“The mind is like water. When it's turbulent, it's difficult to see. When it's calm, everything becomes clear.”
– Prasad Mahes
Heart Route:35 Country: 10
For years I'd wanted to find a way to help others, but could never seem to find something that came naturally to me, until now.
Before learning about mindfulness, my mind was like a chaotic snow globe, always shaking, my thoughts like snow, flying here, there and everywhere! I craved to have a vacation from my mind, and found life just so freaking overwhelming all the time. After years of cycling my heart routes I slowly learnt that it was focusing on my breath and the sensations in my body that took me to a place of momentary calm. When I learnt that mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment on purpose, it all started to make sense…
Cycling my heart out route after route, year after year, had been my own meditation, and learning to combine it with seated meditation everyday enabled me to finally find a way to settle my snow globe thoughts.
This summer I decided I wanted to be able to teach mindfulness to others, so I travelled to the south of Spain to take a MBSR teach mindfulness course with Mindful Academy International.
Follow Your Heart
Mind on fire,
The numbness spreads,
My legs gone dead,
If only I could move…
The tenacious fly,
That active gardener,
If only I had silence…
My familiar friends,
Worry and fear,
Always around, but never welcome...
Mind on fire,
Damn that feels good,
Stomach growing like a balloon…
Emotions join the stream,
Thoughts pass like clouds,
Even the ocean seems calmer…
Sitting cross legged,
Silence starts to spread,
Sounds reducing in my head..
The beautiful town of Altea, close to Alicante in Spain!
Heart Route 35
Only a few hours left in a town I'd hardly seen, making a heart route was a challenge no doubt! Several different bike maps, 2 bike shop assistants, and dozens of attempted heart routes, not 1 seemed to want to emerge.
I was close to accepting no route could be found, and just enjoy cycling mindfully along the sea, but that's the beauty of letting go, seconds later Cecilia at Ashe bikes pointed at the map!
No it wasn't the most scenic,
No it wasn't traffic free,
But yes, it was perfect, for me anyway…
The route represented the challenges along my teaching course, the doubts, the confusion.
With the final part along the sea, peaceful, calm and full of joy…
It got me thinking about all the times I've longed for something, and never came close to reaching it, until I finally let go.
Spread the Love
I could not have done this course had it not been for my teacher Kathy, her years and years of experience and wisdom was truly inspiring to learn from. Our beautiful international group where a joy to teach, support and learn from one another.
I made this route to remind me of the life changing teaching course at Mindful Academy International, the people I met, and the future hearts I hope to help.
My thoughts won't stop,
I can't sit cross legged,
I don't have time,
I'm too busy,
I'll start tomorrow,
I'm doing it all wrong!
The beauty of mindfulness is to practice kindness and compassion to ourselves, and that all those thoughts above are perfectly ok to feel.
Thoughts won't stop? It's normal just observe them,
Can't cross your legs? Use a chair,
No time? Try 2 minutes
Too busy? Take 3 deep breaths,
Starring tomorrow? How about now
Doing it wrong? No, you're not.
Meditation doesn't mean you always have to sit still,
How do your hands feel on the handlebars?
How about your bum on the seat?
Your feet as they rotate the pedals?
How does the wind feel on your face, or maybe it's a rainstorm.
Try paying attention to the present instead of worrying about your to do list today, or your conversation with whoever yesterday.
Enjoy cycling your heart out wherever you are in the world!
We are Barcelona
Birds replaced with helicopters,
Music drowned out by sirens,
Festival plans changed to marking myself safe.
Hate breeds hate,
Love breeds love,
Reaching for my map, I knew what needed to be done...
Drawing a red line from the top to the bottom of the Ramblas,
Following the pen along Passeig de Colom, and into Ciutadella Park.
Line by line,
Passeig de Gracia
Line by line,
You’re now complete.
The red pen is then replaced by bicycle tyres.
Breathing in and out,
Soaking into my memory.
For every flower I see,
Every candle I notice,
Every message I read,
I am no longer scared,
I no longer feel fear.
We are not afraid
We are Barcelona,
Your heart beats on.
#Totssombarcelona #TodosSomosBarcelona #wearebarcelona
Heart-Route: 19 Country: 7
I've been wanting to create a new heart-route in Barcelona since 2013. At the end of October, my heart finally spoke, in fact the day I finished making the video, events occurred which made me even more passionate about sharing it. I hope that Route 19 inspires you to create your own heart-shaped route, and spread the love around the world.
Watch the Video and Read the Full Story below
Follow Your Heart
Cycle your heart out... and share 1 minute
The World's Biggest Eye Contact Experiment took place on Saturday 29th October around the world, a beautiful annual event run by The Liberators & Good Vibrations Barcelona. The idea is simple, share 1 minutes eye contact with a total stranger to help regain human connection.
Do you ever notice how little we sometimes look into people's eyes? All our information seems to be at our fingertips. But can our smartphones smile back at us, or hold a gaze enough to lift our mood? I grew up quite shy, avoiding eye contact, which is why I went last year to the event. I was a bit nervous at having to stare into a stranger's eyes for 1 whole minute, but the more I did it, the more my confidence increased, convincing me to return again this year. The event was back again in Gracia, one of my favorite neighborhoods in Barcelona, the perfect place to cycle my heart out through!
If you live in Barcelona you can use their local bike hire scheme called Bicing. I love how much freedom it gives me, and has saved me from going crazy without a bike these last 2 months. If you’re visiting Barcelona there are plenty of good bike rental shops to choose from, the area Gracia is perfect to pick up your bike as it's along the heart-route!
On the morning of the event I was looking at my map of Barcelona and the route just jumped out at me, it was probably the fastest route I've ever made. I cycle frequently up Passeig de Gracia and Gran Via which I think helped in creating the design. These 2 streets are super wide and I love how bicycle friendly they are.
View Heart Route Map
I really love this new route, you get to cycle past all the hot spots of Barcelona, while still making use of the wide bicycle paths. Highlights include Passeig de Gracia, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, Gracia, Placa Del Sol (where the event was) and the Sagrada Família. If you love the beach you can view my 1st Barcelona heart-route which I created back in 2013. This route was slightly larger in size and took full advantage of the beach path, click here to view the map and video.
I love eating in Gracia, one of my favourite spots to eat is Sol Soler in Placa del sol, the same place the Eye experient was in. I love their Patata Bravas and being able to sit and relax on the terrace.
Best lookout spot:
I discovered this rooftop at Royal Hotel with a friend last winter and instantly fell in love with its views. It's the perfect spot to sketch as the heaters keep you nice and warm, while the views of the sea keep you in a state of pure Barcelona bliss.
Thank you to Emma Bradford, one of the Co-organizers of Good Vibrations for taking the time to share her thoughts on the event in my video. Emma is also a NLP coach and runs an online Facebook community which offers free guidance and support, to find out more you can visit her website here.
I am also grateful to all the people I shared 1 minutes connection with at the event. I really admired one lady who told me she has trouble looking into people's eyes, which was why she came to the event. A big thanks also to my friend Guiu for sharing the event with me for the 2nd year in a row.
Music: The song in the video is called Pillow Talk by Guh, it's been part of my morning playlist for over a year now and still gives me goosebumps every time I play it.
Want to Create Your Own Route?
Cycling your heart out for something close to you can spread the love, & create a ripple effect of heart- routes all over the world. Last year I made this 5 step video guide, I hope it helps you on your journey!
Remember, "Your wheels are your paint, and the world is your canvas"
Cycle your hearts out and I'll speak to you soon,
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes
from your own actions.” Dalai Lama.
Madrid has been on my list of places to cycle in for ages, so I was super happy to finally get the chance to visit! It's a beautiful city, with huge peaceful parks, great cycle paths & full of friendly people. Check out my video above to join me on my Madrid heart route!
Heart Route: An easy 6.13km traffic free route, View map here Wikiloc
Bike Rental shop: Rent and roll (next to Puerta de Alcalá)
Highlights of route: Cycled through the beautiful Retiro park, past Monumento Alfonso XII , Palacio de Velázquez, Palacio de Cristal, La rosaleda del Retiro, Real Jardín Botánico,
Cycled up Paseo del Prado, Museo Nacional del Prado, walked bike along Calle de Alcala to avoid traffic , ended at Puerta de Alcalá to drop off my bike & enjoyed a tasty carrot cake next door at Vailima cafe mmm
Grateful to: Miguel at Rent & Roll & Lucas for pointing out all the best cycle paths & sights to see.
Cycling Tips: Cycle along the Rio to Casa de Campo & enjoy a cold beer with olives overlooking the lake at La Bicicleta Restaurant. Enjoy the traffic free bliss & birds singing. End your evening at the cool La Bicicleta cycling cafe for their amazing chai Late ;-)
Video Music: I fell in love with these 2 songs as soon as I heard them and just had to use them! Check out the music on Soundcloud PETIT BISCUIT — Sunset Lover & Sonnenkind (MÖWE Remix) - MOWE, Charlie Boulala
Flourish! This word sits strongly in my heart, only we have the power to control our own happiness.
A few months ago over coffee with a friend, I discovered a fantastic UK Wellbeing Organisation called ‘Action for Happiness’. With the inspiring Dalai Lama as their patron, Action for Happiness is a beautiful movement promoting positive social change, bringing together people who want to play a part in creating greater happiness.
Check out their website to find out more & have fun reading their 10 keys to happiness poster.
If you have been inspired by this post and fancy having a go at creating your own heart shaped bicycle route, check out my 5 step video guide here showing you how!
Cycle your hearts out and I'll speak to you soon,
What is your heart telling you?
Listening to your intuition is the main key to guiding you along your heart route. Last summer after a breakup I decided to cycle my heart out somewhere I've always longed to visit, and embrace change.
Formentera is a Spanish island next to Ibiza & is a little bicycle paradise, come join me on my journey as I cycle my heart out!
Travel & Accommodation
I took a ferry with Baleria from Barcelona to Ibiza, at one point 2 dolphins even danced alongside me. I had chosen to camp at a super cute place called Camping La Playa after a friend had recommended it to me. You can either bring your own tent, or stay in a teepee! There was a Yoga festival going on at the same time I was there & was lucky to have met some beautiful souls.
Boats & Bike Hire
I took a peaceful boat ride from Es Canar in Ibiza to Formentera. As soon as I jumped off I could see a bike hire shop called Moto Rent Mitjorn where I picked up my beautiful blue bike for the day, check out this link for information on bike here.
The Heart Route
After picking up my bike and map I had around 6 hours to make & ride my heart route before my boat left. After studying my map and asking a few friendly locals for the best bike paths, my 11.14km heart route came to life!
(See Map Below) Remember your heart route doesn't need to be perfect, because neither is life, just try your best and follow your heart.
Take time on your heart route to simply live in the moment... notice the colour of the sky, the sound of the waves, the feeling of the wind on your face. Every time your mind wanders off, try to notice your breath, the feeling on your upper lip as you breath in and out. To learn more about mindfulness and cycling check out this great link here for 5 cool tips.
After I left Formentera I took a boat to Santa Eulalia in Ibiza and discovered the amazing Passion Cafe. The cafe is full of beautiful quotes and healthy food, it was the perfect way to end my heart route.
The most important part of your heart route is to remember all the beautiful people who made your route possible. I want to thank Guiu for my Formentera map tips, the friendly man in the cafe who advised me on the best bike paths & beaches, the mystery cyclist who helped me when I got lost on my route, and finally the lovely ladies I met at the Camping La Playa campsite for believing in my project
I hope you've enjoyed reading this, you can also subscribe so I can keep you up to date with all my future heart routes!
Cycle your hearts out and I'll speak to you soon :-)
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