Showing posts from May, 2019

Meditation 9 "Empathy"

Only one more to go. I have been writing and recording a series of 10 meditations on dealing with anxiety. We have been learning that anxiety is bigger than ourselves. It is a shared human experience. When we recognize it as a passing phenomenon, not who we are, our experience of it changes - it becomes less frequent and intense. This can free us up to become more aware of those around us and we start to see our own experiences mirrored in them. Our empathy grows and again our anxiety lessens. Anxiety becomes a point of connection: “Hey are you feeling a bit down?” “Are you feeling uptight?” “I get that. I’ve been there.” And gradually we feel less isolated. Anxiety becomes something that just happens to us from time to time as we all do this thing called life together. We are not alone. It is not permanent and it is not an obstacle. Like all of our emotions it is a sign of our membership in the human race, and exists to teach us stuff. If you have followed all of these meditati

"Die-in" at the Queensland Museum

Stephen and I thought it was a good day to die today at the Mass Extinction Rebellion Lie-in at the Queensland Museum. We had plenty of company. People of all ages, families and young children. Extinction Rebellion is an international movement using non-violent actions to achieve radical change. A past Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, was quoted by media as saying that climate change activism has become a religion substitute. I think climate change action IS religion at its best. The sacred scriptures of every major religion and the indigenous spiritual wisdoms of the world talk about humanity’s duty to safeguard the planet. They talk about the interconnectedness of all living things. For better or for worse, we are this planet’s caretakers. Modern science, a different kind of search for truth, is telling us we are doing a lousy job. One young lad at the rally spoke eloquently about his concerns for the Great Barrier Reef. Some people, even politicians, say that we do

Meditation 8 "Calm"

Welcome to Meditation 8 in this series of 10 meditations for calm living. If you’ve been following along from the get go - congratulations. We are almost there. I hope you are starting to feel a little different. A little more skilled at dealing with your inner world. I hope that if you tend to be anxious you are feeling more moments of calm creeping into your days and that this is beginning to challenge any beliefs you have about being an “anxious” person. Perhaps you can now accept that anxiety is something that comes and goes. Sometimes we are anxious but then again often we are not. One thing we can observe when we take the time to be still and mindful is that life is always changing and so are we. We can liken our mind to a limitless blue sky. Thoughts, emotions, and sensations in the body come and go like clouds in that sky. If we get completely wrapped up in them we lose sight of the blue sky. When we let go, we catch a glimpse of blue expansiveness again. The more we pra

Meditation 7 "Observe"

This is the 7th meditation in a series on dealing with anxiety. We are not trying to get rid of anxiety but learning to more objectively observe it and separate our sense of who we are from the thoughts that come and go in our head and the emotions attached to those thoughts. If you have just tuned in, go back to the first meditation by pressing the meditation button at the top of my website - . This calming meditation technique has been likened to watching a rare animal in the wild. We watch safely from a distance, like we are hiding behind a bush. We watch with curiosity and wonder. Alternating between awareness of our thoughts and feelings and their impact on our body, and the breath focus that anchors us to the present moment and gives us distance. It’s a tool to help manage emotions not a magic wand. With time and practice we feel calmer and happier in general and it becomes a useful skill to employ when life gets tough. This particular meditation practice

Meditation 6 "Thought"

This week we continue 10 minute meditations to bring more of a sense of calm into our lives. We are learning a skill that involves observing the nature of thoughts that pass through our mind. In previous weeks we learnt to bring ourselves into an awareness of the present moment using the senses and breath. To relax and get in touch with our body with a simple body scan. And then to observe from a more objective, removed perspective thoughts that come and go and our underlying mood. We have been identifying whether our thoughts/feelings are set in the past, future or present and whether they are pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. This week we identify what kind of emotions we are feeling and explore where in the body these emotions express themselves. For many years I was unaware of where emotions show up in my body. Suck it up and soldier on was my motto. This ended up compounding musculoskeletal issues that took quite a bit of rehabilitation and money to address. For me, realiz

Meditation 5 "Imagine"

There are three common responses to stress: 1. Ignore it. Keep anxious or stressed thoughts as background chatter. 2. Over attached to it. Addicted to the drama in our mind and body like a soap opera. 3. Resist it. Feel sad and distressed by recurrent anxious thoughts. These are normal responses. People live normal lives and have normal relationships but there are other more helpful ways to deal with difficult emotions. This course of meditations uses a 4 step approach called R.A.I.N. developed by mindfulness teacher Michele McDonald. RAIN stands for: R ecognize Become aware of what’s really happening. On the surface we might feel anger, but underneath there can be an element of fear or hurt or some other emotion. We simply name what is present emotionally and physically. A ccept Learn to sit with the uncomfortable feelings and physical sensations rather than push them away. Witness them and extend some kindness towards ourselves and our suffering. I