In today’s blog I am going to look at some of the interesting places that I have been to this year that has inspired me. I am also going look at some of the challenges in my business & life I have had and how I have counteracted them this year. I have also been using some great mantras and other techniques that have been working for me so I thought that I would share them with you.
One of the biggest challenges I had last year was taking good photographs of my products. I am a designer and maker and my forte is not photography. However I soon learned that to run a successful business meant I had to get good at everything or if not hire someone else to do it. I am one of those people that will give it my all before considering the latter.
After sending off for a photography light box that didn’t work I became well known in my house hold for either running outside to capture products in ideal lighting or hanging out of my windows. I have been reading that there is a lot of crafting businesses that have been doing the same so if you are a small business this may resonate with you. I have tried all different kinds of back grounds and was partial towards the white ones but I could never get rid of that blue tinge even after adjusting my white balance.
And after many online photography courses and lots of help off a fb friend I was just about to hand it over to a professional when I had a dream. They say our dreams often have messages for us and I think this gave me much insight. I can’t remember much about that dream apart from the message that was given to me by a person in it that is unknown to me. He said “your photographs with the white background are awful and you should use a wooden one as it fits in with your branding.”
Deep down I knew that this was true so today I took his advice and took some more pictures using my wooden window sill. I have had fantastic feedback so far and I must admit I am very happy with them too. Challenges always make us grow stronger and it is our passion we always find a way. One of my new challenges this year is to learn how to style my products so I can make them look more interesting to look at it. I will keep you posted on how this goes.
One of the other challenges I had last year was that I was so busy working that I hardly got chance to do more of the other stuff that I love. So my new years intention was to make more time to enjoy the outdoors. So on New years Eve I wrote a big long to do list – one of them was to meditate more. This practice quietens the mind, replenishes the body, mind and soul. I have been practicing it every day this year with noticeable results two of them being more energy and more clarity of thought.
As we moved into another year I am proud to say my to do list has worked. It motivated me and I have five tasks already ticked off. I find that to do lists gives me direction and I get things done. No to-do lists and I have a habit of meandering through life. That is okay if I want to be spontaneous and have some outdoor adventures as its sometimes-fun not knowing where your going to end up. However it’s not ideal I have discovered when running a business, organizing an event or some other big goal.
Language has a big part to play in creating our life. Words have so much power to create a life that is either aligned with our goals or off track. Mine was the latter. I would catch myself saying all I do is seem to work and have hardly any time off. I feel so tired. This kind of thinking is not pulling in same direction of what I wanted to achieve so I started saying
‘I always have time times for things and people that are important to me.’
‘All I do is have fun and have outdoor adventures’.
‘All I do is socialize an meet new people!’
‘All I do is manage my day effectively and have time to relax and have fun too. All I do is feel energized.’
It is almost as if times responds to what we are saying as this year these mantra has worked and I got to start the year off with more time to relax, socialize, get creative and have some outdoor adventures.
To combat the tiredness I also started using some aromatherapy oils. I found a wonderful small business who customized an aromatherapy roll on for me that I could roll onto my pulse points. I chose grapefruit as it is stimulating and argon oil which is moisturizing. I loved the fact that it was all customized for me and the service was marvelous. You can find her range of products here.
To also combat the tiredness I decided to get out into the fresh air more and leave work behind me. And that meant not carrying it with me. This weekend I went hiking on the moorlands. I happen to live in an area that has a very diverse terrain from woods to forest hills to mountains and moorlands. it is a place that i am eternally grateful to live in. So when my daughter said do you fancy a walk today she didn’t need to ask twice. I was determined to make time for myself this year so we set off and after a twenty minute walk past lush countryside and forests we arrived on the moors.
In the summer months there are thousands of miles of heather all in full bloom with lilac and pink flowers on. But at this time of year the plants are more of a copper hue and stretch for miles There is an old watch tower on there that every time we go there we never seem to reach it through one reason or another. Word of caution when walking on moorlands or mountains the weather can change very quickly so one has to keep a look out on the sky.
We left the main path and took a different route that my daughter had plotted out on her map before we left. Our dog bounded through the heather looking more like Bambi than a Labrador and we jumped over numerous bogs. And as we reached the top of the path I noticed the mist had started to creep in and I decided that it was a good time to go back. We quickly walked along the moors so we could gain access onto the main natural path that would lead us off it. We could see the mist starting to circles us and it was one of those adrenaline moments. With no time to spare we picked up our pace.
We had phones with us but there was no signal up there and the moorlands are not a place you want to be in once the mist descends. Reluctantly we got off there in time. As we looked back over what was once a moorland of orange hue was just a blanket of dense mist with no visibility. We arrived back at our house to find a package that our friend had left us on the doorstep – about three dozen home cooked Oaties. She knows I am vegan so had kindly made them with no dairy products in. We sat munching them over a cup of tea reminiscing about our adventures. It was nice way to end the day.
The following day we decided to go to Llangollen and do some hill walking. I live up in the hills and the nearest village is 3 miles a way. Normally we have a car to get out and about but this day we didn’t so it was 40 minute trek down steep country lanes to catch the bus from the village bus stop. It made a nice change and the route was scenic – past hills, rivers and farm lands and was all part of the adventure. Some times it is nice to push yourself out of your comfort zone and do something different.
The hill we visited is called Castell Dinas Bran meaning fortress of crows. Yes it lives up to its name as there was lots of beautiful crows there and that made it quite mystical and magical. The hill was situated just slightly outside of Llangollen town. It’s not as rural or wild as I am used too and is more of a tourist attraction than a path through the wilderness. However it was fun to do something different and there were views of mountains in the wilderness that we could see from the top of the hill which we are planning on exploring soon.
As we walked up the path lots of the crows flew over our heads and you could see them circling the ruins of the castle. My imagination started to run away with me and I had some great ideas for my faerie stories that I write on here. I could imagine my faerie characters riding on the backs of these beautiful mystical creatures.
The walk was fairly steep and you would need a moderate level of fitness to get up there. However there is benches on the way up that we did sit on to take in the breath taking views. In one direction there was rolling hills and in another quarry type cliffs. The hill we were walking up had sheep roaming freely on and as we got to the top a crowd of these woolly fellows moved quickly as they spotted our Labrador who was on a lead I may add.
The wind was strong on the top of the castle and I could understand why my daughter had told me to put my hood up. It was quite a challenge to hold my phone camera still to get some pictures but I managed to get some for you all. The energy was very different to where I live where the odd tractor goes by and the occasional hikers and mountain bikers. The path was well worn by tourists and you could catch a glimpse of the town below so although not as rural as what I am used to it does have a nice contrast of yin and yang.
We wandered past run down walls that were dotted around the top of the hill. The castle had been build in 1260 by a Welsh Prince. We walked around small paths that circled around the ruins. Stunning panoramic views of the lush hilly and cliff terrain greeted you at every turn. We had chosen this time of year when there wasn’t a lot of tourists there so was only a handful of people up there. I am not one for crowded places so was happy I almost had it all to myself.
Afterwards we chose a less steep path that led us back down and past this beautiful wood carving.
Back in the town again which was about a five minutes walk from the hill we past a canal with paddle boarders on. It brought back memories of my paddle boarding adventure two summers ago. We had paddle boarded along the Llangollen canal before popping in for lunch in this cafe in our wet suits in a small canal cafe.
The climb had given us an appetite so we headed to a pet friendly cafe popular with kayackers. My daughter kindly bought me lunch whilst our dog sat next to the cafes owners dog. A beautiful gentle Alsatian by the name of Skye that she has known since they were puppies.They bonded well as they nuzzled each other as we had our bite to eat.
After a falafel burger with hummus on and a latte with soy mill (they cater for vegans) we headed down to the river to sit and watch the kayackers tackling the river rapids. My daughters’ partner is training to be a kayacking and paddle boarding coach so we thought that it may have been him as he was there on his course that day. However it turned out it wasn’t. We sat on concrete steps watching a kayacker tackle the rapids and go side on to navigate the fast moving water. I silently cheered as he got through the rapids.
I even managed to get a picture of these three ducks whilst our dog went for a paddle in the calmer part of the water. She was definitely a swimmer in another life as give her water and all you hear is splash. She is the only dog I know that swims like a human.
Pubs are not my favorite place as I don’t drink but some times when it’s cold outside it is nice to go into somewhere warm. And the corn mill was a quaint country pub that didn’t feel like a pub at all. It is set besides the river rapids and you can eat outside and watch the steam train opposite or watch the adventurers white water rafting which is a sight to behold. It also has a huge non working water mill that is fenced off by a cage but is a spectacular sight. And we went in there for a drink of non alcoholic ginger beer which I have never tasted before until then. It was delicious and has inspired me to make my own. I also got to go out onto the balcony and take some pictures of the river.
Part of the view from the Corn Mill
More stunning views from the Corn Mill
The old water mill.
We arrived back in the village before dark but as we began to walk up the country lanes the darkness crept in. Thankfully we had brought a head torch so we had good visibility. There was no stars in the sky that evening as normally I entertain myself by spotting the constellations. The only light was from our head torch and the reflective stickers on the field posts. After a 40 minute walk in the sleet we arrived back feeling like we had had a good exercise and already planning our next adventure.
My mantras are working as I have just been for an hours walk this evening with my pet dog despite torrential down pour and hail stones. And I am feeling full of energy and I am having more time to do more of the activities I love so I will keep saying these.
Here are some tips that have worked for me to overcome challenges:
- Look at all your options and take some time to explore them.
- Keep open to the universe as she always sends you new options and often knows the easiest way.
- Meditate each day to replenish yourself. When the mind is rested the body follows suit.
- If something isn’t working then try another approach.
- Practice makes perfect. It is how we all learned how walk.
- Go easy on yourself when learning new habits, skills etc. Good habits can be cultivated with practice and patience.
- Get your mindset on board and enlist the help of supportive mantras and people too. Make sure that your thoughts are pulling in same direction as what you want to achieve. The key is congruence here.
- Put to do lists together and follow through. You can see how much progress you are making then and it is sure to motivate you.
- Reach for holistic remedies as they support the immune system naturally and many have been round for thousands of years and are tried and tested.
- Make time for things and people that are important to you. I remember speaking to a lovely old lady and she said ‘at the end of our days we don’t look back and say ‘wow look at all those material things I accumulated. We look back at all the adventures we have had, sharing of good times with others and the lives we have touched. Not to mention the lives who have touched our own.’
- Put the fun back into what you are doing. If there is no fun there then what is the point of doing it. If there is no fun in what you are doing maybe make it more fun or use it as a sign to go along another path which will make you happier.
- As my friend puts it ‘Help others to rise’ Whether that’s sharing our knowledge or skills or whatever it may be it is a fact that helping others to get what they want helps us too. As when we help others we always receive help in return and our path becomes smoother and the challenges start melting away.
Has anyone had any challenges with their business or other goals? And if so how did you counteract them so you stay on track?
Until next time…
(The Earth Faeries)