Tag Archives: Joyful Living

The learning spiral – about fractals and freedom

spirals-and-fractals-5

 

Have you noticed how time never passes ‘normally’? It’s always faster or slower than you think. Which makes me wonder how we intuitively know what is time’s normal pace. Otherwise how can we experience it passing by at a quicker or more lazy pace than it ‘should’?

Although our brains love to turn time, and most of our experience of life, into a linear pattern of moving from A to B, there may be different, more interesting shapes out there in the universe.

Like the spiral for example. It’s everywhere in nature…from our DNA to roses, snails, hurricanes and even galaxies like the Milky Way. In maths, the Fibonacci sequence (0,1,1,2,3,5,8 etc) describes these gracefully unfurling shapes.

If you add two Fibonacci sequences you approximate the Golden Ratio which defines the architecture of historic monuments such as the Giza pyramids and the Greek Parthenon.

Dogmatic creationism aside, there is poetry in the idea that “the spiral is the fingerprint of God which resides in all of creation.”

spirals-and-fractals

From Fractals to Freedom

Even in our subtle emotional bodies we experience spirals of deeper and deeper learning.

Again they’re often misinterpreted by our brain as a two-dimensional line. We feel disillusioned when an issue we thought we had ‘dealt with’, comes back with a vengeance.

‘What? It’s still not over?! I’ve not made any progress and am back where I started?!’ – our saboteur brain starts chattering. We become convinced that we’ve taken quite a few steps back on our journey.

I see this often happening when coaching clients go through grief, process a break up or even let go of patterns that are no longer serving.

Instead of perceiving progress as linear, let’s add a third dimension and experience it as a spiral. Then we’re not going back to where we came from, but are tracing a circle, adding depth with each step taken, like the rose, snail and planets do.

In the reiki healing tradition, the sacred symbol of the spiral adds power and protection, indicating to “place the power of the universe here’.

Every time we reach the same side of the circle at a deeper level, we have the opportunity to understand the issue more deeply so that healing and integration can occur at a more profound level.

We continue to go deeper down into our learning spirals until we reach the deepest core of the issue, the end point of the spiral.

Then we may become aware of an even bigger spiral repeating the shape of the first smaller spiral. Like in a fractal image of expanding symmetry, one spiral is the building block for an even larger spiral.

In yoga philosophy, the serpent lies coiled like a spiral at the base of our spine until the kundalini energy, or the intelligence of complete maturation, is awakened.

Perhaps our fractal learning experience continues until our karma expires. Until we reach enlightenment and we’re free of patterns, be they lines or spirals.

fractal-spiral-wallpaper-2153-2262-hd-wallpapers

What spiral are you on?

I’d love to hear from you about your current learning spiral!

On the Maitree Community – the Sangha of Joy’s September calls, we are sharing and learning about spirals of self love, following the heart, being soft and firm, letting go.

I’m on the ‘surrender’ spiral. Every time I’ve surrendered more deeply, I’m presented with an even harder thing to surrender. It’s almost as if the universe is trying to tell me:

“Do you think you’ve mastered surrender by letting go of your high performing corporate career, and receiving a beautifully balanced and free life doing what I love most?

Then try this: surrendering your relationship.

Now do you think you’ve mastered the trick by breaking up and being gifted a fully unexpected reunion with your partner when he asks you to marry him?

Then try this: give up your home and sense of belonging in Auroville.”

That’s where I am at in my surrender spiral.

Deep down with no end in sight and a smile on my face thanks to the gift of 20 all Indian sisters in the dance and movement therapy course I just started in Bangalore. But I’m sure despite these gifts I’ll find something else to cling to!

fractal-771972_960_720

Spirals and movement

The dance and movement therapy course has much inspired me in many ways, integrating movement into my coaching practice and finding innovative ways of exploring authentic intuitive movement with clients.

In the sangha calls, we have been exploring the fun yet sacred element of moving spirals. Once we identified our learning spirals, we found movement to express them – from whirling dervish to rolling child and surfing on the waves of life.

The spiral movements we discovered were both liberating and transformative. They helped us shake off old patterns, for exampling shifting into an anti-clock wise upward spiral when in a clock wise downward spiral. And shifted us into new ways of being, for example from strongly spiralling our arms to protect ourselves, to a gentle swaying of the hips as a soft and peaceful pillar of strength.

Some say that spiral movements are among the oldest on the planet, as eye-less creatures grazed the ocean floor following their mouths with their digestive tubes.

There is a mysterious power in recreating ancient, primitive movement patterns – at once healing and joyful. While it’s fun to move in spirals, the movement awakens a deep vibration within us that seems to allow us to shift quickly from one state to another.

If you’re interested in exploring the mystery further, join me end January in Auroville for the ‘Swing Your Hips’ 3-day women’s intuitive dance retreat.

I’m also starting to offer authentic movement spaces in Auroville and Pondicherry, organically for women only for now, yet I’m planning mixed dance spaces later in the season.

For more info, keep an eye out on the website or get in touch via julie@maitreecoaching.com. Looking forward to hearing from you!

At the pace of what is real

I’ve been travelling a lot over the past month – South of France, French Alps, London, Amsterdam, and now back in India…with a full heart, relieved to be home again, and grateful for all the soulful joyful reunions with friends and family in Europe. Also with a tired body, taking time to rest and get comfortable with the monsoon weather and crazy beloved India.

The need for rest has been appearing synchronistically in conversations with friends and coachees for the last few weeks. For example my GP and health coach cousin who works with women in their 30s that have developed a range of psychosomatic conditions, often because of a diary full of everything, but rest. A coachee saw her emotional eating habits transformed once she allowed herself proper rest. And my partner Shivi needs complete rest to recover from a viral fever – no phone, no movie, not even a book…

This – naturally! – comes at a time when I’m learning how to rest properly, for example deactivating after lunch and dinner, taking a break after every hour spent behind the computer, no phone 1hr after waking up and 1hr before sleeping…and the health effects are so clear. More peace of mind, clarity, ease, stability. Less stress, cravings and fewer outside events triggering annoyance or frustration.

Mark Nepo calls this state ‘At the pace of what is real’ in one of his poems in ‘The Book of Awakening‘. I love sharing it with my Joyful Living Retreat participants on Day 4 when we look at how to flow through life..

The ocean stirsthe heart, inspiresthe imagination& brings eternaljoy to the soul-4

In my search for rest, I’m facing a big saboteur – the one saying ‘you’re not working hard enough, you’re not productive enough, you don’t deserve rest, you’re not doing anything with your life.’ Or even ‘You’re already meditating and doing yoga every day, what more rest do you need?!’

Luckily my inner leader is telling me that I’m more productive when fully rested because the right things happen at the right moment, effortlessly. And that in rest and quiet we create the space to listen to our soul and where it’s guiding us. As Rumi puts it so beautifully:

Rumi quote

I’m curious to hear your thoughts and experiences with busy-ness, rest, going at the pace of what is real and listening to your soul. Respond to this post, email me or join us for the next Maitree Community – the Sangha of Joy’s monthly call where we’ll be exploring what INTUITION and GOING AT THE PACE OF WHAT IS REAL means to us..

The August Sangha calls are taking place on Sunday 14th August at 11am Central European Time/2.30pm Indian Standard Time and Thursday 18th August at 4.30pm Central European Time/8pm Indian Standard Time. Get in touch with me if you’re keen to join (julie@maitreecoaching.com)!

Ikigai or the reason you wake up in the morning

tumblr_nhkqr5BQqh1r2oqzao1_540

IKIGAI

iki (生き) / Life
kai (甲斐) / The realisation of what one expects and hopes for

As a life and executive coach I’m intrigued and inspired by this Japanese idea that is said to contribute to the many healthy centenarians living on the islands of Okinawa in Southern Japan, where the word originates.

Having ikigai means that you feel fulfilled and have a reason to get up in the morning. Even if it’s a dark morning, you’ll feel purposeful and balanced. Like this 100+ karate teacher.

Karate Master Uehara Seikichi - A 26-yr old student spars 96-yr old Karate Master Uehara Seikichi

Ikigai is a key component of a long and healthy life in addition to a plant-based diet, daily exercise and a strong sense of community. Okinawa’s population counts 50 centenarians per 100,000, compared to 5-10 in the US. They are healthy, independent and happy.

In fact, people do not retire in Okinawa. Instead, they belief that one should make life worth living no matter how old you are. You help others and continue to express your ikigai.

“Our ikigai evolves and transforms with us, just as much as the knowledge and identification of our ikigai transforms us.” Goju Karate

Everyone has an ikigai. So how do you find yours?

According to the Japanese, finding your ikigai requires a profound search of self, a natural and spontaneous process of self awareness.

ikigai diagram.001

The diagram shows how ikigai combines four key elements in life:

  • Passion
  • Mission
  • Profession
  • Vocation

Those four key elements in turn consist of the overlaps between:

  • That which you love
  • That which the world needs
  • That which you can be paid for
  • That which you are good at

Together these make up your ikigai, which evolves and transforms over time. All ikigai are equally important and powerful because by definition they are the reason of living for someone.

cherry-301253_1280

It is vital to our health and wellbeing that we find our ikigai. Yet it can be a challenging process to identify, refine your awareness, and clearly communicate your ikigai to yourself and others.

Life coaching can help with just this. I’m offering ikigai sessions in which we explore your life purpose through guided visualisation and creative conversation.

Email me at julie@maitreecoaching.com if you’re interested in discovering your ikigai!

Summer Retreats in Greece!

Joyful Living 1: Make ordinary days extraordinary | Crete, 28 May – 4 June
Joyful Living 2: Be the change you want to see | Evia, 26 June – 3 July

I’m excited to announce the Maitree Coaching Summer Retreats in Crete and Evia. Come and celebrate the Mediterranean summer in magical and relaxing Greece.

We had an amazing time at Joyful Living 1 in Auroville, South India, end of March. A great opportunity for busy city people to take a break in nature, eat wholesome food and focus on what really matters to them in life. 

A month later we’re still messaging each other about the changes to our lives – from turning vegan to getting up at 5am to making time for regular journalling in our mornings…big changes!


12932786_10154108595261474_4145310933855275572_n

“The retreat group feels like a family tribe…after many retreats across the world, I said to myself no more retreats but Julie is different, she is unique, she is real, you can trust her. With her powerful tools you will discover yourself and believe in yourself more than ever!” 
Ariana, Entrepreneur, Spain


 

Now summer in Europe is coming close and bookings are speeding up for both Joyful Living 1 in Crete and Joyful Living 2 in Evia.

So if you’re thinking of joining and/or have questions, get in touch soon!

Love, and hope to see you in Greece 🙂

Julie


“The Joyful Living retreat was one of the best experiences of my life. I’m incredibly glad I signed up for it. I am a stronger, happier, more positive person now that i learned so much about myself and life. Thank you Julie!”

Mouna M’Rad, Conference Interpreter, Paris

“I LOVED the Joyful Living retreat! Your coaching was perfect for me. I feel reborn and experience a radical shift of perspective. I am going through my days with mindfulness and the results are astonishing. My friends are amazed.”

Katarina Fischer, Author, Hamburg


 

unspecified

Joyful Living 1: Make ordinary days extraordinary

Welcome dinner on 28 May
Workshops 29 May – 4 June

Do you want to:

– Live with joy and ease?
– Improve your work life balance?

– Cultivate mindfulness and gratitude?
– Enhance your health and wellbeing?
– Find peace in a hectic life style?

I created the Joyful Living program for participants to cultivate mindfulness and gratitude amidst the busy-ness of modern life.

The programme’s five themes are designed to anchor your days in the things that matter to you and bring joy into your life.

In a warm and supportive group, we will explore how to make ordinary days extraordinary.

FullSizeRender 61

“You have changed my life and given me the confidence to open up and live with joy and ease. You’re an amazing coach who opens people’s hearts. Thank you!” Giacomo, Italy

For more info on the five themes, click here. For more info on the retreat, click here.

 


d7

Joyful Living 2: Be the change you want to see

Welcome dinner on 26 June
Workshops 27 June – 3 July

Everyone is a leader. Everyone can make a difference.

Dare to be unapologetically you and make an impact from a place of authenticity.

Learn to turn from reactive into proactive. Be a changemaker in your family, in your work, in the world.

The program’s five themes are designed to take you on a journey to remember who you have always been.

f2

At the end of the journey, you will own your purpose, passion and the unique footprint you leave on your environment.

For more info, click here.

 


Practical information

How to book?
Limited places available as we’ll be smaller groups of 8-10 people. Please reserve your place in advance via Julie@maitreecoaching.com.

How to arrange accommodation?
Both the retreats include accommodation. On Crete we’re being hosted in Sfakia by the wonderful Eugenia in her family home at YogaOnCrete.  

In Evia Liana and Alexis are our hosts at the Villa Averoff, a historic property set in the lush countryside of the island.
How much are the retreats?

Joyful Living I Crete: EUR600-790* (depending on type of room) including 7 nights accommodation, welcome dinner, and 6 days of workshops, breakfast and lunch.

Joyful Living II Evia: EUR685* including 7 nights accommodation in double ensuite room, welcome dinner, and 6 days of workshops, breakfast, and lunch.

* If you feel you qualify for a (Auroville!) discount, do let me know!

 

Unwind

What will be your summer holiday reading?

I’m looking forward to relaxing soon at this beautiful spot below in YogaOnCrete. It’s so important to properly unwind and allow yourself time to recover.

3Q2X8132

It’s actually in relaxation that we find most alertness so we can face any situation in life skillfully and with awareness.

The fifth and last theme of the Joyful Living Crete Retreat (21st-26th June, http://www.yogaoncrete.gr/en/joyful-living-retreat) is ‘Unwind – how to close your day and prepare for sleep’.

Closing your day is as important as starting it. Some people list the things they’re grateful for. I always make sure to check out the night sky — watching the moon and stars connects me to the bigger picture of life.

At least 30 minutes before going to sleep, set your devices on airplane mode. Keep your bed for sleeping and only go there once you’re ready to sleep. Set your alarm for the 7-9 hours of sleep you need plus a little extra to account for falling asleep. The more regular your sleeping, the easier your body will unwind and rejuvenate.

My body’s natural rhythm is to sleep early and wake up with the birds when a fresh new day is about to start!

Keep it simple

The fourth theme of the Joyful Living Crete Retreat (21st-26th June) is ‘Flow through your day: how to keep things simple and follow your heart’.

Whatever comes your way, keep it simple. Flow with the day, observe what it brings, and play with it. Keep your mind cool, your heart open, and you’ll make sharp, intuitive decisions.

It helps to set your priorities so that you’ll feel content about having written that article, or gone for a run. What is the one thing that you want to do today, if nothing else?

Combine being organized and flexible. I always leave free time so that on a beautiful day I can go out in nature. Do you allow yourself to do something spontaneous, like curling up in bed if you feel like it?

This is not selfish or self-indulgent. The more you do the things you love, the more fulfilled you’ll be. Consequently, you’ll have more energy to grow and be available to the people you love.

Love Your Food!

Great fresh vegan meals are soon to be served at YogaOnCrete’s large communal dining table.

Join me for the Joyful Living Crete Retreat (21st-26th June).

The third of the five Joyful Living themes is Eat joyfully: how to eat what your body needs.

The food you take in makes a big difference to your day, but first make sure your food goes out! Rehydrating your body does wonders to kick start your digestion. I drink a liter and a half of lukewarm water and herbal tea every morning, ideally before starting my yoga routine.

Then it’s time to think about food! What are you craving? What does your body need? If you’re fighting a cold, add turmeric or echinacea to your smoothie. If you’re anticipating a demanding day, make a filling breakfast, like oatmeal. I mostly eat fruit and vegetables to complement the body’s nightly detox. Think of breakfast literally — better not to break your fast with a huge meal.

3Q2X9575-1

Mindful Routine

I can’t wait to practice on this beautiful open air yoga platform, feel the soft breeze, the morning freshness and gaze at the deep blue sea.

Join me for the Joyful Living Crete Retreat (21st-26th June): http://www.yogaoncrete.gr/en/joyful-living-retreat

The second of the five Joyful Living themes is Mindful Routine – how to build a regular yoga and meditation practice.

It’s important to dedicate a part of your morning to a routine, such as yoga or meditation. If you prefer to potter around the house or go for a run, that’s fine too. Most importantly, create an oasis of calm so you can anchor yourself in your values, even if only for 10 minutes. If you have a family, carve out some time before everyone wakes up, or during your commute.

My own practice combines meditation and yoga. It normally lasts an hour, but I can shorten it to 30 minutes. Meditation stills my mind, and mindful breathing connects me to life’s flow. Yoga offers an opportunity to love my body. I add restorative or energizing poses according to my body’s needs. Even after sleeping restlessly, 10 sun salutes will refresh me.

Wake Up Mindfully

How about waking up to this??

3Q2X9349

Waking Up Mindfully is the first of the five themes of the Joyful Living Crete Retreat (21st-26th June).

When your alarm rings, take a moment to notice the blank canvas of a new day. I always feel mornings are freshly quiet as the day is still unwritten. Don’t check your messages yet, and get present to this particular morning. Is the sky blue or gray? Are your dreams still with you? Are you feeling rested or restless?

Slowly turn your attention to the day ahead and set an intention. What matters most to you today? An example could be “I want a loving relationship,” or “I want to deliver a flawless presentation.” Repeat it a few times, write it down or pick an object like a bracelet or picture to remind you during the day. Once you’ve made your intention clear, you’ll be surprised how often it comes true, usually in an unexpected way.

Want to know more about Joyful Living? Keep following the blog, every day we’ll be going through each of the five themes.

Joyful Living Retreat Crete, June 2015

JOYFUL LIVING RETREAT 

How to make ordinary days extraordinary

YogaOnCrete, Crete, Greece 21st – 26th June 2015

Do you want to:

  • Live with joy and ease?
  • Improve your work life balance?
  • Cultivate mindfulness and gratitude?
  • Enhance your health and wellbeing?
  • Find peace in a hectic life style?

Join life coach Julie for a 5 day joyful living experience at Crete, the inspiring and heart opening Mediterranean island paradise.

Julie used to have a busy corporate job in London. Once she learned to live her days mindfully, she noticed how she became much more relaxed. The days weren’t less stressful, but she wasn’t as stressed anymore. Instead, she was feeling grateful for her life.

She created the Joyful Living retreat to help participants to cultivate mindfulness and gratitude. The retreat’s five themes are designed to anchor your days in the things that matter to you and bring joy into your life. In a warm and supportive group of maximum eight participants, we will explore how to make ordinary days extraordinary.

Julie combines her management consulting background with a thorough understanding of personal growth and coaching. She has a keen interest in nutrition and eastern spirituality, which has led her to spend most of the last three years in India practicing yoga and meditation.

3Q2X8138

This powerful retreat will give you:

  • Written positive outcomes about what Joyful Living means to you
  • An individualised roadmap on how to get there
  • Commitment to prioritise according to your values
  • A renewed sense of energy to optimise your life
  • A chance to soak up the magical Mediterranean

Each day at the retreat includes a yoga and meditation session to open your heart and body, and two interactive workshops on the Joyful Living theme of the day. You will also have plenty of time for relaxing by the beach, exploring the scenic village and countryside.

Julie facilitates the workshops using life coaching techniques to create insights and find your own answers, as well as get you committed and accountable to put them into practice and transform your life.

Monday | Waking up: how to start your day with awareness

Tuesday | Mindful routine: how to build a yoga and meditation practice

Wednesday | Eat joyfully: how to eat what your body needs

Thursday | Flow through your day: how to keep things simple and follow your heart

Friday | Unwind: how to close your day and prepare for sleep

Read more about the Joyful Living themes here.

To book, get in touch with Julie via julie@maitreecoaching.com or click here.

3Q2X7491

Retreat highlights

  • Daily yoga, meditation and Joyful Living workshops
  • Professional and experienced life coach and yoga practitioner
  • Free 1:1 life coaching session
  • Warm and supportive group of maximum 8 guests
  • 5 nights accommodation in traditional guesthouse located near beach
  • 5 vegan breakfasts and lunches and 1 vegan dinner included Linen and towels provided

3Q2X8094

Retreat programme

The week begins with a delicious vegan welcome dinner on Sunday evening at 8pm.

From Monday to Friday we will start the day with a lovely relaxed yoga and meditation practice (7.30am to 8.30am). Then it’s time for a refreshing detox smoothie before we start the interactive morning workshop (9.30-11.30am).

Each day we will take a closer look at the benefits of one of the five Joyful Living themes:

Monday | Waking up: how to start your day with awareness

Tuesday | Mindful routine: how to build a yoga and meditation practice

Wednesday | Eat joyfully: how to eat what your body needs

Thursday | Flow through your day: how to keep things simple and follow your heart

Friday | Unwind: how to close your day and prepare for sleep

Together, these themes give you a recipe for how to make ordinary days extraordinary and open your heart to joy and ease. The retreat programme is designed to put these themes in practice straight away so you will experience the benefits of Joyful Living first hand.

After lunch and siesta, the afternoon workshop (4.30-6.30pm) is dedicated to giving expression to your own commitments and creating an individualised roadmap for each theme.

We will take the sessions out to nature as much as possible so we can enjoy our connection with the sea, the trees and the hills.

In the afternoons, there’s the opportunity to do a free 1:1 life coaching session with Julie. Or you can relax, enjoy the beach and sunshine, get a massage, explore the village, take a walk in the countryside.

The number of guests is limited to 8 to create a warm and friendly atmosphere and to ensure that everyone gets a personalised experience. Beginners and experienced yogis are both welcome!

Five vegan breakfasts and lunches are offered at the house, while in the evenings guests can dine out in the village restaurants (not included in the course cost; approx. €15 for a full meal including drinks). Sunday night’s vegan dinner is included in the price.

Individual excursions (e.g., hikes, boat trips) can also be arranged during the week at an extra cost.

On Friday, departure can be arranged after the closing ceremony (3-4pm).

3Q2X9618-1

More about life coaching

Coaching enables you to create real and positive change by dramatically increasing your levels of self-awareness. A life coach facilitates your journey of finding answers to your questions. The answers already lie within you and point you to how to realise your full potential.

The life coaching method is built on the cornerstone that we are all naturally creative, resourceful and whole and that we all possess the capacity for knowing what is best for ourselves.

In a coaching session, the coach creates for the client a safe place of authentic being, powerful listening and encouragement, to uncover the best in oneself and others. This way, the coach and client together create insights and commitment to action so that the client’s life is optimised.

IMG_2250

About Julie

Julie combines her extensive coaching, yoga and business consulting experience to help clients find a balance between thought and action, between being mindful and practical. She specialises in relationship and career coaching.

After quitting her strategy consulting career with Deloitte London, she retrained as a Certified Professional Co-active Coach with the acclaimed Coaching Training Institute, London. Living in India and Europe, she coaches a wide variety of clients internationally.

Her own experience has given her a keen understanding of what it takes to switch careers successfully. Transitioning from academia to corporate life to starting her own coaching practice taught her the importance of loving what you do and being authentic.

Julie loves her work which gives her the freedom to combine personal, professional and spiritual growth. A common theme in client feedback is that Julie´s coaching style is natural, bright and impactful. It is a natural extension of what she enjoys doing – creating a safe space, tracking down the real issue and challenging the client to move forward.

In addition to 1:1 sessions, Julie facilitates retreats, workshops and coaching training. She also does freelance business strategy projects. She loves her yoga and meditation practice, is learning to master tarot card reading, and can often be found in the kitchen making vegan desserts.

She blogs about spiritual and coaching topics on iliketothinkabout.wordpress.com.

Together with her partner Shivraj Bhullar, she runs Maitree House – a space for yoga, wellness and coaching retreats. Find out more on http://www.maitreecoaching.com.

“Julie taught me to acknowledge my values in my decision making which has made such a difference to my life. She is a joy to work with and I would recommend her to anyone.”

“Julie helped me a lot to accept myself the way I am right now. She has such a good energy and a very gentle and good soul. Her wisdom has a special grace that has an immediate effect when she speaks.”

3Q2X8132

Prices

Prices (all inclusive) per person per week:

Early Bird Discount (€50 off displayed price) applies for bookings 3 months in advance (before the 21st of March).

€650 (£520) shared en suite accommodation (3 in a room) or single non-ensuite accommodation (with use of common bathroom).

€700 (£560) shared en suite twin or double room.

€730 (£580) single en suite accommodation (please note that single room availability is limited).