Zhuang Zi from the 3rd century BCE said “We are born because it is time, and we die in accordance with nature. If we are content with whatever happens and follow the flow, joy, sorrow cannot affect us.”
This is what the ancients called freedom from bondage.
In our modern world, we hear a lot about leading a balanced life. We hear so much about balance it can almost lose its true meaning. Often it is code for being very busy and trying to fit everything in. Not really balanced at all. One of the ancient philosophies associated with Chinese medicine is Daoism which suggests we live in a state of flow and be less focused on controlling the outcome of our lives. The paradox being that the things we do achieve will be true to us and what indeed supports and serves us, enabling us to share more of ourselves, in our work and private lives. One of the very welcome benefits of living this way is good health, physical and emotional health, even longer life.
Daoism speaks of change as a constant.
We see it daily in the turning of the day, as night becomes day. We see it as we move through our lives, it never stops. But we can become very attached to the way things are, sometimes so connected we cannot see the way to the next place, or what the next best step might be. So, attached that we stick with what we know even if it is not serving us well. It is familiar, safe. Sometimes life must shout very loudly at us so we can hear what is on offer. Things can become very out of balance as this process unfolds. It can affect our physical and emotional health significantly.
In Chinese medicine, we observe that the different organs are associated with mixed emotions. When we are living in harmony, each of our organs is supported and can function optimally. The heart, for example, is said to house the spirit, it has a strong relationship with a bright, alert mind, clarity of thinking. When things are out of balance, there can be anxiety, insomnia and general agitation, even mania.
The liver is said to oversee the free flow of things, it is also the strategist. When our lives are happy, we can plan effectively. When they are not anger can become a problem.
The kidneys have a strong relationship with fear.
When we overwork and constantly push we deplete the kidneys vitality and our own life force. The spleen can be taxed by overthinking, going over and over and over things. This can cause a foggy head, fatigue and a feeling of melancholy. The whole body can feel heavy and damp. It can feel as if we are living in a fog and are stuck not moving forward.
However, when the flow of life is respected the organs support one another and importantly support the whole being. Life is vital and alive. The energy of our lives flows and changes with grace, and we are able to live a fully productive and balanced life.
About Philippa Youngs
Philippa Youngs has been educated and trained by some of the world’s most experienced Chinese Medicine Practitioners, Acupuncturists and Myotherapists at Australia’s prestigious universities. The dynamic natural health practitioner has spent decades honing her craft with a passion for helping families achieve their goals. To find out more about Philippa go to: http://philippayoungs.com.au
What’s the difference between a professional and an expert?
The person who not only has impressive qualifications but has walked the walk and speaks from experience. Bravery comes in many forms and sharing a personal story that may in some way help another is a type of courage we love at Ponderings. We welcome one such person: Sarah Healy- Health Professional and life changer.
Here’s a discovery that may help you on your journey: exercise helps to reduce anxiety but how do we put it into action? I can speak from experience, and I want to share this with you.
I’m an Exercise Physiologist, and up until recently low and behold I had a fear of exercise.
Sounds ridiculous right? I started to avoid exercise, feeling anxious and using every excuse under the sun to resist. I used pain and injury as my excuse. My clients come to me with pain and injury, and I give them exercises to help.
I wasn’t always this way, but I have for a very long time identified myself as an injured person. I remember going to a chiropractor as a gymnast at ten years old because I was experiencing back pain and that continued through years of gymnastics, competitive aerobics (never was very good at that fake smile), track cycling and anything else I could try.
After having my first two children, my anxiety levels were through the roof.
Sometimes just the thought of going for a walk or a ride would stir up pain in my back and knees. Back spasms weren’t uncommon, and I feared it would be too debilitating to feed and carry my babies. None of my pain or injuries were severe, but my anxiety would cause tension, and that tension and memory of pain would bring on more pain and panic.
Stress or anxiety causes a stress response, fight or flight. Chronic anxiety can lead to hyperstimulation, even if the threat has passed, leading to headaches, tight and painful muscles and general aches and pains.
I was anxious about exercising, not exercising, having injuries, having pain, putting on weight; afraid people would think that because I was injured, unfit, in pain and overweight I wouldn’t know what I was talking about professionally.
I didn’t initially realize that my anxiety was increasing my pain.
It was when I noticed it in a family member that was experiencing pain always just before the same event and always less when away on holidays that it finally linked for me. I was also very aware of what I was missing out on with my family when my husband would take the kids for a walk or ride, and I wouldn’t go. I was missing out on so much. I was determined not to identify myself as an injured person. It wasn’t the exercise as much as wanting to move daily as part of my routine, wanting to move and not thinking about it so much.
The mental aspect of pain is so incredibly powerful that you can experience higher levels of pain just by receiving an MRI diagnosis than compared to those with the same injury but without MRI investigations. You are not your MRI; you are not your diagnosis.
Countless studies have identified the benefits of exercise for the symptoms of anxiety so I was well aware that exercise could help me too. Where I stumbled was the very thought of exercise was making me feel anxious. I needed to reduce the fear of exercise and the only way I could do that was also to reduce my fear of pain and injury. If I was to try exercising I needed to be calmer and accept that if I was to feel pain during or after my session that would be ok. My pain was not an emergency.
New neural pathways were needed in my brain, to bypass my routine response of ‘oh no I’m about to exercise and make all of my injuries and pain worse!’ Who would create those pathways? Me.
I would meditate and imagine my body relaxing, my muscles relaxing and when I started to add more exercise, I would treat myself like I would treat my clients (I know right? Who knew?) As therapists we are so good at helping others we often neglect ourselves!
I went back to basics but also changed things up because with different exercises or environments I was less likely to predict a movement that would cause me pain.
A local ‘Ninja Warrior’ gym was one I tried. Ninja training meant fun climbing rope ladders and monkey bars and flipping tyres, the time would fly by. It didn’t feel like a workout, and I gradually started to trust my body again and not obsess over little niggles. Activities I did not even consider through fear of pain and debilitation were now an option.
Muscle fatigue and pain from exercise, the ‘good pain’ -I don’t fear. I love the feeling of my body reminding me I have put in the effort. I have enjoyed welcoming that feeling back into my life.
Please find movement that you enjoy even if it takes you years and many trials to work it out. ASK FOR HELP from physical and mental therapists. Meditation and mindfulness are such powerful tools too. I have learned to believe I can heal and if I do experience pain, I can relax with it before panic makes it escalate. I have even recently started playing Gaelic Football, it’s not easy, I haven’t run in years but its fun, so much fun.
We are blessed with so much choice here in Australia, take advantage of that. It doesn’t have to be an organized sport it can be hiking to a waterfall, swimming, a circuit with a group of friends, walking your dog on the beach, street orienteering (it’s a thing, look it up, it can be fun) Moreover, if that means being the slowest on a Gaelic football team and sitting on the bench for the finals than do it and cheer as loudly as you can. At least then you’ll have a reason to train.
I can’t say that my anxiety is gone, but it has diminished.
There were a few anxious tears before the first few Gaelic training sessions, could I do this? What will others think of me? I’m too heavy, slow, uncoordinated? However, each time I attended those sessions, it would get easier to tie up my boots and go.
So why am I sharing my story with you?
Because for someone with anxiety you can feel very alone with your experience. You agonize over every detail and can become very focused on your own story and worries. Once you start to open up, you realize your story is not that different from so many others. I have learned so much from everyone that provided me with the tools to help myself, and I have continued to research more so I can help my clients get back their joy in movement.
Want to get in touch with Sarah and find out more about healthy healing? This inspiring human can be found HERE.
About Sarah Healy:
Exercise Physiologist – AEP AES ESSAM | Bachelor of Applied Science – Human Movement |
Graduate Diploma – Exercise for Rehabilitation | Cert IV – Training & Assessment
An Exercise Physiologist with over 13 years of experience and has been employed in the sport and fitness industry since 1996. Sarah works with individuals experiencing pain, musculo-skeletal injuries, posture/muscle imbalances and those that have developed anxiety relating to exercise and movement.
Nothing frustrates me more than the smoke and mirrors of marketing.
There is no greater culprit than social media and magazines (I can attest to that after years in the front row). Apps to change colors, make people skinnier, dedicated social media corners in otherwise messy homes and carefully curated ‘editorial’ that coincidentally showcases advertisers products…these are all ‘games’ I’ve seen played in the industry over the 20 years I’ve worked in marketing and media.
13 years ago, I started a little magazine in my hometown. It was sold a few years ago now, but it makes me very proud to still see it on the shelves today. When I started my second magazine, nine years ago, I was determined to keep it ‘real’ – no photoshopping, no excessive styling (making a bed or fluffing a pillow was OK, but that’s about as far as we went) – and I think I was living in a bit of a bubble as to how bad it was getting out there amongst even the most every day of people.
When I sold that second magazine, I was lucky to score a book deal with a small publisher.
How fun! I thought. I will just get to focus on creating great content, and I don’t have to worry about the rest. However, my concepts – about ‘real life’ were not received well and when I was asked to use a ‘stock shot’ (that’s a photo bought from a library of cataloged images) instead of the using an image that actually related to the piece, I knew it was time to make a move…and possibly head back to doing things my way.
So, Of The World Books was born.
I wanted to show readers that a perfectly curated ‘insta-room’ wasn’t the answer to happiness and that the best way to live is the way that suits YOU. My first three Homes Of The World books covered a variety of people living their dream. From a literal tin shed in Seychelles to an architecturally designed retreat in the Scottish Highlands…it’s all perfect if it’s what really makes your heart sing.
Later, I collaborated with a talented writer to explore artist’s homes and studios – if anyone knows how to live in a way that makes someone happy and creative, it’s those guys.
Food was next – after seeing a photographer friend work with a food stylist who carefully ‘built’ the perfect lasagna from cardboard and pins and fake cheese, I wanted to show that great tasting food doesn’t have to be styled within an inch of its life (and that terrible chefs, like me, have half a chance of recreating a new recipe if they’re game!)
Of The World Books has extended, over the last three years, to include two additional imprints (Fiosracht Press – Fiosracht is Gaelic for curiosity and wisdom – covers food, advice, and learning; and Accidental Publishing, for fiction) and an exciting 13 titles with nine more planned already for 2019. It’s a wonderful world we live in, where email and digital communication allows us to meet and discover people from all over the globe, and where a small independent publisher has the chance to create something real and share it with anyone and everyone!
There was a Greek man who had a way with words. Pre: warning this is a long one, so pull up a comfy chair and a beverage. It’s about to get real, ponderings or wafflings of Kirsten- you decide…
Anyway back to the Greek dude, he had this cool story about a Cave. It has challenged humans for hundreds of years and inspired them, like a never-ending piece of string. As an endearing Ogre once said, “there are layers.” For those that don’t know, here is the lowdown. We welcome Plato to Ponderings.
There is a cave with three prisoners tied to the roof and cannot look at anything but the cave wall in front of them. They have been there since birth never seeing outside the cave.
Unbeknownst to them, behind them, there is a fire. Between the prisoners and the light of the fire is a walkway. People walk along this walkway with all sorts of objects as well as small animals etc., like dogs and rodents.
As the people walk past, their shadows projected onto the wall in front of the prisoners. Imagine if this were you- if you had never seen these people, objects or animals before you would believe that the shadows of these things are ‘real.’
The prisoners play a guessing game; each one guesses what they are seeing and give it a name. The best guess according to them becomes the holder of all answers to nature.
One day the chains holding one of the prisoners becomes brittle and breaks, the prisoner then escapes and leaves the cave.
Shocked by what he sees outside, he does not believe it can be real.
As he becomes accustomed to his new surroundings, he ponders on if the shadows were real or if this world he sees is real. An intellectual journey ensues. He understands that his life in the cave was useless and the guessing game was pointless. He sees that the light is the source of life.
The prisoner returns to the cave to tell the other prisoners of his findings. Instead of listening to his voice of reason, the other prisoners threaten him with violence and death if he tries to set them free.
2018 is coming to an end. There are susurrations in the world alluding to the breaking of chains. Can you sense it?
Let’s be honest here, looking into the light and stepping into the metaphoric sun could scorch your arse, who are we kidding? It is a bit of whoa and a whole lot of hanging onto your bums; this ride is going to be big. You in?
What if instead of making a New Year’s resolution you make a daily one?
What if each morning you choose to be very observant so when the opportunity to reflect and be inquisitive about life presents itself, you can take it, hold it in your hand as a gift or like a new species you haven’t witnessed before. You may have encountered it a million times but never noticed it had wings that could make it fly…
Stepping into a place of real propagates growth under its light and warmth. Hangups and resistance lose their weightedness, no longer of service, weakened like brittle bars on a cage.
If you experience the bars crackling away, it gives room for Joy to enter. Realization and Epiphany are her friends, and they are contagious. While Joy is lots of fun, Realization can be a hard taskmaster and Epiphany can be two-faced, gifting either inspiration or hurt.
In my experience, the next dip in the ride happens like clockwork: not everyone wants to catch the bug, like those folks still chained up.
Some folks behave like you carry influenza of the philosopher kind and will kerchief their hearts and conversations quicker than a mortician during the black plague.
I am told by reliable sources with qualifications it is okay; it’s not you, it’s them. The chains are comfortable and aren’t disruptive. Disruption and change can unbalance and disturb people’s perception and equilibrium. In some cases, people can even act like asses. Asses come in all shapes and sizes. Passive aggressive is one that tickles my angry bone, outright agro is at least honest, patronizing or just wholly non-committal can be irritating otherwise known as Shruggers, or Whatevs. The clincher is when you were thinking you are out in the sunshine when you are in fact daydreaming while still chained up. There is no room for arrogance in life is there?
Perchance, you are in the company of awesome glimmering shiny people, and you are not in a cave but on a fabulous dance floor, losing yourself to the beat and the fun of movement, in the real sun, relishing the ride and excitement.
Some will smile and want to get on the dance floor with you and fly their freak flag too.
Some people will smile and wave with one hand while they throw rotten fruit with the other because deep down inside they want the connection, they wish to step onto the floor. Light and shade. It is the order of things.
As much as you cry out the invitation to C’MON and grab their hands and beg them to dance with you, you cannot make them. You cannot push and shove people. You really must not. Maybe their ankles are sore, perhaps their tender heart is broken, and they need time to heal it so that when they step onto the dance floor, it is their decision and will feel proud of the steps they took. Not by being dragged up by you.
Have you experienced this? You try and drag people up, and they shuffle their feet for as long as is necessary then quickly retreat to the chair to talk to someone or get on with what they were doing. It’s a groovy disco for happy folks and enablers too lol. There are all types here.
Some will go and drink and pretend no one is dancing at all, and some will self-medicate as it is all just a bit too much and they have no idea how to even walk to the floor because they were told their whole lives they have no legs. Some will make their own cubby house under the table with their friends, tucked in and feeling calm and safe. Everyone in their own time. Maybe you get up in your best sparkly stilletos and twist your ankle because you were so busy farting rainbows you didn’t see the cracks in the floor. It happens. As the very wise author Gary Zukav says “We are at earth school you know, anything can happen.” See the video after this article- it’s worth watching.
Perhaps your chains broke a long while ago and being in amongst the haste and hustle is wearing you down, leaving you enervated and midding. The world can be a wytai. Homesickness may kick in. Or you could sprain your ankle with your big sparkly platforms.
I happened upon a gem.
If you suddenly became aware this week that it is your last on this earthly plane- I can predict that you will not seek permission to do what you want, you will not hang on to old hurts as a reason for delay or resistance.
You will quite possibly think about the things you haven’t done you wish you had. You may
think of the people you genuinely love the deepest and want to express it to them. You will undoubtedly ponder about forgiveness and redemption. There will present a need for impulse and desire, a flashover or two. You will feel more love than envy or hate.
Alternatively, the fear of failing to trust yourself will hit you in the face like a backyard cricket game gone wrong.
However, I do know this my friends; you will indeed get up walk to the dance floor like a bug towards the light.
I have lived this and am blessed with good fortune to continue to be here in this wonderfully confusing place for what I hope and trust is much longer than what was anticipated. However, none of us ever really know do we? Sometimes turning to the light means thinking about our mortality. Restless inner stirring within is an unfulfilled destiny seeking you out. Perpetual and timely.
Listening to the music and understanding the rhythm of life in a new way with a realization that the DJ can play some pretty cool beats is not a bad place to be.
PS- if you are can you bring ice? I twisted my ankle and my arse is on fire. x Kirst
As someone who is fortunate enough to make a living from writing (historical fiction and a weekly newspaper and advice column), I often get asked what my writing process is like and what inspires me.
I wish I could say something really clever or divulge some kind of shared magic. Better still, I’d love to be able to say I sit in front of my computer in a dreamy haze, mounds of chocolate biscuits to one side, dressed in pyjamas, and let my fingers glide over the keyboard as stories pour forth in an unstoppable rush. I wish. The truth is, sadly, really dull. Writing, whether fiction or fact, is a hard grind for me. Not “hard” in the way other people’s jobs are (and ones I’ve had in the past), but in a sense, I take writing very seriously; treat it as a business (after all, I’ve deadlines, contracts, other people who rely on me). I work at it for set hours every day, and rewrite, edit, cut and delete in order to try and create the best stories and columns I possibly can. It doesn’t always come easy and certainly needs a lot of refining.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let me tell you how I approach novel writing…
Which is far more interesting than admitting how, akin to a (boring) sponge, I absorb as many newspapers and TV bulletins daily in order to write topical columns that contribute to social debate and prick the conscience – and generally make myself miserable about the state of the world in the process (but that’s another story).
When I start a new book, I tend to read a great deal of relevant historical non-fiction and fiction and completely immerse myself in the era. I spend months before I commence ordering books, journals, and documents; everything from court transcripts to academic treatises, maps, Ph.D.’s, to wonderful novels by talented writers set in the same period. I spend one-two years researching, usually while I’m in the editing and final stages of the previous book.
I take copious notes, re-read books, pour over maps and any paintings or photographs, and watch documentaries pertinent to the time as well. Then, when I feel I’m ready, I write. (I usually know because I can’t NOT write.)
I already know how the book will start and end.
But, how the book unfolds and where the characters take me is a complete mystery. In that sense, I am more a pantster (writing by the seat of my pants) than a plotter.
Listening to music composed in the era is really motivating, as is burning scented candles to evoke moods. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to the places I write about (if not the time – where’s Dr. Who and the Tardis when you need her?), so my photos and recollections while in situ are so helpful.
As for my inspiration…
Apart from history, and everything else mentioned, especially other people’s wonderful words and music, and my wonderful dogs, it’s people who are my main inspiration. The dead and the living. All the crazy, terrible, unjust and cruel as well as loving, heroic, brave and foolish things we do – to each other and ourselves – in the past and now.
It constantly depresses, challenges, emboldens and inspires me, to write, to ponder and to think about how we can all be better. I think about how I can write stories that capture what makes us who we are and where we can be and which fire the imagination. Then, I just hope like hell people like reading them as much as I love writing them.
I don’t know any author who sets out to write a book (or journalist a column or story) that doesn’t excite and move people. I’m no different. I just wish I was better at it too.
Dr. Karen Brooks: is an Author, columnist, social commentator and academic. Karen is also a part of a gorgeous brewery in Tasmania with her partner. The brewery and the authory keep her busy!
There is a photograph of Jillie A. Carter as a young school teacher and beauty queen…
Her delicate features and radiance shining from the picture, the kindness in her eyes stands out in a way that says “I am here to help people.” I saw this picture once on a visit to her home tucked away in the hill rise of Geelong. I was taken aback, many decades later her external beauty had not faded one scrap, and in addition to the elegance and kindness in her eyes, there is a wisdom of ages that validates this did in fact happen. Jillie A. Carter has indeed helped people.
With a career spanning more than 40 years dedicated to the service and well-being of others, Jillie has walked the road less traveled. From the offices of the corporate world to the classrooms of our children and the vulnerable space of women’s shelters- Jillie has been a guide for transformation. An advocate for the broken and inspirational.
Jillie has a trove of chapters in her story, but it is the one about her guidance from Louise Hay back in the formative days we thought you may enjoy.
Some influential humans have impacted holistic healing in the world, but one that genuinely ensorcelled the world is Louise Hay. The incredible author, mentor, and movement maker has impacted the lives of millions of people around the world and continues to do so via Hay House, a legacy that carries on her work internationally after her passing in 2017.
Jillie became acquainted with Louise’s work in the late 1970s, and what has ensued is a journey of servitude to others and a life of healing.
What Drove You to Start Your Self Awareness and Healing Journey?
I read Louise ’s book “ You Can Heal Your Life “ which had a profound effect on me.
Before this, I had been to wellness retreats in Australia and had delved into meditation. I heard about Louise’s courses coming to Australia and I was interested in it but was procrastinating about going.
In sheer frustration in listening to my procrastination, my husband dialed the phone number for Louise ’s course, handed me the phone and I found myself talking to Patricia Crane, Louise Hay’s co-worker who assisted Louise with the writing of the workshop manuals for the Teacher Training and Personal Coaching.
The Teacher Training Course involved about 35 people from different parts of Australia, coming together to connect with the aim being to change their life.
This course was to be a powerful channel for me to investigate and acknowledge the resentment, guilt, and feelings of not being good enough that I held deep within my own being.
So off I flew to Perth, Western Australia, to undertake the Louise L. Hay Teacher Training Course. This was a unique opportunity to get close to Louise’s work as it was the first time a training course based on her book was to be run in Australia. It was a life-changing, intense and nurturing environment exploring extensive therapies.
As well as the Louise L. Hay growth exercises we were introduced to her Mirror work. Each one of us had a mirror into which we were to look and say out loud “I Love Myself.”
How powerful was this exercise?
Most of us were in tears because this was just too threatening. Gradually we learned about the power of affirmations and the steps to arriving at being able to say “ I Love Myself. “
Later in September of the same year, “The Advanced Training Course/ Personal Coaching Course” was run in California U.S.A. and off I went. This gave me a qualification to work one to one with people as a “Personal Life Coach.” The past eighteen years I have worked with a wide range of clients including professional, trade, students and people from multicultural and diverse backgrounds.
The training I received enabled me to identify client specific issues and apply the relevant healing process required within a safe and confidential environment. It was a beautiful collection of tools to add to the work I love to do. To this day I continue to incorporate Louise L. Hay’s philosophies in my healing work.
What was Louise Hay like in the flesh?
She had an amazing presence, and I could see a violet aura around her which appeared to be huge. In one of her first books, I presented to her “ Love Your Body” she wrote “ LOVE LIFE JILLIE” in violet ink. I still treasure this.
We hear in conversations about personal growth the importance of Inner Child Work which Louise was an advocate for. Can you explain why this is important?
To go into the heart to meet your inner child enables you to surround her/him with love denied through physical, mental and or sexual interference and to replace anything negative that happened in childhood with positive unconditional love. If you had any form of abuse in your life as a child, shock or continuously being put down by others whether parents, siblings or friends, these hurt feeling stay locked in your heart and as hard as you try you can never feel relaxed, happy or that you have achieved your goal. Often those who have been hurt as children are high achievers as some part of them is crying out be recognized. This work also goes to the subconscious mind for transformation. This may lead to new career opportunities, new relationships, high self-esteem, confidence, travel, try new ventures and lead a fulfilling and rewarding life.
How does helping people to heal impact your life?
I enjoy seeing people become whole and well so they can fully embrace a positive life. There is a joy that comes with this work, to teach others to step into their own power, balance and self-harmony are incredibly rewarding.
Why is being of service to others important?
I went through a period of transformation which has enabled me to fully embrace beautiful things in life. I want to continue this service to others while I am alive on this planet, and my health allows me to continue this healing work.
It is in this response that I reflect there has not been a time when Jillie has not actually been in service to others during her career.
In the Ponderings office, we are quite fond of Kahlil Gibran.
This quote from him reminds me of Jillie and her loving kindness.
“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.”
More About Jillie A. Carter: In addition to a corporate career in Non For Profits Organisations spanning decades, Jillie has spent over 40 years developing an entire scope of modalities and qualifications that are a seamless reflection of assisting people in transforming their lives. Jillie is a celebrated keynote speaker, facilitator and specialist guide with a focus on transformational healing, guidance, meditation, mind-body connection, and personal growth.