The Sweet Meadow

travel

You have to break, take breaks, or both.

living the sweet lifeAishe Besim
I’ve never had a really creative idea sitting at my desk. All the big ideas that made a difference happened when I was playing outside.
— Barbara Corcoran

Lately, I’ve been on a mission to re-discover my creative self. Creativity is how we keep ourselves energetically alive. We express our creativity in all sorts of ways, from the way we dress, the art we make, what we cook, the books we read and the music we listen to.

Studies have shown that learning new things as adults can enlarge our brain maps. We benefit from the novelty of new experiences, and to maximise the positive effects on our brains, we need to be continually learning.

Quite often however, we become creatively blocked, held back by negative beliefs and worries about time, money and the support to pursue our creative dreams.

Rather than trust our intuition, our talent, our skill, or desire, we fear where our creativity will take us. Rather than paint, write, dance, audition, and see where it takes us, we turn back on ourselves.

Author Julia Cameron describes cutting off our creativity as making us savage. “We react like we are being choked. An artist must have downtime, time to do nothing. Without it, the inner artists in us feels angry, out of sorts. If such deprivation continues, our artist becomes sullen, depressed, hostile.”

For me personally, work is my creative block of choice. I feel guilty when I spend a day off away from the business, yet I will also feel resentful when I’m doing work on a day off (!).

“In order to recover our creativity, we must learn to see workaholism as a block instead of a building block. There is a difference between meaningful work toward a cherished goal and workaholism. That difference lies less in the hours than it does in the emotional quality of the hours spent. For a workaholic, work is synonymous with worth, and so we are hesitant to let go of any part of it,” writes Julia.

So in an effort to clear the way for creative flow, The Sweet Meadow is closed for winter holidays until Thursday, August 29. A business is only as healthy as it’s owner, so this is a good excuse as any to hang up the Dr. Martens and relax!

How do you hold space for yourself? What are your favourite ways to invite more presence and creativity in your life?

Who knows what magic we might invite into our lives as a result of re-discovering our creative self.

See you in a few weeks.

ABx


When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college…that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared at me, incredulous, and said, ‘You mean they forget?’
— Howard Ikemoto, Artist
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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.

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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
 

Winter Escape - Where to eat on the East Coast

travelAishe Besim
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My path is to create, and in order for me to do that properly, I have to have solitude and peace of mind. And that comes from turning everything off, being alone, staying away from social media and being with nature.
— David LaChapelle, photographer

David LaChapelle was on to something. After a crazy busy and intense 18 months renovating/opening/running The Sweet Meadow I finally allowed myself (because let's be honest, no one else was stopping me) a few days off for a mini winter break. And it was glorious!

I headed north to Brisbane to catch up with family and check out the cafe scene in the Sunshine State (surely I'm not the only one that plans their holidays around food?). We definitely found a few gems.

Nodo is an eatery I had been following for a long time - it made its mark baking gluten free donuts and have now expanded to offer a full cafe menu. While their famous baked donuts aren't vegan, they have lots of options for plant-based eaters, including raw donuts. 

While we didn't eat here, I also liked the vibe at Miss Jones cafe in New Farm (the pastels and timber tables had me hooked). Charlie's Raw Squeeze is also pretty awesome (two vegan brothers turned their dad's fruit shop into a vegan empire - think juices, smoothie bowls, desserts and even a moo-free burger offering with multiple locations across Brisbane).

Next,  we drove down to Byron Bay for a day trip. This little beach town has to be one of my favourite places on earth. Lots of new eateries have opened since I last visited. Combi had beautiful decor and a huge smoothie menu. These guys also have a cafe in Elwood, Victoria, although the Byron store is triple the size and is a lot more comfortable to eat at. I had a beetroot latte which was more sweet than I expected. Look out for this superfood latte at The Sweet Meadow very soon!

We cruised over to nearby Newrybar for a quick stop at my hands down favourite retail space in Australia - Newrybar Merchants. I'm partial to an old cottage - of course - but I love that this store is a collective of makers and artists who all have the opportunity to showcase their wares in more of a lifestyle setting. Across the road is the award-winning Harvest restaurant (their kitchen garden is next level). We sat on the verandah and drank a housemade kombucha with some fresh sourdough - this is vegan living at it's best!

My last stop was Broadbeach, Gold Coast in Queensland. So many plant-based eateries have popped up here since I last visited (granted it was almost four years ago), and I had less than 24 hours here! We ate dinner at The Cardamom Pod which is a vegetarian restaurant with plenty of vegan options. I'm not really a fan of buffet-style eateries but I'd be keen to try this place again on a weekend when they offer breakfast/brunch items. I was starting to get homesick so I ordered the buckwheat pancakes from BSKT Cafe at Mermaid Beach for breakfast - cool vibe and good pancakes, but not as good as The Meadow!

Blend Love, Greenhouse Canteen and SeraBar Burleigh are all other plant-based cafes that are producing the goods along the Gold Coast, just not enough hours in the day to get there.

There's always next time...
ABx