This week I did a course on core values with Sandi Herrera as part of my continuing professional development. It gave me opportunity to reflect on my light source, what are my core values and why? As I mused over the topic of light source in my meditation I had a vision in my mind of a triangle, with a white glowing light at the apex. The sides of the triangle were illuminated by the glory of the white light. Inside the triangle was pure white. The base of the triangle got me thinking about roots and that they need water for nourishment. Like a tree in the shape of a triangle. For centuries history indicates people planted tall trees as they wanted to occupy the high places in the spiritual realm. To get closer to the source of light, wisdom and power.
Core values define the backbone of who we are and what we create.
Core values define the backbone of who we are and what we create. Like the base of the triangle...our values lay a foundation for stability in life. By raising our consciousness it avoids blaming other people unconsciously for things that block our way. There is a difference between values you agree with, versus your core values. We can be respectful of others and support them in their values. Think about what really bugs you? If it is people that talk down to women then you might really value respect in relationships. Having our values alignment avoids people pleasing or putting up with things we don't value. Live with purpose, clear the clutter, rid yourself of toxic relationships. What is your personal purpose...your why!
Much has been written over the centuries also about the sun, moon and stars. Sources of light. However, if these sources go dim, the moon is blacked out, the sun goes down and the stars fail to give light...what will be your light source? The furnace of affliction has caused me to dig deep on this issue personally. Divorce, loved ones with terminal illnesses, periods of financial difficulty, family and relationship conflicts, heavy case loads, exposure to narcissism, disabilities, fires, floods, and now a pandemic. Everything we go through is a refining fire. Personally, my trials have caused me to search for wisdom and live humbly by my belief about my everlasting light.
Are you living in a space of values alignment?
Whatever your higher power belief system, a pandemic is a good time to reflect on your light source. For me, I want to be part of the generation that ends human trafficking. What is driving your core values, do you live with intention, purpose, higher consciousness and clarity? Are you living in a space of values alignment? I'd love to hear your musings on values alignment. If you would like to activate your core values in a counselling session I'd love to support you with techniques to do that. Living with intention is a powerful place to be!
Love & light
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I've been gone a while now and missed you! I'm feeling very grateful to have two essential jobs...whilst trying to keep my head above the increased need for crisis work which the pandemic has triggered. It's taken all my self-control to manage cabin fever, practice mindfulness, gratefulness and look for the silver lining the last month during the lockdown whilst providing telehealth counselling and casework. Some days I failed miserably! Other days when the sun was out I embraced working from home, took walks by the lake, enjoyed the friendly hellos as people exercised. Somehow the 'how are you's' have been more sincere during lockdown...especially from the single people self-isolated alone. Through it all...I never cease to be inspired and amazed by the resilience of my counselling client's who live with mental health disabilities.
It seems to be the little things that count towards resilience. The morning routine, expressions of faith, splashing the face with water, regular bedtime, food prepping, connecting in with people, and mindfulness to name a few that make all the difference. When chaos sets in...routine can be the first thing to go. However, keeping up the self-discipline of routine when things get tough is a hallmark of good mental health. Easier said than done when you're dependent on carers to provide for your needs and the workforce is impacted by a pandemic. Yet good habits are powerful things and help us navigate periods of change.
One of the only things we can control, when rapid changes are happening in the world around us, is our thoughts. We can choose to focus on the positives or the negatives. I think of my fruitless trips to buy toilet paper and coming out of the shop empty handed five times and feeling disheartened. So I chose to focus on my access to running water, a shower, and a roof over my head when so many don't even have those basic needs met around the world. That's what mindfulness is. It involves noticing the thoughts that come to us...inhale...and noticing when those negative thoughts leave our mind...exhale. It's OK to think of both the negative and the positive. It's even more powerful to notice when the negativity leaves our mind. I find it very exciting actually...when I notice a really positive thought come to my mind...it fills me with indescribable joy. You can't put a monetary value on joy!
After practicing mindfulness as a new habit for 21 days...your brain grows neurons and new neural pathways in the brain are formed. Making it easier each day to experience joy! Pretty exciting stuff hey! This works really well with trauma triggers too. Like when a flashback comes, breathe deeply four times, notice the thought leaving. Phew! You're then back in control, breathing steadily and enjoying the physiological calm that the simple deep breathing exercises produce. Try four deep breaths and notice your heart rate fall. This is great for calming anxiety too.
Whether you believe COVID19 is a 'Plandemic' involving biological warfare or an unfortunate virus that escaped from China...I try to look for evidence. Being a person who likes to see facts and statistics (probably due to my training in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to look for automatic thoughts V rational thoughts)...I found that Australian's only a 0.9% chance of contracting the virus and the recovery rate is 88%. The other encouraging things are that Australia has one of the lowest rates for the virus in the world, a high supply of respirators, and free public health system.
Coming from a large family of health professionals my heart goes out to all the frontline workers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service and sacrifice! It's a good time to keep health workers and our leaders in our prayers too...as the daily grind of showing up and leading is a test of their resilience too. For us personally, the things we can control are our thoughts, building our resilience, have a good morning routine, practicing mindfulness, deep breathing, and picking up the phone to connect with others. It's a privilege in my counselling practice to hear how people are navigating this new world order well. Each day holds a new celebration as they implement new habits to increase their wellbeing and resilience. I'd love to talk with you more about resilience and mindfulness techniques and how they can transform your life.
Light and love
#resilience #habits #mindfulness #neuroscience #mental health #CBT #wellbeing #psychotherapy #counselling
I love being a woman! Embracing my femininity is the hallmark of my individuality, and my access to education, capacity to run a business, care for those of my choosing, and exercise my equal rights is wonderful! Since the beginning of time, society has had expectations about women. Women expected to cook, clean, serve men, bear and raise children, and to nurture the family. Super women! Over time, some women have rejected the stereotypical roles and responsibilities and sought equality, negotiation of roles and responsibilities according to strengths. Modern women have stood up for their right to access equal pay, hold high profile leadership positions, the right to safety, and to have a voice in a male dominated world. To all those women who have lobbied for our human and equal rights, we salute you and thank you!
You may have heard it is International Women's Day on Sunday, 8 March 2020. The slogan spells clearly ''An equal world is an enabled world!'' Within every gender, race, and ability we strive for equality, for a voice, access, and recognition for our clients as human service workers. However, throughout history women have been considered vulnerable. Is this due to patriarchal attitudes held by institutions, governments, communities, the fact that many women may be smaller in size and stature, and bear children? At the end of the day, the culture of male privilege runs deep. Women fought successfully for the right to vote, for maternity leave, for positions traditionally only awarded to men such as CEO. Society still seems to expect women to juggle children, housekeeping, career and relationships whilst access to affordable childcare wanes. Yet women have survived and thrived for centuries by supporting and understanding each other. We have come a long way as a Western society to support women's rights.
However, we still have work to do to uphold women's safety. Sadly, pregnant women are the highest target for men who use violence, coercion or control. The effects of domestic violence during pregnancy include complications in labour, premature delivery, a higher incidence of neonatal death, underweight babies and miscarriage (Alio et al 2009; Shah and Shah 2010).
It got worse after I was pregnant: he became much more physical, and it was as if being pregnant didn’t make any difference to him. (Lisa).
Whilst they are at their most vulnerable ''with child", some men choose to use power and control over pregnant women. To the majority of decent men who show women love and respect with words and actions - we respect you.
On the income front, women are still paid 12-17.5 per cent less than men in the same roles. Despite the gender pay gap narrowing it has remained stable over the last fifteen years (Graf, N., Brown, A., & Patten, E. (2018). The narrowing, but persistent, gender gap in pay. Pew Research Center, April, 9.) A curious notion when we consider that women can vote, achieve an equal education and do role reversal of stereo-typical roles and responsibilities in the home these days. In my experience of working 20 years in domestic violence, the over-representation of male perpetrated domestic violence is one barrier to women's career success. Being put down, ridiculed, financially and sexually abused does not aid performing at your best level at work.
So it is essential that women have women's rights! They have been fought for over the last 100 years. A benefit of the current neo-liberal policy is funding for small business owners, where women can work on their own terms. Yet, inconsistencies in gender equity glare in our faces. Like the fact that 92% of primary care for children living with a disability is still done by women. Australian women also account for 70% of carers for parents. Why the disparity?
I'll be celebrating International Women's Day at a series of university lectures on the Central Coast at University of Newcastle on Sunday. My interest in women's business has remained keen for the last 20 years. I enjoy supporting women, counselling survivors of domestic violence and women who have come out of adverse childhood experiences. How will you uphold women's rights this International Women's Day and in the year ahead? Shine a light in the dark places, lend a hand to an oppressed woman, stand up for her, call the police if there is domestic violence, teach boys not to bully girls. ''An equal world is an enabled world!'' Let's keep flying the flag for women to access and experience the benefits of their human and equal rights.
Tania Gorry is a counsellor in private practice at Whole Warrior Solutions based on the Central Coast of NSW. Tania has a passion for supporting people living with disabilities, trauma, stress, anxiety, depression and grief and loss.