Most of us at one time or another in our lives have been lost. I don’t mean lost in a city with a map in the daylight. I mean lost in the mountains, the forest, the desert, or an unfamiliar city at night! Or perhaps as a child, when walking in a crowd, you let go of your mother’s hand and found yourself being swept away in a sea of strange people. Last month I was hiking in the mountains for many hours. Suddenly the bliss I was experiencing turned into panic and confusion when I discovered I was truly lost. There was no longer a friendly communion with nature. Instead the environment became austere and hostile. I also felt a deep sense of guilt as the beautiful Brittany Spaniel that accompanied me was also dehydrated and losing its stamina.
I took the wrong path when coming back down the mountain and ended up at a dead end at the bottom of the waterfall’s gushing stream. Frantically running up the long path again, I was propelled by fear of the dark night advancing and no reception on my mobile. The disorientation created an eerie sense that all the paths seemed to look alike. I was confronted with the pain of stinging nettles, blisters on my feet, and a few scratches and cuts from sliding on rock debris.
The poet Rumi asks the question “Do you pay regular visits to yourself”? Day after day in my work as a clinical psychologist I am acutely aware of the stress that people are faced with. I often ask them, do you take time out to be alone with yourself? Do you connect with a deeper stillness when giving your undivided attention to your inner self? This appears to be a ridiculous question to ask busy exhausted parents. However, with the many pressures, demands and responsibilities people have, they often become driven to be outwardly focused and hijacked by obsessive/incessant thinking. Regular visits can help you to spontaneously experience a fundamental transformation in the way you think about yourself, others, and the world. There are many ways to do this, and for me it is through meditation, which can create a groundedness and resilience in the midst of chaos.
A few years ago I was faced with a life-threatening illness. It was a shocking wake-up call from my body as the body never lies.
This is the time of year when the holidays bring more consumerism and people tend to become more stressed. Yet no matter what the season, we all worry over health issues, family problems, job or school related demands, children with special needs, our mistakes, not getting approval from others, or the fact that there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done, to name a few. Sometimes we know how to ease our worries by better self-care, more quality time with family, or slowing down and getting our priorities straight. It is refreshing to wake up after a good night’s rest and feel ready for a new day. It helps to have taken care of business the day or night before, so we know fairly well what to expect from the day in front of us. But what about the days where you can’t control what is ahead of you?
by Dr Angel Adams and Dr Patricia Papciak
“Look not mournfully into the past; it comes not back again. Wisely improve the present; it is the thing. Go forth to meet the shadowy future without fear and a manly heart”
There is something that happens to our brain and physical functioning when we are in a calm place. Neuroplasticity is the term that neuroscientists use to explain how the brain is changing all the time. If we are calm there are signals that go to the brain that are quite different than when we are stressed. Our brain is literally a reflection of our personal world, based on every thought we think and its accumulation of information and all our experiences. According to neuroscientists, our brain upscales all of this into its hardware everyday and this continues for the rest of our lives. Read more