25 September 2017

Life-changes-Dealing-with-the-inevitable

This week, dealing with the essence of life – the fact that it is changing all the time; and how to flourish amidst unavoidable change.

Just about everything is changing rapidly these days. The pace often seems frenetic. No wonder there is so much stress, depression and anxiety about. Changing my own life in a significant fashion and announcing retirement from leading groups has lead to an almost death-like experience. So many kind words of gratitude – enjoyable but like a premature wake.

And then my dear old friend (in both senses - long term and well aged) Lionel Fifield from the Relaxation Centre in Queensland started a conversation around life changes and the challenges they provoke. So this week insights into change, but first



              Thought for the day

When the mind is at peace,
The world too is at peace.
Nothing real, nothing absent.
Not holding on to reality,
Not getting stuck in the void,
You are neither holy or wise, 
Just an ordinary fellow 
Who has completed his work.

     P'ang Yün – 8th century Zen Master


In my youth, things seemed to move more slowly. Trends changed almost imperceptibly, technology was more rudimentary and stable, people’s attitude more predictable. Change seemed to sneak up on us slowly. These days it is right in our faces.

In Lionel’s words change is happening for all of us and nobody is excluded. The art must be to be present with each little twist and turn and keep our judgements to the minimum. Not easy as the changes always seem focussed in where we are most addicted and comfortable and vulnerable. I am sure these retreats help a lot. (Lionel is commenting on me having just returned from a month of retreat, during which the final decision to retire became very clear)

My comment for Lionel was to observe most of the time we attempt to change without really changing. So often we go along with changes that feel comfortable or convenient while doing our best to retain the status quo, even when our health, relationships, life circumstances and wellbeing are suffering. There seems to be an incredible attraction to familiarity and a deep reluctance for real change.

Meditation seems to facilitate an ease with change that makes more real change possible.

So the value in longer retreats and regular practice.

Then too, major events like retirement, deaths of loved ones, major changes in circumstances have this powerful capacity to create a potential turning point, a nexus.

Or is it they put us into a limbo state, an intermediary where for a while the possibility for significant change is more noticeable?
More possible?

Clearly for many, maybe not at the time but in retrospect, these major life changes turn out to be blessings for all the positive change that comes as a product of the immediate trauma.

Personally I have to say it. I love change - it is a sure sign of life. Something did happen for me during my youth. I developed a love for change. Maybe it was moving schools so often, moving houses. Maybe it was simply recognising the fact that every moment, everything is changing whether we like it or not, and deciding to embrace change rather than make some awkward and probably painful attempt to avoid it.

So advice around this? 

Not too sure really. Maybe to contemplate the fact that life is a process involving constant change. When anything is not changing – then it is dead. Simple as that. Might as well embrace it. Change is going to happen anyway.

Meditation definitely helps.

My own reflection and experience has led to welcoming change; even looking for it actively.

Making it happen.

Not that it is always enjoyable.

But over the years has come the realisation change is inevitable and if we stay present and committed then change has every prospect of leading on to something delightful – eventually.

This attitude has made it so much easier to deal with all the big changes throughout my life, as well as the smaller ones.

And one day the change will be that we stop breathing. Now that has to be a really interesting change. Wonder what that will lead to???

But then, every moment, whatever we have been doing ceases, that moment “dies” – ends – and a new moment begins. Therefore, while there are times in our lives when major transitions are very obvious – like when we retire – it is actually happening moment to moment; we finish with one thing and begin something new.

So we do not necessarily need to wait for the big moments, the big transitions to make change that will be good for us. Every moment life is changing; that is its nature. Every moment there is the opportunity to shape who it is that we really choose to be.

So thank you to all who have sent kind messages and I wish you all well – in this moment - and the next…


COMING SOON


IAN'S FINAL NZ MEDITATION RETREAT 

Bringing Mind and Heart Together  21 – 27th October 2017 Ruth and Ian Gawler with Liz Stilwell

Amidst the tranquil beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula, 2 hours from Auckland New Zealand

A mind with no heart is cold and empty.      A mind with heart is warm, creative and full of potential.

Ready to learn how to use meditation and Guided Imagery to open your heart and bring balance to your mind?                       

Join us for this very special retreat!   LINK HERE














IAN'S FINAL MEDITATION TEACHER TRAINING


The delight of teaching others one of the most useful things possible ...

This training, led by Ian and Ruth personally, is based on a comprehensive and fully documented manual. You will learn how to teach two 4 week programs - one featuring guided imagery, the other contemplation; both covering the stillness of meditation as well. These training have been booking out, and like all our retreats, it is wise to register early.

 LINK HERE


IAN'S FINAL SPECIFIC CANCER PROGRAM

CANCER, HEALING and WELLBEING 

Accessing the heart and science of Mind-Body Medicine
Offering genuine hope for all those affected by cancer

20 – 24 November 2017 with Drs Ruth and Ian Gawler

Located amidst the natural beauty of the Yarra Valley


This life-changing program provides the opportunity to experience the food, practise the meditation and to be in a supportive, positive atmosphere. The program is evidence based, highly experiential and practical. The focus is on the therapeutic power of the Healing Diet, the mind and meditation, emotional health and positive psychology. The aim is to provide clarity, understanding and confidence.   LINK HERE


IAN'S FINAL MEDITATION RETREAT


Mind and Heart - connecting with the essence

7 days of Mindfulness, Meditation and Buddhist based philosophy

 Slow down, reflect, contemplate – regain perspective, clarity, vitality, and balance 

 Learn Imagery techniques that unite heart and mind, and guide personal change

06 September 2017

The season for handing over and retiring

"For everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven". So in contemplating my own recently made decision to retire from leading residential programs, my mind turned to the ancient Indian/Hindu notion of the four stages of human life.

So this week, a glimpse into what for many is a very useful way to consider where they are at in their life; but first

           Thought for the day


To every thing there is a season, 
And a time to every purpose under the heaven: 
A time to be born, and a time to die; 
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 
A time to kill, and a time to heal; 
A time to break down, and a time to build up; 
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; 
A time to mourn, and a time to dance; 
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; 
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 
A time to get, and a time to lose; 
A time to keep, and a time to cast away; 
A time to rend, and a time to sew; 
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 
A time to love, and a time to hate; 
A time of war, and a time of peace.

                                            Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

The Hindu tradition of India has a long history of dividing life into four dramatically different segments or phases.

First comes Bramacharya, the time of being a student and single.

Second is Grihastha, when the focus is to make a family and a living; a time of being engaged with wordly pursuits such as seeking pleasure, wealth and all the material world has to offer. Commonly, Grihastha begins around the age of 20.

Third is Vanaprastha, when we begin to withdraw from the world and begin to attune more to the spiritual life along with adopting an increasingly hermit-like lifestyle.

Vanaprastha commonly begins around 50. It is time for grand children and the time to hand over to the next generation. It is time for community service and spiritual pursuit; time to act more as a mentor and benefactor; a time to share any wisdom gathered so far.


Fourth and finally comes Sannyasa

when renouncing the material world and dedicating life to spiritual realisation becomes the sole focus.

It often begins around 70 to 75.

The intention of sannyasa is to live a simple, peaceful, love-inspired, spiritual life very similar to the monks and nuns of Buddhism, Christianity and other traditions.

Sannyasa is a form of asceticism. A male is known as a sannyasin, a female a sannyasini.

Sannyasa does not necessarily mean abandoning society although in India many did and still do leave their families and homes and become wandering spiritual beggars. They may have a walking stick, a book, a container or vessel for food and drink, often wearing yellow, orange, or soil coloured clothes. They may have long hair and appear dishevelled, and are usually vegetarians.

Alternatively, Sannyasins may simply aim to abandon the conventions of their society and aim instead for a more liberated, content, free and blissful existence.

In the Hindu Karma Yoga tradition, acting without greed or craving for results is considered a form of detachment in daily life similar to Sannyasa. Sharma states that, "the basic principle of Karma yoga is that it is not what one does, but how one does it that counts and if one has the know-how in this sense, one can become liberated by doing whatever it is one does", and "(one must do) whatever one does without attachment to the results, with efficiency and to the best of one's ability.

Bit like mindfulness, or even more-so, pure awareness.

So for me, autumn is definitely present.

The seasons are changing…

My working life has been long and wonderful; not always easy, not without many highs and lows. First as a veterinarian, and of course, for many years since as a health educator who had the possibility and privilege to work with so many people focused upon their health, healing and wellbeing. It now feels the season to step back and hand over to the next generation.

Maybe there is the possibility to be useful in some ongoing way, and yes there was a feeling of wasting so much learning and experience by stopping at this time. Life is always changing. Who knows what the future may really bring. However, Ruth will work on and so many others do this work these days, so it feels like good timing.

There are many people to thank for their personal and professional support, but maybe those details can wait for another time.

Finally, some gentle advice. It will be lovely to get together over these final programs and celebrate what has been a major and extra-ordinary phase of my own life. It seems with only 4 residential programs before I do retire at Easter next year, happily many seem keen to join Ruth and myself one more time. So these programs may well book out and early registration may make sense.

As always, the wish is for you and all those you care for to have long and happy lives…

RESOURCES
For a fabulous story about a senior Indian who becomes a sannyasin, highly recommend reading Rudyard Kipling’s: The Miracle of Purun Bhagat in his Second Jungle Book. I have cried every time I have read it; including all the times I have read it out loud to a group.

COMING SOON


IAN'S FINAL NZ MEDITATION RETREAT 

Bringing Mind and Heart Together  21 – 27th October 2017 Ruth and Ian Gawler with Liz Stilwell

Amidst the tranquil beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula, 2 hours from Auckland New Zealand

A mind with no heart is cold and empty.      A mind with heart is warm, creative and full of potential.

Ready to learn how to use meditation and Guided Imagery to open your heart and bring balance to your mind?                       

Join us for this very special retreat!   LINK HERE














IAN'S FINAL MEDITATION TEACHER TRAINING


The delight of teaching others one of the most useful things possible ...

This training, led by Ian and Ruth personally, is based on a comprehensive and fully documented manual. You will learn how to teach two 4 week programs - one featuring guided imagery, the other contemplation; both covering the stillness of meditation as well. These training have been booking out, and like all our retreats, it is wise to register early.

 LINK HERE


IAN'S FINAL SPECIFIC CANCER PROGRAM

CANCER, HEALING and WELLBEING 

Accessing the heart and science of Mind-Body Medicine
Offering genuine hope for all those affected by cancer

20 – 24 November 2017 with Drs Ruth and Ian Gawler

Located amidst the natural beauty of the Yarra Valley


This life-changing program provides the opportunity to experience the food, practise the meditation and to be in a supportive, positive atmosphere. The program is evidence based, highly experiential and practical. The focus is on the therapeutic power of the Healing Diet, the mind and meditation, emotional health and positive psychology. The aim is to provide clarity, understanding and confidence.   LINK HERE


IAN'S FINAL MEDITATION RETREAT


Mind and Heart - connecting with the essence

7 days of Mindfulness, Meditation and Buddhist based philosophy

 Slow down, reflect, contemplate – regain perspective, clarity, vitality, and balance 

 Learn Imagery techniques that unite heart and mind, and guide personal change

21 August 2017

Pesticide-residue-levels-on-fruit-and-vegetables

With hints of spring on the horizon, maybe it is timely to consider what we get along with our fruit and veg from the commercial green grocer, and decide what to grow at home if space is limited.

The Environmental Working Group is one body that checks pesticide residues and reports on which fruit and vegetables have the least and most. So this week we check out what might be OK to buy in the shops and what is safer to grow at home, but first




         Thought for the day

Any illness that can be treated by diet alone 
Should be treated by no other means.

       Maimonides – Physician around 1200 AD





Let us be clear.

Whenever possible, organic produce is best. Best for you, best for the soil, best for the animals and other critters like worms, best for the environment at large. However, it is not always easy or possible to obtain. Some are limited by finance (how long before organic and commercial produce cost the same???), some by a wide range of issues around availability.

And if you do have a home garden, maybe space is limited; maybe time or other factors limit what
can be grown.

So it may be helpful to know what residues are on common fruit and vegetables.

Then if choices need to be made, they can be well informed.


The Environmental Working Group was founded by Ken Green and is one of America’s foremost environmental protection agencies. It is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment and produces an annual shopper’s guide. The guide lists which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticides and which have the fewest.

The worst? Sadly it is the good old apple. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away’? Maybe not if it is commercially grown!

Potatoes have more residue by weight than anything else.

A single grape sample and a capsicum sample contained 15 pesticides, while samples of cherry tomatoes, nectarines, peaches, imported snap peas and strawberries all showed 13 different pesticides.

The good news? Avocados for the second year running have the least residues with only 1% of all samples tested showing any residues. You can see the full list via THIS LINK

Here are the stand outs – good and bad…


The fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides 
- in descending order; worst at the top


1. Apples
2. Peaches
3. Nectarines
4. Strawberries
5. Grapes
6. Celery
7. Spinach
8. Sweet bell peppers (capsicum)
9. Cucumber
10. Cherry tomatoes
11. Snap peas (imported)
12. Potatoes
13.   Hot peppers
14.   Kale / Collard greens



Fruits and vegetables with the least pesticides 
- best at the top...

1. Avocado
2. Sweet corn
3. Pineapples
4. Cabbage
5. Sweet peas (frozen)
6. Onion
7. Asparagus
8. Mango
9. Papayas (pawpaw)
10. Kiwi
11. Eggplant
12. Grapefruit
13. Cantaloupe (rock melon)
14. Cauliflower
15. Sweet potato

Remember, if at all possible, buy or even better, grow organic; 
but if choices need to be made, maybe these list help inform those choices. 

And get those veggie gardens on the move for Spring...

Happy, healthy eating. Enjoy!


COMING SOON


NEXT MEDITATION RETREAT 

Bringing Mind and Heart Together  21 – 27th October 2017 Ruth and Ian Gawler with Liz Stilwell

Amidst the tranquil beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula, 2 hours from Auckland New Zealand

A mind with no heart is cold and empty.      A mind with heart is warm, creative and full of potential.

Ready to learn how to use meditation and Guided Imagery to open your heart and bring balance to your mind?                       

Join us for this very special retreat!   LINK HERE














MEDITATION TEACHER TRAINING


The delight of teaching others one of the most useful things possible ...

This training, led by Ian and Ruth personally, is based on a comprehensive and fully documented manual. You will learn how to teach two 4 week programs - one featuring guided imagery, the other contemplation; both covering the stillness of meditation as well. These training have been booking out, and like all our retreats, it is wise to register early.

 LINK HERE


NEXT SPECIFIC CANCER PROGRAM

CANCER, HEALING and WELLBEING 

Accessing the heart and science of Mind-Body Medicine
Offering genuine hope for all those affected by cancer

20 – 24 November 2017 with Drs Ruth and Ian Gawler

Located amidst the natural beauty of the Yarra Valley


This life-changing program provides the opportunity to experience the food, practise the meditation and to be in a supportive, positive atmosphere. The program is evidence based, highly experiential and practical. The focus is on the therapeutic power of the Healing Diet, the mind and meditation, emotional health and positive psychology. The aim is to provide clarity, understanding and confidence.   LINK HERE



08 August 2017

How-to-improve-memory–through-nutrition-and-exercises

Can you imagine turning over a pack of cards, glancing at each card and then remembering each card in order? Can you believe at the recent World memory Championships the winner, Sweden’s Jonas Von Essen memorized the order of cards in 26 packs in one hour!!! Did you also know this dual memory world champion is a vegan?

So what diet and what exercises might help us mere mortals to improve our own memories, and what might hasten any memory losses? This week we find out courtesy of some fascinating recent research, but first


                      Thought for the day

       Finish each day and be done with it.
      You have done what you could.
      Some blunders, losses, and absurdities no doubt crept in;
      Forget them as soon as you can.

                                       Ralph Waldo Emerson



How do we exercise, or train our memory?
This is the “easy” bit in that Von Essen is very clear – we need to learn a good technique and practice. Fairly regularly if we want good progress. Sounds a bit like meditation!

Von Essen; “Mostly it is about learning the most efficient techniques, and once you know them,
simply training on using them faster and faster.

Basically, they are all based on the concept that you come up with images symbolizing the things that you want to remember and then “place” these images on different locations in a building or along a journey that you visualize in your head.

It probably sounds a bit odd, but once you get it you can memorize anything (in any quantity!) you want using this technique”.


Von Essen also recommends How to Develop a Brilliant Memory by Dominic O'Brien as a very good one. He says we need to try out a few techniques and examples to appreciate the power of this. There are also great forums on the Web, e.g., Mnemotechnics.org

How does food affect memory?

A lot! Here is some recent research that consistently points towards what we would be wise to eat if we are to minimize any risk of dementia and to feed a healthy and reliable memory.

Bad fats, young people and memory loss  


As young adults increase their intake of trans fat, memory worsens.

After analysing the diets and
memory of nearly seven hundred 20 to 45 year-old men, it was found that as trans fat intake increased, word recall decreased.

Findings were replicated in women.

Golomb BA, Bui AK. Trans fat consumption is adversely linked to memory in working-age adults. Research presented at: American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014; November 18, 2014: Chicago, Ill.


Large body of evidence links meat, dementia and Alzheimers

1. A review – diet is a major risk factor
Diet may be the most important risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease risk, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. The author used dietary data from 10 countries and several other studies on diet and Alzheimer’s disease and assessed disease risk for several dietary factors.

Consumption of meat increased disease risk the most, followed by eggs and high-fat dairy, while high intakes of fruits, vegetables, and grains reduced the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Possible mechanisms include increased intakes of metal ions, such as copper, and saturated fat, both prevalent in meat.

Grant WB. Using multicountry ecological and observational studies to determine dietary risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. J Am Coll Nutr. Published online July 25, 2016.

2. Metabolic Syndrome Linked to Dementia
Metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors including high blood sugar and blood pressure and a large waistline, leads to dementia, according to a study published online in JAMA Neurology.

Those with diabetes, obesity, dyslipidemia, and other cardiovascular disease risk factors were up to four times as likely to develop dementia or experience cognitive decline.

Ng TP, Feng L, Nyunt MSZ, et al. Metabolic syndrome and the risk of mild cognitive impairment and progression to dementia. JAMA Neurol. Published online February 29, 2016.

3. Fat and refined carbs lead to a high risk
The intake of saturated fats and simple carbohydrates, two of the primary components of a modern Western diet, is linked with the development of obesity and Alzheimer's Disease.

This research shows how the Western diet is associated with cognitive impairment, with a specific emphasis on learning and memory functions that are dependent on the integrity of the hippocampus.

Also, saturated fat and simple carbohydrate intake is correlated with neurobiological changes in the hippocampus that may be related to the ability of these dietary components to impair cognitive function.

Finally, a model is described proposing that Western diet consumption contributes to the development of excessive food intake and obesity, in part, by interfering with a type of hippocampal-dependent memory inhibition that is critical in the ability of animals to refrain from responding to environmental cues associated with food, and ultimately from consuming energy intake in excess of that driven solely by caloric need.

Kanoski, S. E., & Davidson, T. L. (2011). Western Diet Consumption and Cognitive Impairment: Links to Hippocampal Dysfunction and Obesity. Physiology & Behavior103(1), 59–68. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.12.003

4. First randomized trial - Diet reduces cognitive decline in the elderly
Along with physical and mental exercise, diet may play a key role in the prevention of dementia, according to a study published in The Lancet. For two years, researchers tracked the cognitive health of 1,260 participants in the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) study.

The intervention included diet, exercise, and cognitive training compared to a control group who received standard health care. Nutritionists advised participants in the intervention group to limit fat intake and increase fiber consumption via fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.



The intervention group scored 25 percent higher on cognitive tests with a 150 percent increase in processing speed when compared to the control group. Intervention group participants also saw improvements in BMI and other health outcome measurements.

This is the first randomized controlled trial to investigate the effects of a multifaceted intervention on dementia, and shows the important role preventive measures such as diet have in alleviating rising dementia rates worldwide.

Ngandu T, Lehtisalo J, Solomon A, et al. A 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring versus control to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people (FINGER): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. Published online on March 11, 2015.

5. Midlife Obesity Increases Alzheimer’s Disease Risk
Obesity increases Alzheimer’s disease risk, according to a study in Molecular Psychiatry.

Researchers studied 1,394 participants of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) and tracked their weight at age 50 and evidence of Alzheimer’s later on.

The results indicate that with an increase in weight, onset of Alzheimer’s disease occurred 6.7 months earlier than when compared to those who were not obese. Autopsies and scans also showed higher body weights resulted in more Alzheimer’s-specific deposits in the brain.

This study suggests that lifestyle changes earlier in life can influence the course of disease.

Chuang YF, An Y, Bilgel M, et al. Midlife adiposity predicts earlier onset of Alzheimer’s dementia, neuropathology and presymptomatic cerebral amyloid accumulation. Mol Psychiatry. Published online September 1, 2015.


AND FINALLY – IT IS NOT ALL IN THE FOOD

Stress Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

Stress may influence your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published by the British Medical Journal. Researchers tracked 800 women enrolled in the Prospective Population Study of Women for 37 years to investigate the effects of common psychosocial factors, such as divorce, relative’s illness, and job loss.

Psychiatric examinations, questionnaires, and other medical assessments linked midlife stressors with late-life dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease.

Johansson L, Guo X, Hallstrom T, et al. Common psychosocial stressors in middle-aged women related to longstanding distress and increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease: a 38-year longitudinal population study. BMJ Open. 30 September 2013;3:e00314.


RELATED BLOGS
1. Dementia-and-Alzheimer’s-Disease-easily-explained?-Can-we-prevent-or-cure-them?

2. Alzheimer’s-Disease,-Type-3-Diabetes-and-its-causes

3. One dozen proven things you can do to prevent Alzheimer's disease


COMING SOON


NEXT MEDITATION RETREAT 

Bringing Mind and Heart Together  21 – 27th October 2017 Ruth and Ian Gawler with Liz Stilwell

Amidst the tranquil beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula, 2 hours from Auckland New Zealand

A mind with no heart is cold and empty.      A mind with heart is warm, creative and full of potential.

Ready to learn how to use meditation and Guided Imagery to open your heart and bring balance to your mind?                       

Join us for this very special retreat!   LINK HERE












MEDITATION TEACHER TRAINING


The delight of teaching others one of the most useful things possible ...

This training, led by Ian and Ruth personally, is based on a comprehensive and fully documented manual. You will learn how to teach two 4 week programs - one featuring guided imagery, the other contemplation; both covering the stillness of meditation as well. These training have been booking out, and like all our retreats, it is wise to register early.

 LINK HERE

NEXT SPECIFIC CANCER PROGRAM

CANCER, HEALING and WELLBEING 

Accessing the heart and science of Mind-Body Medicine
Offering genuine hope for all those affected by cancer

20 – 24 November 2017 with Drs Ruth and Ian Gawler

Located amidst the natural beauty of the Yarra Valley


This life-changing program provides the opportunity to experience the food, practise the meditation and to be in a supportive, positive atmosphere. The program is evidence based, highly experiential and practical. The focus is on the therapeutic power of the Healing Diet, the mind and meditation, emotional health and positive psychology. The aim is to provide clarity, understanding and confidence.   LINK HERE

31 July 2017

Mindfulness-for-busy-people

Want a calm and clear mind? Struggling for time? No worries! Many people tell me that they know they need help to settle their mind but are busy and ask “is there a quick answer?”

Well... we know mindfulness practices help us think more clearly, be more creative and effective, sleep better and have more energy and resilience. So this week, a quick solution – an exercise in mindfulness that works in just 2 minutes! But first



        Thought for the day

Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others 
Automatically puts the mind at ease. 
It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities 
We may have and gives us the strength 
To cope with any obstacles we encounter.

It is the principal source of success in life. 

Since we are not solely material creatures, 
It is a mistake to place all our hopes 
For happiness on external development alone. 
The key is to develop inner peace.  

                         HH The 14th Dalai Lama


Rapid Mindfulness
This is a simple technique. It takes all of 2 minutes. And like its counterpart – the Rapid Relaxation exercise - it does actually seem to be quite helpful. Well worth a try… Contrasts with the month retreat Ruth and i are about to begin :)

1. Notice what 'mental programs' are open
If your active, thinking mind was a computer, which is close to the truth, at any given time it would have a number of open programs.

Look inwardly, select the first “program” that seems to be open, (for preference the one taking the most headspace), and name it.  No need to dwell on this. Whether it seems to be a small issue or large; just choose one, and name it. Such-and-such a project, a particular issue with a colleague, friend or family member, a financial issue; whatever. Just give it a name.

2. Identify the emotion  
Again, just whatever first comes to mind. Once you have named your open program, identify the strongest emotion you are aware of that goes with it. Fear, joy, sadness, rage – it may be pleasant or unpleasant, no need to dwell on that; aim not to get stuck going into that, simply label the emotion with a name and leave it at that.

On the scientific side, apparently labeling our emotions helps to settle our limbic system.



3. Affirm what you would like to do
What would you like to do with this program?

The aim is to shut down all the open programs.

So maybe it is as simple as saying to yourself “For now, I am shutting this program down”.

Maybe you say “I will drop this for now and come back to it later”.

Tell your self, tell your mind, what you would like to do.


4.      Enjoy a few moments peace
Maybe closing down just one program is enough for today. Maybe you come back tomorrow and try this exercise again. Or maybe later in the day. Two minutes. Simple and effective. Give it a go…

Rapid Mindfulness.


COMING SOON


NEXT MEDITATION RETREAT 

Bringing Mind and Heart Together  21 – 27th October 2017 Ruth and Ian Gawler with Liz Stilwell

Amidst the tranquil beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula, 2 hours from Auckland New Zealand

A mind with no heart is cold and empty.      A mind with heart is warm, creative and full of potential.

Ready to learn how to use meditation and Guided Imagery to open your heart and bring balance to your mind?                       

Join us for this very special retreat!   LINK HERE














MEDITATION TEACHER TRAINING


The delight of teaching others one of the most useful things possible ...

This training, led by Ian and Ruth personally, is based on a comprehensive and fully documented manual. You will learn how to teach two 4 week programs - one featuring guided imagery, the other contemplation; both covering the stillness of meditation as well. These training have been booking out, and like all our retreats, it is wise to register early.

 LINK HERE

NEXT SPECIFIC CANCER PROGRAM

CANCER, HEALING and WELLBEING 

Accessing the heart and science of Mind-Body Medicine
Offering genuine hope for all those affected by cancer

20 – 24 November 2017 with Drs Ruth and Ian Gawler

Located amidst the natural beauty of the Yarra Valley


This life-changing program provides the opportunity to experience the food, practise the meditation and to be in a supportive, positive atmosphere. The program is evidence based, highly experiential and practical. The focus is on the therapeutic power of the Healing Diet, the mind and meditation, emotional health and positive psychology. The aim is to provide clarity, understanding and confidence.   LINK HERE