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Posts Tagged ‘zoey ryan’

Should You Meditate?

Should you meditate? Yes, I say, it could save the world. Does this sound over blown,  like I’ve been ‘smoking something’?

I recently completed “Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain And Body” by Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davis and the authors, who are researchers concluded that yes, meditation could change the world if enough people participated in it.

I include a quote from the last section …

“What if, by transforming our minds, we could improve not only our own health and well-being but also those of our communities and the wider world?” …

So, what if?

We envision a world where widespread mental fitness deeply alters society for the better. We hope the scientific case we make here shows the enormous potential for enduring well-being from caring for our minds and brains, and convices you that a litte daily mental exercise can go a long way toward the cultivation of that well-being.

Such signs of flourishing include increasing generosity, kindness and focus, and a less rigid division between “us” and “them”. In light of increases in empathy and perspective taking from various kinds of meditation, we think it likely that these practices will produce a greater sense of our interdependence on one another and with the planet.

When nutured on a grand scale, these qualities – particularly kindness and compassion – would inevitably lead to changes for the better in our communities, and our societies. These positive altered traits have the potential for transforming our world in ways that will enhance not only our individual thriving but also the odds for our species’ survival.

Now, off to meditate, have a fabulous day my friends, may you be filled with loving kindness, may you be well, may you be peaceful and at ease, may you be happy  …

zoey

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All About The Self: Self Care & Self Compassion

Many of us have recently spent time with extended family during the holidays as did I.

During this break and retreat from the usual pace of life, I had the opportunity to reflect, renew and review. I was reminded of the importance of self care and how many of us can get so caught up in the caring of others that we forget to take care of ourselves.

Over the past few months I have been re-reading Jack Kornfield’s excellent book, ‘A Path With Heart‘ and am intrigued by the section about the paradox of being selfless or having no self and having a healthy and strong ‘sense of self’ and a ‘true self’. Kornfield says There are two parallel tasks in spiritual life. One is to discover selflessness, the other is to develop a healthy sense of self. Both sides of that apparent paradox must be fulfilled for us to awaken. I would say that this can be applied to general life as well as spiritual life and helps to clarify the definition of self-care. Life coaches often talk about self-care and how important it is to put yourself at the top of the list and clients are often very puzzled by this as have often been taught that this act is ‘selfish’.

For clarity, the action of self care through understanding yourself and having a healthy sense of self, allows you to go out into the world in your relationships, duties and obligations from a strong personal foundation and center. The metaphor that is often used is that of being on a plane and ‘the safety talk’, where the flight attendant reinforces that if you are traveling with children, it is important to put your own oxygen mask on first, then help your kids with their mask. The principle is that if you are not being ‘well oxygenated’/well cared for by ‘self’, you can’t care for others well.

So, self-care is about taking care of you! It is about self reflection and self-awareness and enchanting both your inner and outer lives, it is about creating a healthy sense of self.

Self compassion adds another deeper and broader level of caring for self and I’m excited to be writing more about this in the future.

 

Poignant Book Moment

Whilst well in advance of the trip, my friend Barb and I have completed our (self) assigned reading of ‘L’Amant [The Lover] by Marguerite Duras.  A tour of the author’s childhood home and city which is setting for the autobiographical novel is on the itinerary for our trip.

L’Amant is an international best seller and winner of the French award Prix Goncourt.

There is a very poignant moment, when the young main character is leaving Saigon for France and as her ship is leaving the dock, looks back at her lover.

It will be interesting to experience the location from the perspective of the water.

 

 

A Holiday Wish For You

 

May there be peace on Earth

“The angels were all singing out of tune,
and hoarse with having little else to do,
excepting to wind up the sun and moon
or curb a runaway young star or two.”

~ Lord Byron

Happy Holidays my friends.

in peace and mindfulness,

zoey

The Power of Gratitude

On the last day of our Mindful Self Compassion program last week, we were asked to list some things that we are grateful for, this ‘gratitude exercise’ is one that is used widely in personal development work of all kinds. One of the items on my list was the ‘ability to feel’.

Although, many times it has been painful to feel so deeply, I also feel incredibly blessed to have had the experience to be able to deeply and passionately love another person. I realize now, from the benefit of middle age, that not everyone has the opportunity to experience this and I feel sad for them.

Another item on my list was my cognitive function as an extended family member is experiencing dementia and ‘staying in my reality’ feels precious. Following through with this thinking, I am grateful for the ability to appreciate the beauty of art and poetry.

I am also immensley grateful for my family, who anchor me, keep me humble and never cease to challenge me to ‘take the higher road’. The Mindful Self Compassion program has been so helpful in this area as I have noticed myself being less reactive, less tied into long standing behaviour patterns, more able to ‘pause’ and make a choice of actions and words coming from a place of loving kindness.

The exercise of finishing one’s day by listing three things one is grateful for is simple yet powerful. I encourage you to try it.

namaste,

Zoey

There Is A New Guy In My Life!

Yes, there is a new guy in my life and he’s not even three feet tall! I love him to the moon and back and even further than that! I didn’t know I could love a little being this much!

Now, I am and always have been a wildly fierce and loving mama to my three daughters, I love and adore them and always will. There is just something super special though about being a grandma to a fiesty, funny and magnificent little boy, not having had any boys myself.

In spite of hearing how fabulous grand parenting is, it has surpassed expectations.

I’m reminded of the instructions for loving kindness meditation, to think of a person who cracks your heart open with love and then from that place of unconditional loving kindness to extend that love first to ones’s self and then outwards to others … I now have another person to inspire this love and he is complete with strawberry blond curls and deep sapphire blue eyes.

Oh, the joys of life transitions!

Mindfulness, Loving Kindness & Self Compassion Training

Health Tips

Meditate and breathe

One after effect of having an angiogram is a couple of days of limited activity and no driving, so I was unable to attend my ‘Mindfulness and Self Compassion’ Training program the other day in Bellingham. It is so interesting to me that both events are so focused on the heart, however, in vastly different ways!

An angiogram is a procedure that investigates the anatomy, physiology, blood flow and mechanical workings of the heart.

Meditation, specifically loving kindness meditation, uses the emotions of the heart to send self kindness and love first to ones self, to loved ones, and then outwards to neutral people, finally including those we find ‘edgy’ and ‘classic enemies’ as our loving kindness recipients.

Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson in their book Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain and Body, outline studies that show that loving kindness meditation positively changes emotional states of the meditator and over time can further alter behavior toward good. This may sound expected, however, the effects were proven through sound research studies and hence have a positive potential impact for humanity. It appears that even a few minutes of daily loving kindness meditation can improve one’s sense of wellbeing.

So, it’s off to do my daily meditation …

 

Living with Heart Disease FMD & SCAD

I don’t often write about my personal health adventures and living with Heart Disease, FMD and SCAD, however as I sit, in the pre-prep stage for an angiogram and coronary flow rate testing today, missing my morning caffeine and feeling vague chest pain due to stress and not taking my cardiac meds last night … it’s right in my face, I have a ‘hidden chronic health condition’ and some days it’s not fun at all!

The thing is I look fine, very healthy in fact for someone who is 60. I exercise everyday, I do yoga, heck, I’m a yoga instructor and I eat well, take supplements, take my medications exactly as prescribed, don’t drink, don’t smoke, meditate!

I look healthy on the outside but some days, I feel so awful on the inside.

I have an uncommon condition called ‘Fibromuscular Dysplasia’ (FMD) which is a disease of the vascular system and was a precipitating factor in the spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) and myocardial infarction (heart attack) I had in 2008. FMD affects my carotid artery, coronary arteries, renal arteries and iliac artery. The main area being investigated currently is my heart, although with FMD, blood flow can be slowed through all arteries showing ‘beading’ and other changes. My main symptoms of FMD are fatigue, dizziness, tinnitus, pain and tingling in legs and hands (could be a medication side effect), pain in kidneys and a myriad of chest pains and shortness of breath. The key thing I need to be aware of is my blood pressure and of course, to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Many folks don’t know that heart disease is the number one killer of women in North America and that the symptoms of a heart attack can be different for women than men. This information is super important for everyone to know!

When I had my dissection and MI,  it was during a time of great emotional stress. My symptoms were preceded by a couple of days of chest tightness, it felt like I was getting bronchitis which I had had in the past. The chest tightness increased the day of the ‘attack’, and I also developed discomfort in my right jaw and right shoulder, similar to that of a pulled muscle. Intermittently it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest (literally) and I was short of breath. I never really described myself as being in pain.

Fortunately, even though I felt like a ‘ninny having a panic attack’, I had a family member drive me to ER where I was quickly assessed and admitted. I received wonderful care and as I live in a metropolitan area with a major teaching hospital, even though it was in 2008 and SCAD was considered rare, I received an accurate diagnosis of SCAD and an appropriate treatment plan to be medically managed.

The follow up today is part of a research study to further understand SCAD.

Inspirational Quote to Fire Up Your Heart and Soothe Your Soul

mindfulness

Self Compassion

“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers,

the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground.

Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than you found it.”

~ Wilfred Peterson

Fall Days – Sometimes You Just Have to Get Outside!

And, the flip side of rainy days are gorgeous sunny Fall days when the best thing to do is to get outside and go to a park!

Enjoy the weekend friends!

 

 

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