CompareRetreats.com Founder Dervla Louli first read about visualisation in 2011 in an article on Huffington Post. Skeptical at first, she decided to apply the principles to her fitness goals: running a marathon in under four hours. To cut a long story short, it worked. With very little training and lots of painkillers and coffee, Dervla ran her first marathon in 3 hours, 59 minutes and 18 seconds in Tokyo, and began to use it in other areas of her life.
To help demystify the world of visualisation, we’ve enlisted the wisdom of Cristina Lopez McLauchlan, Founder of Ethical PR company The Vibe Tribe and Conscious Cinema. For over 15 years, Cristina has been working in events and hospitality, to help holistic businesses and brands to #brandtheirvibe. She’s a peaceful (and powerful) yoga warrior dedicated to spreading good vibes around the world.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? I’m a global citizen, a student of life and a constant work in progress. I love travelling and adventure, and I find peace in anything to do with nature from mountaintops to the depths of the ocean (as well as on my yoga mat or meditating). I find joy in tearing holes on the dance floor, sipping tea and wine with friends, being around my family. I’m always up for a laugh as I have learned not to take myself or life too seriously. I find deep gratitude in the work that I do and contributing to the greater good of the community for Mother Earth and Ocean.
How do you start your day? My alarm is set for 6am each day (though I seem to wake naturally around 5.30am), I stretch, and I take a deep breath. I put the kettle on, make tea, light incense and sit in stillness for 10-15 minutes. This is my usual routine, but my mind, body or schedule doesn’t always vibe like this. I then get ready for my movement in the morning: yoga, run, gym, pilates or a walk. After this, I turn on my phone, and my workday begins.
What exactly is visualisation? Visualisation is creating a mental image of something that is tactile that I would like to welcome into my future. I visualise what is ‘already’ going to happen, then create and channel my energy to the ‘fact’ that is already happening. I am learning more about metaphysics and quantum physics, and how we are actually able to create and influence our reality and current emotional state.
How has visualisation benefitted your professional life? In the past three years visualisation has played such a wonderful role in my life personally and professionally. At the end of each month, I create a gratitude calendar to track what has happened in my life. At the end of each year, I create a dream board. I find images and words that I want in my year ahead. I accept them as a fact that has ‘already’ happened. The language creates a certain energy or vibration that is already happening, rather than a hope or wish.
What’s the most powerful visualisation example from your own life that you can share? The visualisation of the expansion of the vibe for The Vibe Tribe. There have been many people and brands over the years that I have wanted to work with and for and I continued to visualise connecting with them and working with them as if it had already happened and that it was going to happen. So far, every single ‘dream’ has turned into reality.
How can people new to visualisation begin practising today? When you wake up in the morning, grab a journal and write down what your day ahead is going to be like as if it has already happened and you are writing your journal during the end of the day…reverse the thought and frame of perception.
For those who already practice visualisation, how can they benefit by diversifying their techniques? I believe that we always need to learn new things to expand. By adding new techniques I believe we are able to extend ourselves mentally, physically and spiritually. Extension equals expansion, and for those looking to level-up their visualisation, living out of your comfort zone at times is such a good thing to do.
How have meditation, visualisation, breathing exercises and yoga changed your life for the better? Chilled me out! Honestly, it has created space and time to be less reactive. I lace my interactions with compassion and understanding for myself first, and then those I interact with.
When you lose focus on your goals how do you get back on track? Firstly, not ‘beat’ myself up with thoughts or words. Then find some space in time, be still and quiet, be sober. I ask myself some key questions:
Is this coming from a place of ego?
Am I measuring myself through others?
How am I making a difference and contributing to the greater good of those around me and the earth?
Then I state to the universe: Please use me in the best possible way to make a difference for peace.
Think about a moment when you felt like you were losing your way. How did visualisation help you get back on track? I definitely remember many moments when I felt I was losing my way and, to be honest, back then my toolkit of life wasn’t stocked up well enough, so I was challenged. It was only when I committed to rituals, meditation practice and and observing my breath as well as studying yoga philosophy that allowed me to be more integral with my visualisation.
We can think of what we want easily. I believe we have to be true to ourselves first about how we attain what we want, and be honest about why we want it.
What are some of the best retreats that you would recommend for visualisation and meditation around the world? Anything led by the magnificent Elena Brower, who I will be working with before 2020 arrives (check the visualisation happening!). One World Academy in India, The Broadplace in Australia, and Spirit Rock in California are great. I’d recommend taking yourself to a Vipassana retreat, though my favourite retreat is a solo trip out to nature: we can learn so much about ourselves in this element.
Have you had a life-changing wellness retreat experience that you would like to share? My life changing wellness retreat experience was at Amity Wellness in Thailand in 2011. I was living in China, working in a very stressful job, was partying far too hard and abusing my body. I wasn’t sure if I was on the best path for my career, doubted whether my relationship was healthy for both of us, I felt clogged in many ways.
A friend of mine who had attended a detox programme at Amity recommended I go there. Financially it was an investment, but in retrospect, money couldn’t buy what I experienced on a holistic level. Lifetime friendships were made and I added more knowledge to my life bank that now supports me.
Why do you think that people should include retreats in their travel plans? So that they can gift themselves with some reset time to just be. Even when travelling we are always on the go. Isn’t interesting that we need to seek places where we can just ‘be’?
What does a day in your diet look like? My nutrition for the day looks something like this:
06:00 Probiotic or a shot of apple cider vinegar or kombucha.
08:00 Vegan Coffee from MANA! Fast Slow Food. The KOKO has a healthy dose of fat and cream without the cruelty.
10:00 A homemade super powered smoothie. My vitamins : Turmeric, Hemp seed oil and Vitamin B.
15:00 Plant-based fuel from MANA! Fast Slow Food where I am privileged to contribute as the Brand Manager. I am very blessed to have access to this kind of food to #eatlikeitmatters).
19:00 Plantbased meal out or if I am at home, I will steam or sauté a whole lot of greens, squeeze some lemon, shake some seaweed on top with sesame oil. I also love toasting buckwheat in sesame oil and sprinkling chilli flakes.
21:00 Non-caffeinated tea then a magnesium and Vitamin C drink.
When I moved to China in 2008, I became vegetarian. I was unsure about the safety and quality of the meat available. After I went to Amity, I went fully raw and vegan for almost eight months. I moved towards a plant-based diet for health and food safety reasons. I then started learning more about agricultural farming and the impact it was having on our Earth. As time passed, I learned more and more about food production and its origins.
I now consciously consume my food, and I am very specific where and who I buy from. Most of the time I don’t eat meat products, although good cheese is something that I occasionally indulge in. I am also conscious about how much seafood I eat which is about once a month due to microplastics in the sea. If there is a decadent chocolate cake staring at me in the face I will have a slice. You have to live a little, don’t give yourself such boundaries, colour outside the lines at times. My way of nutrition is an 80/20 lifestyle. I grew up in a family of foodies and am a foodie at heart. “Food is thy medicine” – Hippocrates.
On top of this, I am also mindful of how my food is served. I refuse plastic straws in drinks, I bring my own containers if I can for takeaway meals, I do not buy takeaway food that is packed in plastic or even worse styrofoam. I also bless most of my meals before I eat, thanking those that took the energy to grow it from seed to plant, pick it, transport it and make it. Everything has energy.
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