Encouraging people to evolve and create new opportunities at any age.

Reflections on Namaste: 
Steps to Peaceful Encounters

This newsletter follows a theme we started in September, so - if you haven't already read the September newsletter - you might want to read it first. I suppose part of my motivation for writing it was a sense of hopelessness I feel at times, and that my clients talk about.
It's an error to think the world has enjoyed long periods of peace and that our present conflicts are unusual. I heard an historian say that in all of human history, there have only been 29 years of peace!  It’s true, however, that never before in history have we been so acutely (and immediately) aware of the amount of death and destruction on any given day.
Do you remember when the television stations went off the air at midnight?  Then, the networks began to broadcast for a full 24 hours and they “provided” us with 24 hours of news too.  I can imagine it takes a lot of work to find newsworthy items to fill that much broadcasting time.  However, I wish the networks would search for stories that illuminate, enrich and encourage – in addition to showing us the dreadful events from all over the world.  The broadcasts are often so overwhelming they leave many of us with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. 
And so, this newsletter is about hopefulness and helpfulness.  Pope Francis encouraged us to believe in our individual efforts – no matter how small.  He said we can benefit society and change the world, and that unbeknownst to us, our efforts call forth a goodness which inevitably tends to spread.  He went on to say that we are capable of rising above our worst selves and choosing what is good.
(Link to Vatican website and archive.)
I want to remind myself – and to tell you - about some people who are doing wonderful things to heal our nation’s ills.  We often forget about them and their good works in the midst of the sensational items that come across the TV and computer screens.  With the wonderful help of Terry (the website manager), here are some links that may bring hope and encouragement.  

"I know the answer to what we all most do — it is to profess love, not hate, to love one another and to love strangers.”
Chris Hurst
Mission: Ultimate Peace builds bridges of friendship, trust, and leadership between youth who live in communities divided by conflict, using the values-based sport of Ultimate as its tool.

Vision: Thousands of youth who would never otherwise meet due to conditions of their regional conflicts will apply lessons learned in the UP program and work together to create a brighter future.

Link to Ultimate Peace website and video.

Please send us any links or stories that we may add to our collection of  â€œGood News”!   We love to hear from you and especially about this subject.

Please note the 8 steps endorsed by Dr. Winters in her book,
Inclusion Starts with I            

Dr. Winters' â€œinclusion solution” website lists these 8 steps:
  • Know self first
  • Value Self
  • Acknowledge your prejudice
  • Open yourself to change
  • Learn about others
  • Value differences
  • Include others
  • Embrace personal growth

It was exciting for me to discover that Dr. Winter’s steps are much the same as those in the “Mindful Meditation” I teach in workshops, and to see that Namaste is the natural product of both.  

Click here: Uncrowned Community Builders :: Biography for Dr. Mary Frances Winters
“In mindfulness one is not only restful and happy, but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.”

Thích Nhất HạnhThe Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation
Here is a shortened guide to “Mindful Meditation” as I teach it.  I hope you find it useful. 

As with any meditation, you should only do it when you are seated comfortably away from distractions – not operating any machinery or driving.
Mindful meditation guide

The first part is awareness of breathing – this establishes the platform, the support or anchor for the 2nd part   

Find a comfortable place to sit or recline with your feet uncrossed.

Be aware of your physical self - the pressure of your body as you sit in the chair - the way your feet feel on the floor.

Imagine that you have an inner device - like a scanner or scope - that can flow around all through and over your body.  Check out where you feel tense or uncomfortable - or tight.  Allow yourself to be mindful - to be aware - of your body and how it feels.

Then turn your awareness to your breath.  Take a couple of deep breaths.

Then, returning to normal breathing - notice how it feels when you inhale - how your body moves - how you respond - and how your body feels when you exhale.  Notice the difference - don’t try to direct the breath - just allow it to flow naturally.  Be mindful of your breathing.

This attention to breathing prepares you for the next step -  awareness of self.

With your body calmer and your mind focused - allow yourself to notice your own mental activities your thoughts -your feelings.

Allow these mental activities to come and go - noticing without judgement or analyzing.  It’s as if you are sitting in the theater of your own mind.  You are noticing and observing the various characters as they come across the stage.  These characters are your own creations - your thoughts – beliefs – memories – emotions.

They have arisen from your memories - your perceptions - your typical responses - they are not real.  The thought of an elephant is not an elephant.  It is simply your picture of an elephant. Don’t try to get on it and ride or engage with it.  Just watch as it joins the parade.
When you sense that you are done - simply and gently return to full and normal consciousness. But you get to keep the gifts of this exercise. You have been fully present for life.   You have been an attentive listener for yourself.
Having gifted ourselves with attention and understanding, we may practice Namaste and inclusion.  I was thinking about the words from the Christian New Testament.  Jesus said, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”  What is often neglected is the emphasis on loving “thyself.”  I believe this means loving yourself in the same way a parent loves a child. She offers the child the gifts of acceptance, comfort, protection and peace.
A loving parent encourages her child to better behaviors.  A loving parent listens to her child.  In the embrace of such love, we can extend those same gifts to “others.” 
Join the conversation….

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Future Events

The Dr. is in…the Graden Hypertufa Workshops at McKee and Heathcote Botanical Gardens
Visit the website for details about future events:  

We’d love for you to attend. Events Page
Copyright © 2015 Kendra Brown, Ph.D, All rights reserved.

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