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.

Sympathetic

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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Awakening to empowered self-care

It is time to wake up and reclaim our health. Time for empowered self-care.

Life is uncertain. We never really know what lies around the next corner. One thing we can all be certain of, however, is that there will be an end to our physical existence. We just don’t expect it to happen anytime soon, we don’t think or talk about it. In fact, I think we try to bury this certainty under life’s distractions and seem surprised and upset when we are confronted with the consequences of aging and death. Why can’t we be fully aware of our impermanence, embrace it, and feel more alive because of it?

 

Looking for health in the wrong places

In my professional and personal life, I am constantly confronted with people’s losses. The loss of health, loss of function and abilities, loss of income, loss of identity, to name just a few. Often this loss is not fully acknowledged, not by the person experiencing the loss, not by their family and friends, nor by...

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