I recently had a nature immersion. That sounds so much sexier than “I took a holiday to New Zealand!

Before departing I set my intention to travel in sunshine.  I utilised my daily meditation time and literally envisaged sunshine where ever we travelled. In my daily meditation I literally pictured how warm the sun would feel on my face as I looked skyward, I imagined the warmth I would feel on my back as I walked and explored new places.

And guess what? That’s exactly what I got. Sunshine lollypops everywhere. And I was so grateful for all the experiences I received, because, the sun shined. Out of the twenty-two days travelling, we had twenty days of radiance shining down on us.

This holiday was a unique experience for me. Not only was I travelling with family, who know exactly how to push my buttons, but we were traveling with a retired couple of active seniors. The whole factor of can we live in confined quarters for nearly a month was a point of curiosity.  You see I am so close with these people that I introduce them as my other mother and father. They are my friends, and I value their senior presence in my life. I respect their wisdom and values. That said there was still the unknown aspect that we haven’t ‘lived’ together.

What none of us expected that our twenty-year relationship blossomed to a whole new place which reaffirmed the true destiny of our original encounter. The age old saying that you meet people for a reason, a season or a life time rang true.  This active senior couple are in our lives for the long run. So so blessed.

Before we left for our holiday, I did random internet searches of ‘things to do for families’ and ‘world heritage’. I made a rough list of things to do and places to see that were different from what I have at home. Guess what? It forced me out of my comfort zone. I saw a war canoe and as I touched the hand carvings along the external side of that boat I was able to imagine how overwhelming, if not intimidating, it would have been watching over 50 tribal men paddling towards the white settlers.

It was almost out of body, being transported back in time. I was grateful for the tour guides narration and factual summary of settlement events. I was saddened to hear that Maori culture and tribal nations have had to fight so hard for land rights. Some things never change, regardless of which country we live in. This shows me that regardless of our culture and politics and history, on some level we are all similar. We all have stuff.

Some places we visited we by accident. We got lost! And it was the absolute best kind of discovery. A quiet tranquil place here, where there was no one else, except for a sea eagle dive bombing fish out of the body of water and taking its bounty back to its nest.

Again, regardless of species we all have a never-ending list of things to do in our daily lives… we all gotta eat and feed our families. It’s a simple concept that we all understand.  But to observe it energetically in terms of circle of life, well I have to say it made me feel so many things all at once. As a part of the ecosystem I was insignificant in terms of the food chain. In terms of having experiences, that’s not something you see every day and it was humbling, beautiful even. I’m still left wondering how on earth a bird that big gets and remains airborne! We travelled with a retired vet so he explained it all, but I still scratch my head with wonder.

We got lost, a lot. In fact, we ditched the map on numerous occasions because we experienced so much in our mystery travels. It proved to me, that timing is divine for you to see wondrous things. But when it comes to implementing new things in your life there is no perfect time other than when you have the courage to give it a go. Then you have the experience you need, not necessarily what you want.

We discovered an abandoned black beach which was being inundated by seam foam! If it hadn’t been so cold and windy I literally would have rolled around taking more photos of the glacial pebbles poking out of the sand! Those glacial pebbles had a right to be on that beach just like I did. Their purpose, just like mine was unknown. I did enjoy studying the shadow they cast as the sun set.

And when you turned around to walk back to the car you were confronted with more snow capped fiord land mountains. I literally ran out of wow words taking in that landscape. As the sun turned orange and reflected off the snow onto the still estuary waters. I felt so privileged to be in that ‘lost’ destination, watching the sun set. Timing was everything to receive that sunset gift.

And then there was my trip to the world heritage listed Milford Sound. One of my favourite places was Mirror Lake, whereby the water literally reflected the fiordland snow caps above and ancient trees. This was the magical space of true emergence and transition of my awareness of what makes us tick. It has taken several weeks of subsequent reflection to understand the true depth of what new knowledge I gained. And it could be intrepreted as easily as this.

We have a shadow, hidden beneath the snowline of the mountain that we are in our life. The snow melts and exposes our truth to the radiance of the sun and life and all of its possibilities. As the snow melts, the ground below the snow line thaws and receives melt water runoff, nurturing the foliage. As the flow continues, the growth of the forest below the snow evolves to a new level. So, this space then becomes covered by a new and thicker tree canopy. I found that this reflects our resilience for what is coming to our life ih the future.

And then the strength of the sun expires, and it gets cold and snows again, the abundance of standing in the summer sun recedes beneath a new layer of snow. A new challenge brought by life. The survival of the mountain relies on the strength and depth of the roots of the forest below to prevent erosion at the foundation of where the mountain stands.

So, you see the awareness I gained is that our shadow self holds our hidden treasure.  Our connection to the cyclic forces of nature.

Our shadow self contains treasures relating to our resilience, our strength, and weaknesses. Remember knowledge is power so this is just a mindset, that a weakness is bad. I would argue that our weaknesses are just under developed strengths awaiting to be embrace when required by life’s calling.

So, you see this recent trip really was a time of spiritual maintenance and probably one of my best holidays yet. Give some thought for your next trip on how you might connect with yourself on a deeper level when you escape the busyness that the world seems to throw us in!

In my discussions upon returning, I’ve realised that people are interested in what I learnt. So, here’s my tips for exploring yourself further when you gift yourself some time out.

1. Give yourself quiet time each day, reflecting on what you’ve seen or done

Time out helps that busyness inside our heads slow down. When we take time out, we get to reflect. Was your experience(s) joyous? How can you lock that experience into your happiness memory bank?

2. Appreciate that what you’re seeing isn’t something you can do every day, and that this experience is a gift

As a sole practitioner, my ability to take regular time out of business is limited now. So, when I do get to explore, I make the most of every experience.

3. Take lots of pictures of what moves you, then you’ll have memories of the joy you have experienced

So, laugh with me or at me, but between all of us we now have to sort through six thousand photos! That’s mental right? But here’s the thing. I’ve already used these photos in my electronic photo album so every time we sit as a family, we’re re-living the positive memories.

I’ve used some of those photos in this blog and on my business content, as an affirmation of the good juju I experienced. I’ve shared some of them on social media sites and the positive dialogue I’ve had with clients has been incredibly joyous.

Every time I see those pictures I am reminded of the joy experienced. I am reminded that it was worth working hard and saving all that time to have that experience. I am motivated for more new experiences!

4. Challenge yourself to see and do things out of your comfort zone

I tried beef wellington for the first time and found I loved it! My daughter doesn’t like heights, but she still chose to ride the Queenstown gondola. My husband doesn’t like being a passenger and let me drive – twice! They are only small things. But the sense of achievement when trying something new can be exhilarating.

5. Appreciate the differences of the new travelling adventure-culture, topography, foliage, food, language

Given that I am a change facilitator, I value new experiences and change in scenery! I relish taking advantage of opportunities to note how the differences make me feel and where my comfort zone lies. Our next family trip we are contemplating a non english speaking country which ramps up the game to a whole new level!

6. Appreciate those around you and the time you spend together

Whilst you live with your family, the busyness of life sometimes that means you don’t spend a lot of quality time together. So, as you begin travelling, you re-affirm your loving connection. The pace isn’t rushed with the need to attend some after school activity. It’s simply let’s stop here for cake!

7. Appreciate access to technology and the ability to communicate with loved ones no matter where you are!

Whilst we can curse technology and our addiction to it, it is lovely to reach out for quick video chats and tell family and friends you love them, share adventures and pictures. No longer do you have to wait for the traveller to finish their voyage or the post cards to arrive!

8. Write post cards for family and friends

It’s a lovely tradition to pick postcards of amazing views, check out the stamps, and write highlights of the adventure.  But the true joy is in receiving something that’s not a bill and filled with good news, in the mail.

Hope you enjoy my snap shots as much as I enjoyed taking them! You can choose to change and bloom from within xxx