Archive for the ‘Quest for Life’ Category

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.


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

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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


“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.  

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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.


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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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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I love you = I allow you.

I love you = I allow you.

I recently came across this piece of wonderful, caring and compassionate writing and found it inspiring and a beautiful reminder to be kinder to ourselves and show ourselves a little more appreciation and loving kindness…   I hope you like it.


There is a deep need in all of us to be seen, to be confirmed, and to be validated by another. When our subjective experience is empathically held, contained, and fully allowed, we come to a natural place of rest. What is love, really, other than fully allowing the other to be who they are, and to presence and embrace their unique subjectivity? I love you = I allow you. The late Donald Winnicott, a brilliant psychoanalyst from Britain, used the term “holding environment” to express this notion. Through making actual contact with another– through receiving, affirming, and metabolizing their experience; and through offering an attuned space in which their experience can unfold– we become vehicles of love in action.

While not talked about as much, we can also hold ourselves in such an environment, where we allow ourselves to be what we are, where we offer ourselves full permission for our experience to reveal itself according to a unique blueprint which was crafted in the stars. In so doing, we allow any and all self-experience to be lovingly metabolized, and then used as grace-energy for love, kindness, and compassion. On some intuitive level, we all know that the degree to which we allow and love ourselves is the degree to which we can allow and love others, even those aspects of self and other which we find disturbing, unspiritual, and otherwise less-than-ideal.

For so many I speak with, there is an undercurrent of subtle aggression, self-hatred, unexamined shame, lack of acceptance, longed-for forgiveness, and absence of self-kindness toward self-experience. Let us all take a pause, and from a place of love visualize a holding environment for ourselves, where we grant ourselves permission to make intimate and direct contact with our vulnerabilities, with our unguarded and unprotected hearts, with our unprocessed challenges from the past, and with our less-than-awakened thoughts/ feelings/ and behaviors. We can take just one moment and appreciate the complexity and counter-instinctual nature of the waking up process and allow a deeply profound love and kindness to fill us, cell by cell. Let us be willing to no longer abandon ourselves, exiting into our stories and unkind judgments, and inquire with love into the habitual belief that there is something fundamentally wrong with us. Then, in an instant, we behold the flow of grace which pours through the eyes of everyone we meet, including that unknown precious one that we see when we look in the mirror. And then all that could possibly remain is an unshakeable faith in love’s perfection.

This blog has been republished from Matt Licata’s blog at http://alovinghealingspace.blogspot.com.au

StJohn & Alexua Miall will be c0-facilitating the up-coming ‘Take a Stand for Life’ program at Quest in Bundanoon starting on March 4th.    For more details about the program, click here.

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Fear melted and wonderful new connections formed

Fear melted and wonderful new connections formed

I have recently returned from our ‘Quest for Life’ residential program and my heart is so warmed by the transformation I witnessed on the faces and in the hearts of the beautiful people who attended.

Naturally, some people felt apprehensive at the start, but as they shared their lives and experiences with each other, the fear melted and wonderful new connections formed.
People from all walks of life grappled with the challenges of living with the diagnosis, treatment and ongoing physical, emotional and spiritual challenges of life during and after a body threatening illness.

I say ‘body-threatening’ on purpose because I truly believe that while the body may feel under threat, life itself is not and life cannot and does not die.

Maybe we are just ‘renting’ this body for a while so we can have a human experience? Maybe we are only ‘tenants’ and if you have ever been a tenant, you will know that one day you have to move on. Only trouble is that we move into our bodies and develop a deep sense of ‘me’ in ‘my’ body and our identification with ‘me’ in ‘my’ body can make it much harder to leave peacefully.

Of course, resisting leaving, say with treatment, can be entirely appropriate, especially if you have received your ‘eviction notice’ premature to your expectations but resisting leaving by denying your feelings, avoiding reality or isolating yourself might add more pain to an already challenging process.

However there is hope and there is potential for personal growth too. If you can find a way to use the ‘early eviction notice’ as a portal into what life is really about, you may discover what really matters to you and I hope this might your version of love and living fully today.

Maybe when you resist your death, your pain, your body, your feelings, your illness, your electricity bill, your conflicts, your lusts, your aging or whatever, you miss out on the fullness of life? The good news is that you can learn to live in the present, feeling it all and living it all, fully alive with all of life’s joy and sorrow but nonetheless buzzing with life.

And yes it can be scary. Of course it can feel terrifying but you can find fellow ‘tenants’ who have also been given ‘notice’ and like you are on their own personal quest for life and this can really help ease the burden.

Our bodies are all going to die. Your fears will be validated at Quest and will not be denied. They are very real and you need loving care and support to process them AND it is possible to change your perspective.

When you come to Quest for Life, you may learn how to approach life gently and with acceptance.

If you have been given an ‘early eviction notice’, then please make your way to a ‘Quest for Life’ program to help you make sense of what has happened, to ease your resistances and to learn how to suck the delicious juice out of life for as long as you can no matter what your situation. In this way you may live as best you can amidst the circumstances of this life right now, today and in this minute.

Profound thanks to my fellow ‘tenants’ from last week and much love and life to all for now. Margie

The next Quest for Life program is 5-9 December 2012. NSW health subsidies available

Please phone Suzanne on 1300 941 488 to book your place.

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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Sue Inspiration Compilation

Sue Inspiration Compilation

This is a guest blog from our wonderful Program Co-ordinator, Suzanne. Thank you again Suzanne for your heartfelt wisdom.

My sister made me a compilation CD when I once broke up from a long-term relationship.  I found it the other day and listened to it.  It had been many, many years since I had heard it.  The theme was moving on from toxic relationships, strength, and independence.   My sister wrote on the CD the title “Sue Inspiration” in felt pen. Each of the 17 songs had been carefully chosen – for inspiration value.   Some of the songs included; Independent Women by Destiny’s Child, Beautiful by Christina Aquilera, Survivor by Destiny’s Child, Respect by Aretha Franklin, Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin and various Pink tunes.

I remember those songs became my anthems as I rebuilt myself and healed.   I did not realise at the time what a small token of support can do for someone facing challenges.  That CD was such a gift of love and hope.  Listening to the songs you could not help but feel stronger and inspired.

It made me also reflect on how amazing humans are at supporting each other.  I then recalled many conversations I have had with people each day who are concerned for a mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter wife, husband, partner, uncle, aunt, grandchild, grandparent, cousin, work colleague, friend, etc.  They all call searching for information to share with their loved one in the hope there is an answer to help them move through their challenges; which could be illness, depression or some other trauma.   I have seen so many people join our programs because of a caring relative / friend, and their simple gesture to forward on an A4 flyer of information has ultimately changed so many people’s lives.

Can you remember a way you supported a friend or relative in their time of need?

Or what did a friend or relative do to support you to move forward?



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Braidy flies high!

Braidy flies high!

Braidy attended a Healing Your Life program at Quest for Life last year and just sent us this lovely email. With her permission, we wanted to share it with you so that you too can feel her joy and celebration:

I just wanted to take the time to write to you and all the amazing people at Quest to let you know how I’m getting along!

It’s been a year since I came in contact with you and I feel like I’m a new person!
What a hard journey it has been!

It’s felt like a roller coaster ride for me – BUT over the last month I have felt like I am finally able to enjoy life again!

My surgeons told me at Christmas time that they don’t want to operate because it’s too risky. So I have now put all my energy into visualisation and self-healing! Its been amazing so far, I feel like it’s already so much better!

I feel like I’m a different person to what I was pre operations, I’m so much stronger (physically and mentally) now. I am slowly gaining more confidence
and reconnecting with my body. I’ve been training 4 times a week down at the beach which is such an accomplishment for me!

To celebrate my happiness at the moment – I went trapezing yesterday, which was such a rush and I’m soo proud that I had the confidence in my body to
do that! (Ive attached a photo for you as proof ha ha).

I know my journey isn’t over yet – and it will be a looooonnnng road ahead, but Ive finally reached that place where I can truly say I am happy again!!!

I definitely could not have gotten this far without such amazing people in my life like you all! You all really came to my rescue when I hit rock bottom, and I mean rock rock bottom! and you were able to support, teach and guide me in the right direction. I can’t tell you how important it was to come to Quest and sit and talk and you would all listen without judgement. You always had a level of understanding that no one else had!

You’re all very special people and I know you touch a lot of other people’s lives, just like mine which is just incredible!
Sooo a HUGE thank you to you all! You are always in my heart and I live strongly not only for me but for all of you as well!

Lots of love to the Quest Family X

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Suzanne recently sent this to the team with an update!

Suzanne recently sent this to the team with an update!

It was January 21st when I got the email about the 1 Million Kilo Challenge to lose weight and support a charity.   Well naturally my “how hard can it be?” attitude (that frequently sees me jumping in the deep end) enlisted me to raise money for Quest for Life.

That was fine, set up my page for fundraising etc.   Then the first moment of truth – how much do I actually weigh?   Let’s just say it was a lot more than I thought and reminded myself it is only a number and everything from here is for the better.

Still comfortable with my decision, sponsorship and donations came through to me, friends and family wanting to support my efforts and of course donate to Quest.   Now that hit me hard with the first donation.  I suddenly felt I really have to do something now.   I really have to be accountable.

I started with my weight on the top page of a notebook, and listed what I ate.  It made me accountable for the food I consume.  I also said to myself if I can do one 20 minute session of activity a day this would be a good start.   I work from home so it was easy to blow the dust off my Cardio Salsa DVD and exercise on a lunch break.   By the way I caught a sight of me doing cardio salsa in a reflection of a mirror at home; I never laughed so much in my life. (editors note: Suzanne wouldn’t give us a photo of this!)

I lost 3.6kg in the first week or so, I was feeling great.  Then life stepped in.  I found my self busier than ever with work, home, the children, and my course I am doing.   My regime fell by the wayside.   The food diary became quite vague; I missed exercise here and there.   I ate too much, and of the wrong food.  I basically put myself again at the bottom of the list.  I got to the point where I feared jumping on the scales.

I began to experience guilt, for all those people who had supported me and Quest for Life.  I remember on one occasion I actually stood up tall and sucked in my tummy when I was face to face with someone who had sponsored me.  Well that was the moment when it became apparent it would actually just be easier to exercise than live behind a false façade.

I jumped on the scales, no surprise I put back on 3.6kg.   I exercised at lunch, first day only 10 minutes.   I began to walk to the post office and to the local shops instead of car.   What I needed to change was the way I was looking at the long term goal – I had to break it down.   I began living in the moment and every choice I need to make I think about my health and well being.     When I am hungry – I have a choice what to eat.   I found myself actually putting the bread back in the wrapper and for a better option – a salmon salad.

It is my individual choices throughout the day that have allowed me to lose 4.3Kg and if you add the initial 3.6kg I lost (and regained) – that is 7.9kg.

Today I walked to get the Sunday papers, I wore my new trousers I had bought just before the challenge (a snug fit they were) and today they hang off my hips.  A wonderful feeling of achievement!!

What I learnt – the secret of making any change in your life can be linked to just making the right choices one at a time in direction to your goal.  The measure of your success is the sum total of all your choices.

If you would like to support any of the Team at Quest taking this Million Kilo Challenge;





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