Solo in Thailand

Being a single expat in Dubai, the normality for many years has been to go home to the UK.  This year, I decided to break with tradition, break with the norm and to do something different, to have a new experience and expand my territory.  As it goes, the groupie holiday plan that we were so looking forward to, for one reason or another did not go ahead, and the trip was cancelled. Despite what I describe to be a minor setback, a decision was made, one that truly excited and inspired me, and this would be to show me some real love and to go anyway. Quite frankly, the cancellations from friends, no offense, proved to be a blessing in disguise; as this gave me freedom to expand my horizons, an opportunity not to be missed. My thoughts were to go someplace, and do something that I had never done before.  Without much persuasion or hesitation, the flight, hotel, and transfers was booked.  I spoke with a friend who had been travelling alone for many years (shout out to Folake Abass) of which she had nothing but positive energy to bring to the forthcoming experience. Before I knew it, I had landed in Phuket, Thailand.  Yeah that’s how I roll! Eight nights in Paradise, me, myself and I, or Jack Jones if you prefer!  An amazing time had, and already planning my next trip.  Putting positive vibes into the universe, and visualizing Kenya or Vietnam as next locations to visit!  I have had unforgettable experiences of travelling with friends and family; however there is something magical about travelling alone, about taking that leap of faith, and saying “yes” to you and “yes” to life.  You just have to create your own sunshine.  No one can create sunshine in your life better than you can.  A liberating and freeing experience of which Life is a Spa highly recommends.

If you’re determined to think of yourself as limited, fearful, vulnerable, or scarred by past experience, know only that you have chosen to do so. The opportunity to experience yourself differently is always available.
– Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

Highlights:

  • Momma nature
  • Thai Culture/History
  • Phi Phi Islands
  • Elephant Trek
  • Thai food and Thai people
  • Chalong Temple/Big Bhudda Phuket
  • Sunset and sunrise
  • Time for positive reflection
  • Daily massages
  • Inexpensive

Benefits of going solo on holiday (in no particular order)

  • No consultancy required (able to do you, not your friend, partner or family- FREEDOM)
  • Builds confidence
  • Increases sensory acuity
  • Cheaper
  • Time alone, but you are never lonely
  • Peace (time for reflection, meditation, and making decisions)
  • Peace ( no bitching, moaning or misunderstandings between friends)
  • Peace (abundance)
  • Connect with more people

A few images….

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A new belief – An epiphany

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Public speaking can be a terrifying experience for so many of us. Once upon a time, and not so long ago; I was terrified of the same. What I believed was going to happen (negative) did not happen at all!  In fact the very opposite was true, and  can proudly say that the experience was amazing; and that my 8 minutes of the presentation disappeared in a flash…. too quickly in fact.  In 8 minutes I realized that I had experienced an “epiphany” A new belief…..a new and more empowering belief that for sure would transcend to other areas of my life.

Acknowledge emotions

Did I panic?!!!?? Of course I did; not only did I panic, I freaked out!  p.s. This did not help much; however it was extremely important to acknowledge whats going on inside, outside and upstairs!   I said two important words to self “OWN IT! ”

Research

I knew my subject well, however continued to research, and interestingly through allocating study time, topped up my knowledge on the given subject  (good move).

Planning

The organizer and my chair were super organized (early, thorough, and clear communication).  My chair was amazing. A great resource, and an experienced speaker.  My tip is this; gather as much information as you can regarding content, duration, and importantly the audience.  Who is attending?.  Pitch your presentation to your audience.  What is it that they can take away with them?  Advantageously I personally knew some of the professionals who would be attending the presentation, and I took the liberty of letting them know that I was presenting at the conference, what my subject content was, and what it was they would value most as attendees.

Obstacles

I wrote down a list of fears and challenges.  I am glad that I did this; as I wanted to refer back to this  list after the presentation to establish if any of my fears were in fact “true”; and also if had overcome any of the obstacles and challenges that I had.

Mantra

My mantra “All that I need reside within me”.  I repeated this many times in one day for 2 months.  Long after my presentation my mantra is still there!. What a mantra and a half to take with me onto new experiences. It is true; all answers are not far away.  I learned to sit in silence and to listen to stillness.

What do I want?

I visualized on what “I wanted”, not on what “I did not want”.  A desire far out weighed what I did not want, and that was indeed a positive platform of where I would always center myself.  I began to create a list with the subject header being “what does the perfect presentation look like in my eyes?”   There was also a 2nd question “How will I know when I have delivered a great presentation?” I answered each question, and retained the list for reference.

Resources – What resources will I need?

First answer “me” A registered NLP Practioner of which a huge bonus! Yes, I have recently achieved my Practoners Certificate and Coaching Certificate; an ideal opportunity to use the tools to coach myself!  Second question posed “Why reinvent the wheel?”  a-ha! Who inspires me?  What can I learn from the likes of Oprah, Anthony Robbins, Les Brown? What makes an audience sit on the edge of their seat and hungry for more?  After watching the giants on youtube, I noticed that great presenters, speak their truth, know their subject, get the audience thinking, they interact and they “bring it” oh yes “ENERGY” lots of it; and humor; ensuring to remain natural and authentic and in content in every way. That’s what I wanted for my audience; and that is what I wanted for me.  Great presenters tell stories; everyone likes stories! I can hear Les Brown now…You have greatness within you and he’s right! I do, and you do too – say it loud, say it proud; like you mean it.  IIIIIIIIIIII HAVE GREATNESS WITHIN ME! Shout it from your rooftop “I HAVE GREATNESS WITHIN ME!”….I learned from those who inspire me; and sure enough; there I found inspiration, and lots of it

As I was surfing on the net, I happen to stumble upon an online training course called “rule the room” (Jason Teteak)  one word for this little gem of a resource “brilliant” The video workshop shared a simple template to use for building  presentations,  as well as how to present professionally.  One word for you Jason “wicked” (cockney slang for good, amazing).  In fact I plan to write to him this evening to tell him how useful and valuable his workshop was to me, and I believe millions of other people.  The video is clear; so clear you can see straight through it; and right at the end of the tunnel were the words “success”  Before I knew it, I had my first draft.  Very important to note, that it was a draft….I could play with the draft until the cows came home.  The cows did not come home, so I created, and recreated and recreated…..Enjoy the experience, have fun.

Slide Content

Keep the presentation clean and in line with the content.  There is nothing more horrid than seeing lots of bullet points on a presentation.  I hunted for images that would capture audience interest and that were relevant to content (maximum of 0-2 bullet points per slide).  I was very fortunate to have support from my Chair who recommended a Thinking Coach that he had worked with, and recommended.  Amazing………..I will never think about presentation slides in the same manner again. Again brilliant..simplicity at its best!

I also watched Ted Talks.  Again another great resource for tips on public speaking.

http://youtu.be/Ks-_Mh1QhMc

Practice, practice and practice….

I always bought the following tools for my practice sessions; an open mind, a sense of humor (lots of it), patience (bags and bags of it) passion (bring your heart, soul, greatness – your giant) A mirror, stop watch; presentation card – bullet point with prompt words. I practiced with the mirror, I practiced with friends, colleagues.  Get feedback lots and lots of it.

The presentation itself

 On the actual day of the event, I noted that there were some nerves, but no longer was I “freaking out” like I had been months before.  Naturally the mantra kicked in.  By this time there was a very strong and powerful belief that everything that I needed was within me.  There was nothing to fear.  The audience looked amicable and quite friendly.  I recognized that there were no aliens, only people, just like me.  The only difference was, they were sitting quietly, and I was standing, and the speaker.  There was a podium available; and I chose not to use it.  What I wanted was for the audience to see and hear me, and I them. No barriers.

Feedback

As I mentioned earlier, the time was over so quickly. What is true and what I believe is this…Through practice, commitment, and dedication anything is possible.  There were a few errors of which I will note for next time – there is no such thing as failure only feedback.  The feedback from delegates with regards to presentation style, subject and content was great, better than I could had imaged.  The most important lessons that I took away from the entire experience was that between passion and fear lie some of life’s greatest lessons.  As mentioned, my challenges were recorded, and I was able to refer back to what I had written.  I split the page into 2 columns.  One column marked the word “true” and the other “false”.  My findings were this; that all negative statements and negative thoughts that I had were were marked as “false” What is true is this…a-ha moment…everything I need does reside within me!  I was able to write a list of other competencies and skills that were true!  An empowering experience, one of self-realization.  Life is a Spa highly recommends “feel the fear and do it anyway” by Susan Jeffers and “Fearless” The 7 Principles of Peace of Mind by Brenda Shoshanna, Phd.

What challenges have you overcome recently, and what tools and resources did you find useful?

“When an experience is so powerful that it motivates people to change the whole pattern of their lives, we call that a breakthrough, or an epiphany” – Deepak Chopra

 

My Journal. Tasting life twice…..

 

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I am extremely grateful that I am able to write; to freely express myself.  This was not the case for enslaved ancestors; and in this year 2015 there remains evidence of the same; where human beings worldwide do not have the skills to write, or do not have “rights” to write, nor read.  Simple things; reading and writing; two skills….I am blessed to be able to do both.  I say again, how grateful I am; some will never have that experience….

I look in the mirror and I see my reflection; however through writing in my journal; I have a deeper understanding of myself; and buried deep down in my soul are treasures; and ultimately the biggest and most meaningful gifts that I could had ever asked for…My journal keeps me grounded, focused and in check with whats important to me.  My journal is an anchor; a reminder to reach to it regularly to carve out time for someone who is really special; and that special and important person is me.  My journal content reveals insights to gratitude, reflection, personal development, goals choices; the list goes on and on and on.  What encouraged me to begin my journal?  One day the good lord kicked me in the head and said  “whats in the mind stays in the mind” and the good lord was right; all my thoughts were running around in my head, with nowhere to go.  Thoughts and feelings  screaming LET ME OUT, I’M TRAPPED! I had little clarity as to what my real needs were, and how I could  meet those needs.  This is an unfortunate situation; so unfortunate, I was not able to receive….blocked! This is changing now and now my thoughts are transferred to my journal, passions and desires run free, the pen runs away as if it takes a life of its own. I am free; having a ball; busy creating the life that I want to live.  Living a life with more purpose.

Inspiring quotation by Anai Nin “We write to taste life twice, in the moment, and retrospect” an amazing quote, inspiring in fact and beautifully linked together.  Words are so powerful….

How often do I journal, and how much do I write?

I journal on average, a minimum of twice a week; for thirty minutes.  There are times when I write one paragraph other days I can write 5 pages and beyond.    There is no hard or fast rule.  As I like……

How is writing a journal changing my life?

Recording information validates me, and my every day experiences.  Learning my truth, taking the lesson is such an empowering experience.  It is a great feeling to finally jump off the merry go round.  You may know it? The same ride, to no place?  Writing my journal has given me wisdom, power, motivation and drive to move in a different direction.  Yes, off the merry go round.  Yup I have lightened up a tad, and living a more congruent and fulfilling life.  I have learned that what happens is not as important as the meaning I assign to it. I get clarity, and with clarity I have options, the power of having choices is truly magical, and journaling helps to sort this out.

Maya Angelou once said “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you” Life is a spa highly recommends its readers to start a journal; pick up a book and start writing.  Often there is a tendency to get caught up in every day stuff; busying ourselves, without considering the most important relationship that we should be having, and that is the one that we have with ourselves.

Do you journal?  If so, please share your experiences with Life is a spa.

Pieces Of Me by Ledisi

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The melody is uplifting and has a happy beat.  There is a little mystery into how the song is sung, almost shyness; hide and seek? The subtle message of independence, and being free to fly excite me. Life continues to be a roller coaster, but every situation is an opportunity for creativity and resourcefulness. Vibrant, rich, colors of confidence bind itself to happiness, being connected and content with all pieces of self. The flowers unfolding represent change; a time to blossom.

Click on link to find out what “Pieces of me” means to Ledisi

http://singersroom.com/content/2011-06-01/Ledisi-Struggle-With-Identity/

What song describes you? The you now?

Goal Setting from “Life is a Spa”

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Fast approaching January 1st 2015.  I plan to spend some of the time alone reading through personal journals of 2014, updating my big goal book, setting new goals, and taking stock of all of life’s blessings that were gifted to me, and look at how I am able use those gifts to serve a higher purpose. Despite ups and downs; life has been more than good; amazing in fact (one of 2014 highlights was the trip to Kerala)  In all, new experiences which resulted in what can only be described as an awesome year Throughout the month of January, I am choosing to spend time alone carving out some really smart and compelling “personal goals” of which are important to me. One of my goals I intend to share with Life is a Spa readers. Watch this space for my videos and photographs; the goal itself and the steps and resources I will take to achieve it.  Even if your goal is different to the one I have, I believe that we can together use this space to pick up interesting tips; and importantly learn and share from one another. Life is a Spa sincerely wishes you and yours many years of health and happiness.  Life is a Spa is back!

PRICELESS

One day I was walking towards the local supermarket in South London, when I was stopped in my stride by a muffled voice which came from between two shops.  I peered into this empty space and lowered my gaze to the ground, where my focus met upon, to what I believe was a homeless man.  He greeted me by saying ”good morning love, do you have 0.50p that you can give to me?”  I stopped, and looked inside my purse and handed the gentleman what he asked for, the homeless man smiled, took the 0.50p and thanked me.  Without hesitation, I remarked “had you asked for £5, I would have given it to you, for you get what you ask for”  The homeless man looked both perplexed, and a little enlightened by my reply, and I too was a little shocked by my rather sharpe comment.  I couldn’t help but reflect on the entire situation and question the things that I have accepted in life.  Are we specific about the things we want and what levels of value do we place and accept in life?  This shared example is philosophical and about looking at a much wider picture, firstly and most importantly ourselves, what is our worth? What value do we place on ourselves? What ambitions do we have, when it comes to our professional, personal and spiritual selves? If any at all!

During my short stint in London, I for the first time in a long while slowed my world and brain activity down to see and listen more.  I am writing this article to share this experience, and express gratitude to my coach of the day; the vagrant (now remembered by me as “priceless”) who reinforced the meaning and importance of self-awareness, self-value and gratitude.

As human beings we are so busy busying ourselves, we sometimes miss important messages and opportunities of thought that will contribute and enhance the way in which we live.  Messages are in abundance guiding us daily, but how often do we recognize the importance or relevance when they occur? I for one can say ‘not enough’.  I believe slowing our world down can create a better understanding and appreciation of ourselves and what is going on around us.

During the same week of me meeting “priceless”, I came across this video by Anthony Robbins.  For sure “thoughts become things” I am an avid fan and follower of the inspirational Anthony Robbins, and hands down agree with him “Life will pay you, what you ask it for!”

http://youtu.be/_Af4QLc2vhs

What are your comments? Please feel free to share your experience.

REFRESH Sicilian Lemon and Fresh Basil organic bath oil by NEOM

Photograph courtesy of Neom

Jump for joy; “REFRESH” Sicilian Lemon and Fresh Basil Organic bath oil by Neom!  Be assured, the description of this product it is as good as it sounds, and feels as good as it smells! This product can be used in the shower or bath, but I prefer to add 1 capful of this, my favorite oil into my bath!  What’s so special?  What’s the big deal? Well firstly, let’s look at some of the benefits of the essential oils included in this product!  Let’s start with Lemon; which is great for improving mental fatigue and exhaustion, and improves concentration.  Basil on the other hand improves blood circulation, is an analgesic so a great pain reliever. In addition Basil improves digestion and relieves stress.

The scent of these oils infused harmoniously together with hot water and steam create amazing aromas; perfectly blended fragrances that bring forth pleasurable memories of spring and summer; warm seasons come alive and are abundant and present in your bathroom (even if it’s cold outside.)  The cost of this oil is 32 pounds sterling for 100ml bottle; great value for money, and a capful of oil added to your steamy tub goes the distance in usage and additionally peps-up your physical and emotional wellbeing.  A superb home therapy product that comes highly recommended, not only by me, but many users who have written raving reviews about this product!  Great job Neom, your reviews are testimony to a fabulous brand and product that is loved by many across the globe.  I was professionally introduced to the Neom brand whilst managing a 5 star spa in Dubai, and once tried, I instantly became a fan. I confess to being towed in without force, and now unashamedly a Neom devotee; hook, line and Neom sinkered! An amazing range of products for the home; organic air mists (tried, love), aroma candles (to die for), shower gels (totally obsessed) body oils (a guilty pleasure)  Check out this fabulous product range online, and if you have the opportunity, try one of the many delightful bath oils Neom have to offer!  Go ahead, turn your regular bath into a treat that will rejuvenate you; turn winter into summer; and guaranteed to put the bounce back into your ounce!  Enjoy, indulge and bask in your bath.

Follow link for Neom Organic Products:  http://neomorganics.com/

Please note that essential oils have medicinal properties, and recommend medical advice from your therapist or GP before using.

How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterwards – Spanish Proverb