Don’t Let Mercury Retrograde Kick Your Ass!

Don't let Mercury retrograde kick your ass!

Few things throw the Universe out of whack like Mercury retrograde. I have written about it extensively, but on Monday, I felt the urge to make a video about how to survive Mercury retrograde with class and grace!

As you are probably aware, Mercury is retrograde from the period of May 19th to June 11th 2015.

I didn’t want you to suffer alone! So I changed into my sparkliest pink kaftan — it felt appropriate — and sat in front of my window to give you 10 tips to survive Mercury retrograde… As well as a couple of things to avoid during this tricky time!

Click play to watch! (If you’re viewing this via email, this is the direct video link.)

 

So when your friend grizzles this week about how their computer is frozen — but insists that astrology is a load of rubbish — be sure to send them this video!

Much love,

For more info, be sure to check out 10 Magical Ways To Make The Most Of Mercury Retrograde and How To Survive Mercury Retrograde!

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Five Things I’m Loving Lately: Gardens, Coffee Dates, And Aura Photography!

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There are always so many things to be thankful for, and when the Sun finally comes out for good, I feel even more ecstasy coursing through my veins than usual. Sunlight streams into Darling HQ, hitting the crystals in my window and making rainbows dance all over the walls. The trees thrill us with pink blossoms before exploding with fat green leaves. It’s perfectly appropriate to bust out the Tan Towels, jump on a Citibike, and spend hours in a park, doing nothing at all. It’s my favourite time of year.

There is a lot going on around here lately, and it would be easy to get overwhelmed. Instead, I’m choosing to see the best in everything and everyone, pacing myself, and rocking out that silver lining.

Below are five things that have brought joy to my life lately… And some suggestions for how you can bring a little bit more happiness into your life!

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COMMUNITY GARDENS

New York City is a weird and beautiful place, where lovely things spring from dire circumstances. In the 1970s, the city was pretty much the worst place ever, and President Gerald Ford was quoted as telling the city to drop dead (even though he didn’t actually say that). The city was in financial ruin and the population dropped by a million people, leading to the abandonment of a lot of public and private land. The good news? Some of those derelict lots were turned into miniature gardens by people who lived nearby.

The Department of Parks and Recreation initiated a program called GreenThumb which oversees these community gardens. They are all over the city, in every borough: some are full of flowers, others are farms, and the best part? They’re all open to the public.

The day after I returned from Tulum, I attended a volunteer orientation day at my favourite community garden, 6BC. I’ve been in love with it ever since I first peeked through its gate, and I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say it is the most glorious garden in the East Village. It has a fish pond full of koi, a grape arbor (with solar panels!), picnic tables, a grotto, and — my favourite feature — a killer treehouse.

On orientation day, I pitched in for a few hours, learning about pruning trees, chopping up branches with a big pair of shears, and getting to know my neighbours. It was such a great way to spend a morning, and I came home feeling really grounded and positive.

Now I have a key to the garden (hooray!), and I’m looking forward to spending many afternoons lounging inside. I can’t wait to learn more about plants and be more involved in my neighbourhood! Yay!

Why don’t you… Research community gardens in your area? Or plant some seeds in your own backyard? Or help someone else out with their garden? Digging in the dirt feels really, really good — you won’t believe me until you try it for yourself!

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AURA PHOTOGRAPHY

I’ve wanted to have my aura photographed for ages but somehow, had never made it down to Chinatown to get it done. On Saturday, after taking a boat trip to see the Statue of Liberty with my friend Jake, he asked, “What’s the weirdest thing we could do right now?”

It was the perfect opportunity. We walked into Magic Jewelry, had our auras photographed, and then sat down for a pretty in-depth reading. The woman explained to us that an aura picture basically tells you about how you’re feeling right now, plus the last 3 weeks, and the next 3 weeks to come. The readings were freakishly accurate, and very detailed — we were so impressed, especially for $20!

Plus, I’m really psyched to have a rainbow aura photo to put on my fridge!

Why don’t you… Google “aura photography” in your city? Be sure to check out Radiant Human, too: she travels the USA (and soon the UK) with her gear!

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PLANNING TRIPS

Next month is going to be wonderful. After our Blogcademy class in London, Kat, Shauna and I are heading to Florence, VeniceRome, and — the place I’m most excited about — Marrakech!

I’ve wanted to visit Morocco for the longest time, and now it’s finally happening! I just snapped up a 1970s rainbow kaftan to swan about in, and I can’t wait to be in a totally different environment. Squee! Of course, Italy won’t be bad, either… Have you been to any of those places? I’d love to hear your tips and advice over on Facebook!

Why don’t you… Watch some travel documentaries (I love all of Anthony Bourdain’s travel shows) and decide on the next place you want to visit? Even if you can’t book a flight straight away, it’s wonderful for the soul to daydream, imagine new places, and have a goal that stimulates all the senses!

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INSPIRING COFFEE DATES

SARK was the first self-help author I ever read. In the depths of my depression, when I lived in Auckland, I would go to Borders, sit on the floor, and thumb through her books for hours. One of my favourite lines from her How To Be An Artist poster was “Invite someone dangerous to tea.” Whenever I read that line, I imagined a beautiful future, where I was living in a house full of rainbows, pouring out cups of peppermint tea for a selection of wonderful miscreants and delightful minxes.

A couple of weeks ago, I realised that I’m already living that dream. One Tuesday, after an hour of Pilates, I received an email from James Altucher: “I’m in Soho, want to grab coffee?” I was downtown in a New York minute, and we spent the next two hours talking, plotting, and laughing. It was great.

It was my first time meeting him. I interviewed him a couple of months ago for Miracle Worker and it was a riot, but hanging out in person was even better. Few things are as fun as meeting someone who inspires you, uplifts you, and gives you a good kick in the ass!

Why don’t you… Invite someone you admire on a coffee date? Most people will say yes, simply because coffee is such a small commitment. Arm yourself with some smart questions, and get into it!

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BEING REALLY AND TRULY IN THE PRESENT

I’m focussing a lot on being in the moment, primarily through breathing, speaking mindfully, and walking meditation. (I picked up a copy of Be Here Now last month which is inspiring me a lot!) It feels great.

For example, when I was in Tulum, our hotel’s wifi signal was slim to none, and after a couple of days of constantly trying to Instagram, I basically gave up. Instead, I gave in to just being where I was, and it was delicious.

Another thing I’ve been doing is taking snapshots of my mood. I took the photo above after an extremely exciting encounter, and I wanted a memory of the moment. You can practically feel the joy coming through the screen! It’s just like Ellen said in last week’s post: when you recognise joy, you have to hold onto it. When happiness happens, make a note of it!

Why don’t you… Make a commitment to focussing your energy on this moment, right here and right now? For extra bonus points, take photos of your best moods… And label them #radicalselfielove! Ha!

Much love,

Photos by Made U LookAlice Olive, Magic Jewelry.

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10 Ways To Jolt Yourself Into Happiness

10 Ways To Jolt Yourself Into Happiness

No matter who you are, we all have bad days from time to time. It’s a natural and normal part of life. However, even though your sadness might be screaming at you to stay inside and never wash your hair again, you still have the ability to do something to turn your day around!

That is one of the most incredible things about living on this planet: we have free will, and in every single moment, we get to choose how we want to feel.

It can be really tempting to dive into bad habits or take the path of least resistance, and slip further into your sadness… But it won’t make you feel any happier. Next time you’re feeling unhappy and you think your life sucks, try one (or all!) of the following.

10 Ways To Jolt Yourself Into Happiness

AVOID THE NEGATIVE AND EMBRACE THE POSITIVE

Often when we feel bad, we find ourselves subconsciously gravitating towards things that will make us feel worse. So my suggestion is to avoid conspiracy theories, the news, and particularly depressing documentaries, no matter how hypnotic and fascinating they might be.

If you find yourself browsing Youtube for Louis Theroux’s bleakest documentaries, STOP! Choose to spend your time on things that will make you feel good, like unabashedly silly comedies (e.g. Zoolander) and uplifting documentaries (e.g. The Eye Has To Travel).

In fact, here’s a list of 33 Movies To Watch When You’re Feeling Sad, Glum Or Bummed Out.

When life sucks, don’t forget to laugh and seek out things that will open your eyes to beauty.

10 Ways To Jolt Yourself Into Happiness

LAVENDER OIL ÜBER ALLES

Every babe with even the slightest magical inclinations should have a big bottle of lavender oil in her domicile. It smells incredible, it’s relaxing, it lifts your spirits, and it will help you sleep soundly too. I not-so-secretly believe that lavender oil can solve pretty much any problem you throw at it.

Go wild with lavender oil! Saturate your clothes, skin, and house with it. Add it to your bath, humidifier, and oil burner. Dab it on your wrists and your pillow. Inhale the scent deeply when you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or sad. Let it open you up and dissolve any tension. Total magic.

10 Ways To Jolt Yourself Into Happiness

GET OUT OF THE HOUSE

Even though you might swear there nothing will feel better than staying in your grey sweatpants and lying in a horizontal position, I’m here to break it to you. You’re wrong! Use a bit of soap and some mascara. Resist the urge to dress in black head-to-toe. Lace up your sneaker wedges and head out into the world.

You don’t have to do anything too crazy. Go and sit in a park for a while, or take your dog down to the river. Ride your bike around and drink an almond milk latte. Feel the sunshine on your face, watch people walk by, and remember that this sinking feeling, this despair, this existential crisis, is temporary. This too will pass. I promise.

10 Ways To Jolt Yourself Into Happiness

POLISH UP YOUR GREEN THUMB

Bring a little bit of nature into your home and it will make you feel just a little bit happier. Buy some plants and put them in your window and next to your workspace. Make your creative area — you do have one, right? — a place you want to be. Clear out the clutter and replace it with green, living things.

In fact, if you don’t know where to begin bringing a little nature inside, here are some magical houseplants to attract love, joy and prosperity into your life!

10 Ways To Jolt Yourself Into Happiness

RECOGNISE JOY AND HOLD ONTO IT

When I was talking to my friend Ellen a couple of nights ago, she told me about something she had learned from a course called Awakening Joy.

Ellen said that one of the secrets of happiness is to really recognise joy when you experience it. You might be walking along the street and feeling terrible, but if you see a colourful flower or you’re struck by the beauty of the sun shining through the leaves, stop right where you are. Say to yourself, ‘This is so beautiful! This is happiness. I am feeling happiness in this moment.’

Then, do your best to hold onto that feeling for thirty seconds. Let it radiate through your body, allow your bones to marinate in the positivity. The point? Firstly, it’ll help you see the happiness in tiny moments. And secondly, you’re training your brain to recognise joy, which makes it easier to be aware of it in the future. Pretty awesome.

10 Ways To Jolt Yourself Into Happiness

DO SOMETHING CREATIVE

One of the easiest ways to get yourself out of a funky mental situation is to do something creative, because it forces you to use another part of your brain. (Art therapy exists for a reason!) Don’t put any pressure on yourself: you don’t have to write the next Great American Novel! Just take it slow and have fun.

Grab a colouring book and lose yourself in kaleidoscopic colours, or doodle weird little characters while you half-watch old episodes of Sex & The City. Make a mess with pastels or fold little origami stars. Rearrange your bookshelf by colour or put little flower arrangements in each room of your house. Enjoy yourself! Get consumed by colour and you’ll remember the world isn’t so bad after all.

10 Ways To Jolt Yourself Into Happiness

REMINISCE

There’s a reason why we love watching movies we’ve seen before, and why songs released in 2001 light us up like human-shaped Christmas trees. It makes us feel good! It’s comforting, and it actually makes us feel more optimistic about the future. Indulge that impulse!

Listen to music that takes you back to a comforting, fun time in your life. Lately for me, a playlist called 90’s House Party 2000’s Hangover has been doing the trick. the same goes for movies or books you love: load up on the stuff that nourishes your soul, no matter how silly.

This is an especially powerful thing to do during Mercury retrograde, which is all about looking back at your past and acknowledging it. You’ve done so much and you’ve come so far. Celebrate that!

10 Ways To Jolt Yourself Into Happiness

DIVE HEAD-FIRST INTO FEELING GOOD

I’ve written oodles of lists over the years full of ideas to make you feel happy again. If you’re not sure where to start, check out 100 Ways To Be A Love Letter To The Universe, 10 Really Easy Ways You Can Love Yourself More Today, 100 Things To Do When You’re Upset (The Sad Trombone List), 100 Ways You Can Start Loving Yourself Right Now, 10 Ways To Snap Yourself Out Of A Slump, and 50 Ways To Put The Light Back In Your Heart.

I mean, damn. That’s 370 ideas right there!

10 Ways To Jolt Yourself Into Happiness

DISCOVER YOUR BEST TRAITS

One of the exercises from week one of Miracle Worker is to email 10 friends and ask them what your three best qualities are. This can be extremely nerve-wracking, but everyone who has done it has been delighted with what they received. (A really nice way to keep the circle of love going is to reply with their three best qualities. Everyone wins!)

The reason why we suggest this exercise is because it can be so hard to see our best attributes, especially when we’re not feeling great about ourselves or our lives. The truth is that we are our own biggest critics, and so taking the leap and asking for someone else’s opinion can help us wake up to our own magnificence. You are rad as fuck, and you should know it!

10 Ways To Jolt Yourself Into Happiness

TALK TO A DOCTOR

If you just can’t seem to regulate your thoughts, if you’re thinking about suicide or how much better life would be if you ceased to exist, it’s essential that you talk to a professional. Feeling this way is not your “fault”, and it doesn’t make you defective or flawed. It’s just an illness that needs to be treated — and urgently.

You are way too magnificent to spend another day feeling terrible about who you are and what you’re capable of. I believe in you! Take care of yourself and the people around you.

Love forever (and ever and ever),

Images by Todd Weaver, Krashing Motions Photography, Best Friends For Frosting, Jack Yong, Miranda Skoczek.

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How To Survive Mercury Retrograde!

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Oh, Mercury retrograde. You are here, AGAIN. You have arrived on our collective doorsteps in all your messy glory. You are our dreaded but regular house-guest. You stagger in the door, kick over our furniture, leave crumbs all over the couch and hog the bathroom. Then, as quickly as you appeared, you disappear again, leaving us slightly stunned but much better equipped to continue with our own lives!

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here we go. The planets are swinging around at all times, and their movements affect us all in different ways. All planets go retrograde, but Mercury’s journey seems to impact people much more than any other. (Even people who “don’t believe in astrology” often “believe” in the crazy aftershocks of Mercury retrograde!)

Why is that? It’s because Mercury rules communication, clear thinking, truth and travel, so when the planet goes retrograde — which means that it looks like it’s going backwards in the sky — all those things go backwards. They start to get ugly and tangle up. Mercury isn’t really going backwards, it’s just hanging out by the sun, but from Earth, that makes it look like it’s in reverse. It typically runs for a couple of weeks, a few times a year.

Check out these dates below and put them in your calendar!

In 2015, Mercury is retrograde from…
January 21st to February 11th
May 19th to June 11th
September 17th to October 9th

Note: We sometimes start to feel the effects of Mercury retrograde a few days early. It’s nice to give yourself a bit of leeway on either side of the prescribed dates!

What happens when Mercury goes retrograde?
All sorts of things! It’s like everyone you know has suddenly gone mad! You might find yourself getting into bizarre arguments about nothing at all, being unable to finish sentences or barely even able to form a coherent thought. Your computer and other electronic equipment is more likely to go on the fritz. You could experience travel delays, too. Double-check your flights and take a book with you to keep you occupied while you wait for the train! We don’t tend to get all the information we need at this time, so it can be hard to make big decisions and it’s not always the best time to sign a contract, either.

Expect to hear super-loud complaining from your friends who are Gemini or Virgo, since both are ruled by Mercury! Mercury also rules a lot of industries like publishing, writing, editing, advertising, sales, public relations and anything to do with transport, like airlines, the post office and cabs! This means it can be particularly rough for Gemini train conductors and Virgo magazine editors, so be kind to any you know!

I often find that Mercury retrograde makes me want to go into hermit mode. I feel like half my brain is missing so I’m really not that interested in interacting with anyone, plus every conversation seems to go in an unusual, confusing direction. I feel much more irritable and frustrated and things just don’t seem to go how I want them to.

So that’s the bad news. Mercury retrograde can be a total kick in the teeth for those of us who normally pride ourselves on having our karmic shit together! The GOOD news is that Mercury retrograde provides us with lots of beautiful opportunities if we can just tilt our head and squint.

Mercury retrograde wants us to move back spiritually. It is providing us with a chance to re-examine various areas of our life which may need a little more work, so that we can move forward to a bright new dawn. Now, more than ever, the time is right to look at things with clear eyes. Delicious, fresh perspectives are revealed. We often have major breakthroughs — intellectual, emotional or spiritual — during this time.

It’s also a terrific period in which to tie up loose ends. So many of us have unfinished projects… Maybe that door just needs another lick of paint, or you’ll decide to put away your ex-boyfriend’s love letters once and for all. Having said that, this is also a time where it’s very common for old lovers, friends and acquaintances to get in touch! If you hear from someone from your past, get together with them and see what eventuates!

One of the best ways to cope with it — as with anything, really — is to just “go with the flow”. When you fight Mercury retrograde, that’s when life gets really ugly. Just take some time, go slowly, be careful, don’t freak yourself out by expecting to be uber-productive-perfect right now. Be good to yourself and the people around you, now more than ever!

A quick and dirty guide to surviving Mercury retrograde!

Be sure not to take things too personally. People will often say offensive things they didn’t mean around this time, because their thinking is clouded and their communication skills are on pause! If your best friend suddenly became the most insensitive person in the world, give her the benefit of the doubt.

Back up your data!

Don’t purchase any big ticket items, because they will often have flaws or issues that you weren’t aware of! Of course, life doesn’t stop just because of wacky planetary movement, so if you absolutely have to get that car, computer or iPhone, TRIPLE-check all the paperwork, and make sure you have a warranty!

Take things with a grain of salt. Everyone is a bit confused, and people are much more inclined to change their mind once Mercury goes direct. Mercury can be a bit of a trickster — could it be that the next few weeks are a big karmic joke?!

Read the small print on any contracts. Ask lots of questions. Again, you can’t put your life on hold just because of some silly planet, but adapt your lifestyle a bit so that things run more smoothly. Communication can be a mess right now, but do your best to get as much information as you can.

Finish things you started a while ago. Home improvement projects? Wardrobe re-organisation? Short stories? Love affairs?! This is an excellent time to tie up loose ends and file things away forever.

Get together with old friends, reminisce and laugh!

Double-check any information you’re given, especially as relates to travel arrangements! During one particularly formidable Mercury retrograde, I actually caught a cab to the wrong airport! Check times, delays, baggage allowances, reservations… everything!

Allow Mercury to nudge you in unusual directions. If you seem to find yourself “back to the future”, don’t just try to wriggle out of it — look at what the universe is trying to show you. What can you learn from this situation? This is a fantastic time to re-examine, accept and move on.

Use the things you’ve discovered in the past to create a dazzling new vision so that you’re ready to blast ahead when Mercury goes direct!

If you want more tips, read 10 Magical Ways To Make The Most Of Mercury Retrograde!

Fingers crossed for the next few weeks, and best of luck to you!

Love and sanity,

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My Book, Radical Self Love, Is On Sale NOW!

Radical Self Love: A Guide To Loving Yourself And Living Your Dream

When I was a little girl, I could usually be found in one of two places: either in my bedroom, working my way through an enormous stack of books, or sitting at the kitchen counter, writing short stories, stapling them together, drawing covers (and even barcodes on the back).

Those are two habits I’ve kept up. I am constantly reading, and cannot resist writing. I’ve filled dozens of diaries, created endless websites, and written thousands of blog posts.

I’ve always been a writer, but until now I couldn’t call myself a published author. That all changes today.

Radical Self Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dream

I cannot put my excitement into words. My first book, Radical Self Love: A Guide To Loving Yourself And Living Your Dream, will be released on June 16th, and it is available for pre-order now!

Because I love you, everyone who buys Radical Self Love during the pre-order will receive the audiobook FREE. (Details are at the end of the post!)

The free audiobook is a small token of my deep, immense gratitude. It’s my way of saying thank you. You may not know this, but I love each and every single one of you so much. Without you, there would be no book, no blog, no meeting beautiful faces on the street in cities around the world. The creation of this book has all been made possible because of you: because of your love, because of your enthusiasm, because of your support and your belief in me. Thank you so much for being here with me on this journey.

It means more to me than I can ever say.

Radical Self Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dream

Radical Self Love is the ultimate guidebook on learning how to love yourself, discovering how to create the life of your dreams, and recognising your own brilliance. The chapters cover radical self love, finding happiness, romantic relationships, friendships, manifesting and magic-making, personal style, and manners.

The loose basis of this book was Love & Sequins, a 12-chapter serial that I released back in 2009, but it has been entirely reworked and rewritten. It weighs in at a delicious 206 pages, was edited by Francesca Lia Block, and features illustrations by Charlotte Thomson-Morley. Every chapter contains homework assignments to bring more beauty into your life, and a gorgeous, Instagrammable quote.

Radical Self Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dream

Radical Self Love should be on every woman’s bookshelf. Gala Darling is the fresh voice of a new generation, encouraging us to love ourselves and rediscover the most magical facets of who we are. This book will crack you open to the presence of your authentic power.” — Gabrielle Bernstein, New York Times best-selling author of Miracles Now

Radical Self Love will inspire you to be the infinitely magnificent babe you know you truly are. I hope that you’ll keep a copy on your bedside table and buy one for your best friend. It’s the perfect book to read while you lie in the grass, an ice-cream cone in hand…

Radical Self Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dream

In my most satisfying dreams, you’ll carry Radical Self Love around in your tote bag until the cover is dog-eared and well-worn. You’ll fold the corners of your favourite pages and highlight the passages that resonate most. And I recommend using a fresh flower as a bookmark…

Radical Self Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dream

The book’s official release date is June 16th, and if you pre-order it, you’ll receive it on that date. I can’t wait for you to get your hands on it! (Unfortunately, the pre-order is only available on Amazon.com. However, when the book is released on June 16th, it will be available on Amazon Europe. This doesn’t mean you can’t pre-order if you’re not in the USA, just that your book will ship from the USA.)

Total honesty time: the feeling of terror and exhilaration is massive! This is such a big dream of mine, and I’m chewing my nails like mad even as I write this post. I hope you love the book — I really think you will. It has been an enormous learning experience, and it has truly taken a village. I’ll be sharing some behind-the-scenes details soon!

Radical Self Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dream

Thank you, again, for your support. If you’ve ever emailed me, commented, or shared one of my posts, please know that I cannot express the depths of my love for you. You are my greatest inspiration.

Never-ending adoration,

PRE-SALE BABES: To access the audiobook, take a screenshot of your Amazon receipt and email it to love@galadarling.com with the subject ‘Book receipt’. We’ll add you to a list and email you with a digital download once the audiobook is ready. (It should be finished in about two weeks. Squee!)

Photographs by Made U Look and Emily Faulstich. Design by We Are Branch.

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