Using Integrated Modalities for a Natural ChildBirth + a special iRest Yoga Nidra Meditation for Pregnancy

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:

As my husband and I are enjoying the mystery and awe of our newborn son, we can’t help but be embraced and enchanted by the creation process of life and the flow and formulation of a little miracle. As this is our third child together, and the fifth within our blended family, we had an idea of how we wanted to welcome our son into the world.  Our primary priority was to welcome our baby into the world as healthy and as naturally as possible. (This was important to us, but it is in no way disdainfully reflective of other mamas or parents who use other methods for birthing and pain management.) I utilized natural techniques for my other three births, and was hopeful that I’d be able to deliver naturally with this birth as well.

Following are the modalities, tools, and techniques I used for my natural childbirth in welcoming in our 9 lb, 2 oz bundle of baby love.  I hope they can help serve as support, motivation or curiosity to other parents in their path to a healthy, natural childbirth.

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Overcoming and Healing from Betrayal

 

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:

Betrayal in one’s life often shows up like an uninvited enemy. It is unwelcome, often shocking, full of hurt, judgment and shame and faced with this challenge, it can feel like an end, a demise. No matter who the betrayer is, the feelings of hurt and pain linger with little submission, but when the betrayer is someone with whom we have entrusted our hearts, the pain and suffering feels that much more intense and activating.  In Macbeth, Shakespeare wrote, “The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies.”  And so true are Shakespeare’s words still today, for it is those with whom we entrust ourselves and our vulnerabilities that the pain of the action, the betrayal, feels that much more deep and incomprehensible.

 

What may begin to arise within this activation is questions like, “How did I not notice?” “Why did this happen to me?” “How could they do this to me?” “How could I not have seen the writing on the wall?” “Why did I let this happen?” “How could they hurt me like this?” We begin to judge not only ourselves and our intentions, but also our intelligence, our trust instinct and our overall intuition.

Although betrayal is most often connected with infidelity, it can be realized and experienced through many other sufferings: disloyalty in work relationships, lies from colleagues or coworkers who you thought were your “friends,” abandonment from parents to children, even the spreading of gossip or lies by friends or family, verbally or otherwise.

As the brain tries to make sense out of the pain and understand the trauma, we are left in a place of lingering, a place of sadness, lost hope and sorrow. Our mind continues to try to work through and understand the abandonment and pain; it is trying to protect us and learn how to prevent the pain from happening again. It is vigilant, consistent, persistent and judicious.

Being able to apply skills of mindfulness, while still experiencing the pain and suffering of the betrayal, is one of the first steps towards healing.

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iRest Meditation for a Long Winter’s Nap

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:

As we prepare for the winter season and celebrate holiday time with family and friends, remember to take time to rest and reflect for your own care and well-being.  iRest is an all encompassing mindfulness meditation practice that we teach and offer in our office.

It invites physical relaxation, mental relaxation and emotional relaxation and as a regular practice, it has been researched to lower the blood pressure, lower the heart rate, calm the nervous system, enhance mental focus, stabilize the mood, and release negative emotions.

We hope you use the download to invite rest into your life as part of your integrated practice!

Audio Download: winter irest

 

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Compassionate Breath for Self, Compassionate Breath for Other, a 9 minute audio practice

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:

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As we enter into the month of November, we enter into a time of excitement and wonder with holiday celebrations, as well as a time of emotional ups and downs. This experiencing of emotions can be felt in the gathering and coming together with family and friends, as well as the emotional landscape within ourselves in facing old “roles” of ourselves within these family constructs.  It’s important to allow yourself to reflect on the “you” that you are in the present day, rather than the “you” that you were born into, or that your family created around you.

Compassion for yourself is pivotal at this time of stress. You will come away feeling more strength from within, and your clarity will further be communicated, not only through your body language and posture, but also through a breadth and depth of understanding of your more true self.

Use this 9 minute breath of compassion as a tool to invite your true self to be more present and aware. It draws upon the Tibetan practice of tonglen, which means giving and taking. The offering and symbolism of this practice, is to inhale in the suffering and difficulty of self and other, and exhale out compassion and warmth to self and all others who suffer similarly.  Cognitively, stretching your awareness of suffering beyond yourself and your ego, detaches you from the very pain, emotionality and limitations of the suffering itself. Compassion, broadens your sense of kindness towards others and from a spiritual perspective purifies negative karma.

Download Audio File : compassionate-breath-for-self-other

 

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Help for Child & Teen Anxiety

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:

In any given week, but especially as school begins in the Fall, our practice receives calls from parents about their child’s behavior, attitude, and anxiety. The academic pressures combined with peer pressure are categorically diverse, but these pressures, combined with fears and worries about school violence, add a new level of pressure.

The developing brains of children and teens are unaccustomed to recognizing these pressures, symptomatically, the child may begin to outwardly notice the physical symptoms and pressure they feel in their body, but the worry and the fear that may be funneling through their mind as daily thoughts can begin to take on a familiarity and disconnect them from recognizing and asking for help.

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On a basic brain-science level, our brain has a thinking side and a feeling/emotional side. The thinking side is the cortex, and it operates logically, is able to reason, and recalls conscious memories. The feeling/emotional side has many components, but the structure that is in control of our anxiety response is the amygdala. This is the evolutionary part of our brain that is meant to keep us alive. Many of the physical symptoms that the body exhibits in a state of anxiety are the same as when a person is in a state of fight/flight.  The amygdala can hijack systems in the body: the sympathetic nervous system, endocrine, and the actual cortex.  The body can begin to respond in a cyclic fashion of anxiety whenever there is a feeling of discomfort, fear or worry.

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Mindfulness of Breath – a 6 minute audio download

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:

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An invitation to yourself to return to mindfulness:

Dear Beloved Self:

I know we sometimes have our difficulties with each other. From the moment I awaken, from a usually not so restful sleep, I try to prepare for the day ahead, either work, school, family or in the rare moment, a day for self. Responsibilities, errands, family issues, worries, fears and life, creep back into my mind. I forget to take time for myself and I dive, instantly, back into the structures, ideas, and identities that mask me.

Today, I will offer myself a moment of remembrance, a moment to return to myself, to return to my sense of grounding and calmness that is inherently within me, maybe deep within me, but there nonetheless.

Today, I return to mindfulness, being aware of the present moment and not losing myself in past fears or future worries.

Today, I practice mindfulness of breath. I can do this practice wherever I am, I only need my willingness to participate, and I only need 6 minutes.

Thank you for guiding me back to myself,

Signed (My True Nature)

Download audio file

 

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Mindful Wounds–a verbal wound is as painful as a physical wound

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:

I read a touching commentary in my paper about the passing and reflection of Muhammad Ali. The commentary was submitted by a man, who in his youth, had the unique experience of spending a weekend at a training camp with his boy scout troop and Muhammad Ali. The writer shared his experience in hearing some of the lovely poetry and wisdom words of Muhammad Ali, and one of these recollections, actually a metaphoric story, inspired this post.

The story is called, “The Fence,” perhaps you have heard it before, but if not, I hope it leaves an impression.

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down.

He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it; and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

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When There Is No Other Path, Turn To Gratitude

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind Body Services:

It is during our most difficult moments, when we may feel like we can go no further, endure no more pain, suffer in silence no longer, and just stand in the disbelief that is our life, that we are given the greatest opportunity to become and learn that which we need the most. What we seek, we can provide, but it is often fraught with great agony and suffering, and usually more so, it is a long, long, path of resistance, fighting (with others and ourselves) and agony. In my own life, I can recount certain movie-frame snapshots in time that feel ingrained in my mind, as if they are residue and “proof” that I have served my time and deserve my accomplishments and joys.  And how beautiful it feels to exclaim such a pronouncement, but in truth, I know my mind will certainly try to convince me, quite quickly, that I don’t deserve to rest and pause, as I have more work, more jobs, more goals and more responsibilities to complete and cross off my checklist before I can even rest and pause.

BUT, when I can mindfully pause at this junction, I know that a pause and time for gratitude, reflection, and compassion is exactly what I need.  Pausing into a time for Gratitude, sets the mind to be more resilient to the regular onslaught of negative emotions and habits, welcomes in more positive internal dialogue within self, offers a deeper connection to others and reminds one of their inherent value as an individual and human being.  It is grounding and reality based. Through a regular daily practice of gratitude, we have the capacity to wire into our brain, new circuitry and paths  of resilience, well-being, and positive felt sensations, with the ability to review, replay and ingrain them into a place of familiarity, safety and knowingness…and truly in such a way that the prompt of Gratitude practice as a action, just becomes a felt sense of knowing, rather than naming, and of feeling, rather than labeling.

Gratitude = knowing and feeling and thus becoming….

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Strong Silent Type: Male Trauma

First Person Blog Series on Male Trauma

There is an amazing book by Terrance Real, LCSW- “I Don’t Want to Talk About”, it is the bible on male depression and trauma from his treatment accounts of working with men presenting in all manner of suffering and the people who love them.  It is complete with extensive statistics and examples of how men suffer from being male, depressed and traumatized- based on the too often painful paradigm men follow, to be a man we somehow lose our masculinity if we admit our vulnerability; we lose our man card if we break the silence of our suffering. 

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Somatics, anxiety, anger & neuroplasticity

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind Body Services:

Sometimes when I feel alone or sad or misunderstood I want to run. Run away from my life, people who don’t understand me, people who I’ve decided look at me funny, and the pressures and pain of my failures and non-accomplished goals. The thoughts come, I pay attention to them, and I spin myself up in a fury of anger, fear, sadness, worry and despair. Emotions are very good at controlling our attention, after all, they are energy in motion. But all of these emotions, especially the anger, fear, sadness and worry, don’t really present well, feel good, nor bring us closer to our authentic self.

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