12 spiritual practices that keep me going...
What I want to focus on - and I say this mostly out of self-preservation - is the spiritual things and practices that really have helped me carry on this journey. SKYDANC3R was 5 years old in January (I forgot to celebrate..!) so that's a long time to keep gradually building and adding to something as I'm also trying to sort myself out and grow, learn and heal on my side too. Let alone all the work before that - changing my career from communications & startup entrepreneur to DJ & music producer..! eeeeks.
Above all - keep the vision, have courage, be tenacious and stay the course.
These is just my personal 'toolkit', so if anything helps, great, if not no worries. The most important thing is to work with spiritual people, guides, masters, teachers, etc that you trust, just like any other profession.
In no particular order, here are the practices that have kept me going:
1. Meditation. No-brainer. Having meditated for 20+ years now, when I sit on the mat I pretty much snap into a meditative state - call that positive conditioning if you like. Sometimes it may take a few breaths or minutes, but I quickly get to that peaceful state of inner stillness and access to any answers or inspiration I need.
Have I spent hours and hours going through the pain and discomfort and dead legs, frustration, mind-whirring, boredom, and irritation (at myself and others)? Definitely.
Can I quickly regain my calm and balance? Yes.
Is meditation worth the hassle to master? Absolutely.
Check out apps such as Insight Timer, or Headspace.
2. Trust in the Universe/God etc. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I want to but just can't 'see' (of course) how things turn out. And then something comes along better than I could have imagined for myself. Or you just hit a rock and have to lift yourself up again.
If you are set on a path that is not 'normal' (and even if you are), you probably have some assumption or faith that if you put the work in, you will get something out of it. When you have a more personal vision - then the path is far less obvious and constructed for you, so you need to have more Trust that if you have the vision you will be given the resources and help to execute it. Still working on this one, big time.
3. Trust in Yourself. This leads on from above - maybe you trust in God but not Yourself. Maybe you trust in Yourself but not God (or whatever). Maybe both, maybe neither.
We may have people outside who tell us that we cannot do it, or that we can, but what matters most if you think you can do it. Personally, I don't really set out to prove anyone 'wrong' - I think that's the wrong motivation, and may lead on the wrong reactionary course. But proving to yourself you can do something? That's gold. So trust in yourself that you can keep working towards something and that the path will emerge. I don't necessarily believe in self-belief actually, but I trust myself that if I try something and put the work in, it may happen.
4. Just add Time & the Three Month Rule. Think of things that you've done - maybe learning a sport, writing an essay, driving a car, cooking - something you have had to learn and practice. Of course you can't do it straight away, but with Time you can figure it out. I think Time is often ignored as a factor in achieving. Just because you can't do it yet doesn't mean you can't do it.
My Three Month Rule. Neuroscience says that it takes 8-12 weeks to form a new habit. The past few years I've set myself 3-6 months to focus on one area of my life to change - to really learn something and then integrate it into my life. It's worked out pretty sweet.
See: The Power of Habit, & Mindset books
5. Raise your vibration. As a DJ, my job is about energy. It's about raising, spreading, amplifying energy - through the songs and lyrics that I choose and fitting that to the vibe and energy of the venue and location. DJing for Yoga classes has expanded that understanding further, being in synch with the teacher and energy of the yogis in the room, and even sometimes the weather. Raising your vibration is being conscious of your current mood and then actively increase it - turn up the dial.
Music physically is vibration - it's how your headphones or speakers reach into your ears, and then your brain turns vibration into electrical signals to interpret the vibrations into sound. But this vibration is also a 'message' - eg a sad song when you feel lonely or a dance track when you wanna jump about and celebrate! Words carry energy too - what I am writing to you has it's own energy and frequency. So actively curate your life and day to include practices that increase your vibration.
6. Self love, gratitude & Louise Hay. The Queen of self-love, Louise Hay, has been one of the biggest teachers for me to accept, love and appreciate myself, my body, and my life. After hours and hours of listening to her on youtube, that social conditioning and years of disrespect from others of 'you're not enough' etc, finally starts to go away and you can just feel at peace and happy within yourself.
Appreciating the minutiae of life, and realising how many things we take for granted that are entirely for us - from our red blood cells carrying oxygen, to appreciation for having a bed to sleep in - these add up. Realising we don't have to be fabulous, married, rich or thin to be happy in ourselves is a real relief! Again, like programming good habits to learn a new skill above, I think this is about relearning better thought patterns to make yourself happy in the long-run.
Try Louise Hay's Morning Meditation or Affirmations.
7. Law of Attraction, Alignment & Abraham Hicks. Another big teacher for me is Abraham Hicks (Ester Hicks), via YouTube or books. The main focus of getting into Alignment is focusing your energy on what you want to create and feeling that emotion of it. Vision boards, daydreaming, writing what you want in present tense 'I have... ', are all ways to focus your energy. The Law of Attraction is a spiritual law that 'like attracts like' so basically if you feel bad, more bad stuff with happen and if you feel good more good stuff will happen. That's why it's important to consciously intercept your intentions and mood to make sure that you aren't muddying your own waters, but 'keeping the glass clean' and make sure you are giving yourself the best chance at happiness and attracting what you want.
Try Abraham Hicks Morning Meditation, or one of many videos eg Effortless Manifestation
8. The Secret (book or film). I have watched this a few times over the past 6 years, and I think it helps give an overview of the process of Law of Attraction and how our thoughts and feelings determine our actions and outcomes. It really amplifies the foundations that Louise Hay and Abraham Hicks have built in a comprehensive way, and shows examples of mind over matter. Whilst some people think it is too "commercial" I think that it is a good entry point for understanding this philosophy or operating system to help you achieve your goals and dreams, though I would recommend Louise Hay and Abraham Hicks for deeper work - as much of the Secret is based on this.
9. Surrender & the Art of Allowing. Give up. Give in. Allow. Receive. Once you put out your wishes and intentions, then you have to kinda just get on with life and forget about them! Because then you give the universe the space to manifest them and deliver them back to you. I have done this many times, and it is often a big reason for freaking out because things happen so. damn. quick. that I panic and push it away..!! Abraham Hicks talks about the Art of Allowing, because they say you need to receive gracefully what you have asked for. Sometimes things don't go to plan, but sometimes we get disheartened or need to learn a lesson, or something better comes along. That's when the Trust for the Universe/God comes in that it is for our highest good.
10. Polarity Healing. This is a form of Energy Healing which I started using 5 years ago in Bali, with a teacher called Jelila. I started using for others 2 years ago, and qualified as a healer myself in Bali with Jelila in 2019. Polarity Healing heals our false beliefs and polarities that cause us pain through cognitive dissonance, and unblocks barriers around polarities within us. For instance, I can understand the situation via psychotherapy, but not be healed from it. Knowing something can be healing in itself but it doesn't always heal the harm on an energetic level.
Polarity healing - for me - really heals up and releases the energy wound. Unblocking polarities means opening ourselves up to behaviours that we may have shut ourselves off from - for instance, take anger and passivity. If you have been around someone who is angry, then you may have shut yourself off from anger, judging it as 'bad' but sometimes you need that spark to stand up for yourself, or launch a new project or idea - which if you are too passive because you have shut yourself off from that assertiveness, then you don't have that skill. Polarity Healing is one way that you can help regain access to your own inner abilities.
11. Angel Cards/Tarot Cards/Horoscope. Who doesn't check their Horoscope once in a while?! I find Astrology can be a helpful guide to create context for what is going on in your life (full moon, anyone?). Angel Cards or other types of cards such as Ascended Masters or Goddess Cards, can be really helpful to ask questions and provide loving advice, guidance and reassurance. Often the wording is wise and sound, and then you can figure out how to apply the advice to your current situation. Tarot cards are something I am a bit more wary of and I only use packs that are Angel Tarot or with someone I really trust to do readings as they can deal with different energies. So if you are interested, I'd suggest starting with Angel Cards and seeing how you get on with them, and then explore different types. And if having readings from someone else, make sure you can trust them.
12. Practice. Ultimately, everything is about practice, practice, practice.
I felt a lot of resistance to most of these things when I started - because the voice in my head (some call it ego) would back-chat and be like, no you're not worthy, or I didn't really believe in things for myself. Seeing the impact these have had on my life and happiness and especially peace, means they are now parts of my spiritual self-development toolkit. Sure, I don't use them everyday but usually at least a few times a week depending on what I need at the time. Every spiritual person I know has their own practices and mindset. I think the key is to do a little bit in a safe way, and find out the ways that work for you.
And just keep doing a little bit at a time, and I think the value really adds up and helps you live a happier, more peaceful, enjoyable and aligned life.
Love, peace & parties,
Hello 2019 :)
SKYDANC3R comes to London...
Hello! Hope your 2019 is getting off to a good start and you're feeling positive about the year ahead!
So the big news is that in 2019 I will be moving back to London to continue working on music & other SKYDANC3R goals! Here’s a lil timeline to see how far things come since SKYDANC3R launched 4 years ago. Bali > Los Angeles > Cornwall > London...
New collaborations & music
Last week I started a new collaboration with an amazing yoga teacher, writing backing music for a meditation series. It's been a dream to write music for yoga & meditation, so it's wonderful to team up with a wonderful meditation teacher whose sessions my friends and I have enjoyed the past couple of years. Definitely one to look out for - it'll be joining the Chill page soon!
I've also been back in the studio and working on new music, and in particular a song with an amazing vocalist and friend. It feels so good get back to the heart of creating music, when the production and vocals and lyrics and melodies all just flow together in some kind of magical formation.
DJ sets in February
Also, the start of Feb is looking busy with 2 dance DJ sets at Barefoot on Saturday February 2nd from 9pm, and also on Friday 8th Feb, from 9pm! Here's a pic from December's set! It was so Christmassy and definitely danced off a few mince pies ;)
Sunday Sundowner Yoga & Chillout DJ set
Super happy to announce that I'm DJ for my first Yoga session! Teaming up with Lucy from La Luna Yoga, we'll bring you a blissful Sunday afternoon session at Driftwood in Newquay. Tickets are going fast, so if you want to book, please contact Lucy direct at firstname.lastname@example.org, or see Sundowner Yoga Session with Chillout DJ Set event.
It'll be a dreamy first session, so I hope to you there!
New Chill Mix out!
Earlier this week I recorded and put out a new SKYDANC3R Beach Chill 3 mix out on Mixcloud, bringing together some of my favourite tracks that I DJed last summer during my residency at Belushi's Newquay, overlooking the ocean! Brings back amazing memories with wonderful people.
Hope you enjoy all the chill vibes...
Love & peace,
Hello Beautiful People,
As you may have seen, I've just added my 5th and final section to SKYDANC3R: Dream. This joins the other sections, Music - Ocean - Chill - Planet. It's been really important to me to gradually share these five areas of my life, and bring them together here.
We live in an age where things seem complicated, people are disempowered, and don't know where to turn or get the support they need and want. I wanted to bring all the positives from my experiences together, to show people how you can work through and out of your difficulties, and into a happier, healthier, more authentic life.
Having recovered from severe anxiety as and adult and severe depression as a teenager, I know what it takes to recover and survive. I also know what the mild versions are, and how to recognise them and recover quickly.
When we talk about the planet and environment, I really think that this disconnect humans have from their environment, and lack of care for the planet is very much connected. In nature, unhealthy animals do not look after themselves- their nests are messy and they have poor self-care, whereas healthy animals groom regularly and have healthy, clean habits. As humans are just animals, I wonder if we're the same? With this boom in mental health issues, is this lack of self-care extending to our environment and planet?
So I feel that initiatives to combat mental health issues, and also positive environmental action, could be really key to both helping humans and helping the environment. There are already initiatives in place for treating mental illness with green space or blue space - eg walks outside, or getting in the ocean. So why not add an environmental action angle onto this?
Working professionally in climate change & health for me was amazing but also very challenging, because of the level of obstacles, lack of funding and slow processes involved for action. Therefore I learned the hard way the importance of having something that you love to bring you happiness and energy, that will sustain you and give you a break from the daily challenges.
That's why it's important having something that brings you joy - for me, it's music: DJing, playing piano, singing, creating. This is something that I know many creatives feel guilty about, and sometimes I do too. But the truth is that when you create something that makes you happy - for example, a song or a painting - that happiness doesn't stop there. When someone sees or hears it - even you - it brings happiness to them again. I had a friend who has a creative business, and a day job, and she said she felt guilty spending time creating. I told her absolutely not to feel guilty for it, because it's important to get your creativity out, and that if your intuition says to be creative, you need to obey that.
When I think of unexpressed creativity, I always think of Hitler. He failed to get into art school and told he wasn't good enough. What if someone had just given him a paintbrush and told him to be happy?
Self-expression is such a relief. Whether writing, singing, painting, dancing - giving your soul that outlet and permission is always, always going to make you feel better in the long run. Self-expression isn't the same as having to share it with the world, you don't have to share if you don't want to, but do it for yourself at least.
Anxiety and depression - in my experience - have also partly been down to not expressing myself, or not taking action when I needed or wanted to. Usually getting on and doing something is never as bad as the anticipation of it. And then you get the satisfaction of it! So whether you're taking the first steps and getting a diagnosis, and starting to work through any issues with a health professional, or learn more about how the brain works, or perhaps be more engaged with your community or express your feelings towards certain people.
Often it is the anticipation as well as the action that prompts anxiety, but I really believe that you work your way out of anxiety and depression - and by work, I mean a concerted effort to face up to yourself, and learn and welcome more positive and healthy behaviours and habits. And put a lot more soul into your life. Creativity comes into it's own when we need to heal. It works in ways I don't understand fully, but it does work. It has a power and magic and beauty of it's own.
Creating and sharing my own music, is my personal creative endeavour, but it took me until I was 26 to take music seriously and start developing electronic music. It didn't feel important enough and too personal to share previously. Whilst yes, I do just want to work on music, I also feel the need to share my experiences working on positive action towards your dreams, and environmental action.
Learning how to set up and run a dream project is really a powerful and wonderful thing. Having set up and managed various projects and startups, I know the basics - from vision to nuts & bolts - of how to get things off the ground and running.
Recently, I have written a book (in editing stage now), called The Dream Chaser's Handbook, and I have also opened up creative & lean startup mentoring services. Whilst I am booking DJ sets, and creating new music, I also want to be able to offer support and guidance to help others set up their own dream projects. For more information, you can visit my mentoring site www.nellsanders.com.
Next week, I will be running a workshop for a local charity on anxiety and music, based around my Music and Chill sections. It's been a good opportunity to help me start to reflect on anxiety and music, and the journey that's got me here. I look forward to sharing more in the near future.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and the dynamics between the different sections. I'd love to hear any thoughts you have.
Love & peace,
Hey Beautiful People!
Just wanted to put a lil post out before we get into full-on Christmas stuff, celebrating the past year!
2018 has been an epic year, and I can't thank everyone enough. Summer was my first season DJing in Newquay, and it was a pleasure to have a residency at Belushi's Newquay, overlooking the ocean! From chillout Sunday sets, upbeat Saturday arvo sets, and Latin party Wednesdays sets - it was so fun! I've also loved DJing at Barefoot at the Beach, and Fistral Beach Bar, and parties for Escape Surf School, Reggie's Righthand Army, and Scarlett Entertainment. Thanks so much to everyone who's given me chances, feedback, encouragement and hugs! And helped carry my stuff around lol. :)
The first half of 2018 was dedicated to getting DJ skills up, and rebranding SKYDANC3R. Huge thanks to Musician's Institute for my online DJing course and career mentoring! Plus thanks to local DJ friends for showing me the ropes & for the encouragement. Big love!
Rebranding was a really fun way to take SKYDANC3R, and expanding it to include Ocean and Chill pages. Opening up about lifestyle, surfing, anxiety and music has been a way to share things that have worked for me, and hopefully give others some inspiration and tips for making life easier and better!
In November, I also added Planet page, showing ways to have a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Every positive action adds to the whole, and making lifestyle changes is a great place to start to feel empowered and happier!
Big shoutout and love also to AR Management and members of The Virtual Manager, you've been a constant source of support, strength and solid advice! So stoked to see how artists have grown month on month this year, and where we are now! High. Fives.
October and November saw me taking a little step back from music. In October, I wrote the first draft of a book, The Dream Chasers Handbook. November's been busy, as I set up and launched my creative and lean startup mentoring website, www.nellsanders.com.
Working on SKYDANC3R is a dream come true, so I want to be able to help others make their dreams come true too! Writing music has taken a little back seat for a while... but I'm really happy to have put two tracks out this year, Happy Mellow and Hometime. Now lots of things are in place, I hope to start bringing you some new music next year!
To keep following the journey, please follow SKYDANC3R on Instagram (the one I use most) and Facebook.
Thanks again for all being part of 2018 and making it... awesome!
So much love,
notes by nell