Bairbre Power: 'Why I'm using a vision board to help me live the best life I can - for me'
Years ago I worked with someone who had an unreserved dislike of complementary and alternative therapies. His nose would wrinkle up, his glasses would rise up in line with his eyebrows and we would be left in no doubt that he didn't approve.
I, on the other hand, loved them. They were oxygen for my battered soul and whirring brain and I dipped my toe into quite a few. I've had my aura read and my chakra energies balanced. I attended guided meditation and kundalini workshops. I never got around to Tibetan eye reading and I declined to run around in the nip chanting affirmations or drinking my own urine.
The thought of manly Irish rugby players doing yoga would have sent my cynic pal's blood boiling and he would have denounced the plant-based diets I'm flirting with as something amounting to leprechaun droppings. This whole clean-versus-dirty food debate is very fractious and I'm leaning more and more to the green side of life.
An inveterate tea and coffee drinker, I often crave a really cold carrot and ginger juice, while a green goddess salad full of kale is my idea of heaven on a Monday after a weekend of excesses.
Yes, midlife is all about a trade-off between old sinning ways and new aspirations. If I had the money, I'd love to take off for a week of yoga camp and juicing to reboot my life. I often surprise myself at how I can't get enough green veg into me. What a turnaround because now I adore Brussels sprouts and, out for dinner this week, I almost went for a main of just cauliflower. They are the two vegetables I despised as a child, along with lightly cooked savoy cabbage.
However, after weeks of being queen of the veg, I got an almighty urge for a rib-eye steak last week so I joined friends at Marco Pierre White's for a steak, a glass or two of Four Sisters wine and went home sated. "But that's just your body telling you that you need meat," a narky carnivore pal insisted as I tucked into a salad the following night.
Firmly positioned in midlife, I know I need to refine my tastes and behaviour and this week I got to thinking more about living the best life I can for me and who I am now.
Marianne Power's book, Help Me!, was partly the catalyst. It's about one woman's quest to find out if self-help really can change her life. It's absolutely hilarious - a real page-turner - and if I was snoring on planes last week, I've been snorting with laughter on buses and trains this week.
But jokes aside, as Marianne worked on getting her life out of a rut, it got me thinking about my midlifer one. Maybe I should start the new year as Marianne did, with an icy plunge into a lake to wake up every cell in her body.
A few years ago, I performed in a play for three weeks and each night, before I went on stage, I left my two fellow actresses in The Vagina Monologues and went off to do breathing and visualisation. I was advised to picture myself in a capsule filled with white healing light and absorb positive energy. I found it incredibly calming and all I had to worry about was getting onto the stage without tripping in my high-rise Louboutins. I was feeling the fear, but I did it anyway, and the pure white light thing helped me. It's a ritual I've used in TV and radio studios if nervous and the visualisation technique helped me banish the fear.
This month, my project is to follow Marianne and do a vision board. She did one depicting her dream future when she was £3k overdrawn and sharing a flat - and that dream house in LA she included in her board could become her reality because now her book is a publishing sensation in 20 countries and could be made into a series/movie for Netflix.
And just to ram home the concept of turning your dreams into a reality, a good pal told me how his latest business venture was something he put on his vision board in 2012.
My vision board won't be big. I don't want to acquire more possessions. It's going to be about creating happy memories. There's definitely a camper van in there and Romy Power, the Yorkie, is sitting up front. I reckon we'll dawdle around France for a while before hitting Europe. We'll listen to podcasts and walk lots and I'm going to write. Yes, that's the picture I'm putting up on my board. Books.