Most people I know have moments when they think, ‘Stop the world, I need to get off…’ Six years ago, high-powered businesswoman Veroniek Vermeulen was so disturbed that ‘corporate life was leading [her] rather than vice versa’ that she took a sabbatical and travelled to Nepal to seek inner peace.
En route to learning meditation at a monastery, however, Veroniek got diverted by paragliding. By a twist of fate, the helicopter pilot who took her up the mountain was a Buddhist who taught her the basic principle of meditation – a simple breathing exercise. ‘So meditation got me anyway,’ she chuckles.
For the first time, Veroniek felt that she truly experienced being in the present and feeling happy within herself. ‘It wasn’t to do with things such as a new dress or a promotion. I just felt happy.’ The next three years passed in a bewildering parallel life where global business was interspersed with visits to different monasteries to learn more about meditation. ‘I would come back feeling amazing, but within weeks the glow had gone.’
Crunch time came two years ago. Veroniek left her job to focus on starting Silatha, a small company dedicated to helping people with modern, busy lives learn to take a pause and, in Veroniek’s words, ‘give yourselves the love you deserve’.
Silatha offers guided meditation and ‘cues to meditate with’ in the shape of beautiful handcrafted Dorje jewellery – a necklace and a bracelet, each with a gemstone that you choose via a questionnaire. ‘Dorje is an ancient symbol representing your true nature,’ Veroniek says.
Each piece of jewellery comes with an access code to the Meditation App, which offers a 21-day course of 15-minute guided meditations (find a taster on silatha.com). At £99 for a bracelet and £249 for the necklace, the jewellery is an investment but I find that wearing my delicate bracelet, with its implicit reminder to pause, is curiously comforting and calming.
Whiz through your Christmas shopping with victoriahealth.com’s special ten per cent discount for YOU readers across the website until next Sunday. Input YOU88 at the checkout. Here are my top picks…
Biobelle I Woke Up Like This Botanic Fiber Facial Mask, £4, is infused with vitamin C to hydrate dry winter skin.
Lanolips Tinted Balm SPF30, £7.99. In four pretty tints, this sheer balm – which has won a Beauty Bible Gold Award – moisturises flaky lips.
Kneipp Enjoy Life Bath Oil, £9.95 – another Beauty Bible Award winner – is a reviving blend of may chang and lemon essential oils.
Aromatherapy Associates Precious De-Stress Time tree bauble, £10, gives one or two ‘doses’ of De-stress Muscle Bath & Shower Oil.
Champagne Bubbles Gold WetBrush, £13.99, detangles knots from wet hair without pulling.
Neom Organics Christmas Wish Three-wick Candle, £45, is scented with 13 pure essential oils including mandarin and cinnamon.
SIMPLE BREATHING EXERCISE
- Breathe in slowly through your nose, following it down to your belly.
- Pause before breathing out strongly – really whoosh it out through your mouth.
- Pause again – feeling your whole body and mind as one.
No bed should be without a Snowy teddy. The CLIC Sargent Bear costs £9.99, with all profits raised in the UK going to this wonderful charity, which offers support for children and young people with cancer, including Homes from Home so families can stay close to hospitals while their child receives treatment. Snowy is available in H Samuel, Ernest Jones and Leslie Davis stores nationwide and online at clicsargent.org.uk.