I know I’m a little behind the 8 ball on the New Year palava but for those of you like me, who prefer to mentally sneak in the back door and come around to realization organically, then these are my non-abrasive, non-shouty, non-low fat tips for Self-Seduction in the New Year. They’re not scarily demanding you to commit, start a spreadsheet or yelling at you to do burpees, they are just gently, persuasively and positively there.
Be Elegantly Organised
Being organised is kind of like flossing your teeth; annoying but necessary.
Unfortunately in order to achieve big things, you’ve gotta get those niggly small things in order and consistently ticking over to leave you the mental space and creative freedom to make fucking awesome, glittery, shit hot, sexy and wildly incredible stuff happen. It may seem bohemian to be messy, disorderly, perpetually late and unreliable but ultimately it sends the wrong message to all the right people, including the most important person – YOU. If you can’t take yourself seriously by applying some sort of order to your world (no matter what type of order that may be) then you’ll be perpetually lost in trying to distinguish dreams from reality and next minute it’ll be September and your molars will have rotten. Do your artistic ability a favour and get those day to day tasks nailed so you can leave your imagination to do what it does best: run wild.
Besides, diaries are pretty sexy these days, and if you still feel like a square – get a grip and fucking colour one in.
Avoid Mind Thuggery – Create a Mantra
The mind is a muscle. Use it and it grows, don’t and it will never obey you.
Fact: The world is busy. Fact #2: Your mind is busier.
We all have the potential to dip into temporary insanity by letting our minds become unduly affected by external issues (life) or by abandoning it to let loose on the streets and become a mind thug where it drinks goon, graffitis trains and generally does whatever the hell it wants.
Just like any muscle in your body you can train and discipline your mind to help you evolve, remain calm and basically avoid madness. The idea of creating a personal mantra may be mildly airy fairy but bear with me. It doesn’t matter what the mantra is (although I would highly suggest something optimistic) some people like a good ol’ ‘Om Shanti’, others might recite the Serenity Prayer or chant ‘Eat. Sleep. Rave. Repeat.’ Whatever gets you going is just fine. By creating a personal mantra your mind has something to revert to in times of stress or silence, thus reducing further internal chaos. If you have a habit of going to zero to 1561 in 12 seconds or from calm to omg-my-world-is-ending-life-is-over-i’m-pathetic or ruminating until you’re physically exhausted then this strategy is a life saver.
Commit to “Me Time” – Fuck FOMO
“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.” Aristotle
Spending time alone is essential to your sanity, and for many of us, it’s the way we ‘recharge our batteries’ and avoid turning into a moody asshole.
Doing things solo does not make you alone and being in solitude gives you a chance to really unwind and understand yourself. Missing out on a party, a coffee catch up, a gym class or a dinner because you feel a pull to nurture your insides is more than acceptable, it’s crucial to your well-being.
Curiosity does not kill this cat
I’m not going to get on my high horse and flog facts about how much time we spend immersed in social media because the reality is that it has a place in life; for work, social events or basic communication.
(But hi, guess what – “The average smart phone user checks their phone every 6 minutes” – Ariana Huffington)
Regardless of that aside, this point is just about putting your phone away sometimes. The next time you’re waiting for your coffee to be made, for the bus to arrive or walking home, instead of scrolling through Instagram take the opportunity to look at your surroundings. You never know what, or who you will see.
Live in a Zen Paradise cave
Your living space is a reflection of your inner living space, also known as YOUR MIND (kind of important). Our physical surroundings have the potential to influence our mood and energy levels greatly and there’s a huge amount of psychology behind this reasoning; think about why we feel flat in gloomy weather and incredible when the sun is out. The thing is, our habitual surroundings influence our subconscious – that’s heavy shit because nothing is as powerful as a message going directly to the subconscious. So, make sure your bedroom is your own personal version of a Paradise Zen cave. Even if your housemates idea of décor is vintage porn spreads or empty beer bottles and bongs you can still make an effort to make your own space (your bedroom) a personal sanctuary. Your bedroom should always feel inviting, calm and positive.
As a mini lesson in Feng Shui: Plants promote energy and creativity, books should never be stored under the bed, candles clear energy and initiate a healing environment, and TV’s and computers should never live in a bedroom.
I’m not saying you need to force yourself to commit to a new hobby, or sign up for a 12 week short course and learn to knit, Bonsai or speak Swahili but just try new shit and stretch your brain. For the most part we’re all creatures of habit; we like the familiarity of the same coffee shop, gym, super market and bars because they make us comfortable. Beyond those routine cornerstones of perpetual truth though, just do something new. Take a small risk and try the next café. Whatever new fad you’ve wanted to try: Aerial Yoga, a cooking class, Tough Mudder, a Fetish Party.
GO. DO. IT. You might love it.
Ctrl + Alt + Delete – Always be planning a holiday
Unfortunately many of us are limited in our holiday options due to the annual leave restrictions of our jobs but this doesn’t mean we’re perpetually stuck on the treadmill of repetition.
It’s as simple as always having something to look forward to which could be anything, no matter how small; a 4 day weekend at the beach, a picnic on Friday evening, a weekend of wine tasting in the Hunter Valley, or a yoga retreat in Byron Bay.
This is especially important for those of us who go to work just to work. By this I mean you are using your job as a mere financial stepping stone to creating your own business, legacy or fulfilling a creative ambition. For us, this is crucial. It’s very easy to get stuck in the grind and the mentality of thinking that working harder = maximum productivity. Similarly it’s easy to get very sad at the constant monotony of working at a job just for an income. Having passion projects helps immensely in manifesting a more positive outlook of the work, life balance and makes working incessantly seem worth it. However, without breaks and giving yourself a chance to breathe you can do your long term productivity and creativity a huge dis-service. A momentary change of scenery, circumstance or environment will give you a blissful slice of perspective, allow you to regenerate energy and optimism and to access new levels of creativity, and inspiration.
Visual Divergence – The Art of Mood Boarding
We all know that it’s a good idea to put pen to paper and plan your goals. Ultimately though, seeing them in black and white can be pretty confronting and the fear of failure can be paralysing.
Enter the Mood Board. Once a creative method implemented only by interior designers, it’s a technique that can be adopted by anyone who wants to help clarify their unique vision. Whether it be for long term dreams, short term goals or just whilst working on a project; for a character in your novel/film/play or for your new business, mood boarding gives you the duality of refining your vision whilst creating something physically beautiful out of it, even during the process.
All you need to do is collect a bunch of images that you find inspirational and relevant to your goals. Then you pop them on a canvas or pinboard and place it somewhere with high visibility. The beauty of this exercise is that you don’t have to make a cognitive distinction as to why you want an image on your board. If you have an emotional connection with it, or the image is evocative of any of your desires, optimism or inspiration then stick it up!
I hope that you find something in these suggestions to nudge you into a full year of seducing yourself – elegantly, candidly and endlessly.