Elisabeth Grover
07794351958

Tag: The Garden Sanctuary

Vision Boarding for Beginners

For those who haven’t heard of vision boarding, I’d like to introduce you to this art form. Using vision boards for a few years now, I have found that it can be a simple method of seeing your goals come to life. I really enjoy the process too.

Vision boards can come in different forms and each one is as individual as the person creating it. I like to create a vision board in a book rather than a board so I have a Moleskine A2 watercolour book where I keep a few pages dedicated to my vision.

I create my pages as-and-when things change for me and my goals need to be tweaked. I’ll be doing another board this summer to adapt my goals after a winter of ill health.

Before you start

It’s important to think about your goals before you start. Otherwise, you will spend time creating a nice scrapbook and not much else. In order to create your list of goals, please check my posts entitled Living your Values . This link will take you to the first post so work through that one and then read the following four leading up to the conclusion.

These posts will give you an idea of the direction in which you are heading.

Equipment

Material

Creating a vision board can be quite reasonable – or you can spend a lot on various pieces of ephemera! If you are on a budget, I would advise you to surf the internet and take images from there to print off. If you have a little more ready cash available, invest in some magazines which resonate with you. 

By this time, you should know the areas you are looking at, so you may want to invest in some travel magazines or perhaps those dedicated to the home or health and fitness.

Perhaps you can buy a handful and then fill in the gaps with some print-off’s from the internet.

Board or book?

You can buy a board from your local art shop quite reasonably choosing the size you want. I think that A2 is a good size as A4 can be quite restrictive.

Perhaps you’d like to put your images on a cork-board instead?

I prefer to visualise in a book so I can use different pages for different themes. I also create mini vision boards in my journals to keep me on track but these are a lot smaller and more compact, printed off from the internet.

Pens, glue, stickers, scissors

Anything you can get your hands on to create an atmosphere of fun and enjoyment while you do your board.

If you are in the UK, you’ll find a shop called The Works is pretty good for stickers and glitter. I personally love Etsy for my stickers but they tend to be a bit more expensive.

You may not be a sticker and glitter type of person and that’s fine too.

Time

Yes, I’ve put time on the equipment list! It’s the summer holidays and time is a little less restrictive. No checking the clock for the 3pm pick-up so you can create some space in which to do some work.

I think this is a great activity to do with your children. They can do their own while you do yours. Of course, there’s wont be goal-orientated but they will have fun sitting at the kitchen table cutting and sticking with Mummy.

But how do I do it?

I gather my equipment together and start by flicking through my magazines and seeing which images catch my eye. I cut them out and put them to the side ready to glue into my book.

Sometimes, I cut out images that may not seem to ‘fit’ with my ideas as I find it interesting to see why that picture resonated with me, Sometimes I don’t find the answer straight away but it’s when I go back to it that I discover what it is about that image that drew me to it.

I have a break for a cup of coffee at this point and relax for a little while before going back to my book.

When I sit down again, I put my images in some semblance of order. I have different pages for different types of goals and sometimes I have pages for values that resonate.

For example, I have a page that says ‘peace’ to me and although that’s not strictly a goal, I like to collaborate all my pictures together into one section so I can go back to it and remind myself what peace means to me.

This can sometimes take longer than the time available to you and that’s ok. Simply put the images in a safe place with the book or board and return to it when you next have some time to spare.

So what’s stopping you?

Pick up some glue and a notebook or board from your local newsagents when you are next in town along with a handful of magazines. Work out your life values when you have some time in the evening.

Grab a pen and a notebook and work your way through the short exercises instead of flopping in front of the telly!

I know you’ll find some nuggets of information from doing these exercises as it really helped me when I had young children at home and no time to myself. So give it a go and let me know how you get on.

I’ll be running some short workshops in the autumn term for mums with very little time who would like to work on their vision board. Or perhaps you’d like to learn a little more about journaling instead?

Why not drop me an email if you are interested in joining me in the Garden Sanctuary for a session of arts and visioning.

You can find me on elisabeth@thegardensanctuary.co.uk.

In the meantime, have a great summer break.

 

 

 

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So, what’s the point?

I was thinking about my blog this week and what I should talk about with you all. The things that come to mind are my favourite life tools – walking, journaling, solitude and creating a calm day. My tagline for The Garden Sanctuary is Tranquility Within and I would feel incongruent if I didn’t incorporate some serenity into my life.

Search Engine Optimisation

I went to a Search Engine Optimisation workshop not long ago and we talked about optimising your website so that Google can find you amongst the crowds. I was sitting smugly when the presenter was talking about using a blog to optimise your website as I blog regularly until I realise that I hardly ever talk about reflexology and doula work! My face dropped and my smugness ran for the door!

It made me think about my blog and purpose for blogging.

I went away from the session thinking about changing the direction of my writing to incorporate more reflexology and doula work but something stopped me.

Why would I change the content if I enjoy what I do?

I’m never going to be a multi-million-pound industry and those who read my blog tell me that they enjoy it so shouldn’t that be enough?

Instagram and Me

I’ve been journaling about this in my Morning Pages as it has been on my mind recently. I feel the same way about Instagram as my feed (@gardensanctuaryjournaling) contains images of my journals and early morning dog walks. I I look at the feed and I think ‘that’s me’.

I browse through the beautifully curated images and wish I could reproduce them but I can’t. I’m not a white, curated kind of person and, although I enjoy looking at others work when they create beautiful flat lay images, they aren’t me. I’m a slightly messy, hippy-dippy type of girl.

My photography needs work and that’s ok.

I’m a work in progress too

Take the Lesson

So I will take the lessons from the SEO workshop, look at the white flat lays on Instagram in awe, and carry on improving my slightly quirky ‘look’ to find my voice in this busy world. The pictures can inspire and entertain me in the same way as a film about climbing Everest will. I’m never going to do that but I enjoy looking at the top.

What kind of images inspire you? I’d love to know if my readers are Instagram fans too and if you have any hints for being ‘discovered’ for who you are. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

My daughter with her vibrant pink hair and Coco (“The Mrs”) can teach me a lot. They are both are very happy in their own skin and I love this picture of them together.

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Reiki at The Garden Sanctuary

In last week’s blog post I looked at reflexology, what it is and how it can help. This week’s post follows that theme, looking at the therapies that I offer in The Garden Sanctuary. Today’s post looks at the healing power of reiki.

What is reiki?

Our lives are full of energy on a subtle level and the things we do involve some kind of energetic exchange. We can ‘feel’ energy when we walk into a room and the couple in there have been arguing, or when we are attracted to someone. It’s very subtle but we know it’s there and we can feel it.

Reiki is simply a form of energy. The word Reiki is Japanese for ‘Life Force Energy’ and when this is blocked, we can suffer from physically and emotional difficulties. Every time we fill our minds with negative emotions and harsh thoughts and feelings, our life force depletes which can make us feel unwell, tired and listless.

By channeling reiki, practitioners can help this energy flow freely again and offers a way in helping clients to deal with a number of issues.

What does a reiki treatment look like?

Reiki can be offered with hands on or off the body. I tend to use a combination of both as there are areas that lend themselves to touch and those that feel better if the hands are held slightly away the body.

Lying or sitting for your treatment,  the practitioner will intuit where to place their hands. I tend to start from the head and work my way down to your feet. My treatments end in a short reflexology treatment to help restore balance to the body.

You may feel a great deal of warmth as the practitioner lays their hands beside you and you may feel tingling and sensations in other parts of your body. Having said that, you may also feel nothing at all and that doesn’t mean that it’s not working or you aren’t getting the benefits of the energy.

Reiki at The Garden Sanctuary

I love offering my clients reiki combined with a gentle reflexology massage. It can really help you to relax and clear your head. We start by talking about the issues on your mind, whether they be physical or emotional. You have had an opportunity to think about these issues when you downloaded the medical form from this website.

We start the treatment by talking about the issues on your mind. You have had an opportunity to think about these issues when you downloaded the medical form from this website. 

I ask you to fill it in beforehand so that you have time to reflect and focus on the issues at hand. If you decide to skim through the form and fill in minimal details, that’s fine too. The form is merely a tool for you to use as you wish.

Once we have looked at your medical form, I ask you to lie on my soft reiki bed and I help you to get comfortable lying face down. I start at the top and work my way down the body, from head to feet, hands a little away from your body in some parts and hands on in others.

You roll over and I continue, head to feet ending in a reflexology massage. You will have time to awaken at the end of the session and offered a glass of water.

It’s a lovely treatment to indulge in monthly as it helps you to feel clean and clear. I always find that a reiki treatment gives me a clarity of mind and energy to take forward into my week.

Click here to book an appointment with me. 

Further reading:

I love Penelope Quest’s books – click here to find out more.

Her FAQ’s offer practical advice too – click here to find out more.

If you want to delve even deeper, check out The International Centre for Reiki Training click here to find out more.

 

 

The Power of Silence

I’m delighted to introduce you to our special guest and Mindfulness teacher Ruth Farenga who has written about a subject that is close to my heart, the power of silence. I have really enjoyed reading her reflective piece and I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below.  

Ruth is Mindfulness teacher and Founder of Mindful Pathway – providing Mindfulness courses for the public in St Albans at the Albany Centre and onsite courses for businesses in the UK.

As I peer into my teacup, I contemplate what silence is. Is it rich or nothingness? Is it the absence of words or total sound around us? Thich Nhat Hahn describes real silence as the cessation of talking of both the mouth and the mind. It is an opportunity to truly stop without the clutter or noise of society.

As an only child, I disliked silence. I experienced the loneliness of long summers with few people to play with – the absence of company to entertain. It was dull and I was bored. Indeed, in my twenties, I always felt the need for company. If I had nothing to do for an evening, I would go through a list of 5-10 people to call or fill the time with a series of records, not enjoying the potential quiet time.

I needed to fill the void.

So how do we experience silence? In the 19th Century, Thoreau retreated from society for two years into the woods of New England – to discover the depths of solitude, inform deep states of consciousness and his subsequent writing.

But such extreme measures may not be possible, or even needed.

First steps

My first experience was a silent Mindfulness day in Oxford in 2012. I had taken the 8 week Mindfulness course and the silent day was an opportunity to ‘deepen our practice’, whatever that meant, but I was both curious and apprehensive. There were 30 of us in the room and we had signed up for jobs to assist with the flow of the day and sat down.

I was not fully prepared for the rollercoaster of emotions that day. The teaching was tender and gentle. We explored sitting meditations, mindful walking and movement. It was a day of paradoxical feelings – as it progressed, I felt more and more lonely but yet rested at the same time. I felt a relief to not having to talk to anyone, but at the same time, I felt shunned at not being acknowledged by my fellow participants. The lunchtime brought a new wave of isolation as mealtime conjured up expectations for me as a social experience. Meanwhile, I studied the variety on my plate with a new mindful affection.

At the end of the day, we were asked to reflect on our day. For many, including me, it was a rush of emotions and we spoke through tears to explain how we felt. Loneliness, peace, agitation, being sidelined, awareness, sadness, pain, happiness – the lot. I was relieved that the others felt the depth of emotion as I thought I was the only one.

It was the start of a fruitful relationship with silence.

On Retreat

I’ve now experienced and taught many Mindfulness days and retreats but perhaps the most memorable so far was a 5 night silent retreat at the secular Buddhist retreat centre, Gaia House in Devon. It felt like a challenge I was ready for.

Again, waves of emotion came, not as extreme as in the past but still notable. The first 2 days were the most difficult. What hit me most was, despite all that I’ve learnt, I was playing a narrative – ‘by now I should be able to maintain a still mind’. Our teacher talked in depth about how expectation and striving for something can limit us. We can’t go on retreat to expect a still mind because ‘it knows’! The hidden agenda of the ego will trip us up and, therefore, we need to be without agenda, to allow and welcome whatever may come.

By the second half of the retreat, I had, to a large extent, allowed the experience to be what it is. The edges of ‘suffering’ had softened. Despite our lack of words, I developed warmth for my fellow ‘retreatants’ and respected how many don’t make eye contact. They no longer needed to fill my void. It is true that being in silence with other people can create an intimacy. There was often a dance of movement and communication in the corridors, we didn’t need to speak, we could show compassion without speaking or even looking at each other.

Taking silence into everyday life

Last Christmas (2016), the Pope advised us amid the rush of daily life to make time for silence. His example is to use a nativity scene but for the non-religious, other ways can be found to take a pause from the hustle and bustle. It could be a tree that you visit, a view or a simple meditation that allows you some silence.

Silence is very personal. It can cause us to stare inwardly, introspectively, and ‘suffer’ as if obsessed about how silence affects us personally. However, silence and stillness is something you can always access, yet you need to allow it in, to become its friend. To start listening to yourself and to appreciate its depth and richness by spending time in dedicated silence with others. This is a journey that is worth embarking on.

It turns out that this only child learned to appreciate (and need) silence, the space, the depth and the openness it brings.