Dearest ones, What a wonderful summer break! When discussing potential plans for our summer break with my partner, I craved for connection to the land, a feeling of grounding, of being held. Since we moved to the flatlands - as I lovingly call the Netherlands - I have struggled to feel the ground under my feet. Some days I feel it's the Earth leylines and how symbolically (and really) the Netherlands is primarily below sea levels and surrounded by water - which makes any solid ground easy to crumble and dissolve. So here it was the brilliant idea to go on a road trip, with our recently adopted dog, Mellie - a lot could go wrong (being sick, barking and resisting) but what if it could go well? We gave it a shot and what an absolute treat: driving through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Continental Europe: the glacials in Switzerland, the sunny valleys in Italy, the campagne fields jn France, the always inviting Mediterranean sea in Spain. What is there not to like? And just right there, the first of many learnings came my way: not always appreciating what we have at our doorstep, available; oftentimes taking it for granted. After returning to the UK from Asia I gravitated towards travelling further rather than locally, plus the +3 years of COVID didn't allow much of wiggle room. Now, connected back through land and being able to feel more mobile, it was the time to root back again. But the most (or at least) one of the most valuable learnings has been the value of time and space, and what it comes with them. We operate mainly on a very non-conscious manner, leaving very little to no time to reflect, check in and switch gears between the go-go-go "flight / fight" mode to the slow down & present "rest & restore". And it goes beyond the narrative of "doing it because it makes me feel good" or "it's a healthy choice" and "it's good for my wellbeing" . In a crumbling capitalistic society where the only two acceptable behaviours are consuming or producing, there is no space, agency or right to take a break - and even when we take them, it's usually after we have have worked hard, so we allow ourselves to slow down as a reward for the hard work done. If we haven't worked hard for it, we don't deserve it. The reality is that currently, chronic stress is the leading cause for GP appointments in most of Western countries, approximately 90% of the presented conditions are stress related. And the more we keep the foot on the gas without realising we are driving towards a cliff, the sicker we will get. So, we get less sick (or healthier) when we rest. But there are also other benefits, which shouldn't be undervalued: when we are able to switch brain function from "surviving" to "optimal function", we are able to tap into an endless tapestry of wisdom, creativity, innovation and greater consciousness, with oneself and the system we are part of. So, what if the cure for separation, division, endless dissatisfaction and all sorts of mental conditions such as anxiety and depression could be tipped over through rest, through developing the muscle of being mindful, present, focused, with the practice of gratitude?
And with that, I’m back totally refreshed, clearer and energised for what’s ahead and for what it is now. It has taken me 3 weeks of not having to struggle to adapt to a different culture, holding space for others and the other trillion admin nightmares that involve living here to really switch gears. Not only to recuperate and be healthier but to allow my brain to do what it does best: creative solution making, innovative ideas, a sense of inner trust. Do we have to wait til the next holiday break to tap into these wonders? Can we bring these snippets of magic into our day to day, taking into account we have a pressurising system that invites us 24/7 to do the opposite? As always, curiosity to explore and patient compassion for the time it will take to get where we want, are our best allies to keep living, graciously and wholeheartedly.
Please find a couple of announcements coming you way below.
Thanks for keep reading & for your support! Autumnal blessings to all
With all my love and gratitude,
Monica & team x