Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Grace to Change

Just as the sun sets and rises again, so to our lives can have opportunity to set on the things of the past and rise to a new future...Discovering new things about yourself is a journey, really. I suppose none of us are ever fully matured, or "grown", we are constantly moving forward in our lives learning from our past and seeking a better future.

This week has been amazing for me. I just feel that I have grown so much in the ways that I have experienced things, the way I have dealt with situations, and the way that I feel about myself personally. It has been a very reflective week for me, and I think the reason that I share this is because I want to encourage you to also take time to reflect on where you are right now and where you have been in the past - Are you growing yourself? Are you challenging your thoughts? Are you changing behaviors within yourself so that you can experience life more fully?

To stay right where we are at in our lives can cause us to become quite stagnant, so it is actually good to constantly be changing and growing.

Mantra: "I allow myself the grace to grow and change without judgment towards the person that I once was." ~ Namaste

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness Meditation is a form of meditation which focuses on the experiences of the present moment. This type of insight meditation brings the mind to a state of awareness about the experiences and emotions felt. By accepting the experiences of the present moment without judgment there is a sense of peace and calmness.

Yesterday I came across this amazing journal article about recent findings on the influence of Mindfulness Meditation causing an increase in the gray matter of certain regions of the brain - mostly in the hippocampus - The increase in density in these areas may lead to an improvement with memory, stress responses, and an increase in serotonin (affecting mood/depression) among other things. The article is foundational for future research in this area, so I thought I would share that article with you:

Holzel, B., Carmody, J., Vangel, M., Congleton, C., Yerramsetti, S., Gard, T., & Lazer, S. (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 191, 36-43.

Mantra: "Live each day in complete awareness of the present moment." ~ Namaste

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Embracing Fear

What is fear if we do not acknowledge it? How can we overcome that which we do not understand?

On my run this morning my thoughts were focused on this coming semester and what I expect to gain from the classes that I will be taking. I have long been nervous about this particular semester because the majority of the focus is on the Mental Health aspect of our nursing program. We are fully trained in this capacity so that we will be qualified to work in this component of nursing should the need/opportunity arise (If not properly certified you cannot work in this type of nursing in NZ).

So, my fears revolve around my own insecurities and the struggles that I have faced in my own life. As I was thinking about this so much this morning I realized that what I fear the most is that I will not be able to let go of the pain that I witness/experience during my placement and that I will bring it home and carry their burdens with me. I have always been one to care for people so deeply that I can literally feel their pain as if it were my own....While this may be good in some ways, it can be physically and emotionally exhausting as well. (And obviously if you did that for every patient you would yourself become a patient.) So, this is my biggest fear...

What I hope to gain from this semester and the expectations that I have is that I want to learn how to overcome this fear and learn how to properly handle working in this type of environment. I want to have the confidence to help people without bringing harm to myself.

So, my intention is just that - By acknowledging my fear, I want to find the right way to truly overcome it so that I can be a stronger and more courageous woman.

Is there something in your life that you fear? Is it keeping you from reaching your fullest potential or from helping someone else reach theirs?

Mantra: "I allow myself to feel fear and I embrace that fear in order to overcome it." ~ Namaste

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Finding Your Authentic Self

The past 26 days I have been on a yoga streak (I used to do yoga almost every day, but lately I have made it a habit to do it EVERY day without compromise...). In the process of doing my daily yoga practice I have found that I am more and more in tune with what I want from myself for the day, and what I want from life in general.

Coming to a place where I can just be who I am without worrying about what others think of me or if I will meet their expectations is huge. I have always been the type that needs to make people happy and needs to know that I am accepted and loved by those close to me. I have struggled in my life with the necessity to live according to others expectations and desires for me; rather than my own.
When we were at Franz Joseff Glacier this was such a peaceful moment.
Over the past 10 years I have gradually left those feelings behind me and come into myself. Daily I come to a new level in my life where I am more and more ready to be exactly who I am. (Whether those around me like or accept that or not...) The past month or so my intentions to myself have been inclusive of a lot of ideas which surround the concept of authenticity. For me this just re-iterates my need to embrace the life that I have and the person that I am.

Lately I have been studying a lot about things that lead to disease and cancer - Thanks to my summer science paper, Impaired Body Function - and the thing that has gripped me the most is the impact that chronic stress can have on the development of disease and cancer...With that said; there has been incredible research to support the idea that healthy living and proper diet and exercise can drastically reduce the risk for cancer/disease. This increases my motivation even more to pursue a life that is full of peace and contentment and to ensure that daily I allow myself the time to just let go of that which no longer serves me...To just release the negative and embrace my true self.

Taking pressure off of ourselves creates a freedom within that allows us to explore new potential in our own lives. When we can stop worrying about what those around us think, and about living up to the dreams that other people have for us; we can find a true sense of peace, contentment, and happiness.

Mantra: "Compare yourself to no one, for your life is unique to you alone." ~ Namaste