Gael's Blog

Confidence Challenge Dec 2014: Amongst the festivities, use a memory of tranquillity to regain inner peace

Thursday, December 18th, 2014




I have just returned from a lovely week in my home in southern Spain. This was one of my annual painting outings with a great friend. I set off barely able to use my voice and extremely anxious about all the pre-Christmas jobs I had failed to do in the previous week.  (I hadn’t factored into my grand preparation plans the untimely visit of a winter virus!)

Thank goodness I went because I returned home totally revived. Of course this week has been busy but I have almost finished all those to-do tasks (including this belated Confidence Challenge!). But even if a few jobs are left undone, thanks to my improved state of mind I won’t be worrying.  And, I am sure no-one else will either.  We have all managed to enjoy many imperfect Christmases before.

On reflection I know why my week away was especially recuperative. I was painting a memory of the most tranquil place I know.

Last July, my husband and I spent a week in a simple stone cottage in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.  We had visited the area many times when we used to live nearby. Since then we have often dreamed of having some quiet time there on our own, while doing nothing very special.

So when summers in Spain became forbidden, (because I can no longer take the heat,), we treated ourselves to our dream.  We got up late and whiled away the days ambling along riversides, going for spectacular drives and eating enormous farmhouse breakfasts and teas. (There was never any room for lunch!)

Even though we are resolved to return regularly, I decided to do a painting that would regularly remind me of this special place.  However imperfect this work of art will eventually be, just painting my memory has already worked wonders.   By being frequently  ‘forced’ to recall this tranquil scene, my sense of inner peace has been restored.

Don’t panic! Your challenge this month is not to do a painting. I am not that cruel.  You can achieve the same tranquilising effect by other means.  However happy your Christmas and New Year celebrations may be, inevitably there will be moments of stress.  So do try to find just a few minutes to do this challenge.

During these next few festive weeks, I do hope you will enjoy your moments of peace and have a very happy time.

PS In case you are wondering, the photo  of the Yorkshire Dales above is NOT my painting!


Here is your December Confidence Challenge:

  • Find a photo or painting that reminds you of a place where you remember feeling especially tranquil.
  • In your mind’s eye study your scene in great detail. Notice the colours and shapes and imagine listening to its quiet sounds.
  • Place your picture somewhere where you will see it daily so that your memorable scene becomes firmly fixed in your subconscious mind.
  • Whenever you feel stressed or your confidence feels shaky, recall your scene.  Then imagine for a moment or two that you are lying, sitting or ambling around in this special place.  Your body will automatically relax and your mind will be stilled.  When you return yourself back to your real world, you will find that you have more energy and ability to deal confidently with whatever comes your way.
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