Stella at Christmas (Dru Yoga Teacher in Southampton)
Feeling reflective at Yuletide

So 2015 is almost at an end. A good time for reflection.

2015 is the year I turned 40, discovered the trait of high sensitivity, meditated daily and learned to ground.

An eventful year. Here’s what I’ve learned.  I hope these lessons inform, amuse and inspire you.

1. There’s nothing to fear in turning 40 (or 50 or 60 or 70…)
On February 2nd this year I turned 40. And (somewhat surprisingly I admit) I suddenly felt freer, unleashed, happy in my skin. I love being 40. I love being me.

2. Meditation is a life-changer (and blimmin’ hard work)
So I’ve meditated pretty much every day this year. It’s hard work. It holds up a mirror to your mind and emotions and it can be challenging to face what you see. But it’s SO worth it.

I’ve experienced some wonderful ups and some scary downs. I’ve learned to  watch my mind. I’ve really learned to step back from the drama. And I’ve found a profound inner peace within me which is beautiful to behold.

3. I am not my mind
I’ve “known” this one for years. But it was an intellectual knowing.

Now I feel this with every cell of my being, my heart and my soul and truly understand it. This year I’ve touched a deeper, calmer, more authentic, soulful place within me that is beyond mind: that is the core of my being.

4. Thoughts create your reality
A fearful mind leads to a life lived in fear. A chaotic mind = a chaotic life. Think everybody is out to get you and you’ll live a life of suspicion. Think “poor me, nothing good happens to me” and that’s what you’ll experience.

My biggie: an anxious mind fuels the body’s stress response which refuels the anxious mind.

What you think is what you get. I choose calm thoughts. I choose to let go or let it be…

5. I’m not weird, I’m highly sensitive (and proud)

Tree hugger Stella, Yoga and Meditation teacher in Southampton
Highly sensitive tree hugger

This year I discovered the trait of High Sensitivity.

I’m not thin-skinned, or a party-pooper, or shy, or a space cadet. I – along with about 20% of the world – have a nervous system which is more sensitive to external stimuli.

This means I pick up on others’ moods, I easily feel over-whelmed by noise, bright lights and other people, startle easily.

I need quiet-time alone. Every. Day.

And I’m also intuitive, soulful and empathetic. The world needs more highly sensitive people to understand and love themselves and share their unique insights!

6. Sometimes you need a dark night of the soul to appreciate the light
I’ve had ups and downs about yoga and teaching yoga this year. I’ve felt totally alienated by the yoga industry and how yoga is often taught and portrayed.

I’ve wondered what the hell I’m doing and questioned whether I want to teach “yoga” at all if it’s about the body beautiful and standing on your head.

But it’s not this. I’ve come through the turmoil to a place of strength, commitment and light. Yoga is for calm and inner peace. That’s why I practise it and that’s why I teach it.

7. Comparisons are futile
I’m unique and so are you. We each have our unique gifts to offer and own voice to share. I’ve spent too long comparing myself to others – and in recent years, to other yoga teachers.

No more. It’s pointless. I am perfect as I am. I am on my journey. What I’ve uniquely learned will help others who resonate with my message. And the same for you.

8. Ask everyday: “does this bring me joy?”
Whatever you own or are considering buying; whatever you’re doing; whatever you’re thinking, ask “does this bring me joy?”. If the answer is “no” then let it go. Release that thing, that thought. Release it and make space for what does light you up.

This technique helps me let go of clothes and material goods which I no longer need and to let go of thoughts and experiences which no longer serve me. Give it a try. It’s liberating!

9. When you quieten your mind, you hear your sixth sense
With my year-long of daily meditation I’ve experienced that when you drop into that still, silent space within yourself – your core, your heart, your soul, your home – you begin to hear your sixth sense. Your intuition. The inner wise voice which guides you to the right choice.

The mind and emotions are normally so loud and dominant that this gentle but true voice is drowned out. Sit, breathe, walk, pray, meditate. Let your sixth sense show you images, bring you feelings and gut instincts to guide you along the right path; to illuminate and inspire. To let you shine.

10. Set your intention… and let it go
Be crystal clear on what you’d like to manifest in your life. Speak it. Write it. Then let it go. Trust that between you, you and the universe will make it happen. Don’t try to force it. The universe works in mysterious ways…

11. Connect to source
This year, I’ve discovered that for me, source is Light. An intelligent, benevolent, loving source of all life. The living spark in all things which creates and sustains life. What do you connect to as source? Maybe love, or joy. Whatever it is, sit daily and connect to it. Let it fill you up.

12. Get grounded

OMG, this is THE #1 lesson I’ve learned this year! A highly sensitive, empathetic introvert who has a tendency to anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, like me, has got to ground – daily! It’s a sanity saver.

Sit, send down roots. Allow yourself to feel safe and supported. Let go of the excess nervous energy to the earth – let it be neutralized by the Earth. Walk on grass. Hug trees (my fave!).

Get grounded as if your life depends on it – because it does. Ground yourself to come home to security, stability and love.


12 things I’ve learned in 2015
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