Mindful May

With the new month just days away and it being promoted as Mindful May,  I was very mindful myself (pardon the pun) to finally complete my online meditation course.

It was started sometime ago, but somehow most of the audio that I recorded for it disappeared into the ether when updating some software.

The next hurdle to overcome was Mercury in Retrograde, noted for issues with electronics and the like……  I couldn’t get rid of the noise of the computer fan that ran in the background. Eventually I found an app that I could use with an iPad and completed the last of the recordings just in time to get the course up and running for May.

If you have never meditated before and are not sure how to or what sort of meditation suits you, then this introduction to meditation will help you work that out.

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Communication

“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”  John C Maxwell

Communication is about quite often about what you are not saying, and this was very apparent during the visit of the German Chancellor to the USA to meet the current president.. to use a well worn metaphor… you could have cut the air with a knife with the attitude in that meeting. It was suggested to me that he IS an elderly chap…. Gentleman is not a word that fits this man….. who possibly has a hearing problem and that this was the problem, but it appears not.

Richard Branson has said “Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess” and went on to say that he relied on it in his business to make his company successful.

Another quote from Mother Theresa is “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” 

I’ve certainly had the experience of words delivered with a smile on the face to me, but with the deadly intent to strike at the core of my heart….  a mismatch between the energy of the words and the attitude.

Inspiration

Breathe……

…. the inward breath or inspiration is what draws the oxygen deep into your body.

Inspiration is also the ability to take that breath and see it as a spark of the divine within you as you light a fire within your soul.

Allow the flow of inspiration to help you create magic. As you allow this inspiration to flow, allow more love and light into your essential being and breathe new life into your  dreams and desires.

When encountering obstacles or difficulties along the way, remember to breathe…. Taking a deep belly breath in to fill the lungs and exhale the stale, used air.

Breathing deeply and with mindfulness will help to take the oxygen to the brain and help you to think more clearly.  Take a deep breath in and hold, then let go. There are several breathing patterns and techniques  that you can explore, but the one that is most comfortable is the one that will benefit you the greatest. As you breathe in and hold; for a moment take your mind to your staying power, your tenacity and think about any challenges that you have overcome.

Exhale and let go .. of fear; of limitations and feel yourself become lighter. Nurture yourself with the regular practice of breath centred meditation. This is like using the oxygen mask for yourself before others.

As you practice this, you will replenish your  energy. When you care for your own body and soul, then there is space to reach out and nurture and inspire others.

Dreams or Visions?

“All we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”  Edgar Allen Poe

A sojourn at the retreat a short time ago had me revisiting a vision book that I began at the start of the quest to find the property that I saw in a dream.  I was showing it to some long time friends.  Not surprisingly, if you subscribe to the effectiveness of manifesting through vision books, I realised that many of the things that I had written or drawn down had come to fruition.

Creating a vision board, or as in my case – a vision book – is not difficult. All it requires is some time and a few simple steps.

I like to work on my vision books at two specific times. Yes, I have a couple – one is specifically for the retreat and the other is more personal but includes the retreat.

The New Moon and the Full Moon are my favoured times, but any time that you are comfortable with will suffice.  Some pages are for the month and some are for several months and may resemble a business planning document. I use a variety of goal setting techniques in formulating what goes onto the page. My favourite at the moment is the GROW model.

Goals

Realistic/Reachable

Obstacles/Opportunities and

Way Forward

 

Most importantly I put the date on the page. I may divide the page up into various topics or headings and these may be small sketches or pictures or words cut out from a magazine that has taken my fancy. I then set aside some time to meditate before starting. I set the intent that what comes out on the page is just right. During the course of the session, it becomes apparent that there is a synergy between many of the things that appear on the page.  Arrows, links, pictures and words appear.

For instance in January I had as one of my things on the page was health. I applied the GROW model to this and added in the “R” section a date that I wanted to achieve my goal. Having spent the last few months of 2016 with pneumonia and finding that I was recovering slowly from it, this was a priority, not only from the business point of view, but a vision of improving my health and longevity by focussing on it. I asked myself “What is my Why?” and reflected on what came out of that meditation. Two months later, I revisited the page and realized that I was “on track” for most of what I had written.  The areas that I still need to achieve are transferred to the next page and I find that by setting down my thoughts and goals, that I become more accountable to myself.

The pages are a mixture of goal setting and dreaming…… for  with the retreat there needs to be a certain amount of dreaming and it is in the dreams that I feel that anything can be possible.

Some of the actions that I am taking as a result of these will only ever be a dream for me, but may be a future generation’s reality.  On these pages I dream of planting trees. In fact on the last visit I planted 3 more. These were grown from seeds of a gum tree that were no bigger than a pin head, yet the parent tree was a magnificent 40 metre high specimen with a trunk that had a girth too big to encircle with my arms.

Other trees that I have planted are Oak trees, grown from gathered acorns and nurtured to young seedlings. Yet I will never see these trees in their full majesty – they will remain for me, just a vision of what might become, just as willing gardeners planted the stately oaks in the main streets of the nearby country towns.

I may draw other things on the page… it becomes a de facto “To Do” list. Again I find another page that has more to do with trees…. on February’s page was a section on finding a spot for the Casuarina or She Oaks saplings that I have also grown from seed…. They have yet to be planted as I’m searching for the right spot for them and reading about their physical needs as well as the metaphysical significance of them, just as I did when I was searching for the right spot to construct the first labyrinth.

Pages in my vision book may include a word picture of an ideal client and I am always pleasantly surprised when the phone rings and he or she introduces themselves and makes an appointment!

The reward for keeping these vision books is in going back over them and putting a big tick next to those great big audacious dreams that have been achieved – perhaps they should have a gold star!

It is interesting that some of the things put down that weren’t achieved were in fact “pipe dreams” … dreams that if they had been fulfilled would have taken me further away from where I am now and in retrospect, I’m pleased that they haven’t come into fruition.

It is also interesting to read back over vision  books from years gone by and see that there is a common thread running through all of them…. and to be grateful for the things that have manifested.

Simplicity

It’s always good to be reminded of the KISS (keep it simple sweetheart) principle.

Too often, when presented with a problem, we default to overthinking, resulting in a mindstorm of “what ifs” and making mountains out of molehills.

So how to simplify?

It may be that you need not only to de-clutter your mind, but your surroundings as well.  What are you holding onto metaphorically that is no longer needed?

I recently had a bit of a tidy up and discovered a box under the house that had been unopened since moving in some 15 years ago. It contained four years of university notes and other items that I obviously thought important enough to save all those years ago. Apart from a couple of things, like the outline for the thesis I never started, the mountain of paper grew and filled the recycle bin. Other things that I retained were some letters from family and friends.

Meeting up with friends on Australia Day reminded me that true friendship is a simple, enduring affection that can be picked up and resumed without needing to explain anything. Life can be challenging and unpredictable at times and unconditional acceptance by friends helps to overcome adversity.

Simplicity offers us freedom…. It’s about not being concerned or attached to what others think about us and having the wisdom to live our lives in a way that lets us follow our hearts and dreams, yet being mindful as we go along our way.

It takes courage to simplify.

By divesting yourself of the things and thoughts that keep you imprisoned, you can open the door to a more creative and simple life.

Wisdom

Socrates said “The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing”, which I have found to be abundantly true. Yet the dictionary definition of wisdom is just as confusing.  Wisdom can be :

  • the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise
  • the fact of being based on sensible or wise thinking
  • the body of knowledge and experience that develops within a specified society or period

This was particularly apparent when studying Homeopathy. Finding the appropriate remedy seemed extraordinarily easy after taking a short course for home use. A dozen remedies for a dozen or so children’s ailments, what could be easier?  A little knowledge is useful, but the trick is in turning it into wisdom. After four years study of Classical Homeopathy, it was a little more difficult and took a lot longer to find remedies for clients.  There are thousands of remedies that are available and it takes considerable skill to find a remedy that exactly matches the symptoms that a client may present with. My lecturer taught us that the second best remedy is the one we have in our dispensary. I’m sure it is the same with other disciplines of studies.

But how do we know what we know and can we be certain that what we know is correct?

I’m sure the wisdom is in knowing that we know nothing.  Perspective will change how something is viewed and this may be through the mirror of time or through research or philosophy. There are people who would argue that Homeopathy cannot possibly work due to current scientific/rational thinking – that it is a “placebo effect”, yet thousands of people who have taken remedies for ailments and have been cured would vehemently disagree. It is within the realms of possibility that one day science will prove that Homeopathy is curative and acknowledge it as a legitimate form of medical treatment.

Scientific thinking has much changed since the time of Galileo, DaVinci and even Einstein. Theories that seemed improbable in those times have been proven to be true and so it is necessary to keep an open mind to the possibility Hahnemann came up with a curative method before his time.

Respect

Respect is another of those words that has many different layers.

It can mean a regard for the rights of others, a feeling of admiration for certain qualities in another, a reverence for living things or it can be a kind of a social code or responsibility to act in a certain way.

We can also have respect for ourselves and this is shown by our emotional, spiritual and physical responses.  Emotional respect is about honouring yourself and other living beings. Included in this is the respect we show to others by not gossiping or saying untrue things about others.

But what is Truth?

Often based on our own perception, it can be skewed by ego and illusion and occasionally when we “speak our truth”, it is not the truth of the intended recipient and an emotional hurt occurs.

The Reiki precepts

Just for Today
Do not Anger
Do not Worry
Be Humble
Be Honest in your Work
Be Compassionate to Yourself and Others
  teach us respect and compassion and it certainly feels good to be kind and respectful to ourselves.  

Spiritual respect is more about a quiet reverence for all that the Universe provides and our connection to whatever higher power or divinity that we pay attention to.

Physical respect is about our stance, how we hold our bodies and how we wear our clothes.  It’s also about respecting and establishing clear boundaries and not getting into other peoples personal space.

Autumn Newsletter

Is Hypnotherapy or Meditation more effective for improving creativity?
A busy mind cannot learn well, so the ultimate aim is to relax the mind to allow creativity to blossom. Herbert Benson MD in his groundbreaking book The Relaxation Response studied the physiological effects of several types of meditation and was able to show that meditation lowered stress and anxiety levels for people that took up the practice. The downside being, that when they no longer meditated, the stress and anxiety returned. The studies were done in a scientific way and physiological symptoms were recorded over a period of time. Many of the people in the study found that their blood pressure was lowered; they had more clarity and became less negative in their mindset.(The Relaxation Response. Herbert Benson MD. William Morrow & Co New York 1975)
Hypnotherapy can also relax the mind, but we must take into account the differing depths of trance that you may go into. There are four measurable states

  • Light Trance – which most people can go into quite easily as it’s relaxation with a focused attention. Watching TV, reading a good book, even driving may be activities you do whilst in this state.
  • Apparent somnambulism – a deeper state where it looks as if you are deeply relaxed, but not deep enough for pain relief or anesthesia
  • True somnambulism  – in this state surgical or dental procedures can take place and the mind goes into a state of blank “nothingness”
  • The Esdaile State – not many people achieve this coma like state and it is said that in this state you can achieve total bliss.

In answer to the question, both can improve creativity, but as Meditation relies on regular practice, blocks may return. In the trance state, suggestions can be made that are accepted by the subconscious mind and only a few sessions may be needed. If the block is a result of stress from a traumatic event, then a therapeutic intervention can be done to clear that whilst in trance as well.

Another therapeutic application of Hypnotherapy is the Virtual Gastric Band program. Lately there has been a lot of publicity about the excellent results in reducing Diabetes Type 2 when a surgical Gastric Band has been fitted. The cost of this operation is now around $14,000 and, as with all surgery has some risks. The Virtual Gastric Band is just that…virtual… and has been used successfully around the world for some years….and with no side effects. I was trained to deliver this program 6 years ago and have seen great success with clients who commit to following the program. The brochure is available on this page….

Add yourself to the Reiki Register Here

What is the Reiki Register?
It is an opportunity for you to receive a full Reiki session at no cost to you during any 1:1 or small group training in exchange for honest and detailed feedback to the student.

How long does it take?
You will need to allow around 2 hours for a fully supervised session and feedback to the person giving the treatment. The session is “in person” for Level 1 trainings and remotely at a designated time for Level 2.

Do I need to be a Reiki Practitioner?
You don’t need to have done a Reiki course, but ideally you will have experienced at least one Reiki session, but this is not a pre-requisite.

What happens after I register? After your registration, you will receive an email detailing the date, time and location of the training.

How are sessions allocated?
Sessions are allocated on a first come, first served basis and you will be notified if you have the session or not. In other news, work continues at the retreat and you can follow the progress on my blog.

I have upgraded my EMF Balancing Techinique practitioner status – which I studied way back in 2000 – and for the Autumn season, (March, April & May) I  am offering Phases 1 to IV at just $90 a session or a package of all four phases at $320 – saving $40.

Unfortunately, due to exchange rates and changes at the Institute of Social + Emotional Intelligence the cost of SEI profiles have risen. Coaching packages are available at the current rate.

Nurture

What does nurture mean to you?

Is it the care and protection of those you love or is it the nourishment of your own body and soul?

Pondering the nurture versus nature debate, it is interesting to consider whether our genetic inheritance contributes more than environmental concerns. We can nurture our bodies with adequate clean water and fresh, wholesome food. Likewise, we can nurture our souls with taking time out to appreciate nature – literally stopping to smell the roses!

With ongoing studies in epigenetics showing that our genes can adapt as they interact with environmental factors, the nurture versus nature conversation becomes more complex.  Behavioural epigenetics studies have shown that it is possible that behaviours can be imprinted into genes and these imprinted genes are handed down through several generations. Studies done on identical twins, who have the same genes can exhibit very different behaviours even when brought up the same way.  Social and emotional conditioning as well as environmental factors may well be part of the nurture versus nature conundrum.

I find it interesting to reflect on what I may have inherited from my forebears.  Apart from the likelihood that I may have a genetic predisposition to the diseases that my ancestors suffered from, I have the opportunity to make changes by ensuring that strong environmental factors, such as diet and lifestyle choices offer the opportunity to imprint on my genetic makeup.

Other factors to consider, especially in recent times, are the effects of trauma on the brain. Repeated trauma will change the brain, affecting how we learn and process new information.

From an educational viewpoint, a stressed student is one that is likely to have some difficulty in retaining information.  It is unfortunate that negative experiences are far stronger than pleasant ones and it can be expected that sustained or prolonged traumatic experiences are likely to be retained in both our brain circuits and as a genetic change. I’m sure my teaching colleagues will attest to this, an anxious parent is most likely to produce an anxious child. Nurturing then becomes something to consider within our educational system.

Creating as many enjoyable experiences such as regular meditation will help to overcome the negative experiences and imprint a more positive attitude or behaviour both in our brains and our genes.

https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article-lookup/doi/10.1525/bio.2011.61.8.4

Transformation

Can change happen in an instant?

I believe so, but what about transformation?

I see transformation as a more gradual process; the sum of many small but not insignificant changes.

We can create and plan for change, yet whilst these changes can contribute, they are not necessarily the catalyst for transformation. Just as the caterpillar or dragonfly, both spiritual symbols of transformation, go through a series of changes or metamorphosis we too can apply this metaphor to stages in our lives.

It is unfortunate that some people may choose the certainty of staying in the same stage of development rather than take a leap of faith into the unknown and never know the riches to be found in the next stage. Imagine how it might feel to have allowed yourself the flexibility of body and mind, at the same time nurturing your soul as you begin a new journey revitalized and free from a rigid past.