My journey of growing in the heart and the mind at the same time
Author: Chrissy Haywood
I’ve started something — eek! Something that I’m not sure I can control or understand and it’s causing me to feel… Feelings of excitement for the future, fear for the unknown and desire to explore where this journey will lead. What a buzz!
This journey began a few months ago. A part-chance and part-desperation encounter with a ‘self-help’ person. Now, if I was to be honest, self-help people have never had a lot of street cred’ in this big grey sponge of mine. My mantra was… if you can’t see it, it's not a thing. My gosh, was I misinformed! My background is in Paediatric Occupational Therapy and now Youth Mental Health. So the seeing-is-believing mindset was pretty well ingrained in everything I did and learned. Although, in the past few weeks I have started to realise that my interest in those things outside of seeing had always been there. I understand now that I had spent so much time and energy looking, that I had stopped feeling and I had stopped living. My feet were firmly planted on the merry-go-round of life and I was screaming inside to get off. I just didn’t have the courage to jump.
The desperation part of my journey, the ‘what-the-hell-do-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up’ question, began my search for answers in my professional life and at home. Just to clarify, I’m on the down hill slide to 40, so this existential crisis was possibly a little overdue (or a little early). I had invested so much time and energy to develop a career and now my body had decided that it was time to make a family. This urge was not rational and it went against everything that I thought I had wanted for my life. And yet without invitation there it was, the preverbal tick-tock of the biological clock. So how does one actually reconcile these internal conflicts? The desire to pursue a career and to make a family all at the same time. I was an emotional wreck and I had no clue how to fix it. My rational thought processes of plan-and-understand were not working anymore.
Here is where the chance part of my journey starts, enter the (not so dodgy) ‘self-help’ person. The world of personal transformation was one that had eluded my consciousness. I had seen the multitude of books for sale that made promises to fix everything from emotions to bank accounts. Charlatans - was what I thought of those books. These people had nothing to offer me, I had science and logic. Right… because it was serving me so well. Now my world schema is changing rapidly and this self-help stuff, well it's actually helping. It has also opened my eyes to something else that I didn’t expect. My ‘seeing and understanding’ has given way to a sense of feeling and knowing. I have learned that everything in this world cannot be described. Some things are felt and there are many different ways of understanding.
If you asked me who I was a few months ago, my response was simple, I was an Occupational Therapist and I was proud of being that. There was, however, an empty feeling that came with this response which sat somewhere between my throat and the pit of my stomach. If you asked me that same question today my response is that I am learning who I am and that I’m so excited to find out!
I invite you to share this journey of self discovery with me. Exploring what I have learned so far and my thoughts of what I find next.
Just over 12 years ago, I found myself struggling through the most challenging time in my life. I was in the process of a divorce, had severe depression, cried constantly, and could not focus on my work. On a friend’s recommendation, and at one of my lowest points, I decided to try yoga as a last resort.
Two weeks after starting my practice, to my surprise, I found that I could experience regular moments of peace and positivity, and I could relax my body and mind on command. I stopped crying, started having deep and restorative sleeps, and generally felt calmer and emotionally stable. Yoga had become my source of energy, the fuel for my wellbeing.
I know my experience of suffering is not unique. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that almost three million Australians live with depression and/or anxiety, which affects wellbeing, personal relationships, career and productivity. The suicide figures in the last decade have skyrocketed, and young people are now more likely to die from suicide than car accidents. It comes as no surprise to learn that GPs in Australia claim that over 60% of people seek medical advice because they are suffering from depression or anxiety.
Next week is Mental Health Week in WA, which brings a great opportunity for us to raise awareness on these issues and share ideas that may help our community.
After exploring and enjoying various styles of yoga on my own for some time, I decided to train to be a yoga instructor so I could share this ancient practice and its benefits with others. I have become very passionate about mental health and wellbeing, and have now taught yoga to many patients and professionals from the mental health industry in Perth. They all agree that yoga aids with increasing awareness of thoughts, creating a positive perception of reality, relaxation, better sleep and less stress.
Many scientific studies present evidence showing that yoga can help reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety and trauma.
This year, Australian psychologist Dr Michael De Manicor, shared outcomes of a study he conducted to test the effects of yoga practice on patients suffering from depression and anxiety. His findings show that six weeks of yoga combined with psychological treatment resulted in a 34% improvement in patients; those who were not practising yoga as part of the treatment improved by only 4%. The 34% who improved with the help of yoga showed significant reduction in psychological distress, lower frequency of negative experience, improved resilience, and an increase in positive thoughts.
Yoga is a practical and sustainable tool for mental and physical health, and is one that is increasingly encouraged in schools and workplaces. Be a friend to someone during Mental Health Week and carpool to a yoga session together or share your experience of yoga with them. You never know how you may help improve someone’s life or health.
Thrive Experiences will be offering by-donation community classes weekly in the Cottesloe and Claremont area for all newcomers to yoga. These will be expanded to other Perth regions in 2018, and will be particularly aimed at those suffering from financial hardship.
I hope you can join me or join the movement to give back to the the community.
I have always enjoyed learning and growing and I am particularly interested in how I can serve the world better.
For the past week I travelled to San Diego (California) to take some further training in Strategic Intervention with the professionals I consider being the best in the world.
To my surprise the training took place in Omni La Costa, which is the home of the Chopra Wellness Centre, which was my dream to visit one day (one dream amongst many). I loved every minute of it! The training was hard: 12 hour a day learning how to help people to achieve more of what they wish for their lives.
The strategies were amazing, very enlightening and practical, full of empathy and love, as well as director and practical action. We also learnt how to truly listen and tune into other people's real intentions, see the greatness in everyone (including our selves) and much more. How powerful is that?!
I feel so empowered is overwhelming and beautiful at the same time, I also had the great pleasure to meet people who also want to give to the world, they have so much love and have achieved great things already, improving other people's lives at great extent without asking for anything in return. Outstanding.
I still haven't finish digesting all experienced and learnt but one thing im sure about: this is just the beginning of a new chapter to make a great positive impact in people's lives.
Love to all
Sometime ago, I was driven by my emotions. While emotions are necessary to understand what is going on inside of us, they are a great tool but not the best driver of our lives.
Emotions can override thinking and if they get out of control can lead us to be reactive and may damage relationships and many other areas of our lives.
I remember the last time my emotions were in control of me:
I felt I was alone, I was going crazy and everything seemed stressful in my life. I started to disconnect with myself and other people because it was too painful to face that I was disappointed with how life was going for me.
My body was also showing me all signs of discomfort.... it was unwell: i had indigestion no matter what i ate, had headaches and backache.
I started to drink more coffee as I was always tired and drunk more alcohol (without realising I was trying to distract myself from the pain)
One day I saw a dear friend, who is also a yogi, and he asked me to STOP running away from myself, he suggested to do 3 yoga classes a week for 3-6 months and then see how things where going. I needed to get grounded - come back to re connect with my self and truly feel what I needed to feel and let it go.
I accepted and started to practice yoga 3 times per week, after 2 weeks I felt so much better, something was shifting....
The third week, i started to meditate: only 20 min a day or every other day... and i used a guided meditation as I was finding it too hard to just sit and breathe.
After 6 weeks I felt happy, the kind of happiness that hasnt got anything to do with things you have or other people, I was just content with me...
About a year later, my yoga practice got to a new level as well as my meditation and I can say : I have never looked back. I could not imagine living without mediation and yoga.
The sense of joy and fulfillment is bigger than I have ever felt before, it doesn't not come and go, is constant.
Challenges in life, look like simple obstacles I come across but they dont throw me anywhere i dont want to go... the roller-coaster ride has come to an end.
I am immensely grateful to my dear friend who show me the path, im also grateful to myself for facing my fears so I could over come them. It takes courage, resilience, perseverance and discipline to get where I am right now and IS WORTH IT a thousand times.
This the is reason why, Thrive experiences was created: to share ancient wisdom that can lead you to a peaceful, joyful and fulfilling life.
Love and light to all
All you need is inside yourself - discover it.
On Organizing One’s Life
You can make a list of all the different projects, work that needs to be done, but once that main list is made, you have to break it down and take only one at a time. Do whatever step you can or, if you can, complete it in full. Then, go on to the next task. Otherwise, you will get overwhelmed.
1st, IDENTIFY the projects or jobs.
2nd, PRIORITIZE which to do first.
3rd, FOCUS entirely on one.
4th, When completed project or step for that day, go on to the next.
5th, Take next step.
This applies to all and to every area of your lives.
LIST. PRIORITIZE. FOCUS on one, then continue to the next.
Most of you have at least 3-5 areas of your life. So, all are often equally or almost equally, calling for your attention.
Just as you would if you were the parent of 5 children, all of whom are calling you, you go to the one who is most urgent first. Take care of that or at least, get it in a calmer state. Then prioritize according to need and give each child your full attention, one by one.
If all are insistent, you may have to call all together and address them as a whole group. Express your commitment to take care of all of them. Explain, you are going to use your time wisely and ask for their patience. You will get to each to them. You are more likely to get their attention and cooperation by addressing them, hearing and acknowledging their needs, and valuing their cooperation.
Same with your work you need to do. That is the making of comprehensive list, stating your intention to address each, to prioritize, and then focus one by one. If you allow yourself to be overcome, your emotions to take the wheel, your driving through your life becomes erratic, and chaos ensues.
ADDRESS. PRIORITIZE. FOCUS.
And, above all, acknowledge your positive attitude toward accepting and fulfilling responsibilities. And then proceed with Joy. Always allow for humour and see any problems as challenges to rise above.
At every turn, thank the Divine.
Last Saturday I attended a Cacao Ceremony organised by with John from the Flower of Life Foundation and I would like to share my experience.
I traveled to the hills and found John's place and I was amazed with the beautiful surroundings.
We had music, meditation, cacao and blessings... sharing our intention and experiences with the group.
Personally I experienced calmness, connection with my heart, with everyone around me, nature and the world. I understood certain memories I had keep locked up in my mind and body and became grateful about the learning those life episodes brought to me and shaped me.
I didnt want the day to end... we finished at sunset and afterwards John and other participants brought home made nourishing food to share with everyone.... THANK YOU for making me feel part of this human family and for facilitating such deep connection with LIFE.
After eating dinner and enjoying the music played by the artists who joined us, I watched thousands of stars above me and the milky way felt closer than ever. I was in bliss.
THANK YOU JOHN for making this experiences possible. I cant wait for the next one :)
from Thrive Experiences
Last Friday we had the Sound Healing experience. The event was amazing.
The variety of instruments played by Julian were outstanding. I wish I could play at least one (properly), maybe one day soon :)
First of all, he guided us to set an intention for the evening or simply pay attention to what comes to mind, how we feel, open our hearts and relax our bodies.
I had few questions that i couldn't get answers for... so my intention was to find few answers.
I felt the vibration of the sounds all over my body and i was really relaxed. After the chatter in my mind slowed down few thoughts came into my mind and i started to see my answers clearly.
That night i felt in some kind of trance and the next morning, calm-ness and peace was around me, I had the answers to my questions.
It was simple, the chatter in my mind and the wish to control the future didn't let me rest.
The sound healing session, allowed me to stop that and truly listen to my heart. I am blessed to have encountered these experiences and to bring them to our community.
I hope all who attended experience whatever their intention was... I would love to hear some of you stories, so please feel free to share.
Last Saturday night, we had the pleasure to have Gemma Bond as our guest speaker for our Movie Night. Gemma was diagnosed with Cancer and decided not to take Chemotherapy and look for alternative natural options.
She traveled to New York and met with an specialist who guided her through the path back to perfect health. During the journey she learnt how important was to have a healthy body, a healthy mind and be in touch with our spirit.
She had to change certain aspects of her lifestyle and learn how to truly look after her mind and body and let go at previous beliefs and patterns. Now, she can has been cleared from cancer for few years is the healthiest she has ever been in every aspect of her life.
Her daughter, Laura Bond, wrote a book about Gemma's journey and became a Nutritional coach as well as a freelance author to share with the world what HEALTH is and how to look after our bodies.
Gemma gives talks to inspire people to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle to avoid dis-ease.
Last weekend she inspired us all and we hope to have her joining us in future events.
Love you to all
In the article below you can get some tips to share your meditation and yoga practice with your child, results have proven to be pretty amazing from improving their mood, resilience, calmness, mindfulness and cognitive enhancement.