Posts Tagged ‘Peace’

With candlelight multitasking ceases to be an option

With candlelight multitasking ceases to be an option

Last night during the big storm we had a blackout for a couple of hours. As I went around the house finding matches and lighting candles, I noticed how quiet and still the house and the neighbourhood was in the dark and the rain.

I was reminded of Bernadette talking about preparing for the nighttime with a quiet ritual as we would have done in days before electricity. I imagined myself there.

There was only one thing to do at a time, you can’t see very far with candlelight so multitasking ceases to be an option! As I prepared the dinner by candlelight, I was able to be more mindful, listen to the wind, think quiet thoughts and enjoy the task at hand  (which is not how I usually feel about cooking).

I noticed a place in my awareness that seems to be always on alert, listening for the phone, hearing the tv or radio, thinking of an email needing to be sent.

I noticed a different pace in my movements as I needed to be more careful about where I was walking and placing objects and holding the candle at the same time.

I made a cup of tea and then sat down by the gas fire as there was nothing else to do. There I was, just sitting and being receptive, when my son came home and needed to talk, again, a peaceful moment presented itself to be enjoyed.

I am taking some inspiration from this unexpected experience and quietly looking forward to the next blackout!

Aurora Hammond

Aurora Hammond

Aurora Hammond
M.A. Psych, B.A.Soc Stud.,Cert IV Workplace Training

Aurora Hammond has been a social worker, psychotherapist, group facilitator and trainer for over 30 years. She completed a Masters Degree in Holistic Psychology in the US in 1984 and was the founder and CEO of the College of Holistic Counselling for over 15 years.

She is the author of the book Good Grief, Healing the Broken Heart and the Pool Meditation CD.  Now working in private practice as a Medicare registered mental health social worker Aurora describes her way of working as holistic psychotherapy. She lives in Manly with her 24 year old son who has Aspergers Syndrome.


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Staff at St Vincents

Staff at St Vincents

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

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Peace Becomes Possible

Peace Becomes Possible

Crisis in our personal life is often the catalyst for major uplifting transformation. For the past 27 years I (and others in our organisation) have been working with people living with a personal crisis – cancer, HIV/AIDS, grief, loss, trauma, depression, anxiety, violence and abuse.

When individuals realize that we can’t always change what happens to us, but we can change our response to the events, challenges and traumas in our lives, peace becomes possible. Too often people settle for mediocrity until the stimulus of deep suffering creates an opportunity for new choices, creative responses and inspired change in our lives.

It would seem that collectively – globally – we are creating this shared possibility of a new future as environmental collapse, climate change, over population, diminishing resources, political upheaval, economic collapse all contribute to increased personal, community, national and planetary suffering. It seems that this collaborative shift is happening through a combination of our yearning for evolution to a higher human expression of our conscious through the stimulus of our shared suffering. Peace is definitely possible.

We have witnessed the almighty capacities of the human spirit that refuses to be defined by the challenges we experience and instead evolves to a profound state of peace – the peace that passes all understanding. Of this we are all capable and it is a joy to be part of a community of people consciously evolving regardless of whether we are stimulated by suffering, insight or inner wisdom.

Thank you for your company.

Petrea King

Petrea King

Petrea King
N.D., D.R.M., D.B.M., Dip Cl. Hyp., I.Y.T.A.

Petrea King is a well-known author, inspirational speaker, counsellor and workshop leader. She has practiced many forms of meditation since the age of seventeen and she is also qualified as a naturopath, herbalist, hypnotherapist, yoga and meditation teacher.

In 1983 Petrea was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and was not expected to live.  Meditation and the integration of past traumatic experiences became paramount in her recovery, much of which was spent in a monastery near Assisi in Italy.

Since then, Petrea has counselled individually or through residential programs more than 60,000 people living with life-challenging illnesses, grief, loss, trauma and tragedy. Petrea sees crisis as a catalyst for spiritual growth and understanding and as an opportunity for healing and peace.

Petrea has received the Advance Australia Award and the Centenary Medal for her contribution to the community. She has been nominated for Australian of the Year in each year since 2004.

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For me, the idea of ‘forgiveness’  brings me a sense of peace and release in the centre of my soul as I let go resentment and invite love and acceptance in, however it also evokes a feeling of regret for all the people I have not loved and for the times I have indulged in self righteousness and fear. I think that letting go of regret is a part of forgiving me for these errors of judgement.

Most errors of judgement arise from erroneous thinking and erroneous thinking arises from attempts to stay safe and protect ourselves from perceived danger. The emphasis being on ‘perceived’ danger that develops from experience.

There are a few people who I perceived as hurting me in the past and who I have held with a heavy heart when I see them or come across their name in my travels. There have been no rainbows for these people in my life (and no yummy chemicals of love flowing through me either).

Some of us feel hard done by and hold people in the space of hurt and blame for years or even a lifetime believing we are ‘right’ and they are ‘wrong’.

I notice as I mature chronologically and spiritually, I am able to love and accept each one of these ‘difficult’ people and understand that my reaction (of hurt, anger or indignation) and subsequently my response (of rejection and blame) was in every case, a huge factor in the development of a rift between us.

As I more fully own my reactions and accept ‘response’ ability for these reactions of hurt, hey presto! the people I thought of as ‘cruel’ or ‘mean’ seem to lose their devil horns and become normal human beings, who I understand were probably responding from their own reactions in the moment too and this awareness changes my perception.

This is true forgiveness for me. When I can own my own ‘stuff’ and accept that it was me who stopped loving, I can love again more easily and forgive both the other and myself for not having more conscious awareness of our reactive states and therefore making non loving responses.

I understand that there are people who we feel hurt by others whose behaviour seems evil and unforgiveable, and I do not condone their behaviour in any way, but I do feel compassion for people who grow up with such severely incorrect thinking that they end up injuring fellow human beings.

We ask “what were they thinking?” and the answer is not often clear but I wonder if we ask, “what were they reacting to?”, might we get closer to an answer?

I have never met an ‘evil’ baby and I think if we had a crystal ball that showed us the reasons why some people end up hurting others, we would see that they too are reacting unconsciously … only in an extreme way.

We might also understand that more hatred or hurt is not going to heal anything or keep us safer as a society. Limits are essential and some people need to be removed from society for everyone’s safety, but can hatred ever create peace?

I reckon not. Forgiveness creates peace. Forgiveness for our own errors in judgement and forgiveness for others’ errors in judgement be they great or small.

“There are no difficult people… only difficult relationships”


Love to all for now

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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6am. Cold, grey, drizzly morning. One lone surfer.  I wonder, what drives him to get up before the sun and pull on a wetsuit and plunge into the cooling sea?

He changes at the car, runs to the shore, and plunges in – no hesitation, in seconds he is paddling like mad.  And for what? The surf isn’t really ‘happening’ today – in surfspeak, it’s ‘sloppy’ and the wind is ‘wrong’.

I watch and he’s up on his board catching waves and getting dumped and catching them again, paddling out again and again…

So what keeps him going?  Why is he here?   Same reason I am I guess. Same reason I threw off the covers this cold, wet morning at 5am when I’d rather another hour’s sleep.  But something else is driving me today.  And this morning the practice is just to get up and greet the day, to breathe in and out, to take in the elements.  There was a moment too. A moment of Grace when there was a bubble of bliss and a ‘felt’ thought, “could heaven be any more beautiful?’

My mate wears a t-shirts that says “surfing is my religion”.  When I got home I ring and ask him why he goes out.  He struggles a bit to answer.  “It’s fun, it’s a great thing to do. You forget about everything and you are enjoying yourself.  You are by yourself and its one on one and you’re dependent on yourself.  It’s you and nature. It’s a whole bundle of stuff.  I can’t explain it. Sometimes on a particular wave, you think it can never get any better than this” and other times you nearly drown, I  dunno, I have to do it.  I can’t explain it”

I may have more in common with the surfer than i first thought….  My  yoga teacher says ‘when you are tempted to press the snooze button, ask yourself will a half-hour sleep feel as good as half an hour of practice?”

So, thank you surfer dude – for your discipline and drive, and the demonstration that an experience of real Union/Bliss /Joy takes effort.  And the ride is not always easy but we HAVE to do it.

Bernadette Arena

Bernadette Arena

Bernadette is a yoga and meditation teacher and group facilitator and has been teaching since the early 1990s.  She has worked with people of all ages, from diverse backgrounds and cultures and has developed skills of serving people dealing with significant life issues.  She taught community classes for children, teens, people with disabilities, the elderly, sports professionals, and also in corporate environments.

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

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

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I am pretty busy at the moment juggling part time work, with writing a book and selling my house – so like many of us I was feeling like “have no spare time”. I felt I needed “breathing space” as I was feeling a bit jaded – every day was beginning to feel the same and while that wasn’t “bad” –the world certainly wasn’t coming to an end as far as I could see anyway…I just felt flat.

So I reminded myself what I am constantly encouraging others to remember –  I am the only person who works out how I spend my 24 hours; I might not be able to choose every hour of the day – because of commitments like core-work (as compared with working overtime), sleeping etc – but I thought – well I’ll experiment a bit and give myself an hour a day to do or be differently to what I might normally do.

The experiment began a few weeks ago. Here are some of the things I have “done” in my hour:

–       talked to friend/s I have been thinking about for ages

–       begun knitting a scarf

–       sat on the couch and listened to music

–       cut the top off trees which were blocking the morning sun coming in my bedroom window

–       had a coffee and cake in a café just by myself

–       listened to bagpipe bands at the local celtic fair

–       booked a holiday

–       soaked in the bath

–       taken detours from work to drop in and visit people

–       dipped into old books I had read before – just ‘because” I felt like it

–       watched tv programs I wouldn’t normally watch

–       lit the slow combustion fire and gaze into it while sipping tea

–       lit a bonfire in my backyard (the smell was wonderful!!)

–       gone for walks in my lunch break

Now none of these is earth shatteringly exciting – but I enjoyed every one of them, and it got me out of the rut I felt I was in. None cost more than $10 (well- except for the holiday but I haven’t paid for that yet!) and I felt “alive” and content – not only for the hour, but the rest of the day. And the cumulative effect after a few weeks is that I feel much more at peace with life and the “have to do” list doesn’t bug me – I just get on with it.

So….What could you come up with if you “found” an hour a day ?

Jane Ewins

Jane Ewins

Jane is a counselor and group facilitator. She spent the first 20 years of her working life as a marketing and communications executive. Jane was diagnosed with rectal cancer in 2002 and faced many challenges adjusting to the changes following her diagnosis and treatment. Her experience inspired her to become a counselor, facilitator and advocate.

Jane developed the popular ‘Living Well after Cancer” program for the NSW Cancer Council. She has also developed education programs for several other not-for-profit organizations on issues including parenting after separation, conflict resolution, self esteem, and stress management. Jane has worked as a family relationship counselor. She currently counsels and supports carers in the Shoalhaven, NSW in addition to her own private counseling practice. She is also writing a book about the challenges and opportunities of life after cancer.

Jane Facilitates the Quest for Life program and other programs that support the Quest for Life community.

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Earlier this year I heard about the University for Peace (The U.N. Mandated Graduate School of Peace and Conflict Studies), and this was like a childhood dream come true.  The University celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year (began 1980) and I found myself feeling this is such a positive initiative for Humanity and our Planet.

If you would like to know more about the University for Peace, follow the link: http://www.upeace.org/

It also stimulated me to write some musings on Peace, which I would like to share.


A childhood dream
A childish dream
An adult dream

A dream for adults
No dream at all
It is possible

A world where we truly communicate
A world where we have Peace budgets
As opposed to Defence budgets

A world where conflict and war is measured as economic loss
A world where peace is measured as an economic gain

I would also like to add a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt on Peace:

“It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it.   And it isn’t enough to believe in it.  One must work at it.”

–      Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 -1962)

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 behavioral and culture change models. She is an Associate of EcoSTEPS, a niche Sustainability consultancy, which supports her love of the natural environment.

She will be co-facilitating an 8-week meditation course for the Quest for Life Foundation in Sydney called ‘Meditation for Life’, commencing 28th June, 2010.  Alexia will also be co-facilitating a program for Quest in Bundanoon, called ‘Take a Stand for Life’ from 23rd August to 27th August, 2010.

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