In spring 2017, I decided to go on a gap year. I didn't call it a gap year then but when I look back, what I did was custom design a transformational year as a highway to my dream life.
In hindsight, it marked the beginning of really living a life that's on my own terms. Here's the 7 levels of depth to how that happened:
1. The Plan: The plan is not to have a plan
In a journal from May 2017 I wrote about wanting to create a life full of belonging, freedom, authenticity and purpose. I had figured that much out from my life experience so far but what would a life like that actually look like?!
After uni, I decided I didn't want to pursue a career in geology. So I clarified my dream exactly and then let go of any attachment to how I was going to achieve it. I wanted to achieve my dream by following my heart and my nose, by turning any opportunity into something that will serve me and through the magic of spontaneity.
The plan was to not have a plan. The direction was to achieve my dream life. So for the first time in my life it was the dream that was concrete and apart from a vague idea, the plan was not. Read on to find out how this was probably the best way to start my gap year.
2. Experiences: Each experience I have, brings me closer to my goals
First stop, Bali. Mt. Agung was errupting at the time and my flight would not have been able to land if I had arrived 2 days later. I became a yoga teacher. It was a month filled with love, gratitude, huge amounts of learning and moving through challenges with compassion. I was basking in the indonesian beauty, climate and spirit. It has given me a gift to connect with my feminine whenever I need to.
A couple of months later I moved to a beautiful small town in Western Australia and worked for a company called Adventure Works where I worked with teenagers in the outdoors helping them with their transition into adulthood. I learnt so much about managing dynamics, holding delicate conversations and turning conflict into learnings but perhaps the biggest thing I got out of it was seeing how a small company operates. An invaluable system to observe first hand.
While still in Dunsborough, I got to teach yoga twice a week and truly experienced the gift of giving. The life energy that I felt from delivering a beautiful class to beautiful people was amazing!
During a part of my stay here, I lived at a yoga retreat centre with the owner, her 4 kids, 2 dogs, 12 chickens and a sheep. I was an au-pair and helped out with the kids and business in exchange for delicious ayurvedic food ever and a love-filled home. I reconnected to the joy of play through the kids and since I left that place, I have had some amazing rituals in place to look after my wellbeing. What a gift!
The training was one hell of a month filled with love, gratitude, huge amounts of learning and moving through challenges with compassion. One of the challenges was the erupting Mt. Agung. The other was me trying to hold onto a relationship from my ''old life'' during a period of rapid transformation and personal growth. I eventually realised that with personal growth the right relationship also evolves.
Overall I was basking in the beauty of the island, sacred teachings, strong friendships and a great feeling of empowerment that I'm now actually qualified to earn money by doing something I love. But I knew that it was the first step into the journey of creating a life full of that feeling.
4. First leap of faith
During the training I started thinking about where I was going to spend Christmas and what job I was going to do in Australia. I really didn't want to be on my own in a hostel room during Christmas and I really didn't want to just work in a cafe in Australia after experiencing so much purpose i Bali. As I was trying to stay as present as possible on my journey to becoming a yoga teacher, I only ended up applying to 2 jobs in Australia. One was a company called Adventure Works in Western Australia who work with young adults, taking them on outdoor expeditions while having important conversations about their transition into adulthood. After a skype interview with them with very dodgy Balinese internet, I got the job!
5. Generosity of distant friends
I had one month before I had to be in Perth for a training to start the job. So I flew to Canberra to stay with a friend I met in Russia on a volcanology field trip. We had a bbq on Christmas, spent the week exploring the Blue Mountains and drove down to the coast south of Sydney for New Years (2018) where we ate, played the guitar around the camp fire and woke up to 2019 on the beach.
The month before I started at Adventure Works turned out to be a great time to travel and connect with the distant people I knew in Australia. In Sydney; I met Vicky, A family friend as well as Claire O'hara the 2018 freestyle kayaking world champion. In Adelaide, I met my life coach Juliet Lever and when in Perth; I stayed with Sandy Robson, a well-known kayaker that paddled from Germany to Australia.
When I finally got to Dunsborough, to the little paradise 3 hours south of Perth that would end up being my base; I was very lucky to be welcomed at my mums friends house who by chance happened to be living very close to my work.
During this month, I was exposed to the generosity of people I only know very little. It was heart warming to have homes opened up to me and create beautiful connections around Australia. Its a beautiful feeling when a door is opened in a place that feels so far from home.
6. Building a new life in Western Australia
Within a matter of days I had bought a car for £900 and was renting a spare room in a locals house with 2 sausage dogs and a beach view! I was surrounded by a new community of people passionate about making a difference. I felt valued for my outdoor experience and supported in holding important conversations with young people. I was teaching yoga twice I week in a beautiful studio and I realised that for the first time in my life that I was earning money only doing stuff that I loved and wanted to spend my time and energy on!
3. Qualifications: Amplifying the progress towards my goals
My yoga teacher training was the first qualification I ever got where I could actually earn money by doing something I loved. But it was just the beginning.
Since my childhood, I've been exposed to the outdoor activity for recreation industry through my parent's profession, which helped me get jobs along my journey. But Adventure Works was what bridged that gap from an outdoor educator to the personal development coaching field. Realising my passion for how powerful the mind is, I returned to England halfway through my gap year and studied to become an Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner. I understood so much about the human brain and consequentially about my and all young people's potential. I started smashing all my goals I set myself.
Throughout my gap year, I developed a brand of my own called Be Water Yoga and Coaching where I worked 1-1 with people doing mindset coaching as well as private and public yoga classes. However, the bit I was unfamiliar with was the business side - I had no idea! But the right teacher attracts the student, and when the time was right that's exactly what happened. I found a mentor who taught me how to set up my own consulting business and I started specialising in helping young people define and achieve their dream life without any wasted time. So Alara Vural Coaching was born. What a rewarding investment!
4. Communities: I realised that on this trip, I got to attract my own community. Everyone I interacted with was because I consciously choose to.
- Dogs. I had such a strong calling to have a dog on this adventure of mine, but logistically it was a nightmare But looks like the universe was listening because I had a dog with or around me for the whole trip!
- Distant friends. I was welcomed into a very distant friends' arms like I was their sibling. No matter what the circumstance, no matter how late I called; the generosity of people I hardly knew left me feeling like I belonged wherever I went.
- Yoga friends. These were total strangers to me who I would now call siblings. Bonded through our dedication to yoga and sharing of such an raw experience. These are friends that I might not constantly talk to but can count on whenever I need to.
- Tribe. The beautiful people I met in Western Australia through work, through the yoga classes I taught and through the yoga retreat centre I lived at (Premalaya). Since knowing them, I feel like I belong. I feel that they've got my back, they affirm I'm on the right road and that I have a home there always.
- Mentors. My yoga teachers, books I read, seminars I went to, my life coach, my consulting mentor. I never thought I had role models but after this journey, I have a list!
5. Lessons: Exactly what I needed to learn to be the person who can achieve my dreams
- Being transparent.
I had a boyfriend before leaving England whom I admired so much. But we knew that long distance wasn't going to be easy. When in Bali, I felt divided. I was so present in every part of my life and evolving but holding onto a relationship I had before I started my journey. We kept being transparent and kept communicating until I realised that the right relationship evolves with the evolving individuals. However, when it had been about 4 months since we hadn't seen each other, I felt I was attracted to a friend. This was a very difficult and vulnerable time for both of us and by being brutally honest and open with him, not only did we overcome the challenging time but our relationship grew stronger because of it. He later came to visit me in Australia, I went back to the UK for a few months during my NLP training and by the time I was flying back out to Australia again to start my second season with Adventure Works we knew how we would make it work. Communication and connection.
- Risk vs. security balance.
I saw the value in taking risks and grabbing opportunities while appreciating the security of having a stable family to live with, a home back in the UK, a beautiful family in Turkey. Never before have I been so out of my comfort zone than I was when I was on my gap year. Be it when I landed in Bali and I only applied for a couple of jobs in Australia; be it when I moved to WA and had 4 days to buy a car, find accommodation and sort all my work documents out or when I tried to build a social life from scratch. But eventually, being out of my comfort zone became comfortable and I was making the most of opportunities.
- Listening to intuition/callings.
My number one guide in deciding on where to go and what to do. Its surprisingly easy to do when you have the space to be whoever you want to and all the noise of external influences on you are silenced.
- Overcoming fears.
As any tourist does, I was also terrified of snakes and sharks in Australia. When my mum came to visit me, we went to a reptile centre and for the first time in my life, I held a Children's Python. As I was holding it, I could feel my brain re-wiring itself and changing the beliefs it has around snakes. I had the same realisation around sharks when I met someone who has dived with the 5 most dangerous sharks in the world. He said they are inquisitive but really have no intention of eating you. When witnessing his passion and love for them, I realised the less we know about something, the more fear we have around it. What a paradox!
- Speaking my truth.
Through situations where I was misunderstood or was done wrong I learnt to have difficult conversations around with dignity, integrity and honesty. As a person that used to actively avoid conflict and confrontation, it was very hard for me stand up for myself. But I thank myself every day now for staying true to myself.
Perhaps one of the things most worried about on a gap year, but it is no more than an irrational fear. I self-funded my whole gap year which included 4 long haul flights, 4 short haul flights, 3 courses/qualifications, a car and accommodation. It is possible. You do have to give thought to it and not be reckless but with the right mindset finance is not a limitation to having a transformational gap year.
6. Tools I learnt: The 3 powerful tools I obtained that are perfect for the job when it comes to achieving my goals
- Yoga and wellbeing practices: Surrounding my self with principles, practices and students of yoga, I learnt some skills and developed practices which mean that I can bring myself into balance and maintain a healthy wellbeing through everything I go through
- Safe space: My love-filled month in Bali, the beautiful nature of Dunsborough, the family I lived with, friendships I made... All of these are very vivid in my mind
- Mindset tools: Through studying to become an NLP practitioner; I learnt some priceless mental tools to deal with anxiety, limiting beliefs, internal and external conflict, overthinking, setting goals and re-generating feelings and strengths as and when I need them. Like I said, it amazes me what the mind can do how huge the potential of each individual actually is.
7. Returning mindset and plan
Feeling a beautiful sense of completion, when I came back from my gap year, I knew exactly what I wanted and how to go about it. I decided to work with young people to help them define and achieve their dream life. I have learnt what I need to, built a beautiful community of people, got amazing and relevant experience, got training in my passion and am ready to add value to the world with it. I feel a great sense of calm and excitement at the same time!
One thing I love about the 90-live days challenge I'm doing at the moment on the Be Water Yoga and Coaching facebook page is that my daily life becomes my teacher that I can then share with my viewers. I was blessed recently with my soul sister that I met at my Yoga Teacher Training in Bali visiting my in the UK. On one of our long walks in the evening walking Joey, our dog; I was very thankful for my gift of articulation as we discussed a topic that is quite often misunderstood in today's world.
Dreading the thought of past relationships that go south.
Hating our ex.
What is a soul mate?
I first realised what I am about to explain now, when I was at uni. I mentioned it in my blog post ''Top Things I Learnt from Uni that aren't my Degree''. After the same topic coming up again with my friend the other day, I based Day 32 of the 90-live days challenge and on it and now I want to expand on why we never stop loving and why regret is a waste of energy.
We are attracted to people for a reason. Because with everyone we ever interact with we have something to exchange and grow from. That is why we attract them. Some people come into our lives to teach us one thing. They might not even know what it is. In fact most people are forever confused about how the hell someone has ended up in their lives. A person that treats us like dirt may be there in our lives for us to realise our self worth and that we don't deserve to be treated in that way. But on the other hand we might meet someone super empowering that teaches us that we're not just a leaf in the storm. We have the reins and its not about what happens to us, it's about what we choose to do about what happens to us. Most of the growth that happens through interactions with people we attract, never get verbalised, but can be felt and acknowledged.
This can be with someone that we meet for an hour, a friend we are close with for a year or a romantic relationship we have. But however long the relationship lasted, we had it for a reason and it had to happen in order for us to be who we are today.
When the lesson that we need to learn is learnt and we have grown; the attraction fizzles out, the relationship has served its purpose and its time to let go. This is why holding on to dead relationships does not serve us. It was right at the time but now it is like a tree holding onto its dead leaves. Recognizing when its time to let go is a very humble and empowering act.
However, there is an exception for this. If the two people who are attracted to each other both learn what the other has to teach them, they both grow. From this growth they now have something new to exchange and teach. They grow the learn, they grow more they learn more. This sustainable elevator model is the key to life-long relationships. Soul mates perhaps we could call them. Or soul sisters, brothers.
If a lesson stays unlearnt it will keep on repeating itself until it is learnt. This can be in the form of
1) Vicious cycles in relationships which can easily turn toxic
2) Attracting the same type of people over and over again into our lives (romantic and other)
All the more reason to ask: What am I learning from this relationship. Why did I attract them into my life. How can I grow from this?
''Change is the only constant'' Heraclitus (A Greek philosopher)
Embrace it. Enjoy it.
On the 7th of July, I announced that I was going to make a live video every day for the next 90 days.
This sounds like an awfully long time, and it is! And that is exactly the point.
My soul calling is to help young people navigate a pathway in their lives in line with who they are while providing the tools for them to do just that, to fly. We live in a world, designed more like railway tracks. Major decisions that dictate the direction we will be travelling in for the rest of our lives are often affected by external factors like tradition, expectation, status, money. Its not uncommon to get to 40 and look back on your life to say, ''Is this it? Is this all there is?''. The more we connect to our inner purpose, the more we live our life on our own terms.
So there; yoga to connect to an inner purpose, and coaching to give the mental tools to achieve what the soul desires.
Yet; however loud and clear this message is inside of me, it is only effective when it reaches the right people. Its a noisy world, and everyone wants their message to spread. Whether that's their Instagram post, something they're selling, their video. A lot of stuff are demanding our attention.
And even though I love giving private yoga classes and running breakthrough coaching sessions, I found that the self marketing side of it didn't come to me naturally at all! Its because I just felt like another person demanding attention.
Over time, it became clear to me that it isn't about me demanding attention, its me taking responsibility for delivering value to as many people as possible.
So I journaled. How can I deliver value, and make it accessible to everyone? My core intention wasn't coming across clearly. I needed to produce more consistent, value-adding material. I needed to find my own voice in comfortably and confidently talking about what I am most passionate about. And most importantly, make my material less about me and more about you.
The 90 live days challange is a commitment. To myself and to everyone it reaches. And the best thing about it is that I am learning as I go, while helping others grow.
There are some days where I really don't want to do one. But I film a video anyway, because it isn't about me after all.
My motto? Stay real. Add value. Share joy.
Namaskar (The light inside me, bows down to the light inside you)
Follow Be Water's 90 live days challange on Be Water Yoga and Coaching.
I wanted to share with you my journal from monday the 6th of November;
Today I had a very heartfelt, genuine day. It wasn't happy, it was just powerful and raw. I felt I connected to the most simple but commonly ignored human emotions. Compassion.
There's two weeks until my Yog Teacher Training and I'm in Derby for the month. Taking each day as it comes. Accepting work to fill my time and having some free days to sort stuff out before I leave.
But today I was able to do my soul proud - by not silencing it. Even writing this, my eyes tear up. I get tears of freedom when my soul feels open. Like when I deeply connect to nature or when I make an important decision from my heart or when I let my soul speak - apparently.
Despite the butterflies of anxiety in my stomach, I told my boss at a lovely pizza making job I enjoyed that the hours and days he dropped me to were too low for it to be worth my day. I felt compassionate in saying;
''Its not practical for me and I currently don't feel like I'm an essential member of your staff. If it won't be too much of an impact on you, it will be best for me not to come in tomorrow''.
He totally understood which made a sad but smooth goodbye, both of us understanding one another and knowing its for the best.
I walked back to my bike after work and realised that my front light was stolen. In the rawness of the moment I was a bit disappointed but gladly, didn't dwell on it too much and just navigated myself to the nearest bike shop and got bike lights.
On my way back, I saw a homeless man sitting on the side of the street. It made my heart ache, because it was such a freekin freezing night last night! I mean so cold, that when I went for a morning walk, everything including grass was frosted over. I asked Josh when I woke up; ''What do homeless people on nights like this?''. Its such a basic thing that we often overlook. So little are we grateful for it. Not just having a shelter but having a HOME.
I walked past this guy while noticing my mind going; ''If you walk away far enough, the heartache will go''. Thanks to some reading I've been doing recently, I identified this mind voice trying to over-rule my heart and inner child. I had to turn back.
Now I don't know why he's homeless. Some people, including myself, learn to block out this heartache felt when we see another human in distress, by justifying it saying; ''Why doesn't he just get a job?''. And I don't know why he doesn't get a job. But in the rawness I felt today, I couldn't take it upon myself to assume his circumstances, or plan out his life for him. I just know he looked cold, lonely, miserable and muted. I turned back and started talking to him. I knelt down to his level and tried to make gentle conversation. I offered him sandwiches I had with me but he refused. Then he just said; ''Look, this isn't helping. You talking to me. This is where I sleep and if cameras see this, they kick me out. I'm homeless. I need money.'' I felt it wasn't him begging for money, it was him stating the blatant truth.
I apologised and walked away. My ego was hurt a little bit, I mean I was someone talking time out my day to genuinely talk to him. He must be lonely. He can't have that many people stopping to talk to him. But thankfully I was able to observe my ego's voice and have my heart connect to the reality of the situation. It's f***ing freezing outside, he has no home; conversation isn't exactly on his priority list at the moment. Not out of guilt or feeling sorry for him but purely because of my uttermost compassion for him was I able to overlook the 'power pyramid' clearly carved into our minds by society. A pyramid which causes an over-protectiveness of objects and money and a numbness of feelings towards those less powerful than us. So I took out £50 in cash and turned back.
Before he knew I was about to hand him money, he started apologising for being rude before. I said it was OK and gave him the 50 quid. His reaction was priceless. I won't describe in in detail because its something I want to treasure in my heart forever and not on a piece of paper, bounded by the extent of my words. But his eyes, his smile, his big hug instantly bursted something within my soul and my eyes teared up with happy tears.
He knew exactly what to spend it on. A pair of waterproof walking boots that he saw for £30. He said that his trainers were three sizes too big for him and asked me for permission. I said; ''What the hell! Of course!''. He couldn't stop saying thank you, just like a child who just got a Christmas gift. He kept on turning back and smiling at me, saying that they'll last him 2 years! Then he bumped into someone because he wasn't looking where he was going. They said; 'You allright?''. He was like; ''Yeah! This young lady has just given me some money to get some shoes!''
Man , it wasn't happiness I felt. It was the raw and genuine fulfillment of making a change, helping someone and giving without expecting.
I've been sitting in a cafe for the last hour writing this. I was so grateful for having money to buy this cup of tea, the facilities to go to dance classes, having somewhere warm to stay. I looked at everyone else and thought how unaware they probably are to this simple luxury. I realised how widespread this unawareness actually is. And even within the hour of writing this, I noticed within myself how quickly I have got used to it. Its easy to forget about gratitude unless you actively bring your attention back to it.
I later found out that homeless people can't get jobs for a variety of reasons. Including lack of adress, employer pre-conceptions, lack of phone etc. This article explains further.
PS: To add to the eventful day, it turns out I dropped my bike helmet outside the bike shop I got the bike light from. Some kind person handed it into the shop and I redeemed it the day after. Phew! It wasn't even my helmet to loose.
When someone says 'Reiki master', 'Holistic energy', 'Energy healing' or 'Signs from the universe'; I think: ''Weirdos. What a products of a hippies' imagination''. I sometimes get the urge to ask: ''What happened to you to make you so loopy?''
I mean how can you be a master in holding your hand over someone and then call it Reiki healing? Tarting it up with fancy words like: 'Concentrating the healing energy of the universe' is not going to change the fact that you charge £100 per hour of brainwashing people into thinking that magic exists!
If the above is you, read on. I'm about to do some serious translating. This blog was inspired from when I was talking with a friend who thought just like the above for anyone who mentioned the words 'holistic', 'universe' 'energy' and 'healing' in the same sentence. The way they sound together... I can't blame her really. All this 'Energy' business tends to be explained in so 'airy fairy' words that people hardly realise that they already know most of whats trying to be said! So here it is; all wishy washy phrases translated - into ENGLISH :)
This is something that everyone has experienced one way or another. Juliet Lever explains this in her article where she says: If you fall over and hurt your knee, your first instinct is to put your hand over the wound. That is the most simple way of concentrating the energy of the universe.
What is 'the energy of the universe?'
Science, recognises forms of energy that can be measured by measuring devices. If its not not detected by these devices, it doesn't exist till the day it IS detected. However, the holistic approach is simply accepting 'feeling', 'patterns', 'dreaming' etc. as means to detect other types of energy that can't be detected by scientific devices. 'The energy of the universe' or 'holistic energy' is a collective name for all other types of energy detected by these alternative means. Some of these are meridians, auric bodies, chakras and nadis - which are commonly mentioned to in yogic language or Budism.
Reiki energy healing
Just as you can concentrate sunlight,using a magnifying glass correctly, to make fire; there are a number of techniques used to concentrate holistic energy for particular purposes. Meditation is one way to do this. Reiki is another. In contrast to meditation, it is someone else (a Reiki expert) doing the work and is used to heal a lot of illnesses and imbalances. There are actually over 800 hospitals in the US that offer Reiki as a complimentary treatment to cancer patients!
Intuition and Infinite Intelligence
We have all heard about our gut instinct no doubt. It's explained as evolution's most efficient way of passing on information to future generations. Also called gut intelligence, it is survival based information inherited from our ancestors and our own lifetime. However, the less-heard-of, 'heart intelligence', also known as 'intuition', works towards non-survival information such as happiness and life goals. Napoleon Hill (author of Think and Grow Rich) explains intuition as the connecting platform to infinite intelligence - a source of all knowledge. I know, i know. It sounds a bit 'other worldly'. But we all get 'hunches' and hunches are our body's way of feeling intuition. And the few people who actually take notice of these hunches and tune into their intuition have really known to become wildly successful. Take Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Tony Robbins and Matthew Hussey as well as many more men and women!
Signs of the Universe
This is just outside of what I can explain to you logically, but I'm going to mention it anyway to those of you who made it this far as a bonus because its one hell of a cool thing! Yesterday I was feeling pretty down, during my walk along my local river. Later into the walk I stumbled upon a piece of land art with notes hung onto it. The words written on the notes were medicine for me in that moment. Encouraging, loving, supporting... They warmed my heart. Its a simple thing, and could quickly be labelled as coincidence. However, It has been recognised by a vast number of people, that the universe is constantly 'communicating' with you. This article explains what that actually means, but for now make this your experiment. Pay attention to that phrase on the stanger's t-shirt which caught your eye, or the topic of conversation that keeps on re-occuring, or that dream that you thought was quite peculiar. Look out for things you would just overlook as a coincidence and I want to hear what you come up with!
No matter how dubious you find yourself being about this whole subject, I urge you to try and understand it before judging. Like anything, you cannot judge a book by its cover. I will soon be going to Bali to do my yoga teacher training in November where I no doubt will learn more about this and will try to translate further, this language spoken behind the curtains of quantifiable science.
For now, many many warm hugs!
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.