The Mind Body Connection

You may have heard of the Mind Body Connection, this unique turn of phrase used to describe some mystical or fad wellness existence that has us scratching our heads and wondering what, how, when and who? We have asked Andrea Lane, an accredited Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapy practitioner and author who specialises in transforming lives for emotional, physical and mental wellbeing. Who better than give us the run down on what on earth this jargon is and does it really help?  

So what is it and is there science behind it? How can it benefit you on a daily basis and how on EARTH do we obtain it? 

The Mind and how it impacts the body

Our thoughts and feelings play an important part in influencing our physical health.  Thoughts impacting health is not just a theory thought up over turmeric lattes and mandala classes. It is science. How so? Well, when we have a particular thought or feeling it affects our nervous system by using neuropeptides. Neuropeptides are a naturally occurring group of compounds in our body which act as neurotransmitters or messengers as a simpler term. They carry messages back and forth between the mind and the body. They are involved in a wide range of brain functions, including analgesia, reward, food intake, metabolism, reproduction, social behaviors, learning and memory. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuropeptide)

Neuropeptides are constantly changing their configuration that reflect the changes in our emotional state. (Anastasia Christidou) Therefore when our emotional and mental state is out of balance, these neuropeptides may create physical symptoms that appear in the body.  

The interesting thing is that when each thought is associated with a particular emotion, and if that emotion builds prevalence it will build up more of these neuropeptides. Imagine it gets stronger each time it is triggered.  A meta-analysis of about a hundred smaller studies confirms that when this emotion build up is experienced long term there arises the risk of a whole range of diseases. Some of these can include heart disease, headaches, asthma, arthritis, skin disorders, etc. When that emotion is triggered, a peptide is released within the physical body.

Our physical body can be changed by the emotions we experience as our organs, tissues, skin, muscle and endocrine glands all have peptide receptors on them and can access and store emotional information.  An amazing point of reference is Human Givens by Joe Griffin, Ivan Tyrell  where unexpressed emotions are examined and with evidence to show that they are literally lodged in the body.

Therapies that encompass the Mind Body Connection

Therapies such as Visual Emotional Repatterning – The Bilateral 5 Eye Movement Process, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Tapping, EMDR, Brainspotting access the part of the brain and body where the emotions are created and stored that assists in discharging and the releasing of them.

 

Negatives if we ignore the Link:

In recent times our perception of the body has changed from what appears to be a vehicle for the mind to live in, to a process that is in constant flow of neuro information and energy.  The fifty trillion cells in the body are constantly communicating with each other as they carry out countless of functions to keep you alive. Studies have also shown that nothing holds more power over the body than the mind. Expanding our self-awareness is to harness the unlimited power of the mind.  When our self-awareness is narrowed such as when one is feeling stuck in trauma, anxiety, or depression it creates a stress state, the information flow throughout the mind and body is impacted.

Being stuck in toxic emotions can create a negative feedback cycle between the mind and body. As a result to cope we often take on non- nurturing habits such as over eating, poor food choices, denying ourselves exercise, drinking, nail biting, gambling, drug use, to help us cope which in turns creates more internalized pressure and stress.  

Becoming aware, the path to happiness and wellness

As Deepak Chopra states if we expand our awareness of ourselves and the world with more compassion and understanding our energy is free to flow which creates more energy, vitality, being open to new possibilities and a new reality. I believe this translates locally within our own body, then those around us, then so on, expanding to the greater community. Being conscious of our mind and our body helps to establish a firm and evolving connection- and ultimately wellness and happiness. Meditation, yoga and mindfulness practices are well-known tools that allows for the expansion of this conscious awareness.

Ultimately if you deal with the emotion or feeling and the thoughts will change naturally.

If you would like to find out more about your Body Mind Connection you can contact Andrea here.

If this article interested you- please feel free to share it! Sharing good news, helpful news and information that can help other’s in some way is why we create Ponderings. Also feel free to leave positive feedback or questions in the comments below.

The Best BookShops In Vic

by Renae Failla

As we edge into the depths of the digital age we see bookshop upon bookshop closing their doors. It’s sad, I mean what happened to the delight of kids using their pocket money to purchase their favourite book. We live in a reality where we are constantly sitting at computer screens. Whether it be from the morning when we wake up and eat breakfast, during the day when we are at work or sneaking in our favourite tv show before bed. It is true, we can’t escape this wave of technology, however, these independent bookstores have proved that not all good bookstores are lost and there is a plethora of curated content waiting on their shelves.

The Brunswick Street Bookstore

www.brunswickstreetbookstore.com

The Brunswick Bookstore has been around since 1987. Their aim is to provide friendly service to customers while they browse and stock a large variety of books from fiction, to cookbooks to kid friendly picture books. The owner Peter Mews tells us what sets them apart from the rest.

Who is your customer base?

Our customer base would be those from the Inner city, educated. We appeal to all ages and those who come from all walks of life.

How have you survived in the digital age? What is your point of difference to other bookstores?

Independent curated content and quality service.

What is your favourite book of the month?

My favourite book of the month would be Adult fantasy by author Briohny Doyle. It is a book that has a contemporary feminist view of adulthood.

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Eltham Book Shop

www.facebook.com/elthambookshop/

The Eltham Bookshop is a quaint little bookshop located in Melbourne’s north easterly suburbs. Featuring a myriad of wonderful titles this cosy place aims to support the local literary community of publishers and that’s why we love it!

Who is your customer base?

My customer base is my community in Nillumbik and Banyule Shires. Avid readers young and old, book club members, readers who are curious, adventurous, browsers and not stuck on ‘bestsellers’ lists.

How have you survived in the digital age? What is your point of difference to other bookstores?

The bookshop’s life has been a rollercoaster and it keeps going like that. Online and Amazon are not fair playgrounds to be competing with. They are taking the joy of discovery, of the excitement of being present in a space filled with ideas and the life work of creative artists. The bookshop is fiercely independent and takes pride in curating its stock so that when people walk in they see the love and care with which words are treated. We do support local publishers and social justice issues and over 20 years have hosted an author event every week, plus literary festivals in partnership with universities, community groups and schools.

What is your favourite book of the month?

I have just finished reading Michael Chabon’s ‘Moon Glow’ and am currently reading an advance copy of Arundhati’s new book ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’. Both are masterly works detailing history, politics, endeavors of ordinary people to make something of their lives. Both are written in a penmanship that makes you pause and delight in the power of language and creative expression.

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Embiggen Books

www.embiggenbooks.com

Embiggen Books, located on Little Lonsdale Street is the perfect place to curl up with a book and of course a hot chocolate. They have no online shop so they really do encourage face to face interaction.

“We have put a lot of effort into creating a store that’s a pleasure to browse in and that pays respect to the books we hold, so all we really want is to see you come through our door.”

We spoke to Warren from Embiggen Books to see how they stand out from the crowd.

Who is your customer base?

That’s a hard question really it would be businesses in the area. All sorts of people.

How have you survived in the digital age? What is your point of difference to other bookstores?

I would say that our point of difference is that each store curates their own books with a very unique selection

What is your favourite book of the month?

At the moment I would like to read Ten Types of Human by Dexter Dias.

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The Little Library

Now, this one is the smallest of all Independent bookshops– but you probably remember it from your sprints to the train station as you run to catch the train that arrives in 2 minutes. At this bookstore, you won’t need your wallet, only a much-loved book that you are ready to pass on to someone else. It is a community-based bookstore that allows you to swap one of your own books in place for a new title

This bookstore is open to all and of course, its point of difference to other bookstores is the fact that it offers an innovative solution for bookworms. Even the digital age is no feat for this mini library.

Antipodes Bookshop & Gallery- Sorrento

www.antipodesbookshop.com

This one is my personal favourite because I have so many childhood memories of sitting out the back in the kids-teen section and if we were all good enough (my brother, sister and myself) then our parents would promise to buy us one of our favourite books- I loved this more than anything.

Antipodes Bookshop & Gallery is an amazing place which is hidden at the end of the main street in the coastal town Sorrento. They also have some amazing art hidden amongst the books so there is always something new to look at when you go in. The staff are friendly and they are happy to help with staff recommendations in any category.

What is your favourite book of the month?

Their book of the month is The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy that focuses on the theme ‘Love can heal everything’.

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There has never been a better time to get reading whether it be getting back into or continuing the love of. I know I can’t wait to get into these intriguing recommended titles!

We know there are so many more! So please be sure to comment below on your fave independant bookstore!

No Eyes are Better Than Two

No Eyes Are Better Than Two 

Some of you may know, but many of you may not- that for a time after brain surgery I was blind. Blind, about 4% vision in one eye and zero in the other. It was confronting, frightening but then the strangest thing happened- my biology morphed and adjusted. Not only did it adjust but I found myself with a whole new set of skills. I could cut through all the rubbish and get to the grit, purely because I didn’t have to utilise and get past visual cues. My hearing became almost bionic, and I became incredibly perceptive in being able to hone in on people’s emotions from the tone of their voice. Rather than being a sad event- it was one of the most incredible and profound experiences of my life. I told those I loved that I now had super-powers and the process my body went through to enhance itself without sight was miraculous. Sure I had a few brick imprints on my head – double brick homes are not favorable. But hey, dints can be sexy!

What also became very apparent, was that even though I felt enhanced in many ways, I was not seen this way by others. I had no hair, I had many deep and shocking scars over my head, swelling to the side of my head and I had to learn how to walk again. I was disabled. I had to learn a lot of new skills and abilities, sure. But I didn’t view myself as dis-anything. I was very lucky to be alive, I was grateful to be alive, and I knew I had some hard work ahead. To many, my situation was about “how sad” my situation was, which created a “less than” mentality. Complete strangers would say lovely things edged with unmistakable pity. A huge presumption was being made, that my life was less terrific because I did things differently now. I have never looked at another “disabled” person the same again. To me, those that are “enhanced” have an evolved sense of so much MORE than the average Joe. More than. Not less than.

Within 6 months my sight returned- this was a very unexpected event. I was grateful for my return of sight, for two reasons only- smiles and colour. I missed it. I missed seeing my children’s smiles and sunsets. Everything else? I could do.

 

Not long ago one of my children saw a man in a wheelchair, turned to me and said: “Look at that poor man with no legs Mum.” This beautiful child of mine had empathy- a gift to be sure. But I turned to him and said “Don’t ever think that man has less than honey, look at that smile. I bet he’s happier and more successful than anyone we know. And, he’s got great wheels.” I looked at my son and saw that his look had changed from empathy to admiration towards a stranger that was “different.”

When I stumbled across this video, it took my breath away and made me smile and laugh, because it is the most accurate perspective I have yet heard about “being blind.”

Susan has so accurately verbalized the time I had. I can honestly tell you that if I needed a judge of character, I would trust someone without eye vision that has the inner vision in a heartbeat.

Enjoy, be sure to comment below and share this incredible TED-talk.

Ponderings Turns A Page

It is difficult to be caught up in a tangle of survival. Its very essence can stir you around like a bottle in the ocean.

I imagine myself hanging on to that bottle for dear life. It is dear. Life. So dear.

It isn’t until I look up out of the lurching rolling waves that I see a hand reach out for mine. I see a boat, and I reach out, grabbing, swinging a leg over the side and up into the timber nest I slide, gasping for air and feeling relief.

I get really scared every now and again. My biggest concern is that I don’t do enough. I worry about wasting time. Wasting dear life. I don’t like mundane activities very much, but mundane also has a place in life and without it, the profound could lose its meaning. There’s the whol inoperable brain situation and there’s life really. Life. What a word.

You see, there are a whole lot of “I’s in that paragraph, and it seems to me when the focus is all on the “I,” it can become intense and all consuming. The heart and soul can feel fuller, lighter and more profound in other ways.

Perhaps one of the aspects worth lots of introspection is spiritual health and attention. I think this starts with the bigger questions or the deeper ones that don’t echo with the emptiness of a needy and fearful “I” but instead make the ground shift and mountains move with the resounding “I AM, followed by “We Are.”

When I speak the word, spirituality-I do not speak about religion. I have nothing against religion personally. I am talking about the Human Spirit and its interaction with the mystery and marvel, the magnificent dance with the greater good. The relationship between resilience, the human condition, faith, wellness of heart, wellness of mind and a satellite view of “US”. Such is the riddle of anthropology and faith. But I will warn you: I am a Christian, and I am not afraid to say it. My best friends are atheists, Jewish folk, Buddhist and my secret favorites; Hindus. There are even some Catholics in the mix, more than a few Muslims and a collective of Agnostics. But we are all humans, and we all ponder.

Dr. Scott Peck of The Road Less Travelled says “We need not be afraid. But we still are. Faith does not come easily. I still run scared. There is this that I can say, however. As a result of my minuscule faith, I run a little less scared than I used to. Thank God.”

Wisdom is forged from the mindful contemplation of “the US” and all that is around us. When the deeper stirrings are attended to and when the quickening of the brain has calmed to a docile lion instead of a mischievous monkey we are all the better for it.

When we shake off the manipulations of those in power that seek to bind us. When we realise that our body is indeed a temple and should be nourished naturally with the good food and substance the earth has for us when we care for it. When we can look out at the world around us from within and smile because it is good regardless of the all hurt, we have won.

You can improve that which disgruntles you. You can coax it into the light and infuse it with love and illumination, or you can continue to critique it’s existence and quibble at its failures and fissures, or you can deny it’s existence entirely marching on into the mundane, safe trap of habit. There is a choice to be made.

In my travels this year, I interviewed some of the most astounding Ponderers. Humans who made the choices for a greater good, a small act of kindness, a passion for overcoming that which ails us in. From children to grown ups and the grown ups that refuse to conform. They have welcomed my questions and have allowed my pen and keyboard to bounce at a rhythm faster than lightning, melded with that special “something” that gives you goosebumps and reminds you that there is something bigger than us. They might have cornflake dandruff, wear their clothes on inside out or perhaps they ability to burp the alphabet whilst they wrangle with saving the planet, who knows?

My journey has allowed me to grow a social media business so big I have had to scale it back and evolve it to something different, a sharing of knowledge to those seeking to step into that space of awesome without having to worry about mistrust or integrity of those providing a service hindered by messy technology. In this journey, I have learned how to present information, how to produce content, podcasts, and platforms in new and enjoyable ways.

So I find myself turning a page to a new chapter. It came to me one night, and the entire picture was written down in the space of 20 minutes. I would love to say my epiphanies fall gently on my shoulder like a downy white angel feather. They do not. They hit me in the forehead like a semi trailer packed with dynamite. So the “I” is going to become “Us”, Ponderings of Kirsten is going to lose the name Kirsten in its title and become Ponderings. A free online place where you will witness stories of the human spirit, laced with gutsy, real life, with the sprinkle of dark humor and laughter, with maybe a few tears. But a whole lot of Ponderings, in the form of interviews, Ponderings Radio and guest writers. There will be featured artists, musicians, painters, poets, and activists.

While the hundreds of emails that hit the Ponderings inbox with gratitude and thanks for sharing warts and all accounts of a possibly dying but mostly living girl, my world has filled to the brim with those with even more than this. So much more to fill your cup with and drink. It is my legacy now to pull you into the boat with the new guests of Ponderings and me while we ride out this boat ride together. We will play music, tell tales, inspire you and unlace the knots with you, but most of all we will smile, and we will laugh. By God, we will laugh. We will have heartsmiles by the dozen and disrupt this good earth into oblivion!

My motto that came to me in a moment when I pondered my intention-

Be of the eye that seeks to improve with love and be the lantern that brings light to the dark corner.

Watch this space beautiful humans. x Kirsten

 

Wherefore Art Thou Jana?

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1987 was the year of Dirty Dancing, Lost boys and Nightmare on Elm Street, it was the year Robin Williams screamed Good Morning Vietnam and the term bunny boiler was coined from Fatal Attraction. 87 was the year Ben Mendelson debuted in The Year my Voice Broke and when Scott and Charlene were married to the serenade of Angry Anderson singing Suddenly.

How I looked at Ramsay Street with unadulterated envy. My street was nothing like that. I’m not sure that everybody needed a neighbor in our little stretch. Just a friendly wave each morning, helps to make a better day, next door is only a footstep away. Are you humming it yet?

Only a footstep away was the old mate over the road I had to bypass to get to the shops. That man could spit at least a meter or even two.

When I was a kid, Mum would give me all of the 1 and 2 cent coins in the house in a little bag to go down and get things from the corner shop. It wasn’t far. Just at the end of my street, but it was the adventure of a lifetime every time. Walking past the scary old guy on the corner was freaky, he would just sit there staring into nothingness, but his ability to urinate into the garden and spit meaner than a pissed off donkey was impressive. I often wondered what he was looking at and I am not going to lie, his wiry white hair and grunting made me nervous. You just couldn’t trust a grown-up who could spit like that; it wasn’t natural.

The next stretch was the empty block with very long grass. Now if you grew up in the Australian countryside, a block with long grass on a hot summer day could spell trouble. A small rustling sound in the dry husks could signify an early demise, for surely it was a brown snake or a red belly black ready to have a feed and snuff you out. Thankfully I was skin and bone, not much to eat. Too bony and crunchy for the likes of a Joe Blake. Even so, I could recall how quickly the adults jumped during Friday night drinks when one slithered in under the bar stools. You could understand my nervous hesitation.

Melting bitumen was the order of the day, the stuff that made your thongs tacky (melting rubber), with heat hovering over it like an invisible man hologram. Man that was hot potato, do you remember going to the local pool and having to hot step it with wet feet on hot concrete? Yeah, exactly. Ouch.

Then there were the hoons. Young men amped up with testosterone and P-plates, armed with their dole money chucking laps in their Toranas or Datsuns with White Snake pumping out of the cassette decks like an audio bomb. This was no Bose finesse doof doof folks. This was Uncle Mick’s old Clarion tape deck with second hand Alpine speakers, wires gaffa taped to the carpet. Rockin soul right there. imgres-6

They would yell things out, awful things I didn’t know what they meant. Later I did and they should have had their mouths washed out. Uncouth Youth of the other side of the tracks.

The ticker ticker of front lawns sprinklers with garden gnomes standing sentry would guard my path.

Eventually, I worked out that I needed a distraction. I found myself impersonating my idol, the mentor of my life and the keeper of my dreams and ambitions Jana Wendt. Good grief the woman was a shitstorm in a teacup. Nicknamed the perfumed steamroller by her male counterparts I had never seen anything like her. She was so smart, she had an excellent vocabulary and got to interview lots of interesting people. Her curly questions to men were the best bits. Kids watched He-man, I watched Jana. During the Fitgerald inquiry, her ability to break down to the facts and cut through BS were dynamite. I had no idea what the Fitgerald inquiry was about, the only Fitzgerald’s I knew was Fitzys, the local supermarket. But she was better than scrunchies and Debra Harry, she was smart and she got to ask cool questions.

So I would copy her mannerisms, tilt my head in a certain way, practise my voice pitch, my look of serious contemplation and oh yesses, yes of courses, and I understand, and interview the world’s greatest. One time I was interviewing Muhammad Ali about the San Diego bust up, and I would often have fascinating in-depth discussions with Michael Jackson and his opinion about Jacques Chirac’s deal to open a new Disney in France. MJ was the expert on amusement parks. I longed to meet his chimp and get the moonwalk- slight- heel turn spot on. This was the icing on the cake for a future author/ballerina/news anchor.

There was one time the year before, and my then step-father gave my cousin of awesomeness and me the task of going to the tuckshop to get supplies of some nature. All he could find was a one dollar note. This cousin of mine was the Joan of Arc to my Jana. Fearless and mighty she could give sass to a grown up at 200 paces. Now kids, back in those days a one dollar note was 100 of those 1 cent coins, and a 1 cent coin could buy a lolly. We entered with the clang of the shop bell, the sugary hot chip and newspaper scent greeting us. A slight glint of the sun outside illuminated the glass case to our right. Heaven descended upon us, a case filled with treasures of musk sticks, bananas, caramel drops and sherbert bombs, milky bottles and Big Boss cigars. imgres-3

Three things happened simultaneously so fast it was breathtaking, my cousin Kelly reminded me of our secret cousin nod, that we possessed the ability at that moment to purchase ONE HUNDRED OF THEM, the shopkeeper asked “ What do you kids want?” like a Scooby Doo classic, and my mouth watered. It was a trinity of circumstance out of my control.

All thoughts for fulfilling our quest for my step-father’s goodies evaporated quicker than you could say chocolate freckle. We bought a paper bag so large we could barely hold it. I cannot remember if I ever got into trouble, the memories must have been overcome with Jube Hallucinations. The rebellious joy of it was almost too much to handle.

The joy of the one cent coin never translated to the faces of the people at the shops, and I could never work out why. On my interview walks by myself, carrying the big heavy bag of treasure, bypassing hoons and snake infested paddocks I would cross2819a41b7f78b5c07b4ab59c364c5c0f the last path of fear. Jumping the cracks in the footpath and ignoring the Magpies as they sharpened their beaks on the branches like Samurais sharpening lethal swords, then there was the house with THE DOG. A big brown fence was the only thing keeping me away from a Rottweiler the size of Kong. He didn’t care that I was an 11-year-old bag of bones, he wanted to eat me. You could literally hear his foamy spit. Have you heard spit before? Between old mate over the road and the Rottweiller, it was a freakin spit parade. So I would pretend he was Joh Bjelke Petterson and I would give him a Jana -what for’ as I ran a stick across the fence.

On arrival to the shop, the shop people would look at me funny. It was a ‘here comes one of them again’ look. I would hand over my bulging bag of 1 and 2 cents to buy milk, or bread or some such thing for mum and they looked at me like I had dropped a poo in their palm.

One lady would look at me and smile with an “oh poor love” look. She must have recognized my frustration at being a Pulitzer prize winner in an 11-year old’s body stuck in the Bronx.

Flash-forward 30 years later, and childhood is a vast haze a whole dimension away from conscious thought.

When I was asked to be an editor for a woman’s magazine it was like being handed the keys to the Kingdom. A branch was gently pulled away, and there was the entry to Terabithia in all its awesome glory. What joy! The joy I felt was that of a child, so excited and very hard to be professionally cool and suave about it. Then yesterday happened.

Yesterday I was sitting in my office and doing a phone interview with Prof. Fiona Wood. I was interviewing this terrifically skilled human who not only saves lives but is the Marie Curie of scar technology in the world. The world! Gosh moment I can tell you.

About ¾ of the way through, Fiona told me something incredibly witty and funny, and it must have been the tilt of my head with a aha-combo and a ‘yes I see” response that caused it. I am not entirely sure, but suddenly I was transported back into the moment of crack-jumping, snake avoiding, Jana interviewing Thug Life. My apprenticeship worked, it happened. I realized that at that moment, I was holding in my hands a dream realized and it was bloody amazing. That night I told my sister, who and said I should write a blog about it.

Our dinner table conversation last night was stellar. Jana Wendt if you are out there somewhere: you are my hero and rescuer from White Snake ballads and $2.50 worth of hot chips in 1 cent pieces.

For my darling cousin Kelly- today I am buying a big bag of lollies while I write this, and every one of them will remind me of my adoration of you and your terrific ability to be Joan of Arc in a child’s body, ready to protect and teach me to be brave and mighty. You made my childhood awesome x