Monthly Archives: Apr 2017

Healthy Tips, Mind Health
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The Purpose of Presence

Presence is at the core of our being. It is a state of awareness without judgment. Or, as Eckhart Tolle would describe it, when you become the Observer of the voice in your head.

There is a reason for practicing presence. More than just simply being aware of your surroundings, being present offers you all of your answers, as well as a tangible level of inner peace. It is the most solid of foundations that you could ever create for yourself.

There is a reason people meditate and do yoga (and have been doing so for centuries), it is because practices like these invite presence and guess what? Presence feels good… really good.

So, here are some feel good benefits of practicing presence…

Resiliency – the ability to not react when things happen, but to remain calm and observe the situation.

Confidence – being present develops this sense of self that can be hard to describe, but it’s almost like you know that you are choosing the wiser path, the happier path, by remaining present as frequently as possible. This incredible sense of self is confidence.

Focus – Being present helps you to develop focus because you are dissociating from your ego’s chatter. You will also be taking in important information that you could have otherwise missed because you could have been playing out an ego scenario in your mind.

Connection – One of my favourite benefits of presence is connection. This is when you truly feel the person you are speaking with. Or when you really feel the love of your pet by your side. I even practice this when I’m out walking, I still my mind and feel the peaceful energy of nature all around me. It’s invigorating! There is life energy all around us, we just need to stop and connect with it.

Trust – Being present helps you to develop that level of trust that everything really is okay. You begin to see that what is going on around you is different people playing out their different stories, you can play along, or not. But, either way, you see the stillness behind the busy-ness, and it is this stillness which lets you know that everything actually is okay.

Peace – the ego is complex and it loves to tell a tale. Practicing presence helps you to feel removed from the ego’s stories, so much so that at some point you will truly recognize that the voice in your head isn’t actually you. This is peace.

Solutions – A Course in Miracles teaches that all answers come to a quiet mind. Whether you are thinking about what to do as a career, or for retirement, and even as to what to make for dinner or what to wear to an event, all of your answers are found in the wisdom of presence. Why is this? Because you are tapping into who you really are. Think of it this way, you can’t find a solution if you’re too busy unraveling whatever concept your ego has given you, can you? Your mind is too unfocused when it is analyzing and analysis is an ego trait. I teach that the only point in time you should be analyzing is when you’re figuring out a math problem. Even then, practicing presence would be very helpful for you to figure out that math problem. But you see my point; life, emotions, issues, they do not require analysis, they require peace, presence, and space. Clarity then comes forth and all things are resolved in peace.

How to Be Present

Practice quieting your mind at every opportunity…

Welcome the gap between your thoughts. Once you have that gap, let it grow.
Take a mental step back from judging your surroundings, meaning, observe without attaching or labeling objects.

Deep breathe for a few minutes, uninterrupted each day. Challenge yourself; begin with one minute of deep breathing, then add a minute as it gets easier for you. (Remember the benefits of deep breathing document you received when you first signed up for my blog.)

Invite your family to be present with you. Introduce it and model it. Deep breathe together before bed (an excellent way to get children to calm down) or you could take a few deep breaths together in the morning to help everyone focus before the day continues. Or do both!

When waiting in the coffee line-up, ignore your phone and practice your presence. Breathe in the aroma of coffee, hear the café music, feel your feet firmly standing on the ground, and let your muscles relax.

You could also practice presence any other time you are waiting, like when you’re stopped at a red light, or waiting in line at the grocery store. You could even take the initiative to allot few minute intervals throughout your day to just sit and feel peace.

The positive thing about being present is that you actually end up craving those moments of solace and solitude. These moments are very mentally healthy. My dear friend and Mindfulness colleague, Tamara Hackett (www.tamarahackett.com), describes taking moments of peace as a way of developing your Mindful muscle. Like when you lift weights then notice that your grocery bags are lighter. Tamara describes that your Mindful muscle also get stronger as you use it, and that you will really notice the benefits when you are faced with challenging moments.

Presence is the center of your inner peace. It is the place where the healthy and happy you exists! Go there more often.

Love and Presence,
Fiona

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Mind Health, Spirituality
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The Undeniable and Amazing Effects of Kindness

“Psychiatrists were so convinced of the power of service that they believed that the methods led to ‘organic changes in brain matter.’”

I came across a book the other day which warmed my heart! It is called “The Side Effects of Kindness” by David R. Hamilton.

In this amazing read, David shares the science behind being kind. Turns out that being kind has some astounding effects on our mental state and our bodies! Being kind has been proven to help people overcome depression, low self-esteem as well as suicidal thoughts, and also has proven cardiovascular protective properties.

None of this surprises me, as we all know that negativity causes a great amount of NEEDLESS stress on our bodies as it degrades our mental health. But, it is helpful to hear the numerous and incredible positive effects that being kind creates! It helps to keep us focused on LOVE, which we could all use a little help with.

The physical effects of kindness are well documented and specifically include the love hormone, Oxytocin (NOT to be confused with OxyContin!).

Oxytocin is a hormone released when we think about loving things, like our affection for someone, or when we are doing something helpful and loving for someone else. Mothers, for example, release Oxytocin during childbirth and also when they are breastfeeding or thinking about their beautiful newborn. Oxytocin creates nitric oxide (known as the miracle molecule) which relaxes our arterial walls allowing for improved blood flow to our heart and other organs, and also lowers our blood pressure. Essentially, Oxytocin prevents and can even reverse cardiovascular disease!

That’s some pretty amazing effects for some loving thoughts! Or as the Association for Research and Enlightenment stated in their Venture Inward Magazine, “Oxytocin is a physical reflection of a spiritual condition.”

Being kind also contributes greatly to overall wellbeing as stated by the Foresight Mental Capital and Wellbeing Project added this to their “5 Ways to Mental Wellbeing”, “Give… Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness as linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.”

So, why is being kind so good for us? It is because all minds are connected and as we treat others, we treat ourselves. Also, when we are kind to others, we are choosing to unify, this is always loving. It is when we choose to separate from others by being unkind and judgmental that we mentally hurt ourselves. It is never healthy to hurt others and you will never be immune from the negative effects of doing so.

Remember… “To give and to receive are one in truth.” – A Course in Miracles

Being kind is of huge benefit for you personally and for mankind. A Course in Miracles teaches that an act of love is never wasted. If for some reason someone rejects your kindness, the love you gave them is held for them in the collective mind until they are ready to receive. So, never feel that a smile is wasted, or a good deed is no longer good because the receiver didn’t thank you. They will get there in time, and always and forever, you will be the kind person who smiled at them and showed them love.

So, I’ve said it before and I will say it again – being kind, having fun and immersing yourself fully in the love in which you truly are is HEALTHY for you in every possible way! To be love is the sane choice.

Love and Kindness,
Fiona

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Mind Health, Spirituality
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The Love of Humility

Think of the last time you witnessed someone be truly humble…

Was it a CEO owning up to his company’s mistakes and that they would do everything in their power to be rectify the situation?

Was it your spouse admitting that they were irrational about a situation and recognized that?

Perhaps it was someone who finally decided to ask for help.

When someone is truly humble, I personally find it inspiring! I think how brave, responsible and honest that person is. I also see how much they must value me, others or society as a whole, to step up and say they made a mistake or accept help.

Those with healthy sense of humility are powerful teachers!

They demonstrate to us all the power of forgiveness, honesty and that all mistakes can and will be corrected.

Essentially, they are stopping the cycle of egoic pride in place of peace, communication and understanding.

Certainly this requires an enormous amount of personal strength! And it is something to be valued.

Those who can take responsibility for themselves are clearly aware that their words and actions affect others. They are taking responsibility for the only thing they can truly control, themselves.

I once had someone admit to me that they were making fun of me behind my back. I never knew they were doing this and could happily have continued on thinking that this person was okay with my presence in this world. But, to have them own up to what they did and how they realized they made a mistake was truly inspiring to me.

How strong I think this person is! She is a powerful soul and I believe she is a powerful teacher. Her selfless act of humility reminds me to always be humble, and for this, I am eternally grateful. Also, I trust her implicitly.

When we are humble, we are dissociating from our egos thoughts and deeds. When we are humble, we are owning up to the loving Spirit in which we truly are.

“With humility, all the contributing factors can be examined, and recovery from every very serious, near-fatal conditions can be achieved, as is seen in spiritually-based recovery groups.”
Dr. David Hawkins – Transcending the Levels of Consciousness

The truth is, we are allowed to make mistakes. This world is a classroom, and none of us will have a perfectly simple physical experience. We are all in this classroom together, and I believe we need to be gentle with each other and ourselves in order for our learning to reach completion. We deserve to offer each other a safe place to learn, for certainly, we have all made mistakes. And for this mistakes which are particularly difficult to swallow, we can at least recognize that the other person needs mental support in order to get to a better place in their minds where they no longer hurt others.

“From previous studies, it was learned that everyone is born under optimal conditions for karmic opportunities; therefore, it is wise to judge not, for what appears as misery or catastrophe may be the doorway to liberation for those who have negative karma to undo. Thus, seemingly catastrophic events may be the very essential and necessary elements for the evolution of the soul.”
Dr. David Hawkins – Transcending the Levels of Consciousness

As we move through this physical experience, we know we are going to encounter our challenges. These challenges are our opportunities to heal! But we will never heal if we do not become humble enough to learn from our mistakes and life’s inevitable hiccups.

The ego’s grandiose pride will tell you that you are weak if you are humble, for to be humble will bring peace, and the ego does not value peace. The ego insists upon chaos and projection; these will never be found in humility.

A Course in Miracles teaches that we want to become happy learner, humility is the key to being a happy learner.

Love and Gratitude,
Fiona

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