Mindfulness is an ability we all possess. Just like a muscle, the more often that we choose to utilize it, the greater the ability grows. At its most basic definition, living mindfully is making the choice to be fully present in each moment. By bringing awareness to what you’re directly experiencing (sounds, scents, sensations) you can reduce ruminative thinking, improve your memory, and find a greater appreciation for both positive and negative experiences.
Meditation is a tool for becoming more mindful. It is an exploration of our internal landscape, where we unleash our natural curiosities and suspend our judgement. Often times, we’re not even aware of how busy our brains are, so by making the time to “check-in” and observe our thoughts, we can learn to better problem-solve and discover the root cause of our daily stressors and discomforts.
Ingrid Huffman is tackling the major issue of PTSD among military veterans... and she’s using tools she learned at SWIHA to help.
While the health issues facing returning military personnel are many, few present such a unique set of challenges as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a military nurse who served in the Navy–and later with the Army Nurse Corps in Iraq—Ingrid is committed to creating a world without PTSD—and a world without the suicide and homelessness rates among veterans and their families to which it contributes.
Ingrid is intimately familiar with the toll this disorder takes. After graduating from the University of Colorado, she spent four years with the Navy Nurse Corps and another nine as a civilian nurse. When the United States invaded Iraq, she joined the Army Nurse Corps—a decision which profoundly shaped her life and her understanding of the world around her.
AOS Mind Body Transformational Psychology,
For Tammy Coin, wellness is not a destination; it’s a magical adventure through a hall of mirrors hidden behind locked doors. Tammy also believes that the key to unlocking those doors and understanding the confusing reflections in that hall lies in developing a conscious awareness of our own life stories.
Tammy's story begins with a history of childhood trauma and abuse and complex PTSD, factors which created a strong sense of separation from other people within her... something which other survivors of trauma can certainly relate to and understand. "We often have feelings of not being enough, being empty, unseen, unheard, invisible and like nobody gets us,” Tammy articulates. “Naturally, I attract clients with similar histories. There is no greater gift than to feel seen and heard... to feel that somebody ‘gets it.’”
If you, or someone you know, is a caregiver, it goes without saying that you could probably use more sleep. You are not alone! The statistics are staggering: there are approximately 43.5 million people in the United States who identify as caregivers!
Approximately 8.5 million of these primary caregivers are single mothers and 2.5 million are single fathers. These numbers don’t include the 1.7 million veterans who have returned home in the last ten years and who are now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or some form of depression—individuals who also need a great deal of support and care.
Having recently completed a two and a half week assignment of being granny-nanny to my three youngest granddaughters (ages 10, 8 and 3 years old) while my daughter in-laws served in Africa, the words to the LEGOLAND theme song “Everything Is Awesome” will be forever etched in my brain. Nominated for Best Original Song at the 87th Academy Awards, the LEGO Movie song is infectious with its catchy rhythm; it’s difficult to not start shaking from side to side as if your body has turned into a little block-like-structure, bouncing around uncontrollably, when the words flow through your mind:
Everything is awesome, everything is cool when you’re part of a team!
Everything is awesome when you're living out a dream!
Was I living out a dream while spending 16 non-stop, action-packed, emotion-filled days dedicated to childcare… days which could easily be likened to one of the roller coasters at LEGOLAND, where we spent part of a week? Certainly… if this adventure was designed to assess and define the progression of my mindfulness practice!
How did I not lose my mind? By consciously and mindfully choosing to use as my sanity mantra the words, “Everything Is Awesome!”
Yoga Teacher Training,
"If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! If you're happy and you know it, and you're not afraid to show it, clap your hands!"
If you know these words, you've probably either been in Sunday school at some point in your life, been to one of my yoga classes, or you know my grandkids! This is one of my favorite theme songs…
And they are also the words that broke me wide open recently.
“If you’re happy and you know it…”
At our household, we sing all of the verses and variations! “If you're happy and you know it… stomp your feet, say AMEN, scratch your head, rub your belly, pretend you’re jelly!” And we often run through all of the emotions of the Pixar movie Inside Out: Joy, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, and many more, often resulting in hold-your-belly laughter!
After a particular round of singing, laughing, and hilarious antics, one of my granddaughters spontaneously said to me, "What’s gay, Granny? What does gay mean?"
the just be love project,
Yoga Teacher Training,
trauma sensitive bodywork
For anyone older than about 18 to 20 years old, the mere mention of September 11, 2001, evokes visceral memories of the day the twin towers fell in New York City. Today marks the sixteenth anniversary of this heartbreaking event, and when asked to remember where they were on that day, most people have an almost automatic reflex, causing them to hold their breath and flit back to the memories buried within their emotional awareness. What is this universal emotion we are experiencing in recalling tragedy? Vulnerability!
No matter how old you were, the crack in the cosmic egg which occurred that day caused an entire nation to feel vulnerable. Something shifted in all of us, and that shift may still be affecting how we show up in the world today.
When Micah Lunassential speaks, she immediately commands your attention. Warm, kind, smart, and engaging, she brings experience, understanding, and enlightenment to people with her successful YouTube channel Ms.Micah. With a focus on love and relationships this channel embraces the discussion of uncomfortable topics that so often hold us back, like fear, forgiveness, addiction, and trauma.
Micah grew up knowing trauma, having PTSD as a child from a serious accident and later getting complex PTSD from abuse as an adult. These experiences dramatically affected her view on love and on herself. After years of feeling hopeless and being trapped in a victim mentality, Micah went to a Holistic Gathering at SWIHA in October of 2012 where she had a Toe Reading that would change her life.
“I was being mentored by the then Director of the Psychology department at Ottawa University for a class I was taking entitled Trauma Psychology,” Micah shared. “The Toe Reading reminded me of what I was avoiding because I was trapped in a victim mentality. True healing was learning to feel safe in the body after trauma or domestic violence.”
In 2015, my uncle suddenly passed away from a heart attack. Because I was at his house when he was found, I had the terrible and sad experience of seeing him after death in a state that I wish I could erase from my memory. I dealt with nightmares and trouble sleeping, and so I decided to see a therapist to talk it out, as I could not get the images out of my mind.The therapist had a list of suggestions and tools to help me cope with this trauma. On this list was a familiar word: yoga training.
Yoga Teacher Training,
Yoga for PTSD,
PTSD paralyzes, terrifies, saddens, and dulls the senses. We have long known that our mind and body record everything that happens to us. These highs and lows create Richter-scale size memories in our minds, with our emotional “seismograph” documenting the most crystallizing and paralyzing events of our life. If we were to take a metaphorical scan of the mind, we would clearly see PTSD appearing on the “map” as a series of dark, sharp peaks — indicators of turmoil from which it is very difficult to escape. Those dealing with PTSD get mired in those dark spots.
Grieving through the “Dark Spots”
Recently, after over twenty years of distinguished service to his country and three years of trying to reconcile the battles in his mind through intermittent psychiatric hospital stays, my stepson Todd made the permanent decision to end his life.
mind body wellness pracitioner,
Yoga Teacher Training