Mindfulness development associates have been providing Trauma workshops to help community members, school teachers, parents, newcomers and staff of Non-profit agencies recognise trauma responses (their own and with others) and calm nervous systems through a mindful and energy approach. Contact us: email@example.com
Counselling and consulting: Heather works with individuals, couples and families as well as organisational groups (see below about Heather Ferris)
Meditation retreats in Canada and internationally led by Heather and her partner Gary Greenstein
Next retreat May 16-20, 2018
Using Mindfulness awareness to help deal with anxiety, depression and trauma.
Psychotherapy and the field of awareness
Development work: After 18 years spending months in South Africa and Zimbabwe each year Heather is stepping back to focus on family and work locally
Welcome to the Syrian refugees. We are happy to have you as our neighbors in the Cowichan Valley. please let us know your needs, we will try our best to learn from you and so enrich our society.
About Heather J. Ferris :
"We can make our minds so like still water that beings gather about us to see their own images, and so for a moment live a clearer, perhaps even fiercer life because of our quiet."
Heather is a Psychotherapist-Counselor, Author and Workshop Facilitator working internationally. She has an office in Duncan BC, Canada. She is also a Clinical Supervisor for counselors and a Counselor Educator. She is registered with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. Her work is influenced by Buddhist psychology (a compassionate, heart-centred approach to leadership, relationship and livelihood), family constellation theory, existential phenomenological psychotherapy, mindfulness, somatic, energy psychology, and neuro-psychology, as well as traditional approaches and rich, varied life experiences.
Heather has been working with projects in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nepal for many years focusing on the healing and empowerment of women for the benefit of children and the communities in which they live. She uses body-centred approaches, energy work, mindfulness and popular education methods
Heather's local community interests are with Healing and reconciliation of those affected by residential schools and developing community empathy; working with Syrian newcomers; Cowichan Valley Hospice; and SEVA Foundation Canada, providing the relief of blindness internationally.
International affiliations: Rokpa Nepal, Rokpa - Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe, Khayelitsha Grief Support, Love and Care Day Centre Cape Town, Ukulapha, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, Seva foundation Canada
Heather and her husband Gary teach meditation and are committed to a life of simplicity and service. If you want to simplify, ask yourself, "Is this a need or is it a want?" and then stick with the needs only.
Energyfield psychology and mindfulness form the basis for Heather's work in the area of trauma. The mindful presence of the therapist is essential as she helps the client notice his or her breath, feelings about a traumatic incident and begin to activate energy points on their body by tapping, while acknowledging what is happening at the same time as speaking in loving and accepting ways.
PTSD requires a limbic response to maintain it and this method helps the body feel safe enough so it remembers what it knows. The brain is changed through trauma and this protocol leads us back home. Tapping deactivates the amygdala and neural pathways change so that habitual responses can change (it reduces cortisol levels significantly).
Interesting work being done in Africa with child soldiers, survivors of war, rape, violence can be checked out on www.peacefulheart.se
Pema Chodron: March 18, 2015 UNLOCKING A SOFTNESS Even after many years, many of us continue to practice harshly. We practice with guilt, as if we’re going to be excommunicated if we don’t do it right. We practice so we won’t be ashamed of ourselves and with fear that someone will discover what a “bad” meditator we really are. The old joke is that a Buddhist is someone who is either meditating or feeling guilty about not meditating. There’s not much joy in that.
Maybe the most important teaching is to lighten up and relax. It’s such a huge help in working with our crazy mixed-up minds to remember that what we’re doing is unlocking a softness that is in us and letting it spread. We’re letting it blur the sharp corners of self-criticism and complaining.
A message from Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk and precious Buddhist teacher.
"If our hearts are big we can be like the river. When our hearts are small our understanding and compassion are limited and we suffer."
A Practice for 2015 - Letting Go
Letting Go - A Path to Peace, Happiness and Freedom or a Path of Radical Wellbeing
Do everything with a mind that lets go
If you let go a little, you will have a little peace
If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace
If you let go completely, you will have complete peace and freedom
Your troubles with the world will have come to an end
Achahn Chah of Wat Ba Pong Thailand
What do we need to let go of? Our traumas and addictions (our fears/aversions and our wanting/desire). Severe traumas like physical and/or sexual abuse, war, or starvation may not have been your experience, but fear and addictions are common to all of us. Addictions to comfort, convenience, being right, abundance rather than enough, wanting rather than contentment, consciousness changing substances etc. And below the surface is our core addiction to self-cherishing, it all being about me, my and mine (self centredness).
What does letting go require? Courage to make the attempt or total confidence that what one is doing is right for oneself.
The antidote to self-cherishing is the empathy of walking in the shoes of those who are disabled, or have been oppressed, or for whom the simplest household task we take for granted, requires hours of physical labour. And out of this empathy blossoms the other antidote to self-cherishing, generosity, whether of money or all the ways of service.
° facing yourself, your stories, your fears
° developing a spiritual life practice and being committed to the notion that this is a spiritual life rather than only a material/physical existence
° living an ethical life
What will people think of me?
We need to hear in a different way
Sitting practice: you want to move, count to ten slowly; do you still want to move? Try counting to 15. How was it? Where is the person who wanted to move ten seconds ago?
Spiritual practice is not just meditation, it is also the precepts, ethics. If you don't make the connection that it fits into a life practice model the commitment to practice will evaporate.
To commit to the spiritual life we must turn toward peace, wisdom, goodness and enlightenment, founded on a heartfelt desire to profoundly connect with the transcendental reality/Buddha nature/Christ consciousness/I AM/God/Creator that is the true source of our being.
Mindfulness is the cornerstone of the process of self-realization.
Mindfulness is the antidote for the normal state of blindness and sleep that possesses ordinary consciousness.
When one goes about doing the things that are performed each day, the consciousness acts in such a way, that it is absorbed in whatever is going on. The mind is occupied, externally, by the sounds, sights, smells and tastes, etc., that impinge upon it. Likewise, the mind is occupied, internally, by the thoughts, feelings and impulses arising within the psyche. This preoccupation or "entanglement" with events, whether outer or inner, physical or mental, other than itself, means that the mind is completely engrossed in ongoing activity.
To really understand this, one must come to see the realization that human beings live and act in a somnambulistic state. For one to be conscious of oneself, in any given situation, one first has to remember that one is present. But if one tries to remember oneself for even a short length of time, it rapidly becomes evident that the effort is near impossible to sustain.
For example, lets say that, even as you read these words, you attempt to remember yourself, as the reader; as the one who is conscious of the words being read. You try to be conscious of being, of existing, while involved in the act of reading. Allowing yourself to become absorbed in the act of reading or listening, you nevertheless try to remain aware of yourself as the reader or listener. How long can you sustain that self-awareness?
It doesn't take very much time—especially if a certain word or passage really catches your attention—before you find that you have forgotten to be self-aware, even while trying very hard to remember yourself, and instead have become absorbed in the content and ideas of what you are reading or listening to.
In a broad sense, this illustrates the strange lack of awareness that is peculiar to one's normal state of consciousness throughout the day. It is true, you can retain self-awareness for a little while, but in a moment or so, it is gone. This shows you, that you constantly forgot yourself. And in this state of accepted forgetfulness you live your life.
The largely automatic nature of human behaviour derives from not being truly conscious, or not being mindful in all that is occurring and taking place. What do we mean by "automatic"? Breathing, for example, is an automatic function. We accept that, and it is fine. But what is really hard to accept, is the fact that our psychological behaviour and even our "thinking", "feeling", and "acting" is largely automatic also.
Our personality is something that gradually grows and forms, and as we see by observing those around us, this personality learns to react/act in a set manner, both in relation to others and to the world in general. A person has an observable way of behaving in any given situation, and as that person gets older, these reaction patterns become ever more ingrained. Not only does personality define behaviour, it also defines how a person thinks, how they feel, and what their desires are. We can no more change who we are, our personality, than we can stop our breathing or stop our thinking. In this sense, consciousness may be said to be largely automatic, with our lives lived out in a strangely somnambulistic state of activity. These are vitally significant realizations, because to be free, one has to be truly conscious. Mindfulness is a case of being conscious, of being self-aware, of remembering oneself, while fully involved in all that is going on, both within and without. This means, not losing oneself in what is going on; not forgetting; being truly present.
The practice of mindfulness is a non-automatic activity. This is why it is so very difficult to maintain for any length of time, until such time as mindfulness itself becomes automatic. Living in the present, in the now, frees us to the awakened experience of life and being.