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Take Responsibility

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I used to have a rather sucky life. I was in an emotionally abusive marriage, I didn’t feel as if I had any life outside of the four walls of my home and I felt trapped in a Bill Murray inspired Groundhog Day movie where washing, cleaning, tidying and cooking took centre stage. I woke up feeling rather ‘meh’ every day and couldn’t see a way out of it. What was there to look forward to? Nothing. What did I have to offer the world? Nothing. What was the point in anything? Well for me, at that point in time there wasn’t any point. I got up every day, did the same things over and over until the kids went to bed so I could watch the same old drivel on the idiot box and crawled into bed feeling as bad as I did when I woke up. Day after day, night after night, I was completely miserable.

I actually thought at one point that I might be depressed, but having suffered with severe depression after I gave birth to my fourth bambino I knew depression felt different. I knew that there were things that I could do to stop myself from feeling so spectacularly rubbish but I didn’t feel as if they were an option. I felt completely stuck hating life and not being able to do a damn thing about it.

The thing was, I wasn’t taking responsibility for my own life. Oh at the time I felt like I was, but in reality I felt that it was the fault of other people, my circumstances, my past and pretty much anything else you can think of. The problem with that is that it made me feel as if I had no control, when in reality I had passed control of my life to others, I had ‘allowed’ other people to make me feel a certain way and I’d chosen to play the victim. Luckily for me (and for you) changing my life was as simple as choosing to take responsibility for it.

After a LOT of deliberating, to-ing and fro-ing, deciding to take responsibility for my life and then changing my mind. I did it. I stood on top a cliff looked back and saw the big rose-tinted cloud of safety, knowing what was in there, knowing it didn’t make me happy but not wanting to leave it just yet. Then looking down at the water, crashing against the rocks, not knowing whether I’d hit them on the way down, not knowing what lay beneath, whether I’d even surface let alone be able to swim in the choppy waters. But one option looked decidedly more inviting than the other and I leapt!

Are you where you want to be right now? (no I don’t mean sat in front of your computer!) If not, you need to stand up and OWN IT!  Say, “This is where I am and I’m the only one who can change it!” Where you are right now is a direct result of your actions or in some cases, in-actions and I guarantee you that once you realise that where you are is down to you, you’ll want to change it and that one thought will eat away at you until you do! In an unhappy relationship? Change it or ditch it. In a job you hate? Find a way to love the job you do, find a new one, re-train, create a dream job for yourself. Hate the way your life feels? Change it up, switch it about, try something new. Create great big bonkerdoodles dreams for your future and go out there and make it happen!

You’re free to live your life EXACTLY the way you choose. The question is………are you brave enough to live free?

Daily Spiritual Practice

I’m not sure whether it’s the post Christmas or New Year blues or whether it’s the powerful full moon we experienced recently but a lot of my friends have felt directionless. The things that used to bring us joy are no longer holding the allure they once held and we’ve found ourselves questioning our intentions, our directions and our path in general.

I’ve been no different. I’ve been questioning the point of a lot of things and have struggled with my own path. One thing I’ve realised is that in the last 18 months or so I’ve lost my spiritual connection. Maybe lost is too strong of a word as it’s still there, but I’d lost my ability to be open to it. I’ve actually felt so lost that I was verging on depression again and that realisation made me sit up and take note.

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In an attempt to kick start the Divine within, I started to read Daily Teachings, The Magic and Raise Your Vibration and straight away I realised I’d dropped writing in my gratitude journal each day. It seems like such a small thing and generally only takes 10-15 minutes but it helps to shift your mindset from the negatives to the positives. I’d highly recommend starting your own if you haven’t already. Simply take the time every morning to write 10 things you’re grateful for or things that make you feel blessed and really feel the gratitude for those things as you write. To start with finding 10 things may seem like a hard task, but the more you practice it, the easier it gets as your brain starts rewiring itself to see the good things in your life. You don’t have to have a fancy journal to do this, you can even do it on scraps of paper or on the back of bills, but who doesn’t love a brand new fancy notebook? (I adore Paperchase journals, they’re so lush!)

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Another fab read for anyone struggling with their spiritual path is Light Is The New Black by Rebecca Campbell. I highly recommend this book as it’s a really easy read, very short snippets of info and you walk away from it feeling as if it was written just for you. Reading these books has actually sparked the need to meditate again (which I haven’t done for absolutely ages! Shame on me!) and it’s really helped raise my vibrations and everything seems brighter than it did, even though circumstances haven’t changed.

When we really feel lost and don’t feel like doing anything, we really have to push ourselves to make the first step. Read a book, meditate, paint something, go for a walk in nature…..anything that helps you make that first connection to Self and The Divine. Believe me, the first step is the hardest. It gets so much easier after the initial move in the right direction.

 

Love and Light

Rayven. xx

Creative Death

Once upon a time there was a girl who loved above all else, to write, to draw, to create and make beautiful things, simply for the joy she felt inside her soul. Slowly, over time, she was told that she would never make a living this way and that therefore these things were pointless. She was told to concentrate on other, more important things and the girl believing that the Elders in her tribe knew more than she did, believed them and cast aside her creative endeavours in favour of equations, trigonometry, geometry, history and her life became a greyer, duller place.

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When during childhood does this become true? Why is it that we buy into the lie that making money through conventional means is the be all and end all. Why is it that creativity, joy and happiness are stifled at the hands of convention?

Children grow up believing in magic. They do things for the sheer joy of doing them without thinking about the meaning or point. The point, for them is that they do whatever it is that’s going to make them happiest at any given point in time. We get to a certain point in school and we’re told that this is no longer acceptable. That we have to grow up, settle down, take things more seriously, think about more important things, pass exams, think about the future. From year six in primary school we’re made to focus on exam results and what we’re going to do when we leave school. Life then becomes all about job prospects, work, ways to make money. Things that bring you joy are pushed to one side. We’re told that those things can wait. You can do them as a hobby (if you have the time) once all this more important stuff is out of the way.

The sad reality is, that many of us never reach the place where the things that once brought us so much pleasure can be brought out into the open again. Once college and University are over and done with, the focus is then on work, buy a house, pay your mortgage, pay your bills, keep up with everyone else, buy that flat screen t.v, work 60 hours a week and you may just have enough cash to have a holiday somewhere nice this year. Get married, have children, provide, do the right thing…….we become so exhausted from the rat race that we have little to no time to do the things we once loved and eventually we forget what those things even were. We lose pieces of ourselves to become carbon copies of everyone else. The things that once made us special, unique, colourful individuals get washed away by the do’s and don’ts of modern life and the world becomes less magical. Less colourful. Life becomes dull and listless and we struggle to find the point in the mundane.

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Depression is rife in the Western world and I can’t help but wonder if this is part of the reason why. We become so bogged down with the modern day grind, we forget what life is actually all about. Living. Not existing on a day to day basis, but living.

 

Dare to live for a day with the eyes of a child. Experience the child like wonder of running full pelt through a field for no other reason than the joy of feeling the wind in your face and the grass tickling across your legs. Walk through the woods with the sun on your face – look under logs, make patterns in the dirt with your feet. Paint a picture that makes no sense. Write a story with no ending.

Life needn’t be what we’ve been told it has to be.  Live.

Love and Light

Rayven. xx

Get Selfish!

If you were given a rare hour to yourself, how would you spend it? Would you start reading one of the novels you’ve purchased, but as of yet have sat in a pile unread? Start the craft project that’s seemingly been on your to-do list forever? Take a yoga class? Or simply run yourself a hot bath, close the door and spend an hour totally alone? Would you even know where to begin?

Had you asked me that question a few years back, I wouldn’t have had the slightest clue how to spend ‘me’ time. Being a self employed single Mother to four children, time for myself was something that had long ago slipped off my agenda, having been taken over by washing, cleaning, school runs, work & numerous miscellaneous errands. Whenever I did get an evening to myself I was too exhausted to do anything much and would rather grab an early night than savour that time.

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The sad truth is that I’d often set aside time for myself, but it would be this time that would be the first to go whenever something ‘cropped up’ which inevitably it did. My time was always sacrificed for the greater good and while at the time it seemed it was the only option I became resentful and depressed.

I recent study has found that the average Mother gets just 17 minutes of ‘me time’ a day. The study found those few minutes of peace were usually spent in front of the TV or in bed reading with a good old British cupppa.

MOTHERS TOP WAYS TO SPEND ‘ME’ TIME

1. Read a book
2. Cup of tea
3. Watch soaps
4. Have a doze
5. Browse Facebook/Twitter
6. Online shopping
7. Candlelit bath
8. Watch TV relaxing in bed
9. Watch a film
10. Clean the house / clear out cupboards / rearrange furniture
11. Drink wine
12. Eat chocolate
13. Go for a walk/run
14. Go shopping
15. Write a list
16. Listen to music or the radio in peace
17. Go out with friends
18. Read the paper / newspapers
19. Play computer games/apps
20. Paint nails

Even those of us that have the luxury of more free time find it difficult to relax when we know there are unfinished chores that need completing and we struggle to justify spending it on ourselves, regarding taking time out as indulgent or selfish.

Barbel Mohr, author of the best selling book, Miracle of Self Love, states the importance of asking the question “What do I actually want?” as we have often simply adapted our lifestyle to the conventions of our environment without thought. Loving yourself enough to give yourself the time and space you need, isn’t selfish. Far from it! Imagine trying to draw water from an almost empty well. If you don’t allow that well to refill from time to time, eventually it’s going to run dry and won’t be of use to anyone. Imagine looking after yourself and taking you time as replenishing ‘your’ well. In doing so, you’ll be a happier, healthier, more content version of yourself and that not only benefits you, but everyone around you.

If you’re not used to having ‘me time’, I challenge you to take 30 uninterrupted minutes a day to do whatever you please. If you can’t think of anything to do to start with, sit somewhere quiet with a pen and paper and start to think of all the things you’d like to do. Take that 30 minutes without fail and see all the ways loving yourself can improve your life and relationships.

Love and Light

Rayven. xx

The need to be present

The need to be present.

I’m a worrier. I worry about the anxiety I know I’m going to feel. I stress about finances before I need to. I worry about feeding my kids when there’s plenty of food in the house. I worry I don’t fit in. I worry my life has no meaning. I worry that I come from a place of lack. I worry that I’m not enough. I worry my life isn’t enough. That somehow I’m not measuring up to what I ‘should’ be. I fear I shall forever feel lost and unsure.

Recently I have felt more and more as if I have no place. As if I’m drifting through my life the way I sometimes drift through a conversation. Making noises in the right places, nodding when I need to, contributing a sentence here or there………..but not really being a part of it.

I seem to have had a light bulb moment. Not really a light bulb moment in the truest sense. It’s not been a flick of the switch illuminating all the darkness. It’s been more of a dimmer switch being turned on and ever so slowly being turned up. It gets turned up a little and I can see shadows in the darkness. And there I’ll stay for a while groping around in the dark, knowing there’s something there, but not being able to make out a true form. The light gets turned up a little more. Now the shadows have shapes but it’s still way too dark to make them out. I start to get glimpses of what may be within arms reach, but nothing solid. Nothing I can hold.

I seem to have gotten to a point where the light is now bright enough to be able to make out what’s around me. It’s still not a totally clear picture, but it’s enough to wonder whether what I see now was always there and it was just too dark to see it, or whether it’s something that’s brand new.

The feeling of disconnection, the feeling of lack, of something being missing all stems from the fact that I’m always trying to be like everyone else. I’m trying to fit into the round shaped hole that society has allocated me when I’m poorly suited to that role.

The need to be present is overwhelming. The worry and disconnection comes from living by past experiences or more importantly, from living in fear of the future. Being totally present and in the moment seems to alleviate those feelings but it requires discipline.

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I’m not used to living in the here and now. Although in reality that’s really the only time we really ever have. So I have to keep checking myself. When I get that knot of anxiety I have to ask myself, “Is the cause of the anxiety in this moment?” If the answer is no, then I have to force myself to let it go.

I shall continue to live more in the present moment in the hope it’ll eventually become second nature. It’s got to be better than the alternative right?

Burnout

Burnout isn’t something that only happens to CEO’s, running multi-national companies. Nor does it only happen to business owners and single, working parents trying to hold it all together on a shoestring. Burnout can and does, happen to everyone. Artists, creative’s, introverts, extroverts, business owners, hippies………it can happen to anyone when they don’t set and respect their own boundaries. It happens when we stop listening to that little voice inside of us that says “no”.

Burnout Syndrome

In the last month, I have taken on too much. I’ve said yes readily, wanting to help people. Wanting to be the good guy who makes everyone’s lives easier.

But I’ve said yes at my own expense. I’ve said yes when the little voice inside of me has been screaming “no”.

I’m an introvert. I suffer from social anxiety and thrive when I have lots of alone time. I’m an empath and find it difficult being around people without prolonged periods of time by myself. I know all this, and yet despite that knowledge I’ve tried to be everything to everyone and as a result I ended up stressed, anxious, exhausted, on the verge of tears and suffering from the female form of man flu (if I’m not mistaken).

That little two letter word seems so scary to me. “No”. It’s not a hard word to remember and even less of a difficult word to say, but for me saying that word risks displeasing others, evoking a negative response, making people angry or upset and that, to me is a very scary thing. You see I’ve always been a people pleaser. I’d say yes to anything if it meant someone would look at me in a favourable light and it almost always leads to resentment on my part.

This recent bout of burnout has been particularly taxing and it’s taught me that in order to be there for everyone else, I also need to be looking out for myself.

So I ask you to stop what you’re doing right now, however urgent it may seem and ask yourself “What can I do right now to look after me?”

Love and Light – Rayven. xx

Beginnings.

 

Where do I start?

I’ve had this blog set up for well over a week and so far have started and deleted no less than ten blog posts. Without any idea of where to start or how to unravel the mess of thoughts in my head it’s been a bit of a non starter. Plagued by doubts and internal cries of “Who will read this?” and “Why am I even bothering?”, I’ve sat frozen in fear. Fingers poised over the keyboard, cup of tea slowly morphing from scorching hot to tepid warm as I stare blankly at the glowing screen, unable to jolt myself away from my self induced, trance like state.

I’m a member of Sarah Clark’s group ‘Copywriting for Clever Girls‘, and have watched in awe as other members share their own blog posts and websites while wondering “Why can’t that be me?”. I close my laptop and toddle off to put the kettle on, kicking myself for not being courageous enough to put myself out there, for not being brave enough to put my thoughts out there for all to see. Worried that no one will read, or worse still that people will read, judge and have bad opinions of what I’ve managed to scribble across the page.

So what’s changed?

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I read this on Facebook and it made so much sense to me that I HAD to sit down and pop my blogging cherry.

So here I am. Writing because I need to, because I have to and because…….well, why the fuck not?