how doom scrolling affects our mental health danielle van de velde

Are we doom-scrolling ourselves into a false perception of mental health?

How doom-scrolling affects our mental health

With Mental Health Day falling on the 10th of October, the internet is awash with commentary on the dire state of our mental health. On the face of it, it appears we are in the grip of a global pandemic-induced psychological epidemic.

All of us have, in one way or another, observed the real impact of the pandemic on those we love and our communities and we all have our own stories to tell. These stories are our own, and highly subjective. For me, it has been a frustrating two years of not being able to be with my parents who have endured serious health issues involving extended hospitalisations, major surgeries and significant loss of independence. For some, this scenario is a light one compared to what they have endured during the pandemic, while for me, it has been a daily deep concern and frustration.

Our personal state of wellbeing is largely affected by what’s happening in our personal field, and equally, the wider content that we are ingesting. What we read and the conversations we partake in, form our perceptions on the state of things, which, with repetition, form our beliefs about the state of things, and our beliefs become our reality.

There have been times during the pandemic when I have felt a seriously dark, heavy state within me, yet it has felt counter to my actual reality, which is, that I am well and strong, my family is well and strong, we’re safe. And whilst frustrated, shouldering higher stress levels and feeling disempowered in the broader sense of the world, we are still very much at the helm of our ship and thriving.

I started to observe a clear correlation between this mood when it arrived, and the content I was ingesting. I started to see that I had fallen into the slippery trap of ‘Doom Scrolling’. Sensational click-bait headlines, post after post on epidemic depression and not taking the time to interrogate the content and importantly, to seek a counter-argument to it. My sense of wellbeing at times was being affected by reading and believing a narrative, that the global sense of wellbeing was in a free-fall dive whilst the trend data is showing us that it’s not!

I was doom-scrolling myself into potholes.

Once I cottoned onto this correlation between my content and my mood, I adopted a far more interrogative approach to what I was allowing into my mind, perceptions, beliefs. I started to investigate and consciously balance my view.

I am fortunate to have an incredibly intelligent brother who has access to a wide array of scientific studies which he shares with me, especially when relevant to my interests and business…a large part of which is mental wellbeing.

The findings released by the Mental Health Task Force in July this year, a research study commissioned by The Lancet and conducted by a heavy-weight bevvy of Stanford University professors, shows very clearly, that globally we are adapting, have higher resilience, and have evolved through the pandemic. We are doing what we humans do best…recalibrating, redirecting and bolstering.

The study combed through close to 1,000 studies that examined hundreds of thousands of people from nearly 100 countries. The research measured many variables related to mental health, including anxiety, depression, and deaths by suicide, as well as life satisfaction. They focused on two complementary types of evidence: surveys that examined comparable groups of people before and during the pandemic and studies tracking the same individuals over time.

The study observed that early on in the pandemic in 2020, “average levels of anxiety and depression, as well as broader psychological distress climbed dramatically, as did the number of people experiencing clinically significant forms of these conditions.” However, in the latter part of 2020, the study observed that remarkably, “average levels of depression, anxiety, and distress began to fall. Some data sets even suggested that overall psychological distress returned to near-pre-pandemic levels by early summer 2020.”

The study then rejigged its parameters, expanding its geographical lens, including the Gallop World Poll that measures overall life satisfaction and real-time official government data from 21 counties, of suicide rates…yet still, the overall global statistics show that as a race we have rallied, reorganised and we are still standing upright and looking forward.

Of course, these statistics do not in any way diminish the pain, grief and anxiety felt by nearly all of us, the financial distress experienced by many, nor does it devalue the many lives lost to the pandemic. And whilst the research is telling us that globally, suicide rates are falling, we can all agree that even one suicide is too many. However, this research is significant and needs to take equal place in our ‘content field’. We are, as a species, doing OK, contrary to the click-bait headlines…and knowing this, in turn, boosts our mental wellbeing.

“… the astonishing resilience that most people have exhibited in the face of the sudden changes brought on by the pandemic holds its own lessons. We learned that people can handle temporary changes to their lifestyle, such as working from home, giving up travel, or even going into isolation, better than some policy makers seemed to assume.”

how doom scrolling affects our mental health danielle van de velde

This is just one significant and well conducted study in an array that are out there. You can read the summary report here. However, I do think it’s interesting to ask why we don’t see these types of stats as prevalently as we see the doom. I think the reason is pretty simple: fear and doom have a sticky intrigue. They creep into our conversations, they are sensational, they are shared and propagated far more readily than the uplifting, inspiring content. Perhaps we indulge it to feel relatively better about our own predicaments. However, the irony is, that they alter our own predicaments when we unconsciously indulge them, without seeking out and balancing our content fields with the whole picture, which includes good news, inspiration, stories of incredible strength, acts of kindness, ingenuity and grace.

From my own experiments in my mental wellbeing over the last 18 months, I have  landed on eight key realisations:

  • Our own mental wellbeing is our responsibility and requires conscious engagement
  • Headline veracity does not equate to quality reporting/writing
  • Opinion IS NOT fact
  • Seek out counter-arguments to the mainstream narrative from reputable sources
  • Guard your mind like a castle – if forms your reality
  • Be mindful of the slippery web of unconscious doom scrolling and click-bait surface-skimming
  • Balance your media intake with inspiring content and share it
  • Balance your system into sensory and somatic experiences, daily

The conclusion of the study at the end of 2020 and heading into this year, left us with this hard-earned wisdom – that we are active stewards of our own well-being, and when we live from this knowledge, we are far more resilient than we may think.

“As we look ahead to the world’s next great challenges, including a future pandemic, we need to remember this hard-won lesson: Human beings are not passive victims of change but active stewards of our own well-being. This knowledge should empower us to make the disruptive changes our societies may require, even as we support the individuals and communities that have been hit hardest.” ~ Lara Aknin, Jamil Zaki, and Elizabeth Dunn 

If you are seeking ways to bolster your mental health through Meditation, Mentoring or Intuitive Healing, please get in touch. You can also visit my website to explore courses and useful content to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful

living.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to share it, I request that you please credit Danielle Van de Velde as the author. I do not authorise repurposing or republishing without my written permission. You may email me for the same.

making magic shape shifting danielle van de velde

Making Magic

Making Magic

Ah! The beautiful, evocative, mysterious word, ‘Magic’. Its meaning and interpretation are as varied as us human beings. For some, the word invokes images of rabbits being pulled from hats; for others, teenage girls in the forest chanting ‘so mote it be’; for still others, the dark arts and something to be feared and swerved from at all costs.

Professor Chris Gosden, in his spectacular book ‘The History of Magic’ describes ‘the three great strands of practice and belief that run through human history – science, religion and magic.’ And although each strand has sought to dominate human enquiry through different eras, usually by denigrating and attempting to debunk the other, these three forms of enquiry have endured throughout time. I love this ‘triple helix’ of human enquiry as we, as a species, seek to understand, master and measure the dimensions of our natural and supernatural domains, as well as the visible and invisible aspects of ourselves. ‘Magic preceded religion and science, and it has been with us from the ancient Greek, Roman and Jewish Magic, to the Shamanistic traditions of Eurasia, indigenous America and Africa, the alchemy of the Renaissance’, and re-emerging today through quantum physics, ‘where magic and science converge’.

The word “magic” derives from the Latin, the Greek, the Old Persian, and, ultimately, the Proto-Indo-European magh, “to help, to be able, to be powerful.” (Psychology Today). Now more than ever, with disillusionment in many of the dogmatic religious structures of the world, and distrust in the commercial agendas behind science, a curiosity and draw to Magic is on the rise.

75 percent of the adult population of the Western world holds some belief in Magic. And whilst there are many forms and expressions of Magic, at its very essence it accepts that we have a connection with the Universe, and that the Universe responds.

making magic danielle van de velde

With the growing understanding and practice of meditation, energy healing and the energetic nature of the human system within the chakras and nadis, the existence and effects of which can now be measured by Western science, the idea that we are inextricably linked and participate within the hologram of vibrating energy and information, that is our universe, is starting to make a lot of sense, to a lot of people.

And, certainly for me and my community of energy healers and magic makers, the empowerment that comes with this knowledge and the results that are yielded when we dare to engage from this paradigm are undeniable. To know and operate with self-determination and oneness, rather than feel separate from everything and passively take the hits from some unseen force that may or may not have your back, yields incredible effects on the system and life.

The former enables consciously living from a state of Love. The latter entraps us in a constant unconscious state of Fear. And our inner state influences our phenomenal experiences. There’s a kind of funnelling that happens as we see evidence of the state we hold and therefore take it as ‘real’ and happening ‘to us’, forgetting that we are and always have been causal to it. Yep – the old Magic Mirror of life. So, to move into collusion with universal forces, we need a serious paradigm flip, and that’s what Shape Shifting – An Experience of Conscious Creation is all about.

It’s a stepped journey to enable that ‘flip’; to understand ways to bring collusion within, between intention, desire and choice, mind and heart, energy and matter, conscious and subconscious. And when this alignment is achieved, we emanate a coordinated, collusive vibrational pattern into the field of life, which by its very nature, mirrors it back through experiences.

When the first Shape Shift for the year opened on the March Equinox, many joined who have been Shape Shifting for several years, and we were also joined by many who were feeling this curiosity, this draw to understand the third thread of their triple helix, Magic. They worked at it, with the support of the materials, member support team and community and especially their will to change their lives, and the results have been both spectacular and a privilege to witness.

There are too many testimonials to add to this blog post, but here are a few excerpts from our March Magic Makers to give a taste of the possibilities when we reclaim our magic:

 

“With the benefit of the beautiful guidance and tools Dani provided and the support of the Shape Shifting community she has gathered together, my life has turned 180 degrees. I was able to face challenges that have haunted and controlled me for years. In doing so, I have travelled through layers of my self, my past, my future and come to a much greater understanding of my place as a creator of this life.

I have found “home” for the first time in my life, a physical house to call my own, a loving home within my authentic self, and a sense of belonging with others, ‘a tribe’. I now taste a magical richness in each day and have connected with many like-minded beautiful souls around the world.

Big hugs and sincere thanks for Dani and the Shape Shift community, my heart is full.”

“Having just completed my third Shape Shift since 2019 I would like to thank you, Dani, for your generous guidance and sharing of knowledge. I have always believed that it is important to learn from a Master until I can fly on my own and lately, I have felt my wings growing in ways that are most unexpected. The Shape Shift content is dynamic, highly creative, fun and super interesting. In addition to the weekly video and audio lessons, I have loved learning about runes, sigils, planetary deities, crystal and plant energies. The meditations, breath work and musical tracks created for the community are incredible. I now understand how I create my reality and can Shape Shift whatever I desire using the tools I have learnt. I can now sense that my major goals have landed, I am less anxious, healthier, my relationships have improved and I am able to maintain an open heart. The ongoing support between shifts, including our wonderful private Facebook page are the icing on the cake. I cannot recommend this life-changing course highly enough. Namaste.”

“…During my shift I found that opportunities came fluttering towards me like butterflies. Beautiful beings walked straight up to me, offering me chances to heal and to lift myself up out of the cloud I felt I was in. I took them all, feeling ready and empowered by my experiences in the meditations and rituals and my life has altered itself. We always have a choice, I realised, and when we don’t know what to choose, there is always a voice to answer when you ask. SS taught me to listen to it. As for the knowledge, it is highly magical and extremely sacred. I felt my jaw drop at the realisation that I had access to such phenomena as zone rights and medicine wheels and that it was all there for me to grasp.”

“…I encourage everyone from any walk of life to join this Shape Shifting journey, especially during these ever-changing turbulent times. This opportunity came at exactly the right time for me. It was time to shed my stagnant self-limiting beliefs, conditioned thinking, release trauma and start living life to the full…no longer placing my life on hold, often dictated by circumstances within or out of my control. It has been a true realisation that each day I have choices as to how I react or respond to life and the people I choose to spend time with.

I have emerged from this Shape Shifting journey with a much greater sense of compassion, more meaningful and loving relationships, clarity, purpose, creativity, uninhibited authenticity and self love. I have a true appreciation for each day and the beauty and abundance in nature, a passion for rituals and a more peaceful and contented heart. My heartfelt gratitude, Dani…”

 

If you’re drawn to rediscovering your magical self, this beautiful ancient art, your intuition and self-empowerment, join us for the September Shape Shift. Registrations are now open and close on September 14th. The journey commences on the Equinox, September 21st.

If you have any questions or thoughts about Magic and the Shape Shifting experience, do get in touch. You can also visit my website to explore courses and useful content to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to share it, I request that you please credit Danielle Van de Velde as the author. I do not authorise repurposing or republishing without my written permission. You may email me for the same.

lammas ancient festival of gratitude danielle van de velde

Lammas: why this ancient Festival of GRATITUDE is so important today

Lammas: why this ancient Festival of GRATITUDE is so important today

The beautiful ancient festival of Lammas falls on August 1st (for the Northern Hemisphere) and as with all these turns within the wild, it raises within us energies, impulses and motivations that not only are felt collectively, but serve a purpose.

One of the wonderful benefits of teaching, guiding and holding space for healing with lots of people each week is that it is so clear that these meta-patterns, this stirring, is shared. It is the energy of this next turn of the natural wheel into Lammas that many others are sensing too, and when we work with it, we surf a powerful natural wave that makes putting new choices into action much easier to do.

The Lammas stirring has come through in many experiencing a strong impulse to once again clear their home space (like in springtime); to reorganise activities and stuff; to rejig their space by reorganising furniture, items and colours in their homes. I have had higher than usual requests for energy-body/auris clearing and guidance on smudging spaces.

In healing sessions, many clients have finally reached a point of a wholesale shift; a shedding of old paradigms and a reach for freedom from physical, mental and emotional disharmony; and many others are experiencing transmutation/physical healing. For me, I have experienced a powerful drive to complete projects, before starting anything new.

I have learnt that to deepen our understanding of how to engage with these junctures in the year, it helps to look to the festivals and rituals of the ancients. Within their actions and myths lie all the keys, which is the purpose of these blogs. How do we engage with these impulses that we feel at this time and translate them into modern life?

lammas why this anciet festival of gratiture is so important today danielle van de velde

Lammas, Lughnasadh or Lá Lúnasa is the first of the three harvests of the northern Wheel of the Year. It is named after Lugh, the Celtic god of wisdom and illumination. In northern cultures, it represents the transformation of the fertile Goddess into the pregnant Mother archetype and the Anglo-Saxon festival of “Loaf Mass” celebrates the cutting of the first corn of the harvest and the baking of bread from the first harvest. It is officially the first day of autumn and while the summer sun is at its zenith, especially here in Singapore, the Earth is shifting beneath and around us.

Like all the cross-quarter points of the Wheel of the Year, the shift is subtle, not obvious to the physical senses, but undeniable within. It presents as a deep stirring, impulse to action, a sense of urgency. It is felt, illogical, body-based and undeniable, and it requires action or can easily turn into frustration and anger. Lammas is a Fire festival, acknowledging Lugh and the full power of the sun. It is a reminder that we reap what we sow. It is a time of plenty and especially, gratitude. And even if we are reaping some not-so-great experiences seeded by dissonant beliefs, paradigms and actions, from a wider perspective, Lammas reminds us of the true nature of life and free will. If our bodies, feelings, thoughts or experienced reality in this harvest time is in some way ‘out’, we can change it. It is this spiritual reality that ensures our continued transformation and growth.

Ancient festivals at this time incorporated the blessing and storage of good seeds, for another planting season. Sexual dances celebrating the sacred marriage of Earth and Spirit, Mother and Lover, were dramatized to symbolise the seed stored within the belly of the Mother for life to continue. Celebrations of fresh bread, joy and inebriation abounded.

These beautiful sexy festivals, much misinterpreted, held no guilt or shame. Indulgence, sex, sensuality, dance and community celebration were essential elements to engage energy and awareness with the Earth-tide of the time.

What can we glean from this ancient gorgeousness? The themes and correspondent deities of the season: Loki, Sigyn, Odin (Wodin) and Frigg, all point us towards some clear threads.

This is a call to action and taking responsibility for our own actions. It is a spiritual harvest when we sift the good and not-so-good seeds. It’s a time to understand the dynamics of our inner fields and to celebrate the good within us and our lives.

We are all deeply affected by the ongoing pandemic in many ways. Every second of every day, our minds and hearts are reminded of an ever-present ‘threat’. The empaths amongst us are feeling deeply, the suffering and grief. The providers amongst us are feeling deeply, the uncertainty of the future, the inability to plan direction and the responsibility to provide. The activists amongst us are feeling deeply, the mixed messages of different world leaders, the obvious inequalities in our socio-economic platforms, the racism and division that rears its head when communities hit tipping points of stress. And then, there’s our children and our elderly. We are all, in our own way, feeling it!

Yet, still firmly within our ability and realm of influence, is how we respond, how we choose to relate to others, how we choose to better ourselves and our micro-communities…and Lammas invites us to engage!

Here are my top three actionable themes for this year’s Lammas:

lammas why this anciet festival of gratiture is so important today danielle van de velde

Sharpen your harvest tools

Sharpen abilities of drawing into presence and spiritual perception. Absorb uplifting content and company that provides new perspectives and approaches. Our awareness is creative and when we engage it with like-spirited circles, learn new inner practices or absorb enlightened content, we create this vibration within ourselves and our lives. 

I employ specific ‘harvest-hacks’ at this time. Inner decrees stated with determination are hugely powerful for this. If I find myself deliberating on a fearful outcome to a situation yet to play out, I catch myself and state clearly, “I now dismiss this possibility”. If I find myself in the company of someone who is draining my energy or trying to engage me in their drama, I quietly and compassionately remove myself and state, “this is not my story”. When I catch myself spiralling into judgement or comparison I arrest it and state, “I choose love”. The more we detach our awareness from old contracting patterns, the more they weaken and then dissolve into their native nothingness.

Engage in a spiritual-sift

The term ‘releasing’ is used a lot in spiritual lingo. But what does it really mean for spiritual practice and how do we do it?

When harvesting the fields, the ancients put a lot of resources and focus into sifting the good crop from the not-so-good. Seeds that didn’t appear and felt like they were humming with life-force were given to livestock as meal. The good seeds were blessed and stored for consumption and the next planting season.

Similarly, our spiritual-sift requires some focus and allocation of awareness too. Relationships, content, experiences that contract the spirit into smallness, feelings of victimhood, exclusion and low self-worth are worth examining. It’s not the experiences per se, but what they raise within that’s important. The mental tailspins, the negative emotions or the destructive behaviours, for example, are signposts to beliefs and patterned behaviours that should be thrown from the inner storehouse. To sift these out, the key is to first catch them and then choose a new script. Make the choice to remove them from future seeding. We do this by not reacting and projecting, but rather by acknowledging and arresting the reactive patterns that arise, owning them and then simply making a choice.  

Acknowledge gifts and blessings

The vibration of gratitude is the marker for Lammas. Guilt-free celebrations of life’s gifts and blessings help us draw towards the good seeds and attract more of the same. And in this current climate, I believe this is the most important prompt from Lammas this year, cultivating gratitude.

The psychological arena offers us so much wonderful information and research on gratitude. We know that consciously cultivating gratitude heals the body, lowers blood pressure, improves relationships and general wellbeing, regardless of external circumstances. Spiritually, the vibration of gratitude is highly magnetic. People who acknowledge the blessings in their lives, tend to attract more of them.

We are surrounded by blessings in our lives, but it takes a ‘grateful lens’ to sometimes see them and bank them in our hearts. Smiles from strangers, the abundance of life in colours, shared meals, perfumes, true friendships, acts of kindness, quiet moments to be with self and spirit are all rare and beautiful blessings; they are the bread of life. Lammas invites us to unashamedly indulge in the harvest that we have worked hard for. And even if that harvest may simply be an afternoon or even a lunch-break just for us, really indulge it. Switch off the phone, disconnect from anyone else who needs you, check out of your field and all its demands and be fully with yourself and the moment.

lammas why this anciet festival of gratiture is so important today danielle van de velde

Gratitude becomes active and manifests new realities when it is expressed. Make a point of it at this time. Thank your loved ones, reach out and make contact, cook delicious meals and share them with the people you are with, say a prayer of gratitude to the Earth and the wild field for Her beauty and nourishment of body and soul. These are the seeds to replant into your inner field for continued transformation and abundance of spirit, life and blessings.

Blessed Lammas, everyone.

If you have any questions or thoughts about Lammas and why this ancient Festival of gratitude is so important today, do get in touch. You can also visit my website to explore courses and useful content to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living. 

If you enjoyed this post and would like to share it, I request that you please credit Danielle Van de Velde as the author. I do not authorise repurposing or republishing without my written permission. You may email me for the same.

the solstice upswing danielle van de velde

The Solstice Upswing Let’s raise the roof!

The Solstice Upswing

Let’s raise the roof!

June 20th/21st in the Northern Hemisphere marks the high voltage juncture of the Summer Solstice. Nearly every earth-based spiritual framework around the world, since ancient times, has honoured this seasonal turn in a myriad of ways. The Solstice is imbedded in the structural alignments of temples, pyramids, and stone circles. Fire rituals, feast days of correspondent saints and deities, community parties, dance, ceremony and the retelling of folklore are all part of the traditional mix.

As with all the seasons, the wilderness provides our human consciousness with powerful energetic shifts that we can work with. Far from being separate from the Earth’s cycles, we are part of them, and they are a part of us – both literally, energetically and spiritually. The seasonal turns of the planet support our lifeforce, our rest, growth and regeneration cycles, our food chains, and therefore, necessary natural food medicines our bodies need in each season. Our inner spiritual cycles follow the same cycles of growth, expansion, arrival, discomfort, shedding and deep stillness. This cycle of the seasons, the cycle of life, the cycle of the soul, is evident in the turn in each day, of each breath and heartbeat. It is the rhythm of creation itself. And of all the natural windows throughout the year, the Solstice calls us to recognise this the loudest. It’s a call to understand and respond fully to the interconnectedness, bounty and mystery of life; to move into Oneness.

Oneness Consciousness is the biggest aspect of my entire spiritual journey. It underpins my spiritual vow of service and I teach the concept of it and tools to train the awareness into it, in every single course I offer and private sessions I hold. Why? Because when we operate from a paradigm and felt knowing of Oneness, magic happens. And goodness…don’t we need some magic on this planet right now?

The easiest way to understand how the Solstice supports this conscious shift into Oneness, is to look first at the natural characteristics of the season.

The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year and the shortest night. At this time, the sun is at the farthest north that it can get from the equator. It is sometimes called Midsummer, as it both ushers in the warmest season, and also reminds us of the archetypal pulse of life as the days start to shorten from this point onwards.

The key themes to this point in the year are: Awareness (Light), Oneness (natural midpoint), and Gratitude (full growth) and if we use the Solstice energies to focus on these themes, we are able to plant them deeply into our consciousness, bring alignment into our own cycles and change our experience of life.

Awareness

awareness the solstice upswing danielle van de velde

In all esoteric traditions, the day represents consciousness within our ordinary, on the ground, awake, reality. The night time represents our inner, meditative, spiritual reality. Light almost always represents the light of our awareness and its power to transform. At this time of the Solstice, the emphasis is on our ordinary reality; our day-to-day choices, relationships, thoughts and actions.

The Solstice calls us to develop and hone our present awareness and mindfulness. Every single action, thought, emotion, word and choice emanates creative energies which organise themselves into our life experience. It’s time to take stock of what we are experiencing, to bring the light of our awareness to what doesn’t sit well within our lives and to make the changes. The full light exposure of the Solstice is an invitation to take responsibility for everything in our lives; everything. The position of ‘the victim’ or passivity towards what we perceive to be ‘wrong’ with our selves or our lives is the ultimate in dualistic consciousness. Life is not being done to us; it is emanating from us – the good, the bad and the ugly. And every moment, every now, is an opportunity to transform.

Day-to-day mindfulness of our reactions, patterned thinking and the felt sensations that move through our bodies, is key to bringing awareness to the life we are creating. Meditation training and journaling are two of my tried and true ways to develop this capacity. Another beautiful practice to mark the changes we seek is to declare them to the Solstice dawn. This simple action, witnessed by our present awareness and the year’s highest light point, sends a ripple into the field which triggers change. And it’s a tradition that the ancients engaged with on the Solstice too.

Oneness

oneness the solstice upswing danielle van de velde

The natural midpoint of the Solstice is also regarded as a hugely powerful window for connection with Spirit, as the wild pendulum hits its zenith and then starts its swing into shorter days, less light and retraction into winter. This still point, before the entire direction of the wild field shifts, is a time to connect with nature, enter ritual and raise the energy body to connect with our true nature – our Spirit.

Many beautiful practices correspond with the solar energies of the day and our mind/body/energy systems. Surya Namaskara (sun salutations), Surya and Mushtika mudras combined with meditative visualisation of radiant light and strength, Solar Flare movement meditations, AUM mantra and Solar Breathing practices are some of my favourites to teach and use at this time.

Choosing to engage spiritually through ritual and inner practice merges our mundane aspect with our spiritual aspect – it moves our very being into Oneness Consciousness, that is, the realisation that we are a unique refraction within a whole. Life, self, spirit, nature and the energetic field that holds it all, is all one thing! And it is from this state that we consciously create our lives.

Gratitude

gratitude the solstice upswing danielle van de velde

The Solstice is also the time for highest growth, seeding and birthing in the natural world and nearly all of the ancient ceremonies that mark the Solstice, celebrate the abundance of the earth and life through feasting, dance and all-night partying! I write about expressing gratitude a lot, as it’s one of the most powerful spiritual forces available to us. It creates joy. It eliminates comparison and envy. It improves heart health and immune function. It creates a state of wellbeing irrespective of external circumstances. It is a highly magnetic state, that is, it accelerates the creative mechanism between thought/feeling/will and what we experience. In other words, it brings in the good harvest and it seeds the next.

Knowing this isn’t enough. The state of gratitude needs to be nurtured, enabled and felt for it to wield its magic, and usually, this requires a conscious effort. But small steps in the day-to-day will start the gratitude engine running. Blessings before eating a meal together, keeping a gratitude journal or app, choosing to say ‘thank you’ more often, returning kind action with kind actions, sending that card or making that call to acknowledge the blessing of friendship, are all small, easy and potent actions that align with the Solstice energies.

I hope this article inspires you into action. Let’s not let this 2021 Solstice and all the beautiful meaning and energy that it offers us, slide by. If you’re nodding when reading this, then put the sentiment into action now and notice the shifts it creates.

Blessed Solstice, Folks!
Love,
Dani

If you have any questions or thoughts on the Solstice upswing or the energies it brings, do get in touch. You can also visit my website to explore courses and useful content to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to share it, I request that you please credit Danielle Van de Velde as the author. I do not authorise repurposing or republishing without my written permission. You may email me for the same.

THE C-WORD SERIES: COURTESY, CONTENT & CONTAINERS A new take on the ‘C-Word’ in business!

THE C-WORD SERIES: COURTESY, CONTENT & CONTAINERS
A new take on the ‘C-Word’ in business!

My mentoring sessions are more and more steering towards small business coaching for individuals who have chosen to turn their long-held passions and side hustles into income-generating businesses. The perspectives and energy dynamics in doing this, are both my fascination and skill. It’s super exciting to be a part of and it is certainly shaking things up.

I have watched different businesses in my ‘sector’ flash, dazzle then fade, and others plateau after rapid growth, while some have continued to successfully evolve and grow beautifully in the time that I formally started my own meditation and healing business, seven years ago. And in the last 18 months, this activity has accelerated. 

What makes the difference between the ‘flash, dazzle and fade’ attempts, and the small businesses that gain traction and loyalty and continue to grow, even through a global pandemic? 

After much market observation and trend tracking, I am confident in saying that the answer, my friends, is that the winners always and consistently apply the ‘C-word’ in their businesses and dealings…eight variations of it, in fact!

In our first instalment of the C-word Series, you read about Clarity and Connection. In this second instalment, we’re taking a look at three essential C-words: Courtesy, Content and Containers.

Kicking off with what I believe is one of the most underestimated superpowers of small businesses:

Courtesy

a new take on the c word in business courtesy danielle van de velde

Common courtesies bring a human element into business and when you’re a small business in a crowded space like mine, always, without fail, you will be remembered by how you make a potential client or collaborator feel, rather than what you tell them. Courtesy exhibits empathy, respect and presence. It exudes confidence and professionalism, and in my experience, courtesy leads to more business. Establishing a rapport in initial communications is key, even if you are not selected for the gig. 

Graciously expressing gratitude for the opportunity to pitch or deliver; being generous with ideas and content; being on time; following up; doing what you say you’re going to do promptly; tagging people properly on social media when sharing offerings or expressing gratitude; not mass-tagging others to push your agenda (I can’t stand this…instant delete and block from me!) are all forms of common business courtesy. 

I know! I know! It’s obvious right? Well it’s becoming less and less common and it makes a point of difference in the market. Perhaps it’s the speed of the digital age? Or these small, but oh so important gestures are seen as old fashioned, but certainly in my business they make a huge difference.

I have won several large corporate programs in the last six months through referrals from other corporate clients, because of a great rapport. Other jobs have come in through service providers from previous jobs, who were managing the online events, and then recommended me to their other clients, because they gained a positive impression. Even pitches that I didn’t win in the past due to budget constraints or changed programming, have yielded in months following, because they positively remembered the interaction we had during the pitch. 

And I recommend others from a similar ‘felt’ connection. Last year, for example, I put the word out asking for recommendations for a personal trainer for my teenage daughter. I was inundated with names and contacts. Personal training is a massive scene here in Singapore and obviously competitive. Several potentials took to messaging me every day, asking if I had made a decision (not courteous). Once we had decided who to go with, I made sure I messaged everyone we had spoken with, directly thanking them and informing we were going with someone else. Some replied courteously with a lovely grateful thank you, but others disappeared after daily chasing. What the vanishing PTs don’t realise is that I was messaged by close to twenty other people asking for personal trainer recommendations. And yep, you guessed it, I passed on the names of the courteous trainers and not the vanishers! 

Courtesy comes from a vibration of generosity, and generosity is highly magnetic!

Content

a new take on the c word in business content danielle van de velde

In my space of coaching, holistic and alternative health and wellbeing, you ARE your brand and it is essential to align your content authentically to who you are and what you stand for. Now more than ever, content is king. Content is how people find you and then decide whether there’s a fit. Fresh content maintains search engine optimisation and social media planning turns sporadic posting into a weave of messaging that draws people to your offering. And it takes planning!

When I engaged Marie Nadal Sharma from Them You & Me Digital last year, this was the first thing we tackled. I had reorganised my business structure from a previous sole proprietorship called The Meditation Teacher, which naturally had an excellent Google ranking, to my own name, Danielle Van de Velde (as my offering had substantially expanded from teaching meditation), and overnight, I disappeared off the search engines.

Marie reviewed all my blog posts and social media and distilled from it all, patterned messaging. We set about defining the pillars of my offering (and me) and then put in place a blog posting and social media plan accordingly. It was a relief to know that I had been instinctively doing this with my messaging, but my goodness, has the forward planning and structure made a difference. My community has grown substantially, as have my engagements, and as yet I have not paid for any advertising. I have been interviewed and invited to many talks and last year attracted a book deal off the back of my blog posts. 

Get clear on what you stand for. Write authentically in your own unique voice. Generate regular fresh content. With a good bank of content, you can repurpose it down the track in many different ways to maximise the leverage from the effort. And if you need help, engage someone like Marie, who can give you the structure and smarts on how the digital marketing machine actually works. It’s worth it!

Containers

a new take on the c word in business containers danielle van de velde

One of the main reasons I love captaining my own business ship is the autonomy and self-determination in my direction, messaging and offerings. And the cues for where to steer my ship, whether to accelerate or slow down, re-launch previously popular offerings, or invent new ones, almost always come via conversations and interactions day to day. 

Clarity and connection activate a radar in the system for themes and new directions. Often, you will see repeated themes jumping into awareness through conversations, encounters, and other content, signaling to you that this is important and could be met with an offering. Repeated feedback from clients and your community is like gold for strategic planning and unless you are executing a formal client survey (which is also worth doing in a planning cycle), then this information comes through as a dawning realisation. The key is to catch it.

There are wonderful data collection and collaborative platforms available that are constantly getting finessed as we continue to operate in a largely decentralised mode…however even the Notes function on your iPhone will do it. The trick is to set up containers where the ideas can be easily captured, in context of your offering and what you stand for. I also include in my containers, links to relevant articles that I can reshare later with my own commentary, memes that speak directly to me as well as photographs of experiences I have had that have yielded an insight or revelation. All of this is excellent raw material for your social media planning and also generation of offerings. I have a specific bucket for blog post ideas. You’re reading now an idea that started forming about three months ago. Every time I encountered another C-word in business, or witnessed one in action, I popped it in my ‘Blog Post Container’ with a short note to remind me of the point. I have enough ideas in there for around twenty new articles and every week I add in new ideas. 

Courtesy, Content and Containers, three C-words that give your small business a serious edge.

Stay tuned for the next instalment of the C-word Series for a look at Completion and Clans!

If you have any questions or thoughts on Courtesy, Content, Containers, Clarity and Connection as being essential to small business success, do get in touch. You can also book the online or in-person private sessions on Intuitive Healing and Mentoring. 

Visit my website to explore other courses and useful content to guide you on your path to healing, self-discovery and mindful living. 

If you enjoyed this post and would like to share it, I request that you please credit Danielle Van de Velde as the author. I do not authorise repurposing or republishing without my written permission. You may email me for the same.