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Walking in Balance

Uncategorized Apr 04, 2015

Walking in Balance through life requires a balanced physical, mental and emotional approach to daily living. In the Buddhist teachings, equanimity is one of the four great virtues (along with compassion, loving kindness, and sympathetic joy) that the Buddha taught his disciples to cultivate.

Birken Forest Monastery

Birken Forest Buddhist Monastery is a Canadian Theravada Buddhist monastery. It’s Pali name is 'Sitavana', translated as 'cool forest grove'. The monastery is located in the secluded forests of British Columbia's interior region, approximately 40 kilometers south of Kamloops.  The monastery provides a peaceful refuge for monastics and lay people seeking to deepen their practice of the Buddha's teachings.

The Birken Monastery 'Sitavana'

The founding Abbot and spiritual leader, Venerable Ajahn Sona, comes to Kamloops every month to provide people with a guided meditation and a dhamma talk.

You don't have to be a Buddhist or an experienced meditation practitioner....

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I am Light

I am Light, you are Light, we are all Light.

Did you ever hear a song and all of a sudden emotions started welling up inside you? That just happened to me. I just heard this song, not for the first time, but somehow the words struck me this time. I have been contemplating these thoughts for a while now, and I am figuring out what choices to make that are truly in alignment with my inner self. Doubts about my abilities and the choices I made are making me feel small and scared. I think that is why this song, 'I am Light', triggered strong emotions in me this time and I had the urge to share this with you.

Please take the time to read this and contemplate with me. Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below this post or on my Facebook page. I'd like to hear your experiences and thoughts. I am not trying to prove a point, I just want to provoke a different way of thinking.

Even though I was raised by a catholic family, I am not religious and never felt the...

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A new beginning

Uncategorized Mar 21, 2015

Every astrologist is saying exactly the same thing: it is the perfect time for a new beginning.

Today,  March 20th, 2015, is filled with ‘Transformational Energies’. There was a solar eclipse today, which marks a time for a breakthrough. The energies from this eclipse combined with the shifting from Pisces to Aries and Spring Equinox is causing me to feel a sense of urgency to make decisions. I am aware of the need for change and innovation. According to many astrologists, this is a profound time for new beginnings, for letting go of what no longer serves us. So here I am today, going within, meditating, quieting my mind. Desperately trying to figure out what my next step should be. At the same time, there are major solar flares disrupting our energy as well, causing more emotional distress than usual. These flares woke me up at 2:30 AM and I was soaked in night sweat. Time to look back, be present and trust the future.

One year ago, I was lost. I felt shattered,...

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Wanted: Vibrant Health

Uncategorized Mar 04, 2015

The path to vibrant health is the path not taken. It may not be there for many, nor is it searched for. Health is defined as the absence of disease. According to most people’s standards, they consider themselves healthy. But something is wrong with the calibration: what we think is health does not come close to the original, standard ‘Health’. We need a re-calibration.

Is it not true that we take a little, or more, discomfort for granted? Is it not true that we don’t strive for joy, contentment, and peace in our life? Stress, discontentment, discomfort, physical pain, and emotional pain have become the norm, a part of life.

On a larger scale, war, environmental calamities, and decrease in quality of our food has been accepted as part of life. I believe we, as human beings, have become 'de-calibrated' and desensitized and we are mostly unaware of it.

When we experience health problems, we don’t question that we need to see a doctor. We may, or may not,...

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5 Important Truths that will shift your Pain Forever

Uncategorized Feb 26, 2015

5 Important Truths that will shift your Pain Forever will change your perspective on pain.

Science is constantly evolving. Medicine and science are entering a new paradigm and with that, new ideas emerge. Staying up to date and becoming aware of these new options is almost impossible. So let me help you out a bit.

"To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science."
~Albert Einstein~

#1 Nobody knows what pain really is

We have one word for something that is so diverse, so complex and has so many different interpretations, that it is impossible to pin it down.

Pain definition from the dictionary:

  1. An unpleasant feeling occurring as a result of injury or disease, usually localized in some part of the body.
  2. Bodily suffering characterized by such feelings.
  3. Mental or emotional suffering; distress.

The answer to what pain is depends on who you ask. We already know the description from a...

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The Burden of Blame

Uncategorized Feb 21, 2015

The burden of blame can be toxic for our health and well-being.

Dr. Brené Brown created another animated video, about blame this time and why it is important to move beyond blame. You can watch this video below this post. (see my previous post: 'the Healing Power of Empathy' for her previous animated video)

Blame is simply the discharging of a discomfort and pain and it has an inverse relationship with accountability, research has shown.

Accountability is a vulnerable process. It means being authentic,  sharing how you really feel about a situation and taking responsibility. It means talking about an issue without blaming because blaming is just a way to discharge anger, or pain and grief.

After I watched Dr. Brené Brown's animated video about blame I started thinking of the patients I have seen in my career who seemed to be stuck in blaming themselves or someone else and were unable to take accountability for their lives. I recognized my story in there as well. I...

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Valentine's Day

Uncategorized Feb 15, 2015

Whenever we love deeply, we fear the loss and we feel pain. When the loss becomes reality, we fall apart.

Valentine’s day can be one of those days when we are reminded of a lost love. We are not alone. Really, we are never alone. But grief can make us feel sad and lonely.

On this day be extra gentle and loving towards yourself, by listening carefully what it is you need. Whether you want to be alone or surrounded by people, make sure that what you do involves nurturing yourself. When you don’t want to be alone, ask friends or family to spend time with you. Don’t wait for people to invite you, they don’t know what you need. Maybe they just don’t know what to say or do and they are afraid to upset you.

If you’d rather be alone, pamper yourself. Treat yourself to something special, like a massage, or buy some beautiful colorful flowers to enjoy. Or if you're like me, go for a nice long walk with your dog.

Valentine’s day and the weeks running...

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Breathing and the relaxation response

Uncategorized Feb 11, 2015

Breathing exercises play a crucial role in relaxing the body and mind. They actually create a relaxation response and help the body go into self-repair mode; this will decrease pain and tension.

What is the relaxation response?

To explain the relaxation response, I need to explain a little bit about the nervous system.

The Autonomic Nervous System

The autonomic nervous system, also known as the involuntary nervous system, is responsible for regulating all automatically occurring processes in the body, such as breathing, blood pressure, digestion, heart beat, bladder function and narrowing or widening of the blood vessels. There are two parts to it: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.


The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the fight or flight response and it is set into motion when we experience stress. It increases our heart rate and blood pressure, slows down digestion, and increases alertness and tension in the muscles. It...

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The Healing Power of Empathy

Uncategorized Feb 11, 2015

The healing power of empathy is grossly underestimated. In the current medical care system, it is not recognized nor utilized as an important part of treatment.

Dr. Brené Brown has created an excellent animated video to explain empathy and the difference between empathy and sympathy.

This is a summary of the video. You can watch it here or at the bottom of this post.

The four qualities of empathy:

  • The ability to take the perspective of another person
  • Staying out of judgment
  • Recognizing emotion in other people
  • Communicating that you recognize their emotion

Do Not:

  • Try to silver-line the problem
  • Try to make things better


Why has empathy gone missing in action?

Empathy is one important piece of care that has gone missing, and these are the three biggest reasons:

  1. Lack of time:
    Time is money, so this is also a budget issue. Often healthcare professionals have limited time because the fee for service covers a fraction of the value of the service provided. Many healthcare...
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The Art of Living

Living a healthy, happy life is an art, a balancing act. It also requires practice. The new year is a good time to evaluate and make resolutions. But in fact, anytime is a good time for evaluating where we are at with our life. What do you want to practice this year?


What if we could let go of our burdens instead of having resolutions?

Time for a check on our resolutions, if you have any to begin with. Often resolutions don’t work very well, and they are just a set up for failure. Maybe it is too hard to get a clean fresh start because we drag our burdens of the past with us into the new year.

A week ago I went to the monthly guided meditation and dhamma talk by Ajahn Sona. He comes to Kamloops every month from the Birken Monastery to enlighten us with his wisdom. This time, he talked about serenity and peace, and renunciation. Freeing yourself from burdens is a liberating act. Especially at the beginning of a new year, it can give you a fresh start.

To 'renounce,' in...

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