by Isabel Fiorino-Habib,
Community Engagement Coordinator
Working with Youth, Young Adults, and Families
I wondered if Niles often encountered resistance while working with younger patients who may not have decided to come into therapy voluntarily. Niles explained that he did sometimes encounter this and shed some important insight as to how he connects with these individuals to overcome this initial obstacle.
As I spoke with Niles, I could really get a sense of his adaptive and chameleon-like nature. I felt intuitively that Niles would have no issue modifying his approach to best suit the needs of the individual at hand. Niles’ genuinely inquisitive and down to earth nature, alongside his open minded and warm approach would definitely provide a safe environment for younger patients who might be struggling and allow them to begin a process of growth and transformation. His light hearted and fun disposition makes him super easy to speak to and I can see how his personality would be well received by patients both young and old.
I then asked Niles to tell me a bit about Emotion-Focused Therapy, something that he says he has really come to love. “Personally and as a therapist, I am all about emotion and I like to believe that from the time that we awaken to the time we go to bed, we go through a range of emotions”. Niles believes that it is important for the individual to have space to express what is coming up for them. He explains that the emotion itself is not the issue but more so when the particular emotion comes up, he asks “are you able to express it and is it being expressed in a way that is appropriate and healthy for you?”.
Niles tells me that we do not want to shut down or avoid emotions but rather we must honour the feelings that arise. He explains that we must investigate what is happening and ask things like “What do I usually do when this particular emotion comes up?” or “Is this behaviour maladaptive, adaptive, is it healthy or not healthy?”. Niles helps people to identify with and address these questions and normalizes the fact that we as humans experience a multitude of emotions.
“It is unfortunate, that we can be socialized into this idea that we should only feel happy, that we should only feel positive emotions ‘you shouldn’t be sad, you shouldn’t be angry, you shouldn’t be frustrated, etc’..and then when we feel these emotions, we feel bad. We suppress them, we don’t talk about them”.
Niles stresses the importance of having a space to express every and any emotion and hopes that in his therapeutic sessions, clients feel that they can express, process and let these emotions come out. Afterwards, he would begin to work with his client to identify ways to cope with the emotions, all while acknowledging that it is perfectly normal to have a wide range of emotions.
About the author, Isabel Fiorino-Habib
This week we shine the light on Psychotherapist Niles Patel. Here, he shares his perspective on his work, and why experiencing a full range of emotions is the key to personal fulfillment and self-care.
Stay tuned for a follow-up article, showcasing our Community Engagement Coordinator's personal experience with Niles!
Find Your Voice
During our one on one session, Deborah began by creating a sacred space for us. She refers to this space as a “sacred container” which is uniquely co created based on the context of the situation at hand. As I sat upright with my back supported and my feet on the ground, we began our session with a few deep conscious breaths to help me connect with the present moment.
Within this sacred container, Deborah began to call in and invite the qualities from each of the directions to be present with us. She began by calling in the East, the direction associated with a new beginning, a clean state, purpose, passion, clarity, and illumination. Together, we began sounding a sustained “Eeee” to bring forth these qualities.
At the very end, we honoured the earth below us, the land, and the ancient ancestors of this land who knew how to take care of it. We honoured the sky, the sun, the moon, the planets and stars and we called in the centre that is within us that connects us to the universe. Deborah encouraged me to call this presence in using any sound that wanted to come through me. We voiced this sound together three times centering the container.
“What was it like before the container and what was it like after the container?”, Deborah asked.
I paused for a second to reflect on the experience and responded.
“Prior to our session, I was experiencing some anxiety but after the session I feel truly enveloped and supported, especially in my heart and chest area. Almost like a white light that made it feel ok to be in the here and now”. “It’s like a hug”, I explained, “Something that came from around me”.
Deborah then began to ask me if we could work with the anxiety that was coming up for me. Immediately I became quite emotional but felt that there was something important that needed to come through. She asked me to try and identify where the anxiety might be coming from. I explained that I had been trying to let go of a situation that has been present for me for the last 6 years that I felt was no longer serving me but that I was struggling to let go of. I explained that I wanted to make space for newness, that I had been working to purge the things in my life that no longer served me. My heart was telling me to let go of this particular situation and yet my body was telling me otherwise. Deborah replied, “Your heart knows. The heart is always connected to your highest self”.
Deborah replied, “Your heart knows. The heart is always connected to your highest self”.
We then discussed the process of letting go and the importance of setting boundaries to help assist with this process. During the entire session, I felt so held and supported. Deborah’s compassionate warmth and loving guidance shines through her work. It shines through in her beautiful voice, her wise words and her encouraging open minded approach.
Deborah incorporates sound, imagery, movement & meditations into her work, all while creating a safe space where individuals can explore ways to re claim their energy, ground themselves, define their own boundaries, and learn to become more powerful receivers. She will be offering more guidance in her 3rd Free 5 Day Radical Self Nourishment Challenge beginning on October 13th - October 17th, 2020 at 2 pm Eastern.
This challenge is excellent for sensitive individuals, empaths and change makers who are interested in nourishing themselves. Her challenge will also explore the Niyamas or five attitudes that come from yogic philosophy, which are the pillars of the Radical Self Nourishment process. These include: cleansing, contentment, practice/discipline, self reflection and surrender. If this resonates, I encourage you to visit the link below to sign up for this upcoming challenge: http://rsn.deborahbrodey.com/5-day-challenge/
For a free 30 minute consultation to see if Deborah is the right fit for you, please visit the following links:
This week's spotlight is Deborah Brodey - Transformation Guide, Yoga Teacher, Vocal Sound Healer and Ceremonial Artist. We invite you to learn more about Deborah as she shares her take on her work, as well as some tips and advice for a healthy, fulfilling, and happy life.
Stay tuned for a follow-up article this Thursday, showcasing our Community Engagement Coordinator's personal experience receiving Deborah's services!
2. What kinds of issues do you have a particular gift with supporting people through?
3. What is the most fulfilling part about working with this specific healing modality?
I love creating powerful co-creative containers of love and magic that can hold my clients in deep honour, love, acceptance, so that they have full permission to be themselves and to uncover those parts that may have never been voiced. I love empowering others to uncover who they are, to find their voices and stand in their power and to Love, accept and trust themselves fully.
4. What are some of your go to pieces of advice to help someone cultivate more self love.
Some of my greatest healing experiences have happened when I spend time in Nature, walking, sitting with a tree and just observing Nature. Since we are a part of Nature we can learn much about ourselves by simply being with Nature. A Tree does not have an issue with whether it is worthy of love. It is love. There is no worthiness to get.
5. How does somebody find out if you are a good fit for your services or not?
I offer a free 30 minute consultations. I also run an online Free 5 Day Radical Self Nourishment Challenge a few times a year now so people can have a deep experience with me. The next one is Tuesday October 13 - October 17, 2020 at 2 pm Eastern.
6. If you were to write a self-help book, what would the topic be, and why?
I am writing a book all about 7 Principles of Living Reciprocity. Reciprocity is about living in right relationship with ourselves, the Earth and our communities. As humans we are very out of balance with our true nature. Reciprocity is an ancient teaching that is Universal to all Indigenous, original and earth loving peoples around the world and is key to preserving life and living in alignment and right relationship with the Earth, and all of our relatives. It is the key to our survival and our thrival on planet.
7. Do you have a daily self-care practice or ritual that is helpful for you?
Yes I have a number of practices I do every day. The first thing is having gratitude every morning and giving thanks for being here another day. I especially like to honour Mother earth and all of life and the elements and the directions everyday. I align with the earth and its cycles. I find it very powerful to align with the bigger forces. I then will do a movement practice to get in my body usually yoga or dance. I often incorporate chanting and sound into my movement practices and breathing practice.
8. What do you think are the key ingredients to living a happy life?
The key ingredients for me are cultivating a loving relationship with your self through the cultivation of friendliness, compassion, goodwill to others and equanimity. These are yogic qualities when in balance support our relationships with ourselves and with others and that support us to develop Peace of mind. Other ingredients are good health and energy hygiene, Loving relationships, reciprocity, creative expression, finding meaning and living our purpose, abundance in all of its forms, laughter, fun, playfulness and joy and community.
9. What is a quote that you resonate with, which reflects what you believe in & what you practice?
Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things. Lao Tzu
by Alison Chan, Craniosacral Therapist
"Anxiety is nothing more than sensation in the body that we cannot manage, contain, and resolve, and release." (Irene Lyon, Somatic Experiencing practitioner)
Today's post is the first of a series on understanding anxiety and addressing it through your body. Each time, I'll include one or two simple things you can do to help yourself feel calmer and more grounded.
Part 1: Your Body, the Survivor
So maybe you're working from home now but it's hard to sit still because you feel antsy. You might be having trouble focusing on tasks -- even sometimes literally, if your vision feels blurry. Or you know you have several things you could be doing right now but you feel kind of stuck and can't settle on one to tackle.
These are all signs that your body's in a survival state. At times like that, our nervous systems can feel really disregulated. And no wonder! We are currently in a situation where life and death is on the line; many of us don't know how we're going to cover the cost of living; our lives have been turned upside down. It's a hugely uncertain time.
At the same time, all these symptoms are actually part of an amazing survival strategy that your body has kicked into gear to protect you, through fight, flight or freeze (or a combination). The problem is that this nervous system response is only meant to last as long as a brief threat -- say, an attack by a cougar -- and then get dissipated in various ways.
But when the stress is ongoing, we have no way of discharging these energies and returning to a more regulated state. That's where working with our bodies can help.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be introducing a series of actions you can take to downshift your feelings of anxiety. You'll help your nervous system to take a break and hopefully experience some moments of calm!
Exercise: Feet, Seat, Breath Body Scan
You'll feel a difference immediately, and the more you do it, the more it helps to keep you grounded and keep your nervous system regulated.
For the first few times, try it sitting or lying down. Then you can adapt it for standing (say, for instance, standing in line).
That’s it! Stay tuned for the next post on using movement to help with anxiety.
By Melanie-Dawn (Ollenberg) Bessa
The outbreak of COVID-19 can be stressful and overwhelming for both adults and children. According to the Centre for Disease Control, stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
Did you know that elevated levels of cortisol also interfere with our capacity for empathy, learning, and memory retention? Daniel Siegal, psychiatrist and leading world authority in the fascinating field of interpersonal neurobiology, explains:
The release of stress hormones leads to excessive death of neurons in the crucial pathways involving the neo-cortex and limbic system - the areas responsible for emotional regulation (Siegel, 1996: 106).
Left unchecked, millions of brain cells in the hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex are destroyed - the areas of the brain responsible for human empathy and impulse control. (Wright, Camden-Pratt, and Hill, 2011). So many of the short-sighted, competitive, violent tendencies prevalent in our society are actually symptoms of a system that teaches fear, shame, and aggression rather than amity and collaboration. Be it the authoritarian, competitive ranking system of our school system, the deluge of "bad" news in the media, or the economic disparities maintained in our societies, it is easy to live in a constant state of self-focused anxiety and shame.
Tips and Solutions to Quelling Fear
Thankfully, we are innately a people of emotion and relationship. Social researchers Miburn & Conrad confirmed that individuals raised under punitive parenting styles tend to prefer harsher law and order policies domestically, and support war as a foreign policy, and oppose pro-environment policies (1996). If we are to take back our own minds and hearts, and create a better future, what can we do?
Sound Healer Valerie Moysey explained to me that the key is coming into coherence: "By introducing / reintroducing a resonant field, we come into coherence". By coherence, in this case, Valerie was referring to the Heart Math Institute's work, which describes coherence as a measure of the pattern in the heart's rhythm, which reflects an orderly and harmonious synchronization among various systems in the body such as the heart, respiratory system, and blood-pressure rhythms (Heart Math Institute, https://www.heartmath.org/support/faqs/research/)
"While a number of techniques can be used (grounding, sound, breathwork, nature, prayer, etc) to come into coherence, the result is an activated parasympathetic nervous system and slowed fight-flight response." explains Valerie.
When we are afraid, anxious, or overwhelmed, we are ungrounded - we lose our sense of center, get swept off our feet, and lose our ability to make decisions clearly.
Grounding is a process of dynamic contact with the earth, with its edges, boundaries, and limitations. It allows us to become solidly real - present in the here and now - and dynamically alive with the vitality that comes from Earth. (Judith, A. in "Wheels of Life", p. 66)
When we are grounded, we can a sense of inter-connection with life, which brings clarity through stillness, and ultimately enhances our ability to make decisions easily, expand our consciousness, and manifest our goals. In this sense, grounding is quite literally "foundational" to all of the practices suggested in this article. But how do we get there? Valerie Moysey shared a number of easy strategies with me which one can do:
Valerie also speaks to the matter of "Entrainment" that happens when you spend time and proximity with a person who is grounded. Entrainment describes the way the body gradually syncs up with either a biological or external rhythm. In this case, when one who is in fear is with somebody who is not in fear, and that person is grounded, the fearful person will eventually become more calm. In this way, it is important to choose your company wisely, and ensure you give yourself the chance to resonate with others who are grounded and not in fear. This could be a friend, a family member, or even a paid practitioner. If you'd like to explore or discuss this further, please don't hesitate to connect with Valerie.
2. Take Heart
For more resources, the Heart Math Institute has some really great tips for managing fear from a heart-based space here: https://www.heartmath.org/calendar-of-events/coronavirus-technique-for-reducing-and-overcoming-fear/
Coincidentally, in the middle of writing this blog, I came across an Instagram post by sculptural fibre artist Marina Dempster, whose craft is a transmutation of materials, thoughts and emotions. Marina's work explores human paradoxes: comfort and discomfort, stillness and action, acceptance and change. Her "Dear Friends // Near Enemies" series of tufted cushions explore the paradox in language and get us thinking more deeply about our unconscious beliefs, urging us to go within for our answers. The cushion that caught my eye was F/EAR, pictured below. I reached out to ask if she could describe for me her take on this piece, and how we move through fear, and her response really resonated with the need for self-compassion, kindness. This is what she said:
At a time when so many are struggling to breathe, it's easy to get caught up in the fear and forget to breathe ourselves. I mean REALLY BREATHE. We are always breathing, but doing so consciously gives us constant access to the sacred, and a tool to shift our attention to what is sustaining us.
4. Vitamin N
While living in a culture that teaches accumulation, it is important to also spend time clearing the physical, mental and emotional debris that we collect. Creating space for the sacred, we bring awareness to the foundation of our being and learn to sift through and release what no longer serves.
6. Sounding Through Fear
When the vagus nerve in our bodies is overstimulated (eg., due to stress or fear) or inactive; the right frequencies can bring it back to normal working order.
7. Prayer / Intention
The coronavirus pandemic is indiscriminate, affecting lives across races and religions. This global angst has simultaneously inspired interfaith unity and solidarity. There are examples around the world of leaders coming together across faith groups as well. On April 22nd, in fact, Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Druze religious leaders in Israel were set to hold an interfaith virtual prayer Wednesday afternoon amid the coronavirus pandemic (The Times of Israel). In a Statement from the Parliament of World Religions, it invokes in us the need to "find new ways to bring comfort to one another, to cooperate with one another, and to overcome the ravages of disease and death." Meanwhile, the The Canadian Interfaith Conversation was pleased to participate in the development of the statement, "Hope, Gratitude and Solidarity: A Message to Canadians from Religious Leaders in Canada in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic," released March 30, 2020. They also offered an interfaith message for spiritual and religious leaders to be beacons of support during these difficult times. "Together with over 80 leaders of religious communities, we pledged to "witness hope to each other and so become beacons of light during these uncertain times."
While we witness this outpouring of support and solidarity from spiritual and religious leaders around the world, many of us are also turning to prayer more and more in our own daily practices, to ask for support in with our fear. When we bow our heads, bring our hands to our hearts, or kneel on the ground in prayer, we open up to the invisible world and the intangible presence of our heart, mind, and soul. When we listen with all of our senses from this place, we connect, participate with, and witness the Divine and attune to the sacred.
Valerie also strongly recommended prayer: "Set a strong focus / intention for help, ask what is it that you need to move through this time, and listen to what comes through". It reminded me of this quote by Rumi, which seems to thread all of these tips and strategies together.
Make everything in you an ear, each atom of your being, and you will hear at every moment what the Source is whispering to you, just to you and for you, without any need for my words or anyone else's. You are - we all are - the beloved of the Beloved, and in every moment, in every event of your life, the Beloved is whispering to you exactly what you need to hear and know. Who can ever explain this miracle? It simply is. Listen and you will discover it in every passing moment. (Rumi)
This quote really touches me, and the words can carry all of us through each of the practices recommended throughout this article.
May you be blessed by these medicines as you listen to, navigate, and learn from your fear, into a place of beloved expansion, compassion, and hope. And through all of this, please know that you do not need to navigate this alone. You are supported and loved.
By Melanie-Dawn (Ollenberg) Bessa
The shift from winter can now be felt as the streams thaw, life reawakens, and the buds emerge. Since the Spring Equinox in March, when the day and night were of equal time, the light has been gaining momentum. We can feel the effect in our own restlessness as the seeds and buds make their way to the surface.
Historically, there are many myths and archetypes of reawakened life. Here are a few examples:
The return to life has so many qualities that we experience in our own lives when we live seasonally. Renewal takes strength, endurance, and eagerness in order to amount to an abundant harvest. Just look at how hard yet how calm that seed has to work to reach up through the mud to the surface. Like those seeds, we need to root around in the dark, make mistakes, and clarify our boundaries. With the heightened energies abounding, fears and doubts also emerge as a barometer for change, exposing opportunities and processes to bring you us closer to peace, or expose an area in our journey that is being called to grow. Renewal also requires discernment around what to keep and what to release, to make room for the new - it's the perfect time for Spring cleaning, both inside and out.
5 Personal Reflections for Spring
Developing confidence in your innate ability to shed and rise up will both strengthen your connection to yourself as well as your ability to trust and surrender to your soul's yearnings. To help you on this road this season here are some personal reflections to consider:
Blessings of Growth, Healing and Renewal,
by Melanie-Dawn (Ollenberg) Bessa
Imagery of the Earth's seasons and cycles surround us every day, poking and prodding us to pay attention to the messages that each season has to offer. Seasonal Living is about listening to those messages. But with all that's going on in life, it's easy to pass these messages by, and it gets harder and harder to even see why listening to the signs of the seasons and living seasonally is so important.
Why should I live seasonally?
Each season has it's own unique attributes, purpose, mythos and medicine. When we shift our inner world so that it aligns with the natural world, we open up to a power that is deep, real, and empowering. As a divination arts practitioner, reading the signs and symbols in the world around me has become a very natural part of each day. But I remember when I didn't have this connection - it was a lonely, overwhelming, and confusing time. If we open up to listening to the messages in the seasons and cycles of nature, we will find some real gems to help us cope with our human experiences. Here are a few that come to mind:
1. We are not and never will be, truly alone. When we open up to the life that surrounds us in all things, we see how interconnected we are with it. Like trees sharing a communication system beneath a forest floor, we are not separate from nature but a part of it. Separation is illusion.
Personal reflections on living seasonally
Looking for other ways to enjoy the season?
Our Members are offering opportunities to tune in, nourish your soul, and keep connected to yourself and the world around you. All within the comfort of your home, while we work through this time of social distancing.
11/25/2019 1 Comment
“I’m so tired of feeling like I’m in a rut, running around in circles, doing so much but not doing the things I want…”
Does this sound familiar?
It’s been a common theme in the conversations I’ve been having with people this season. It seems like we’re all so…busy. Busy catching up, busy watching the clock, busy checking emails, busy with the errands and the chores and the plans we’ve made…
And as soon as a window of time becomes available to be alone, at home, with nothing to do…another invitation, text message, or task appears to fill that space.
It’s not always easy to carve out time to step back and look at the bigger picture of where all of your energy is going each day.
If you’re pouring yourself into the things you love and want to do, it’s a lot easier to go with the flow and feel aligned with the hustle and bustle.
But if you’re feeling resentful, burned out, over-committed, under-appreciated…
If you’re realizing that days, weeks or even months have gone by since you last had time to work on your art, read a book….
…or just have a day where you could do whatever you wanted, without having to watch the clock or plan your whole day around a specific schedule…
The days ahead give you a window of opportunity to step back and take a bird’s eye view of where your energy is going, and whether it’s time to redirect it elsewhere.
The New Moon in Sagittarius arrives on Tuesday, November 26 at 10:06 am. This is a new threshold in the rhythm of life that encourages you to reconnect to creativity, freedom, and spontaneity.
In today’s world, “freedom” can make some people bristle: “How dare you even think about working less, doing less, or saying no when we are all supposed to be producing, hustling, and available at all hours?”
But that’s the issue, isn’t it? The relationship we have constructed with time, productivity, and efficiency is so entwined with guilt that some of us have forgotten that we’re allowed to question why we do what we do.
Here’s the thing: Change is always possible.
It doesn’t have to be drastic, or dramatic. It doesn’t have to happen overnight. It doesn’t have to rock all the boats in your dock…but it may cause a wave or two.
That’s okay. The fiery energy of Sagittarius offers a boost of confidence to create a little more freedom, fun, and excitement in your life.
p.s. If you’d like to work with the New Moon in Sagittarius using tarot as well, here’s a spread that will help:
1. What does freedom mean for me at this time?
2. What can I do to feel freer?
3. What is it time for me to focus on?
4. What dream of mine wants to become real?
11/18/2019 1 Comment
If you have been struggling to take action, or get back to yourself lately…
Or stay focused on your priorities, you might want to check in with Mars.
The planet of action has been stretched a bit thin in the sign of Libra since October 4, putting an emphasis on relationships, community, and social time.
Which are not bad things at all. But in Libra’s people-pleasing world, Mars sometimes has trouble saying no, or sticking to its own to-do list. Except rather than slacking, it tries to do it all.
If you’ve been trying to be everything to everyone lately, or you’ve said “yes” more times than you should have, things can start to calm down when Mars enters Scorpio on Tuesday, November 19 at 2:40am.
Mars is powerful here. It’s a time to regain control over your intentions, your schedule, and your energy. To recharge your batteries in Scorpio’s quieter terrain and reconnect to some of the plans or projects that may have gotten pushed off to the side since early October.
Another factor that can help get things back on track is Mercury stationing direct on Wednesday, November 20. After being retrograde since October 31, the planet of communication, strategy, and ideas is getting ready to go
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