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What positive, meaningful lessons have you learned in 2020?

Woah, this year has been a hell of a year right? Over the past 9 months since the pandemic started, such tremendous challenges have been brought upon us, to the world, turning our lives upside down, and ultimately impacting our mental health and well-being too in the process.

Sometimes, all we could do was look after ourselves and our families of course, young and old, in the best way we could and knew how. There was nothing else we could do – some things were completely out of our control and the best thing we could do was focus on all that was within our control to help us navigate our daily lives and live the best life we could.

Time to reflect now this year has come to an end…

Think about it, despite all the struggles, pain or hardships you’ve had to endure, how have YOU managed to shine the star within you this year? What was within your control? Did you surprise yourself in any way about ways you learned to cope, or discover anything new about yourself? I’d love to hear your stories…

For me personally, the past year has been such a rollercoaster ride in every possible way, so especially now, as it is New Year’s Eve, I thought I would take stock of this year, and focus on all the things I am grateful for and share the positive lessons I have learned as these will be the key things which will be travelling with me into the New Year!

  • I have learned to appreciate all the little things in life, my family, all that we have in the moment and are blessed to be.
  • Even though we haven’t been allowed to see much of friends and family, I’ve learned that connections never die or weaken. If anything, connections between friends, family, neighbours, different communities have gotten stronger and more united because of what we have been through. For this, I am so grateful. We are all in this mess together and we will come out the other side together too!!!
  • I have learned to connect more deeply with myself, to love myself more and to find my own joy and peace within.
  • I learned to get my anxiety, chronic fatigue and pain under better control through developing a great meditation routine every day. I am grateful for all the wonderful people I have met this year who have sparked my interest in meditation and who continue to inspire me, including Gabrielle Bernstein, Jay Shetty and Bob Baker.
  • I completed a mindfulness course with Mindfulness UK which really helped me to enhance my meditation routine, deepen my meditation practice, implement more mindful practices into my life, and encouraged me to breathe more and improve my focus on everyday tasks. Meditation has really helped me to get through lockdown and all the home schooling I had to endure!
  • I enrolled on a professional copyrighting course (which I am over halfway through) with the College of Media & Publishing to consolidate my passion and interest in writing.
  • I finally counted my blogs – I have now completed 53 blogs since I first started blogging two years ago!!!
  • I have almost finished editing my book and am determined to get it published in 2021 – watch out for this!

And finally, more importantly….

  • I have continued to develop my self-confidence and passion in music over the past year. Music has really helped fill me with love, joy and inspiration and more connection more than I’ve ever known in really difficult times!
  • I learned that I have been so blessed with the gift of playing a musical instrument (even with moderate hearing loss) which has given me the opportunity to feel inspired everyday, feel fuller in energy, and to share this joy with others in the communities that surround me.
  • Through enrolling on an inspiring, enlightening flute healing and improvisation course run by Christine Stevens at the Shift Network, I have built a beautiful new connection with my silver flute, invested in a Native American flute, have learned to improvise music, and developed a new daily habit of practicing.
  • I am really grateful for the new connections I have made this year who share my interest and passion in singing and playing music who continue to inspire me and propel me forward.

This flute course has been the cherry on the cake for me to finish the year, and together with the struggles of the pandemic in 2020, I have realised that music is my soul food, I crave this stuff everyday, whether it is playing my flute, listening to music or singing along karaoke-style. I just love it, this is where my heart lies, the core and essence of who I am. It’s how I express myself as authentically me.

Keep walking through the storm, the rainbow is waiting for you on the other side.

Here’s to a magical and transformational 2021 to us all 🙏❤️

Immerse yourself in music

For many of us, our lives have become so hectic that we forget about the little things that bring us joy.

A few weeks ago, I enrolled on a couple of flute improvisation courses with The Shift Network hosted by Christine Stevens, a renowned music therapist based in the US, called “The Flute as Sound Medicine” and “Deepen your Flute Journey”.

As soon as I saw this flute course advertised, I knew I wanted to do it more than anything. It grabbed my attention as I knew I wanted to develop my flute practice further and especially with the lack of social interaction, I needed a positive distraction to refuel my energy and keep me feeling more positive during this difficult period in our lives.

Lockdown is definitely not the same in the winter as it is in the warmer spring and summer months – I know I don’t venture outdoors as much I would normally do and take in enough sunlight. I often prefer to stay in the warm in the winter.

Music is my source of sunshine. I like to plug into this positive feeling every morning as often as I can. Since starting my flute course, I have developed a daily practice, even if just to play a couple of songs or improvise with the sounds of nature, drum beats or wind chimes. That’s all it takes sometimes to give me a mental boost and make me feel more productive and creative.

Starting your day on the right track can really help your day go more smoothly. I find short bursts of activities to refuel my energy work well, whether it’s playing or listening to music, exercise, meditation, reading a book or watching an inspiring talk, or anything you love to “get your teeth into” or know makes you feel good afterwards.

I am a traditional musician. I have always learnt music by just playing a tune from “old school” paper sheet music that has been created essentially by someone else. I didn’t learn any other way, so I haven’t really had much experience with improvisation.

So I dived into the unknown… What could I lose? I had no idea what I was in for and how this will all turn out but all I knew at the time of booking myself on the course was that I loved playing this beautiful instrument and wanted to explore.

As long as you don’t overthink it or overwhelm yourself worrying about what other people think, improvisation can be a really fun, relaxing experience – even though you may have no idea what you are going to play, and whether it actually makes any sense or sounds right. In reality, it has become quite an adventure as I learn new techniques, increase my confidence in playing on the spot using my own intuition without any sheet music in front of me and becoming inspired more and more each day by new instruments I can play along to to help increase my creativity, create a better rhythm and bring out the best of me – altogether an enlightening experience.