The Sweet Meadow

living the sweet life

Where the Wild Things Are

inspiration, living the sweet lifeAishe Besim
"Blue Eye", Sarande, Albania

"Blue Eye", Sarande, Albania

We often forget that we are nature. It is when we lose our connection to nature that we lose the connection to ourselves.
— Fem Gucluturk

Our cafe is closing for a winter break and I am bloody excited! I don't create well around chaos, so a chance to slow down and be present will help me draw inspiration from the magic and beauty of our incredible planet. 

I was recently reading about the concept of re-wilding, which, broadly speaking, referred to the ecological recovery and restoration of natural systems. Over the years however, the definition of the word has now begun to include the idea of re-wilding ourselves

The article explained it as, "...getting closer to nature, de-domesticating ourselves, and discovering our wilder selves. Through this, we may perhaps find a deeper, more authentic way to reconnect with our innate sensibilities and feel more holistically entwined with nature."

Of course, the idea that spending time outdoors is beneficial to our overall health and wellbeing is not a new one. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can have a profound impact on stress, happiness and healing. Walking outdoors gets our blood pumping and increases our intake of oxygen, invigorating our bodies and encouraging a supply of hormones that make us feel balanced and creative. Bathing in natural sunlight will give you a boost of immune-balancing vitamin D. Swimming in a cool river, lake or ocean is great for promoting mental wellbeing because it triggers the release of endorphins. It also exposes us to beneficial minerals and microbes that support the thriving biome found on our skin.

The thing I am most excited about doing over our 11 days off is switching off - literally. I plan on deleting my email app from my phone, along with logging out of The Sweet Meadow's social media pages.  It goes without saying that to feel more connected with nature, we really need to put down the technology. Some moments in life should be for fully giving yourself over to the experience and not capturing at all. When not looking down at our phones, tablets, or computers, we can become more absorbed in our surrounds and feel more connected. 

We'll be back on deck from Friday, September 7. Until then, stay healthy, be happy and get outside!


To slow time down, practice enjoying the moment. It is where we spend our entire lives.
— Wu Wei
Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island, Australia

Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island, Australia

Why we all need to be lazy

living the sweet life, travelAishe Besim
The habit of doing nothing at all is incredibly important to our individual and cultural well-being. Far from laziness, proper idleness is the soul’s home base. Before we plan or love or act or story tell we are idle. Before we learn, we watch. Before we do, we dream. Before we play, we imagine.
— Nikaela Marie Peters, The Kinfolk Home

Recently somebody asked me what I do for fun and I drew a blank. Seriously.

Not that long ago I could have answered that question pretty easily - hiking, photo taking, gardening, reading, taking a bath, road tripping, cooking. But running a business is all-consuming and I've found myself stuck on a cycle of eat (sometimes), sleep (not enough), work (like a dog), and repeat.

tumblr_oagcuzWpB11tm01oco1_1280.jpg

But that is all about to change! I was reading an article in Fete magazine about the benefits of lazy days. Much like sleep, downtime allows the brain to process the huge amount of data that is poured into it every day. Prolonged relaxation is what our mind needs to consolidate and problem-solve, to rejuvenate and to restore creativity, balance and productivity. 

Relaxation activities have also been proven to trigger the production of feel good hormones including serotonin and oxytocin, which enhance mood, create better sleep and even offer naturally occurring pain relief. 

But we've known that all along, haven't we? As the classic nursery rhyme sings, "Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream."

Just the other day I was watching an Instagram story from women's mentor Tara Bliss, who was on holidays at the time. She was talking about how taking time out, while beneficial for you as an individual, is also sometimes exactly what your business needs. In other words, it works both ways - your business needs a holiday from you too. 

So that's exactly what I'm doing. At the end of August this year the cafe will close for 10 days and I will be going on my first proper holiday in over three years, to Bali! 

I have promised myself I won't feel guilty about scheduling in days to do nothing, knowing that their ultimate function is to help me bounce back and perform at my peak. 

I have held on to a quote I read years ago about fashion designer duo Viktor and Rolf, who grew up in the depths of suburban Holland. When asked how their upbringing influenced them in becoming the amazing designers that they now are, they put their finger on the creative tendencies of suburbanites: "Because it was so boring. We had too much time to dream."

Looking forward to boring days spent amongst the rice fields of Indonesia. 

ABx

Photo of  Lauren Bullen  in Ubud, Bali

Photo of Lauren Bullen in Ubud, Bali


 
I’m lazy. But it’s the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn’t like walking or carrying things.
— Lech Walesa
 

Day Dream Believer

living the sweet lifeAishe Besim
I think when you look after yourself and nurture yourself, that’s when there’s a movement and flow through your own body, and that’s what allows the inspiration to flow through. When you’re in that space, anything and everything is so beautiful.
— Vicki Lee, artist

I've always been a day dreamer. Albert Einstein was a fan. He thought imagination was more important than knowledge. "Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

It's only now, seven months into running my own business, that I feel guilty for taking time out to allow thoughts to wander. It's crazy really, day dreaming and creative visualising is what allowed me to create The Sweet Meadow in the first place!

Psychologist Sigmund Freud saw day dreaming as a way of achieving experiences that were out of reach in everyday life. I was recently reading through a story in one of my favourite magazines, Fete Life, who wrote that "dreams offer an escape, an altered state of consciousness that removes thoughts from the stresses of real life. Scientists are only just beginning to understand that people who allow their minds to meander are improving their ability to perform complex mental tasks and are actually more creative and productive than those who don't."

I then realised many of my best ideas and sources of inspiration have come when I have escaped the white noise of life, most often while traveling. 

For example, the pastel-hued homes along the coast of Italy and Greece inspired the colour palette for the decor and interiors at The Sweet Meadow.

The green-filled alleyways throughout the villages of France and Croatia motivated me to create a space that was dripping with plants.

Inspiration doesn't always have to come so far away from home. The kitchen garden at the beautiful Harvest restaurant in Newrybar, New South Wales, highlighted the importance of using local, seasonal food and growing our own harvest where possible. Their sign is pretty special too!

My favourite place to day dream is always in nature. We literally couldn't live without plants. Our lives depend on them - food, medicine, clothing, shelter and fresh air, not to mention improved mental health and wellbeing. I find myself always returning to The Conservatory in Bendigo, Mount Major in Dookie, and of course, the family orchard in Kyabram.

So, I'm not going to feel guilty anymore when I choose to spend a day off reading or walking or driving or simply being. In fact, it's probably going to be the catalyst for taking my business to the next level. Happy dreaming!

Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music - the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.
— Henry Miller