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Posts Tagged ‘Quest for Life’

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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"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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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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Relieving Stress

Relieving Stress

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

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

Stress Busters

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Who cares for you?

Who cares for you?

This blog was originally posted on The Happiness Institute website and has been reproduced with permission.

Do you look after someone with physical and/or psychological health problems? Does it impact on your happiness? If so, consider these statistics:

  • According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, within any 12 month period approximately 20% of Australians are affected by depression and other common mental health disorders
  • Similarly, approximately 20% of Australians experience chronic pain (defined as having pain every day for at least 3 months) at any one point in time
  • More than 100,000 new diagnoses of cancer are made each year
  • And these are just a few of the many “ailments” people experience!

What does this mean?

It means that even at a very rough estimate there are probably 4-5 million Australians, at any one point in time, experiencing a significant and ongoing physical or mental illness.

And all of these people have “significant others” or carers.

Why is this important? Because research indicates that approximately one third to one half of these carers suffer significant levels of psychosocial distress.

So in Australia alone there are probably about 2-3 million carers who’re struggling to care for themselves and to care for their loved ones.

And, I suggest, these people could significantly benefit from some help!

So today I bring you a few simple tips for taking care of yourself, if you’re one of these very important “significant others” so you can enjoy a better quality of life AND so you can care more effectively for your loved ones. Because you can’t help any one else if you can help yourself…

  • Firstly, don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself. Remember, even if your primary goal is to love and care for another you need to remember that you can only do this if you’re relatively fit and healthy yourself
  • Along the same lines, recognise that it’s normal and appropriate to experience a range of emotions, in relation to your situation, from anger and frustration to guild and sadness. Accept these feelings for what they are, try not to fight them, and don’t be hard on yourself for them being present
  • Do all you can to stay (realisitically) optimistic and to maintain hope. Your attitude and emotions will impact on how well you can support your loved one and they’ll also impact on how well you feel yourself so it’s in everyone’s interest for you to try and focus on the positives, where and when they’re there, and to encourage all around you to do the same
  • Reassure yourself that it’s OK to have some fun and pleasure at times; this will boost your mood and as already mentioned, allow you then to support your loved one more effectively and with more energy
  • Understand that support and love are very important BUT oversupportive behaviours, such as doing everything for the other person, are not always ideal. That is, where and when possible try to help your significant other to do as much as they can for themselves so they continue, as best they can, to feel useful and compentent and so they don’t lose confidence and control over their lives
  • Remember that there’s no one perfect way to support others; it depends on you and them and the context and more. So do your best to support in a way that’s best for you and them and as much as possible, support with and from your strengths

So, that’s the short version of a huge topic on which much as been written. What do you think? Do you support another and if so, do you have any thoughts on what’s most important? If so, we’d love to know what you think and we’d love, as always, for you to post your comments.

Professor Tim Sharp

Upcoming Webinar and Workshop: If you are interested in this topic, Petrea King and Prof Tim Sharp are co-hosting a free webinar and a follow up workshop. All of the details are on our website, if you would like further information.

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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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Grief is an ongoing journey

Grief is an ongoing journey

Why does our society have such a problem with grief?

Following is a composite, fictional story about a fictional person based on many real experiences I have had as a psychotherapist working with clients over the years.

I had been working with Ruth for 5 months. She was working through the loss of her 8 year old daughter who had died of a brain tumour 6 months before. The devastating loss was compounded by the 2 years of trauma suffered as she supported her beloved child through the challenging treatment for cancer.

My approach was to validate Ruth’s feelings, her grief. To help Ruth normalise her sadness and to take all the time she needed to cry, rant, rage, sleep and generally process and come to terms with the loss of her precious child.

After 6 months, and unlike me, people around her began telling her it was time to ‘move on’ and ‘get back to work’. She was due to visit her GP for a check-up and when asked how she was feeling, she naturally expressed her sadness to her doctor.

Her GP told her that she was ‘depressed’ and prescribed medication. She referred her to a new therapist and inferred that our therapy was not working due to the fact that Ruth still felt ‘upset’. She was concerned that this was ‘going on too long’. This was 6 months after the death of her daughter.

This is a common story for therapists who support the natural process of grief. While I always encourage people to change therapists if they are not receiving the support they need, I feel sad about the judgement that therapy is ‘not working’ if someone feels upset 6 months after a devastating loss.

I feel deeply concerned about the expectation for people to ‘get past it’ especially when they are in such a vulnerable state and may be looking to others for direction and support. Why are we, as a society, in such a hurry for grief to pass?

Medication can provide emotional support and is totally appropriate for some people undergoing such stress.  I am not judging that. My frustration is with our general inability to bear the deep sadness and our insistence that people ‘move on’ (as if they can!).

Unfortunately what generally happens is that grieving people act as though they have ‘moved on’ to placate and protect those around them who cannot bear their pain.

Can you imagine what happens physiologically when someone fights or ignores their natural impulse to cry? There is a huge cost to the body and this situation may lead to a deep sense of isolation and unsupported pain. This situation can even lead to PTS (post-traumatic stress) which can cause all sorts of problems down the track.

Some clients like Ruth return later and resume their work with me, some lose faith in the system and I imagine some do well with their second therapist. I only offer this story to illustrate the problem with grief that some corners of our culture have and I encourage you to think about how you can best support those around you who are living with loss…

Tips for dealing with grief-stricken people

  • Cross the road to say hello even if you don’t know what to say
  • Don’t take it personally if they seem distant and non-communicative
  • Do ask “how are you?”
  • Do ask if there is “anything you need?”
  • Don’t expect them to attend social events for a while but keep inviting them anyway
  • Stay quietly with them if they start to cry. You don’t need to fix anything

I’m sure there are many more and I invite you to please add your tips to this unfinished list…

Lots of love to all

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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