Saturday, 24 October 2020
Gillie Sutherland Gillie Sutherland

How to think outside the box when the box doesn’t exist anymore

By  Sep 20, 2020

“What the **** do we do now?”

I found myself asking this question just last week when it felt like all the hope was gone, and the future just looked like one big blank canvas.

I know that many of us are in the same boat, as we come to accept the season is over, that the winter is coming, and when we look to the news, quite frankly, the outlook is a bit bleak.

Being a pretty positive person most of the time, I felt way out of my comfort zone as I struggled to make sense of things that were happening in the world, as well as in my own life.

Then I had a couple of days that completely changed my outlook.

First off, I was invited to go night fishing.

This was something new for me, but one of the locals here in Molunat had a little boat that I’d been out on a couple of times; he knew I loved anything to do with the water, so he asked me if I wanted to go along.

What did I need to take? This was my only question.

“Just some extra layers”, he said, which I only half-listened to, thinking “he’s forgotten I’m British”, and instead I popped a bottle of wine in my little rucksack, thinking it seemed like the kind of occasion for a tipple, and would be a lot more useful than a woolly jumper at the moment.

I was right, it was spectacular. Not so much because of our fishing prowess, but because of the stars. There was no light pollution, so the sky was completely clear, and as I picked out Jupiter and Ursa Major, I was like a creature in rapture.

Then I had a moment. Not a senior moment, not a blonde moment (I have plenty of those), but one of those life-changing moments.

I remembered what I’d been told about the stars once whilst I was in Africa. Every star we see in the sky is a sign of all that is as-yet unmanifest. All creation comes out of nothing-ness and the stars remind us of all that infinite pure potential out there.

There’s magic in the space. It is where all matter is created.

As we talked about my friend’s dream of being a fisherman, I tell him all of this, and as I speak the words, I am conscious that they are also for me.

Just because I haven’t imagined it yet doesn’t mean it can’t happen. It’s just, as yet, unknown. I begin to feel hopeful again.

The next morning I wake up with an idea, to take my retreats online, and that gave me a new fire in my belly again as I got to work. I already felt better.



As I was planning I remembered I’d read about a Dutch entrepreneur who had written to the Croatian Prime Minister about introducing a Digital Nomad Visa.

I have to say that Jan De Jong has inspired me. What he has done in his time here in Croatia is incredible. His message is that Croatia is full of entrepreneurial opportunities, but we have to switch our mindsets from a default negative to a positive.

Jan is full of creative solutions and it struck me that this may just be the way forward for us all.

“To think outside the box” feels dated now, pointless even. The box doesn’t exist anymore, so it’s a case of completely re-imagining what our future could look like.

Perhaps what is needed most in these challenging times is creativity.

Look at all that beautiful art, music, poetry that was borne out of a really dark place. The late great Maya Angelou being the perfect example of this. She took her pain and she used it, and she just kept on creating masterpieces.

If we re-frame all this worry about an uncertain future, and instead think in terms of potential. we can start to unleash the creative genius that I believe resides in us all.
“Life is a great big canvas. Throw all the paint you can on it” said Danny Kayes.

Maybe we don’t know what it’s going to look like yet, but we must start.

That is the beauty of creativity, you don’t need to know, but you have to believe in the magic of potential. There is infinite potential around but also within us, and perhaps now is the time to tap into it, whether it’s re-discovering a hidden talent, or just asking questions like “how can I serve?”.

With so much out of our control right now, we must re-focus on what we can do.

And as the saying goes “you can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf”.


Gillie Sutherland grew up in the north of England, before settling in Devon, but has now swapped her UK address for one on the Adriatic in the very south of Croatia, in Molunat. A professional yoga trainer she now runs retreats and online courses from her Konavle base. She also writes a weekly column for the Devon newspaper, The Express and Echo.

Keep in touch with Gillie via her yoga website -

For more information on healing holidays in Croatia visit


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