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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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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.

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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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Live Your Dream

Live Your Dream

How often have we followed our ‘dreams’?

Too often lack of time, lack of finances, so many responsibilities, etc stop us from taking the steps to achieving our dreams.  Is there something that you have always wanted to do?  What stops you?  Is that realistic, or is there a fear of actually having/achieving what you want?

There is a little book in my library called “Living Juicy. Daily Morsels for your Creative Soul.” By Sark

I love what she has to say about dreaming.

“Dream on …

Each of us has a dream – at least one!  Not living that dream ever, can be an unfulfilled path.  What could be better about being human than living our dreams?

My father didn’t exactly understand my creative spirit while I was growing up, and would sometimes sarcastically say to me, ‘dream on, kid’ about various ideas and plans I would talk about.  Well, I took it literally, and I did keep on dreaming…

Let dreams surround you …

Move to Alaska; Be a Mom; Be a Painter; Change the School System; Invent a new Ice-cream; Publish stuff …….”

What is your dream? Share it! Give it wings!

Shared by 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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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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Check in and get 'propped' up!

Check in and get ‘propped’ up!

The first quarter of the year has been and gone, and if you’re anything like me, all those good intentions that you may have had at the beginning of the year have somehow sadly got washed away in the floods or burnt up in the bushfires.

However, this year it’s been different for me.   I found a great new app that is helping me keep on track, and I’d like to share it with you.

It is called ‘Lift’ and it’s a free app available for iPhones and IPads. An android version is due out soon.

Lift is a simple way to achieve any goal, track your progress, and get the support of your friends.

First you select a good habit that you want to establish.   You can write your own, or you can choose from hundreds of suggestions in the app itself.

And then off you go – it’s as simple as that.

Each day you ‘check-in’ on how you are going and the Lift keeps track of your check-ins with neat little graphs if that sort of thing appeals.   Even if you don’t do your new activity that day, it’s still important to check-in as you get recognition for the number of days you check-in in a row.    Checking-in means that what you are working on is kept front of mind.   You can also get Lift to message you at a time of day that you choose to remind you about your new behaviour.

When Checking-in you just tick the box, and if you want you can add comments on how it is for you that day around this new behaviour.   These comments can be shared with friends and a coach, and also with the wider ‘Lift’ community as a whole.

To begin with I thought who’s really going to be that interested in me keeping my coffee consumption down to one cup a day?    But it’s surprised me how many people ‘propped’ me (supported me), especially as my continuous check-ins rose up, and also how many people started offering words of encouragement and acknowledgement of milestones achieved.

These unexpected waves of support lifted my resolve and made it much easier to keep to the regime I had set myself and to check-in each day.   And no one poo-poohs you if you bravely admit to having more than one cup yesterday – everyone’s struggling to master their own particular goals and know how difficult it is to get it right all the time…   So instead of calling you a loser, they provide words of caring compassion and encouragement.

As a result, I now spend a minute or so each day going through other people’s postings, offering support and sending encouraging messages to those struggling to do better.

I’ve now got 5 things I’m working on and you can add new ones or change them whenever you want.    It’s great – nearly as good as having your own personal coach, and so much cheaper!     Definitely worth checking it out if there is something you want to really get on top of.

So how tidy is your desk?    When did you last exercise regularly?  Time to get on top of your emails? Or get working on that that project that you started last year and which is now stalled?

Good luck.

StJohn

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.  

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