Travel as a Spiritual Purpose

As a Spirit inhabiting the body, One already is traveling, therefore Travel IS a Spiritual Purpose.

Everything One does is a Spiritual Purpose.

This is the premise.

How, Why, Where, When One Travels can explain the finer details of One’s purpose generally in One’s life.

Examine your travel life for deeper understanding of your needs, desires and fears
  1. What type of travel do you do? Leisure, rest, business, family, tourism, local, overseas, solitary, group, road, air, water, sport, hobby, art, culture, etc etc…
  2. What type of travel do you enjoy, despise, or feel obligated to do? why?
  3. What destinations do you return to? why?
  4. Is travel a conversation topic for you as a recognition tool (for instagram, facebook posts), a means to keep up with the Jones? to feel successful?
  5. Can you travel without showing photos to anybody? without telling anybody about it?
  6. Do you travel to ” off the beaten track” destinations to explore the unknown ?
  7. Do you get travel anxiety? why?

Being mindful about travel can save you time, money and effort.

You can focus on the benefits of travel for your life and minimize the negatives.

If travel brings up anxiety or fear, it could mean fear of the unknown, or a lack of control especially if your routine is quite rigid.

If travel is never enough and so much better than “home” could mean you need to examine your life, your work and other aspects you need to change.

If travel is addictive and you can’t stay anywhere very long could mean a lack of roots, or connection, or you could be a nomadic soul here to explore.

Travel can teach us so much about ourselves if we use it as a means of self-discovery.

Travel can inspire creativity.

Travel can teach us impermanence, flexibility, adaptability, patience, tolerance, acceptance.

Travel can bring deep transformation and healing.

Travel can show differing perspectives and broaden the mind.

Travel can simply be a change.

Travel can be in your own backyard, literally, with a new vision, a new state, a new presence.

Travel can be a pilgrimage.

Travel can be in your chair whilst meditating, watching an amazing show or reading an engrossing book.

Whatever type of travel you do, see it as your purpose in that moment.

Happy travels!

O

My Second Home for my spiritual purpose as a nomad

Co-Create with Nature

Mindful Gardening is so in right now..anything mindful is in right now..finally..

However can we just be mindful about mindfulness please..too much is just too much already..

Being in the present moment whilst gardening in a no brainer..do we need to give it a name? A procedure? Mindful gardening..booooring.

If you’re thinking about mindfulness whilst gardening you’re not mindful. Worse, you’re not gardening.

My mind goes all over the shop when i garden and i find it very healing.

I always talk to my flowers, plants, insects, butterflies and other creatures.

The trees answer back.

My nails scratch the earth like chicken claws digging for worms.

I celebrate those worms making my soil richer.

Mother Nature is always in charge and as a mother myself i respect that.

However we do argue and i try to have my way.

But if mother says no, that seed ain’t gonna grow.

I feel honoured to co-create with Mother Nature if She finds me worthy of her abundance.

Get your hands filthy, dig in the mud, love your weeds and medicinals, pot plants, grow seeds, get outdoors.

Co-create with Nature.

More Nature, More Art.

Great Article: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/health-and-wellbeing/articles/why-gardening-makes-us-feel-better

My Garden is 12 months old (August 2021) 100% co-created with Love. (Pesticide free)

Even Baguera Cat loves it!

Wisdom Bits by Olivia

Photography by (V.O)

The listener Archetype

How much time do you spend talking and listening during a social interaction with certain individuals?

Let’s apply the Pareto Rule to this phenomenon.

80/20.

80 percent of the time listening and 20 percent talking or inversed?

The Listener Archetype is alive at 80 percent listening.

Active listening 80/20 is empathic listening, caring, giving feedback.

Passive Listening 80/20 is disconnected.

Dumping is 80 percent talking about your issues.

Narcissism is 80 percent talking about yourself and your world as “more” or “better” or “the best” or “less”, “worse”, or “the worst”.

Bullying is 80 percent talking and interrupting and arguing and needs to be right and to win.

Sharing is 50/50 ish…

Resources for Active Listening

Resources for Narcissism

V.O

Forest Therapy

When the wave of pain arises from the deep

Seek the trees in the forest

Sit under their canopy of comfort

Wash your tears in the waterfall

Connect to Mother

Breathe

Let the wave roll away

Stay in moment

Here

Now

Photography https://vostudiophoto.wordpress.com/

Cascade d’Orlu, Ariege, Pyrénées

Feather Symbolism

This week has been a “feather” week.

Went hiking way up in the Pyrénées to a waterfall and found a white feather on a rock near the water. oooh i love finding feathers in unusual places.

On the way down the mountain a black feather flew across my path. hum two feathers same day..mmmm ok…

Next day I go shopping for kitchen mats (as you do) and the only set available was the feather set…right. feathers. again.

To end the week in beauty, during the visit of my favourite yearly garden exhibition in the region, the Lieurac Gardens, I luxuriated in the Plumerium.

Feather is obviously communicating with me! right?!

So I researched (googled) the symbolism, archetypal, religious, spiritual, all rational and irrational beleifs that have existed for eons, from Dream analysis to Native Shamanism and Biblical references.

Needless to say, it was very interesting reading.

So thankyou Feather for the experience. The photography of feathers will be all the more fun now.

Olivia

Hiking and finding White and Black feathers
White Feather means connection to the spirit and angels are with you
Head in the feather cloud at Lieurac Plumerium
It’s like walking on a cloud..I am Luxuriating…
mmmm..the softness underneath the feet..yes angels are here!

I liked this blog amongst others: https://www.worldbirds.org/feather-symbolism/

All photography by V.O

Perfection as Delusion

Perfectionism, or seeking Perfection as the goal, means the mind has created and idea of what that looks like.

The image of the “perfect” result then guides the inspiration, the effort and the commitment to achieve .

Then something happens and the goal gets pushed out further and further as Perfection is never reached.

The ego freaks out in crisis.

One ego fights on and still holds on to the beleif that perfection will be obtained.

One ego collapses, flagellates, quits in shame.

One ego, after failing at the options above, gets “woke” and sees perfection in everything as is.

Photography and words by V.O

https://vostudiophoto.wordpress.com/

Yoga for Anxiety?

That’s a YES!

Yoga for Grounding and Calming

Certain Yoga Asanas (Poses) are beneficial in the management of Anxiety which manifests itself as an imbalance in mental and physical states of health.

“Too much in the head”, thinking too much, ruminating on worrying thoughts, regrets, memories or just restlessness, boredom, and lack of stimulation triggers a physical stress response and feeds back into the mental anxiety loop.

It is important to “get out of the head” and get into the body, ground to the earth, and to move the stuck mental energy.

The Chakra System is an energy system which is a great visualizing tool during Yoga and Meditation. Studying the Chakra’s colour, mantra, and traits can intensify our Yoga practice and train our mind to divert from our troubling thoughts.

A Mantra is used as a sound vibration and a concentration tool when the mind wanders. The Mantra has a meaning which when repeated allows the brain to reset itself and stop the mental cycling of the anxiety loop.

A daily Yoga and Meditation routine is a useful Anxiety Interruptor and well-being enhancer and is recommended in most therapeutic programs by professional well-being practitioners worldwide and in some cultures has been practiced for at least 5000 years (recorded).

We already know all that so lets get on with practicing this art and science for ourselves.

It can’t hurt us, can it?

Well actually one can hurt oneself in Yoga by pushing, resisting and exerting too much ego power into the mix.

Yoga is about exploring your own body, mind and spirit.

Yoga is present moment consciousness and that’s why it helps.

Yoga condenses the moment to Here and Now. Yep the Cliché.

Cliché is just that, a truth that is generalised.

So here it is, Yoga works.

Namaste

Root chakra—Mūlādhāra

Root chakra—Mūlādhāra is the chakra of stability, security, and our basic needs. The root chakra is comprised of whatever grounds you to stability in your life. This includes your basic needs such as food, water, shelter, safety, as well as your emotional needs of interconnection, and being fearless. When these needs are met, you feel grounded and safe. It is the most important Chakra as this is the Fundamental (or Mool) Chakra.

Mantra:

LAM

I AM GROUNDED

I AM SAFE

ASANAS/ POSES

WARRIOR 

VIRABHADRASANA I

Picture from https://yogaanatomy.net/

Benefits: Warrior I strengthens the legs, opens the hips and chest and stretches the arms and legs. Warrior I develops concentration, balance and groundedness. This pose improves circulation and respiration and energizes the entire body.

Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the hips, knees, back or shoulders.

COW FACE

Gomukhasana

Physical Benefits: 

  1. Induces relaxation.
  2. Improves posture by increasing energy, awareness, and opening the chest area.

Therapeutic Benefits:

  1. Alleviate tension, tiredness, and anxiety.
  2. Relives stiffness of the neck and shoulders.
  3. Relieves backache, sciatica, rheumatism, and general stiffness in the shoulders and neck.
  4. Alleviates cramps in the legs and makes the leg muscles supple.

Precautions and Contraindications:

  1. Serious neck or shoulder problems.
  2. Knee injury.

TWIST

Ardha Matsyendrasana

Pose Benefits:

  • Opens the rib cage and chest
  • Enhances digestion and elimination
  • Stimulates the liver and kidneys
  • Energizes the spine
  • Stretches the shoulders, hips, back, and neck

Contraindications:

  • Spinal injury
  • Back pain and/or injury
  • Pregnancy

And finally….

There are squillions of apps, online classes, courses, websites available to the masses now that Yoga is in its shiniest hour but let us always beware of the shadow that co-exists.

We all need to be discerning and note where our ego, our expectations and our intentions are when practising Yoga for self and when choosing a particular course or teacher.

Lets take advantage of this giant wave of magic and practise this mystical wonder that is Yoga..

Namaste

The Western Origins of Mindfulness and why do it?

Today, at the end of the second decade of the 21st century, the word “mindfulness” is omnipresent in all the western contemporary literature concerning well-being. The word was once, during the last few decades of the 20th century, “meditation” but only hippies, new agers, yogis, buddhist monks and the beatles used it or were associated with it.

Now the new name” mindfulness” is on the lips of many mainstream conservative and hardcore medical model practitioners and in tons of their research journals. The latter are now publishing hundreds of studies which show positive result after positive result as to its efficacy for managing anxiety, depression, stress and a horde of other psychological and physical ailments. (check the links below of field specific research journals)

The world just cant get enough of mindfulness by whatever means possible. There’s a squillion apps, books, videos, programs, courses, certificates, niknaks and in fact a billion dollar a year industry has emerged from making meditation a highly profitable product over the past 40 years.

How did the western rebranding of meditation to mindfulness come about?

Changing the product’s name is a very common strategy in branding and marketing. In this case it was a phenomenal coup which came about in the early 80s.

The new name mindfulness was better accepted in scholarly research programs and more reachable to the mainstream population.

Psychology patients accepted this terminology of meditation more easily and it stuck. The technique grew in popularity and now mindfulness also called “mindfulness meditation” is fully known globally.

My postgraduate research thesis in Psychology in the late 90’s was titled ‘Mindfulness meditation and anxiety in women” and I was the first and only student in the department interested in this subject back then. Because of my yoga teaching background and positive personal experience I wanted to explore what science if any existed on meditation as a technique in psychological treatment.

Conducting my study offered me the opportunity to research thoroughly all the scientific literature on meditation available from around the world at the time. Most of the studies from the 60’s to the 80’s focused on Transcendental Meditation (TM) which is repeating a mantra during meditation. The studies were published in mostly Indian, some British and French as well as in very few american science journals. Many of these studies had serious internal validity issues. As for Buddhist meditation, or Zen meditation it was only written about in eastern religion journals and not mentioned in any western medicine or psychology journals.

Meditation in all its forms at the time especially the buddhist mindfulness meditation technique which is breathing and observing thoughts was a brand new seed of what is now a gigantic tree of scientific research.

That seed, named the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR) was planted at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center by Jon Kabat-Zin with a formal, well funded and carried out plan to explore the benefits of Mindfulness as a useful technique to manage stress. The researcher removed the buddhist framework but utilized the teachings and the concepts of mindfulness. No Mantras, no yogis, no hippies.

Stress in the 90’s was the new big societal disease, the modern day plague, and was accused of being the cause of everything gone wrong in the body and mind and everybody wanted a cure. Hence the creation of the billion dollar industry “stress management”.

Kabat-Zin’s and other such programs experienced a roaring success and influenced, initiated, and inspired an entire field of Psychology in stress management where mindfulness is still the prominent technique recommended and taught.

My thesis ended up being a recap of Kabat-Zin’s research articles which created the framework for my study. Positive results were also shown in my experiment for practicing mindfulness to manage anxiety.

On a personal note, I certainly would not be who I am today, professionally and personally without mindfulness meditation and feel very grateful to Psychologists such as Dr Kabat-Zin who early in my career as a therapist inspired me.

So that was a very brief and somewhat mono view of the origin of Mindfulness in the west. Now why do it?

Why do it?

Because it works. Simple as that. Science shows it.

If you want to research the neuroscience of meditation and how all the synapses in the brain function whilst in a meditative state as shown on MRI photo data. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12671-018-0884-5

The Harvard Gazette published a great article about the science of Mindfulness with great research links if you need further nudging in terms of evidence.

Your self-care routine

Like with any good habit forming and/or modification it begins with THE decision.

Decide you want to practice a form of meditation daily for 10 minutes minimum and it becomes like brushing your teeth. After a disciplined first month it becomes routine. And boom in a few weeks you are meditating daily, you are less stressed, more peaceful, more aware, more “mindful”.

Why not try one of the squillions apps or ubiquitous videos and podcasts. No need to spend any money. However if you do want to spend money on fancy podcasts, videos and apps by wonderful teachers out there do it! spoil yourself. Better then spending on addictive, health destroying crap.

It becomes that bit of time just for you to close your eyes and recalibrate the brain. Regulate the emotions, even out the moods. Let the thoughts go by and detach. It’s only 10 minutes a day.

It’s worth it because it works. It’s easy and it’s free.

You just need to close your eyes and breathe. Observe the thoughts without judgment. Relax your body in the process.

Why not also use some of that time to (or not) pray to your god/power/universe/inner self.

End your meditation time by finding 3 things in your life that you are grateful for and say thankyou to yourself, your god etc.

That time of mindfulness is yours. It’s allocated. It’s the routine.

Self-care means prioritizing time for self in solitude and retreat from the external world to resource, to relax, to be still.

Try this 5 minutes guided Relaxation for stress release;

Research links

Positive Psychology: https://positivepsychology.com/mindfulness-brain-research-neuroscience/

Harvard gazette: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/04/harvard-researchers-study-how-mindfulness-may-change-the-brain-in-depressed-patients/

Springer: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12671-018-0884-5

Studies: https://scholar.google.fr/scholar?q=studies+on+mindfulness+meditation+and+stress+reduction&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart

Just another self-help blog…

Giving is Receiving

Karma Yoga is about giving back..Namaste

I know what you’re thinking: “not another self-help blog” and the answer is “helas yes”. “yes it is.”

This blog joins the squillions of others that inundate our world wide web.

This blog participates in the mass consciousness of the self-help industry.

What is this blog’s product you may correctly ask as you impatiently need to scroll right and move on.

If you’re still reading, the answer is KNOWLEDGE.

Knowledge brings more choices and more discernment.

This blog’s mission is to impart current, past, global, and local knowledge gathered by experts and novices alike and perhaps to transform it into wisdom for you.

Lofty goals but a blog can dream, can’t it?

Namaste