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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.

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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.

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Kelly Corlett

Kelly Corlett

Beautiful reflections from Kelly Corlett. Thank you Kelly!

The best gift I’ve given myself was attending Quest for Life.  I’m a slow learner and unfortunately needed the terrifying jolt of breast cancer to ‘bring me to my senses’.  I had not been living MY best life and had ignored my own needs and desires.

My time at Quest left me excited and exhilarated to live a better life.  A more fulfilling and meaningful life.  As Petrea’s book says – “Your Life Matters – we are not here by accident, we are not a mistake.  We are not here for the kids, a career, the mortgage.  We are here to make the journey of our lives and it matters more than the destination.

I met some beautifully brave and inspiring people that I will never forget. The facilitators are compassionate and passionate in their delivery.  One poem that was read by Noella has stayed with me – “Blessed be the longing that brought you here, and quickens your soul with wonder.  May you have the courage to listen to the voices of desire that disturb you when you have settled for something safe.”

I had quite a few light bulb moments.  As each hour of each day unfolded exquisite pearls of wisdom would be divulged and I clutched these close to my heart, hungry for their sustenance.

I can’t say my life as such has changed since doing the course (it has only been a few weeks!) but my outlook on life has.  Instead of worrying continually about the cancer coming back, I spend more time on what I can do to “fluff ME up” and also live to MY full potential.  It’s incredibly exciting when the whole world opens up for YOU.

Am I happy I was diagnosed with breast cancer? No.  Would I have made these changes without it happening?  Probably not, although there was always a quiet yearning, I was ‘too busy’ to listen or MY needs were never important enough to listen to.  This course has given me a much healthier respect for myself and that it is crucial for me to look after my body, my mind and my spirit.  I am responsible and I am worth it.

I wholeheartedly recommend Petrea King’s Quest for Life courses as it will enrich your life.  If you are fortunate enough you will hear Petrea or Wendie speak and they are truly inspirational.  If there is one ‘tool’ that I picked up and hope never to put down from the course, it would be ‘coming to your senses’, or meditating.  Stopping for moments in time so you can just BE.  It’s those moments when you can really hear your own heart’s desires.

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"All this just by meditating"

“All this just by meditating”

I had so much fun participating in the “Healing your Life” residential program and meeting all the other brave, wonderful participants who helped me so much. Thanks everyone for the laughs, tears and encouragement! It has had a profound life changing effect on me!!!

I wake up smiling every day! I’m shocked! Now my daily ritual, after a sound nights sleep is meditate rather than medicate followed by the occasional “CTMS”.  I’m really surprised by how it has worked for me.

My involvement with the Quest for Life Foundation, meditation and a desire to live life to the fullest, has led me to eliminate my sleeping pills, anti-depressants and sedatives. I don’t take anything and plan to keep myself this way!

My attitude is; “Everyday is my gift to myself so live life to the fullest!”

I also now realise that drugs simply mask the behaviour but meditation helps mould the behaviour without the side effects.

Also, Petrea King’s philosophy on life just makes so much sense and has empowered me to make the big changes that I wanted. I give myself regular top ups of her wisdom via the podcasts on the website with the discussion on spirituality being the most profound for me.

I’ve handed Quest for Life brochures to my GP and psychiatrist. My doctor who I have been seeing for over twenty years commented “All this, just by meditating!”

Thank you Petrea and the team at Quest for Life. My challenge now is to maintain my new lifestyle and enjoy!

With love and loads of rainbows,

Yvonne xxx

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meditation as a life skill for our youth

Meditation as a life skill for our youth

I recently introduced my 13 year old daughter to Petrea King’s meditation CD.  Emma has a short term memory problem which has made learning very challenging for her. She’s a talented artist and singer but struggles with learning in a school environment. Over the years we have spent thousands of dollars on learning support – speech therapy, occupational therapy, kinesiology and more recently with counseling sessions with a child psychologist to help with her self-esteem. Both the primary and secondary schools she has attended have provided excellent learning support and have supported me, as her fiercely loyal advocate, with encouragement and advice along the way.

The greatest improvement and benefit however has come from her meditation sessions which she now initiates herself. She will head off to her bedroom after school, close the door and meditate to Petrea’s CD for 30 minutes. When she finishes her ability to articulate is so greatly enhanced that I am often left speechless. She is able to “slay” her brother at the dinner table with confident, insightful and humorous conversation that has previously evaded her. Meditation obviously clears her neural pathways to allow her memory to function normally. She is generally less anxious and has become more confident at school and in social situations since starting to meditate. She quickly recognized the considerable benefits gained from meditation and now considers it part of her life. She chooses when she wants to meditate which is generally three or four times per week. I can see it will eventually become a daily ritual for her which I know will support her well through the teenage challenges ahead.

No-one had ever suggested meditation as a support tool and it makes me wonder how this could benefit the hundreds of thousands of families out there dealing with learning difficulties and trying to navigate their way through a winding road, lurching from one solution to the next, often being confronted with issues of whether to medicate or not and being out of pocket thousands of dollars along the way.

So it has got me thinking about the broader benefits of meditation as a life skill for our youth. With so many issues impacting on our young people today, an increase in learning difficulties, a huge increase in youth mental health issues, eating disorders, body image issues, cyber bullying and the anxiety and stress they deal with preparing for their HSC. The fear of failure if they don’t get that high Atar score. If meditation was taught to our children as part of their PDHPE curriculum what impact would we see? A start to each school day that involves 30 minutes of meditation perhaps? Sounds like a worthwhile research project to me.

Vicki Miller
Guest blog

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Relieving Stress

Relieving Stress

When it comes to high-level stress, people fall into two groups – the A’s and the B’s. A’s are adrenaline junkies who feel alive in the midst of crisis-ville. They live life on the edge, with days packed with deadlines and dead bodies (depending on the job).  B’s on the other hand, crave a quiet life – order and routine are a priority.  Seldom seen together, A’s spend their weekend bungy-jumping and white-water rafting, whereas B’s prefer to roast a leg of lamb and watch re-runs of The Bill on a Saturday night.

A true Type A thrives on activity.  The best way for an A to chill out is to walk the Kokoda track.  It’s B’s who need support.  B’s don’t fare well when stress takes them out of their comfort zone.  In fact they fall apart.   If you are a B and know a stressful time lies ahead, for example year-end budgets (although I am not implying all B’s are accountants the following routines will keep your body well, your mind sane and improve your work effectiveness.

Stress Busters

Exercise is important, even if you only do twenty minutes walking and some neck and back stretches. Try not to rely on caffeine or sugar to see you through as caffeine increases adrenaline, and added sugar creates havoc with blood sugar levels.  The last thing you need is a low sugar slump.  Eat three square meals a day, each with protein.  It’s particularly important to add protein to breakfast.  How does a herb omellete sound? Or perhaps some smoked salmon and avocado on toast. If you are in a rush, a banana smoothie with egg and frozen berries might be quicker.

Place a photo of a loved one (cat, dog, child, husband etc) on your desk or side table.  When you feel particularly anxious, look at the photo, take a breathinto your abdomen and as you breath out, remember that this stressful time will pass.  Supplements are helpful.  I am a fan of Kava.  This Polynesian herb works quickly to reducesymptoms of anxiety, allowing a buffer of sanity in stressful times.  Other herbs which are useful include Passionflower, Lemon Balm and Zizyphus. And finally, at the end of every stressful day have a long hot bath with two (clenched) fists of Epsom salts and 5 drops of lavender oil.

If you would like to learn more tools and strategies for relieving stress here are two events you may want to join us for:

Relieving Stress Thursday 9th May, 2013
A FREE webinar with Petrea King and Mim Beim
Click here for more information and to register

Relieving Stress Weekend – 18th and 19th May, 2013
Two 1 day workshops at the Quest for Life Centre.
Click here  for more information and to register

 

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Janice, Peter, Daniel and Kate Marshall

Janice, Peter, Daniel and Kate Marshall

Janice kindly shared her courageous story as part of the Quest for Life Foundation Mothers Day Appeal. You can read the full letter here. Thank you Janice for sharing part of your journey with us.

I am the mother, and until recently, the main carer, for Daniel, my gorgeous 24 year old son who is autistic. Then 6 years ago, my husband (of 32 years) Pete, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. After the nearly 24 years of grief (for the son we had expected and never had) and the stress that  came from living with him and his bizarre throwing and destructive behaviours, the blow of Pete’s diagnosis hit us for six. We’ve always felt that the prolonged stress of Daniel contributed to Pete’s disease. It may well have also contributed to our daughter, Kate (23), suffering from anxiety over the years, including being seriously ill with anorexia at age 11.

I am however a ‘fixer’, and have spent many of the last years trying to ‘fix’ Daniel, Pete and Kate. The cumulative stress and anger over these years has taken a toll and I have burned out and felt totally useless. Although I am on the surface fit and well, the added grief of watching my wonderful, strong, fit and capable husband slowly decline has been almost more than I can bear.

But together, and despite the restrictions of conventional western medicine, we have never given up hope that Pete can be well again. He continues to ride his mountain bike and we have adjusted our already healthy diet and exercise program. Then we came to Quest for Life, which provided us with the missing link, a program which taught us how to harness the power of the mind and how to live a ‘weller’ life right now. It taught me to live in the ‘now’, which I found so difficult before, and to slow my overwrought nervous system to find peace. One of the toughest lessons for me was learning that I also deserve to look after me and ‘fluff me up’ and that ironically is what best helps Pete, Daniel and Kate! I am learning that I can’t control everything and that is OK and yet ironically, the more both    Peter and I meditate and slow down, the more in control we feel. We hope to incorporate what we have learned into Daniel’s confused world as well to help bring him to his own peace. For both of us, the program has been life-changing and we look forward to our future lives now with hope.

Janice Marshall

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