Remember your New Year resolution?

A-New-Day.-A-New-BeginningOh yes … that New Year Resolution!  Well, with all the best intentions, it’s the New Year’s resolution (or maybe more than one), that’s often overlooked once the celebratory season is over.  And now it’s April already!

What’s the point of a “New Year Resolution”?   A resolution is really a determined promise to oneself to put in place some matter of importance that may facilitate change.  Very often the promise is to the self – especially following a period of indulgence over the Christmas and New Year season.  Quite possibly, and in keeping with the emphasis on eating correctly according to our body’s needs, one likely resolution may well be to change one’s diet.  And then of course the matter of fitness presents itself as another good idea to implement … and that may bring to mind the need for regular health checks, or gym membership or a Yoga course and so on.  The possibilities for potential resolution are endless and very often the most important goal can be left behind, forgotten completely within the melee of daily living as the year pushes on.

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Empower a woman, empower a nation

This commanding slogan used on the website of the United Nations for Women brings the promise of all that can be achieved for the world when the contributions of women are fully recognised, valued and properly employed.

empower womenConsidering this year’s International Women’s Day I found myself pondering the many women who have entered my life either personally or within my profession and the roles each have fulfilled within their lives. I bring to mind the lined faces I’ve known and continue to know that reflect a profound beauty within. Here are the lines of life telling healing stories of pain and outcomes of joyful accomplishment – stories of real women and stories that defy Botox or the skill of the plastic surgeon. Even more importantly, these are a wealth of stories that may never be publicly told yet are more than worthy of the telling and of the commendation due. [Read more…]

Managing the mind – our most precious possesion

mind careLots of information is available these days on how to improve mental health, manage our mind, control emotions, find inner peace … and so on. In a flush of interest over the past 5 years or so, the significance of mental health has become public property and, thankfully, mental health issues are at last being recognised as valid – and treatable – and certainly no longer subjects to be avoided at all costs.

Within that information the word ‘mindfulness’ has emerged as a sort of cure-all-cum-trendy practice as well as a catch word within our vernacular. The word ‘mindfulness’ is also attached to the word ‘meditation’ and so, for many uninformed people, mindfulness means meditation. Wrong!

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The birds are singing!

birdbath2Well, it was a hot Christmas Day around Melbourne and beyond and even if the weatherman hadn’t predicted that, the early morning birdsong certainly did.  How lovely are the murmurs of early morning awakening  … and the scents, the warmth rising as the sun also does … and the birds singing – chortling, and chirping, their melodic messages … darting in and out of the trees, plunging into the little birdbath (or Charlie’s drinking water!) as they scuffle and scuttle for breakfast.  Their message is clear – welcome to another day.

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The age of anxiety

This header is perhaps a harsh reminder of an uncomfortable truth so maybe it’s time to take a long look at some of the influences that currently result in the way people are managing their lives.

If levels of anxiety have indeed increased in the last twenty years, then this increase obviously correlates with our increased interest and dependence upon technology.  Yes, technology is a fabulous tool.  But technology has also become an integral part of the game of life.  Apps and games can be used efficiently or negligently.  Efficiency results in assistance and related achievement leading to satisfaction and generally good feelings.  By contrast, negligence creates disappointment, frustration and anger.  Overall, on the down side of technology, comes the expectation of fast – or even immediate – results.  As technical functionality and therefore the pace of response is rapidly rising, so are expectations – and when these are not met, along comes a sense of negligence followed by disappointment, frustration and anger. [Read more…]

The power of four

A very odd thing happened last week. Within four days, on four separate occasions, quite accidentally four former clients approached me in random places for a brief conversation. The first was at an auction, the second while I was choosing fruit and veg, the third in a church and lo and behold the fourth – one who returned to recommence – “with commitment” she said – a new course in Stillness Meditation.

It was great to reconnect with those four people, spontaneously, unexpectedly and enthusiastically. Though in all cases we hadn’t seen each other for quite some time, the links were still there as well as the mutual exchanges surrounding the experience each had shared. After a brief chat, to each, I just had to ask: so have you continued to practice what you learned with us? [Read more…]

Conquering Fear

For me, October 2016 brings with it a great sense of satisfaction:  the new, fully revised and updated edition of my book In Stillness Conquer Fear will shortly be released and my hope is that it will help bring comfort and healing to many.  This achievement is very exciting because I now offer not only a personal recovery story, but over 30 years’ professional experience in working to assist others with stress and anxiety.

So here’s a little ‘teaser’ from Chapter 18 to capture your interest and to spread the word – anxiety does not have to be a lifelong companion.

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Disappointment

The word ‘disappointment’ is surrounded by a host of negative concepts, and therefore, negative energy.

We can feel disappointed when misunderstandings occur.  We can feel disappointed when hopes have been dashed.  We can feel disappointed when plans must change and life takes a turn beyond hopes or dreams. [Read more…]

Overwhelmed?

Sometimes a day comes along that seems to produce just too many things to do.  Yes, we all have regular tasks and responsibilities.  But sometimes a whole new bundle of duties seem to make their appearance all at the one time.  For me, this took place on a recent day when my diary was looking free enough for me to spend the morning finalising some fairly detailed written work.  [Read more…]

Managing times of change

Do you ever pause to consider that your life is like a story, unfolding day by day – or page by page if you were to read it literally.  How interesting is each person’s life!  And how little it matters that we might describe ourselves as ‘just an ordinary person’ when we recognise that each life is filled with precious moments and memories, coloured by times of change.

As each birthday is celebrated we can be sure that the preceding year has called for some new adaptation: friends come and go, family life changes, study is completed and work life shifts direction, illness and loss makes its mark and successes give cause for rejoicing.  But what happens when too many negative events collide?  And how do we respond to the collective change that is occurring all the time throughout our world?  [Read more…]

Under the table – what’s afoot?

Next time you’re waiting in a coffee shop to meet a friend, instead of pulling out your mobile or reaching for a well-thumbed magazine, take a moment to scan the room and observe what people are doing with their feet under the table.

This is a fascinating exercise in how to pick the most stressed person in the room – and ultimately, how to watch what we do with our own body. [Read more…]

How are you coping?

Living as we are in what is frequently referred to as the age of anxiety, it’s little wonder that when meeting new clients, their individual stories mirror those of today, those of before or those who come after.

Most commonly we hear of discomforts such as trembling, ‘butterflies’, overwhelm, apprehension and panic. Living, for a great many people feels as if they are constantly on the edge of some kind of catastrophe where the ever present ‘emergency’ reaction is accompanied by frustration, sadness, depressive feelings and regular tears. A constant urge to be coping ‘better’ is dominant. [Read more…]

Anxiety bytes #3

It is well over thirty years since I mastered anxiety and began to know what life was like without the constant presence of unsettling and sometimes terrifying symptoms, severely limiting and distressing my life.

When I took courage and told my success story all those years ago, I also emphasised that the key to my deliverance from the clutches of anxiety was a particular concept of meditation.  In this blog I want to re-emphasise that the elements of this meditative concept involve mental rest – the unique teaching of Ainslie Meares M.D.   This is a stress relief therapy now recognized as SMT® and one that I have authentically adhered to for many years within my work at the SMT Centre in Melbourne.

[Read more…]

More Anxiety Bytes

At its peak, anxiety produces symptoms that become apparent as an awareness of dis-ease.  Traces of physical and mental unrest emerge, feelings first noticeable in physical exhaustion and perhaps erratic conduct.  Sensing this, the mind becomes distressed, feeling strained and drained.  If these disturbances are not addressed in a satisfactory way, the slippery slope to psychosomatic illness is not too far away.  For some people that state of being converts to a range of illnesses such as asthma, eczema, stomach problems or high blood pressure. [Read more…]

Anxiety Bytes

Over many years my signature book, In Stillness Conquer Fear, has supported the recovery of many thousands of anxious people.

If you are seeking anxiety relief and haven’t previously read my story, here are a few bytes from the book to offer encouragement and a starting point for change: [Read more…]

A few thoughts for the Christmas Season

In the past month the world has been shattered by the tragedy of hatred, anger, bitterness, frustration and human pain.

And now, the month of December, heralds the season of Christmas, a season of celebration which, in contrast, should be all about the real message of Love.

In our Western world December brings with it the onset of decorations, glitter, Santa, presents, carols, parties, food and drink in anticipation of a celebration … but what are we all celebrating?

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Simple Things

On a recent day ‘off’ I happened to have one whole hour, wholly to myself. At 2pm on this sunshiny afternoon I was out of town with a commitment to meet someone at 3pm  There were no other obligations, no dog to walk (my morning walk having already taken place), or pressing requirements for the fridge or even otherwise interesting diversions.  And having already meditated generously for the day, here was an hour, stretching before me to use – or not use – as I wished.

An hour of 60 minutes’ time can seem lengthy – but when filled with the hustle and bustle of ordinary life, an hour is very little time. On that sunny afternoon I was struck by the impulse and temptation to do something productive – an impulse that almost caused me a moment of confusion! [Read more…]

Personal peace for world peace

How challenging it is to be confronted with the news each day and to witness so many levels of violence occurring.

Our new Prime Minister has taken up the cause against domestic violence.  This is admirable and a grand step in the right direction.  But personally I believe that we are living in times where violence readily expressed, exists not only within families, but across the scope society.

Unfortunately, all people are capable of violent behaviour when true control is absent and when reaction takes the place of considered response. [Read more…]

How much does your mind matter?

Do we ever stop to think about what we’re thinking?  Are the thoughts that we’re thinking relevant, useful, productive, reactive, peaceful or distressing?  Even more importantly, do we stop to think that we might be thinking too much?

In a gorgeous conversation with my eldest granddaughter recently we began to dissect the mystery of that amazing treasure contained within the brain – our mind!

We pondered that ethereal gift: is ‘mind’ our spirit?  Is mind everlasting?  Is mind the product of our physiology – or the other way around?  Are we, in fact, our mind?  And what would we do without our mind – for mind in itself, perhaps, is life-giving.  Our mind is the receptacle of our entire life experience, the keeper of our secrets, thoughts, wishes, hopes and dreams.  Our mind can contribute to conversation and discussion … the mind is our communicator and our communication.  [Read more…]

Courtesy, discipline and respect

In our busy new world have we forgotten three small words?

At a time when ‘enquiries’, ‘task forces’ and Royal Commissions proliferate, I’d like to begin improving all our many societal issues by doing it slightly differently. While all those are worthy of attention, I can’t help wondering whether their complex ponderings and costly outcomes are rather like having new furniture delivered before we’ve established the family or even completed the building construction. We’re not going to fix the environment, or integrate indigenous people, or cut greenhouse gas, or fuel emissions, or save water, or address the problem of family violence or criminal activities or even modify serious health issues until we retrieve a community that upholds societal values.

Rather than wasting time on gastronomical extravaganzas or multitudinous movies to watch, could we not encourage three ideals to lift our collective game: chill out with some courtesy, dive into a little discipline and saturate ourselves in the sensation of respect – and maybe a little kindness for ourselves and for others. [Read more…]

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – a reflection

From the time I went public with my own story, to the similar stories we hear in our work at the SMTC today, my colleagues and I are well versed in the governing limitations of anxiety.

One of those limitations is the diagnosed condition of OCD – obsessive, compulsive disorder.  Here are a couple of extracts from my story – In Stillness Conquer Fear, circa 1983.

“Acceptance of the existence of anxiety in life is realistic. But to accept a specific label for oneself according to that anxiety is practically to accept the accusation of personal limitation. Today, people are categorised as having anxiety disorder, social phobia, agoraphobia or obsessive compulsive disorder.  Such categorisation may be diagnostically useful to the clinician. But I find that these labels are rarely helpful to individuals who have, for unknown reason, developed unhelpful, defensive habits. [Read more…]

Childhood magic, magic of life …

What’s it like to be a kid?  Can you remember?

Roll back the years for a bit … to recall being about 7 years old again … and from those recollections, who do you think you have grown into now?

We’re all different beings but our beginnings set the scene for the person we eventually become.
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STILLNESS: The space between the words

After a couple of blogs on the power of words, and how we are influenced by the words we talk to our self about, I thought it would be interesting here to have a look at something about the space between all those words.

For instance, iftherewerenospacesbetweenourwordsyouprobablywouldnothavethefaintestideaofwhatIamwritinghere … and you wouldn’t have the patience to read on!

If we all spoke in one long unfinished sentence we would be incomprehensible, too – as if speaking in tongues, or speaking a very foreign language – or creating even more than a stream of consciousness as James Joyce wrote in Ulysses.  (Even he managed to leave spaces between his words in that masterpiece!)

And yet, think about that.  Using the example of our hasty texting today, unless we take the time and trouble to care, the sense is pretty much like that long gobbledegook above … an example … were will u b or …  I met to sa i kant b ther … and far worse, too.  This means, of course, that the writer of the text is in a big rush – and is really not caring; and the recipient of the text immediately becomes rushed too, and very likely becomes very frustrated by having to take the trouble to interpret the message.  So space means everything when it comes to communication.

But even more importantly, space means a great deal in the whole of life. [Read more…]

The power of words: self talk – to harm or to heal?

Last month I wrote about the power of words and how the words that surround us can uplift or destroy the moment.

But what about the conversations we hold with our self … in other words, our self-talk. Self talk is present with us all, a collection of things we are involved in or a jumble of random suggestions accumulated over time. Unfortunately very often the thoughts we present to ourselves are not helpful.

A great deal is written and argued upon about the way we are thinking and the strong influence of negative thinking. And there’s also lots written about positive self-talk in a bid to counteract the power of the negative. The general conclusion on the topic of self-talk is that our negative internal discussions may well lead to depression, anxiety, dis-ease and a sense of worthlessness. Let’s look at the how and why behind self-talk, because its’ existence, in reality, all relates to the history of information given to us. [Read more…]

The Power of Words

Raise your words
Not your voice.
It is rain that grows flowers,
Not thunder.

The Persian Master, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī gives much food for thought, and for action.  Rumi has been described in recent times as the most popular poet in the United States with translations of his works spread throughout many parts of the world.  Like the works of all sages, from these words, something in our own life may shift a little – and change for the better. [Read more…]

Anxiety and the need for perfection: a Q&A session

Over the years I’ve covered many questions and answers personally, in my books and via the internet.  When anxiety is high, there is always a quest for more reassurance, more information and more certainty.

Here’s a recent interchange between me and a special client who made a long trip to Melbourne to spend a week experiencing SMT. [Read more…]

What can we offer you for 2015?

Sometimes we’re asked what we actually do here!   So as we commence this New Year, let’s give you an overview of the power of Stillness Meditation Therapy.

We first get to know our client – and allow that person to get to know us a little, too.  Here’s an example of first meeting.  [Read more…]

Peace on Earth – is communication the key?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
George Bernard Shaw
Though that’s a fairly profound statement, somehow I’m reminded of the old song and the familiar lines of disagreement … [Read more…]

Invitations

How exciting it is to receive a formal invitation to a special occasion! These are communications of great personal value, where someone has honoured us by having included us within his or her chosen relationships.

In the days before the convenience of the phone or the speed of email, invitations of this kind generally arrived in the post and were easily distinguishable from the usual flurry of accounts payable. [Read more…]

What would have happened if …

Mental illness or mental health?  What if I hadn’t recovered from agoraphobia?
A lifetime reflection

When life crippling fear has become a constant companion, it’s not difficult to imagine a future of limitation, negotiation and masquerade.  And a lifetime of mental ‘illness’.  What if I hadn’t recovered from the constraints of fear?  What if the hesitancy, the headaches, the churning, the avoidance and depression and all the hideous symptoms of anxiety had continued to rule my life?  [Read more…]

Where have goodness and kindness disappeared to?

I used to look forward to reading the morning paper over breakfast, an easy, informative and recreational start to the day.  But things have changed.  The paper I used to enjoy has lost its noble restraint.  Now in tabloid form with too much colour this paper is filled with dramatic and revealing photographs ranging from local football angst to the horrors of war in other lands.

Words that carry foreboding abound:  threat, arms, step up, deal, break trust, fixation, jailed, extremists, fears, detainees, activist, deceptive, banned, militant, nude, fails, suspended, victim, forces, abuse, blasts, ice, famine, serious, split … and more. [Read more…]

Personal Peace for World Peace

Personal peace for world peace – Within the family, between friends, across cultures 
My thoughts in this blog are especially with the Maslin family of Western Australia who lost their beautiful, treasured children and their children’s much loved grandfather in the recent horrific attack on flight MH17.   I have never read anything that moved me as greatly as the message from that family to the world.  That these wonderful people could so profoundly express graciousness, resilience and the power of love despite such unbearable pain; that they can still access their ability to pray; and that they are able to find some measure of solace within the care and company of others is the most poignant of all love stories.

My prayer for them is that they may perhaps, at a time still distant, be able to reclaim the gift of hope, that powerful presence that sustains the spirit and eventually restores personal peace.  [Read more…]

From Fear to Freedom

With an engaging smile, one of our regular clients said to me recently, “I like to keep coming here often – this is my brain gym”! What a great way to summarize meditation, a regular fitness skill, just made for our brain.

And why do we need that regular brain gym? To manage stress of course, because no life ever escapes the influence of stress – and here’s the how and why of it all. Stress, if not managed, is a trigger for fear; fear then converts to anxiety, anxiety leads to raised tension levels and tension in turn, raises anxiety further. These combined influences produce the debilitating symptoms we hear of so often today … those negative mental disturbances that fill the daily news, the many physical illnesses related to stress and, very significantly, the current epidemic of depression. [Read more…]

Fanning the embers of life or burnout?

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy
All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy*

Let’s get some balance in life?  The old proverb gives us a hint that it’s not a bad idea to do just that, yet sometimes it’s a bit tricky to get the balance just right.  We all must work in one way or another and while we all need play for recreation and refreshment, we can’t rely on play for life satisfaction.  However and unfortunately for many, our desire for ambition and independence, our easy access to international travel and all that entails and our ready access to technology of many kinds can mean that work can become far too constant.

That’s when burnout begins to make its presence felt.  [Read more…]

Watch your life begin to flourish

This blog begins with a short Youtube video on homeostasis, which I hope will bring some laughter to an otherwise serious subject:

Now let’s get a little more real!

Homeostasis probably does mean all those things Dr Sheldon Cooper described.  But, to put its meaning slightly less technically, homeostasis means equilibrium – the aim to achieve existential balance – so that living is relatively comfortable, spontaneous motion is easy and a sense of flow, as opposed to tension, is generally experienced.  Equilibrium applies to our body and to our mind … in fact our entire being. [Read more…]

Mingling with angels

Have you ever considered that in any ordinary day, your guardian angel just might be taking care of you?

I’m a great believer in Destiny and so therefore there simply must be an angel nearby to ensure that Destiny is fulfilled.  You might like to find a moment right now to recall and consider the many ‘near miss’ incidents that have touched your life from which you have lived to tell the tale.  How remarkable.

Some might put these occurrences down to fluke or luck or even their own good thinking.  On the downside of course, there is the mystery of ill health, accident or misfortune as and when it does occur – a topic that has been pondered for time immemorial.  Why did this happen to him or her … why to that small child … why to that very young and decent person … so many questions that can never really be answered.  Unless of course, we believe in Destiny, in which case perhaps a glimmer of hope can shine through the darkness to bring acceptance and a sense of trust that sometimes bad things do happen to good people and there simply must be a purpose to it all. [Read more…]

Paralyzing panic and other outcomes

Recently I had reason to reiterate to a new client an outline of the effect of anxiety, panic and the outcomes of these reactions. Since there seems to be quite a deal of ignorance about the physiology surrounding anxiety, I decided to talk about it again.

Anxiety is part of our survival.  Yet anxiety levels can creep out of control when, via the brain, emergency messages arrive at the nervous system creating distressing symptoms.  It is this sequence of events within our body that creates panic to the extent that people may begin to live a life of compromise, founded on fear. [Read more…]

Nurture strengths to assist our journey

And so we begin the month of February in this New Year of 2014.

Barbara 2In this ‘job’ I’m extremely fortunate to meet a very wide range of people from all areas of life and across all age groups – from very small children to those who used to be known as ‘elderly’ (or the ‘older’ generation).  Looking at those small children and knowing that one day, if all goes well, they too will join the older group I can’t help wondering what lies in store for them as they travel toward the autumn shades of life.  In this, a picture of utter tranquility, Barbara demonstrates that the mature person can find a new way, a meditative way, to ensure that life can become easier, healthier and far more enjoyable.

[Read more…]

Christmas – peace or turmoil?

Red tinsel, silver bells, bundles of holly and an pulsating hum of expectation is in the air.  Christmas is approaching again and how this year has flown by!

Perhaps I remain a child at heart but I can never forget little girl Christmases … the religious significance (whatever our belief system, the birth of Christ and his message of peace is the actual reason for upcoming celebrations), the excitement at school as studies were put aside to be replaced by carol singing and story writing, the wishes and hopes and dreams – and an awareness of limits, too. [Read more…]

A question of balance

I often wonder whether all the commodities we have today makes a world that is not that great for emotional health.  Often I’m wondering these things as I press the start button on the washing machine or the dishwasher or as I Google for information or glide along the road with ease in my faithful car.  So a keen observer would see me smile wryly at these thoughts.  Because we like these things; these elements of modern life that aim to make it all easier.  And so they do.  Sort of.  But maybe they don’t make life simpler. Or maybe they detract from natural things – our innate self … our natural environment … our appreciation of real living.  Or maybe they create those unseen stressors that contribute to emotional disquiet.  And could it be that these elements might contribute to the emotional disquiet experienced by so many in Gen Y and Z – our youth of today?

These questions were certainly what I wrote about in my small children’s book Quiet Magic, something slightly prophetic in that story actually … as we see more and more kids joined to their iPods or iPads and clicking away – unnaturally – with eyes fixed as if glued to the screen. [Read more…]

Three Funerals and a reflection

To have attended three funerals within one week is perhaps rather unusual.  Though not family or very close friends, it was really important for me to be there, with respect and appreciation of the reality that our lives had intertwined.  Each experience moved me deeply and for special, distinctive reasons.

The first was a long time neighbor whose children were of similar age to our youngest and the boys had lots of memorable times together.  As families, we were all on friendly chatting terms; and then we moved house and life moved on for everyone. [Read more…]

Spring clean your mind

As the August chills begin to fade, color and music land on the winter palette as bright shots of blossom, bunches of wattle, tiny green buds and early morning birdsong hint that spring is in the air!

As my four children grew up a small competition arose between them:  who would bring home to Mum the first sprigs of spring from the trees on the nature strip!  They haven’t been doing it in recent years – too busy raising their own families! So Don has taken over the task and there it sits before me as I write this, now wilting gently in the vase, but offering the promise of sunshine and the prospect of a warm summer with long days and balmy nights.
[Read more…]

Pearls of Wisdom

August 2013 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of In Stillness Conquer Fear and my foray into practice as a Stillness Meditation therapist specializing in anxiety relief and stress management.   My book was launched on ‘The Mike Walsh Show’ and lots of other publicity followed.  For someone who had experienced life crippling anxiety to recover, write her story and go public was very unusual and something the press devoured.  I feel proud to have set in motion the recognition that anxiety, depression and related disorders own today.   But better than that: that the practice of SMT greatly enhances life! [Read more…]

What does freedom mean to you?

“Most of life is so dull it is not worth discussing, and it is dull at all ages.  When we change our brand of cigarette, move to a new neighborhood, subscribe to a different newspaper, fall in and out of love, we are protesting in ways both frivolous and deep against the not to be diluted dullness of day-to-day living”.

This somewhat negative passage is taken from a novel by Truman Capote (Summer Crossing, circa 1940’s).  Still, he’s making a point for personal freedom – the ability to freely choose what we might or might not decide to do.

[Read more…]

All relationships need nurturing

It’s easy to think of relationship in terms of people around us. And of course, that’s the first place we find them, beginning from ‘day one’ when as infants, we are held in the arms of our parents. But of course, what happens after that is what counts. Is the relationship nurtured and therefore does it grow?

At grass roots, to nurture means to take care of … something. And speaking of grass, our entire environment can speak volumes in terms of how we might care for the people in our lives. The smallest seeds still need a regular drink of water!
[Read more…]

‘Virtual’ is no substitute for reality!

One of the drawbacks surrounding social media and the massive amount of information on the internet is mental overload! Lots of people confess to feeling overwhelmed and at times, physically ‘sick’ while trying to sift through constant messaging, pressured advertising and great stretches of time lost in virtual reality. Our brain can really take only so much stimuli and the mental effort of teasing out and selecting what is really important can quickly lead to exhaustion – and a rise in anxiety.

At the Stillness Meditation Therapy Centre we’re in the business of calming those minds in an enriching way which helps to balance that stimulus. And yet, contrary to the very purpose of meditation, there’s ready access to all manner of styles of meditation via online products. Yes, it can be very helpful to download a meditation track for home practice. This is essential when access to professional teaching is not possible – and yes, a selection of my own audio recordings is available for that very purpose!

[Read more…]

The discipline of success

Last month I talked about loss and grief and the process of grieving.  While grieving  is always an individual process and has no time limit, part of the journey involves the re-discovery of happiness.

I think the pursuit of happiness has become unrealistically popularized and largely misunderstood.  Happiness can never be one attainable state but a feeling that comes in ‘chunks’ which, when put together, may result in contentment, a far more powerful and productive state of being.  So how can we capture those chunks of happiness, even when all seems lost?

I was reminded recently of that wonderful quote by Woody Allen: 80% of success is showing up.

[Read more…]

On loss, grief and grieving

One of the most frequent reasons for clients attending our Centre involves the matter of loss and consequent grief.  There are so many levels of these highly charged occurrences and the individual emotional reaction that accompanies them.

Loss can be relatively minor yet reactions can be potent. In grief, whether recognised as such or not, memories, fears and feelings become magnified – sometimes apparently out of proportion. Loss, whether of a loved one or a seemingly less significant, though personal part of life, can be an experience of desolation:  [Read more…]

New beginnings

And so we come to the beginning of another month … a New Year and already February has arrived!

What does February mean for you? For me, February means the birthday of my father (on Valentine’s Day in fact) and a gentle reminder of someone so dear; it means long, hot summers and time at the beach; and another birthday, that of a very special school friend with whom I spent many fun filled hours in our growing years. The gift of her fantastic enjoyment of life still fills me with joy in every email we exchange.

And February also represents the beginning of the school year. After so much holiday freedom seeing those ‘back to school’ banners in the stores can trigger very difficult emotions for some kids. Not perhaps so for the older ones, but very often for those facing Years 2, 3 and 4. Challenges abound because it’s in those years one can begin to feel the pressures surrounding acceptance or rejection – and consequently, the experience of loss, confusion and anxiety.

[Read more…]

Calmness amidst chaos

There’s a huge irony in what we’re seeing on our screens in these pre-Christmas weeks. One moment we’re being shown horrific and explosive footage from scenes of war in the Middle East and next, some facile advertisement for the purchase of gifts for loved ones – or images of extravagant food to stock up on for Christmas.

It’s perplexing that on the one hand, extravagance to find happiness is being promoted when Christmas is supposed to celebrate the humble birth of Christ. When I see nations at war, I wonder at the perception of human kind when throughout time, spiritual leaders such as he have taught only peace. And it’s sad that the simple act of giving has morphed into yet another modern pressure.

Though meant to be a happy time, the rushing, the crowds, the repetitive ‘carols’ playing in the stores, the traffic and the urgency surrounding shopping at this time can lead to distress. Temper and impatience increases, road rage and violent acts become more prevalent; unresolved family issues rear their heads; counselors are reminded of the current problem of youth suicide and anyone prone to morbidity and anxiety may notice their symptoms mounting. Yet this Season is meant to be a celebration of the birth of one who gave His life in the name of love, justice, forgiveness and peace! [Read more…]