Finding Healing With Mother Nature

Posts tagged ‘meditation’

The Blessings of Solitude

be with yourself

 

In a world that seems to move ever faster in this always on, always connected lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to, It is no wonder we are more stressed and anxious. We feel lonely but are never alone. Maybe that is part of the problem. We need more alone time. When was the last time you were alone with yourself doing something you enjoy, for yourself? Not by yourself on your phone or on the computer but alone in quiet solitude.

Now a days it seems people are afraid of being alone. Perhaps they are afraid of what thoughts or feelings might arise that they’ve been avoiding, even denying. Maybe others view spending time alone as selfish or taking away from their loved ones.

It is perfectly healthy and normal to desire, to claim time for you.

Maybe your loved ones won’t understand why you need to be alone, they might become upset by it if you haven’t done it before. Stand your ground and do it anyway. They’ll soon see the happier you and will be encouraging you to do it more often.

Time alone is actually a gift to yourself.

What would happen if people spent more time alone?
For me, spending time alone allows me to re-charge and gain clarity into my life.
1. Spending time alone allows you to enjoy your own hobbies for the joy it brings. You don’t have to be an expert.
2. When alone, your mind wanders away from thoughts allowing creativity to flourish.
3. There’s no demands or deadlines so you can detach and destress.
4. you get to know yourself better and begin to enjoy your own company.
5. Spending time alone gives you the opportunity to nurture your soul and explore your inner world.  Alone time is nourishing and empowering sending the message: “I am important.”
How do you spend alone time? if it’s been awhile since you’ve given yourself some quality time, here’s some suggestions.
Take a walk, especially in nature – Scientific studies found walking in a woodland setting lowers blood pressure, heart rate, stress hormone levels and boosts immune function.
Write in a journal, garden, The possibilities are endless!
Receiving bodywork is another positive way to give yourself time to nourish body, mind and spirit. Although, in a massage you are with the therapist you can still be alone. Instead of conversing, stay quiet and be with yourself.
Visit our website to read about our upcoming retreats. They are the perfect way to claim time for nurturing yourself.  www.fullcirclewellnessllc.com

enjoy

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A New Year, A New Opportunity

“The Sun doesn’t wait for anyone to notice it before it shines. Don’t hide your shine!”

new year

We’ve been hearing the New Year, New You slogan a great deal. While it is a New Year, you are still the same person you were a week ago. Only now you have the opportunity to do things differently, to learn from the past year. You can’t change anything that happened or mistakes made but you can learn from them, let them go, forgive yourself and look ahead.

 

What do you want this year? Decide what you want to change or to create. Then, most importantly take ACTION, however small the steps. Nothing will change if you don’t ACT.

 

At the start of a new year we feel charged and committed but oftentimes as the months progress old habits creep back. If we are not paying attention we find ourselves back in our comfort zone doing the same things we’ve always done. Now that’s not a bad thing, it just won’t help to get us where you want to go. 

It is certain that doing something different will feel awkward, scary and uncomfortable.  Just like when you were learning to drive, or learning a new skill. But, the more you did it the easier it became.

challenge

It takes at least 21 days to make a new habit permanent. In my younger years when faced with a decision to make positive changes my dad would always say: “A day is going to go by anyway.”

21

 

If you are looking to make changes in your life, you have to start somewhere and sometime. That sometime might as well be NOW!  NO more procrastinating or dwelling on the fear. Instead, focus on the outcome and how amazing you’ll feel when you see the results of your efforts.

Making changes in one area of your life will most definitely create positive change in other areas also.

So where do you start?

  1. Decide what it is you’d like to change or create. Keep it simple and achievable.
  2. What are the necessary steps to take to begin?
  3. Get someone to help you. They can act as an accountability partner or give you support when struggling.

new year quote

Try not to make your resolutions “shoulds” instead, make certain it is a true desire. While you are at it remember to include nourishing your mind and spirit along with your body.  Now that’s a FUN resolution! Nourishing yourself!

If you feel you need support to get started we offer a 20 minute FREE consultation. Tell us what you want to change or create and we’ll help you get there. Email us, full.circle@comcast.net.

Let this year be your year to LET YOUR  LIGHT SHINE!!inner light 2

inner light

Relieve chronic stress with meditation

meditation

A little stress in life is okay. It helps motivate you to get things done and keeps you safe. However, too much stress experienced over time will wear down your body making you sick both physically and mentally.
During stressful situations your body releases cortisol (stress hormone) triggering the fight or flight response. During this response your blood pressure rises as your heart beats faster, breathing quickens, muscles tighten and immune system is suppressed, your body stores fat and cells including brain cells begin to break down.  Your body is preparing itself to fight the danger or flee.
In our society we are always “on”, over scheduled and always connected to our electronic devices and cell phones leaving little time for quiet moments. Each person handles stress differently. Our bodies were not designed to handle long term, chronic stress without consequences.
Stress is experienced on every level. On an emotional level stress may make us feel agitated, overwhelmed, moody, tearful or depressed.
On a physical level stress can cause us to feel low in energy, headaches, upset stomach, chest pain, rapid heartbeat and may even feel like a heart attack. One may also experience insomnia, frequent colds or infections. Jaw clenching and teeth grinding are additional signs of physical stress.
When we are under stress we tend to worry more, become forgetful or have racing thoughts or an inability to focus along with negative thinking which only makes us sink further into a downward spiral to depression.
Certainly our behavior is also affected with stress. We may lose our appetite or over eat, procrastinate and even avoid our responsibilities. Some may turn to using alcohol, drugs or cigarettes as a means of self-medicating. Of course nail biting, pacing and fidgeting are also common signs of feeling stress.
Long term consequences of stress even affect our mental health causing depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, heart attack and strokes.
The daily clutter of incessant thoughts in our minds becomes a nagging presence. However, just as we spring clean our homes and de-clutter closets, garages and attics. We also need to de-clutter our minds.
Meditation is great way to reduce stress and is the number one reason people practice it. Regular meditation creates benefits on all levels of being, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
You don’t have to sit and chant for hours. The purpose is to quiet the mind while strengthening the relationship between your mind and body to focus on the present moment. It sounds easy but with our over active thoughts, sitting quietly can be daunting even frustrating at first.
Meditation isn’t about doing it “right” but becoming acutely self-aware. It’s learning to listen with your heart. The more aware you are of the sensations in your body, the feelings in your heart and thoughts in your mind, the better you can understand your life and how your thoughts effect your emotions which affect you physically. Becoming a master at monitoring yourself and your thoughts and feelings puts you in the driver seat to your life so you are able to steer it onto the desired path instead of allowing life to happen to you making you feel like a victim.
Meditation helps you transform your self-image into greater confidence and self-belief by getting to know who you really are and learning to accept and embrace every part of your true self. Through meditation, you will discover that your doubts, insecurities and fears you thought defined you, are only superficial. Then you can tap into your true unlimited potential that is within you.
Benefits of meditation:
Decreased blood pressure
Lower cholesterol levels
Improved oxygen use by the body
Increased production of the anti aging hormone DHEA.
Studies have found that as little as eight weeks of daily meditation not only helped people feel calmer but produced growth and changes in areas of the brain associated with memory, empathy and sense of self.
So why meditate?
1. Reduce your stress – Helps you focus on the present moment not in the past or future.
2. Helps to clear the mind and become aware of your inner dialogue.
3. Helps reduce physical pain
4. Improves overall mood through the day.
5. Helps to create distance from situations or events to gain a new, more objective perspective, observing from the outside rather than being immersed and reacting to these situations or emotional triggers.
Are you ready to sit in the driver’s seat of your life? Here are some techniques to help you get started with a meditation practice.
Before meditating do some simple stretches which helps to start the process of going inward.
1. Light a candle and stare at the flame. Sit quietly and pay attention to the flame, color changes, how it dances with air movement. Whatever thoughts, emotions come up allow them to come and go without judging them or attempting to push them away. Be aware of them then continue to focus on the flame.

2. Sit quietly for 5 minutes each day either before your start your day in the morning or when you are quiet just before bed. Focus on your breathing. Slowly, deep inhale through the nose for a count of 4, hold for 4 seconds then slowly exhale for 4 count, Allow thoughts to come and go. Repeat breathing sequence.

3. Weather permitting, sit outside with eyes closed and pay attention to the sounds, scents and sensations. Birds chirping, wind blowing, leaves rustling. As you sit, scan your body noticing any tightness or sensations. Remain aware of thoughts, emotions and how your body feels. If you are feeling any particular emotion, can you identify it and where you may feel it in your body?

4. Use a mantra, which is a word or phrase to help quiet the mind. Try So Hum (I Am). Say in your mind as you inhale “So”, as you exhale say in your mind “Hum”. Repeat for as long as you remain in meditation.

Sat, Chit, Ananda (Love, Consciousness, Bliss) is another mantra or you may use any positive phrase that resonates with you.

If you find you are becoming frustrated, remember to breathe and let it go, then re focus. Start your meditation 5-10 minutes long and as you become more experienced you will find you are able to sit for longer periods.
Remember, meditation is like anything in life. To master it you have practice it and make it part of your daily routine. If you make the time to meditate and quiet your mind you will find life becomes smoother, answers and deeper insights come and your reactions to others and situations are less unconscious. You will become the master of your life guiding it with Love.

mind speak

fullcirclewellnessllc.com / 609-839-3810 / full.circle@comcast.net

Mother Nature Says Hello

As a business owner of a Holistic wellness business I spend countless hours in front of the computer planning, organizing, and delivering services.
Being an outdoorsy person, I easily become restless, sitting inside while the sun is shining and birds are chirping. Nature calls to me. What is an entrepreneur supposed to do? Okay, maybe I have ADD too.
Last year sitting in the office of my mentor I expressed my frustration at the “work” I had to do when what I really wanted was to get outside and go hiking or kayaking.
She questioned why and what it was about hiking and kayaking I enjoyed. I pondered for a moment to consider the question. I responded: “I love feeling the sun, smelling the air and listening to the wind and birds. I love how relaxed I feel and the connection to something Divine. It becomes very meditative. Life makes sense in the quiet stillness”
Smiling as I spoke, my mentor replied, “Audrey, perhaps that is where your work is.” With a puzzled look on my face she continued. “Sitting in front of the computer is the busy-ness and yes those things need to get done. But if you find Joy being in nature then that is where your work is. Why not offer to take people hiking and kayaking allowing them to experience what you feel out there.”
My body buzzed with excitement. I could hardly wait for her to finish before blurting out; “Oh my God! Of course. I love that idea! Why didn’t I think of that?”
She answered sweetly, “Because you believed “work” had to look and feel a certain way. The next time you go for a hike take a pen and notepad and write down ideas for your business or whatever comes to you.”
So that’s what I did! A couple of months later I hosted our first mindful nature retreat.
The air was still and heavy with humidity one late summer evening in September. It looked like it was going to pour at any moment but we continued. Ten participants arrived for our Yoga in the Pines event. As we spread our yoga mats over the lush carpet of moss, it seemed the rain was holding out for us. We breathed deeply, stood in triangle pose then gazed up at the dark sky in warrior 2. Stood in mountain pose then bent into downward dog. Bringing the session to a close we sat with legs crossed as our yogi instructed us to chant OHM. Under the tree canopy, a low vibration of our voices in unison sounded OHHHHMMM. As soon as our OHM ended, a low rumble of thunder trailed. It was as though nature responded to us with its own OHM. We looked at one another in amazement feeling this response from nature. As we gathered our mats to cool off in the pool the torrent of rain descended.
Nature had held itself giving us the time and space to commune with Her. Since that first retreat we have had others and nature almost always responds to our presence.
I invite you to join us on any or all of our upcoming mindful nature retreats. Mother Nature always has something to say!
Here are the links for more info and sign up to our upcoming retreats. We look forward to sharing nature’s wonders with you!053                                    066

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/welcome-summer-mindful-kayaking-tickets-16202561297

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/yoga-in-the-pines-classes-tickets-16541043707

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hiking-yoga-tickets-16469586978

Silence Please!!

Have you ever noticed how little time people spend in silence? I mean actually being quiet, without their phone attached to their ears or thumbs and no radio blaring or TV droning? Look around, folks everywhere and I mean everywhere are obsessively attached to a device. In the stores, in their cars. I’ve heard ladies on the phone in the bathroom stalls and in the changing rooms of a department store. And have you seen the couples at a restaurant sitting across from each other, heads down, on their phones texting or web surfing? No words pass between the couple.

My theory is; as convenient as cell phones have become, people have become more afraid of silence. To the point they almost feel they cease to exist if there is no connection on the other end. Or, perhaps they are avoiding silence because they don’t want to have to look at their perceived misfortunes or problems. And people wonder why they are so stressed, why bad things happen to them. It’s because they are not paying attention to what is going on, on the inside of their head and hearts. Yes, People have become disconnected from themselves and keep seeking on finding the answers in the next phone call or on the internet. Really people need to stop talking and start listening, to themselves, to their heart. It is speaking loudly but they can’t hear it above all the other noise.

Silence seems scary, as it implies being alone or isolated. However, it is quite the contrary. In silence we find answers to our life’s questions and dilemmas. Try it sometime. The best way to experience silence is to take a walk in nature. Your mouth is quiet as you pay closer attention with your ears, eyes, nose, and touch. Listen to the birds and watch them fly, feel the bark on a tree, smell the changing scents in the air. In silence, we come to truly know ourselves and that makes us feel more confident, less insecure.

Another effective means to try on silence is in an aquatic bodywork called WATSU. You float in warm water with the assistance of the therapist. As she moves you slowly through the water, you become keenly aware of your own body as it relaxes. The weightlessness and sensory reduction of being in the water transports you to an almost meditative state. In the water the world is quiet but you can hear your own breathing and safely go within yourself without getting lost.

Monks take a vow of silence in order to become enlightened, not only about themselves but about the world around them. They learn to communicate without speaking. They learn love and compassion by listening.

In silence, we can go within ourselves to find our own enlightenment of who we truly are. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo schedule a watsu session and experience the depth of silence and peace felt. Visit my website at http://www.fullcirclewellnessllc.com, or visit me on Facebook at fullcirclewellnessllc. These sessions are given at the AtlantiCare LifeCenter in Egg Harbor Township, NJ.

What does the Forest say?

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Throughout my life I retreated to the forest for comfort. Sometimes I walked angrily, other times frustrated tears fell to the soft carpet of leaves and pine needles beneath my feet. As I walked the forest, my footsteps were quieted. In the quiet, I found solace among the trees with each step. I felt the tension falling away. I watched the trees sway gracefully in the breeze and listened to the birds chirp and flit from one branch to another. Letting go of my thoughts I witnessed the beauty around me. Nature bears no conflict or struggle, it merely accepts and bends with the flow of changing circumstances. In its reverent stillness my mind quieted as my heart filled. I was in the moment, just BEING. I was observing nature. Was it observing me? It must have been. I felt so comforted as though the forest understood me. All I felt from my surroundings was LOVE, Unconditional LOVE. In this place I wanted to remain. As I left the forest I felt lighter in spirit, freer in my mind. Cleansed.

I always thought my over active imagination was the reason I loved being in a forest. To my pleasant surprise I have learned that Shinrin-Yoku which means forest bathing is something being practiced in Japan. Forest bathing is literally spending time in the woods for its therapeutic benefit. Science has actually confirmed its healing influence on the body. When you spend time in a woodland setting you breathe in phytonicides, which is the active substances released by the plants and trees to protect them from animals, insects and decomposition. This substance has been studied and concludes that photonicides lowers blood pressure, blood sugar, stress, decreases pain and improves concentration. It also has anti cancer effects.

One of the services I offer are meditative hikes and kayak journeys into the nearby forest of Wharton State park in Batsto, NJ. These journeys are meant to help you:
*Quiet your mind and experience a deeper connection with your higher self
*Listen with your heart to hear the answers you have been seeking.
*Experience a sense of peace and understanding to a higher truth
*Become more aware and conscious of your thoughts and how
they effect you.
*Enhance and deepen the connection between nature and yourself
*Move to a more enlightened state of being by being mindful
of your awareness and attention to the moment.

Before you hit the malls and start the holiday hustle bustle, join us this Saturday, November 29th at 10am. We will be taking an easy 3 mile hike to reflect on the things we are grateful for in our lives. While we are hiking we will be helping a hungry soul. 50% of the proceeds from this hike will go to Sister Jean’s Soup Kitchen in AC, NJ. So register now! Start the holidays in peace and gratitude.003
http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=8idcltcab&oeidk=a07ea3apfzr75e5609f
For more information please visit my website; http://www.fullcirclewellnessllc.com or on Facebook: fullcirclewellnessllc

You’re going the wrong way!

The Pine Barrens of Southern NJ is my home. Though there is nothing barren about it at all!  This area of land is rich in history and has an ecologically sensitive landscape, known for its white sands, tall Pines and Cedars that tower above the winding rivers and bogs. Spend some time here and you’ll feel it has a mystical quality. I have the privilege to explore and hike the scenic trails and kayak the rivers on a regular basis.

I have always been an outdoors person, trekking into the woods to clear my head or hear my heart speak.  I often dreamed of being an outdoor adventure guide. Then I could be outside all the time. Not long ago it was suggested to me that I offer excursions into the woods to help people reconnect with nature and ultimately themselves.  It was such a genius idea! Why hadn’t I ever thought of that? Immediately I planned and prepped for the mindful excursions.

I sent out email invites, posted the event on Facebook and told people about it at any opportunity.  I wanted to keep the group small to 8 people.  I sent out my request to the Universe and WALLAH!! The day of the event arrives and I have 7 ladies!  We hiked, meditated, talked and laughed, rested and walked 4.5 miles. A big feat for some of the ladies.

As we hiked it occurred to me that hiking through a forest can teach you many life lessons, especially about yourself.

How often do we become entangled in the vines of our incessant thoughts? The more we trash to free ourselves, the more entangled we become. It is only when we stop flailing and calm ourselves are we able to find our way out of the tangled mess.

Yet, other times we are headed in a direction thinking we are on the right path, ignoring the tiny voice that says otherwise. Then soon realize that wasn’t the direction we were meant to go. Again, when we stop and listen to our inner guidance or intuition it is only then we can make a course correction and get back on the right path of our intended destiny.

The Pine Barrens is extremely flat terrain with a thick forest of trees and low growing shrubs. There is little to reference your position from, except for the sun and shadows.  Once under the tree canopies it is easy to get turned around or lost.

Not long ago I was hiking a trail for a short 2-3 miles by myself as I usually do. It’s my quiet reflective time and helps me connect with the Divine.

This particular day was cloudy and for some reason decided to make it more of an adventure by going a little off trail and came to a narrow dirt road. I confidently walked believing I was going in the right direction to get back to my car.  I walked and walked, then began to get a bit nervous but I kept walking. “I’ll make it back eventually.” I thought to myself.  Suddenly I heard a voice in my head, “You are going in the wrong direction.”  I kept walking and didn’t pay any attention to it.  A short while later, the voice echoed again, “Turn around, this is the wrong way.”  “No it’s not!” I shouted out loud. Who was I talking to? I kept walking.  Then I began to really question my direction. Was I going the wrong way?  I stopped, looked around, and listened.  Again the voice commanded, “Please turn around and go the other way!” “FINE!” I called out. “I’m turning around! Happy now?” “Yes” I heard in a less urgent tone.

So upon changing my course of direction I found I was indeed headed in the wrong direction.  I eventually found a trail, which was not the one I originally started on and realized was quite a distance from the original trail I had detoured from.

Was the voice my higher self? Intuition? Guardian Angels? Does it really matter? ImageIf I hadn’t heeded the guidance, I would have surely gotten lost.

So what is the lesson? Besides the obvious of take a compass and don’t go off trail? Whether on the trail or in daily life we need to pay attention to our inner wisdom. It truly knows the direction we are meant to be going.

When you feel lost or your mind is entangled with over thinking. Stop, breathe, quiet yourself and listen not with your ears but with your heart. The voice inside you will guide you peacefully, ALWAYS!