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The cracked bowl with gold infill, reminds me how beautiful we all are.  That is, we all have a history, we all have suffered at some time.  Yet, the beauty of who we are still manages to shine through, no matter what life has thrown at us. An example of how resilient we can be.

When something has suffered damage.....it becomes more beautiful.

When something has suffered damage…..it becomes more beautiful.

“It’s important to know that any emotional damage we face in life is something that can be fixed and mended.
It’s a choice to want to heal those hurts that have made us broken at one point in time.
As we restore ourselves…we emerge with a stronger and more beautiful spirit, ready to take on life once again.
from Read, Love and Learn”

If you have suffered emotional trauma or any life challenging circumstance, now may be the time to take some time for you, rediscover your beauty and create the space for healing. The Healing Your Life Program at Quest for Life helps to do just that. Click here for more information.

Alexia Miall

Alexia Miall

Alexia Miall

Alexia’s career began in banking and then moved via advertising to a major career change in 1980 to Adult and Transformational Education.  She has been privileged to share this incredible journey with 1000’s of like minded souls through her extensive experience as a facilitator, trainer, life coach, therapist, and mentor.  She managed her own training company in Victoria during the 1990’s, and during this time was the Course Leader for a training program from which the Banksia Environmental Foundation formed.

Alexia has acquired further education in Adult Education in Training; Somatic Psychotherapy; Life Coaching; Conflict Resolution; plus Accreditation in many behavioural and culture change models. She is an Associate of EcoSTEPS, a niche Sustainability consultancy, which supports her love of the natural environment.

Creativity makes my spirit sing!

Creativity makes my spirit sing!

On paper I suppose you could say that I really have what should be a good life or satisfying life; I have a loving family, a house that is comfortable and filled with love, great friends and a job that has meaning, .  Yet I was feeling so unsettled after I turned 40.  I was now preoccupied with questions like; what am I doing with my life and what is my purpose.   So when I participated in Take A Stand for Life program, the stand I wanted to take was for having clarity and direction.

Just like all Quest programs are, the participants for Take a Stand for Life came from all over NSW, some from interstate and from such varied backgrounds, but all with one thing in common. They were all seeking to take their own individual stand, for their own life.

The sessions were interactive, the exercises insightful and interesting. I just embraced it all.   The week was passing so quickly and I remember thinking on the second last day, when does it all come together?  I was still not really clear about myself and did not feel I had the direction I was seeking.   After a heart meditation my life changed and I had my answer to why I was so unsettled with life, which also revealed a solution.

At the time I was trying to complete a Diploma of Business and it took up so much time that I stopped painting and doing anything creative.   Creativity has always been the thing that makes my spirit sing and I had totally cut it out of my life over the past year.

So when I took a stand, at the final session, to make time to paint regardless of what else was going on, I felt the clarity and direction return.   This also led to discovering an art therapy course which appealed to me and I plan to enrol next year.  Perhaps being an Art Therapist is really something that I will find to be very satisfying – bringing together creativity and meaning.

Having clarity is the most empowering thing a person can have.   I felt my confidence return, having learnt so much more about myself and knowing what it is to live from the heart.

Two weeks after the course I received a letter in the mail I had written myself in one of the exercises with my intentions of Taking A Stand. After reading the letter I felt incredibly proud of whom I was and the importance of taking a stand for you.

I will always be grateful to StJohn, Alexia, Margie, Anthony for their support during the program and helping me find the real me.  I also hold the appreciation and gratitude for the
other participants that shared their lives with me and made the journey so heartfelt.

Suzanne

Click here for details about an upcoming Take a Stand for Life program.

One Flaw in Women

The heart of a woman is what  makes the world keep turning

The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning

I rediscovered this Poem, ‘an oldie but a goodie’, and it has again reminded me of the wonder of Women.  All the roles we undertake, all the joys, all the pitfalls and all the delights of being a Woman.

Was talking to my niece this morning, who has 2 little girls, aged 2 & 1, and  to hear the delight in her voice, when she was feeding them morning tea in the car, on the way to the next errand. Isn’t it the little things that remind us how good it is to be alive, to be a Mother, and to be a Woman.

One Flaw in Women ~ Unknown Author

Women have strengths that amaze men…..

They bear hardships and they carry burdens,

but they hold happiness, love and joy.

They smile when they want to scream.

They sing when they want to cry.

They cry when they are happy

and laugh when they are nervous.

They fight for what they believe in

They stand up to injustice.

They don’t take “no” for an answer

when they believe there is a better solution.

They go without so their family can have.

They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.

They love unconditionally.

They cry when their children excel

and cheer when their friends get awards.

They are happy when they hear about

a birth or a wedding.

Their hearts break when a friend dies.

They grieve at the loss of a family member,

yet they are strong when they

think there is no strength left.

They know that a hug and a kiss

can heal a broken heart.

Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

They’ll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you

to show how much they care about you.

The heart of a woman is what

makes the world keep turning.

They bring joy, hope and love.

They have compassion and ideas.

They give moral support to their

family and friends.

Women have vital things to say

and everything to give.

HOWEVER, IF THERE IS ONE FLAW IN WOMEN,

IT IS THAT THEY FORGET THEIR WORTH.

 

If you or someone you love is living with cancer, rediscover your worth and attend Spirited Women at the Quest for Life Centre in Bundanoon. All of the details are on our website. We look forward to our path crossing with yours.

Alexia Miall

Alexia Miall

Alexia Miall

Alexia’s career began in banking and then moved via advertising to a major career change in 1980 to Adult and Transformational Education.  She has been privileged to share this incredible journey with 1000’s of like minded souls through her extensive experience as a facilitator, trainer, life coach, therapist, and mentor.  She managed her own training company in Victoria during the 1990’s, and during this time was the Course Leader for a training program from which the Banksia Environmental Foundation formed.

Alexia has acquired further education in Adult Education in Training; Somatic Psychotherapy; Life Coaching; Conflict Resolution; plus Accreditation in many behavioural and culture change models. She is an Associate of EcoSTEPS, a niche Sustainability consultancy, which supports her love of the natural environment.

Author Unknown
The rich are not always happy while the happy generally considered themselves rich

The rich are not always happy while the happy generally considered themselves rich

I love colour! Bright, vibrant, happy colours that reflect a positive energy. The devout Buddhist nation of Bhutan is abundant in bright, happy colours that are also reflected in the personality of its people. Bhutan is one of the smallest countries in the world, about the size of Switzerland, and offers the tourist a rich cultural diversity.

Artefacts found in Bhutan trace its first inhabitants back to 2000BC. Buddhism was first introduced in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo and further strengthened by the arrival of Guru Rimpoche, a Buddhist Master that is widely considered to be the Second Buddha.

In his 1971 address to the United Nations, His Majesty the third Druk Gyalpo Jigme Dorji Wangchuck declared that one of his development goals for Bhutan was to make his people prosperous and happy. Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness index was born and continues to generate discussion and debate internationally. Bhutan’s fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck said that the rich are not always happy while the happy generally considered themselves rich.

Bhutan offers some of the world’s rarest flora and fauna in a largely unspoiled environment.

Bhutan offers some of the world’s rarest flora and fauna in a largely unspoiled environment.

Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, Bhutan has strict controls on the number of tourists allowed to visit each year. For the tourist who is fortunate enough to be granted a visa, the country offers magnificent scenery, a stunning array of mountains and valleys and some of the world’s rarest flora and fauna in a largely unspoiled environment.

The people of Bhutan love their food and every region has its own specialty. The country’s flagship dish is ‘Ema Datshi’, a vegetarian dish of chilli and cheese which will leave your taste buds quivering. The Bhutanese love chilli and you will see them everywhere, spread on rooftops, roadsides and courtyards, adding further colour to the already rich landscape. They also love meat, in particular Yak meat and rice, which makes its way into nearly every meal. In fact five kilograms of rice is consumed per head per week in Bhutan. Yak is a common sight in every household. Not a single part of the animal is wasted. Their milk is dried and made into cheese, even the skin is fried and served as a snack with drinks. Yak herders come down from the highlands in autumn and sell meat, butter and cheese to villagers in exchange for rice to last them a full year.

Meditation and meditation retreats are a common practice amongst Monks and Buddhist practitioners in Bhutan. Small retreat centers and hermitages are located all over the country, usually next to temples, monasteries and monastic schools.  Devout Buddhists will venture into the mountains for months at a time to meditate. The beauty and serenity of the landscape can be appreciated more experientially in the silence of a meditation or yoga practice.

Small retreat centers and hermitages are located all over Bhutan, usually next to temples

Small retreat centers and hermitages are located all over Bhutan, usually next to temples

There are thirteen ancient Bhutanese arts and crafts, a legacy from the 17th century masters, that are still practised today and provide wonderful souvenir options for tourists. These include:

Thag-Zo – a traditional form of textile weaving

Tshar-Zo – woven cane and bamboo products

Shag-Zo – traditional wooden cups and bowls made from wooden knots

Lha-Zo – paintings of Bhutanese landscapes and ancient monasteries and temples

Shing-Zo – traditional woodwork

Do-Zo – the art of traditional stone work used in Dzongs, Chortens and farm houses

Par-Zo – unique and distinctive artworks carved out of stone, wood and slate

Jim-Zo – Clay statues of deities, gods and goddesses and other prominent religious figures

Enrich your mind, body and spirit in Bhutan

Enrich your mind, body and spirit in Bhutan

Lug-Zo – bronze casting of cups, urns, and vases, weapons and armor

Gar-Zo – introduced by a Tibetan saint known as Dupthob Thangtong Gyalpo who is revered by the Bhutanese people as a master engineer for his skill in casting iron chains and erecting them as bridges over gorges

Troe-Ko – beautifully crafted jewellery using precious stones and metals such as corals, turquoise, silver and gold

De-Zo – traditionally crafted paper made from the bark of the Daphne tree

Tshem- Zo – the art of traditional embroidery and applique and the art of traditional Bhutanese boot making normally practiced by monks.

For those wanting a holiday destination with a difference that enriches the mind, body and spirit you can go no farther than the majestic and serene beauty of Bhutan! Join Quest for Life founder Petrea King to experience beautiful Bhutan. We’ve done all the work for you! You choose your own path to happiness – take off on an unforgettable five-day trek through the Bhutan wilderness or deepen your yoga and meditation practice with a five-day immersion in the charming town of Paro. You can download an information pack here.

Vicki Miller

Thank you to the Tourism Council of Bhutan for much of the content contained in this article.

Becoming Real

51G892R42XL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_The following passage is a favourite of mine. It is from a beautiful children’s story ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ and is about love and becoming wise.  I recommend the story for children and adults alike to foster compassion and understanding that life is a process and we all have lessons to learn. It has helped me to develop patience as I have made my way to love and forgiveness (mostly for me). I hope you like it too and would love you to share your favourite children’s stories with us all too.

“Real isn’t how you are made…” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become”.

“It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept”.

“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand…”

~From “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams

Love for now…Margie

Margie Braunstein

Margie Braunstein

Margie Braunstein

Margie is a somatic psychotherapist and counsellor providing psychotherapy services to the people of the Central Coast and Sydney.  Margie lives on the beautiful Central Coast with her husband, two children, two dogs and a cat.

Over the last 12 years, Margie has also been engaged in the design, delivery and marketing of transformational learning programs. During this time she has regularly facilitated personal development programs for up to 50 people on weekend workshops, week-long intensives and advanced programs of 3-4 months.

Margie has a Graduate Certificate in Adult Education from UTS, Diploma in Psychotherapy from the Australian College of Contemporary Somatic Psychotherapy and qualifications in somatic therapy, executive coaching and relationship counselling.

Margie has a passion for personal development and regards people with respect, empathy and compassion in the belief that while we all do the best we can, a little bit more kindness and care can lead to even greater peace and joy in life.

hand draws brain signThis blog arrived in my email today.

I was struck by its profound simplicity and by it’s practically as a useful tool to develop appreciation, gratitude and mindfulness.

What do you think?

A Simple Practice to a Happier Balanced Brain

By ELISHA GOLDSTEIN, PH.D.

“TAKE A MOMENT to look around. Where is the good in this moment? Look inside and out. What’s the good within you, what’s the good outside of you?

The gifts of life are truly here; we just need to come to our senses from time to time to notice them.”

Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind

The fact is our brains aren’t wired to be happy; they’re wired to keep us safe. That’s why left to its own devices the brain isn’t going to be aware of all the good that is around.

There are many writers, psychologists and mindfulness teachers who speak about the essence of our true nature being good, being happy, and being compassionate.

However, this only comes when we feel safe and secure.

Our brain is often times not in a state of feeling safe and secure and is more often on the lookout for what’s a potential danger around us. This is what’s been called the brain’s automatic negativity bias. In other words, we’re far more likely to pay attention to what’s not good than to what’s good. This is especially prevalent if you’ve ever struggled with anxiety, depression or any trauma.

But there’s good news:

The good news is that we also know what we practice and repeat in life starts to become automatic. In neuroscience lingo, that is the basis behind neuroplasticity – the ability to wire our brains with our attention and behaviors.

This can be a very simple practice as suggested above to just pause from time to time and ask yourself, “What is good right now?” or perhaps you can even ask yourself, “What do I love?”

At times the answers may come easy and at other times you may yourself reaching for something that’s good. There may be even times when you notice resistance to this practice, judgments around it or a sense of vulnerability arising in combination with the answers.

This is your brain’s way of guarding against vulnerability. In other words, if you feel good you’re at risk for a greater let down if something bad happens. Researcher Brene Brown calls this “Foreboding Joy” and it’s more common than we think. When you notice this resistance, remind yourself it’s okay to be aware of the good and see if you can refocus on it for a moment.

For the good of your brain and your life, give this simple practice a shot. Treat it like an experiment and see what you notice. Allow your experience to be your teacher.

These are the sorts of things we will be exploring and practicing on the Meditate for life workshops we are running over the next few months.   For more information go to the Meditate for Life Webpage: http://www.questforlife.com.au/meditation-program

All the best

StJohn Miall

StJohn Miall

StJohn Miall

StJohn Miall is the co-founder of Keep Evolving, an organisation the facilitates Leadership and Personal Development Programs that has it’s focus on the development of Wisdom, authentic Power and Compassion.  His focus is on the design and delivery of programs to both the corporate sector and the general public with particular focus on deeper, developmental work, supporting the ongoing building of emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligence, coaching, leadership and personal development.

StJohn is an expert guide in the gentle practice of Meditation and its use by those wishing to explore their own inner landscape.

With over 25 years of training experience, StJohn has a wealth of experience to call on both in the design and delivery of transformational programs. He is known for his easy style and ability to make the complex simple and easy to grasp.

Along with his wife Alexia, he facilitates ’Meditate for Life’ and eight week program run in Sydney to learn all about meditation and how to establish a regular meditation practice.   StJohn and Alexia also Facilitate the ‘Take a Stand for Life’residential program held at Bundanoon which is specifically for people looking to further develop their skills for a meaningful and fulfilling life.  

If you only have the time to do one practice, then Meditation is the one to choose

If you only have the time to do one practice, then Meditation is the one to choose

Meditation has been an important part of my life since 1980.  I have found myself thinking and saying over the years, “I don’t know how I would have got through (the day/the week/the year/the incident etc)  without Meditation”.  When I am too busy to Meditate, I make the effort to find the time, and then am amazed at how much I achieve during my day.  Meditation has helped me to find that still place inside,  even when everything is chaotic around me.  I have found the value many times over of the practice of Meditation in my life, and know the benefits of finding the time to practice regularly.

I am convinced, if you only have the time to do one practice, then Meditation is the one to choose.

If you are thinking about learning to meditate OR wanting to kickstart your practice, then check out the Quest website for the upcoming Meditation programmes in Caringbah, the Central Coast and Crows Nest.


Meditation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article is about a variety of mental disciplines used to induce specific modes or states of consciousness.  

Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit[1] or as an end in itself.[2]

The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices (much like the term sports) that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qikiprana, etc.) and develop compassion,[3] love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration[4] single-pointed analysis,[5] meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging in any life activity.

The word meditation carries different meanings in different contexts. Meditation has been practiced since antiquity as a component of numerous religious traditions and beliefs. Meditation often involves an internal effort to self-regulate the mind in some way. Meditation is often used to clear the mind and ease many health issues, such as high blood pressure,[6] depression, and anxiety. It may be done sitting, or in an active way – for instance, Buddhist monks involve awareness in their day-to-day activities as a form of mind-training. Prayer beads or other ritual objects are commonly used during meditation in order to keep track of or remind the practitioner about some aspect of the training.

Meditation may involve generating an emotional state for the purpose of analyzing that state — such as anger, hatred, etc. — or cultivating particular mental response to various phenomena, such as compassion. The term “meditation” can refer to the state itself, as well as to practices or techniques employed to cultivate the state.[7] Meditation may also involve repeating a mantra and closing the eyes. The mantra is chosen based on its suitability to the individual meditator. Meditation has a calming effect and directs awareness inward until pure awareness is achieved, described as “being awake inside without being aware of anything except awareness itself.”[8] In brief, there are dozens of specific styles of meditation practice, and many different types of activity commonly referred to as meditative practices.[9]

Alexia Miall

Alexia Miall

Alexia Miall

Alexia’s career began in banking and then moved via advertising to a major career change in 1980 to Adult and Transformational Education.  She has been privileged to share this incredible journey with 1000’s of like minded souls through her extensive experience as a facilitator, trainer, life coach, therapist, and mentor.  She managed her own training company in Victoria during the 1990’s, and during this time was the Course Leader for a training program from which the Banksia Environmental Foundation formed.

Alexia has acquired further education in Adult Education in Training; Somatic Psychotherapy; Life Coaching; Conflict Resolution; plus Accreditation in many behavioural and culture change models. She is an Associate of EcoSTEPS, a niche Sustainability consultancy, which supports her love of the natural environment.

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