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Handstand On The Beach, Fasting, Wintery Ocean Swims & Coaching

Updated: May 8

Beach Sunrise Lagos Portugal

That's my 2017 so far, and it's been wicked :) Wow, cheap thrills or what??!!

Up until two weeks ago, I had no idea what I was going to do to ring in the new year. I had a couple of options, but I had this feeling in my heart that I wanted to do something completely different from what I had done in the past. Last year I spent the new year in Prado Del Rey (the village near the retreat centre where I used to work). The village has this really fun tradition of dressing up for New Year's Eve; I had the option to do it again this year, but my heart wasn't really in it. My other option had been to do something really transformative to transition into 2017, like an ayahuasca retreat or something like that. However, after my life-changing experience during the rocket training, I knew that my transformative experience had been just that, the rocket training I had planned since April 2016.

So there I was, contemplating going to the UK to visit some friends, but a quick look at how expensive the flights were, and I swiftly reconsidered that option. I wasn't particularly worried about not having any plans for the new year, but then, two weeks ago, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I should be spending it by the beach. Not only that, a few days later I was adamant that I should be spending it in Portugal. The voice in my head was really strong, and I began to look at the bus times and Airbnb. A week before the new year and I still found myself debating if I should perhaps just chill in Seville and enjoy doing nothing here. Then, on the morning of the 30th, I booked Airbnb and bus tickets.

The next morning I was off to Lagos. I arrived at noon and went for a stroll and a nice lunch at a cosy restaurant, where I chilled and did some writing. After lunch, I went to drop off my stuff at my Airbnb and relax for a bit. My host Maria was super friendly and a bit on the crazy side (just the way I like it) and she told me there would be some festivities later on at night. After unpacking and getting settled in, I went to the beach and sat watching the waves for an hour; It was amazing, there is something truly fascinating about watching the ocean's endless cycle of waves.

Crashing Waves And Seagulls

I went back to my Airbnb and meditated and did some yin yoga. I made myself yummy food and watched Better Call Sall. I was tempted to stay in as I was having such a good time doing nothing, but I thought I wouldn't be a complete bore just yet and at least have a wander around. As I made my way to the main square, I bumped into Juan, the guy who owns the shop I always go to when I am in Lagos because he sells really cool stuff. We had chatted earlier on in the afternoon about how gout is the disease of the bon vivant :) He offered me some of his rum and coke as we walked to the square and I remember thinking that this would probably not do much good to his gout problem and politely declined the drink. I can't stand Coca-Cola and rum would not be my liquor of choice. More to the point, I have no desire to drink alcohol this weekend. I hung around with Juan for a bit and then went off on my own. The entertainment was heavy metal music which is not really my thing so, after a quick walk around, I went back to my room and waved bye-bye to 2016 in the comfort of my very comfy bed. It was amazing.

I woke up early the first morning of 2017 and headed to the beach where I joined revellers of the night before to watch the sunrise. I found myself alone pretty quickly as the revellers tired and went home. With the entire beach to myself, I got naked and went in for a refreshing cold swim. Swimming in the ocean (or in any body of water for that matter) naked is one of my favourite things to do. I again meditated on the beach after my swim and went for a walk. I was pretty hungry by then, so I went for lunch on the seafront. That was followed by a bit of shopping as everything was open in the centre.

After my wonderful morning at the beach, I went to another beach in the afternoon and just had fun in the sun. I decided to do a few handstands to see how I would get on. There is still a part of me that holds back when I am not near a wall even though I don't need it, but my mind gets stuck on the idea that I may hurt myself on the concrete floor. So I thought that, sand being quite soft, I might feel differently, and I did. I came up and stayed up on my hands; It was so fun. I love being upside down.

Today I went back to that same beach in the morning and I had the entire beach to myself! I meditated and went for a refreshing swim in the ocean. I felt so good, the waves were strong because it was super windy out, and, although very cold at first, the water was invigorating. I felt very refreshed. Being in the water (in open spaces, preferably) is another thing I absolutely love. It's super cleansing.

Another cleansing practice I maintain is fasting. I don't think I have talked about fasting here yet, but I have been practising this purification technique for about 7 years now. I will write a blog about it at a later date, but it is (for me) a meditation practice. So today I fasted; It is my last day in Portugal (and the last day of my personal yoga and meditation New Year retreat I ended up creating for myself), so I thought that fasting would be a good way to end this 3 day retreat.

Beach Dunes In Lagos Portugal

The last part of my impromptu retreat was a coaching session that happened completely randomly. The day before I left for Portugal, my friend Carole called me to ask me if I would be willing to receive free coaching sessions from a friend of hers who needs to practise his coaching skills in English (he is Spanish and has a coaching event for 10 people coming up). All I would have to do was to have coaching sessions with him in English, correct him, and translate certain texts when needed. I have never had coaching sessions in my life, and I wasn't sure if this was for me as I knew very little, if anything, about it, but I said yes. My first session with José was this afternoon via Skype, and it was super helpful. It's really in line with the healing process I am doing for myself, so I was pleasantly surprised. José is super friendly as well and very good at his job; the whole experience left me feeling lighter and more serene. We have another session next week, and I am very much looking forward to it.

I can't believe how great this whole weekend has been, my heart was telling me to be here; To be by the water and to be in Portugal specifically, so I followed my instinct and I received way more than I imagined.


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