Shine the light of compassion on all that frightens you to find healing and freedom.
Copyright 2010 George Buchanan
In our article last week we discussed how neuroscience has shown us that we are actually rigged to experience anxiety and rapidly remember negative experiences as one way that has helped the human species to survive. The good news here is called neuroplasticity, which is our brain’s ability to change its response to our experiences and alters its structure. Therefore, when fear comes to us like menacing black crows or ravens looming above, we have the ability to not only stand and face them, but to befriend them with loving kindness. We can bring our attention and awareness to our fear and treat it tenderly and gently without judgement, without running away or letting it threaten us. Thich Nhat Hanh states that “loving kindness” is “mindfulness”. What he means is that when anxiety or fears are present, we can also to invite mindfulness to be present as well. He likens it to a mother soothing her frightened baby as long as it takes until the crying subsides. This simple process is transformative. Read more
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?
“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow.” – Orison Marden.
Last Tuesday, 20th January, 2009 I was co-facilitating a social skills group comprised of boys aged 9 to 11 at the NHS and we were fortunate to be in a room where there was a colour TV. Towards the end of the group I switched it on just as President Barack Obama was being sworn into office. I knew that the boys would remember this day in history just as I did when I was a young child watching JFK’s presidential inauguration on a black-and-white television. This time it was thrilling to watch it on a big colour screen and even more earth-shaking to know that this man was the son of an African and an American taking the oath of office. As Obama was captivating millions on TV through his eloquence and brilliance as an orator, it suddenly became very quiet in the room and the boys were spell-bound as they listened to his every word. After his speech the most amazing thing happened: the boys’ topics of conversations changed… they were deeper, more thoughtful… no more talk about Batman. Instead they began sharing spontaneously about their families, their values and their hopes. Read more