Saturday, May 31, 2008
The HeartMath Definition:
Want to truly take control of your life? Then you really should take a few moments to understand this term because it has a lot to do with how you think, feel and respond to all sorts of situations, information and more importantly, the stressors in your life.
You already know … a major function of your brain is to serve as a memory bank – and a huge one at that. Among the array of memories stored in this vast repository are all of the responses to the various situations and challenges you encounter throughout your day, whether it is your response to the changing weather, food you eat, a near miss on the freeway or an unpleasant encounter with someone you’d rather avoid.
How you react to those events and everything else in your life is stored in your brain. How did it all get there? Simple enough: You put it there by your actions. Every time something pleasant happens in your life, something interesting, scary, even the fragrance of a flower, how you respond or react to it is studiously inventoried by your brain, all neatly stored for future reference. Over time, the way we perceive and react to the various events we encountered sets up automatic response patterns.
So, if your tendency has been to routinely respond angrily to stressful situations, the brain will make anger an automatic response in other similar situations, thus creating a negative response pattern.
The brain basically operates as a pattern-matching system that scans for a familiar response. When a stressful situation occurs, the brain scans its memory banks looking for previous stressful experiences and how we responded, until it perceives a match. If our past response pattern was to perceive the situation as negative, then it triggers the same emotional reactions you had the previous time – like anxiety, hurt, resignation, or depression.
What can we do about negative response patterns? "The good news is," Transforming Depression authors Doc Childre and Deborah Rozman write, "that all these brain circuits are flexible and can be reshaped with new patterns throughout life. It’s never too late to learn or to change."
You may choose to step back when stressful events occur and react compassionately, lovingly or any other way, and your brain will remember this, too. Make any of these your routine reaction and you’ll create a positive response pattern that eventually can replace the negative patterns.
Friday, May 30, 2008
If you are looking for a safe supportive group to help you cope with a cancer diagnosis in any stage, Sierra Hospice is sponsoring a new Cancer Support Group. This group will meet from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on the second and fourth Thursdays, beginning June 12, 2008. It will be led by Jan Cox, cancer survivor, and Janis Davies, Whole Health Practitioner and will be held in the Education Building, at Seneca Healthcare District, 150 Brentwood, Chester. Group members are welcome to bring their lunches and eat during the meeting. Coffee, tea, and water will be available.
The question is sometimes asked, "Why should I attend a cancer support group?" There are several answers to this question. The first is that people who attend such a group get the support they need from others who have gone through similar treatments or are doing so now. In the group there will be others who know and will understand what you are feeling and coping with. Group support also helps the newly diagnosed to understand what they can do to live with this diagnosis. When we first learn that we have cancer, there is often a feeling of loneliness, fear, and loss of control. And there is a great need for information about our personal cancer. Access to this information will be available at these meetings.
Just a few of the subjects to be discussed include living with the fear of dying, learning to manage anger, managing fatigue and pain, coping with depression or guilt, searching for meaning in this life situation. Members will have time to share about their own personal cancer experience, their present concerns or fears, and what support is needed. Time will also be given to concerns about treatment decisions, side-effects, pain, relationships with family and with health-care providers, complementary therapies, and financial burdens. There will be opportunities to have guest speakers address the group’s specific needs or desires.
The support group is open to men and women who have been newly diagnosed, those currently undergoing healing therapies, those who have completed their therapies and are experiencing life with reduced medical support, and also to cancer survivors regardless of how long it has been. It is open to people experiencing any kind of cancer. People from all surrounding communities are welcome. Please contact Jan Cox at 256-2119 if you have any questions.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
May 9 2008
Novice meditators often think the goal of their practice should be freeing their minds of all thoughts. Rather than eliminate thinking, you could say that one of the basic skills to develop in meditation is to be able to hold and sustain contradictory thoughts—calming the impulse to eliminate the opposition. One obvious example has to do with sitting still. You want to sit still, so can you have the thought to move and go on sitting still? Or do you have to do what the thought says?
If sitting still means eliminating the thought of moving, you may find meditation difficult—because the way to remove thoughts is to tighten muscles, and this makes sitting quite painful. Holding on to a thought, such as, "I am not going to move," also tightens muscles. This is what you are busy doing a good deal of the time, so if you are serious about releasing and calming the body and the mind, thoughts are going to be popping up one after the other. The trick is not to mind.