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Archive for the ‘StJohn Miall’ Category

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.  

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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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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.

StJohn.

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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Do you remember what it was like to fall in love?

Do you remember what it was like to fall in love?

Do you remember what it was like to fall in love?

It’s one of the best times in a person’s life.

  • You can’t wait until the next time you are with your loved one
  • You can spend hours on the phone talking about almost anything
  • You experience a new vitality and you have heaps of energy
  • You find your new loved one endlessly fascinating – how they do things differently from you, their history, their aspirations, and their quirky habits are all sources of wonderment
  • Inhibitions melt away
  • Life becomes, engaging, fun and a great adventure
  • Your normal preponderance to judge, criticize and complain see to have evaporated into thin air and there is a new sense of tolerance and acceptance that previously had not existed at all
  • Life is full of optimism and new possibilities
  • You are open to things that previously we would have pulled away from
  • In short, life is good and you are happy

So how come life is so good when you’re falling in love, and less so the rest of the time?   What is it that makes the difference?

The key is in your heart, or to put it more precisely, the key is that you are willing to engage in life with your heart open.

Petrea and the other Quest facilitators talk about our Second Nature (“that’s just who I am.” ) and our First Nature – our authentic self, who we really are.    Our Second Nature, the collection of beliefs, assumptions and attitudes we have developed over time as to who we are and how the world is, tends to based in our head.  Whereas the Authentic Self, our First Nature, is based in the Heart.

The Heart is a fascinating organ – so much more than a pump.   It is where who we really are resides… home of our courage, our passion for life, our love, caring and compassion… indeed all those things that we suddenly can access so richly when our hearts open when we fall in love.

Unfortunately, as we go through life it’s quite normal for our Heart to get wounded along the way, and if we are not careful we will close down access to our heart in self-protection – a wise thing to do when we are around people who may take advantage of an open heart.    However, it’s all too easy to keep that door to our hearts locked shut in self-preservation and the cost is missing out on a life full of heart-felt adventures, warmth and connection.

The great challenge therefore as we continue our lives back into our First Self is to learn how to rest back into our hearts, develop a strong and resilient relationship with our heart, so it can still protect itself when it needs to, but so it can also openly embrace life fully when the threats are not present.

That’s what the purpose of The Compassionate Heart program is all about –  learning how to reconnect back to the Heart, how to drop back into it’s warm embrace and to rediscover that when we do judgement drops away, right/wrong dynamics drop away, acceptance re-asserts itself and all of a sudden we have fallen in love with Life again.

The Compassionate Heart Workshop is a Workshop for those wanting more Heart in their lives.   It is facilitated by StJohn and Alexia Miall being held in Sydney starting on Friday 18th May.   For more information and registrations, go to Hyperlink to Quest Compassionate Heart Webpage.

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Take a Stand for your life

Take a Stand for your life

Every so often, (and especially after we have encountered some life-changing experiences, whether they be illness, job-change, relationship disruptions and the like) it becomes valuable to take some time out to assess what it is that’s important and where you are headed with your life.

Having done that the next thing is to take a stand for those new directions.

Literally to take a stand for life. Your Life. Because if you don’t, no one else is going to, and you run the risk of just being another cork bobbing around on the great ocean of life.

To take such a stand for something involves being willing to take the next step on your own evolutionary journey – this precious journey that is life-long, full of surprises and unexpected events that challenge us to be more creative, more autonomous, more authentic, caring and wise.

It requires navigating and interweaving both the ‘inside work’ and our involvement with the world at large.

Almost by definition it’s the stand that you may have been putting off, avoiding, dancing around or outright denying, and yet, deep in your heart, you know it’s a step that must be taken if you are going to achieve what it is you have set out to do for yourself and your loved ones.

Taking a Stand is most powerful when taken after a period of reflection on three things: your journey so far, what’s important right now, and what will take you towards your goals and thus fulfill your sense of purpose.

It also requires that we develop new skills to overcome the hurdles that may have tripped us up in the past, or to speak some truths or set some boundaries that may have been too difficult to do up until now.

It requires courage and is not always easy… it’s often like trying to get out of the box you feel trapped in when the instructions for getting out are written on the outside of the box!

And yet, with the right reflection, taking time to slow down enough to contact the deeper places of clarity and simplicity inside, clarity does come, and with it, the commitment to step forward. To do this in the company of others who are willing to do what you are doing and in an environment that is both accepting and supportive of your process is a rare opportunity.

Such an opportunity exists on the ‘Take a Stand for Life Program’ being run by Quest for Life starting on March 12th.

You can expect at least two things from attending the Take a Stand Program:
• a powerful step forward along your evolutionary journey, and
• taking away with you a rich bag full of insights, understandings and skills that will support you on that journey right through your precious life.

For details of the March Take a Stand for Life program click here or call us on 1300 941 488.

But don’t delay, the Universe rewards those that are willing to take action. Carpe diem!

And if you’re one of those lovely people who have taken ‘Take a Stand for Life’ in the past and want to share your experiences of the course, please feel free to add your two bob’s worth below.

Thank you.

All the best StJohn
Facilitator of the Take a Stand for Life program.

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Together we create a deep and sacred space in which to grow and learn

Together we create a deep and sacred space in which to grow and learn

As the next Take a Stand for Life program approaches, I am reminded of last year’s program on which I was privileged to participate and support as the counsellor.

As counsellor, I shared many sacred and beautiful moments with people who came to my room to privately share precious parts of their lives.  People were able to reach down into the depths of their souls with safety and peace and I am certain this was only made possible by the beautiful Take a Stand program we were all experiencing together outside of the counselling room.

I love every program that I attend at Quest for Life. Every program is special and every person who attends, just like you, is completely divine and gorgeous.

Take a Stand was a new program to me last year and I was not sure what to expect. Well… I can confidently attest that it was great! I was blown away by the gentle yet powerful effect of this program on the people who attended, including me, and I absolutely loved participating. My week away was  very valuable and a lifelong learning experience.

Together we created a deep and sacred space in which to grow and learn and this was superbly guided by St John (we call him Singe) and Alexia.

It wasn’t just the content, which was superb, it was the community of people who felt safe with our wise and loving facilitators and because of this safety, could open to new understandings about themselves and greater self-acceptance.

There was a deep and moving honouring of each other and each other’s stories.

If you have attended a program at Quest before and would like to extend that learning with a new experience, then I invite you to join with me and come along this year. I will be counselling again and look forward to another incredible program as people take a stand for their lives. This program is a rich and thought provoking treat and I cherished every minute of being there… Hope to see you there this year!

Love to all

Margie

Please contact Suzanne on 1300 941 488 for more information

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“Meditation brings wisdom; lack of mediation leaves ignorance. Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.” Buddha

People have been asking us what actually happens on the ‘Meditate for Life’ program?    So, in response, here are the answers to the most common questions:

Who’s it for?

It’s for anyone who is interested in learning to meditate or who has learned in the past and would like to kick-start their practice again.

How long does it go for?

8 weeks on a Monday evening, starting at 7.00pm and finishing at 9.30pm

What happens each evening?

Each evening we cover some theory, and also practice what we are learning.   Some evenings we have two meditations as a group, and some only one, depending on the material we cover.    Here’s a breakdown of what we cover each session:

Session 1:  What is Meditation? Learning a basic Breath Meditation

Session 2:  Review Practice, What’s actually happening when we meditate?  Review of research into the benefits of Meditation

Session 3:  Discussion on progress & Q&A.    Counting Meditation designed to aid focus and concentration

Session 4:  Identifying effects of Meditation in everyday life.   Mindfulness.    Walking Meditation

Session 5:  Meditation & the Brain 1:  Meditation and Brainwave patterns.   Using the mind to change the brain to change the mind!   Gratitude Meditation

Session 6:  Meditation and the Brain 2:   Understanding anxiety and using Meditation to develop calm and equanimity

Session 7:  Meditation as a tool for managing pain.   Chanting Meditation

Session 8:  Review of program.   The role of Meditation in the Evolution of Personal Consciousness.  Loving Kindness Meditation

By running over 8 weeks we have time to really establish a Meditation practice, and there’s plenty of time to check in each week as to how the practice is going and if there are any specific questions about the practice that are concerning people.

What sort of effects does the program have for people?

At the start of the program and again at the end of the program, we survey the participants across a range of indicators.    The results of the survey can be seen in the video on our website (you can register there too!) – next course starts 27th June, 2011

Have you got any questions about Meditation? – just type them below – we’d love to answer them.

StJohn and Alexia Miall (Meditate for Life Facilitators)

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.   You can find out more about StJohn’s activities when he’s not at Quest, by visiting the Keep Evolving website.


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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