Let Life Happen to You

New York is just 3 hours ahead of California, but that doesn’t make California slow. Someone graduated at the age of 22, but waited 5 years before securing a good job. Someone became a CEO at 25, and died at 50. While another became a CEO at 50, and lived to 90 years. Someone is still single, while someone else got married. Obama retired at 55 and Trump started at 70. Everyone in this world works based on their time zone. People around you might seem to be ahead of you. But everyone is running their own race, in their own time. Do not envy them and do not mock them. They are in their time zone, and you are in yours. Life is about waiting for the right moment to act. So, relax. You are not late. You’re not early. You are very much on time.”

– I wish I knew who wrote this!

Goals are great. We need to be constantly stretched in order to grow. And change, as I learn almost every season, is not always a bad thing.

But we put so much pressure on ourselves for things to happen now. Microwaved happiness, microwaved connections, microwaved success or healing even.

Hardly anything is that tenuous slow-burn anymore.

I for one, can get so either mired in the past and what I would change, or live so far off in the future its borderline La La Land… which is the thing psychiatrists and life coaches tell you not to do if you want anxiety attacks and the feeling of being overwhelmed all the time.

It also doesn’t help when others conveniently assume that you’re on society’s great unwritten timetable. You’re in your teens and it’s, What are you going to do after high school? In your 20s it’s, What are you going to do after graduation? Have you gotten that dream job yet?  

In your 30s, it’s When are you getting married? When are you having kids? Where is your career going? How much are you saving? When’s the investment property happening? questions.

And then finally one day, you’re standing in your kitchen, interrogated (ok–in a friendly, motherly way) by your dear cleaning lady whom you consider family, justifying why you want to leave your corporate job and why you don’t necessarily want kids. And to Please. Stop. Asking.

My point is to not let yourself be rushed by others. And worse still, to not feel like you’re wrong or weird if you don’t want any of the things that you’re ‘meant’ to have. If you don’t want kids at all, that’s cool. If you want to focus solely on your career, you do you. And it’s ok to change your mind in between. Nobody has to tell men these things.

Side note on mothers: I look at mums with a mixture of worship and amazement at how they beautifully, imperfectly, fervently live their lives. Mothers of all ages and life stages inspire me daily. They’ll tell you it takes a village and indeed, some are a little more fortunate than others in terms of support. But that doesn’t diminish my awe for them (and how intimidated I’d be in their shoes).

This whole timing thing applies to the idea of success and ‘making it’ too. Who wouldn’t want to be an overnight success.

It can be so tempting as an [insert your job here] to look at your peers and feel like you’re lagging behind. Like, Why hasn’t my business taken off yet? Why was I overlooked for that promotion? Why is my art not as impactful or recognised as XYZ’s yet?  

Sadly I don’t have answers for you. But I do have a theory that hustle and heart will set you apart. I tell myself on less than Instagram-worthy days to work hard, have faith, keep swimming in your own lane without feeling like you need to pop your head up out of the water to check where the competition are. Something good is coming around the corner. (And P.S. the grass is not greener. They used a filter, as I once read).

But coming back to why we’re here. If you’re waiting for that perfect something to happen to you in order to be happy, feel complete, finally feel fulfilled… you could be waiting a long time.

  1. Be here now.
  2. Be here now.
  3. The past is not where you live.
  4. The future is going to happen anyway.
  5. Just enjoy being here, now. This pain, happiness, joy is teaching you something.

Before I start spiralling, I often remind myself to come back to this moment. And tell myself it’ll happen when it happens. And that’s ok.

It can seem laughable in these moments to think of things like beauty or art, or even aromatherapy. But it’s these sensorial elements of what we smell, touch, feel—which help us anchor us back to this moment.

  1. Do a body scan from top to toe. Observe how you feel in this moment, without judgment.
  2. Write it down.
  3. Get still and very quiet. Apply or diffuse your favourite meditative essential oils (we love Recovery Mode – though it may seem dark and low in energy at first whiff thanks to its super calming sandalwood, think of it is a blanket encouraging you to pause. Mmerci Encore’s Nightshade Sleep Mode blend also works like a treat and needn’t only be saved for exclusively sleep. Picking wood-based essential oils is a great and easy way to help calm, restore, and slow down those racing thoughts).
  4. Put away all devices for at least 16 minutes and just think. Acknowledge that you feel rushed or overwhelmed. Perhaps admit that how you’ve been surviving but not exactly thriving. Then think of what you really want and what truly makes you feel alive. Be still. Rewire those pathways in the brain.

x Alli

Image by Choe Minjung

Strange Flowers

I am inspired by things that have character, personality and strong features. They can be a little odd or strange but at the same time, very beautiful.”

—  François Nars

Edgar Allen Poe once wrote that there is no exquisite beauty without strangeness. And sometimes, there’s no better way to celebrate your own unique beauty than giving yourself to colour. Lots of it.

Enter Nars x Erdem’s latest collection, Strange Flowers – an offering of unreservedly bold lipsticks – six to be exact, two blushes, two shadow palettes, lip powder palette & more handpicked by Erdem Moralioglu, of the eponymous label himself.

“I have always been interested in exploring the codes of femininity, and to me flowers represent the wonderful strength of the feminine,” says Moralioglu.

The shades and to-die-for lacquered box evoke Erdem’s -delicate prints and sumptuous silhouettes—though I’m personally struggling to ever use any palettes as they’re simply too pretty… a happy problem, I assure you.

Strange Flowers is part of an ongoing collab between the iconic beauty brand and the hauntingly romantic fashion label who have been creating these signature looks (oft characterised by dewy skin paired with an unexpected eye and daring lip) since 2013.

So now begs the question: what perk-me-up shades are you dying to try?

x Alli

 

Speaking from Your Ego

Always, over and over, these days and nights will come, the anxiety, the aversion, the doubt. And I will still live, and I will still love life.”
— Hermann Hesse

A few days ago I caught myself hyperventilating mid-conversation. I had to take a big gulp of water and walk away for a bit.

It’s not the first time my incorrect breathing has gotten me in a bind. I once passed out in a hot yoga class simply because I forgot to breathe. Or rather, instead of really embracing that I was a beginner, I was acutely aware of how I was totally sucking at the poses, how I couldn’t move with the fluidity of others… just too in my head. Sipping at air, anticipating what was to come next instead of just being ok with feeling out of my depth. And then I passed out, and the teacher had to drag me out. It was terribly glamorous.

The same thing happened last week at the dentist. It was a routine clean, but it turned out to be a mini pranayama session as the doctor realised I was holding my breath and therefore, not able to open my mouth for him—which is kind of not what you want when you pay $600 for a dental appointment.

It reminded me of the time I walked into Per Van Spall’s office at Como Shambhala.

Notice how when you entered you spoke in a high pitch with a shallow breath, he said at the end of our session. You were not speaking from your diaphragm. 

You were speaking from here, he said, and proceeded to point to his throat.

You were speaking from your ego.

Notice how your voice has deepened.

That moment unlocked something in me. When I speak into the moment with honesty and not fear, something just shifts.

The more we attempt to control a situation and get hysterical or speak in measured words instead of getting down to the core of who we are, the more it somehow manifests in the body. (It explains why you can seethe with anger or shake with rage or tremble with fear).

Ever since that encounter, I’ve been really mindful of listening to my body before reacting and it’s been a lot easier to stop and reframe situations just by paying attention to my breath.

But back to a few days ago where I really was hyperventilating. Knowing what I know, I was instantly able to pause, examine my intentions, and start again. It was actually pretty freeing because you don’t have to wait till tomorrow to start again.

Every moment can be made new by taking one deep breath.

If you’re after some immediate relief, the best balancing aromatherapy oils to help encourage patience, self-grace and an honest exchange with others (in my book), include bergamot essential oil and peppermint essential oil. Eucalyptus essential oil is another great one, literally helping to clear the air, while promoting better breathing.

And while you’re at it, if your heart needs a little re-examining, aside from prayer, journalling, meditation, walks in nature, I’ve always found geranium essential oil and ylang-ylang essential oil helpful in terms of bringing you back to center and gently rebalancing moods. There’s truly nothing worse than beating yourself up about something you said, or replaying on loop what can no longer be fixed.

And with that I finally realise why yoga teachers bang on the way that they do about breathing… Hope these suggestions help you.

x Alli

Sky Above, Earth Below, Peace Within

 “Emotionally, I wanted to stay. Intellectually, I wanted to leave. As always, I seem to enjoy punishing myself.”
— Susan Sontag

There’s a line in the Bible: If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 

What will I do when I close the book on this current life chapter? Let my peace rest or take it back? I’m not entirely sure. And the act of even acknowledging that is human and liberating because it’s honest.

I am tired. I imagined this going a different way.

Helping me breathe through this turbulent season is Mmerci Encore’s Recovery Mode blend. My original intention for the blend was to create something that could really help me ground, re-centre, reframe my thoughts, and rediscover my own inner light.

As always, the Recovery Mode blend is formulated with 100% therapeutic grade and natural essential oils – it has loads of sandalwood and organic lavender to really help wick away stress, anxiety and tension. It really eases me into a meditative state even when my heart is in knots.

I may not always be into wood-based essential oils, but this really encourages me to let go of my ruminating and be still in the moment, accepting it for what it is. And for that, I’m thankful.

Time to get my hopes up x

Self-Care Tip

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