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.
Who you are is defined by what you are willing to struggle for.
It’s that time of the year… the dark magical void between Christmas and the New Year. Everything becomes a little quieter. We become more self-aware and introspective and social and jubilant all at the same time. The way time passes changes. It’s either too fast or too slow or both.
My inbox is completely empty, bar 1 email. I have nothing ‘urgent’ left to do.
My mind is feeling reflective. It’s 2020 soon and wow, what a decade, what a year, just Woah!… Maybe you are feeling it too. Let’s take hold of this magical time — before all the excitement begins again — and let me help you recap the year/decade and set your intentions for 2020.
Here are 7 journaling questions to help you recap what just happened:
1. Who was I in 2010? What was happening in my life?
2. What were my big dreams, hopes and aspirations?
3. Who am I now? What is happening in my life?
4. What are my big dreams, hopes and aspirations?
5. What were the biggest struggle and lessons?
6. What am I most proud of?
7. What can I let go of?
Don’t worry if some of the answers you write down are embarrassing or surprise you. This is an opportunity for you to be really honest with yourself. I’m often surprised to discover what comes out from under my pen. I like that I can still reveal parts of myself that have yet been unexplored.
If you’re into it, feel free to burn what you wrote. We don’t need to hold onto anything but instead, trust that our memories, thoughts, feelings and intentions will do what we need them to.
Does that feel good?
I hope so.
Now, to the even more fun part. Setting intentions for 2020.
In the 4th question above you answered what your big dreams, hopes and aspirations are. Or maybe you struggled to define them. Either way, one thing I know about humanity is that well all want, more or less, the same thing.
Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a carefree, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and loved. Right? Right!
But what feels good to you, and even more importantly, what you are willing to struggle for, varies for each of us.
Because happiness requires struggle. The positive is the side effect of handling the negative. You can only avoid negative experiences for so long before they come roaring back to life. — Mark Manson
Let’s set some intentions together. I don’t want you to write an enormously long list. I want you to stay clear and focused. I want you to choose 3-5 really profound things that you really want this year and are willing to do the work for. If you’re not sure where to begin, I want you to go back to these 3 questions and figure out what your values are.
Now that you know, how do they guide your life into the New Year? Choose 3-5 key things that you intend for yourself and your life.
Here are my intentions for 2020:
1. Be incredibly fulfilled — financially, emotionally, soulfully — by my creative pursuits. I have some BIG projects in the works, lots of writing to do, and dreams to meet around those and they stem from my ability to be creative and create.
2. Find and settle in the perfect community space. My desire to nest, to create a beautiful permanent home, closer to my origins and spiritual roots and become part of something long-standing is irresponsible.
3. Feel really supported. I am going through so many transitions and such big growth at the moment that I am so grateful for every hand that reaches out, every piece of guidance, every gift. I am asking for help and receiving it.
4. Allow my heart and joy to lead every day, choice and decision. Life isn’t about being perfect. it’s about finding the beauty and magic in the mess of it all and I choose to embrace that and have fun with it all.
That’s it. It’s that easy.