exactly that poem you are ashamed of sharing is what someone needs to hear in this very moment - we never know what can ease someone’s pain or bring some light and hope to their day.

Love you all and stay creative,

Maja


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Love. Can't Be More Simple.


What is art?

It is love in different forms.

But where?

In every tone, word and color... love appears. If you can feel it, it exists. If you cannot feel it, it still exists.

Why?

Because love is the main part of everything. It is the start of endless life, energy, magic.

How to find it?

Look around you, look into yourself. Love is there and everywhere. Don't close your heart. Be aware of what you truly are.

You are love.

 

She Feeds Herself With The Stars


Her heart is seeking

Her lips are thirsty

her hair a tidy mess

she feeds herself

with every word

every smile

every embrace

of each person she meets

sharing a story

every stolen moment

adds a seed to her mind

and a little bit

of magic in her hands.

She feeds herself with the stars

comfortably wandering

in the endless night sky

And the faces of those

gone for other purpose

who left this Earth in peace

in the midst of the day

where only dust remains

but contains a promise.

@swirlmagazine

6 Things That Happen After Your Spiritual Awakening


Let me start by assuring you that there are definitely more than six things that happen after you undergo a spiritual awakening of some kind or other. These are what I've personally found to be some of the most common and what I've personally experienced. Let's unite through insight.

1. You become extremely sensitive (or more so than you previously were) to the energies around you. There are certain people you find it hard to be around and places you would rather avoid. It's not a personal thing; it's an energy thing. This is something that others not on a similar wavelength as you will easily understand. Often others laugh if you mention your sensitivity, excuse yourself from a situation because you're not feeling the "energy" is right for you at that moment in time.

2. You learn that talks about consciousness expansion, alternate states of consciousness, manifestation, telepathy, energy, dimensions, healing, chakras, angels, etc. makes you sound a bit crazy to 99.9% of the population (99.9% is harsh, but you get it). Those of us who know and believe in the unseen forces operating within our world understand that there are things that no amount of logic or rational thinking can explain - and we see no reason why it should need to, anyway. At a restaurant talking to a likeminded friend about that telepathic message you sent the other night? Yes, the table next to you will give you strange looks. You're still learning to embrace it, but to also be cautious with voicing your spiritual insights in public. They're in another state of consciousness, different from yours - not better or worse, just different (don't tell them that - it won't help your case). You've learned that with hard-facts sort of people (especially those with closed minds), it's sometimes best to agree to disagree, remind yourself that it isn't personal and move on. Also, it's through these challenging conversations that you realise even more how great a thing it is for a human being to approach life with an open, non-discriminative mind. 

3. You've broken old patterns. In moments of doubt or desperation, you find yourself falling back, but once broken, always broken. It can be people you used to see, places you used to frequent, music you used to listen to, films you used to watch, the amount of alcohol you used to consume, how often you used to go out (or stay in). For some reason, there are things you feel do not serve you anymore. Close friends and family might even think that you're morphing into another person altogether. In reality, you know you're reclaiming the truest part of your humanity, and because of that that you listen more closely to what your heart and mind tells you. Sometimes you fall back, experience overwhelming moments of existential despair and anxiety, but your unwavering faith helps you back up again. If anything, you gradually embrace those moments when you do fall back; they no longer consume you now, but remind you that you are also human. Like monks who keep a vice or two, it's good to be reminded that not only are you Divine, but you're also Human with a capital H. 

4. You're more aware of synchronicities. Patterns, numbers, faces, names. The relationship between the external environment and you as a living and breathing organism you no longer feel constitutes two separate, unrelated things, but it is something happening simultaneously - and you're more aware of your perceived past and how it has contributed to your present and how this present moment will likely influence your future. The person you met that day led you to think about this and suddenly it shifted your beliefs about that, which led you to go on this road trip and during the trip you came across an image that reminded you of a person you used to know well, and this person called you the next day. You get it. Things that were once void of meaning now have infinite possibilities. It all fits into this complex and indescribably beautiful web. Sort of. Most of the time. To you, anyway. 

5. You dread small talk and shallow conversation. Why talk small when you can talk about the Universe, wonder about the stars, our origins, discuss our pains, fears, passions? It drains your energy to talk persisently about the everyday or purely materialistic topics - you can bear it when it seems you can't escape it because it seems you've cultivated the patience of an angel, but you still find yourself wishing to talk about other things. 

6. You find it easier to forgive people. Whether they broke your heart, pushed you on the train, offended you in any way - you find that you don't react with hostility. You approach these situations from a place of understanding and compassion - because of this, you can forgive almost anyone for any harm they may have caused. You may initially suffer for the way they made you feel, and decide that they no longer have a place in your life, but in your heart you forgive - even if they never end up knowing it. “Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner” is the original French saying, which translated is: to understand all is to forgive all. It's a beautiful thing, really. 

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@swirlmagazine

Why Do You Travel? A Dialogue With Myself


When I first moved from my parents’ place, I was actually running away, even if I wouldn't admit it to myself. Away from a place I didn’t like, from bad memories I had there, from a family that didn’t understand me. But it’s much later that I realized it, through self-reflection.  

I felt into this trap again recently. I ran away from a place where I had had a very painful memory that my mind couldn't let go off. There was other factors that made me want to leave, but nothing unbearable. I just felt this urgent need and took this spontaneous decision in a few weeks and left. I moved to another country again for a few months. I was enjoying the place there, traveling and living a new experience, but something felt wrong and I had a lot of time to think… and self-reflect. Today I’m realizing that most of my travels where some kind of escape from a reality I wasn’t happy about. Running away from myself. I didn’t appreciate myself and thought ”in a totally new place, you can be someone totally new”.

But the truth is, there’s no escape from your own mind. Wherever you go, it travels with you. There’s no escape from yourself. If you do it for bad reasons, traveling can be an endless vicious circle. You cannot spend your whole life running away. Perhaps some people do, but they never find happiness. 

I have a long-term solo trip to Asia planned soon. Obviously, I need to make things clear with myself. 

-       Why do you travel ?

I travel to see the world. To meet its people. To experience. To learn.

-       But why?

To LIVE, to feel alive. To feel richer inside. To have incredible stories to tell my grand-children and adventures to remember always. To find love. And I don’t mean love as in a person. I mean love as infinite and unconditional. Feeling in harmony with my soul.

-       So why, finally?

To be happy.

-       But why can’t you be happy at home?

Home? You mean the place where I grew up? It’s not a place where I have ever felt really happy. Perhaps this is why I travel: to find home. To me, home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.

-       You are contradicting yourself. You agree that home isn’t a place but a feeling, yet you keep moving and looking for it in different places. If home is a feeling, that means you can find it in the place where you grew up or where you are now. 

You’ve got a point. I travel to find something that is already in me. Yet, I feel most happy when I’m getting to know other cultures, traditions and people, and this is something that I can only experience while traveling. 

-       And that is a great experience, but what about getting to know yourself? Because if you rely on external experiences to make you happy, you will always be frustrated in the end. Everything in this world is temporary. You count on traveling, on experiences, on others, on little things, but they don’t last, as much as you repeat them. You must find your "home" inside. How? By finding love in yourself. How? By loving yourself. You are the only person that you will need to bear all your life. Your own company is precious and irremplacable. You must build « home » in yourself. It doesn’t have to be walls, but a strong base for stability and a solid roof for protection. How? By taking care of your body and mind. By spending time on your own and learning to appreciate it. By practising non-judgement, trust and patience towards yourself. By realizing self-love is your most important material to build that home feeling inside. Your body is a temple that needs to be honoured and your mind is a miracle because it is awareness. Celebrate them for they are your first home. Love your home. If you travel, travel to love your home.

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Nothing Ever Stays & Everything Always Goes


"O dark dark dark," wrote T.S. Eliot in his Four Quartets, "they all go into the dark." Where to? What is this darkness where everything is constantly going? If Time were a person, they would be the kind to make most people feel nervous, self-conscious and uncomfortable. If somebody were to talk about them around us, our energies would likely flop and we would be eager to change the subject. We have to ask ourselves: what is it about the nature of time that can make us feel so anxious, so eager to forget it exists? It is part of our human condition to consider the many peculiarities involved in existence - the nature of time being one of the most curious of these. 

The fact that everything comes and goes is an observable reality of life. The only permanence in the world is impermanence. There are immediate and gradual changes constantly taking place - and in general we tend to be more conscious of the former. It seems that the older we grow, the more we feel we do not have enough of time when we have a great many things to do or too much of it when we are idle. Post-childhood, it eventually dawns on us that time is constantly passing, that the moment we hold onto something, are convinced that it is ours - the feeling, the person, the moment - it flees our grasp. The realisation that all is changing often brings about a gradual hysteria within us, who were previously too involved in life to give this any serious thought. To those who have reflected on the inescapable reality that everything is in constant flux, that all of our loved ones will one day pass away, that everything we have ever loved and hated will no longer be, that everything we do, say or believe we are will soon fade away, know that these reflections have their consequences, to the disciplined and undisciplined mind alike. 

As children, we were much too absorbed in the fruits of innocence, the ecstasy of immediate existence which seems eternal and undying, to be acutely aware of the inevitable passing of our youth. In future, the mind can suffer terribly - often it does, until desperation leads us to either evolve by penetrating deeply into the complexities involved in the human anxieties which have plagued humankind for centuries and are nearly all rooted in the "problem" of time, or alternatively, we do not evolve, but rather drown in a sea of existential despair every now and then and remain chained to suffering. 

But it is not time itself which we seek to recover, nor add as a desirable ingredient to our plate of life; rather, the more we dig into this question, we find that it is a feeling that we miss - a state of being entirely absorbed in the play of life, without being conscious of it being anything other than that. We have all been children, and, no longer being children, we can easily remember what such a state felt like. That is why children are fascinating to us and why they themselves cannot yet understand why they are so fascinating. It is also why looking back to that season of life makes us feel simultaneously happy and profoundly sad because it was so lovely and it is so irretrievable. 

What do we do, then, about the question of time? We have to turn to direct experience. Only then, past the initial intellectual comprehension that everything is always changing, can we lead our lives in such a way as to free ourselves from the suffering that awareness of time so often brings. When we adopt an understanding attitude toward the impermanence of all things, including our own thoughts, no longer are we consumed by what goes on in and out of our minds. Even when our minds are in states of agony or pain caused by obsessive thoughts of the future and/or past, this profound insight assures us that even this will pass. You see, feel, hear, touch and taste it all as it comes, never pushing anything away, but not becoming attached to that which inevitably fades, because you know that nothing ever stays and everything always goes.

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A Poem to the Wind


majestic wind,

do you sing, shout or speak

the sun is shining on your lake

and our dreams are like the clouds you take

 

your birds dance around trees

their lips whisper delightful melodies

we have always understood, but forgotten

the child a mother holds

exists for eternity upon your eternal shores

 

you carry secrets of the times 

whisper them to the ones who walk alone

we drink from your daffodils in April

and forget what it is like to exist in October 

 

we will learn from you 

that still or moving, things are changing 

life, the endless river of pain and delight  

the wind carries everything 



We Will Thrive.


It’s so dark without you here.

Why did you leave me when I needed you most?

Why did you leave when you heard what they said?

Why did you leave when you saw them pointing and snickering?

Weren’t you supposed to stay then more than ever?

Wasn’t that the time you were meant to support me?

How did this happen?

It’s so dark without you with me.

It’s lonely without you.

It’s scary when all I hear is their laughter and ridicule.

You were so confident when they were not around.

When it was just you and me, it was beautiful and bright.

We shared joy and love in all moments.

We had it so good, why do you keep leaving?

Where are you?

Are you coming back?

Are you coming back to silence them?

Or am I meant to find you?

Do I have to move from this dark place?

I don’t know how, or where to go!

You used to guide me when I asked these question in the light.

Please come back to me...please!

Their ridicule is getting louder now. Why are you silent?

 

*breathe* *breathe* *breathe*

 

 

...wait, I remember something…

...I remember something you said…

You told me that you will always be there for me.

That you will never leave me and that you will always support me...always!

So what happened?! Was it me?

It is me! I made this happen!

I have allowed their voices to get louder...louder than yours.

Their ridicule is only their doubt.

Their doubt is only their fear.

It’s not even about me.

They are merely projecting.


 

I’m sorry for doubting your faithfulness…

You did always have my back!

It was me who blocked the light, me who stopped listening.

Me who allowed their voices to fill the space between you and I.

This needs to stop.

I need to be so close to you that your voice is the only one I hear.

I will latch onto you so strong that darkness doesn’t get a chance to creep in.

We will reunite and never split; with our vision back on our future and on what’s good for us,

We will thrive.

We. Will. Thrive.

 

Ambition, I love you.

 

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Three Tips To Eat Healthily & Feel Good


 

So, this is not another post in which I am explaining what kind of diet is healthy or not.

I believe there is enough resources out there in the wide world of the internet with which you can easily decide for yourself what you believe is healthy or not. 

Also please DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING  the media, some doctor or influencer is telling you. 

The health facts and food advertisements are extremely manipulated by the food industry.

Do your own research, read your books, and most importantly !!

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY !! 

Feel what makes you feel alive and vibrant and makes you look glowy and healths and  notice what doesn't. 

I personally chose to eat only plant based foods and within that as many unprocessed whole foods as I can.

Besides that I try to stay away from sugar most of the time and I am intolerant to any kind of oil so that is not on my menu either. 

Eating that way makes me feel my best and has been really helping in healing my body, and also helps me  gradually moving  towards optimal health - physically and mentally. 

This way of choosing my food has developed over the past years and I am still experimenting a lot to find out for myself what makes me feel best and what better to not chose for my body. 

So with that I already am getting to my first point.... 

 

1. FOCUS ON WHATS MAKES YOU FEEL BEST NOT LOOK BEST

HEALTH OVER LOOKS 

Most people "want" to eat healthy because they want to lose weight, be skinny, be fit, be pretty...etc ... etc. 

Our society has the tendency to make us believe that our selfworth is attached to outter circumstances such as our appearance.

Let me tell you, your selfworth is untouchable and also if you can't find it in yourself you will never find on the outside. 

Believe me, I was the fittest I have ever been and did beach modeling in Sydney...

But my self-esteem was low AF.

Now I am not as skinny and toned anymore, but I love myself  for who I am and feel most energized, free and happy in a long time and that is how you want to approach it. 

When you chose to be healthy because you believe a change in our outter appearance will change your inner world -

yes, do eat healthy because it helps clearing the mind and getting you into better health 

 BUT look for another solution for the mental and emotional problem and try to approach this mind structure from within,because this is the only way and working from the outside will never bring you longterm improvement and happiness.  

Eat healthy because you want to FEEL your best, because you want to appreciate the human vessel of flesh which carries you around this world and make sure that the motor runs smoothly and it stays fresh for long. 

This mindset will make you walk this way WAAAYYY longer, because the intention is less superficial. 

Focus on the health and feeling part, because when you get in touch with yourself and find an authentic way of living that attunes with your physical body you will automatically get into the most optimal shape your body can be and glow from health. 

 

2.  FIND WHAT WORKS FOR YOU ! YOUR BODY KNOW BEST ! 

There is about a million different opinions on what is healthy and not. But every opinion that you hear from somebody else is an information they believe to be true because they either are payed or experienced it on their own bodies.

Fact is, our bodies and lifestyles are so different from each other.

So, of course as in everything there is no "One size fits all" in a world of individuals. 

So my tip for you is to go on a journey with YOUR BODY,

be curious and observe. 

Take in information from resources and people but don't just swallow.

Try it out, be critical, find out for yourself what does work for you ?

what makes you feel great ?

what makes you feel bad ? etc...

Trust in your bodies signals. 

This system is so much smarter than we think and when you learn to listen to it, it tells you exactly what it needs to thrive. 

 

3. SUSTAINABILITY (Balance and Fun) IS KEY!

As I said before there is a million opinions and diets out there...

But why do none of these work ? 

Its all quick fixes. 

We always want solutions NOW and ASAP. 

But that is not how our body works. 

I can promise you and you can see it all around you : quick fixes do backfire.

So when you decide to do changes in your diet ask yourself again: 

Am I doing this to feel good or look good  ?

( a person that feels good and healthy looks good and healthy)

Do I want to be doing that 50 years from now ? 

If the answer to that is no, you know that your diet choice is not sustainable and earlier or later you will brake. 

Calorie restriction is the best example for it.

Yes, it will maybe work for a while, but hunger is a signal your body can't tolerate. 

It will suffer under your willpower for a while, but at some point it will get what it needs to stay alive and binge eating is obviously the result to this physical dilemma you are putting your body in.

So rather move more slowly , look for the sustainable health not for the quick fix and in the long run you will be more healthy,happy and beautiful than with any diet out there. 

Besides that you need to believe that you are putting everything with best intentions in your body. Because you LOVE IT.

Because you want to do good for it !

With believing in your best intentions and in your bodies ability to thrive and glow, you are getting one step closer to your goal, because you truly can change the intention and structure of your food only by thoughts ( water crystal experiment - more info in my "inspiration list post"). 

That also means, have a treat every now and then, but when you have it ENJOY and CELEBRATE it instead of beating yourself up in your mind.

This is balance and this is selflove - 

Yes, this is much harder than signing up for a weightloss program but this will not only improve your health and looks sustainably, but your relationship to yourself and your life quality. :) 

I hope I was able to send some inspiration or help your way with these tips, which I find really helpful. They really do work great for me in working on getting closer and closer to my optimal health, feeling energized to do everything I want in my live  and having fun during the process. 

xxx Mahalo 

Prioritizing Positivity Not Perfection


“If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.”  - Jiddu Krishnamurti

Upon finding an article where Mila Kunis stated that it's 'bizarre how everyone has the same facial features now', I related to her sentiments in a sad way. The truth is there always have been certain trends within the make-up/beauty world. But when I look around the world at the moment, it seems to be less about enhancing your own already beautiful features, but about instead changing them entirely. It's dismal seeing an army of people unaccepting of their own beauty and favouring to alter their features.

As a young woman, who wants to live a free and fulfilling life to the best of my abilities, I've begun to navigate what are the necessities to my happiness. Our exterior bodies are beautiful creations, but it’s our words and actions that can touch peoples lives. We should prioritize what we do, and not how we look. What feeds the soul is love, friendships, passion, peace and following your dreams. I do realise that make-up and hair are incredible art forms and there are many artists I admire in those areas. Although indulging in enhancing our best features through make-up and being creative is an important part of a lot of peoples lives, we should be making sure we don’t place too much worth on this.

A recent movement by Jameela Jamil, 'I Weigh' shone a light on how there are so many more important things than our looks; personal growth, recovery progress, friends, family and just having fun and adventuring. The instagram page was born out of a concern for the issues around self esteem problems. Combating a culture that would rather see women worry about their weight rather than flourishing in their talents.

“Every minute we spend thinking about how thin and gorgeous and perfect we aren’t, is a moment that we aren’t thinking about growing our business or our education, or our family or the fun in our lives.”

I once did focus and put a lot of pressure on the way I looked when I was younger. This lead to me edging away from my true self, trying to look like who I thought was beautiful, rather than realising I was beautiful. Instead of having a healthy, loving, accepting view of myself, it was an unhappy egotistical energy that held me back.

In our superficial society we are often told that our likeability is determined by our looks. This leads to self esteem issues and a never ending cycle of trying to reach an unrealistic goal among many young people. I’ve found I’ve almost had to unlearn the lies that have filtered through modern media and into my brain. I understand photo-shopping, light, make-up and how much work and effort can go into making people look a certain way for just one photo. Therefore now I can fairly judge myself and others, and not make unfair comparisons to the fake beauty standards of Victoria's Secret and celeb selfies.

Being comfortable in your own skin may be a slow process but it’s so rewarding. It may be a bit of a battle but you have to remember there's a lot of money in the business of making you feel bad about your body. You've got to fight the urge to judge yourself too harshly. When you begin to realise the world doesn’t fall apart when it sees you in your natural form, you’ll have more clarity and confidence within yourself. Maybe you'll even feel a better connection with the world, as nothing in nature apologises for the way it looks, it just lives.

If you focus inwards, you can see where your true self thrives. When you're truly happy in your skin, you won't need to hide it or change it. The more we connect with our souls and less with our eyes, the more we can make genuine connections with people and grow within ourselves. Rather than when we put all our energy into our exterior looks, consuming and worrying about things that make us look like the current version of attractiveness. We're focusing on something other than what serves our soul, our dreams, ambitions or the people around us.

I am in no way saying make up is a negative thing in itself, wear as little or as much as you prefer to. It's a fabulous art form, and you can create all sort of funky looks. Just don't use it to hide yourself. Don't fall into the trap of the cult of perfection. Focusing so harshly on your exterior is a waste of your time. Time that could’ve been used on enjoying your life and feeding your soul with magical experiences.

 

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10 Ways To Positively Change Your Life Today


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When I realised I had the power to change my life, and to live the life I was meant to live, it opened up a new world to me. I had been obsessing about finding my perfect - to the point where I truly believed that I would never live a happy life unless I was living in a small treehouse in a jungle, unless I spent hours in the gym just to get that fitness body, unless I was traveling around the world. There is nothing wrong with this - however it is not reality for most people. I believe that you can achieve anything your heart wishes for, but as a teenager still in school for another x years, I certainly won't be accomplishing any of these things anytime soon.

I decided I would make the conscious decision of creating new habits, new ways of thinking, and instead of striving for the impossible - doing what I could at the moment to improve both my mental and physical health. Here's 10 ways I have upgraded to Minnie 2.0 :)

 

1. Being with the people I love

I have a talent in isolating myself from other people, I just put on my "I hate everyone" hat and disappear under a blanket watching Netflix for hours on end. Though self care and rest is good, I have noticed that actually making myself go out, talk to other people or do something with a friend in my free time has really helped me. Maybe it's the fact that we end up laughing most of the time, or just the fact that being around other people is incredibly important, but it has definitely made me a happier person.

2. Ditching the materialistic mindset

Because of all of the new things popping up our social media feeds, we tend to become very obsessed with buying new things, most of the time quite pointless things, and we forget what's really important. Leaving this mindset has really helped me, I decided I would start buying things when I need them, and I donated a lot of my clothes that I wasn't using regularly. It felt as if a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I am not perfect and sometimes I do buy things that I don't really need (but I mean, I always need flowy pants). As my best friend said, "we are humans, it is our nature to be greedy, and we are allowed to treat ourselves", but focusing more on what you have rather than what you want will help you.

3. Leaving my phone

Another thing connecting to social media - the infamous (at least for many of us) advice of leaving your phone, and making sure not to spend entire days mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and Snapchat. It's hard, yes, but this is probably one of the things that has made me a much happier person in general. Because, truth is, seeing "ideal" lives, bodies, and what not on all of these apps does make you feel like sh*t at times. I unfollowed any accounts that made me feel crappy about myself, I put away my phone as soon as I felt myself getting sucked up in the world of gym selfies and açaí bowls, and I noticed an immediate improvement in my mentality.

4. Eating whatever & whenever I want

As someone with a background of eating disorders, this is more than difficult to do. Even for a normal person, the amounts of diets and unrealistic standards we see everywhere today makes it hard to even know what normal eating is anymore. I watched this TED talk suggested by one of the other creators on here, @thehippychickpea, and I realised how messed up this really is. I mean, if we look at a toddler eat, they eat when they are hungry, they let themselves eat that cookie without any guilt, and they stop when they are full. Also, have you ever seen those Pinterest posts about cravings (apparently when you crave chocolate you really just need celery - wow, logic), honestly I am just at a point where I laugh at those because your body knows what it needs! I am still on a learning path for this one, but I am starting to eat when my body needs food, and it feels amazing.

5. Giving myself more credit

This. Is. So. Important. I know many people that struggle immensely with being proud of themselves for what they do, for me this mostly goes for the work I do at school. Even though my results are pretty decent, I always deny that I did good, and this is yet another thing society teaches us. Being proud of your self is in no way selfish, it is something we need more of in this world. You are doing your best, and that is good enough.

6. Drinking more water

As easy as this seems, water has so many benefits. Some of the ones I definitely notice are that it has helped me with headaches, my skin is clearer and it just makes me feel cleaner and happier overall. I drink a bottle of water right after waking up, I read somewhere that this is supposed to flush out toxins from your body and I believe everything I see online so it makes me feel like it helps, at least. I also keep a (reusable) water bottle with me at all times, and I make sure I am sipping my water throughout the whole day. Downside: make sure you don't drink too much because trips to the bathroom every 10 minutes aren't great - I've been there.

7. Accepting who I am

I have spent way too many hours trying to become someone I am not. Realisation: not worth it. I stopped trying to copy everyone around me, I ignored people that judge me and I discovered that I can be happy in my body and my personality. It's okay to mess up, it's okay to have learning curves, but it is so important to stay true to your soul. I am who I am, if people don't like that, well, too bad for them. Be yourself.

8. Smiling more

"Fake it 'til you make it" Something I agree with to 100%. I have repeated this quote to myself countless amounts of times, and it actually works. When I was struggling with anxiety daily a few months ago, this is what kept me going. And it still does. It is important to be honest with yourself and the people around you, but if you ignore your negative thoughts and make an effort to be happy on the outside, a lot of the time this can actually help. As well as making you feel better, smiling actually spreads happiness to people you see, and so, if you just smile more, you have the power to make someone else's day better too.

9. Stretching

My new obsession. I wake up every morning and stretch for 20 minutes, I try to stretch every night as well. I am happy to announce that in a few weeks I managed to get my left split back after about 3 years since I last did gymnastics. I personally don't do yoga though I would love to get started with it - if anyone can help send me a dm on Instagram please. But for now stretching is what keeps me flexible, I feel like it makes it easier to move around, and it reliefs a lot of pain. Tip from a stretching addict: do it while watching Netflix or Youtube - you won't even realise you are stretching plus it makes it more fun.

10. Letting things happen

Last point I have for you, to let everything happen. Believe that everything happens for a reason, and let everything happen. Things tend to turn out differently than you anticipate, and that is okay. Life is full of trial and with this comes loads of error. Take everything that happens to you and make it into something good, this is your life and you may not be in control of everything that happens to/around you, but as I have said, you are in charge of how you act. If you make a mistake, laugh it off. If you do something stupid, who cares. In the end, you are your biggest critic, and everyone is just trying to survive in this cruel yet beautiful world.

See the bright opportunity in each new day.

xoxo

Minnie Elisabeth @minnieelisabeth

 

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