why believing in luck can be bad for business daniellevandevelde

Why believing in ‘LUCK’ can be bad for business

The family that lived across the street from me when growing up in Sydney, Australia, was highly prosperous. From a Greek immigrant father, they were hardworking, industrious entrepreneurs. They owned several booming businesses, were a tight-knit family, and everyone in the home contributed in their own way to the family’s success. And even though their kids were older than me and my siblings, we’d often enjoy meals together. 

I remember even at a young age, the father grinning and telling us how yet another person had called him ‘lucky’. Lucky to have such great fortune in business; lucky to have a closely-bonded family; just lucky. This was his running joke. Every time he heard this from a well-meaning observer, he had the same response: 

“Yep…the harder I work, the ‘luckier’ I get!”

I have been remembering this amazing, happy and highly successful man recently, as I have also heard the same observations made of me and my business this year. It’s true it has been a tricky year for any form of planning or growth, and for me it has required a big step out of my comfort zone and into the world of online courses, digital content development and optimisation, and intellectual property, to name a few. But as the year is now rounding out, I am looking back and feel so satisfied with what I have achieved. 

For a girl who had never even heard of ‘Zoom’ or had a clue about ‘SEO’, ‘mechanical and performance rights’ or ‘website plugs-ins’ at the beginning of the year, I am now confidently operating in these fields and have some very simple but effective processes in place to navigate this new brave world. I have worked hard. 

So, when I hear the well-meaning comment ‘You’re so lucky” or when I hear a mentoring client say ‘It’s easy for you because you’re lucky…’, I call it! I call it because believing in ‘luck’ is one of the most disempowering tickets to bypassing personal responsibility there is. And without complete personal responsibility for everything we experience, we are out of alignment with our innate creative power.

‘Luck’ by definition means, ‘success or failure brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions. A force that causes good or bad things to happen.’ When we believe in luck, we are firmly establishing our awareness in the paradigm that life and experiences are happening ‘to us’. This is counter to a spiritually-oriented perspective, that is, that life and experience is happening for us and issuing from us

I don’t believe in ‘luck’. What I know to be true is that what generates events that appear ‘lucky’ is a felt and known certainty in my creative power to generate opportunities, pathways and experiences that align with my intention.

So how do we find that certainty in our creative power? 

The first and most essential step is to get crystal clear on our intention for the business activity and to align fully with it. While this may seem pretty obvious to most, it’s often the first item to tackle with my mentoring clients. With high uncertainty and the ‘pressure to pivot’ business focus and activities, a lot of people have found themselves chasing what they hope might be the best repositioning ‘out there’, rather than turning attention ‘in here’, back to what they’re good at, what they’re passionate about, their uniqueness. And it’s these aspects that hold the voltage, the energy that creates. I have written about this in more detail in my blog post, Spirit Biz

Certainty in our creative power is highly magnetic too. It is what potential clients sense on initial contact, it is what is felt in content and communications, it is what draws in potential collaborators and enablers. When the business environment is highly uncertain, an inner certainty becomes a high-value attribute that others are drawn to. 

This clever little graphic pretty much describes what most of us have been through this year, either personally or in our businesses…and at warp speed! The big enablers for me in moving from a highly comfortable zone, to a high growth zone, (yes highest growth in my business has been this year of all years), have been:

embracing change as a possibility daniellevandevelde

Embracing change as a possibility

At the outset of the year, I had my game plan all set. The first retreats for the year were fully booked, my monthly spiritual networking events, the New Moon Lodges had a full year of fabulous speakers booked, courses and private sessions were in train early. 

When COVID hit, I had to release all attachment to the plans, change my mind and planning, and embrace it. In effect, the disruption required me to take my second horizon ideas, and make them immediate priorities. To do that well and smoothly I had to change my perspective from disappointment to excitement for the new opportunities and accelerated change of my business model.

Regular meditation practice is key for our ability to change our minds and outlook; to choose positive emotional engagement. I have written about this in more detail in my blog post, Five ways meditation can help ease emotional stress. With positive emotional engagement comes a sense of possibility, and this is far more conducive to creativity. Your system needs to feel it’s possible, to generate the ideas to make it possible. 

Investing in clever assistance from aligned providers

Another major shift in my approach this year has been to ask for help. I like running my business solo. I prefer it this way. Yet, to shift quickly into the Learning Zone, I needed to access some smarts, especially in digital marketing, IP and website functionality. I put the word out in the online business forums here in Singapore and reviewed all suggested providers in these areas. Once I had the most highly recommended list, I spoke with each provider. The ones I went with were those who asked me A LOT of questions about my business and were able to explain my purpose, goals and values back to me with clarity. I went with the people who got me, what I was trying to achieve, my purpose. They weren’t necessarily the cheapest, but I was determined to build a family of aligned collaborators, rather than delegate activities to a disparate group of providers. 

For many small businesses like mine, the decision to invest in professional help can be a difficult one when revenues are small. That tricky decision of investing in growth platforms for the business can see a lot of us deferring, or worse still, cobbling together inferior solutions that cannot withstand serious growth surges down the track.

In some ways, the uncertainty and massive disruption in the year made this decision a bit easier for me. My revenue streams were diverse enough, small, but consistent. I took on a ‘now or never’ attitude, defined very clear budgetary limits, got very clear on the briefs and regular communications, and my goodness has it paid off!

Maintaining a rock-solid work ethic

In my observation of the clever businesses in my field that have thrived this year, the other stand-out characteristic of the operators is a solid work ethic. What I mean by work ethic is that they stick to what they have committed to until completion. They tactically and fluidly move with redirections to achieve the goal. They do what they say they’re going to do. They have fabulous business etiquette. They treat every interaction as a seed of possibility. These are the people I am following on social media and these are the types of leaders who have inspired me this year. Call it old school, but work ethic is a key stand-out feature that claims success back from ‘luck’.

“Until you make the unconscious, conscious, it will rule your life, and you will call it fate.”

— Carl Jung

Following the fabulous dialogue in this year’s 2020 online Spectacular Business Symposium amongst some very savvy female entrepreneurs, and a substantial increase in enquiries for spiritual business coaching, I am developing a Generative Magic MasterClass for 2021. A step-by-step collusive process to employ the empowering mindset and esoteric principles to super-charge business success.

No luck. No chance. No fate. Let’s make 2021 the year for self-mastery in business!

If you would like to be notified of the masterclass enrolment window in 2021, get in touch here.

If you have any questions or thoughts about business success in these trying times or about luck in business, 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.

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Blitzing through the blur

5 effective strategies for maintaining wellness and performance through a work-life balance

I think we can all agree that life, opportunities and outlook have all become extremely blurry this year. It’s not only business outlook that has been thrown into the mist, but also the way we do business and how we ‘turn up’ fully to work with the physical workplace suspended or intermittently accessible.

There’s a definite repeating pattern occurring in my private one-to-one sessions. More and more people, while grateful for their jobs and work activities, are booking-in with ongoing mental tension, neck pain, disrupted sleep, strained relationships at home, digestive issues and perhaps most apparent, wavering self-confidence at work.

The augmented work connections via online platforms, voice calls, different communication processes and access to leadership have deprived many of the ‘soft comms’, the body language, spontaneous conversations and feedback that the physical workplace allows. In addition, for most of us, working from home has blurred the boundaries between work and private life. Wellness habits, natural breaks from work-related space and content, and accessing the outdoors have disappeared – unless we consciously reclaim them.

In many ways, this blurring of boundaries, as with so many aspects of this disruptive, disquieting year, has put the focus right back on how each of us can change and take charge of our wellbeing and responsiveness to the current situation. 

It appears that ‘the blur’ is reinstating self-mastery as the new superpower of the virtual work dynamic.

Here are my top tips for blitzing through ‘the blur’. They are small, micro-adjustments to self and process that yield incredibly powerful results.

1. Avoid the temptation to HUSTLE

I wrote about ‘The Hustle’ last year when a small business advocate posted this on his thread:

It’s an archaic notion that working into the wee hours defines your worth, value-creation abilities or even defines you as a creative entrepreneur. Much worse, it endorses a vicious cycle of imbalance. This is, without doubt, the mantra of the Dumb Hustler, and it just doesn’t inspire a growing number of people in business who have mastered the art of the Smart Hustle.

It has been a few years since I moved from roles within the corporate world into supporting people within it through wellbeing programs. These programs enable the maximum performance of a balanced, vital, human system through meditation and energy work. I know the hustle. Sometimes, depending on your sector and client time zone, you need to deliver at 3am. And in the year of ‘the blur’, you may be tempted to return to being available 24/7 and replying within a nano-second to all requests. I did it for years. But it’s not a sustainable operating mode.

Here’s the thing…if you’re up at 3am over-thinking,

you’re not well – and you’re a train wreck in the making.

There is now a plethora of research and deepening understanding of the human nervous system, about how the brain and body chemistry works best. Also, about how we can master dazzling performance by developing the skills to know and grow our inner landscapes, our minds, our awareness.

Let’s start with sleep.

There are many amazing sleep studies, all reporting slightly different requirements for vitality and top performance. The ones that I pay attention to come from the military and airline industries because there’s a greater impetus to get it right. There’s nothing more unsettling than the thought of a sub-optimal, fully armed soldier or commercial pilot. John Medina’s bestseller, Brain Rules, lays it out with startling clarity.

Here are some snippets:

  • Sleep is critical to wellbeing (obviously); however, recent research shows just how critical. In fact, advice on the amount of sleep required for healthy brain function has been revised upwards again to seven to nine hours.
  • One night’s loss of sleep results in about a 30% loss in overall cognitive skill. Bump that up to two nights, and the figure becomes 60%.
  • With 6 hours of sleep or less, per night, for just five nights, cognitive performance matches that of a person suffering from 48 hours of continuous sleep deprivation.
  • If a top-performing student gets just under 7 hours of sleep during weekdays, and about 40 minutes more on weekends, they will begin to perform in the bottom 9% of non-sleep deprived individuals. Cumulative losses during the week add to cumulative deficits during the weekend and, if not caught up, carry over to the following week.

Unless the Dumb Hustlers are getting to bed at 7pm each night, then they are perpetuating a cycle of lowering cognitive function and illness. Besides, seven to nine hours of sleep per night not only allows our active neurons to rest, but it also has a direct effect on the body’s ability to ‘clean’ the brain.

The glial cells are crucial for cleaning up the neurotoxins that build up in our brains throughout the day. When we don’t get enough sleep, these glial cells can’t do their job, and we end up with impaired memories and attention spans. Good sleep also allows the nervous system to ‘recalibrate’ and restore connectivity.

The impact of insufficient and poor-quality sleep makes attention falter, impairs memory and our ability to think through problems. It adds to the stress/overwhelm/stress cycle, making it harder to ‘bring the system down’.

When the Dumb Hustler switches on the lights at 3am including digital devices, they send a stream of photons into their system that tells the brain not to secrete melatonin, which is regulated via our circadian rhythm, that in turn is directly affected by light. With significantly increased screen time during ‘the blur’, understanding this and creating time off-screen is imperative.

We all know the frustration and emotional discharge of being tired. Fuses shorten, reactive patterns rise, all of which vastly affect our relationships and attractiveness as a business operator. Relationship and connection are the currencies of entrepreneurial businesses, and cognitive efficiency is the conduit.

Yet, even more alarming are the effects on long-term health. For the smarts on this, I asked one of the brightest natural medicine minds I know, International Naturopath, Kate Powe, what happens chemically in the body when we’re in the Dumb-Hustle-Cycle. Here’s Kate’s response:

“Sleep has a profound effect on metabolism, thyroid and immune function, mood and appetite regulation and subsequent development of chronic diseases such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and T2 diabetes. Sleep deprivation can lead to higher levels of the hormones dopamine (wakefulness) and cortisol (stress and fat storage) and lower levels of hormones serotonin and melatonin (mood and sleep). This hormone dysregulation not only encourages a perpetuating cycle of wakefulness, but also promotes disruption to the appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin, increasing calorie intake, fat storage and insulin resistance. And with up to 21% of Australian women already suffering from insulin-related PCOS, along with the prevalence of cardiovascular disease and mental health disorders, downplaying the importance of sleep is not just unwise but irresponsible in the face of some of our greatest health challenges to date.”

The Smart Hustle is not ‘out there’ but ‘in here’. 

There now exists a large body of research that evidences the physiological and psychological benefits of nurturing mindfulness through meditation. The return to ‘mindfulness’ as an enabler for success and happiness is becoming a must-have for navigating ‘the blur’.

Regular meditation as part of employee wellbeing and organisational culture enables a specific set of benefits that are critical to organisational success. These benefits are generated through increased activity and structural changes in certain parts of the brain and nervous system. They include:

  • Adapting to change
  • Learning and assimilating new processes and information quickly
  • Lateral thinking, problem solving and innovation
  • Greater cognitive function generally
  • Better interpersonal relations, communications, and collusion
  • Improved resilience and calm emotional responses to stress and anger triggers

Mindfulness meditation creates a circuit-breaker to the pace of modern life and overtaxing of the adrenal system. Regular practice is also proven to:

  • Increase attention and presence
  • Increase performance and productivity
  • Improve sleep patterns
  • Reduce stress and burnout
  • Improve heart health and reduce blood pressure
  • Assist with overcoming addictions

In other words, a life-ward Smart-Hustle-Cycle.

Perhaps the most exciting development I am seeing is the increased awareness and utilisation of energy work with busy executives. My private sessions, especially the remote sessions, are also being booked up by the Smart Hustlers. They know that by connecting with vital life force and channelling it through their central nervous system, they harmonise the physical systems, heal dissonance in the mind and body, and are better equipped to switch to a smarter hustle.

2. Employ small disciplines

Employing small disciplines to maintain standards has a significant effect on our state of mind and sense of self-mastery. In ‘the blur’, it’s so easy to forgo these opportunities to generate psychological boundaries and bring a lifeward routine into the working-from-home day. Every day, make your bed, clear the dishes, clean surfaces, put items back in their place, establish a new filing system for home and work documentation, and respond to bills and taxes promptly.

During the COVID lockdown, I committed to waking early and exercising well before the working day. It has become a small discipline that has kept me clear and productive. The actions are secondary to the impact of determination, effort and a sense of completion. That’s where the gold is. And staying home, when everything is orderly, clean and visually appealing, impacts how others perceive you across the screen and the way you order your work responses.

3. Keep up appearances

Most of us are familiar with the sub-liminal yet high impact of appearances, both of the person and the space in which they dwell. In ‘the blur’, this is one aspect of self-management that can so easily slip. The simple act of getting dressed for work, even if you are just walking into a different part of the house to start work, creates an excellent psychic demarcation that allows a mental and emotional shift into work-mode. 

The advantage of online meetings is that it’s just the waist up that requires attention. However, also ensure that your background, desk, lighting and audio are clear, clean and visually appealing. The screen can fool us into thinking that we are somehow less exposed to those on the other side. Yet, in many ways, the opposite is true. Turn up fully, neatly clad to each meeting or call, as if you were walking into your boardroom at work. This shifts your sense of self, inspires others, and emanates the impression of mastery, on the inner and the outer, also maintaining performance through your work-life balance. 

4. Bring balance with sensory stimulus

The current work patterns in ‘the blur’ have us very much dwelling in our mental aspect. Critical thinking, scheduling (again), the increased screen time and less time outdoors have us cooped up in the world of thought. An excellent hack, that stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which governs our rest, digestion and sensuality, is to increase sensory stimulus into our homes and home workspaces consciously. Natural light, open windows, colour and scent, and if possible soothing sounds, have an enormous impact on our sense of wellbeing. 

I have been busy recently, recording audio lectures for my next online meditation course in a small corner of my spare room that I have ambitiously dubbed ‘the recording studio’. It’s away from the windows to minimise ambient noise. Yet, despite all the content being written and ready to go, I found myself swerving the recording work. I realised it was the feel of the space – clinical, hard lines, a corner, no colour. I started placing a single stem of tiger lilies in a long-stem vase every week in the space and the effect was immediate. The natural perfume, colour and beauty drew me like a magnet and helped me feel into the content I was recording. So simple, and so effective. Indoor plants not only provide this sensory stimulus but have the added benefit of cleansing and reoxygenating the air overnight. 

Another well-known counteraction to too much time in the head, is exposure to nature. While we may not have been aware of it, the workplace allowed us time outside. The dash for the lunchtime sandwich, the movement between offices for meetings, the transit to and from the office, all provided a hit of natural light, feet to earth movement and fresh air. Getting out is key, even if it is for a ten-minute breathing practice or to take sunshine to your face. Better still is to start and end each day walking somewhere green. This break in critical thinking drops you back into your body and allows solutions and creative ideas to ripen. It opens access to subtle connective fields that we are deprived of when working and dwelling in isolation.

5. Carve clear boundaries for yourself and communicate them

In ‘the blur’, the boundaries between ‘work time’ and ‘personal time’ seem to have vanished for many who are good at what they do and they appear to be always accessible. Late night and weekend client requests, global team meetings scheduled for the wee hours, and ever-tightening turn-around times are all part of the game now. However, what I am observing with my private clients is that managing this comes down to personal management and clear communications. 

Here are some examples of how you can enforce boundary clarity at home:

  • Maintain a designated workspace and don’t allow work activities to ‘leak’ into bedrooms, living areas and especially shared family spaces.
  • Prioritise tasks for the week and at the start of every day, and complete them. The sense of completion is one of our most underrated mental health boosters. Be clear on what you will achieve each day, complete it and let teams and colleagues know what you will be focusing on for the week.
  • Maintain content boundaries. Another temptation once we finally switch out of work mode for the day/evening is to scroll social media or flick through Netflix mindlessly. Content affects us very deeply, and it’s a great strategy to consciously choose something inspiring and uplifting to balance the work content. Absorbing this content through mediums other than a screen is also a great tip. I have taken to listening to inspiring podcasts twice a week on my morning bike rides. Within that two-hour ride, new worlds have opened in my mind and heart, which in turn play into my sense of possibility and ingenuity at work. 
  • Set your auto-response messages for the weekend and for any time during the week you do not want to be disturbed. If your clients and colleagues understand your priority for undisturbed time, generally, they will respect it. Make sure your auto-response requests that they get back in contact when stated. This way, you’re not adding to your mental load of remembering which calls to reply to later. 
  • Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’. I have had to learn this in my work. The nature of my work in mentoring and teaching is that sometimes a client will hit a patch and rather than think through possibilities, will instinctively call for guidance. In my earlier years, I would take the call, talk them through, and follow-up, regardless of the time of day or night. Of course, if it is a serious crisis, I will respond. However, I have learnt that it is almost always beneficial for both myself and the client that I say ‘no’, if the call is quite clearly within my personal time, like late at night or over the weekend. The demonstration of boundaries and prioritisation of myself and family can help others regain some perspective, pause, breathe and sense into the reality of what they are experiencing without the drama. 
  • Switch off your phone when with your family or on a break. Better still, leave it on your desk. The world won’t unravel within an hour, and you will be amazed at how much mental and sensory space opens up without that tiny gadget on your person for a spell. Try it and see!

Small conscious shifts such as these generate a felt sense and appearance of self-mastery – the essential state for current times.

You can also bolster your efforts in finding calm, balance and self through Return, a meditation course that influences health, emotions, perceptions, and the way you live your life. Or explore self-enquiry through meditation and journaling in Discovery.

If you have any questions about maintaining wellness and performance through a work-life balance in these trying times, 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. 

employee engagement and enrichment danielle van de velde meditation transformation corporate

Enriching the Ether

If the engagements in the last couple of months are anything to go by, it appears that the corporate appetite for employee enrichment programs is back. New and existing corporate clients are getting back in touch, keen to explore ways to engage their teams and enrich their work experience within the new dynamics of a decentralised workspace.

MABON The Season of the Crone

The Autumnal Equinox

Five beautiful ways to engage with the meaning and energy of the season

Over September 21st to 23rd the Autumnal Equinox swings into action in the Northern Hemisphere, peaking on September 22nd. It’s one of my favourite turns of the wild field. And even though the markers in nature are not as exaggerated here in Singapore, close to the Equator, what I find so fascinating with these windows, is that the archetypal themes of the season can be witnessed in the subtle shifts in the light and botanical realm, wind patterns and perhaps most fascinatingly, in people’s behaviours and impulses. There’s a wave of influence, that, when understood, we can all engage with in life affirming, positive ways. 

For our ancestors of the north, this time was all about completing the harvest. With the main grain harvest safely gathered in over Lammas in early August, the last grain stalks were cut and dried in the final weeks of warm sun and the harvesting focus turned to the final yields of fruits and vegetables. For this reason, the ancient festival of the Autumnal Equinox, known as Mabon, was also known in various northern traditions as the Harvest Home, The Second Harvest Festival, Wine Harvest, the Fruit Harvest, the Feast of Avalon and the Great Feast of Thanksgiving.

These cyclical turns of the wild field are captured particularly in the ancient myths and legends of the Divine Feminine, given the interconnectedness between the feminine cycle, stages of a woman’s life, germination, growth and harvest, and the moon. Many ancient traditions honoured these shifts with veneration of the reflective Triple Moon Goddess. They are also seen in the Three-Person Goddess cults related to the Earth – Maiden (Spring), Mother/Queen (Summer), Crone (Autumn). In the Sumerian myth Inanna and in the ancient Greek and Roman legends of Demeter, Ceres and Persephone the Goddess eventually descends to the underworld with the waning strength of the sun (The Sun God) and growth and abundance of the Earth draws to a standstill (Winter). And at Mabon, the Goddess transforms to Her third aspect. 

We have entered the Season of the Crone!

The word Crone is commonly associated with the 13th century French and Old English entomology, a derogatory term meaning old and ugly woman. This meaning emerged through the 300 years of the Inquisitions. However, in the time prior to this, when the women were acknowledged and revered as refractions of the Goddess as her natural life cycle mirrored that of the wilderness, the youthful beauty, fertile nurturing mother and wise elder, the word ‘crone’ came from an earlier entomology meaning ‘crown’. The Crone signified the keeper and teacher of wisdom, mastery, healing, storytelling, the maintainer of meaning and ritual. The older post-menopausal women held the esteemed roles of counsellors, midwives, healers and seers. They were honoured and respected, cared for and deeply loved by their communities and dwelt at the centre of the family and community structures. They were crowned in age-accumulated wisdom and intuition.

This Season of The Crone, whilst captured in the Goddess mythos, is of course archetypal. It is not pegged to gender, age, race or religion. It is a metta-pattern that rises every year at this time and is one we are all invited to explore and nurture within us.

How we answer this beautiful annual invitation is by translating the themes and patterns of the season and festivals of our ancestors into modern meaningful actions; to don the Crone’s Crown. Here are five of my favourite ways to engage with the Season of the Crone:

Clear your fields

With the final crops being harvested before the winter months arrived, the fields were cleared and often burnt to allow the soils to rest and replenish over the winter. This movement of clearing and decluttering is absolutely in the air currently. I see more than usual ‘decluttering’ posts on social media at this time. The students in my transformative courses are clearing out old paradigms, fears and defunct beliefs that are holding them back. And lots of people are reporting the desire to clear the decks in the home space. Now is the time to clear our fields. 

Choose a weekend with the family to reorganise clothing, books, kitchenware and toys

Supermarkets are very willing to give you their empty stock boxes if you ask. Set each person in the home up with a ‘keep’, ‘sell’, ‘donate’ and ‘recycle’ box. You’ll be amazed just how many items a family can accumulate through the busy seasons of the year. You can even support each other and join forces to tackle one room together at a time. Put on music, open windows to fresh air and celebrate the abundance in your life as you do. Ensure anything in good condition is donated to others who can use it. There’s an important metaphysical principle here that cultivates a beautiful ongoing flow of abundance.

Clear your relational fields

Choose an important relationship that has faded or soured during the frenetic phases of the year and make an effort to forgive, restore contact or if required, to let it go emotionally and allow it to fade by no longer entertaining reactive feelings towards them.

Clear your physical field

After the summer months and especially the mid-year holidays, Mabon is an excellent time to clear toxins and unnecessary weight from the body. If you keep a sacred space or altar at home for your inner work, now is an excellent time to dismantle it, return natural items to the earth, cleanse and recharge crystals and power objects and allow the space to rest before the next wave of inner workings rises again.

Celebrate your journey

Our modern mindset and pace of life offers few windows to take a step back and celebrate our progress in all areas of our lives. The intense pressures of work and family and the western cultural focus on having more, doing better, staying ahead of the pack, totally devalues this incredibly important spiritual step.

Mabon is a celebration of the year’s harvests and our ancestors made a point of holding grand feasts and making offerings for the abundance of the year to date. At these festivals it was appropriate to wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in style. 

The Druids call this celebration, Mea’n Fo’mhair, and honor the The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer were made at this time. 

I encourage all of my course participants to make time for doing this and my go-to way is to use journaling. Make some time in an uninterrupted window to run through each area of your life and write down your wins, expansions and new insights. Where have you grown within the roles you play in your life, as a professional, a parent, a sibling, a spirit-seeker or a creative, for example? What have you learnt so far this year? How have you healed, changed, expanded as a person? How has your offering to others matured? What qualifications or learnings have to attained? What have you released?

If you run a business or project like me, audit your growth. How many new clients have come to your door this year so far? What other products or services have you expanded into? How has your network of influence grown and reshaped? How has your income flow and income streams developed so far?

This can be an enormously satisfying Mabon activity. Not only does it provide a lot of helpful insight for yourself and your activities, it makes you feel fantastic. Try it and see…and then get the family, team or friends together and share a meal of celebration. 2020 has sped towards the Autumnal Equinox at warp speed. The impact of COVID has had many of us feeling like we’re behind the wave, struggling to keep well, keep active and purposeful. This year more than ever, a retrospective journey of how you have managed and thrived under incredible circumstances may very well surprise you and garner confidence in your inner-strength and enginuity.

Another beautiful way to connect with the season is to switch your grocery shopping to local farmer’s markets instead of the big super markets. Ingesting seasonal foods that are recently harvested is one of the highest forms of natural medicines. The mineral and vitamin content of late summer/autumnal foods is at its peak and the tastes and textures provide a sensory engagement with the season.

Cultivate Gratitude

With a clear understanding of just how far you have come in the year and what you have learnt and achieved, the only natural response is gratitude…and Mabon is the season for expressing it!

One gorgeous way to do this is with the whole family is to start a Gratitude Jar. Find a lovely big glass jar and once a week over a family meal, have each person share and write on a piece of paper, one thing they are truly grateful for that week. Pop the paper in the jar and then in the new year, as a family new year’s ritual you can take turns to pull out the blessings and read them to each other. It’s a very simple family ritual that can be embedded into your family culture easily and it has so many wonderful benefits. It cultivates joy and fulfilment, which in turn heals the physical body. It magnetises more of the same blessings into the family field. It counters victimhood, negativity and pessimism and it bonds the family in abundance. Divine!

Another beautiful Mabon move is to identify three people in your life who enrich it with wisdom, love and support and write them a thank you card. Yes, I realise this is old-school and possibly Jurassic in the eyes of today’s youngsters, but oh my goodness it’s a powerful action, both for the giver and the receiver. So just as the Druids made offerings to the Sacred Trees, identify the tall beautiful trees in your life – the people that offer nourishment, shade, sweetness and strength to you, and let them know how much you appreciate their presence in your life. 

And perhaps there is someone in your field who has not had a plentiful harvest this year; who’s doing it tough. You can let them know that they are loved and that abundance can take many forms by making and gifting them a typical Mabon cake…and there’s nothing that says ‘Mabon’ more than apples! Apples have long been associated with the Feminine Mysteries and Mabon for lots of reasons.

The Autumnal apples are bountiful, sweet and also store well. And beautifully, when you slice an apple horizontally the central seed formation is a five-pointed star, which is the ancient symbol for harmony between the elements and the Goddess! Apple cakes and pies were typical Mabon treats and gifting a freshly baked apple-anything is like giving a warm cinnamon kiss.

Seek Balance

At the Autumnal Equinox, the night and day are of equal length and in perfect equilibrium – dark and light, masculine and feminine, inner and outer, are in balance. We can use the energy systems of our physical bodies to cultivate balance across all of our koshas – the physical, mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual. Yoga asanas are a wonderful way to do this. Whether you’re are an established practitioner or not, pick one of the balancing asanas and make a choice to practice and master it during the season of Mabon. Three of my favourites are Tree Pose, Warrior Pose and Crow. If you need some guidance, find an established and well-regarded local yoga teacher and ask for some tips. It’s worth it!

Another beautiful and accessible practice for establishing balance in the nervous system and brain activity is the breathing practice (or Pranayama) called Nadi Shodhana, which means alternate nostril breathing. I practice Nadi Shodhana every day for ten minutes during my dawn meditation and have done so for years. It is proven to bring the brain into coherence by synchronising the central nervous system. This allows a shift into present awareness and it is in a state of present awareness that The Crone truly rises with clearer intuition, revelation, insights, memory and physical restoration of cells and balanced chemistry. Nadi Shodhana and other life-nurturing practices are offered in my online meditation course RETURN.

Reverse the Flow and Fold in

Mabon is on the cusp of transition and from now the energy within the wild field begins to wane. The cycle of the natural world is moving towards completion. The sun’s power is decreasing and from now on the nights grow longer and the days become shorter and cooler (well maybe not here in Singapore, but certainly slightly further north). The sap of trees returns back to the roots deep in the earth, changing the green of summer to the gorgeous autumnal pallet of fiery reds, oranges and golds. There is a reversal in the flow of order, a drawing down and in. The season supports slower activity and more rest. 

Reversing the flow internally can be as simple as choosing a sharing attitude rather than a getting and holding attitude each day. You’d be surprised what experiences surface when you start each day with asking yourself “How can I be of service today?” Or if this feels a little clunky for you, choose one day each week over the Mabon season, say each Wednesday, and commit to being extra responsive to anyone or in any situation where you can help. I can guarantee that you will be put to use with this attitude. Experiences of service will appear, like helping an elderly person cross a road, to being called into a new project team for your experience and knowledge. It can be as simple as committing to smiling first when you have eye contact with people you pass during the day.

This flow reversal can be particularly powerful in the workplace. Perhaps this Mabon season you can enrol in the mentoring program at work, or get involved in HR’s induction program for new employees. You can be more generous with ideas and offering support, or simply affirming a work colleague on their great work or innovation. You can nominate someone for the employee achievement award or simply informally take a newbie under your wing and show them the ropes. With work teams still largely working remotely, these ‘softer’ interpersonal approaches add much greater value currently.

And as the light folds into darkness and the wild field turns towards winter, it’s an excellent time to reprioritise your downtime to include far more gentle nurturing activities, more rest and ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’. And this includes the content you’re taking in too. We live in an awesome age of open access to highly inspiring minds, through books, podcasts, film and talks. Feed your inner Crone with wisdom and inspiration!

So welcome to Mabon – the Season of the Crone! I hope you feel inspired to put some of these simple ideas into action and notice the beautiful benefits and deep engagement with the season. May the Crone within us rise!

If you have any questions about meditation or intuitive healing, do get in touch. You can also visit my website to explore online 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. 

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