News

Recovery is not a place you land and unpack


“Peace is not a place you land and unpack.”
Petrea King, Quest for Life 2016.
… and neither is Recovery.
In stages, the impossible becomes possible.” T.V.K. Desikachar
Recovery from any adversity, whether illness, drug addiction, trauma, mental health disturbance, grief, disaster or major life change, is a process that is ongoing. We don't wake up one day cured rather we continually make progress along the path of recovery.
In my own recovery process, I have often felt like I have been ascending a spiral, often returning to the similar issues but at a higher or deeper level of resolution. This appears across all the layers of my experiences and I often don't notice until I am moving out of an experience and may need to reflect back on the last rung on the spiral to get perspective and prevent being disheartened.

Yet over and over again, my students and clients ask why it is taking them so long, wondering if there is something wrong with them or they are doing something wrong. Our society seems to think that recovery from trauma, illness, grief or any kind of life-change happens in distinct stages within a distinct time-frame (usually within 12months), and then we move on.

There have been many occasions when people, having read my book, heard my story or even been taught by me during a particularly well phase, will have expected me to be cured and if I fall off this perch they will be distressed and disappointed on my behalf…and perhaps theirs.

I am always moved by people’s concern for my wellbeing and reassure people that I have chronic illnesses that I manage not cure. I manage with the tools I teach and that even if I don't come out of this particular exacerbation, I will continue to live in peace which for me is what it’s all about and if I do come out, it will be at a higher place than I was before.

You see, this the reality for those of us who have suffered some form of trauma or major life change is that recovery is ongoing and comes in waves. For many of us the greatest recovery comes from the inner peace gained from the acceptance of our present situation and this too is ongoing.

So, if we accept this to be true, if we accept that recovery is ongoing, how do we support ourselves and each other through this process?

Firstly, find a practice that improves your wellness and maintain a regular practice, even after the initial flush of recovery. It seems to be fairly common nature for us to find a practice that makes us feel better only to let it go when we start to feel better. The best way to stay out of the hole is to keep doing whatever it was that got you out of the hole.

And if you fall off the wagon and find yourself in a hole again, Give yourself a break releasing as much guilt as you can because you're human. go back to the Same ladder and start climbing again.   

Find a support team and give them permission to keep you accountable. This might be a coach or a counsellor, a yoga teacher, therapist or trusted friend. Choose wisely, not because they will take you out and get you pissed but because you know they will respectfully keep you honest.

It is a friend, colleague, partner or family member the first step is to listen. Stop what you're doing, make a cup of tea and listen. Ask questions – what has helped before, how would like me to support you, would you like me to come with you? Questions that invite the person to consider and find their own wisdom and path. Set an example in your own behaviour. Things not to do: nag and remind them they've been here before - They know, already!!!

The most important things I have learned about recovery is that it is not a place you land and unpack. It happens in stages and requires resilience, acceptance and forgiveness. Whether it is yourself in recovery or someone you care for, it takes time, is ongoing and is often more more about finding peace where you are right now than finding a cure.

Lynnette Dickinson is the author of A Journey to Peace through Yoga, and teaches yoga, relaxation and meditation in Canberra and via Skype or phone. Classes, personalised programs and yoga therapy. Visit www.splendouryoga.com. Listen to Lynnette telling her story Part 1 and Part 2, and be inspired.

 

Read more →

I am not dumb

I’ve held a shameful secret for my life – a secret that if disclosed might get me in trouble and reveal I really am ‘less than’, perhaps even that I am dumb. And as is the nature of secrets, the necessity of concealment spawned management strategies that in themselves formed an addiction, feeding the shame, anxiety and fear of being discovered.

I became an addict and like all addicts I dreaded being found out and I became such an expert at deception that I even convinced myself. The whole fear/anxiety/shame show had spread like a cancer through my identity but it was invisible to me … almost.

I had completed a science degree, been a science journalist, become a mother of three children, completed a secondary science graduate diploma, been a science/maths tutor and teacher, experienced the physical and mental decline of Multiple Sclerosis, yoga-ed and meditated my way out of an electrical wheelchair, wrote and published a book about my journey, established a business teaching yoga and meditation to adults and children with special needs and spoken about my journey…all flying off the seat of my pants.

I had achieved all this with a Loch Ness Fear lurking in the depths of my consciousness.  ‘What if I get discovered?’

The Loch Ness Fear not only spawned behaviours that resulted in chronic under achieving but also prevented me from acknowledging what I was doing, the talents I did/do have. I couldn’t live my achievements because underneath I thought I was dumb and I was afraid I would be exposed as a fraud. I was constantly being undermined not only by my secret but also the meaning I had attached to my secret and the behaviour that it had generated.

Then a few months ago (only a few?), an innocent sharing about Irlens Syndrome from one of my students triggered a recognition within me and I Googled, Irlens Syndrome and saw myself on the screen. A deep recognition dawned that I have experienced reading and concentration difficulties, seemingly forever, and worsened by MS.

As I reflected on my secret, I journeyed through the forest of my strategies, strategies that included but were not restricted to: avoidance of reading; feigned disinterest and laziness; feigned slackness – including but not restricted to not reading emails, procrastination of filling in forms; skimming and flicking to the end of chapters and whole books; boasting about cramming or not studying; and preferring “intuition” rather than research.

The results of my forest of survival strategies was a set of beliefs about my capacity as a learner, procrastination, chronic underachieving and frustration. Oh, not to mention anxiety and shame. I had been so successful that I had come to believe my own publicity, publicity that I created to protect myself from getting in trouble.

So after spending some time quietly reflecting then researching (yep, you read correctly, I researched), I disclosed my secret to my partner. It was the first time I had verbalised my reading difficulties aloud to anyone, including myself and I felt completely liberated. My concealment had been so successful that he had had no idea but as I explained he could see and made comments like, “so that’s why you hate filling out forms”, and many other similar comments as he reconciled seemingly odd behaviours with the underlying reasons.

This surprise followed by realisation has been repeated several times since this first disclosure and each time I have felt a little more liberated. Why? Because I was becoming known, to myself and the people around me… and I wasn’t getting into trouble.

Irlens Syndrome, has been confirmed and I have my blue glasses, but that is almost irrelevant now. The value has been in the double Ds - discovery and disclosure.

I have been walking around with fear, shame and anxiety, and now light has been shed into the darkness. It was not the difficulties that were the problem but the meaning I made of them and the stories I created from that meaning. The difficulties themselves may or may not be fixable but there are other ways to learn and now that I am willing to acknowledge them I can explore these other learning strategies and the gifts I already have.

You see, because I have acknowledging my fears, I can also acknowledge my gifts; the talents I used to use to compensate for what I perceived were my deficits.

It is what I teach my yoga students, what I give in yoga therapy and what I have written in my book – you find peace in your circumstances and live your life to maximum of your capacity. Alternatively, “take life by the balls and run with it, with everything you have”.

Yes, there remains a lifetime of behavioural habits to untangle and messes to clean up but fear has been enveloped in love and understanding, and this compassion has released me - I can speak my truth and I am not in trouble…and I am not dumb. 

 

Lynnette Dickinson is the author of A Journey to Peace through Yoga, and teaches yoga, relaxation and meditation in Canberra and via Skype or phone. Classes, personalised programs and yoga therapy. Visit www.splendouryoga.com. Listen to Lynnette telling her story click on www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8pNE2Qpul0 for Part 1 and www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SatGo9hV6I for Part 2, and be inspired.

 

Read more →

Burn-out and the art of having it all … or not

To paraphrase Ghandi, if I wake up to a busy day, I don’t meditate for one hour … I meditate for three hours.

What happens when we place ourselves, bodies and minds, under too much pressure for too long without taking a break? We burn out. And what does burn out look like? Fatigue, anxiety, depression, injury, chronic or acute illness and/relationship breakdown, and at the extreme end full breakdown possibly tipping into violence.

In our society it seems that maximising stress and busy-ness is every man, woman and child’s extreme sport of choice. We work longer hours, play competitive sport from increasingly young ages, party into the small hours, combine parenthood and career, while striving for the success and/or income, body weight, car, house, the number of zeros on our income that will make us feel like we’ve made it.

So how do we do it? How do we have it all and not burn-out? Is one holiday a year enough? Maybe an 8-week course in mindfulness will solve all the stress we carry around in our body/mind complex. Maybe a weekly yoga class or a round of golf or a dance class. Maybe we could cycle to work, or walk on a treadmill while on a conference call or reading our emails?

Isn’t that enough?

Well, maybe all of those things are great places to start, improving your state of mind and body but are they really where the daily stresses of life occur?

Stress, anxiety and fatigue occur in the moment life is being lived and ignoring the levels of mental, emotional and physical exertion we are experiencing puts us at great risk of tipping us and our loved ones over the brink. And sometimes the aforementioned tools can deceive us into ignoring our signs because we can feel so much better when we come out of the activity and convince ourselves that once class a week is enough.

I have seen yoga teachers who teach encourage students to relax or meditate while ignoring their own practice because they are too busy and consequently suffer burn-out; or cyclists/sports enthusiasts who become so competitive that it creates as much road-rage and stress as sitting in a traffic jam.

And then what’s the first thing to go when we get busy? I cannot tell you how many times I have heard, “I can’t come to class, I’m too busy”. When coming to class would be the best thing to do for their own wellbeing and productivity.

So, how do we do it? How do we reduce the stress we experience in everyday life and prevent our systems giving up and going for a long lie down?

One possibility is to practice mindfulness, relaxation and meditation in your everyday life – in the car, while you eat, before a meeting, after a meeting (sometimes even during a meeting – toilets), every hour (set an alarm), stretch at your desk, wriggle your fingers and toes at traffic lights, take some to breathe at the end of a task, break between projects and slow your breath which will slow your heart-beat and enable you to increase your productivity.

Let me give you an example. Recently I moved house. No biggie you might think, except that I have recently started postgraduate studies in yoga therapy, continued teaching my full class and therapy schedule, participated in a leadership program, had a two-week gap between moving out and moving in during which we had nowhere to stay, and with my partner made the somewhat questionable decision of doing all the cleaning and moving out of the ‘old house’ with a difficult landlord. Oh, and did I mention I have Multiple Sclerosis?

How did I do it and maintain my sanity, health and good humour? I meditated, yoga-ed and breathed, not just in the morning or night, but all through the day. Every time I finished packing a box I took a few moments to breathe, each time I carried something heavy I took the time to breathe and contract my pelvic floor. I stretched my body at every opportunity. Nearly a week of 13 hour days of hard, dirty work interspersed with yoga, enabled by yoga.

My partner and I kept talking and laughing, we looked for creative solutions, like camping and AirBnB for accommodation options. Eventually, I let go of thinking I had to continue studying and writing and being superwoman, and simply focussed on what was in front of me.

The result was that even when we found ourselves in a camping ground on the south coast in the rain without tent poles or gas bottle or light, I didn’t stress or shout. We innovated – camping gazebo with tent lining tied to the frame of the gazebo, firewood had made it into the car so that took care of cooking and, well, who needs light when you have stars?

My mind was spacious and relaxed, and I had looked after my body by my practice in the moment, and my meditation had allowed me to let go of what couldn’t do and focus on what I could. I had survived more physical work than I had done for nearly ten years and thrived.

Two months after moving in and we are happily settling in. I have expanded my idea of what’s possible by increasing my personal practice, a potentially very stressful few months has had no impact on my MS condition and reduced my need to be superwoman, while reminding me of the importance of living my practice.

You can do this too, with the smallest of adjustments and the simplest practices. Eventually you will look at your lifestyle choices and become more discriminating – you might be able to have it all but do you really need to?

 

Lynnette Dickinson is the author of A Journey to Peace through Yoga, and teaches yoga, relaxation and meditation in Canberra and via Skype or phone. Classes, personalised programs and yoga therapy. Visit www.splendouryoga.com. Listen to Lynnette telling her story click on www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8pNE2Qpul0 for Part 1 and www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SatGo9hV6I for Part 2, and be inspired.

Read more →

Meditations in Life – Three Breath Relaxation

I recently heard about a professional woman who finds her Third Space between tasks with a quick Three Breath Relaxation. The advantage of this third space is that it provides space between stuff and relaxes the whole body, simultaneously.

We have already learned the benefits of the Third Space in my previous blog but why would we also want to relax?

Relaxation turns the autonomic nervous system from fight, flight or freeze to rest, relax and restore – sympathetic to parasympathetic. Physiologically, the stress chemical cascade is halted and the system is flooded with relaxation hormones. The physical result is relaxation throughout the musculoskeletal-skeletal system and our mind clears, enabling reasoning and logic.

In short, our sympathetic nervous system is excellent and necessary for reacting to danger but not so good for decision-making and responding. Whereas our parasympathetic nervous system keeps us relaxed and clearheaded, and when we turn it on we have the capacity to respond to life rather than being caught in the endless cycle of reaction.

So here it is.

Three Breath Relaxation

  1. Sit, stand or lie (shut the office door and lie on the carpet – I know of a woman who keeps a cushion in her desk drawer just for this purpose), comfortably. Ensure you are warm and supported, as best you can.
  2. Either shut your eyes or lower your eyes to the floor; soften your gaze.
  3. Breathe in and bring your attention to head, face and neck, breathe out and relax your head, face and neck.
  4. Breathe in and bring your attention to your torso, shoulders and arms, breathe out and allow your torso, shoulders and arms to relax.
  5. Breathe in and bring your attention to your hips, legs and feet, breathe out and allow your hips, legs and feet to relax.
  6. Job done. Take a few moments to rest in the stillness you have created, before returning to your life.
  7. If you are particularly stressed or stimulated you might like to try a few breaths at each place.
  8. You might also like to try adding a final breath to relax the whole body.

Experiment with this practice and make it your own, every body is different and your situation changes from day to day, moment to moment so see what works for you in the moment without being rigid.

I hope you enjoy your newly relaxed state and I look forward to hearing about your experiences with this easy third space.

With relaxation,

Lynnette.

PS: when you want to stop reacting and start responding, take a moment and do the Three Breath Relaxation.

 

Lynnette Dickinson is the author of A Journey to Peace through Yoga, and teaches yoga, relaxation and meditation in Canberra and via Skype or phone. Classes, personalised programs and yoga therapy. Visit www.splendouryoga.com. Listen to Lynnette telling her story click on www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8pNE2Qpul0 for Part 1 and www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SatGo9hV6I for Part 2, and be inspired.

 

Read more →

Meditations in Life – Three Breath Relaxation

I recently heard about a professional woman who finds her Third Space between tasks with a quick Three Breath Relaxation. The advantage of this third space is that it provides space between stuff and relaxes the whole body, simultaneously.

We have already learned the benefits of the Third Space in my previous blog but why would we also want to relax?

Relaxation turns the autonomic nervous system from fight, flight or freeze to rest, relax and restore – sympathetic to parasympathetic. Physiologically, the stress chemical cascade is halted and the system is flooded with relaxation hormones. The physical result is relaxation throughout the musculoskeletal-skeletal system and our mind clears, enabling reasoning and logic.

In short, our sympathetic nervous system is excellent and necessary for reacting to danger but not so good for decision-making and responding. Whereas our parasympathetic nervous system keeps us relaxed and clearheaded, and when we turn it on we have the capacity to respond to life rather than being caught in the endless cycle of reaction.

So here it is.

Three Breath Relaxation

  1. Sit, stand or lie (shut the office door and lie on the carpet – I know of a woman who keeps a cushion in her desk drawer just for this purpose), comfortably. Ensure you are warm and supported, as best you can.
  2. Either shut your eyes or lower your eyes to the floor; soften your gaze.
  3. Breathe in and bring your attention to head, face and neck, breathe out and relax your head, face and neck.
  4. Breathe in and bring your attention to your torso, shoulders and arms, breathe out and allow your torso, shoulders and arms to relax.
  5. Breathe in and bring your attention to your hips, legs and feet, breathe out and allow your hips, legs and feet to relax.
  6. Job done. Take a few moments to rest in the stillness you have created, before returning to your life.
  7. If you are particularly stressed or stimulated you might like to try a few breaths at each place.
  8. You might also like to try adding a final breath to relax the whole body.

Experiment with this practice and make it your own, every body is different and your situation changes from day to day, moment to moment so see what works for you in the moment without being rigid.

I hope you enjoy your newly relaxed state and I look forward to hearing about your experiences with this easy third space.

With relaxation,

Lynnette.

PS: when you want to stop reacting and start responding, take a moment and do the Three Breath Relaxation.

 

Lynnette Dickinson is the author of A Journey to Peace through Yoga, and teaches yoga, relaxation and meditation in Canberra and via Skype or phone. Classes, personalised programs and yoga therapy. Visit www.splendouryoga.com. Listen to Lynnette telling her story click on www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8pNE2Qpul0 for Part 1 and www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SatGo9hV6I for Part 2, and be inspired.

 

Read more →

If they could see me now…

In 2006, following an MS exacerbation that left in a wheelchair and being bathed every day, my doctor gave me the prognosis, “nursing home within five years”. Twelve months later, after another exacerbation following a general anaesthetic another neurologist left gauge marks in the soles of my feet trying to get a plantar reflex response – he could not accept that there simply wasn’t one. In another similar Incident, a doctor put a stick down my throat trying to illicit a vomit response but again, there wasn't one – I could neither swallow, vomit or cough.

That was then and this is now. I teach yoga and meditation, I have written and published a book, recorded relaxations and meditations, learned to ski, this year I plan to learn how to scull and run, and launch an online studio for people in crisis or wanting to engage in a non-pretzel yoga practice. If those doctors could see me now, I wonder what they would think.

So what enabled this seemingly miraculous recovery and what set me on this seemingly impossible path?  

Well, to answer the second question first – madness set me on this path, or at least the alleviation of madness. I had experienced life as feeling bullied, disempowered and illness – in short, I had become addicted to suffering. Then one day in a hospital bed in 2004, in the midst of this addiction, I experienced bliss … peace and a meditation practice was borne, which led me back to a spasmodic yoga practice

Then three years later in an electric wheelchair, again I felt peace. After a lifetime of felt madness, experiencing peace in the midst of suffering was extraordinary and very magnetic. That was a decision in a moment, a decision that was to change the path of my life – “I am done with suffering and I want to learn how to live in this state, and teach other people in crisis how to live in peace, regardless of circumstance.”

According to Eckhardt Tolle, any individual experiencing pain (pain in the general sense of suffering, not just physical pain), has to reach a tipping point where they are ‘over’ living in pain before they can really set upon the path of transformation. For me this was that point, “Enough now”.

Decision made I headed off to a yoga teacher training course … in my electric wheelchair and learned how to develop a personal yoga and meditation practice that has seen me through a marriage breakdown, multiple surgeries, MS exacerbations and the growing of a new life, with increasingly less mental and physical suffering.

There have have been so many times during my recovery when I have thought of people in my past (peers from school, doctors, family) and thought, “if only they could see me now”, or its partners in crime, “I’ll show them,” and “if I do [fill in the blank] maybe ill be good enough”. Yet despite the initial lift to my ego, these thoughts were always ultimately diminishing to my actual self-esteem, and disturbed my equanimity.

And then recently I had an MRI scan on my brain and spine to check the status of disease progression. The images were available immediately following the scan, so of course as soon as I arrived home I opened the envelope and pored over each scan.

 The number, size and spread of the scars on my beautiful brain were much worse than I remembered. My disease had progressed. I was shocked! Once again I felt the grief of having chronic degenerative disease.

My physical condition had been continuing to improve over time, I was more resilient and more confident than at any other time of my life. Beware of hubris. Somewhere in my consciousness I had beaten the progressive aspect of MS. I was different”, “I was going to show them”, “if only they could see me now”, all came crashing down in an exposed and tangled mess.

Time for reflection. I had never thought I had cured MS but I had imperceptibly slid into the hubris of victory over progression but there it was, undressed in my shock. I wasn’t superwoman after all.   I was still proving myself, only worthy to the people I was ‘showing’ while I was superwoman.

Then I started to reframe, with the help of my partner. Yes, I have MS. Yes, I have damage to my central nervous system. How amazing that I was able to do all these things with the scarring in my brain. How amazing that my brain was able to find so many alternative routes. How amazing that my practice had brought me to a place of such resilience.

I have spent so much time proving my ‘success’ to others in order to gain legitimacy for my thoughts and teachings that I had forgotten the most important of my lessons: “I am not just my body, I am not just my emotions, I am not just my mind”.

Maybe it was time to show myself. Maybe it was time to see myself. I had given so much power away by wanting other people to see me, I hadn’t seen myself. Each time I thought “if only they could see me now”, or “I’ll show them”, I was giving the external world with all its judgements and insecurities, legitimacy over my own sense of self.

I started this journey of recovery to learn how to live in the peace I found in meditation, now it is time to question why I feel such peace in meditation. It's a work in progress but I think we experience peace in meditation because there is no reference point of comparison, all of our layers are peeled back and we are invited to sit with our true self and the scars of our consciousness are no longer relevant. When I sit in meditation I am not thinking “if only they could see me now”, I am basking in seeing and being in my Self.

 

Lynnette Dickinson is the author of A Journey to Peace through Yoga, and teaches yoga, relaxation and meditation in Canberra and via Skype or phone. Classes, personalised programs and yoga therapy. Visit www.splendouryoga.com. Listen to Lynnette telling her story click on www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8pNE2Qpul0 for Part 1 and www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SatGo9hV6I for Part 2, and be inspired.

 

Read more →

Meditations in Life – the Third Space

At a recent leadership course I attended (GLAM – fully recommend), the facilitator, Avril Henry, referred to the concept of the importance of creating a ‘Third Space’ as a tool to enhance life work harmony in the lives of busy people.

So, what is a ‘Third Space’ and why would you bother? 

Well, the concept of The Third Space can out of research carried out by Dr Adam Fraser in partnership with Deakin University. The research concludes that the way we transition from one role or task to the next can determine our performance, balance and overall happiness; and that carrying over emotional baggage from one situation to the next can have disastrous effects on relationships and outcomes.

The Third Space is that moment of transition and if we create that space intentionally we can avoid taking our crappy experiences into the following situation, our role at work into our role as parent, partner or friend and complete as much as we can as we go.

In essence, if we imagine the different tasks or role that we engage in during our day as coats we put on, The Third Space is consciously taking a moment to take off one coat before putting on the next. This means we are always only wearing one coat.

I have come across this concept before in regard to finishing projects – take a break, reflect, evaluate and let go before taking up the next project but not in relation to everyday life. It is a very useful tool to stay present to the task or situation at hand.

When the the Third Space was introduced at GLAM, all of the participants found it easy to identify activities to create the space between work and home and some were already employing some very effective strategies to avoid bringing work into their home lives. Where it became more difficult was to find this space within their work day – between meetings, transitioning between tasks, calls and conversations.   

So how do you find The Third Space in midst of a busy and demanding work life or disengage from work before your entering your home life?

Here are a few ideas.

5 ways to create The Third space between work and home

  1. Do some physical activity on the way home from work, with the intention of letting go of work ‘stuff’ eg go or a walk or run, go to the gym or play some sport.
  2. Take an uninterrupted shower before engaging its family members (emphasis on uninterrupted – this will need an agreement with family members, “only if there's blood or threat to human life”).
  3. Stop at a café for a beverage on the way home to let go of your day – perhaps take a few moments to journal reflections on your day eg what went well, what didn’t, what you can do better, how.
  4. Do some yoga and/or meditation.
  5. Let go of each incident in your day with your breath – breathe in and remember the incident, breathe out and let it go.

5 ways to create The Third Space through your day

  1. After a difficult meeting sit quietly and become aware of your breath, breathe in and remember an aspect of the meeting, breathe out and release the emotion. Continue until the emotion has been released, then record the actions and reflections of the meeting.
  2. In between tasks, consciously stop and close off a task in your mind before beginning another and make an agreement with yourself to make sure this is complete before moving on.
  3. Break up your work time in to thirty minute ‘sessions’ and work solidly on a single project for the whole thirty minutes then stop, record any unfinished bits or bits that need to be attended, then get up and stretch.
  4. Only receive phone calls between tasks and record any details from the call immediately so you are not interrupting your focus or carrying your whole work life with you in your head.
  5. Breathe – breathe in, pause, breathe out pause, rinse and repeat focussing on allowing the out breath to get longer, until you are ready to climb the next mountain.

Remember toilets are great Third Spaces if you have difficulty getting space at work or home – generally people don't interrupt you in the toilet and there is usually a lock (and if there isn't, get one).

I hope you enjoy finding your Third Spaces and you want to share your experiences or Third Spaces I haven't mentioned, please comment below or send me an email.

Thank you,
Lynnette.

 Remember: when you are transitioning between roles and tasks, sit in The Third Space until you have changed your coat.

If you want to know more about The Third Space with Dr Adam Fraser, go to www.thethirdspace.com.au.

If you would know more about Avril Henry and GLAM, go to www.avrilhenry.com.

Lynnette Dickinson is the author of A Journey to Peace through Yoga, and teaches yoga, relaxation and meditation in Canberra and via Skype or phone. Classes, personalised programs and yoga therapy. Visit www.splendouryoga.com. Listen to Lynnette telling her story click on www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8pNE2Qpul0 for Part 1 and www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SatGo9hV6I for Part 2, and be inspired.

Read more →

Meditations in life – Hand Massage Meditation

Last year I taught an eight week Relax & Restore course for staff in the community Services industry in Canberra. Six people working long hours in very demanding positions, with equally demanding home lives to maintain.My plans were to deliver a course with nurturing tools, restorative yoga postures and deep relaxation. I wrote a manual with each week’s practices photographed and described, a guide to developing a home practice and a Splendour Relaxation CD.

 

I was idealistic that my new students would go home after the first night and start practicing their newfound self-management tools. So when the students returned for week 2, I was looking forward to hearing how they had fared with their new practices.

You can imagine my surprise when the most common practice (in some cases the only practice), that the students were practicing on a daily practice was self massage of their hands, most frequently following my suggestion that they practice in the car at traffic lights!

 They reported that hand massage bought them back into the present, which stopped the endless chatter of their monkey mind. The result was an oasis of calm in the midst of the busyness and anxiety of their lives. One participant said “it was like pressing the ‘Reset’ button on her mind”.

The added bonus was that the act of massaging their own hands made them feel nurtured. A very real benefit in careers and home lives that involved nurturing others, with little time and energy left to nurture themselves.

 So, here is the Hand Massage Meditation.

 Hand Massage Meditation

  • Sit quietly and take a three long, slow breaths.
  • Rest your dominant hand in the palm of your other hand, palm facing up.
  • Begin massaging along the base of your hand (at the border between the hand and the wrist), small circles with the thumb of the other hand.
  • Then move into pad, continuing the gentle circles up to the base of your thumb.
  • Move into the centre of the palm of your hand for a few moments.
  • The, beginning from the heel of your hand, massage along the outside edge of your hand.
  • Then across the pads along the base of your fingers toward your ‘pointer’ finger and back along the pads toward your ‘pinky’.
  • Gently stroke along each finger and thumb, applying gentle pressure at the top of each finger and in the space between each finger.
  • Turn the hand over and find the space just above where the thumb bone and the pointer bone join into the wrist. Apply gentle pressure for a few seconds then stroke up toward the digits.
  • Repeat for each finger then gentle stroke across the top of the joints at the base of the fingers.
  • If you have extra time you can gently massage each joint.
  • Then repeat with the other hand.
  • Take a moment to notice and appreciate the calm in your mind.

 Now, if you are doing this at traffic lights you probably won't be able to do both hands in one sitting (unless of course you are in busy traffic, in which case you really need something to keep the road anxiety at bay), which is why we begin with the dominant hand or the hand that does the most work. In fact, you may not even finish a whole hand – it doesn’t matter!

 The aim is to provide a focus for your mind that is not the constant to and fro between the past and the future, while giving yourself a bit of nurturing. Even just a few moments can reset your brain. And you can always pick up where you left off, at the next traffic light or the next few minutes of space (I know a particularly busy woman who goes in to the toilet at her office and massages her hands).

 And the best thing is there is no limit to the number of times you can engage with self massage and your hands are always with you.

 I love hearing about people’s experiences with these practices so please comment below or email me at lynnette@splendouryoga.com.

 Thank you,
Lynnette

 Remember: if you need to press the ‘Reset’ button on your busy brain, take a few moments and massage your own hands.

Lynnette Dickinson is the author of A Journey to Peace through Yoga, and teaches yoga, relaxation and meditation in Canberra and via Skype or phone. Classes, personalised programs and yoga therapy. Visit www.splendouryoga.com. Listen to Lynnette telling her story click on www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8pNE2Qpul0 for Part 1 and www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SatGo9hV6I for Part 2, and be inspired.

 

Read more →

Meditations in Life - Red Traffic Light Meditation

Over the last month I have been attending a leadership workshop with some amazing women, mostly from Defence. These women are dynamic and successful, and their response to me as a yoga and meditation teacher is, “I can't possibly sit still for that long” or “I can’t keep my mind quiet” or “I tried a yoga class once and couldn't wait to leave”.

Well, I tried a yoga class once and couldn't wait to leave and I used to be Queen Fidget and I used to have such a busy mind that I thought I couldn’t meditate. I wasn’t born knowing how to be calm, in fact quite the opposite, I used to be quite mad! But I learned and I practiced because I had experiences that showed me the power of meditation in managing stress, pain and chronic madness.

So how did I go from Queen Fidget to meditation teacher? Was it in one big step – zero meditation to sitting in Lotus with an empty mind for an hour or stiffness to human pretzel, sceptic to sunflowers growing out of my head? No, it was in tiny steps, finding moments in my day when I was already not moving or using my newfound capacity for a few minutes of stillness to manage very stressful situations.

In my book, A Journey to Peace through Yoga, I write about this burgeoning meditation practice in the context of my first MS exacerbation in hospital in Britain. I was in hospital thinking I was dying. I had no stamina, no experience, a shirt load of fear, pain and dysfunction but when I could close my eyes, soften my breath and be still, my experience of my situation completely changed.

This skill became life changing when I began my yoga teacher training in an electric wheelchair. I would take any opportunity to relax my body and mind – traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, bank queues and the dreaded doctor’s waiting room.

And the consequence was that I started managing my condition rather than my condition managing me. The stress of my situation was immediately reduced, my relationships improved and my road to recovery began.

So I would like to offer you a series of Meditations in Life, to encourage other Queen Fidgets to find some stillness in their life. The first the Red Traffic Light meditation.

Red Light Meditation

So, in the middle of a busy day you are stuck at a red light. Maybe you are running late or maybe you just want to get where you're going…NOW! What do you do?

  • Look at the offending set of traffic lights, specifically the red one.
  • Let your vision soften – an easy way of doing this is remembering something or someone you love, you will find you automatically smile and your vision softens.
  • Let your breathing slow down and your shoulders relax each time you breathe out – even a few breaths can make a difference.
  • I have even recently started to turn my engine off and noticed that the few moments of relative silence is relaxing.
  • Then when the light turns green, turn the engine on, sharpen your focus and re-enter your day with a clearer and calmer mind.

It's amazing but just these few minutes can make a huge difference to managing the stress of a busy day. And if you string them together with other lots of ‘few minutes’, you will soon notice your stress melting away and your experience of life changing.

I would love to hear about your experience of the Red Traffic Light Meditation, so please reply or send me an email.  

Yours in stillness,
Lynnette.

 PS: If you find yourself feeling stressed at a traffic light, turn off your engine, soften your gaze and breathe.

 Next meditation – The Hand Massage Meditation.

Lynnette Dickinson is the author of A Journey to Peace through Yoga, and teaches yoga, relaxation and meditation in Canberra and via Skype or phone. Classes, personalised programs and yoga therapy. Visit www.splendouryoga.com. Listen to Lynnette telling her story click on www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8pNE2Qpul0 for Part 1 and www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SatGo9hV6I for Part 2, and be inspired.

Read more →

Attitude of Gratitude – Day 4

Conclusions

 

Gratitude becomes  deep and profound forgiveness of life, which completes the circle back to become gratitude.

 

 

 

Forgiveness

In the middle of a busy day I did a small gratitude practice through the main areas of my life and soon became aware of wave of forgiveness that seemed to arrive, completely unexpected. 

It was as if in welcoming my life that is, I could let go of the life that was, the life that might have been and the life that was never going to be, opening the gates to a river of forgiveness now flowing through my awareness.

I feel like the river is washing me clean with a deep and profound forgiveness of life.

And this has brought me full circle, wholly back in to the present moment with a deeper level of welcoming and gratitude for all that I am now – an open, vast field of possibility and joy.

Namaste with love,

Lynnette

 

Read more →