Two Steps Toward Peace

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Being presently mindful helps to establish being grounded in the “here and now”. The present is the “where and when” we can have a level of control and influence.   This increases our sense of being safe and at peace. We establish our connection to the present through our senses: seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting. Most everything else is either evoked from the past or imagined in the future.

 

This exercise helps to establish a connection to the present.

 

Look around your surroundings and identify:

5 things you can see

4 things you can hear

3 things you can touch/feel

2 things you can smell

1 thing you can taste

 

Some tips:

 

  • The ‘placement’ of the senses can be changed to suit the environment. Example: If you are doing this exercise while mowing the lawn, ‘4’ things you can hear might be…difficult to achieve. Instead, move ‘hearing’ to #2 and ‘smelling’ to # 4.
  • Be as detailed as you need.   Looking for a quick reduction in stress? Simply name them. Example: “I see the tree across the street, I see the blue car in the drive way, etc”. For a deeper, more engaged experience…get more detailed. Example: “I see the tree across the street. The bark is dark brown and deeply lined. The leaves are dark green and spade-shaped. They are partially unfurled. The tree looks to be about 25 feet high and some of its roots are above ground”.
  • Don’t save this practice to only when you are stressed or anxious. Just as it can reduce these negative emotions, it can enhance a peaceful, fun, and meaningful moment. Kayaking on a beautiful lake? This helps you not miss a thing. Enjoying a cook out with your good friends? You will remember this time with even more clarity and with more emotional attachment.

 

Anxiety can result in affected breathing, usually in the form of ‘labored breathing’.   These short, shallow breaths do not effectively perform the oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange. This, in turn, will result in increased heart rate, feelings of unease and panic, and even lightheaded and fainting. Often, our first response in realization that our breathing is being compromised is to take…one…deep…sharp…BREATH. Lightheadedness and anxiety abound. Instead, here is a method to gradually increase your chest/lung capacity to accommodate deeper breathing as well as a healthier, more natural gas exchange.

 

Breathing activity:

 

  1. Notice the affected breathing.
  2. Find a comfortable place and position.
  3. Start at 5 cycles of:

Inhale for 3, hold for 4, exhale for 5

5 cycles of:

Inhale for 4, hold for 5, exhale for 6

5 cycles of:

Inhale for 5, hold for 6, exhale for 7

 

Some tips:

 

  • Work with the ‘count’ to find the pattern that works best for you. Lung capacity and chest flexibility varies from person to person. Take the time to find what’s comfortable for you.
  • Diaphragm breathing-sure, if you are used to it. It is a more effective means of taking a breath. However, if you are not used to doing it regularly it can feel awkward, even uncomfortable. Concentrate first on the bigger strokes then, when you have them mastered, fine tune.
  • If possible, sit up straight with your feet on the floor. Or, better yet, sit on the floor with your back straight.

 

Namaste!

 

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My Tribe: “…It Needed to Come from Me”.

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Garry Melville is one-of-a-kind! Anyone who finds their life’s work in inspiring and motivating others to “be all they can be” are bound to be full of spirit, drive, and joy. Get to know Garry as MONK(My Own New Knowledge)!

 What city were you born in?

“Brooklyn, New York”.

What is your birth month and why do you think it is?

“October. I need balance in my life”.

What’s fun/interesting about your family of origin?

“We’ve had a set of twins born each generation for four generations”.

What’s something you’ve learned that you had a lot of fun learning?

“When I first started hanging around business owners and seeing how much they pushed themselves. I discovered it could be fun to push myself like that.   Getting up a 4:00am to beat the day and grab a couple more hours”.

What led you to go into the area of motivating and public speaking?

“One night, I was so sick with a crippling pain inside. It was so bad that I knew I needed a change. When I had my awakening, I was staring at my phone and looking for a quote to help me make it through. I then realized, after it never came from someone else, that it needed to come from me. For myself and for others”.

What is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

“Go for a walk”.

What keeps you up at night?

“My goals. I have a list of ten things to do every day and even if I do eight or nine, I get restless that maybe I didn’t turn every stone”.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “beautiful”?

“Soul”.

What is your special gift?

“Being myself. Being goofy, random, silly, and weird. I don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not. I am who I am. Hope you like it but, if not, you can leave it”.

If there was one thing you could tell the entire world, what would it be?

“Mind your own business! You are worried about the wrong thing. Clear your doorstep then you can help others with theirs”.

What is your passion in life and what do you do to facilitate that passion every day?

“I’m passionate about connecting. I want to learn about others on a deeper level. Not just “hello and good bye”. Get to know others so we can love each other.

This question is from the previous interview with Christian Pelosi, owner of Eden-A Vegan Cafe

‘What do you think your individual role is in this life?’

“I know I can reach someone new everyday. Just continue to push the comfort zone. Reaching out, posting everyday. Blogging for others to see. I put myself out there. I hope by acting as myself, this act alone, maybe others won’t be scared to do the same”.

What question would you want me to ask the next person?

“Would the seven year old you be proud of the adult you are right now and why?”

If you would like to learn more about Garry and be inspired, you can find him at:

https://www.facebook.com/garry.melville.9?fref=ts

Namaste!

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“All Good Things…”

 

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It is bittersweet to say ‘good-bye’ to the place my personal practice called home for some time. The Huntington Mills office is no longer available for patients.

However, I am excited about what this change will bring. I still continue to practice with John Kuna and Associates and will also continue to see patients through New Path Therapy. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you are looking for help and for change.

sara.grier@newpaththerapy.com    (570) 634-5424

Namaste!

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Downward-facing Dog, Y’all!

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I had the wonderful experience of attending and participating as a lecturer at the 2nd Annual NEPA Yoga Fest 2016 on Montage Mountain on June 4th. The opportunity to provide guidance and information about a topic near and dear to me was, in a word, joyful. Mindfulness and meditation are excellent tools to pick up along the path of moving through and past anxiety and trauma in life. The present can be a great place to be, a safe place to be…the place to be. Mindfulness shifts us from our fears and helps us focus on what can be good and great right now. June 4th, I was present and focused on being with like-minded people to share and connect. The goal being health, happiness, peace, and community. Such a wonderful place to be therefor, in that moment, why would I want to be anywhere else. Of course, the sight of the multitude of yogis and yoginis practicing on the brightly colored ocean of yoga mats was awe-inspiring in itself. And, as I discovered, a very special place to practice mindful meditation that involves the senses. “Five things you can see, four things you can hear…” Simply beautiful.

Thank you to Garry Melville for asking me along on this journey. Let’s make this only our first step together. Also, Chelsea Manganaro and the rest of the hard working who created a wonderful event.

Namaste!

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Flashback Halting Protocol

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Flashbacks can be a terrifying and debilitating symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Controlling them can be difficult and those who experience them can feel helpless and out of control.

Essentially, flashbacks are the superimposing of the past traumatic experience on the present. You are attacked in a parking garage on July 12, 2004 in Tampa. Why are you experiencing the same terror, anger, shame, and helplessness in a parking garage on February 23, 2010 in Scranton? The sensory input from the current situation is just similar enough to ‘trigger’ emotional memories from the past. These memories are drawn from the Amygdala region of the brain. It is here where the darkest of emotions lie that are linked to memory: shame, fear, pain, despair, terror, helplessness…”

This protocol helps to ‘reground’ the individual to the present. This is where we are safer and in control.

At the beginning of a flashback, start here:

  • Right now I am feeling
(describe your current emotion, e.g. ‘terrified’)
  • And I am sensing in my body
(describe your current bodily sensations, e.g. ‘pounding heart, tight chest, shaky legs’)
  • Because I am remembering-name the trauma by title only (e.g. ‘being hurt by my mother’). Do not go into detail.
  • At the same time, I am looking around where I am now in
(the actual current day/month.year), here (name the place where you are), event (what you are doing/experiencing)
  • And I can see
(describe some of the things that you see right now in this place),
  • And so I know
(name the trauma by title only again, e.g. ‘being hurt by my mother’) is not happening now or anymore.
  • Therefore, I do not have to feel (terrified, guilt, shame). Instead, I give myself permission to feel (content, safe, happy) emotions that match what I am experiencing at this moment.

Tip: The final step should be true to the event/experience you are having in the present. Don’t reach to replace ‘terror’ with ‘happy’ if the current situation doesn’t warrant it. Instead, if you are watching the presidential debates and this makes you feel…bored…state that. If you are waiting in line behind a slowpoke at the bank, don’t replace ‘helplessness’ with ‘peaceful’. If you are feeling ‘annoyed’ at your present experience, state that as well. The purpose behind this protocol is not to reach for the unrealistic. Rather, it is to ground you to the present reality. As boring and annoying as that reality might be.

Namaste!

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“You’re Grounded!”

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(Like an overfed, well-fattened bear, this site is finally emerging from its dormancy. Well, don’t we all look for a little rest after the fall harvest?)

Now that the spring has finally arrived, hopefully to stay for a while, this can be a great time to get yourself grounded. Unlike the well-known punishment loved by parents and loathed by teens, being grounded is a peace-bringing and liberating event.

Being grounded means being present, in the here and now, and in touch with what is around-and inside-of you. In turn, being present means being in a place of increased control. From there, anxiety is decreased while happiness in the moment is increased. Makes a lot of sense when you consider there is no power over the past and future…only over the present.

What are some springtime things you can do to ‘get grounded’:

  • Barefoot as much as (safely) possible. The less there is between you and the earth, the closer you feel to this amazing, spinning ball we call home. Performing creative activities while barefoot can work to connect you to your craft. Examples of this might be painting, writing, music, cooking, gardening, sewing, crafting, on and on.
  • Go to green. Being a part of the growing cycle that starts this time of year is very connecting and grounding. Plant that garden of which you’ve been dreaming and, for the love of deity, don’t sweat the outcome. It’s the journey here that is the end goal. ‘Adopt’ a plant or flower that might be meaningful. If you’ve experienced negativity during your tour in the deserts of Iraq, nurture a cactus (We are working in symbolism here, folks.  Cactus may not have been present in Iraq but it’s the first thing many people think of when they hear ‘desert’). And don’t be afraid to get dirty. Children are intuitively aware of the magic that comes from getting up to their elbows (and knees) in the earth.
  • Notice daily, or several times daily, the changes in the natural world around you. Keep a photo log of the unfurling of the leaves on the tree outside your house. Take time to notice how much that tomato plant grows day-to-day. It’s amazing how much change happens right before our eyes that we never notice. When we don’t, nature can appear like two lone snapshots in time…before and after. But it is what happens in between that is the real journey.
  • Animals.  Check ‘em out! They are the gurus of present mindedness. Therefore, they are in tune with the changes in the weather, growth of vegetation, migration patterns, food sources, etc. And never mind baby animals! Is there a more enchanting means of watching growth day-to-day?

So, exit your winter hibernation to a world you watch and know.

Namaste!

 

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