Yoga’s Spiritual Bloodline is Raising Consciousness

“The word yoga means union and the union is supposedly between the mind, the body, and the spirit…” ~George Harrison –Interview, Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, 1982

What does it mean to create “World Brotherhood Colonies?” What is a Spiritual Bloodline? And what does the late Beatle George Harrison have to do with this?
Just before Paramahansa Yogananda’s disciple Swami Kriyananda died in 2013, Nayaswamis Jytish (pronounced Joe-tish) was designated by Kriyananda to be Dhamacharya, or The Successor. In this rare and privileged video interview, The Successor speaks to us of a Spiritual Bloodline, Choosing the  Light, love for mankind, yoga, meditation, and celebration.

Getting an interview with these immensely busy people who are dedicated to the betterment of mankind was extremely difficult because in preparation for the Choose the Light 2017 West Coast Tour they were often sequestered in an ashram in Ananda Village.

An ashram is a spiritual hermitage or a monastery in Indian religions.
Dhamacharya is Sanskrit for a successor in an unbroken Lineage of teachers and disciples. It is the continuation of an unbroken Spiritual Bloodline.

“Before his death, Swami Kriyananda asked that together with my wife Devi (pronounced “Day-vee) I serve as spiritual directors for Ananda’s worldwide work.”

Jyotish and Devi serve as the Spiritual Directors of Ananda, a global spiritual movement of people living the change they want to see in the world. They are emissaries of Paramhansa Yogananda, the spiritual master who sparked a revolution of yoga and meditation in the West with his book Autobiography of a Yogi, celebrating its 70th year in publication. Jyotish and Devi are carrying forward Yogananda’s mission to raise consciousness around the world.

So want is Ananda?
In response to Yogananda’s direction to create Worldwide Brotherhood Colonies, one of his foremost disciples, Swami Kriyananda founded Ananda in 1968 in the Sierra Foothills. This area contains portions of eight California counties: Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Mariposa, Nevada, Placer, Tuolumne, and Yuba. Not only does this area produce incredible sights, but it also produces awesome wine.

Ananda Village was the first Brotherhood community and continues as the spiritual heart of Ananda Worldwide. There are additional communities in Seattle WA, Portland and Laurelwood, OR, Sacramento, Palo Alto, and Nevada City, CA, and in Assisi, Italy and in India.

Ananda will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019.
The Ananda Village is an amazing community built on love and cooperation.
“At these villages, you will find over 200 people living the yoga life, plus two beautiful retreat centers, the Ananda School of Yoga and Meditation, and many pilgrimage sites for deep meditation and renewal. In April 2018 over 15,000 tulips will bloom at the Crystal Hermitage where Swami Kriyananda used to live. It is sacred space. Many people will come to enjoy Springtime in Ananda. Our Ananda communities in Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Portland are hosting the Choose the Light speaking tour.”  

You don’t have to EAT PRAY LOVE in India and Indonesia to become enlightened. You can do it all right here in your backyard.

I asked my esteemed guests what can be done to help people around the world and in our country, the United States, who are feeling great uncertainty and anxiety during these troubled times. Jyotish explained how “the present chaos is a precious spiritual opportunity.” Yoga is an answer.

Yogananda taught the practice of Kriya Yoga as a powerful tool to still the reactive process and talks about yoga in Autobiography of a Yogi as a science.  A quiet Yoga mind allows you to choose to respond rather than to instinctively react.

“We’re teaching people to step back from conflict and confusion, meditate first, and then choose an action that generates peace and harmony in the world.”

Devi explains,“Many people think of Yoga as doing a physical stretching, but KriyaYoga is a meditation practice. The audience may recognize some of the people who practiced Kriya Yoga as; Mahatma Gandi who was initiated by Yogananda himself. He lived a life completely devoted to change from within, radiating peace and harmony, as Yogananda taught.”

Beatle George Harrison was a disciple of Yogananda and practiced Kriya.
“Geroge Harrison put pictures of Yogananda, and his gurus on the cover of Sargeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band,” Devi says.

So, I pulled out a picture of the old album cover, held it up to the camera,  and we had a great time finding all the hidden gurus, goddesses, and people, which included Sri Mahavatar Babji, a doll of the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi, Sri Yukteswar Giri, American actress and sex-symbol May West, and Dr. Carl Jung, to name just a few.

It was like having a great game of “I spy the Yogi!”

I asked Devi how our audience can start on a path of Kriya Yoga and she invited us to join in with her as she shared a quick and effective meditation focusing on the breath, that anyone can do anytime they feel stressed. You can even use it in traffic.

“We are also inviting people to pledge their meditation hours so that together, we will radiate one million hours of peace and harmony into the world this year. Just go to www.MeditationPledge.com  We are just getting started but currently have over 500 pledges from around the world, with about 30 people pledging every day.”

“Together we’ll radiate a million hours of peace and harmony into the world.”
In Portland, Oregon on July 21, 2017, Dhamacharya Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi will be at the historic Multnomah Hotel, where Yogananda once spoke. These new gentle leaders will talk about “A World United.” What a wonderful way to be the change you want to see and Choose the Light you want to be.

Photo credit: Show Poster is the copyrighted property of Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos. All pictures on it and in the post are used with the consent of the guests.

About the Author: Kathleen (Kat) O’Keefe-Kanavos-three-time cancer survivor whose guided dreams diagnosed her illness as seen on Dr. Oz, & NBC News, and detailed in her book Surviving Cancerland: Intuitive Aspects of Healing. She’s a Contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul, TV/Radio Host/Producer- Wicked Housewives On Cape Cod™, the Kat Kanavos Show, Internationally Syndicated Columnist, and Lecturer who promotes patient advocacy and Spiritual guidance.  www.KathleenOkeefeKanavos.com

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5 Ways To Support Our Bodies For Self Healing

Healthy self = Heal thy self | Supporting our bodies for self-healing
Our bodies are designed to heal themselves. They have many self-healing capacities, so let’s look at how we can support these to reveal our healthy self. Healthy self = Heal thy self!

Imagine cutting your finger

Here’s a scenario to consider. You are chopping some food, and you cut your finger. If you take care of it, cleaning it immediately and keeping it clean after the bleeding stops, the cut will heal itself in a few days. If it’s really bad, you might need some additional support like stitches, but it will still heal and will just take a little longer.

If you don’t support that healing, you’ll get into trouble. For example, if you rub dirt into that fresh-cut instead of cleaning it, the healing will be delayed. We need to support the body, and then its natural healing capacity can work.

But what if you cut that same finger every day? That constant damage and injury will mean that your body can’t heal itself. It will try, but that constant insult will prohibit healing.

1. Diet as a repeated injury
The same applies to chronic illnesses, rather than physical injuries. Just like the scenario of cutting your finger every day and it not being able to heal, if we “injure” our body every day by the way we eat and live, then we aren’t giving the body the support it needs to heal itself.

A diet without adequate nutrients is damaging to our whole body every day. Every day that we don’t eat well or sleep well, we are depleting our bodies. We aren’t providing an environment in which our body can heal itself.

Consider eating food that is inflammatory to you every day. It’s just like cutting your finger every day – more damage is occurring, and there is no chance for healing. And this damage relates to much more than just inflammation in our digestive system. If we aren’t getting the nutrients we need every day, this can affect all of the biochemical reactions going on in our bodies. Those nutrients – and the lack of them – affect all the systems of our bodies.

Eating a diet that is lacking nutrients is like injuring yourself every day. Instead, we need to support the body.

2. Medications as a ‘band-aid’
We might be tempted to try some medications to cover up the symptoms of an illness and make us feel better, at least temporarily, but frequently they don’t support self-healing because they have side effects too.

Let’s say that you have the symptoms of a cold – a slightly high temperature, and just not feeling great. So you reach for Tylenol or Aspirin every few hours. By reducing your temperature, the medication might make you feel better for a short while. However, the medicine has also interfered with the natural healing process, because your body was using that high temperature as a means to get rid of the virus. What might have been better would have been to relax, drink plenty of fluids, take a warm Epsom salts bath, and have an early night.

3. Active, not passive
Taking medications or over-the-counter pills requires very little effort on our part – we are quite passive – just popping our pills. But as the title of this blog post says, for a healthy self, we need to heal ourselves. That is an active process. We need to feel empowered to provide a favorable environment for the body. That means DESS – diet, exercise, sleep, and stress reduction, along with love, good relationships, and spirituality. When we put these things in place, then we are no longer cutting our finger every day, and the body can start to heal.

4. Inflammation is the language of discontent with our environment
We know that most chronic illnesses have inflammation at the root of them. This inflammation in our bodies – wherever it might appear – is the body trying to tell us that our environment is not conducive to self healing. It’s like a warning light coming on in our car. If that warning light comes on, we take the car to the garage to get it checked. When we have inflammation or symptoms somewhere in our body, how often do we either do nothing or just pop a pill? What we should do instead is…think that we aren’t providing what the body needs to heal. Think that there is something wrong with our environment. Think about what our body and our environment need instead of what we are providing…

Sometimes, it might be necessary to work with someone to figure this out. It might be that you need some tests to determine that, for example, you are deficient in Vitamin A, or that your hormones are out of balance. A natural health care provider (such as a nutritionist, lifestyle medicine practitioner, naturopath) might be able to help you find out what is out of balance in your environment. Is too much stress making those hormones out of balance? Is a polymorphism creating that vitamin A deficiency? They can then educate you in what seems to be going on. That knowledge can be very empowering.

5. Be empowered
When you understand the workings of the body, and what might be lacking in the body’s environment, then you can make changes and see improvement. Then you are ready to heal thy self. You take an active role and work to rebalance your hormones or eat foods containing vitamin A.

So if you are ill, take some time to look at what might be out of balance in your environment. Is something lacking, is something in excess? It could be nutrition, sleep, stress, difficult relationships – these can all prevent our body from healing itself. We need that good environment. Nurture yourself and be at least as good to your body as you are to your car when its engine light comes on! Take action. Don’t be passive. Let the body do what it is designed to do – heal itself.

Of course, I’m not suggesting we should never use pharmaceuticals. In some instances, especially acute illnesses, they are very important. Yet even if we do use pharmaceuticals, we should still check to see if they deplete the body of certain nutrients/vitamins/minerals, and continue to work to support our self-healing.

Ruth BaillieRuth Baillie is originally from the UK and now lives most of the year in Northern California. She holds two Master’s degrees, one in Personalized Nutrition (distinction), and another in Health Psychology. She is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, Certified Professional Cancer Coach, and Cancer Guide, and has undertaken considerable post-graduate studies in integrative naturopathic oncology. She is the author of “Choices in mind-body medicine for cancer patients in Sonoma County, California” and her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals.

The Important Value of Female Relationships in Recovery

Breast Cancer RelationshipsBy Diana Ross, E-RYT 500, Certified KaliRay TriYoga

Women unlike men connect with each other differently. They can provide a support system during the most difficult times of stress. Women help each other.

There are many obstacles that face women with cancer, for example the lack of family support or performing daily activities. Reduced employability and earning capacity can create great stress. Surgeries or treatments can further complicate body image, thus resulting in feeling less attractive, and may even cause breakups. For women, one of the best thing they can do is nurture their relationships with their girlfriends or join support groups. Married men on the other hand are known to have better recovery times when ill.

Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos of Surviving Cancerland: The Psychic Aspects of Healing shared this commentary which was so tale-telling. “On a physical level, quality “girlfriend time” helps to create more serotonin – a neurotransmitter which combats depression and creates feelings of well-being. Women share feelings whereas men often form relationships around activities. Rarely do men sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel in regards to certain things or how their personal lives are going. Men talk about their jobs, sports, cars, fishing, hunting, or golf but not their feelings?”

Women share from their souls with their sisters, mothers, and friends. Spending intimate time with a friend is as important to good health as jogging or working out at a gym. We tend to think when we are “exercising” we are doing something good for our bodies, and when we are hanging out with friends, we are wasting our time — not true. The truth is our failure to create and maintain quality relationships with others is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking! So every time you spend time with a pal, just congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! Studies have shown time-and-time again recovery is faster and of higher quality when friendships are formed. Women with cancer are better able to deal with their disease when supported by others in similar situations. Women who take part in support groups believe that they can live healthier, happier lives if they spend time relating to others. Some maintain that the bonds formed between each other within the support groups help them feel emotionally stronger. They further state that sharing feelings and experiences within support groups help to reduce stress, fear, and anxiety which then helps to promote healing. Evidence suggests that support groups do improve quality of life for women with cancer.

Certain support groups may be led by survivors, group members, or trained professionals, and may include education, activity, behavioral training, and directed group interaction. Behavioral training may include yoga which helps muscle relaxation, proper breathing or meditation to reduce stress on the effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. It may also include focusing on learning how to manage current concerns and situations People with cancer are often encouraged by health care professionals to seek support from groups of people who have direct or indirect experiences with the same type of cancer. These groups may vary widely in quality. Don’t hesitate to explore different groups.

The Internet also provides support groups. Interacting with other women by sending and receiving messages via the Internet may be the only option for some women until they feel well enough to go outside the home. These sites are run by moderators in chatrooms or on e-mail lists, while others are not moderated.

Women are such naturals when developing and nurturing loving supportive relationships, so embrace your girlfriends. They also believe that when relatives and friends lend support, it is easier to deal with their health and social problems. Let’s face it family and friends are very good for our health.

Diana RossAbout the late Diana Ross:  E-RYT 500 restorative yoga teacher and founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Diana made a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Practicing Gratitude Can Improve Your Health, Mood and Spirit

Practicing Gratitude Can Improve Your Health, Mood and Spirit For Breast CancerBy Margot Malin, Founder and CEO of Lots To Live For, Inc.

Contemplate: What makes you thankful?
Focus on what you have by recording at least one positive thing in your life each day. Scientific research is increasingly demonstrating that practicing gratitude daily can cultivate noticeable ongoing mental and physical benefits.

A patient faced with a difficult health diagnosis frequently feels overwhelmed and anxious. She might feel as if she stepped into a foggy quagmire. One way she can begin to see a beam of light to help guide her out of this fog is to turn to the techniques introduced in positive psychology.

In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity better, and build stronger relationships. “The aim of Positive Psychology is to catalyze a change in psychology from a preoccupation only with repairing the worst things in life to also building the best qualities in life” writes Dr. Martin Seligman (often referred to as the pioneer of positive psychology).

Below are some simple ways to cultivate gratitude:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal
    Write down one to three things that you are thankful for each day. On the Lots To Live For, Inc. website we sell a Gratitude Note Pad to help you to conveniently and consistently record your thoughts. This Gratitude Note Pad is easily carried in a purse or portfolio.
    Hints: Avoid fixating on material items and do not dwell on things that you do not have. Spiritually refocus on what you do have.
  2. Meditate
    Practicing mindful meditation can help you focus on the present moment without judgment.
  3. Breathe
    Mindful breathing can help relax you and cultivate gratitude. We recommend the Breast Cancer Yoga CD Breathe With Purpose to get you started.
  4. Write a thank you note
    Studies have shown that the simple act of writing a sincere note of thanks to someone from our past or present can help us cultivate gratitude. Even better, share the note or send the letter to the person you are acknowledging.
  5. Pray (if religious)
  6. Practice Yoga
    Use your yoga practice as a moving meditation. Be present while on your mat and set an intention to reflect on the things that you are thankful for.
  7. Repeat an affirmation
    Affirmations are simple: you being in conscious control of your thoughts. They are short, powerful statements. When you say them, think them, or even hear them, they become the thoughts that create your reality.
    Here are examples of powerful affirmations: I am strong, I am healthy, I am grateful, I am thankful, I am evolving
  8. Show appreciation to people you interact with on a casual basis
    This can include co-workers, your bus driver, a hospitality worker, or a friendly soul with whom you have an incidental interaction as you go about your day.

In 2003 Dr. Emmons and Dr. McCullough reported the results of an important study on gratitude and well-being which separated individuals randomly into four groups who were asked to carry out different tasks. The results of the study found that those participants randomly assigned to the group who were instructed to write about things they were grateful for on a daily basis became the happiest and most optimistic when compared to 3 other groups performing different tasks. (References and link to article at the end of this post). Other studies have shown that additional benefits of practicing gratitude can include improved mental and physical health, enhanced relationships, higher self-esteem, and overall satisfaction with life.

Typically it only takes two minutes to record thoughts of gratitude. Just two minutes a day can change your outlook on the world. Focusing on the things you are thankful for can provide a beacon of light to help you climb out of the fog created by uncertainty and anxiety.

The simple act of acknowledging the things we are grateful for can help enhance our health, mood, and spirit. Why not start today?

References and additional information:

Buy the Cancer Gift of Optimism: To help a cancer patient regain optimism and a sense of control. This gift includes two simple items to help cultivate gratitude.

Positive Psychology, Positive Prevention, and Positive Therapy, Martin E. P. Seligman, University of Pennsylvania.

Emmons RA, et al. “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An experimental investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well Being in Daily Life,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Feb. 2003): Vol. 84, No. 2, pp 377-89.

Sansone RA, et al. “Gratitude and Well Being: The Benefits of Appreciation,” Psychiatry (Nov. 2010): Vol.7, No. 11, pp. 18 -22.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness Meditation.

Related Article:

About Margot Malin: Intellectually cMargot Malinurious and fiercely independent, Margot Malin has a passion for knowledge.  After receiving her MBA from The Wharton School, she launched her career by analyzing and evaluating businesses.  In 2002 she embarked on the “creative reinvention” phase of her career with the intention of “giving back”. Margot founded Lots To Live For, Inc., an internet retailer that sells carefully selected products to reduce and relieve the uncomfortable and unpleasant side effects caused by chemotherapy and radiation.

How To Use Walking Meditation For Breast Cancer Recovery

How To Use Walking Meditation For Breast Cancer Recovery

Breast Cancer Survivors On An Outdoor Walking Meditation

By: Breast Cancer Yoga Staff.

Meditation of any type is simply a process of developing greater awareness and mindfulness, you become more content and fulfilled. However, there are many of us who just don’t or can’t sit still. The mind takes over and we struggle with quieting ourselves. We can’t sit, we need to move around so try a more active route to mindfulness with walking meditation. You get to enjoy the benefits of walking (health and endurance) and meditation (awareness and mindfulness) simultaneously.

Ways That Meditation Enhances Breast Cancer Recovery:

Relieve Symptoms of Illness. Mindfulness with a walking meditation program will result in an effective, long lasting  option for reduction in symptoms during  breast cancer recovery.

Relieve Stress and Improve Mood. Mindfulness meditation and other relaxation interventions can both reduce distress and improve positive mood states during breast cancer treatment and recovery.

How To Use Mindfulness For Breast Cancer Recovery Walking Meditation:

  • You need to be conscious of your footsteps, and your pacing.
  • You want to breathe in feeling it expand inside you.
  • Walk with slow and deliberate steps.
  • Feel the earth under you feet.
  • Notice if you feel light or heavy.
  • Is your chest lifted or is it drooping forward?
  • Be as comfortable as possible.
  • Now notice everything.
  • Let you vision expand to every space.
  • Smell the air. Is it crisp? Is there a breeze?
  • Notice everything.
  • Just be mindful of your surroundings.

How To Use Breathing Techniques For Breast Cancer Recovery Walking Meditation:

  1. Now notice your breath. Without taking control of your breath, allow it feel natural and satisfying.
  2. Let your arms and hands dangle to your side body or maybe in your pockets.
  3. Feel your inhaling breath come and expand your chest; now let your exhaling breath release thoughts that may take you away from this walking meditation.
  4. Walk if you can for 15/30 minutes.

How To End The Walking Meditation For Breast Cancer Recovery:

  • When you reach home see if you can sit comfortably and quietly for 5 minutes.
  • Notice how you feel now, compared to how you felt when you started
  • Set an intention for your day.

This could be the start of a great restorative walking meditation. Once you have learned how to meditate while walking, you can practice it anytime you have the opportunity to walk. Practice safely. If you don’t feel secure in your surroundings, you won’t be able to focus inward.

Try Breast Cancer Yoga Breathing CD’s Breast Cancer Yoga Breathing CD's

Photo by MAGGIE FITZROY

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

 

Meditation Garden Ideas For Breast Cancer Healing

There is good evidence that various types of meditation may help improve quality of life for cancer patients. Studies have shown benefits for mood, sleep quality, and the stresses of treatment. Meditation can be recommended as a form of support for cancer patients. With some thoughtful landscaping, those out-of-the-way spots can emerge as meditation gardens for breast cancer healing. Meditation gardens are created to raise consciousness and reduce stress.

A meditation garden should be:

  • Sensory-rich
  • Rich in plants, trees or shrubs that are aromatic
  • Soothing to the ears
  • Appealing to the eyes

Meditation gardens have calming background sounds such as the breeze-driven rustling of ornamental grass, the delicate clatter of bamboo, and water gurgling from a fountain. Muted foliage works along with the scent of blooms or herbs.

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Key elements in gardens for reflection and meditation:

  • Comfortable seating
  • Moving water to masks distractions like the noise of traffic
  • Plants to provide shade, visual interest and oxygen
  • Natural lighting

Many of the elements designed into meditation gardens are borrowed from Zen or temple gardens. Examples include:

  1. Rocks, gravel and sand that can be groomed with a rake to symbolize a look or anything your imagination might suggest.
  2. Natural pieces reinforcing the look of the immediate surroundings.
  3. Treescaping or landscaping with trees, you can create some interesting shapes with the trees you have growing in your yard.
  4. Labyrinths, pathways and gently curved planting beds.

Just as there are many forms of meditation, people have a variety of needs from a meditation garden. Any space where people feel comfortable and safe will be a good place to meditate.

Photo Source: Seating, Fresh Ideas For Outdoor Rooms, Meditation Garden

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Healing Mudras For Cancer Survivors

Healing Mudras For CancerBy: Jean Di Carlo Wagner: Owner of Yogabeing.net.

In yoga, there are many ways to connect to the Universal oneness. In postures, we call it asana practice. Through breathing, it is called pranayama. With our voices, it is called mantra. And through use of hand gestures, it is called mudra.

Each connection is from earth, through our bodies and to the energies of our spirits. Each form of yoga activates nerves, glands, mind, body and spirit. Yoga itself is a moving meditation. We open our channels of self healing.

Mudras are beautiful and powerful expressions of intention to draw on internal and external energy of our healing potential. As a cancer survivor and yoga teacher, I share mudras with my students. Mudra’s hand positions often have mantras and pranayama features. A common mudra is putting the thumb and forefinger together while mediating.

I encourage my students to make their own personal gestures to express their emotions. For example, there is a mudra for healing grief. But we each experience grief differently. When we turn into our bodies, we might feel grief in our heart chakra or in our naval center. We can use our own hand gesture to explore grief for ourselves. Yoga continues to grow and change with each practitioner. So why not learn from our inner guidance?

Jean Di Carlo WagnerAbout Jean Di Carlo Wagner: Owner of Yogabeing.net
E-RYT200, E-RYT500 certified with Yoga Alliance
Yoga Therapist with International Alliance of Yoga Therapists
Atma Yoga Teacher Training, certified 500 hours Los Angeles
A Gentle Way Yoga, certified 200 hours
Silver Age Yoga, certified 200 hours

Cancer Compassion: 6 Questions to Answer If You Want To Be Helpful To Family and Friends

Cancer Compassion - If You Want To Be Helpful To Family and FriendsBy: Stan Goldberg, Ph.D, Author of Lessons for the Living: Stories of Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Courage at the End of Life.

Supporting cancer victims affects us all. At least once in your life someone will say to you, I have cancer, and when those three words are spoken, you may struggle to respond in a compassionate and helpful way. The compassion part may be easy in supporting cancer victims. In the misery of another, we see ourselves; if not in the present, than in our past or future. But does having compassion automatically result in  skillful behaviors when supporting cancer victims? I’ve wrestled with this question as someone living with cancer survivor for twelve years and for twenty-five years as a counselor of people coping with chronic illnesses. My conclusion is compassion isn’t enough.

The What and How of Compassion

His Holiness, The Dali Lama, wrote “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” Thich Nhat Hanh, said, “Compassion means, literally, ‘to suffer with.’” For me, compassion is a what of Buddhist tradition. It says this is what we should be doing in supporting cancer victims, but not necessarily how to do it other than in general terms (e.g., acceptance, nonjudgmental, etc.).

supporting cancer victims The problem for many—including myself—is how to practice compassion in a way that is helpful to others. For example, is it compassionate to give a strung-out street person money knowing he will use it to buy drugs? Is it compassionate to tell your frightened mother who has terminal cancer she will survive? Some authors maintain answers to questions such as these come through meditation when we put ourselves in the place of others who are in great torment.

For me, meditation provides more whats than hows about supporting cancer victims, but rarely do hypotheticals translate into accurate understanding.

When Compassion Requires Facts: Supporting Cancer Victims

Driving from New York City to San Francisco is analogous to wanting to be compassionate in supporting cancer victims. The intents are clear; to arrive in San Francisco and to help a friend cope. You may be uncertain of the routes to take for the drive, so you go to a local travel office and ask, “How to I get to San Francisco?” A clerk points west and says “That way.” The directions are correct, but not specific enough to be helpful. I believe a similar problem exists in wanting supporting cancer victims and knowing how to implement it.

Supporting cancer victimsThe difference between intent and practice was made clear to me by a hospice patient who described the difficulty her brother had when she informed him of her cervical cancer prognosis.They were close throughout their lives, and she regarded him as compassionate. He stumbled when faced with transforming compassion into practical behaviors. He understood his sister’s condition would deteriorate. She would soon need help in daily activities, such as food preparation and personal hygiene. His dilemma was in not knowing how to approach these issues with her. Should he assume she needed help, or should he wait until asked?

The gap between compassionate intent and support was not limited to her physical needs. He struggled with knowing when the time was right to discuss how he felt about her. What should he say that would ease her journey? Should he raise the possibility she might not survive or pretend everything would be fine? He assumed compassion would be easy to actualize. But it wasn’t. It involved a series of choices about how to be compassionate.

You may believe supporting cancer victims only requires responses based on concepts such as “active listening,” “acceptance,” “openness,” “honesty,” and “being present.” According to people living with and dying from cancer, what they crave is specificity, not just generalities. There is immense gratitude for the compassion shown to us, but we need more.

Our Invitation and Your Responsibility

Think of “compassion” as what separates you from other people we encounter. You’re the type of person we want in our lives—and for some, our deaths. We are inviting you into a world that’s constantly changing, chaotic, and quite often frightening. We’ll ask you to transform intentions into actions if you accept our invitation. Below are six of the many areas in which your loved one or friend may ask for help. How would you respond without referring to the above general concepts? In other words, what would you do?

1) What will you do when I share my diagnosis with you?

2) How will you react to my fluctuating emotions?

3) What can you do to compensate for my accumulated losses?

4) What will you communicate to me and how will you do it?

5) When I experience emotional or physical pain, how will you help me?

6) What will you do if my prognosis is terminal?

Coping with cancer is a complex and messy journey for those of us experiencing it and friends and loved ones accompanying us. Supporting cancer victims requires both compassionate intent and practical knowledge merged as skillful, useful actions. Real compassion requires doing, not just feeling. If you couldn’t answer just one of the six questions, you might be interested in “I Have Cancer” 48 Things To Do When You Hear Those Words, available now on Amazon as a $3.49 ebook.

Stan Goldberg, Ph.DAbout Stan Goldberg, Ph.D: Stan is a cancer survivor,  husband, father, Professor Emeritus at San Francisco State University, and devotee of the shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) and Native American Flute. For eight years Stan was a bedside hospice volunteer at Pathways, Hospice By The Bay, George Mark Children’s Hospice, and Zen Hospice Project.   In 2009 Stan was named by the Hospice Volunteer Association “Volunteer of the Year.”

For more than 25 years  Stan Goldberg has taught, provided therapy, researched, and published in the areas of learning, change, loss, and end of life issues.

Photo Source: HandsFreeMama.com

Labyrinth’s for Physical and Emotional Healing

Labyrinth’s for Physical and Emotional Breast Cancer HealingBy: Dr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer and a licensed psychologist,

During my journey with breast cancer treatment I found a very powerful symbol of healing in the Labyrinth. The labyrinth is an ancient symbol that has managed to stay present into the 21st Century. If we can tap into the labyrinth’s significance we can use it on a regular basis as part of our healing. This blog is about finding solace as well as empowerment by taking a walk, a walk to the center and back.

Breast cancer is a journey. It is not a journey that we have chosen, but a journey that is here and it is important to find ways to cope with it, manage it, and come out the other side of it thriving as humans.

As Dr. Lauren Artress says in her book, WALKING A SACRED PATH , “Walking the Labyrinth has re-­‐emerged today as a metaphor for the spiritual journey and a powerful tool for transformation. This walking meditation is an archetype, a mystical ritual found in all religious traditions. It quiets the mind and opens the soul, evoking a feeling of wholeness.”

Transformation is the process of evolving from what is to something different. It often appears to happen all of a sudden, but in reality transformation is an extended process over time. Words that come to mind when I think of transformation are words like evolution and metamorphous.

Psychotherapy is a conduit for change. Spirituality is a path of change. They both have elements of relationship and together they are a lifestyle of daily transformation for self and for other.

As a person who has experienced breast cancer our life lessons parallel that of a Hero/Heroine’s journey. The Hero’s journey is that which requires that we master the unknown, overcome dangers, and defeat obstacles as we move toward the healing challis, the prized object of our journey. A Labyrinth walk mimics that of the Hero’s journey. The Hero or Heroine enters the journey to find the precious “challis.” Once the precious challis is obtained the question becomes “Now what?” The hero or heroine must make it back out to the world with the challis to bring the power of healing to others.

Take this virtual labyrinth walk

Click on labyrinth to take a virtual labyrinth walk

As people coping with breast cancer in all of its many phases of pre and post treatment, where mortality has broken the illusion of immortality the simple but influential process of putting one foot in front of the other is an amazing feat. As a people who have experienced breast cancer, life as we know it has come to an end and now the process or recreating a new one is an ongoing journey. Walk in for your inner world of peace walk out for peace for every person experiencing a potentially terminal illness, and especially kindred spirits with breast cancer. If you cannot find a labyrinth near you to walk, take this virtual walk at The Labyrinth Society.

I hope you have found this an interesting start to your emotional and spiritual health as a hero/heroine on your journey.

You can follow me at https://www.facebook.com/inamomentsnotice Or visit me on my web-­‐page www.psychotherapyunlimited.com

Enjoy the moment. Dr. Dilley

Dr. Robin DilleyDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

Learn How To Use The Healing Power of Sound For Disease

Learn How To Use Sound Healing For Breast CancerBy: Andrea Garvey, CHHC, RYT, and Co-Publisher of Creations Magazine.

Sound Shifts Our Energy and Therefore Our Thoughts and Feelings
Think of the times you have listened to soothing classical music, or sung a baby to sleep with a lullaby. Did you ever experience the power of voices raised in songs of protest, or wallow in the “he/ she did me wrong” song? How about deriving positive energy from “I Will Survive”? These are everyday ways that we use sound to change or enhance our moods. Intentional spiritual music and chanting can be even more effective, but whether we listen/sing with awareness or not, sound is a powerful transformer.

So, How Does it Work?
Everything in the universe is in a state of vibration – from the orbits of the planets around our sun, to the movement of electrons around the nucleus of an atom, every organ, bone, tissue and cell in the body has it’s own separate resonant frequency. Together, they make up a composite frequency, a harmonic that is your own personal vibration.

How Do We Measure Vibration?
Vibration is measured in Hertz (Hz) or cycles per second. We may be most familiar with this in terms of an orchestra tuning to the standard note “A” vibrating at 440 Hz. All notes have their own particular vibration. As humans, we hear within a range of 16 to 26,000 Hz (sounds above 26,000 Hz are called ultrasonic). The slower a sound vibrates, the lower we perceive it. The faster a sound vibrates, the higher we perceive it. Colors are vibrating as well, with red the lower end of the spectrum and violet at the higher. Higher or lower does not mean that one is “better” than the other!

Sound and Disease
Disease may occur when an organ or another portion of the body is vibrating “out of tune”. Through the principle of resonance, sound can be used to change disharmonious frequencies of the body back to their normal, healthful vibrations. This principle behind changing vibration through sound is called entrainment. Entrainment is the ability of more powerful rhythmic vibrations of one object to change the less powerful rhythmic vibrations of another object causing them to synchronize their rhythms with the first object. This is the reason why, after listening to, playing, or singing music, we may notice our mood has completely shifted. This same process of entrainment can be used to bring the body/mind back towards a state of health.

Sound can dissolve obstructions. A practical use of sound applied in today’s medical field, is through the use of a lithotripter machine, which can dissolve gallstones and kidney stones by bombarding them with sound waves.

An Important Key
Intention is the purpose behind the sound. By the power of our intention, we invite transformation. Intention encompasses the overall state of the person making or receiving the sound — the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects. Is the conscious intent to heal or to hurt, or is there no specific purpose at all? When we align with the purpose of the higher self or “divine will,” we become a vehicle for sacred sound.

Our formula is: Sound + Intention = Healing.

A Sound Meditation to Increase Your JOY

  • Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed.
  • Sit comfortably with the back straight and eyes gently closed.
  • Focus on your breath, following the flow of air at the nostrils.
  • Take a moment to ground yourself by imagining a cord of light extending downwards from your tailbone or first chakra, deep into the earth.
  • Once you feel connected, bring your attention to your heart chakra at the center of your chest. Breathe into the heart.
  • Now picture someone or something that gives you great JOY. Something that makes you smile when you think of it (this could be a person, pet, a place, an experience).
  • Focus on this feeling of joy and visualize this joy as a light in your heart space.
  • Feel this JOY begin to expand, filling the chest with light.
  • On your next exhalation, chant the syllable “Haa”. Continue to breathe into the heart joy and light on the inhale, and exhale on Haa.
  • Let the tone of the sound be one that feels natural to you. Feel the vibration in your heart and slowly let it expand until your JOY fills your whole body. When you feel complete, just rest in the vibration of JOY, breathing quietly.

JOY is the highest vibration, so know that you have raised your vibration to one of health, vitality and happiness.

Andrea Garvey of Creations Magazine
Andrea Garvey, CHHC, RYT, is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor, and a Young Living Essential Oils Executive and Educator. A former professional opera singer, Andrea loves using her intuitive voice for healing and empowering others, and maintains a private practice in Greenlawn, NY. A yoga practitioner for over 40 years, Andrea teaches at Inner Spirit Yoga in East Northport, NY, and offers special workshops focusing on the Chakra System, EFT and Sound Healing. Follow her blog at: http://www.breastcanceryoga.com. Contact her at: andrea@creationsmagazine.com. Andrea and her husband Neil publish Creations Magazine (www.creationsmagazine.com). Subscribe at: creationsmagazine.com/bits/Subscribe.html

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