“Read read read!” With Beau Henderson & Ella Wroath

Never ever has everything we’ve ever known stopped, closed, slowed to a halt, including ourselves. Never has our beautiful planet had the chance to have a “holiday” from our relentless pursuit towards development and evolution. You can literally feel her breathing, feel her healing and inturn we all are too. As a part of my […]

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Never ever has everything we’ve ever known stopped, closed, slowed to a halt, including ourselves. Never has our beautiful planet had the chance to have a “holiday” from our relentless pursuit towards development and evolution. You can literally feel her breathing, feel her healing and inturn we all are too.

As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ella Wroath.

Ella is the co-founder of Soul Circus Yoga and Wellness Festival and is head of performers. She is also Soul Circus’ muse: it is because of her vision that Soul Circus exists. She continues to drive Soul Circus through these difficult times by launching Soul Circus At Home and the Soul Circus Journal.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I’ve been practicing and teaching yoga for many years. Having been a dancer from the age of two, I started practicing yoga in my twenties when I started to get injuries from dancing. Compared to the competitive world of dancing that dictates how you look and feel about your body, I found yoga accepting and inclusive, and loved how it encourages you to work with where you are on the day and the fact that it is suitable for anybody.

Soul Circus Yoga and Wellness Festival was launched four years ago after my husband and I hosted a festival wedding and found it addictive. At the time, we owned Cheltenham’s first hot yoga studio and had attracted a loyal following with whom we wanted to celebrate. From that Soul Circus was born — combining great yoga teachers, amazing healthy food, fun music and a plethora of other treats. It combined their love of the hedonism of music festivals with the world of wellness to create a balanced event that left you feeling rejuvenated and inspired rather than hungover and unhealthy!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Right now, as we sit in isolation and quarantine, I can’t think of anything more interesting than what we are all experiencing right now! Yes, I’ve had many twists and turns in my career and amazing moments and memories, but it all feels like that was part of an old way of life. I think that the world has now changed forever. I don’t think we’ll be able to go back to how we were before the virus and I certainly don’t think we should.

I am not going to lie and pretend that I haven’t had moments of anger and despair in all of this. Running an events company that relies on ticket sales and sponsorship in this current climate is tricky and I’ve had moments of real panic of how to survive this and feed my kids.

But I’ve also had moments, like everybody, where I have marvelled at how well we and so many other people have adapted to keep going, stay positive and support our fellow humans. Amongst the sadness of the virus, we’ve also had a real unique opportunity to slow down, take a step back and view our life as it stands.

Never ever has everything we’ve ever known stopped, closed, slowed to a halt, including ourselves. Never has our beautiful planet had the chance to have a “holiday” from our relentless pursuit towards development and evolution. You can literally feel her breathing, feel her healing and inturn we all are too.

It’s the perfect moment to stop and look around us. At our families, at our friends, at all the people and things that make life beautiful.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

I think now more than ever it’s important to lead from the heart and feel into what will make your company work better. At the same time what can you be doing to give back?

COVID19 brought to our attention that we’ve all been severely out of balance — running ourselves ragged to keep up, stressing and not looking after our mental health, not listening to the cries of our tired bodies, and ignoring the cries of our poorly planet. It has forced Mother Earth to take action to get our attention and it’s time to start creating more harmony.

That means looking deep into ourselves and the things that we do that contribute to the abuse of our planet and the abuse of ourselves. Looking into how we view others — male, female, black, white, etc — and see if there is a better way to attend to all sides of humanity as well as all sides of ourselves. Where in your subconscious are you out of balance, what are the things you would be happier to ignore and hide, how can you lovingly and compassionately bring it all back into equilibrium.

When you lead from the heart, when you yourself are balanced, you lead and work by example. The ability to impact your colleagues and direct reports in this manner is invaluable and it is my hope that post COVID19 this will become a priority in the work space.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I read ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle when I was travelling through Central America with my husband and 2 little boys. We’d left our home, family and current careers behind us to go on a journey of self-discovery.

On our travels we lived and worked in a few places that were unconventional and frankly, quite terrifying when you have 2 precious children with you! I would sometimes spiral into fear about what we had left behind. I would also feel a lot of anxiety and apprehension about being in places that were so different to the UK. Would my children be safe, was I being irresponsible not sending them to school, had we lost our minds?!

This book helped enormously through these uncertain days of epic adventures and real self growth. It helped me hold fast and know that the path I was on was my own creation and therefore exactly where I was supposed to be.

Having experienced trauma as a child I found it extremely helpful to have techniques to help me stay in the present and not revert back to old patterns of fear and self destruction. I could easily have missed so many beautiful experiences whilst we travelled with our kids by only focusing on the things that could go wrong, instead I tried to stay as present as possible and create my life from that place as opposed to creating my reality from experiences in my past.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?

I think being mindful is simply about minding where your attention and energy is being directed at all times. So many of us just let our thoughts run rampant through our minds, thinking negative or fearful thoughts, or projecting our inner shadows onto other people.

Being mindful to me, means having a really good clean up of what goes on in our heads. We create our outer reality by our thoughts. So you literally create the experience of your life from your inner thoughts and emotions.

This means it’s really important to be careful of what we let into our reality. Be mindful of what you watch, what you listen to, who you spend your time with — does it bring you joy, happiness and a sense of peace or does it make you feel something negative? It’s the same with our thoughts. Are they kind and nurturing to ourselves and others or are they destructive and harmful?

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?

First of all it’s been scientifically proven that we are made of energy, and energy is directly affected by thoughts and emotions. Meaning that every single cell that makes up our bodies listens and responds to our thoughts. Our thoughts literally have the power to create a physical body that is most aligned with our beliefs about ourselves.

I’ve had issues around weight in the past, I grew up going to quite an old school dance school where we were told we fat from a young age. I also grew up with a mother who had a personality and eating disorder. From as far as I could remember it was normal for me to think I was fat and not good enough because that was what I was told and shown by the people around me. Learning all about the power of our thoughts and intentions has meant that I have now shifted all those old beliefs into more positive ones and my body has directly responded. I’m healthier and fitter now at 38 than I have ever been and I know 100% it’s because I changed the way I thought about myself.

I am also more successful in my field than I ever believed possible. Where I used to think that I wasn’t intelligent enough to run my own business and I wasn’t smart enough to gain the respect of people, I’ve now changed that to asking myself ‘Why not?’ Why not aim for the stars, why not think that I can achieve anything, why not strive for an extraordinary life. If I don’t then no one else will and, as I’m the one that’s responsible for my reality, I may as well make it a good one!

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness and serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

1.Turn off the TV. When we went travelling for 2 years with our children we didn’t watch any TV and only streamed a few shows. Instead of pouring our energy into a screen we went out and explored the world. It was hands down the best thing we have ever done as a family. We missed Brexit completely but watched from afar as so many of our friends and family got sucked down a rabbit hole of doom and gloom. Whilst they were watching and listening to politicians lie to them over and over again, we were learning new languages, meeting new people, and experiencing a completely different reality. Iit is a choice to let yourself get caught up in what are mainly negative stories on our screens through news, soaps, reality tv etc etc. Again, we create our own reality so question if you want all that in it!

2. Take the time to recognise the aspects of your life that are not in alignment with your joy. It is easy to feel like a slave to money and the man, and retell that narrative to yourself over and over, but again, you always have a choice. If something is making you unhappy, it is also causing disharmony in your body which in the end leads to disease. If there is anything to learn from this pandemic it’s that that the body most certainly keeps score. Every unprocessed negative thought and emotion is stored somewhere in your body, meaning that if we keep doing the things that make us sad or angry over and over we have to start relying on medication and other escape routes to feel “normal.” This lowers our immune systems and makes us much more likely to contract illnesses.

3. Be mindful of how you use social media. As we all know it is highly addictive. I work in wellness and I still get sucked into it and am surely addicted to it. We have no idea what it is doing to us in the long run so it is a good idea to be as mindful as possible with our usage of it. My top tip would be to unfollow any accounts that make you feel like you are not doing well enough in life. If there is an overzealous parent telling you everyday about their perfect routine, or the influencer who posts pics of their perfect life, remember that what happens in reality is vastly different to the one image you are being shown. We’ve all fallen apart but posted a picture the same day depicting a very different story! Follow accounts that inspire you and teach you something new. There’s plenty to be learnt from social media and amazingly talented people sharing all kinds of information. Use it as your own personal vision board, what do you want to see more of in your own life and follow accounts that resonate with that.

4. Have fun! Allow yourself the time to connect with your inner child. What do you love doing that brings you joy? It might be something you did as a child like paint, write, dance, sing or might be something you’ve always wanted to learn. The main thing is to get out of your own way and allow yourself to feel young and free again. We put so many constraints on our own happiness and freedom to express that happiness. Jobs, kids, relationships, responsibilities keep us so busy we forget to tend to ourselves first. It’s impossible to put our all into life if we are running on empty. Take time to be silly, have fun, laugh at ourselves and with friends, do whatever it takes to spark joy and then apply that to creating your dream life.

5. Sex. If there is one place you can truly express yourself then it is in the bedroom. I think it’s been a difficult journey for many of us to accept ourselves and our bodies but once you arrive at that place of acceptance then sex is truly a gift. Obviously sex is all about the creation of life but if you are not creating a ‘life’ as such, create something else. There’s power in that orgasm, use it! The energy created during a free and joyful sexual experience is powerful and magic. Sex had been used for thousands of years in spells and rituals to manifest and create. How can you spice up your sex life with your partner or yourself? How can you release those creative juices? How can you worry less about the physical body and connect on a deeper level with your spiritual and sexual body. Unleash that wild man or woman you’ve always wanted to be. Your partner will thank you for it as will your reflection in the mirror if there is no partner! Toys, lingerie, props, role play, go for it, there are no rules, you only get to experience this wonderful human body once, play with it and see what it’s capable of.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

  1. Put yourself in their position so you can fully understand where they are coming from. We all have completely different pasts and completely different experiences so this will bring up totally different things from one person to the next. Treat everyone with compassion and understanding and remember that we are only able to cope with a situation with what resources we have developed from our own life experiences.
  2. Try to understand the best way to support someone. Ask them if it helps to talk, or be left alone. Don’t just bombard them with what you find helpful because that may not be helpful to that person and could instead trigger them to make it worse.
  3. Find ways to understand and connect with the anxiety. Often we have patterns that we repeat in order to keep us safe. If we feel a certain uneasiness arise, maybe that is a gut feeling into something on a deeper level. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Our hunches and gut feelings are our subconscious communicating with us, so if we can learn how to listen without getting too anxious it is often a useful and meaningful message coming through.
  4. Learn about CBT. Typically people with anxiety have a natural bias towards thinking the worst. If you can help someone look at things from a different perspective it can make an enormous difference. Asking questions like “what is the worst that can happen?” “What’s the BEST thing that can happen?” “What’s most realistic or likely?”
  5. Try not to take over and fix their life. Avoidance is a key feature of anxiety, so don’t be tempted to just make everything alright as you will fuel their avoidance. Be gentle and supportive but also try to recognise the things they need to be doing to overcome the anxiety. You also need to look after your own needs and not become too burdened.

What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?

  1. Find your local yoga studios and try different teachers and styles until you find the ones that resonate with you. Yoga is my favourite form of bringing myself back to centre. If yoga doesn’t do it for you, then find another form of movement or exercise that helps you get out of your head and fully connected with your body.
  2. Meditate and connect to source whenever you remember to. You don’t need to meditate for hours a day, it can be 10 minutes of pushing a pram, 5 minutes of walking your dog, 3 minutes of being completely present in your “now” moment in the shower. I like to imagine a beam of light shining through the crown of my head connecting me with the cosmos. That beam goes through my body down into the core of the earth reminding me everything is connected.
  3. Read read read! There are so many mind blowing books on self help, self discovery, philosophy, quantum physics, psychology, physiology, and more. I like using my Kobo App and Kindle. I find books that I love and then the app suggests more books that I might like. I also like to follow authors and philosophers on social media who suggest reading lists. Read by intuition. You’ll soon find that the right books seem to find you at the right time. I’m currently reading ‘Becoming Super Human’ by Joe Dispenza (quite by accident that I’m reading it during lock down). It’s all about the power of the mind and how illness all start with the patterns of our own subconscious.
  4. Find time to really love and look after yourself. Choose that delicious food or wine in the supermarket that spoils you and makes you feel good. Run yourself a candle lit bath, treat yourself to a new book or other treat. Admire your body in the mirror and fall in love with the beauty of it — touch it, caress it, and don’t wait for someone to come and do it for you. Schedule time to have fun with people you love that is only for fun and joy and no other agenda. How you treat yourself is a direct message out to your reality of how you expect and want to be treated. If you scrimp on yourself then the world will scrimp on you too.
  5. Don’t expect to be rescued. If things are rough, your life does not look how you want it to, it’s up to you to change things. Your TV, your government, your well wishing family who don’t want you to change, are not going to help you transform your life. It takes guts, determination, and a crystal clear vision of what you want, not what you are told you want.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“As above, so below. As within, so without.”

This is a phrase that always comes to me when I smoke weed (for medicinal purposes ;)!) It quickly and simply sums up the meaning of life. You want heaven on earth, you have to live it in your current life. You want your outer world to be beautiful, you have to create it first inside of you.

For a long long time we’ve been trained to believe that everything we desire can only be discovered externally. We must make lots of money, have lots of things — consume, consume, consume. We’ve never been taught how to find inner peace and connect with our true source of power.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I wish more than anything that I could convince everyone that they are in control of their own health and wellness.

The most frustrating thing for me about COVID19 is the amount of people who I believe have become so sick and ill from the stress of it. The mass media has convinced society that they are sick, that they have absolutely no control over their bodies and their immune system, and that we are all done for.

Reporting the deaths over and over but not the recoveries, reporting the dark side of every situation but never the light. It’s brainwashed people into thinking that they are ill before they even have symptoms. I can’t help but think that if the media had handled this more responsibly then perhaps a large number of those poor people may never have become sick.

Our amazing bodies, so intricately designed to keep us alive and function in highly advanced ways, also know how to keep us healthy. But our thoughts are an enormous part of that. As soon as your thoughts become “sick” so does your body.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

Follow all of my adventures and the adventures of Soul Circus on Instagram — @ellawroathsoulcircus and @soulcircusfestival

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


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