Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

Staff at St Vincents

Staff at St Vincents

Petrea was invited by the Pastoral Care Department of St Vincents Hospital to speak at Grand Rounds in October 2011. Her subject was Spiritual Pain and Suffering and how to be helpful to patients who might be facing end of life issues. The auditorium was packed with the highest number of attendees ever recorded at Grand Rounds. The audience included all medical and administrative personnel with many Heads of Departments as well as the CEO of the hospital attending. This talk is also shown on the in hospital CCTV system so that patients have access to it as well.

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Quest for Life Centre in Spring

The Quest for Life Centre in Spring

I am just back from yet another inspiring week with the most wonderful people and it motivates me to jot down a few words about the courage people demonstrate when they come to a program…

It never ceases to amaze me on day one of a residential program just how much courage it must take for some people to make it all the way from the familiar surrounds of their home to the unfamiliar environs of the Quest for Life centre. It truly is a testament to the trust that people place in Petrea and the Quest for Life Foundation. Here is my perspective on what happens.

As people finish their cups of tea and coffee in the living room, they are warmly invited, by our support staff, to make their way into the group room whereupon they see a large circle of chairs with a table up the front with a big bunch of flowers from the garden.

People take their preferred chair.

There is tension in the air as complete strangers look tentatively around the room at the people with whom they have chosen to spend the next 5 days. The nerves are palpable. I am sure some people might be thinking… “Why am I here again?” as they plan their exit strategy and I’m sure some people must feel like turning on their heels and running in the opposite direction! Yet they don’t.

I realise that some participants rarely even leave their house and others are just more used to keeping their ‘ tender bits’ to themselves and this inspires me. Yet, these people travel by plane, train or automobile all the way to Bundanoon to sit in a room full of strangers when they are feeling at their most vulnerable and fragile. Wow… now that is impressive and BRAVE.

So here we all are. We on the support team have been here many times before and we hold this space tenderly. We know the plan for the week and have experienced the ice melting and people blossoming as they feel accepted and their vulnerabilities are supported with gentleness and care.

We trust the process that is about to unfold and we welcome each person with respect for what it takes to get here.

As the week progresses, we feel the relief as these brave people feel heard and cared for, as pain eases and comfort is provided. Some people will wrestle with demons and some people will make peace with the past.  Plus we know that there will be laughs as well as tears and there will be delicious and healthy food that just keeps coming!

By the end of the week, we know there will be warmth and comfort, laughter and acceptance as people from disparate walks of life show inspiring respect for each other and the team will leave tired but moved by the capacity people have for healing and love.

Well that is how I experience it… It would be great to hear from you about your experience of coming to Quest and I hope to see you there soon.

Lots of love



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Angel 9/11

Love for love’s sake

Some of us have learned to fear
Fear those from other cultures
Other religions
We called for war
To stop the weapons of mass destruction
Kill for revenge
Blame, Shame & Hurt

Some of us have learned to love
Love those from other cultures
Other religions
We voted for peace
To stop all weapons
We value life
And Love
Forgiveness, Love for love’s sake

We can send love to all of those lost in the delusion of hate and beckon them to the call for unity
Join me in this valiant mission for inner and outer peace…

Lots of love

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.

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Compassion is a quality that is needed more now, than perhaps ever in history. So what is it and why do we need it right now?

In a world where suffering is a daily concern for all beings, compassion needs to be cultivated so we can transform how we relate to each other and every living being. I often say “if you didn’t want suffering, wrong planet” but the issue is, this is our planet and we each need to take responsibility for how we behave and relate to each other. We can’t control what’s happening in the world, but we can change how we feel about it.

Compassion is not wanting suffering in the world – suffering from subtle physical and emotional discomfort to agony and anguish – combined with feelings of sympathetic concern.

We can have compassion for individuals (a sick friend, someone being wronged), groups of people (refugees in Australia, victims of earthquakes in Christchurch and Japan), animals (battery chickens, animals killed for food), and ourselves.

Compassion isn’t pity, agreement, or waiving of our rights. We can have compassion for people who have wronged us, while wanting them to change their behaviour!

Compassion opens our heart and nourishes people we care about whether we know them or not. Basically it sends out a good vibe. Think about people we are compassionate towards. They are more likely to be forgiving, patient, and compassionate back.

The function of compassion is connection. Compassion reflects the wisdom that everything is related to everything else, and it draws us in to connection.

Studies show that when we feel compassion, motor circuits in our brain light up.

Compassion is natural. All we need to do is open our heart – to the difficulty, to the problem person, to the sorrow in the world or to any situation we would like to see improve. And the best bit is this. When we radiate compassion out – it actually feels good.

So today, start feeling compassion for others and you will feel it for yourself. So instead of sending out criticism and judgement, send out COMPASSION.

Google COMPASSION and see what comes up!

Wendie Batho

Wendie Batho

Wendie Batho

Wendie has co-facilitated residential programs with Petrea for more than sixteen years. Prior to that Wendie spent over 25 years as a teacher, school principal and was involved in educational leadership and facilitation of school executive groups.

Ten years of this time was spent in PNG where she taught and worked for the government. Wendie has been travelling since the early sixties and is especially attracted to Asian cultures. She holds degrees in Anthropology, Education, Sociology, Theology and Political Science. Her current passions are her grandchildren, travel biographies, exploring Asia, 4×4 driving, reading everything she can get her hands on, and watching movies on the big screen at home.

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‘what is the book this week’ that has changed my life?

‘what is the book this week’ that has changed my life?

The book that changed my life… Is there one important book that changed your life? It is hard to choose one because I could really answer ‘what is the book this week’ that has changed my life? However, if I had to choose just one it would be: Gerald Jampolsky’s ‘Teach only Love’

From the moment I read the title, I thought to myself… “that resonates so deeply with me. I have to read that book!”

The twelve principals of attitudinal healing contained within this wonderful book capture, for me, the essence of my life purpose which is to teach love. For me, there really is no other lesson. Once this lesson is understood, everything else fits neatly into place like a jigsaw piece into a puzzle. To teach love one has to learn about love and this is not a lesson that ends with a certificate or degree. Rather it requires lifelong learning to both learn and to ‘teach only love’…

The Twelve Principles of Attitudinal Healing
1. The essence of being is love.
2. Health is inner peace.
3. Giving and receiving are the same.
4. We can let go of the past and the future.
5. Now is the only time there is.
6. We learn to love ourselves and others by forgiving rather than judging.
7. We can become love-finders rather than faultfinders.
8. We can be peaceful inside regardless of what is happening outside.
9. We are students and teachers to each other.
10. We can focus on the whole of our lives rather than on the fragments.
11. Because love is eternal, death need not be viewed as fearful.
12. We can always see ourselves and others as extending love or giving a call for help.

Thank you Jerry for your wisdom and generosity… So what is the book that changed your life? Click here to learn more about Jerry’s work

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For I am Love, And that’s all that is real

True transformation takes place with changes to what we think and feel.

True and lasting transformation is what we are privileged to witness and share on a Quest program.  Here is a beautiful testimony and poem from Meg Bryar, a participant on a recent Healing your Life program.

I am Love
By Meg Bryar
May, 2011

I am Love, Put onto this earth
With a physical body, that can feel and hurt;

With an active mind, that can think and create
Beliefs and assumptions, that can alter my fate.

I am Love, That is who I am
And I sooo want to feel, Myself again;

Because when the love that I am, Can shine right through
That’s all that I am, that’s all that’s true.

I am Love, Not limb, nor liver
Nor the body, that fear makes quiver.

I am not what I think, nor what I feel.
I am not what they say I am, none of that’s real.

Take my leg, remove my sight;
I still am what I am –  A love so bright.

Strip me bare, take me limb by limb;
You’ll find only love, contained within.

I am not my body. I am not my mind.
I am not what I’m feeling, Nor the trouble I find.

I am only pure love; Nothing more, nothing less
But I have a body, So you have something to caress.

I have a mind, So we can talk and share.
I have eyes, To see you there.

I have ears, So I can hear you sing.
I have a heart , To feel everything.

I have legs, So with you I can walk.
I have a mouth, So we can talk.

You used your bodily gift, To so carelessly abuse mine;
You abused my bodily gift, And distorted my mind.

The wounds you left caused a drift, Between love and what my body feels
But I’ll reconnect, And love will heal.

No matter your insults, No matter your blows,
No matter if your body, Breaks my nose.

You may take my dignity, You may take my rights;
But I am Love. I am my own light.

You can’t take love. You can’t take who I AM;
I can lose it somewhere, But I’ll find it again.

And Love will caress, And Love will heal;
For I am Love, And that’s all that is real.

With love, Meg

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Dearest Bernadette.....

I’d like to share (with permission) this story from a past participant.

“Dearest Bernadette,

 I need to share something very profound with you!  I don’t know whether you remember my “story” when we were sitting in our sacred circle at Bundanoon.  You hear so many stories!!  But I raised my hand at one stage and tried to explain how I felt about the big “F” word – FORGIVENESS!!!  I was full of bitterness and anger and even admitted to the group (with great shame) that I hated my father.

 This is what happened this morning:

 This morning, as I dressed for my walk, the Heavens opened and it bucketed down!!  So, instead, I did a lovely long routine of yoga followed by a very deep and beautiful meditation.  It must have been meant to be because during that meditation I had quite a revelation!

 You know how I feel about my father, right?  And how much anger, resentment, bitterness and (I’m ashamed to admit) hatred that I’ve been lugging around with me for the last 57 years, right?  Well, during my meditation this morning, it suddenly hit me that we are all deeply flawed, that we all carry scars and pains from our past.  And, because of that, we all react to life in surprising ways – sometimes very inappropriate and imperfect ways.  Dad was no “less” than I am and I am no “more” than he was.  We are just the same. 

 I do not, and will never, condone what he did to us as children but I see him through different eyes now.  God made the sun shine on him and the rain fall on him just as He did (and does) me!!  I think I can forgive the heart of Dad, the soul of him!!!  Not his actions…but the essence of him!!! 

 Oh my God!!!  I feel as though I could fly!!!  I feel this great sense of freedom and joy!!!  I’m very new at this whole “forgiveness” thing and so I don’t know if this feeling will last…but I do know that it’s a major leap forward for me!!!  Wow!!!  There’s a rainbow shining somewhere!!!

 Bernadette, do you believe in miracles?  I think I do!!!

I feel so free Bernadette!  It’s opened something up inside my heart and there’s more room to love now.  There’s more compassion and understanding…not just for Dad…but for everyone!

 With very much love and a million “thank yous” for the rainbows you’ve sent especially for me.  Gratitude and privilege fill my heart…there are no words.  I can only pray that you “know”!!  And I don’t mind if you share my “miracle”!     Jan

Thank you for your generous sharing Jan, we honour your story and are inspired again and again in the reading of it. Love and huge rainbows to you.

Bernadette Arena

Bernadette Arena

Bernadette has worked with the Quest for Life Foundation since early 2006 and is the Senior Facilitator on our residential programs.  Her work is treasured by our participants and our team. She has also been developing and refining a deep understanding of the use of appropriate yoga and meditation approaches for use in oncology and with serious illness.

Bernadette maintains close association with International Yoga Teachers Association and is a senior lecturer for their Teacher Training Course.  She has designed and delivered yoga teacher training courses for other organisations.  During 5 years in the UK she taught retreats, workshops and classes across the UK and in Europe and worked as a personal ‘lifestyle’ coach.  Bernadette brings a gentle and loving nature with insight and compassion borne out of her experience. She can assist a deeper connection with the body as a means to rejuvenate the spirit.

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