Stepping Into 2022

It has taken a while for me to get my head into my 2022 goals. I have sat, thought, pondered and journaled about what it is I want to achieve. Recently I have spent my mornings at the beach in Rockingham where we are taking our two dogs for their morning swim. the weather is hot, and our aging shepherd Annie loves to swim. We know we will have to say goodbye to her soon and try to make every day a good day for her. I guess I have been distracted.

My Pandemic World

I am not about to complain about my experience with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I have been lucky. I sit here in my home in West Australia, double vaxxed and healthy, well as healthy as I can be but more on that later. It is easy to be complacent, our government has been tough on those reluctant to be vaccinated and this has caused the predictable back lash in the community. I should specify that it is six percent of the population now in Western Australia that are not vaccinated, and that is fine, it is their choice. My only wish is that they wouldn’t be so aggressive about their position, that they wouldn’t use fake science and hearsay to back up their claims. I trust the science and the empirical evidence that tells me, quite clearly that I have a better chance of surviving COVID when vaccinated.

Our borders are due to open soon, and travelers from around the world will be coming back to Western Australia for whatever reason, and history shows with open borders the virus will run rampant. I want myself and my family to have a fighting chance of getting through this pandemic, isn’t that all any of us want?

Good Reads Challenge

I have registered for a Good reads challenge, and I have committed to reading fifty two books a year! Four books down – follow by reading journey here…. (Insert links to good reads)

Dissolve by Nikki Gemmel

With the exceptions of Nikki Gemmel’s successful television career and award winning novels, I could have been reading my life story. The names and places are different but the emotions are all there. if you are a women, writing or following some other creative pursuit, read this book.

Writing Goals for 2022

I am sharing my writing goals here to help me to stay accountable. I can’t remember who it was that said ‘No one cares if you don’t write,’ and that is true. People are if you don’t shower, make dinner and wash dishes, but not one other person in my household at least cares if I don’t get my arse in the chair and write!”

Love Heals the Heart – is the third book in m multi-protagonist series – Shades of Love. This book is currently under going final edits and should be released in March/April.

Theodore Bear Goes to Karate – my first children’s book and a big departure from what I usually write, its a lot of fun and I am learning so much about illustration and writing for children. I plan for this book to be released in July.

Body Peace Writer Retreat – is a book I have been planning for a long time, years. It will combine my yoga, reiki, meditation and aromatherapy knowledge, with everything that I know and have tried about writing and unleashing the muse, in what ever form your inspiration takes. This book will guide you through creating your own retreat, at home and will be filled with tips, exercises, yoga sequences. etc..

I would then like to write a fourth book in my series that follows on from Love Heals the Heart.

I want to write another book, I want to journal more often, to meditate and grow the repertoire of work that I can do. This includes an expansion in the social media marketing that I do to include tik tok… don’t laugh. Well at least not until you follow me here: https://www.tiktok.com/@vanessamckayauthor

Financial Goals 2022

As I type this my books are selling weekly in their ones. I want this change, I want to move my writing from being my number one expense to being a sustainable income that I build on year after year over the next decade. I plan to do that by sticking to all of the above.

Health Goals 2022

I want to resume teaching this year, it is hard in the COVID climate so I am looking at creating classes on Patreon as a way to generate a small income while helping other writers look after their bodies from the safety and security of their own homes. The big upside to Patreon is that students can take the classes whenever it suits them and often as they like so watch this space as I bring this plan to fruition.

Don’t forget to like and subscribe and I will be back with an update and more photos soon. xx

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Spring!!

Not that you would know it but here in Perth we are two weeks into spring. It is thirteen degrees outside, raining and windy. If it wasn’t for the leaves returning to the deciduous trees in our garden it would be easy to miss the recent turn of the seasons. I am trying not to whinge, summer and its hot dry days will be here soon enough. (I popped out at lunch to snap some shots of the garden, and was blessed with blue skies)

My aim for this month is organisation – I know, try not to laugh out loud. It feels like every year I run the gauntlet of trying this way and that to become more efficient, more productive, more, more, more… The truth is that I end every day exhausted and I never feel like I have done enough work. Then I remind myself, my family is safe, the house is clean, some work got done, and I can wake up and do more tomorrow. When did we become so hard on ourselves? Who ever told us that we have to get it all done, NOW! I am working on a balance of being gentle with myself without slacking off.

YOGA

This month has been cold and my arthritis has been flaring up and cramping down. So my yoga practice has been working on treating every joint in my body to some movement and attention. It helps, particularly around midday when I have been sitting at my desk typing for a couple of hours. A daily practice doesn’t have to be time consuming or even interrupt your day. Here are a few exercises that I try to do several times a day without leaving my desk:

Yoga Journalling

As a writer you probably already have a tonne of journals and balk at me attempting adding another one to the pile. I call this section yoga journalling but you can do it in your everyday notebook, journal, diary, scrap of paper, phone notes – where ever you choose to write. When I began training as a yoga teacher we were told to journal after every class to record the valuable insights and epiphanies we were sure to have, and I soon realised that all my writing belonged in the one place, I do not have the patience for chopping and changing journals according to the pants I am wearing. So I use my stock standard Molskine notebook for everything, including shopping lists – All writing it good writing? It doesn’t have to be fancy or form a starting point for my next novel, it just has to be put down on paper for me to review at sometime in the future.

That said try this small exercise –

Your First Yoga Class

People often ask me if my Yoga Classes are hard? Let me set you at ease, they are not.

My classes are as challenging as you need them to be on any given day.  After you have been practicing for a while  you see that your body will often react differently from one class to the next, even throughout a single class from one side to the other.  When you look close enough, no two poses you do will ever be alike. It is my job to guide you into practicing poses safely and within your limits, it is your job not to let your ego push you past those limits. I design my yoga classes to meet you where you are and you must always remain where your breath is. ( we will discuss this more in class 😉)

Arrival: please try to arrive five-ten minutes before class starts, I will need some information from you before we start and we can talk about your expectations and any concerns that you may have.


What to wear: leggings or loose comfy pants on the bottom.  Please be comfortable, which you won’t be if you are fidgeting around trying to keep your arse covered.  Yoga is not an Instagram fashion parade, it is one place where you must dress for comfort over style.  You may like to bring socks for our meditation at the end of class but we will practice in bare feet for safety. If you are prone to cold feet and are uncomfortable you can buy Yoga Socks with special grips on the soles.

On the top, layers are good to peel off during class if you get too warm and you can reapply for meditation. Best not to wear anything that falls over your head during forward bends.

Please refrain from wearing perfume during class, a clean body and a roll of deodorant is all you need.  Chemical smells are distracting when we practice and may cause headaches and sneezes in your fellow students.

Eating before Class? It is better not to eat within a couple of hours before class, but if you must, enjoy something light such as a piece of fruit and a herbal tea.

What to bring: a mat, a drink bottle, a blanket and a small cushion for your head. If you do not have a mat let me know I always carry a few spares and you are welcome to use one while you are deciding whether or not yoga is right for you.

Savasana Meditation: Don’t leave class during Savasana, our final pose. It is your time to relax, time for your body to reset and adjust to any changes our practice has brought.  I  will often  use a singing bowl and Reiki to set an atmosphere of serenity as I guide you through a meditation while you simply focus on your breath. Leaving at this time is disruptive, if you must go early please ensure it is during our Savasana preparation time.

Okay so with the basics out of the way, trying new things can be scary.  Coming along with a friend helps but that is not always possible and even with a friend your negative internal dialogue can still kick in.   Let me try to put your mind at ease.. no one is looking at you.  Not one person is class is bothered about your size, your tummy, your butt, lack of flexibility, lack of physical stability, if you wobble, shake or even fart!  Yoga is an internal practice.  Throughout class, I encourage you to turn within, to focus on your breath and to draw your attention to what is happening on your mat.  Yoga class is your sacred space, to let go of stresses and worldly worries, Yoga time is all about YOU.

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.

Namaste 🙏

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Meditating with Mala Beads

 

beaded mediation

Mala (Sanskrit for meditation garland) beads have been used as both a prayer and meditation tool for thousands of years.  Traditionally Mala beads consist on 108 wooden beads plus one guru bead that  signifies that you have come full circle, it is added in addition to the 108 beads and is often different in shape or colour and decorated with the knot of the necklace often ending in the shape of a lotus.

Mala beads are used for Japa meditation, that is a meditation practice that uses each bead to count the repetition of a mantra.  This practice involves:

  • taking hold of the beads in your hands in front of you beginning with the first bead to the right of the guru bead.
  • inhale, exhale repeating your mantra out loud or silently in your mind.
  • move to the next bead and repeat
  • when you reach the guru bead, pause and reflect on your practice, if you wish to continue trace the beads back the way you came, inhaling, exhaling and repeating your mantra at every bead.

Today in class we took our mantras from Louise Hays affirmation cards. We choose our cards by shuffling the deck, and cutting the pack in two, taking the card we are immediately directed to, no matter how challenging the advice may be.

My card for today is pictured above and reads:

As I forgive myself, it becomes easier to forgive others.

This resonated deeply with me today as we are going through some, let us say personality struggles with a particular person that is distantly related to our karate business. It is easy to take offense to the actions and words of another person, to let their actions well up on you.  But to what end? Buddha said:

Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die

Diseases brought on by stress will manifest within us when we hold onto anger, hurt, and regret, what do we gain by holding onto this negativity?  When faced with an opponent you cannot win over, not because they are better than you, not because they are right and you are wrong (nothing is ever that black and white) but because they refuse to accept you, simple.  Another person within our association refuses to accept me, and because it literally bears no consequence on who I am and how I behave there is no point being upset or angry, or of choking on my own poison.  Instead I will practice forgiveness, whilst staying within the boundaries of my own security. More so I will forgive myself for all those things we deserve to be forgiven for, not working hard enough, loosing direction, self doubt, eating cake, not walking long enough, buying new books when I have a stack to read, not getting enough sleep and so on.

The primary word on the card is forgive, my mantra is “I Forgive”.  Take the beads in both hands, start with the bead left of the guru bead, hold the first bead between your thumb and forefinger  and inhale, as you exhale repeat your mantra, take hold of the next bead and repeat working your way around the mala until you return to the guru bead.  Take a few moments to reflect on your practice.  If it helps, wear your mala bracelet on your right hand to remind you throughout the day of your good intention.

Namaste`

 

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Mala Beads

 

Louise L Hay
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