Many people think they’d be happier if they could have a bigger home, a bigger car, have a relationship, buy the latest trend outfit or those gorgeous shoes.
I know I would! I also know that this particular feeling of happiness is only temporary. And I know it doesn’t really fulfill me in any way except maybe make my life a bit easier.
What I know and from what I have observed is that the first underlying desire underneath the stuff we want is one of experience.
We want to experience comfort, ease, connection, a sense of worthiness, etc. We want to experience freedom, we want to belong, we want to matter, we want our lives to matter.
So by digging a bit deeper into what is on your wish list, you may start to notice a pattern emerging related to the deeper feeling you wish to experience.
So, for Christmas, why not go for more enriching experiences that will fulfill you for a bit longer than any ‘stuff’ you could buy.
Here is a list of my most cherished experiences to inspire you :
The experience of luxury
A few days at the Stanford Inn Lodge in Mendocino, California where your comfort and health is what matters.
Each room features a wood fireplace prepared for you each day (you just have to lit it) where you’ll experience the wonderful scent and comfort of a real fire. You’ll also be delighted with daily homemade vegan cookies and a delicious vegan breakfast. During the holiday season, the spectacular decor will make you forget that you miss that white Christmas. And the coastal charm will provide with much rejuvenation and downtime.
Luxurious experiences (and travel) were never really part of my vacation plans. I’ve always loved to travel but had always done it on the ‘cheap’ until I met my partner. The truth is, for most of my life I didn’t feel like I deserved anything too good. I bought things that were basics and met my needs simply. Luxury wasn’t part of my vocabulary.
I challenge you to shift this approach and gift yourself the gift of luxury in small ways. Luxury doesn’t necessarily equal expensive. However, most people equate the two and therefore never allow themselves to experience luxury.
The experience of body liberation
Next, in the line of getaways, would be a weekend at Breitenbush Retreat Centre in Oregon.
I really enjoy hot tubs and saunas, but the natural hot springs at Breitenbush brings the experience of the water element to another level.
Imagine yourself soaking in a natural hot tub laid of solid rocks, surrounded by a soothing forest under a sky filled with millions of stars. This is where I still go again in my mind when I need to calm myself. I have not experienced anything like this anywhere else. There is something magical at Breitenbush that is even more pronounced in the early hours of dawn and late at night when no one else is around.
Of course, joining a workshop while at Breitenbush will enhance this experience even more. This is where I first got acquainted with the Shamanic practice and met a wonderful mentor, Hank Wesselman, who is very dear to my heart.
At Breitenbush clothing is optional in the baths and you will soon notice that people wearing a bathing suit are the minority. We carry so much body shame that it can be difficult to feel so ‘naked’ and vulnerable. Although it took me two visits to Breitenbush to let myself get naked in front of others, this experience was truly liberating to me.
The experience of self-care
Next, in my list of must experiences would be the self-care types – mostly of bodywork. There are many options in this area for you to choose from. My favorite ones are massages, reflexology, and facials. Most of us have difficulty allowing ourselves to receive and to let ourselves be taken care of. Bodywork can help with letting down those guards. When you allow yourself to receive care, you also allow love, support, and abundance to come in your life.
If you live in the Greater Vancouver area (of British Columbia), I recommend :
Reflexology with Anca Breazu from Bliss for the Sole.
Massage with Colleen Wynia who just know where your tension is held in your body and has magical hands.
A facial or pedicure with Gretchen from Wildflower Beauty Bar with whom I have collaborated with to bring you gemstones infused pedicure. She calls it the Ritual pedicure, and it includes a fresh flower, gemstones, essential oil foot soak and a longer shoulder massage. A real treat.
Although I haven’t had a facial with Tazeem Jamal from Skindulgence, I have heard great testimonials. I have gotten to know her and I am sure the level of care and attention is top notch.
I don’t wear makeup and I have relatively good skin so I had never thought about getting a facial before. But recently I’ve had my first facial and I must say it was a glorious experience.
Of course, like I’ve mentioned about the experience of luxury, sometimes it’s worth it to spend a bit more on a really good treatment. The quality of the products and the added attention to details usually given makes up for the little extra.
The experience of inner peace
When life is challenging and we’ve come to a point where we feel we need some sort of support to help us move from a place of despair to a place of strength, getting that support is the best gift you can give yourself.
There are many modalities out there and many supportive tools that it can be a challenge finding the right one. This is where following the signs that are out there for you and feeling into something or someone is important. If you feel drawn to work with someone, then don’t let excuses get in the way. Also, know that different people might come into your life at different times to help you move on your unique path. Each one might have a gift for that specific part of your journey, so it’s ok to change modalities and practitioners over time.
Of course, spiritual healing is what I love doing the most because it can make such a big difference so quickly.
In terms of supportive tools I use in my own life to help me maintain my health and relieve my stress, here are my favorites :
I love the flower essence of Olive from Bach, this is my go-to product in times of stress (and mostly financial stress). I also love the flower essences from Botanical Alchemy. Their Aura Spray is just amazing!
Again, this is about finding the right essential oil(s) for you and your specific challenge. I was purchasing my oils from different merchants and brands until I started using Young Living essential oils. I really find the quality of their oil worth having a look at. They are slightly more expensive and it is a social network marketing type of business, but you may be as surprised as I was.
Same as above, it is best when you find the right stone for you. Each one has unique properties that are beneficial in different ways. They also work differently for each person. If you’re not quite sure about them having anything special, it’s ok. They are so lovely to look at, it makes most people happy. I love surrounding myself and my home with products from the earth, for me it has more spirit than any made-made items.
The experience of vitality
I am currently working on this one because I have to be honest I don’t really exercise much. I love taking walks but haven’t found something else I am motivated enough to do. However, I enjoy eating quality food and I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve my health.
Humalife products are amazing. I don’t use supplements much, but use a few of their products and find them very effective.
Community. I have to say that the community that has grown from holding weekly meditations has fulfilled me in unexpected ways. I have met amazing people that I look forward to seeing and I have seen many friendships developed as well. We are often so isolated in our life. And it can be challenging for introverts (like me) to be comfortable in groups. However, when you find a small group of like-minded people, it can be quite comforting. Many of us are diverging onto new paths in our lives and we may not have any people around us that can understand that. It can be important to find a few who are at similar points. People who are looking to grow and deepen their understanding of what life is and what it can be.
What kind of experiences are you looking for?
I could go on with may more, but I hope I have given you a few ideas you can indulge on. And if you have any recommendations of your own I would love to know.