It’s Sunday as I stand on a London Overground train between Hackney and Dalston, sardined by the most people than I have been in two years, my nose safely tucked into my own armpit to escape the humid wet-dog smell emanating in the carriage. I smile to myself about both being in such intimate proximity of other humans and the fact that, if things had gone to plan, I would have at that moment, been 1,222 kilometres south racing through France and into Spain in Punto-baby on a 24-hour visa.
But “not on your timeline,” the universe said.
At the start of September, I do something out of character. I sit down and plan my trip to Mallorca. I write down dates and book ferries and hotels and mentally start packing my things. This is kind of fun, I think, I get why some people love planning. And that’s it. I feel ready.
A few days later I receive a call from the lady whose flat I’m subletting. She tells me she is going to come to Brighton for 10 days to organise and pack some of her things, clean the flat, and handle the handover to a friend of mine that I’ve arranged to take over the sublet. Great! I say. Where are you going to stay? I am shocked and outraged as she tells me that she expects me to sleep in the living room while she takes my bed and bedroom.
The conversation intensifies as I tell her that does not work for me and she refuses to look into alternative arrangements. After half an hour of back and forth, I end the discussion and feel my body fill with holy rage. My boundaries are being crossed and I am quietly furious. I want to know what my rights are and contact Citizens Advice where someone assures me that she has no right to request to stay in my flat while I am living in it. They send me legal documents that I forward to her in an email with a calm and formal statement that she is welcome to access the flat at agreed-upon times but may not stay there. She does not reply.
I am unaccustomed to having to take legal action and hold such strong boundaries. My body feels tense and apprehensive at this new experience. I know I am doing the right thing and also rewiring the parts of me that would have once allowed me to be subjected to such overextensions. I feel it in that quiet place inside that shows me the way.
Halfway through September, I take Danger to the vet for his Animal Health Certificate required for international travel. Inside, we wait 45 minutes until she sees us and then tells me that she can’t do the health certificate because his rabies vaccine isn’t compliant with the brand they accept. You’ll need to get another vaccine and then have to wait an additional 21 days before you can travel. She says. I look at her with disbelief. We are leaving in 10 days. We have ferries booked. We have nowhere to live. She looks sorry in that polite way that British people do, big ‘it’s not my fault’ eyes. She gives Danger new rabies shot and as the chemicals hit his bloodstream he wets and shits himself. Poor baby. We both have a nervous system collapse and drive back home.
It takes me a few hours to collect myself and self-regulate through reframing the situation, rest, handing it all over to the Universe and taking tangible steps to accept these changes. I cancel all our hotel bookings, reschedule the vet appointment and the ferries across the English Channel and the Balearic Sea. I also take to Instagram and ask my community for help. I need a place to stay for two weeks until I can attempt my trip again. Within 24 hours Danger and I are generously re-homed. I feel deeply grateful and so supported.
Twelve days before my move-out date from Brighton I hear back from the lady I have been subletting from. An excessively long, emotionally charged email lamenting me for not allowing her to stay in the flat and accusing me of having destroyed it and inviting strange people to live in it. It’s so ironic. I think to myself. The flat is cleaner and nicer than it was when I moved in and she’s suggesting that I’ve turned it into an opium den. It’s ridiculous. This woman is clearly mentally unstable. Again, I go to Citizen’s Advice who advocate that I acquire written accounts from my neighbours who have visited the flat and see who comes in and out, to affirm that her suggestions are untrue. As advised, I respond shortly and formally with legal statements.
A week later, she replies, again trying to assert her control and dominance with a novel-length email that I skim-read to learn that she will no longer come. She requests peace and time to do an inventory of her things before she returns my £1,000 rental deposit and requires me to give the keys to her friend who will then give them to my friend, instead of me giving them to my friend myself. Fine. I’ll give her to the end of the year. I have all the legal documents ready including information that she is receiving government benefits while being out of the country and will destroy her if she tries anything. My fury with her disrespect and lack of common sense is high.
I spend a week packing and cleaning until on the final day my lower back aches so badly I have to lie down in between washing the floors. I promise to book an appointment with an Osteopath as soon as I have arrived in my temporary home in London, the house of a friend of mine that is empty for a week while she is away. They are fully booked on Saturday and I have plans to see my friend on Sunday, the day I find myself in a fully packed overground train, and walking on the Heath for so many hours I have to support my back with my arm on the way home…
On Monday morning I find myself on an osteotherapy table in my bra and leggings underneath the gentle warm hands of one of the most attractive men I have ever seen.
He tells me that the acute back pain isn’t actually structural but rather a physiological response to the internal organs on my left (feminine) side contracting so tightly to protect themselves that they have pulled my spine and posture out of alignment. He asks me if I’ve been eating anything differently which may have cause inflammation but I instantly know it’s not physical. It’s emotional.
My finely-tuned super-sensitive system has been slammed with abnormal emotional challenges all month long and this is how it has responded. By curling into a fetus position within my own body. He spends an hour working through the tight muscles between my organs in my stomach, hips and back.
I feel relief and release and watch his gentle face concentrate on his work. Tall, dark and handsome, I wonder if it would be inappropriate to ask him to marry me. Come back in a week. He says afterwards. I’m leaving on Friday. I smile back regretfully. And you’re never coming back? His right eyebrow arches quizzically. Probably not. I laugh. At least not until after winter. I leave feeling much lightened and saunter across East London to meet up with a friend who jubilantly reveals that she’s pregnant. I cry, in part because I am genuinely so happy for her, but also because the emotional release from the opening of my cramped-in organs has begun. I find myself in tears from the smallest things for the rest of the day.
A full day of sitting down with private clients leaves me feeling stiff and sore. I book another osteotherapy appointment at another clinic, 90 miles from London, in the town I will spend the remainder of my extended time in the UK for the following week. A sleepless night of progressing aches and pains in my stomach and back bleeds into another full day of private clients. Moving, walking, bending shoots crippling pain through the left side of my body.
My movements begin to resemble those of Gollum as the gurgling protests in my stomach and acute pain that even seldom-used painkillers don’t offer respite to. By mid-afternoon the way I feel alarms me so much I call the osteopathy clinic seeking comfort. The girl who answers the phone looks at my file and assures me that it is expected that I would be unable to do anything but rest for up to a week as extraordinarily deep work had been done. I wish he would have told me.
I cancel the rest of my calls and the next-day yoga retreat that I had been given as a PR gift. Disappointed I find the only position that I can be comfortable in, lying down flat and straight like a sardine with my head propped up. From this place, I can watch films, type on my laptop and drink tea.
The next day, today, I just lie there and type. I type email after email until every email I’ve needed or wanted to write has been written. I write this. I pack up my life once more. Tomorrow we are moving to a new town. One we’ve never been to before. With a lighthouse and sandy beaches and an Osteopath who tells me to meet him outside of the rugby club that houses his clinic.
The month of September has been an extreme rollercoaster of tests from the Universe, recalibration, growth and healing. Landing me in this position here, right now. I know there are many gifts and lessons for me to learn. Lessons around flexibility and flow, around having humour when things change. Lessons around having a strong backbone and supporting myself when someone tests my boundaries, a sign of my growth and evolution as a human, woman.
It awes me how, over and over again, the body shows me that human existence is one interconnected system: thoughts, emotions, experiences, food, actions… everything you do impacts the whole. It’s a classic example of my reticular activating system in action. And if we zoom out and apply that same perspective on the world at large, there’s no question why the planet is facing the difficulties it is right now.
Photo by my delightful Brighton neighbour Fern Edwards.
I grew up in an environment that was highly controlled by people who feared life. It meant that from the moment I was self-aware enough the only thing I wanted was freedom. Liberation from being told what to do by people who were living out their unresolved pain within a society that has an unnatural addiction to productivity.
As soon as I was able to I vehemently stood against the routines, structures and systems I was taught in favour of gentler, more intuitive and cyclical living. I believe in the intelligence of nature above the intelligence of man. I believe we all have access to that intelligence. It is body-led, not mind-led.
The world loves to tell us what to do. In return, we have been conditioned to look for external guidance and validation on everything we do. From the moment we enter the school system if not before, we are taught the invalidity of our own independent thoughts and feelings. So we look to others for how to do things.
Information at our fingertips like Google has stolen our trust in ourselves and our bodies. Or, more correctly, we have handed over our relationship with the wisdom of our bodies to the need to have everything answered and validated by an external source. This is dangerous and disempowering. It means we don’t trust the intelligence of nature to take care of us.
Including routines. The personal development and self-growth industry have touted morning and evening routines as the go-to practices. With good reason. I agree with the sentiment that the way we live our day-to-day reverberates throughout our lives. There are millions of articles and podcasts and books on how to have the perfect morning and evening routines.
Routines are consistent ways that we intentionally show up for ourselves to make life good. Routines are practised self-love. The magic lies in how we do things not what we do.
There is no perfect routine out there. Because different ways of showing up will serve different people at different times as we move through the chapters of our lives.
We all learn so much from others. The beauty of life is that, in a way, we are all raising each other, sharing what we have learned works for us, guiding one another home, over and over again. I adore this part of the human experience.
And… as we learn from one another there is an opportunity to refer to our own inner knowing. To, instead of requiring others to be responsible for our wellbeing and living a good life, assign our routines to be an ever-evolving reflection of our dreams, growth and desires in the world.
When I am asked what my morning and evening routines look like, I hesitate to answer. I don’t want to add to this noise. What I really want is to encourage the asker to explore what habits will become the sum of a life well-lived? I teach my process on how to identify this in my free course: Pause & Pivot.
To provide an example of what I teach and how that looks like in my own life. My highest values are freedom, beauty, creativity and peace. Each of those words can be distilled into specific expressions. For example, peace means choosing peaceful relationships, feeling at peace in my home and inhabiting a peaceful body. These expressions become practices and routines. Inhabiting a peaceful body means that my health and physical well-being are at the forefront of my priorities. Simple but important things like sleep, nourishment, movement and hydration feed into my daily routines.
I am, by nature, inconsistent. What I enjoy doing and in what order changes all the time. Sometimes I live a perfect day by Google’s standards. I wake early, dance around in my pants, drink lots of water, exercise (walk/run/yoga/pilates), journal, meditate. Then work, eat, socialise. And wind down by turning my phone off by 9.30 pm, read, journal, sleep. Other days I stay in bed until close to noon, thinking, writing, feeling, processing and then allow my day to flow from there.
In Pause & Pivot, I share how my routines are guided by my daily non-negotiables.
As I wrote previously here, my aim is to live my life guided by the intelligence of my body over the constructs of my mind and the only way I know to do that is to intimately feel and listen to myself. Different days call for different approaches to life.
There exists a very delicate line between the physical, tangible realm and the ethereal, energetic one. That’s what we humans are. Half of this earth, and half of the stars. We are under some kind of spell, not remembering, clawing our way through the misty confusion to find our way back home.
There are many practices available to bridge the everpresent space between the two worlds that we exist in. Breathing. Love-making. Following our instinct. Tuning in to the messages from the earth and cosmos by really listening. Foraging amongst the trees and grasses. Digging our hands into the soil. Journaling. Tarot.
My entrée into the world of tarot cards happened when I was 15 and received my first deck from a little spiritual shop on a road trip. It was the traditional Aleister Crowley one that came with a handbook. I wrapped it in a silk cloth and treasured it for years to come.
Tarot acts as a mirror. It offers us an insight into how our subconscious is evaluating and seeing the world in this present moment. Our interpretation of what the cards mean to us allows us to cross the bridge over to our higher-self. The healing that then occurs is through the clarity, the conversation between your cognitive and ethereal self, and the recognition that there really is more than what we can see on the surface.
There are a lot of rules about tarot that have been used in the past to have it be this secret esoteric thing and to keep people away which was necessary as a protective measure that’s just not necessary now. Anyone can read tarot.
Get to Know the Cards
Once you have a deck (I use this Medicine Woman deck) the first thing to do is to familiarize yourself with the cards. Spend some time looking at each one and establishing a relationship with the cards through your touch, sight and thoughts. A great way to start and the method I come back to on most days is to do a daily card pull where you shuffle the deck and let one fall out or pull one card from the deck and just think about the meaning of the card. If you do it in the morning, you can keep it in mind as you go through your day. That’s a nice way to get to know the cards on a deeper level.
Keep an Open Mind and Trust Your Intuition.
Intuiting is a big part of a tarot reading; that’s what makes it so special. That’s where energy comes in, being able to sense what you are feeling, thinking, or going through at a deeper level. There’s this sort of added mystical energy to it, some sort of mystical connection.
Get to Know the Basic Spread
For beginner readers, it’s best to start with basic spread: a three-card pull. This is where three cards are drawn from the deck to represent the past, present, and future or mind, body, and spirit. I sometimes adjust the meaning of the 3 cards to suit my question more specifically.
Create a vibe.
Reading tarot is a small ritual that can be honoured with a few additional methods. If I’m just pulling a single card on my way out there door, I take a moment to centre myself, become really still and breathe until my nervous system is calm before I pull. If I’m taking my time for a deeper dive into the cards I might meditate first, light some candles and incense and play my ‘within’ playlist in the background.
For more tarot-related posts, try these:
The Love List.
We are observing a quantum leap in our evolutionary development, a change that is accompanied by a shift in world view. The nature of our world view seeks to answer two fundamental questions “Who are we?” and “What is the purpose of the life we are here to live?”
Our answers dictate our lives and define our societies. Within that shift is a sense of turmoil. Nothing is as it once was. Life is uncertain. The veil has been lifted. We are not sure what we are meant to “do”, how we are meant to move forward from here.
As we embody the changes the most important day-to-day shifts occur out of how we spend our time. Seeing that many of us have been on autopilot for so long navigating our lives based on the recipe for success developed by generations before us never before being given the luxury of space and time to decide how we want life to unfurl for ourselves this time may feel like a shock. A collision of foundations falling apart with nothing but the unknown ahead.
I wanted to, for a long time, create a way to navigate this sort of test in our timeline with a process that has allowed me to anchor myself into something deeper having spent most of my life in the dark abyss of uncertainty. I am at home here. And I hope you can be too.
Behold: Your graceful daily routine. An 8-part video course, as a gift from me to you. Click here to join.
Plus get access to tools & resources to start redefining your life including PDF and audio guides for:
- Work with the energy of each day of the week.
- Intention setting New Moon🌛 journaling ritual.
- Releasing Full Moon 🌝 journaling ritual.
- 6-minute intention setting meditation.
- 19-minute guided self-love meditation.
- 26-minute guided self-hypnosis.
- 7-Step Manifesting course.
- My ‘gypset’ recipe book.
Written by Laura Bourjac about INSTINCT.
A few months ago, in the summertime when everything tastes like sunshine & lemonade, I went through a cloudy life experience. This time, I wasn’t lost, I wasn’t scared, I was in a place where I could have listened to myself, to my instinct. Something inside myself knew what was coming, I sensed it, my body tried to warn me but I turned it off.
One morning, feeling down and exhausted by my own emotions and lack of control I had on them, I write to my dear Vienda Maria. My instinct probably whispered me to do so, to find her and confide in her for her answer brought light to my grey Scottish day.
She told me about her course Instinct which is all about learning how to listen to your inner voice and stop shutting your instincts down. We all have a tendency to rationalise or intellectualise whatever shiver, wave or butterflies we might feel when certain situations arise. It became quite common for us to ignore our own nature and turn blind to our own red flags. As I was reading the course introduction and watching the first video, I quickly realised that I had been denying my own instincts for such a long time.
‘You have to begin by accepting and embracing your intuitive nature, before diving into the practice.’
My intellectual self who loves to wear glasses at all times, dissect books and use long words had actually killed the most primitive side of my being; my instinct. I had to accept my mistake, then accept that this intuitive nature of mine was still there to help and guide me. It was actually quite a long process to be able to recognise and hear this little voice again. It became obvious that I had to nurture my intuition and make it a priority. As soon as I started to open up to my intuitive heart, I felt a physical change. The knots I had accumulated in my body slowly disappeared and I no longer experienced anxiety for I was able to guide myself better through the healing process.
I would download Vienda’s videos and listen to them as I was walking down the Meadows, lying in the grass… Really, it became a ritual, a form of meditation. This is the first time I take an online course and her approach touched my soul and guided me to a better understanding and care of my intuition (so really, of myself).
Would it surprise you if I tell you that in these last months, following my instinct has never failed me? Sure, some decisions were massive and harsh but the outcome felt good, meant to be. I would love to insist on this ‘meant to be’ aspect of things as, from the moment I let this voice speak to me, I felt that I opened myself for everything to fall into place. Whether, in the past, I would hold back and force a reassuring reasoning on myself, convinced that hours of thinking were more effective and clever than a feeling.
If I don’t want to discourage rational thinking, I’d like to convey the importance of letting your intuition weigh in your inner dialogue.
I’m infinitely grateful for this beautiful Instinct course. These fifteen days still echo weeks later and I confess that sometimes I still go back to my notes, drawings and Vienda Maria’s videos to dive back into my own intuition when I feel that my everyday routine drowns it and makes it harder for me to be aware.
Voilà, I wanted to talk about how focusing on my intuition helped me in my healing process and actually connected me to this more mystical part of myself. There is nothing to understand and intellectualise, it’s all about surrendering to your own nature, trusting that deep down you sense what is good for you.
Ah oui, guess what! It shows on my face for I feel more balanced – best beauty tip.
INSTINCT is open to join as soon as you are ready to heed your inner voice guiding you to the more that you are looking for.
The last time I wrote one of these personal updates was 3 months ago on the Winter Solstice. I was living the tropical paradise dream in Mexico but I felt uneasy. Something was wrong, my body kept telling me. It all makes so much sense now. There was a reason I had to leave when I did.
I am so glad now. It would be devastating to be in Mexico with the lack of services and support systems that this Cartel-run country relies on. I know — from that one experience I had been rushed to hospital with an infection — where they wouldn’t treat me until I handed over my credit card and signed some papers even though I was entirely incoherent. I know — from the amount of crime that happens when times are well — that the crime rates would rise when times are not. Mexico is not a safe country to be in when things go wrong.
3 weeks ago after 4 Ubers, 3 flights and 1 night in an airport hotel I am back on this little island edged by the North Atlantic Ocean. I was so tense and anxious about travelling with my cat and putting him through this extraordinary ordeal but that feels completely meaningless now.
We are learning what is truly important, time is standing still and everything is changing.
The birds seem to sing more loudly than usual now. The sound of fallen leaves crowding into a corner by the wind accompanies me. The streets are empty bar a few joggers wrapped in black, their heads hung low against the cold. Cafes are stacked with chairs and ‘closed’ signs hanging off the door handles. Most people, except those required to maintain our basic services, have retreated out of view.
After 3 days of grey and rain, the sun is bursting through the clouds today. I have pledged myself to a long walk to one of the furthest parks where a small local farm is operating a stand. I want to support small local businesses as much as I can. I will also use any excuse I can to go outside.
I view this time as one giant pause.
A pause we’ve all been desperately needing and secretly hoping for. We know that life as we have been living it is unsustainable. We know things need to change. Now they are.
People keep asking me what my plans are. Fortunately for me, I don’t really do plans. I set gentle aims that are flexible to the everchanging landscape of our lives.
As soon as I arrived in Brighton I busily set out to find a home. Every day I scoured the online posts for the perfect 1-bedroom flat. Third or fourth floor, wooden floors, balcony, near the water… Every night I would design the inside of my home with Pinterest pictures. I found one that was almost right. I didn’t get it because of Danger. I kept going. Two weeks later I found the perfect place. It had everything plus a cat flap that leads out to the balcony.
I was accepted to rent it. Mentally I started to list the most pressing furniture I would need. A bed. Pots and pans to make meals. A sofa. A desk. Hours later the real estate agent contacts me. “We regret to inform you that the property has been withdrawn as the owner has lost his job offer in London and will no longer be moving.” I cry. Big heavy sobs in the square outside my yoga studio. I want to find my home.
After the sadness I find acceptance. This is happening for me. There’s no need to rush. Relax. Breathe. Trust.
For now, I wait. Friends and allies support me in my decision to stay in another AirBnB for the next few months as we wait this time out. I have 10 days left in my current one and have 2 potential places to stay in for April and May.
Everyone is kinder, more compassionate, more caring right now. There’s a sense of solidarity amongst us even as I look strangers that I pass in the eye. We are in this together. Everyone is being impacted in one way or another. How interdependent we really are is clear to us now.
I am one of the fortunate ones. I have worked online for almost 7 years now, and it’s pretty much business as usual. I have enough savings to see me through for a year if need be. I suddenly have all the time I need to upgrade my systems and processes. I am writing and reading books and watching films and being kind and gentle with myself. I am grateful for this enforced downtime.
I hope this is the source of a new normal. That we take this time sequestered into our individual realities and allow it to steer us into a new revolutionary direction.
I hope we all willingly do our part in activating drastic change. That we reflect on how we can act together as a community that includes not only humans of every race and background but also animals, plants and oceans.<
I hope we are at the tipping point of a transformed perspective. One where connection, beauty, love and creativity override capitalism, consumerism and selfish greed.
I hope we use this fragile transient time to see everything with new, clear eyes. That we can envision what we need to do to steer into a new way.
I hope we learn to remain soft and gentle and kind. That we make every choice with loving mindfulness instead of hurrying back to what we once knew.
I hope this is the beginning of a new world. One where we view ourselves as part of a breathtaking miracle: a rotating sphere of life suspended in an infinite galaxy. And honour it as so.