These creatures from mars were near to alien to me when I started uni. I mean sure I went on the odd awkward date or had a few short lived loves at college but here's the thing:
Boys brains are wired very differently to girls. And somehow... they compliment each other. No matter how long the relationship; each interaction has something to teach us and only at uni did I decide I wanted to learn what it had to teach. Learning to let go of control, valuing myself, learning my boundaries, speaking up and carefully listening to my feelings were only some of them. I've more recently learnt the power of being open and vulnerable and also the strength you can create from really resonating with someone.
Ahhhhh time! We don't really come across you that much at uni. Quite a rarity these days. But the bottom line is, if you want to do something enough, you will make time for it. Whether that's going to a the pub with friends after a paddle, going to that dance class every week, making that YouTube video, taking that online course; if you really want to do it, time will bend to let you do it. A lot of my friends look at me and say 'How do you do it all? How do you fit it all in?'. I just say 'I like doing them too much. I can't have it any other way'
Procastination! The biggest time waster of all. When I started noticing the patterns of my procastination, I changed my attitude towards it. Now here's the catch: Procrastination is a result of our survival instinct. And that instinct operates on the time frame of 'now'. So even if the thing we're doing may be really useful to us once we finish it, it its making us tired or stressed right now our instinct comes into play. 'She's getting stressed. Make her stop. Do anything! FaceBOOOOOOK!'
Once I noticed this pattern I came up with a process:
Play vs. Work
'Laboris Gloria Ludi'. Thats what is says on the shield of Camborne School of Mines and was the first thing we were told when we talked to the older years in the department. It means 'Work hard, play hard' and the department lives by it. Once coming to uni, it didn't take me long to realise that I couldn't function properly or be any form of productive without seeing friends, getting outside or being active. Once I acknowledged that my priorities were very quickly rearranged.
Future vs. Now
'Be in the moment' they said. 'Now is all you have' 'Now is where all the change happens'. I believe them. It's a really amazing feeling just being in the moment. I get it when I have a really great day out with friends, being active, having fun and outside. I get it when I meditate; I get it when I sit and just relax in a bath or when I'm eating an amazing meal I've cooked for myself. But when you have dreams and goals to fulfill, occasionally we need to gently shift out focus from 'now' to 'the future'. I mean spending hours perfecting the font for 'Be Water', rearranging my blog from scratch or making a video on a programme that keeps on crashing isn't exactly what my 'now' self would like to do. But I do it because my future self will thank me for it. And it's a real balance. The energy and motivation for our dreams comes from our passion right now. Too much 'future work'; we loose enthusiasm. Too much 'now'; and we're not any closer to our dreams than last week. Just right, and we're cooking with gas!
Art vs. Science
'Alara, what do you do at uni?'
'I do Geology at Exeter uni'
'Ohh, my grandad used to live in Exeter!'
'Yeah, no. I'm not in Exeter. I'm in Cornwall. We share campuses with Falmouth University, an arts uni'
A very common snippet of my conversations with family friends and one that usually results in a confused 'Ohhh'. Truth is I love living in Cornwall, in a tiny town, being all sciency while having flatmates that do Natural Marine Photography, Dance or Music. I think its often forgotten how nice it can be to use both sides of our brain together. After hours of counting the grains of sand in a thin section under the microscope, going to a graphic design exhibition or dancing in a friends final year dance assessment feels great. Even discussing the most efficient way of making a bronze cabbage with your creative crafts friend! Its refreshing, its interesting and this beautiful balance keeps you sane.
Types of close friends
There are many many different people you meet at uni. Close friends, friends, acquaintances, 'I'd recognise them if I saw them's. You name it! However, once coming to uni I noticed a pattern in the people I would call close friends. All of them seemed to fall into one of these three categories.
Amplifiers: We're really similar. Have the same interests, usually the same crazy ideas and get overly excited about something that excites us both and get even more excited when we realise how excited we both are about it! Amplifiers are people you resonate with and usually ones you get a great sense of 'alive' when you're with.
Completers: Without my completers in my life, I would be nothing. These are friends you are naturally attracted to because even though you have a lot in common they are stronger in areas in which you're not. You both get satisfaction in helping each others weak spots. You complete each other and that creates a beautiful and special bond.
Supporters: They get immense satisfaction from being your cheer leaders. They love seeing what you do, they get excited when you do something exciting. I still have not figured out what magic lies within these friends to give them this supportive energy; but I think it takes so much love, belief and positivity to play this role. I really admire these people. Their presence feels like home; Safe and loved.
If you have a good idea, make it work
Finally, university has taught me, ideas that you think about all the time is just reality that hasn't loaded yet. So GO GET IT. It will work. Don't be afraid to fail, they're just lessons in disguise. Don't be afraid to ask for help, you're not meant to be on your own. Remember, you have a bombproof group of supporters here for you and they love you 🖤
Today I was thinking to myself, ‘Hell!.. I’ve done a lot recently and I know there’s a few people out there who would want to know about it’. And as not everyone has Facebook, here it is. The very first ‘Alara’s World’ Newsletter.
I have just got home from another long day, working on campus on a piece of coursework due-in in a few days’ time. There seems to be a constant atmosphere of rush, not knowing enough, not being good enough and not having enough time. I feel I get sucked into this whirlpool of anxiety after a while. Thankfully, my intuition has learned to speak up for itself and if I ignore it for too long, it’s not afraid to demand attention. Like now when it wants me to reflect on all my exciting do’s and step away from work!
I have recently been taking a lot of baby steps forward towards my dreams and ambitions. So here they are!
1. I’ve got active on my YouTube channel
My plan with this is to interview a different people that inspire me with things that they do or characteristics they have. Alongside this, I also want to do tutorials for yoga and dance sequences and moves. One of my new years’ goals is to reach 100 subscribers on my YouTube channel and I’m currently on 17. Got a little way to go!
2. I’ve networked with Fiona, founder of ‘Cowdance’, a company that combines yoga and outdoor activites
It’s something I’m really interested in doing. Combining stuff. I have some great great great combinations in mind involving adventures, outdoors, yoga, dance and maybe music. Fiona, based in the Yorkshire Dales, is on the same page as me on that topic. So, when I found her website I e-mailed her immediately asking if we could have a chat on the phone about how she got where she got today. Turns out that the company is very newly blossoming and allready taken a lovely first few steps. We really hit it off on the phone and she invited me to come and visit her in the sometime. This was the perfect excuse to make a weekend trip to the Dales with my now boyfriend, Josh. We both met her and her husband and really resonated with our ideas. This was in December before I went back home for Christmas and once home I woke up to find a beautiful e-mail from her packed with inspiration. She was talking about how well I would fit into the company and contribute to its growth. It excited me how I would be helping develop something relatively new. Because, you know, its not really 'me' to follow rules! So I now have a few retreat dates arranged where I will be assisting her. Eek!
3. I’ve set up a society called GeoAdventures!!!
Still on the topic of combining, but this time a slight different combination. I got this idea last year, exploring geology by doing various outdoor activities. This year I thought, ‘Well, I’m not on the kayaking committee anymore, I can do anything I want!’ I posted about it on our course Facebook page asking if anyone wanted to help me run it. To my delight, it didn’t take long before I got 3 girls on my committee, all buzzing to get stuff going. Thanks to a £2000 funding we got, this past weekend I organised a GeoKayaking trip for 20 people. Both students and lecturers came and had a great time! I’m even more excited about the next one because Hannah from our committee has organised a rock climbing trip at a beautiful cove called Rinsey with vertical granite cliffs. As Hannah is here next year she is very keen to carry it on next year too!
With this society hopefully lecturers and students will become a bit more connected and also get a chance to see geology from a better and more unusual angle while having fun.
You can tell that I’m very excited about this I have no doubt!
4. I’ve stopped dance and started gymnastics
I know! But don’t worry I haven’t given up dancing. Dance classes have been great during my time at uni but this year I’ve got to a point where I would rather be creating dances or improvising rather than reciting pre-made material. So instead, I’ve decided to learn a new skill and get out my comfort zone a bit. And do that I did, because I finally managed to do a backwards walkover!
5. I’ve started modelling and love it
I may be an outdoorsy free spirit but the other side of me is made for the stage. That’s where my love for dancing comes from. Putting on looks, being in front of the camera. I don’t know what it is that draws me to it; all the attention or feeling appreciated. It might just be the praise. Whatever the reason, doing this makes me feel more confident and great in some way.
6. I’ve been interviewed by ‘People of the Sea’
Following on from my previous point about liking attention, Luke, is the founder of a great local company called ‘People of the Sea’. It is based around interviewing and photographing people’s connection with the sea and bringing that community (primarily surfing!) together. I had an interview with him back in September about my experience of surfing and what kind of connection I have with the sea. He’s recently just published it and I think he’s worded it beautifully.
Click here to view the interview: http://bit.ly/2jHJaDT
7. I invested in some life coaching sessions and definitely do not regret it
I know what you’re thinking. Life coaching?! Do you need that at this age? Well, turns out. Yes. The most important thing Juliet, my coach, helped me to do was learn to listen to my intuition which is something that’s not that easy to listen to when university is nearly over, life seems scary and survival instinct are much stronger than any whispers of intuition that may exist. With this, I managed to acknowledge that having a direct impact on people is something that really gives me fulfilment. And, if I’m doing something I really love doing, I’ll be dead good at it and have a hugely positive impact, at that.
8. I’ve started babysitting
Two kids age 8 and 9. I love it. It’s only a few hours a week but such a good excuse to be a child again!
9. I’ve got an amazing job for the summer, a great reference for it and a sexy CV
This summer I’m going to be working with ‘The Bushcraft Company’ where we take a group of kids out into an ancient woods for a few days and teach them how to build shelters, cook in the wild and do bushcraft. We also go wild swimming, exploring the woodland and play games by the camp fire. Throughout the summer, I’m also going to be assisting Fiona, from Cowdance Yoga with her ‘Into the Woods’ yoga retreat.
My ‘job-hunting’ period for this was actually really fun and rewarding. I gave my CV a good polish, made business cards and got an amazing reference from my tutor who said it was the easiest reference he ever wrote. I’m so excited for this summer to come!
10. I want to get a car
Yup. I'm a grown-up now who has passed her driving test (after many attemps!). So goodbye trains. I will now go where I please.
11. I have a rough plan for after summer and it's exciting!
Work the whole summer, save up lots of money, get inspired, book a flight out to Australia on a ‘work and travel’ visa, harvest fruit or work for an outdoor adventure company, go to Bali and do my Yoga Teacher Training, go back to Australia (Who knows, work in a yoga studio!), come back to England all energised and full of ideas for the next chapter of my life.
12. I’m in a long distance relationship and I love it
Thanks to this I have re-discovered the forgotten gem of letter writing! I feel it’s pretty healing really. You really appreciate the time you get together. It also means you have to speak your feelings because there’s too much uncertainty in long distance to expect the other to mind-read. This is Josh everyone :)
1. Eating when hungry, listening to cravings, clean eating
2. Exercise of some form that I enjoy. Like dance, yoga, gymnastics, kayaking, SUP. cycling, swimming or something totally new!
3. Getting outside
4. Breathing deeply
5. Bedtime routine of stretching, breathing, meditating, snuggling into bed, smiling and wishing the whole world good night
6. Tidying my room
7. De-hairing myself ;)
8. Oiling my skin and hair while giving my self a good old massage
9. Supporting others
10. Giving myself compliments and thinking loving thoughts. Any inner critic comments will be acknowledged and kindly shown to the door.
11. Going to bed early
12. Reading a book
13. Talking to loved ones, connecting with friends, finding a new thing to love about someone
14. Talking to strangers and reaching out to people I get a buzz from or whom I resonate with
15. Researching about my dream life
16. Writing down all my thoughts and feelings freely
17. Being honest and open to other people
18. Laughing and giving a hug
19. Playing with kids
20. Imagining smells that remind me of comforting thoughts and memories
21. Having open and in-depth conversations
22. Being open about my weaknesses (vulnerable!) and owning them
23. Being cheeky ;)
24. Empathising with peoples pain even (especially if) they annoy me
25. Speaking up
I'm sitting in my room after a long day of productivity. I mean, don't get me wrong I didn't get any uni work done (Shh, I have a presentation tomorrow!), but I did some yoga in the morning, ate some of my homemade coconut brownie balls for breakfast, got a bit creative by making a head accessory, cycled up to campus in the sun, finished my application for the Geoadventures society me and 3 other friends are setting up, met up for coffee with Sam - my lecturer about good places around Cornwall to run the Geoadventure trips (there are so many!), whizzed back down to Falmouth on my bike and had a coffee and a cake with my smashing dance friends at Expressini - a coffee shop I've wanted to try since my firs day in Falmouth. I have just arrived home, made dinner and sat down to do some presentation work. But I just can't start without writing this. Or else, I will explode!
That buzz you get when you're doing something that really resonates with what you want to be doing at that moment in time..
Its such a satisfying feeling. It makes me feel so full. I literally feel there's a little ball vibrating in my chest giving me a buzz. I think it's the child me, jumping around in there - being Alara, saying 'Wahoo! You've noticed mee. Lets go play!'
And if I focus on the buzz, it contages (sorry! couldn't find a verb for contagious) to my throat and eyes and mouth. And I can't help but smile. If I'm walking, a little hop might pop in there. Or a spin.
It I'm listening to music, I might just have to get up and dance.
Ahh, this feeling. It so beautiful. It's so pleasurable. It's like falling in love!
Work, when in alignment with what you're designed to be doing is just so NOT work. At this moment, I don't even know why the concept of work is a thing. I'm just living.
Not being a bum, not being unproductive nor being a workaholic, - just living.
And I have so much respect for everyone else who is doing what they feel driven to do. My friend Zoe, she's so on it with applying to geology jobs. She gets up early to finish coursework in advance. She makes colourful notes. She goes the extra mile to network.
And looking at her just makes me feel happy. Because doing that is so natural for her.
The more I appreciate this way of living, the more people I notice that have this way of living, the more people I love.
Every night before I go to bed, I take a deep breath in and snuggle into my sheets. Smiling, I wish the world good night. Sometimes I tell them to wait for me! Coz I just feel like I'm about to get out there and add so much value to it!
Wait for me World! I'm coming, I'm on ma way!!!
Alara believes that the path to a fulfilled life is to make a unique meaningful impact in the world. So she now helps business owners and is an NLP practitioner, a yoga teacher and a Contemporary Rites of Passage facilitator. She helps entrepreneurs align their life and business with their purpose in 8 weeks.