MEDITATION & MINDBODY WELLNESS

 

 

A regular discipline of meditation helps us become conscious, neutral, alert, and present in all circumstances. We will not lose our Self in nonsense and commotion, but instead, with the sensitivity of meditation, we can realize the interconnection that does in fact exist, helping us act on the abundant and constant flow of opportunities that surround us, opportunities we’re normally blind to.

How do you get there? With a mantra, which is a word or sound that serves as a vehicle to facilitate the process of silently settling down from surface to depth, from noise to stillness.

The mantra has no meaning associated with it, and according to ancient meditation texts its effects are known to be positive and life supporting.

Its sole purpose is to help the mind access that inner calm without effort.

Bob Roth. Strength in Stillness . Simon & Schuster UK. Kindle Edition.

Khalsa, Gurucharan Singh. 21 Stages of Meditation: Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan . Kundalini Research Institute. Kindle Edition.

STILLNESS

 

I  started meditating in my teens.  Transcendental Meditation bridges the surface with the depth. It makes use of the mind’s natural tendency to seek more satisfaction and then gives the attention an inward direction, so that instantly, automatically and effortlessly the attention is drawn within.

The active thinking mind settles down towards the most satisfying level of awareness. This is the experience of the ‘inner’ that meditation texts have extolled throughout the ages. How do you get there? With a mantra, which is a word or sound that serves as a vehicle to facilitate the process of silently settling down from surface to depth, from noise to stillness.

The mantra has no meaning associated with it, and according to ancient meditation texts its effects are known to be positive and life supporting. Its sole purpose is to help the mind access that inner calm without effort. How do you get a mantra in Transcendental

Bob Roth, Strength in Stillness . Simon & Schuster UK. Kindle Edition.

 

 

 

GRACE. EFFORT & GRATITUDE

 

Addiction is in my  DNA.  I am on  mission to put the “care” back in healthcare, to raise awareness,  and  inspire mental and addiction healthcare multidisciplinary practitioners   to participate in the transformation of consciousness that is revolutionising the world with acts of connection, collaboration, compassion, and community.

“Your mind will take the shape of what you frequently hold in thought, for the human spirit is coloured by such impressions.” Marcus Aurelius

 

This too shall pass….is not a something the  obsessive, compulsive thinker who  lives in a state of apparent separateness, in an insanely complex world of continuous problems and conflict, a world that reflects the ever-increasing fragmentation of the mind is capable of trusting in…

If you are enlightened   you won’t be easily discouraged when you fail. If you find something to be grateful for in every situation, you will feel blessed and happy where others feel aggrieved or deprived.

Believing you are enough,  have enough, is consciously living consciously. Which does not mean “everything is automatically beautiful”  but that one has choices to change…in the moment. The power of now just is…love just is…thriving just is…overthinking, oversharing, is being over bearing!

I love silence, I seek peace from the  aggressive self aggrandising social media world of “insta fix/opinions/advice/judgements”  paradoxically my world is magnificently messy, perfectly imperfect…gorgeously generous, amazingly abundant and illuminated by love.

BREATHE. BALANCE. HEALING

SESSION 2: MIND with Deepak Chopra❤️
3 Quick Practices to Counteract the Stress Response

3 Quick Practices to Counteract the Stress Response
Stressed out?

You’re not alone. 80% of Americans  say they encounter stress in their daily lives.

While you cannot control the external stress that finds its way into your life, you can control how you manage your reaction to stress and learn ways to calm the overactive mind.

If left unmanaged, how can stress affect your life? On the surface, you can probably intuitively answer this question as feelings of having an overactive mind, worry, anxiety, and a general feeling of chaos in your life.

This is all true, but if you look below the surface, you will find that the unpleasant effects that stress has on your mind can affect the body, too.

Since the mind and the body are inextricably connected, stress is experienced at both levels.

So if you find yourself facing stressful circumstances, conversations, relationships, or moments in your life, keep reading to discover three ways to help you expand the power of your mind so that you can control stress in your life—and ensure it doesn’t end up controlling YOU!

Practice the Sigh of Relief
The exhale is tied to the relaxation response in the brain, and so learning to really take advantage of this simple act of exhaling—an activity you do all day long—can help you let go of stress and clear your mind.

Relaxation is necessary for the body to reverse the effects of stress and for your mind to refresh.

Think about it: when you are stressed or in fight-or-flight mode, you are typically breathing very rapidly, in a shallow way.

When you consciously slow down the breath, exaggerate your exhale, and practice sighing, you are simultaneously counteracting the stress response and activating the relaxation response.

That’s why it feels so good to sigh with relief!
Give it a Try:
Relax your shoulders and your jaw and close your eyes. Breathe in slowly through your nose and silently count to five, hold the breath at the top, then open your mouth and let out an audible exhale—smoothly and slowly—as you silently count to five. Repeat!

Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique
Stress can cause your muscles to tense and tighten and your mind to get lost in a downhill spiral.

When you gather up all the tension in your muscles, hold it, and then consciously release it, you help to trigger the relaxation response that counteracts the stress response, and alleviates tension from the body and anxiety from the mind.

Give it a Try:
Before you begin, make sure you have at least five minutes and are in a place free of distractions.

Lie down so you are comfortable, and start to slow down your breath, in and out through your nose.

Then, start to bring attention to one area of your body at a time, as you tense all the muscles in that part of your body—holding it as tight as you are able for at least a few seconds—and then release, feeling that part of your body relax and release. Try this progression:
• Feet
• Legs
• Pelvis
• Stomach
• Chest
• Arms, shoulders, and hands
• Neck
• Face
When you are through with the progression, tense all the muscles in your body as tight as you can—making fists with your hands and feet, tightening the stomach, legs, arms, and squeezing the eyes shut.

As you tense the body, take a big inhale through your nose, holding the breath and all of the tension in your body, and then releasing with a big sigh of relief when you are finished.

You can repeat the sequence as many times as you would like, anytime you feel stress begin to rise.

Give Someone a Good Hug
When you hug someone—really hug then with both arms and hold it for a moment like you
mean it—you release oxytocin, which can counteract the harmful effects of the stress response.

Oxytocin helps your blood vessels stay relaxed, strengthens your heart, and helps your mind become more resilient in the face of stress.

The simple act of offering someone social support, such as a hug, can physiologically give you the hormones you need to calm the mind and pull you back into the present moment.
Give it a Try:
Find a friend, partner, family member, co-worker, neighbor, or pet, and give them a great big bear hug like you really mean it—with a smile, both arms, and with a good intention for their well-being. Breathe slowly together for a moment, and notice the person’s heart beat, breathing pattern, and that they, too, have stress in their lives—just like you. You are not alone.

The Bottom Line
Try these simple stress-releasing strategies when your mind feels burdened with worry, anxiety and overwhelm, and find out what works best for you!

Developing the awareness to notice when you have slipped off balance, and then knowing how to regain your center, is a skill you need to continue on your path to staying present, healthy, balanced, and whole.
Balance. Heal. Transform. © Copyright 2019 The Chopra Center

UNCERTAINTY

 

THE AWAKENED HEART OF BODHICHITTA

Bodhichitta is our heart—our wounded, softened heart. Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die. This love is bodhichitta.

It is gentle and warm; it is clear and sharp; it is open and spacious. The awakened heart of bodhichitta is the basic goodness of all beings

— Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chödrön
http://www.shambhala.com/comfortable-with-uncertainty.html

SOCIAL CHANGE & GLOBAL HEALTH

 

The evidence is clear that addiction is a disease, yet our response has been to stigmatise and punish people. Arresting people is not arresting addiction.

We allow negative perceptions of people with substance use disorders to shape our thinking and our actions.

A 2014 Johns Hopkins study in Psychiatric Services showed that respondents held significantly more negative views of people with addiction than of those with other mental health issues.

Respondents saw those with addiction as less deserving of treatment or housing and employment opportunities than people with other health issues.

Those kinds of attitudes lead to discrimination and stigmatization with serious consequences. Fear of negatively impacting their job or their neighbours’ and friends’ attitudes keeps people from seeking care.

Only 10 to 15 percent of people who have a substance use disorder are actually getting treatment, according to recent data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Of those, about 35 percent are referred for treatment by the criminal justice system. Only about 8 percent of referrals come from our health care system. These numbers represent huge missed opportunities with a terrible cost for individuals and the country.

People facing a host of challenges, however, need more than luck. They need consistent, effective national and state policies. Here are some concrete steps that we as a nation need to take to ensure that people with substance use disorders get critical help:

My 19 year old step son is studying “Social Medicine and Global Health” at Kings College University, and neuroscience is the  educational backbone – thus our common meeting ground is the topic of global health and how his  world view is better informed.

Modern medicine is fabulously exciting – I love the surge in   digital devices that can  “total-health” monitor and mindbody motivate – A.I. at is best is helping people become their wellbeing advocate.

Neuroscience’s mindbody evidence based data is changing how we access and treat addiction and mental ill-health.

I love my life. It is enriched by 30 years of abstinence based recovery from addiction cocaine, valium and vodka. I self medicated for 20 years to cope with anxiety, low self esteem and lack of confidence.

What changed?  On a cellular level – basically everything…from core beliefs to how life is today: consciously living consciously…  the benefits of immersing  myself in deep meditative therapeutic  processes  – way beyond conditioned negativity attached to  stigma and shame… and a daily intention to do my best, be my best…

When  I went to rehab, self-defensive   denial  shattered in a trillion pieces…and I learnt the value of engaging in a therapeutic  process, and without a doubt, collaborating and connecting with the world wide recovery  i.e.

…the road to recovery is challenging, and  a few  needed to be worked through…i.e. how to function with a drug, cigarette  or drink…all the while struggling with the fear of living and dying was huge….so it was  on my home from rehab I arrived @ LA airport  to cach my flight home New York and  I needed a drink…  I switched the Evian bottle of mineral water to vodka…the madness returned with a vengeance…escalating stress,  free-floating anxiety, paranoia… I   stopped going to 12step meets, could not leave my house and  or answer  the phone…

Insane thinking….5am in Central Park looking for someone to kill me…is where a cocaine binge took me…exiting the park I jumped in a cab to  Payne Whitney Psychiatric Hospital, where I begged them to admit me…

The psychiatrist that listened to my cry for help, responded and  recommended  I reconnect with  12step meetings, not take any medication, find a new therapist, ( who did not want to date me)  ..saved my life.

It takes courage to  return to 12step meetings, find  a sponsor even though asking for help is incredibly difficult.   I  found  an empowered  psychotherapist for 1-1 and group therapy, she  helped me thrive, and rise  phoenix-like from the ashes of  my self  self-destruction  and daily suicidal ideation.

An important act of self accountability in early recovery is to ‘be of  service’ …a few of us went regularly from our Park Avenue meeting to prisons, hospitals, and homeless shelters.

On a daily basis I connected with my tribe, and sustained a lifelong  commitment to   12step programmes. In addition to   volunteering at the Manhattan Centre for Living, founded by Louise Hay and Marianne Williamson.

The Centre’s design was all-white,  an  open plan kitchen and dining room where we made gorgeous nurturing food and small consulting rooms space for people who were dying from aids, alienated  by society…

I learnt to never “say goodbye” from the courageous  men and women…  just a simple “see-ya” because that was how it was – living with an illness  that knew at that time, no cure….

The first half of the 80’s in NYC,  (what I can remember) was totally fabulous, wild. Work hard, play even harder! I was a video and film producer primarily in the fashion industry, and riding the wave of the MTV era of music and fashion video production: mini-filmgenre-big budgets…we were young, had unlimited fuck-you-money and no “off-switch.”

Adjusting to life without drugs meant a commitment to living in the day with a “just for today attitude”  and for a bunch of us in early recovery our day began with an attitude of gratitude of not being hung over, consumed with dread that being in  blackout for huge chunks of the night before….

We supported one another by  learning how to live life sober… formed 12step study groups, sponsorship workshops and often went to upstate New York for immersive meditation retreats.

It was a natural segue for me to begin training and  specialising in addiction counselling,  I  returned home  to London.

Confident that my previous “life experience” as fashion magazine  editor, (Mode–Australia) film and video producer would find an a creative outlet – that would come later… when I wrote a book about the male archetypes.

The benefits of the timeless teaching of  philosophy, mythology, spirituality, and psychology continue to ground, stimulate and inspire me.

It is a privilege to pass the message of recovery on to the still suffering addict….if I can recover you can..you are not alone.

Recovery communities across the globe know that   sustaining sobriety  is possible.  Here are some more strategies and to help you succeed:

Share your feelings with someone you can trust. Stay focused on your intention to heal.

Challenges accepted. If you stay aware and hold your intention clearly in mind, recovery is attainable.
Attend: a 12-step group  on a regular  basis.
Action: Get moving  to refresh your mind and keep your body active.
Eat:  a healthy diet to focus on whole foods, raw veg juice,  fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  Get current with with the plethora of digital detox communities:

I am following with great interest and enthusiasm  Anthony William : Medical Medium: https://www.instagram.com/medicalmedium/

Spiritual Practice is in daily meditation and yoga to integrate all the realms of consciously living consciously.  Mindbody:  emotional, psychological, and spiritual.

Be of service: the fast track to living an abundant life is to embody a generosity of spirit!   This will help you connect with other people, increase your self-esteem, and prevent you from experiencing too many feelings of restlessness or boredom that can lead to relapse.

 Sleep is a vital part of the healing process and helps you maintain your natural state of balance and joy.

Maintaining long-term recovery requires support, hard work, persistence, techniques for dealing with difficult situations, courage, new habits, and a change of environment.

Impossible? It’s not. It can be done. You ARE  worth the effort.

When it was time to go deeper into my meditation… I went off to India, and for a year  I  lived in a small village outside Pune, near an ashram  founded by Meher Baba – who came to teach and not start another religion. Meher Baba  coined the term “Don’t worry. Be happy.”

Since the 90’s I have travelled to sacred sites in  Egypt, Italy, Turkey, and Scotland. I prefer to spend time in silent meditation. I continue to meet  remarkable,  enlightened, happy people, whose collective beliefs form the view that “we are One”- which makes sense to me in this incredible age of enlightenment.

My training in psychology, mythology and philosophy continues today motivated by curiosity in how best to be balanced, healthy and happy.

All change begins within: If you want to reduce stress, anxiety and depression then think about learning how to meditate.
Meditation is my happy/peace of mind preferred state of mind.

My tribe: people who inspire me to thrive are likened souls primary purpose is to end the silence and stigma of addiction and mental health issues.

We are not silent. We are not alone. We are courageous, compassionate human beings.

Compassionate inquiry is  so much inviting than self-seeking,  doing  service is about connection, communication and collaboration: being available, present, and purposefully in the moment.

My lived experience with addiction awareness is an amalgam of a continuing compassionate inquiry into understanding how our greatest challenges transform us by becoming valuable sources of wisdom and expressed compassion.

Evidence based research from The American  Society of Addiction Medicine helped me understand the medical model of addiction, that it is a moral failing, nor lack of willpower, but the “why” is a blend of family history, genetics, and mystery…

ASAM- American Society Addiction Medicine states that:

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.

Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviours.

Addiction is characterised by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioural control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviours and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.

Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

The neurobiology of addiction encompasses more than the neurochemistry of reward.

The frontal cortex of the brain and underlying white matter connections between the frontal cortex and circuits of reward, motivation and memory are fundamental in the manifestations of altered impulse control, altered judgment.

The dysfunctional pursuit of rewards – despite cumulative adverse consequences experienced from engagement in substance use and other addictive behaviours.

A BioPsychoSocial approach (BPS)
With many differing theories all purporting to explain addiction, some sort of integrative approach was inevitable.

First articulated by George Engel in 1977, The BPS model was originally designed as an alternative to the prevailing biomedical model, which tends to reduce illness to a single source, then treat the illness with little regard for other contributing factors such as a patient’s psychological experiences or social behaviours.

A decade later, Donovan (1988) and Wallace (1990) articulated a BPS model for addictive behaviours in recognition that drinking behaviour and alcohol problems are multidimensional. Donovan recommended comprehensive assessment that could capture the biological, psychological and social aspects of the individual’s life that are affected by drinking. This information, Donovan hypothesized, would improve diagnosis and treatment.

It is important to understand the brains complex circuitry systems,  that underpin the onset and maintenance of additive behaviours, it is necessary to place these systems in the context of the individual and their surroundings.

Epigenetics and individual differences in brain architecture do not adequately explain why particular individuals initiate drug taking, develop addictions and then may or may not respond to a variety of interventions.

Several psychological traits have been associated with addiction – impulsivity, depression, anxiety, reward sensitivity and learning capacity. Such characteristics are the product of biology, personality and circumstance.

Paying attention to  healthcare  organisations  is  not enough to actually improve people’s health. Healthcare around the world is often  ineffective, or inappropriate for a patient’s condition, and can even leave patients worse off.

I want to introduce into the NHS a RECOVERY ROOM  open 24 hours day within the A&E space. Facilitated by medical doctors, nurses, mental and addiction healthcare workers, recovery volunteers  who are trained in working with mood altering substances: alcohol, opioid, prescription and illicit drug overdoses…away from the general emergency services and specific to addicts in crisis to  assess, refer and at at all times keep safe those  who has come to  A&E for help.

BE WELL. BE THE BEST VERSION OF YOU.

 

Social Change & Global Health is a total health care initiative  inspired by timeless wisdom, informed by neuoroscience, and grounded in experiential expression.

The body is not a machine, it is a living organism that is self regulating, self organising and  self healing. Fritz Perls, one of the founders of Gestalt Therapy, believed that every organism is self-regulating, and that this self-regulation is necessary for maintaining the organism’s internal equilibrium.

Be curious. Cultivate compassionate inquiry  to engender mindbody  connections with others. We are hardwired to connect. Seek to have peace in your heart, the mind will follow.

Listen  to your   body’s needs, and you’ll find that your body gives you the balance you need to be healthy and happy.

STRESS:
From digestive  issues and  sleep disturbances  to diseases like metabolic syndrome and  more.

Overthinking, mood-swings, compulsivity,  addiction, restlessness, depression, and anxiety.

Reducing stress is possible …if you develop present moment mindfulness for  “switching off” the need for intensity, perfectionism, being in control etc..

instead you can be calm, confident and empowered. I suggest  begining the day with an intention setting “I am…” visualization:

Daily Morning Practice:
Each day is a new beginning. Your intention  can be to “be authentic, true to you, without people pleasing to feel valued and worthy.  Pause. Connect. Breathe.
Think about where you need to be and with whom you need to be.
Do you feel stressful about this day or do you feel comfortable?
Do you feel prepared for today’s events?
Are you projecting fears and expectations into this day?

Close your eyes for a few minutes. Straighten your back, open your heart chakra and the solar plexus will automatically relax.

Bring your attention to your breath. Breathe through your nose and exhale from the mouth. Slowly increase the depth of your breath by breathing from the sacral chakra, holding the breath for a few seconds and exhaling.

You will experience a felt sense of connection that instils a sense of self acceptance that everything is happening as it is supposed to…surrendering egoic needs to control people, places and things.  A cohesive mind body connection engenders feeling confident, boundaried, and empowered.

You can be the best version of you!

 

SURRENDER

 

 

“To surrender is to flow like a river into the sea of love and in losing yourself, find yourself. To surrender is to give up everything safe and secure, and in doing so find confidence and strength.

To fully surrender is to allow your heart to  open, unable to contain all the love running through you, and to let the overflow drench you and the  lover with love.”Anonymous