How am I creating my Life? try Meditation.

I suspect we often forget that we are the co- creators of our lives. That lovely sentence I am a work in progress is often said with out thought.

A wise woman wrote:

“Your experiences always reflect your inner beliefs.
You can literally look at your experiences and determine what your beliefs are.
Maybe it’s disturbing  to consider, but if you look at the people in your life , they are all mirroring some belief you have about yourself.
If you are always being criticised at work, it is probably because you are critical and have become the parent who once criticised the child.Everything in our lives is a mirror of who we are When something is happening out there that is not comfortable we have an opportunity to look in side and say,

“How am I contributing to this experience? What is it within me that believes I deserve this?’’ _ Louise L Hay.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The quote above in my photo is by Henry David Thoreau.

The inner critic is like water dripping on rock, relentless and in our mind very destructive.
Don’t worry, maybe you have never been taught to deal with this ever talking inner voice.

But do we try to love ourselves unconditionally? Asks Leo Babauta in  his blog zenhabits

“Consider whether you do any of these (I sure do):

Criticize your body.
Feel like you need to improve at things.
Feel guilty about things you do.
Feel undisciplined, lazy, unhappy with yourself.
Not feel good enough.
Fear that you’re going to fail, because you’re not good enough.
See yourself as not that good looking.
Feel bad about messing up.
For many of us, there’s an underlying feeling of not being good enough, wanting to be better, wanting to be in better shape or better at things. This isn’t something we think about much, but it’s there, in the background.”

“We can recreate our lives in the Acceptance isn’t stagnation — you will change no matter what. You can’t avoid changing. The question is whether that change comes from a place of acceptance and love, or a place of self-dislike and dissatisfaction. I vote for unconditional love.”

beautifulI encourage you to sit for  a little time each day and invite changeinto your life. Maybe initially you will need to keep a journal on what you wish to change, what could be improved. Without criticising yourself, as you find things you wish were different.  like the rose you can bloom in any situation. Learn to look within and find quiet place. This is the source from which unconditional love arises.

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Meditation -Rebuilding veterans Lives – PTSD

Rachael Brown reports “They taught us how to go to war but not how to come home.”

Army

Army

the www. abc.news.com/ AM with Chris Uhlmann.

“PTSD wave expected to hit as Australian troops return from Afghanistan.”

“Many veterans find it difficult to tolerate the images and emotions of combat that can come flooding back,  Veteran Roy Clymer said. “Meditation helps us tolerate feeling and emotion.”

Or, as one veteran put it after the meditation drew to a close, “I don’t have to react to everything. This helps me think first. People are going to do things whether I get angry or stay calm, and I’d rather stay calm. I always feel like a new person after this.”

meditation to heal

In Australia “One of the barriers  facing many young War veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq is that they don’t feel they belong in the RSL clubs or  support structures set up following the world wars and the Korean and Vietnam Wars, leaving them unsure of where to turn for help” says Scott Hannaford in an excellent article “The Silent War.”wwwfairfaxmedia.com

American Veteran Joe Craig went to Vietnam as an Army private in 1967, so young his platoon sergeant had to show him how to shave. He served 20 years in the Army, and then another 18 as a federal police officer. Now 73, Craig struggles with the demons of his war service.

“When you go to war, every day is about getting through that day,” he said. With danger all around, as a soldier or a cop, he added, “if you let your mind float, you’ll be in big trouble. We’ve all been to the edge.” In meditation, with the guidance of a skilled therapist, he said, “I can let my mind float.”

These aren’t simply feel-good sessions, meditation advocates say. Meditation helps create new muscle memory, actually rewiring the brain to enable veterans to absorb and recover from stress. This brain “rewiring” is what neuroscientists recognize as neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change neural pathways. For patients with PTSD, it means increasing their ability to hold disturbing images and memories without reacting in an emotionally negative way.

“Meditation’s big thing is to stop your mind,” says Roy Clymer, a Vietnam combat veteran and psychologist who worked with wounded Iraq and Afghan war soldiers for 13 years as director of specialized care at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington. “As you develop skill at meditation, you gain the art of acknowledging an emotion when it comes, accepting it — but not doing what we usually do, which is immediately reacting to it.”

Many veterans find it difficult to tolerate the images and emotions of combat that can come flooding back, Clymer said. “Meditation helps us tolerate feeling and emotion.”

Or, as one veteran put it after the meditation drew to a close, “I don’t have to react to everything. This helps me think first. People are going to do things whether I get angry or stay calm, and I’d rather stay calm. I always feel like a new person after this.”

Meditation in particular is useful because patients can use it themselves as part of their own treatment plan. “It allows patents to take more control over how their disease is managed and this generally leads to healthier outcomes,” said Ezeji-Okoye.

Dr. Jan Kemp, associate director of the VA’s Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention and a senior mental health expert, oversaw a demonstration project on meditation at nine VA facilities involving several hundred patients with PTSD.

“Essentially we found that meditation was a positive thing, and that while it didn’t cure PTSD in any way, shape or form, surely it needed to be a supplement” to traditional therapy, she said.

Patients who participated in the meditation “did feel better,” Kemp said. “And isn’t that the most important thing?”

Joseph Hart  tells us “British soldiers experience post-traumatic stress disorder at a drastically lower rate than their American counterparts.”  www.UTNE.com

“They fight the same battles with similar weapons and training. But when it comes to aftershock, British and U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan report very different experiences. Soldiers in the United States experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at a rate of 30 percent. Brits: 4 percent.”

“Another explanation is the stark difference between how the two governments deploy their troops. U.K. rules prohibit soldiers from spending more than 13 months in combat during a three-year period, and average tours of duty are six months—half the length of American soldiers’”

“Even more important are programs that send U.K. soldiers for a few days of “third location decompression” on the island of Cyprus before returning them to their home communities. “One to four days of R&R on a Mediterranean island with members of the same fighting unit apparently helps veterans come home with an easier mind.” reports http://www.miller-mccune.com

Neil Greenberg, the British coauthor of a study published this year by the U.K.’s Royal Society of Medicine and reported in Miller-McCune (July-Aug., 2011). “In the U.K., our national approach towards psychological distress is ‘Crack on with it if you can.’ ” The study found that British combat vets tend to drink more and report a higher incidence of milder diagnoses, like depression.

Meditation in particular is useful because patients can use it themselves as part of their own treatment plan. “It allows patents to take more control over how their disease is managed and this generally leads to healthier outcomes,” said Ezeji-Okoye.

But that’s an uphill battle, said Robin Carnes, a senior yoga and meditation teacher who led yoga and meditation programs at Walter Reed for six years. Carnes, a co-founder of Warriors at Ease, said it’s difficult to find funding from military installations and communities for meditation groups.

There’s also the perception issue, she said, “a cultural divide between what people think meditation is — sitting on a mountaintop looking for nirvana — and something that has relevant and practical health benefits for servicemembers and families. That’s the challenge.”

Still, acceptance of meditation among veterans and the military is improving, says Karen Soltes, who led the group at the VA medical center in Washington. As it is, the meditation group she leads has never been given a permanent space, and veterans often get lost trying to find out where the group is meeting on a particular day.

“But eight or 10 years ago when I started, there was a lot more resistance. We’ve come light years,” she said.

For the veterans who participate, meditation can be a lifesaver. Al Crawley, 65, has been coming to the D.C. meditation group for years. He fought in Vietnam in 1969 and retired as a sergeant.

“The war is still penetrating all through us,” he said. “That’s what brought us here. I had to deal with it — it was killing me.”

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Meditation – powerful enough to change your brain

Centering

Meditation is more powerful than we originally thought.

Some ‘doubting Thomas’ types will say that there is no proof that Meditation works.

Do you sometimes feel you are not good enough, do not have enough, do not earn enough. enough?   You ware not alone in that, we are brought up to compete, to do better, be smarter and yet, we loose the Truth of who we are in the mad scramble to achieve more .

By adding stillness into our day we can change our heart rate, lower our blood pressure.Well don’t take my word for it see the scientific evidence below.

Alena Hall explains in her article published in Huffingtonpost.com

A recent study from Harvard University and the University of Sienna found that the powers of meditation move beyond the cultivation of self-awareness, improvement of concentration and protection of the heart and immune system — it can actually alter the physiology of the human brain. Consistent practice can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression in people who often need it most.

In the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, the scientists selected 24 subjects who had never meditated before and guided them through an 8-week meditation course. Each participant completed a two-and-a-half hour session each week, where they learned about various components and styles of a meditation practice. Outside of the weekly session, they each meditated for 45 minutes daily.

Data gathered from the MRIs conducted before and after the meditation program, along with psychological evaluations,revealed that the subjects experienced a thickening in the part of the brain responsible for emotions and perception. Such changes strengthen the body’s physiological resilience against worry, anxiety and depression.

Alena says”For the increasing number of us struggling with the overwhelming demands of our lives, reserving a little time each day to tune into ourselves might not be such a bad idea. It takes a little prioritizing in an already-busy schedule, but the proven benefits can be well worth the effort.”

How to introduce space into your day.

Start simply; Maybe you can glimpse a green tree or greenery from your office,gaze at the colour green to rest your eyes, rest your mind.

The sky is a healing field, stars at night. Firstly get comfortable with space and silence. Just glimpses and then find the teacher you can relate to  and jump in. Remember  Meditation is powerful enough to change your brain and improve your life.

“Subjects experienced a thickening in the part of the brain responsible for emotions and perception. Such changes strengthen the body’s physiological resilience against worry, anxiety and depression.”

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Are you stressed?

photo by r.nial bradshaw

photo by r.nial bradshaw


Stress raises  cortisole levels in the bloodExtreme stress can also wreak havoc on your sleep.

A study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that our stress levels have steadily increased over the years — but the good news is, our worry tends to decrease with age, as the chart above shows. Financial concerns are also a major influence on how stressed we feel.

These kinds of results seem to be pretty universal across the board. According to the American Psychological Association’s 2015 Stress in America Survey, money is the biggest contributor to stress. Women are also more stressed out than men. no surprise there girls.
These statistics may sound dismal, but there is a bright side: Managing these emotions is entirely in our control

Meditation

Research also shows socializing, May I suggest volunteering the sense of caring releases the hormones that heal, or see my blog on smiling.)

Yoga for calmness
exercising ( I suggest yoga, with the family here I had no time to teach classes and became a grumpy bear.)
and adopting a meditation practice can also help ease tension.
1 Amasingly studies have shown the smell of citrus can reduce stress Peel an Orange.

2 Take a walk in Nature remember the colour green calms us.

3 Read a book one chapter each day

4 Keep a diary write down your worries.

5 Spend time with your friends

6 Learn to breathe calmly and peacefully.(Yoga)

7 Spend time with an animal, they know how to relax.

8 Listen to Mozart

9 Try aromatherapy. A study conducted in 2009 found for high school students in particular, this was a very effective for releasing stress.

10 Laugh out loud often.

Lindsay Holmes says”Chronic worrying could be a sign of bigger health issues.
Prioritizing your physical health means caring for your mental health
If your stress is starting to regularly affect your life , in all it’s aspects– producing physical symptoms or loss of fun in things you once found pleasurable — you may want to consider seeking more help from professionals.”

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New Year’s Annual recipe – moved to Australia Day

I had intended writing on the special people who have received  Australian of the Year award.

The awards given on the 26th January – Australia Day.

I found my article in the draft box.Rereading it I feel the sentiments are so beautifully expressed I publish it now for Australia Day.

One of the talks I had to give to complete my Yoga teacher’s course was on a powerful quote, I choose a Goethe saying:

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe – Thank you to goodreads.com

First believe and then create. First believe and then create Can you imagine how delighted I was to find a New Year message from two lovely people in Germany containing that quote and another from Goethe’s  Mother.

Annual recipe by Catharina Elisabeth Goethe.

(1731-1808) Goethe’s mother

Take 12 months, clean them thoroughly from bitterness, stinginess, pedantry and fear,

and break down every month into 30 or 31 parts,

so that the stock will last for a whole year.

Now every day is arranged individually with one part of work and two parts of cheerfulness and humour.

Then add three heaped tablespoons of optimism, a teaspoon of tolerance, a small grain of irony and tact.

Now everything is poured over with plenty and a lot of love.

The ready dish is recommended to be decorated with small bouquets of attention and is to be served daily with cheerfulness and with a good, refreshing cup of tea…

Cup of tea

Cup of tea

Lots of love and all the best for 2015 Karin & Dieter

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A visiting Swami and money in his sandals.

This beautiful photo from Hartwig HKD titled Virpassana Meditation

This beautiful photo from Hartwig HKD titled Virpassana Meditation

A visiting Swami explained how meditation was taught in the villages in India. The teaching Monks?Swamis left the monastery’s moving from  village to small town, carrying their food bowl and possibly a spare robe. Dependent on the hospitality of the villages for their food and accommodation. They would teach underneath the largest tree in the village square. The elders of the town sat in a circle around Swami, the other  villages found their place behind and those who came late often sat in the boiling sun. Sometimes coins were offered to the Swami discretely placed in the Swamis  sandals.

During Yoga class we tell stories to uplift the students to inspire and guide them. One of my students took this story to heart and was placing her Yoga class fee in my sandals. Doing my book work I noticed that I was always some money short, my books didn’t balance. Some weeks later this regular student arrived early before the class began. She explained to me that she was very impressed with how her life, had become more abundant, things were appearing for her, opportunities that had never been there before. And she thought this all began after starting Yoga. Also something to do with the inspirational yoga stories I was telling. She had come to class early to thank me. She then related how for the last few weeks, as she paid for her Yoga class weekly, at the end of each class money
.had been appearing mysteriously into her sandals.

Money in sandals

Yes you’ve figured it out.

All this time one other  student had been placing money into what thought were my sandals. Sadly from her I needed to explain that the money was meant to me my payment for my yoga class. But the student took the lesson in abundance and said that her life had and was always changing for the better.

The life of the travelling monk/swami was shaped and driven by teaching meditation he took his art and science from village to village. Guided to inspire and shape the lives of others

Perhaps this year we could ask ourselves how can I inspire another?
Meditation is shaping my life with more joy as well helping my life expand into helping others for the better?

as you create inner peace it makes the world around you a paradise.

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It’s a Boy

The text arrived yesterday

“Steven Graham Jones ( name changed for privacy reasons)
born 5.30 am on 11th January 2015
weighing 3.00 kgs.
Mom and baby doing great.”

You are a wish.
A wish the universe has made
For your existence
The special gifts that only you
can bring

I know the little boys parents, they have both been doing yoga with me for years. They are delightful, curious, talented, dedicated and community minded people.

What would this little being wish for in his life?
Was it the Cinderella story, when at her day of her birth and still in her cradle, three good fairies came to each bring the newly birthed child one wish each.

What would I wish for this new little babe who has chosen to arrive on this our shining green planet?

Friendship my grandmother wished at the birth of my father. For she felt that no matter what life bought to you (remember my grandmother had lived through the depression and it’s heavy hand still left a mark on her.) She believed that friends would carry you through any situation for you can laugh with friends, cry with friends, you can always be yourself with friends. They will not judge you and will support you, with your unwritten language they understand you.

I would wish him space in his life. The Australian aboriginals take their children on “walkabout”. So so that the great spaces do not frighten them. Space to gaze at the stars, space to listen for the sound of rain, space to watch the wind blow through the fields of wheat as they dip their head’s.
Space has it’s own silent language that fills the heart.

As children we were taken camping, to experience the freedom of running barefoot too awake to birdsong , drifting to sleep at night listening to the seed pods falling on the roof of the tent. Walks at dusk gazing into the soft eyes of rabbits. Looking for the movement of possums high in the tree tops.
We were learning to create a mind uncluttered by thought. A meditator’s mind.

I would wish the gift of laughter, a capacity to laugh. For laughter changes the energy in the room, binds hearts and mends wounds.

And early on in his life I would wish him to find a community that he can fold around him like a cocoon.
Possibly musicians,footballers, archers,brick layers computer wizzes, dancers, singers, artists, plumbers candlestick makers, yogis. It doesn’t matter which, how will we know unless we have tried. And for this you need to be adventurous, to walk among many people, many cultures and ideas and then this boy will learn that he has a skill that no one else has, that he is unique.

Unrepeatable – never before and never again will there be one like him.

Often we need to walk alone to find this, to know of our unique gifts and talent.
Welcome little boy we wish you Joy.

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