Yoga for Healing After Loss

I recently had the privilege of attending the first teacher training EVER to be  a Grief Yoga™ Certified Instructor. This training was held at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health  which is located in Stockbridge, MA in the Berkshire mountains.  The center offers a vast array of trainings that range from personal to professional development.  It was a unique setting to experience my teacher training experience!

So what exactly is this practice all about?  Our trainer Paul Denniston has worked to develop this practice blending the worlds of loss and yoga into one to create a unique way to help individuals move through their experience.  This practice allows emotions to move through the body by utilizing 4 steps that Paul strategically put together to create the practice.  The main focus is the utilization of movement, breath, and sound to help move feelings through the body and make way for healing.  While these concepts are the base it has many branches into various forms of yoga to make it complete.  Some of these include: Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Let Your Yoga Dance, Laughter Yoga, and Restorative Yoga.

Paul was able to provide a unique experience by pulling in other presenters to make the training experience all encompassing.  David Kessler provided information to help gain a better understanding of the grief experience and how to best support individuals through their journey in grief.  Beth Segaloff was available as a support to Paul and other students as they moved through their training experience. Jurian Hughes provided us with an opportunity to experience Let Your Yoga Dance in the training and reminded us of the powerful effects that music and dance have together. The individual participants of the training came from a variety of backgrounds and also provided insight throughout the training.  The presence of each individual provided unique insight into all areas needed to make the training a complete experience for everyone involved.

This training helped me gain insight into where I am in my own personal journey of grief and also helped me develop further in my professional realm.  I was able to witness first hand the powerful effects of what the practice can provide for myself and others.  I am hoping that my knowledge as a mental health professional will only enhance the experience that I can provide through this journey.  I feel very honored to have went through this experience and have gained a whole community of others that can support me in my journey as I begin to share this practice.

Please stay posted for upcoming classes and workshops I plan to offer  in the near future.  I hope that you will help spread the word of this wonderful experience to others.  More information will be posted soon on my website Small Things Often .

Enjoy Your Journey,

Faith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February Book Picks

I am super excited to discuss the two books I have chosen for the month of February!

Brene Brown is a researcher/storyteller that has dedicated years of studies to the following concepts: shame, vulnerability, courage, and empathy. I have been following her work for the past 3 years and think she has some valuable ideas to share.  I am hoping that book club members will enjoy her as much as me!

Book 1

Dare to Lead is about challenging people to recognize the potential in others and listening to new ideas.  A great leader will take these individuals and ideas and develop them.  The book includes 4 skill sets to help develop the skills necessary to be a great leader.  We are all leaders in some way and this book will help us to develop the skills to strive to be better in our community and profession. Brene also provides some great guides on her website Dare to Lead Hub  that we can utilize for our book discussions.  Check out this small clip to learn more about Daring to Lead !

Book 2

The Gifts of Imperfection addresses the topics of self love and acceptance.  In our current world environment learning to be authentic in our lives and have self acceptance is a necessary.  This book will challenge you to move through your life journey whole heartedly.   Book club discussion Reading Guides are also available on the website for this pick! I have also participated in several of Brene’s online trainings and have some additional resources for this book.  Check out this small clip to learn more about Gifts of Imperfection !

I feel that either of these books will provide great inspiration for the book club members.  I am hoping to provide some other exercises from Brene’s work into our meeting in March for our hour of self development.  The benefits of attending the upcoming Meet & Greet will allow you to vote on the book you would most like to read for our kick off book.  If you can not make it February 10th but plan on attending in March for the official start of the book club you can reach out to me through my  Contact page and I will count your vote!

Please take the time to check out each book further through the links provided!

Enjoy your Journey,

Faith

 

 

 

Kindness

How many of us move through life secluded in our own little world? We are often guilty of not being present in our day to day activities. We take pride in multi-tasking and “getting things done” on our “to do” lists. However, we are rarely taking the time to be mindful of what we are ACTUALLY doing? When we are present, we are able to move through life and find opportunities to help others in small ways.

There are many ways we can do acts of kindness on a regular basis. These acts can be as small as smiling at a stranger to volunteering your time for a cause. However, we must be present to have awareness of these opportunities. This requires us to get out of our own little world to be available to engage with others. How can we know that someone needs help carrying something if we are scrolling on our phone? How can we notice someone is distressed if we don’t have awareness of our surroundings?

I am very mindful of the struggles that people face because of the work I do daily. Through my work, I often encourage people to have self-compassion towards themselves and empathy for others.   I work to not be judgmental and instead evoke a sense of curiosity about what struggles others may be facing. These lessons are really working towards teaching people to be kind or build awareness of kindness in the world. I strive to do this outside of my office as I move through my daily journey. So, I challenged myself to find a way to spread kindness and model this for others.

How can I spread kindness in small ways? The kindness jar became an idea that made my “actions for the week” list last week. I found myself a jar and utilized some free printables from Big Life Journal that focused on affirmations and expressing gratitude. I also left some blank papers available for people to add to the jar. This kindness jar will be travelling with me to my office and other outings that I will be hosting throughout the year. I may also carry a few around with me in my pocket to hand out as needed. Ironically, Satya Yoga is also sponsoring a Karma Yoga Series that incorporates yoga and doing small acts of kindness for the community. I recently attended the first class and was able to further spread some kindness through a similar activity. I encourage you to check out the next class on February 10th @ 12:15.

I hope that this blog has evoked a similar sense of spirt and challenges YOU to find your own small way of spreading kindness to others as you move through your journey.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. -Aesop.
Share with me your acts of kindness in the comments.

Enjoy Your Journey,
Faith

Choose Yourself

I have come to find that many people do not understand the concept of engaging in self-care. In their eyes this concept is a foreign entity. Most people are preoccupied by taking care of others or “being busy” that they often forgot to take care of themselves. When asking people to prioritize things in their lives they often forget to include themselves on that list. How can any of their other priorities get met if they are unavailable to do them? This is typically an “I opener” to most people and challenges them to take a hard look at how they are not putting themselves at the top of the “to do” list.

“I am too busy to fit self -care into my schedule” is the next thing I typically hear from people. I often explain to people that self-care is more of a way of being rather then something else you must fit into your schedule. You must care enough about yourself to incorporate things into your daily routine. In the long run it can prevent you from struggling with things such as illness or psychological stressors that may put your “busy” life to a standstill.

There are several areas in your life that you can engage in self-care: physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and professional. I am going to provide a brief break down of activities to give you some ideas of what may be included in each area. Physical: engaging in aerobic activity at least 3xs a week, scheduling preventative medical care, and getting enough sleep. Psychological: say “no” to extra responsibilities, read literature that is unrelated to work, and relaxing your muscles throughout your day. Emotional: play with animals, do something for others, and laugh. Spiritual: spend time in nature, have a gratitude practice, and engage in creative activities. Professional: take time to eat, set limits with clients/colleagues, and have a comfortable workspace. The ideas given are just a small snap shot of what you could be engaging in on a regular basis. If you would like a more extensive list, please reach out to me Contact and I can provide this to you. I also welcome you to make up a list of your own ideas and challenge yourself to incorporate these things into your daily routine. You may already be engaging in some of these concepts but do it on a less consistent basis. Your challenge may include moving the activities from “sometimes” to “frequent.”

I hope that this post has given you some insight into the importance of making yourself a priority. The benefits of doing so are endless. In the big picture, it can help you improve relationships, your productivity and overall happiness in life. A great way to start off on your journey of self-care is attending my Book Club Meet & Greet: Upcoming Events .  You can read what the book club has to offer with my previous blog post Means to Inspire. We will be engaging in self-care activities that cover all areas discussed in this article on a monthly basis. It would be a great first step in making yourself a priority. I challenge you to put yourself at the top of your priority list.

Enjoy Your Journey,
Faith

 

Being Intentional

Intentional is defined as: a thing intended; an aim or plan. This word has been coming up for me in both my personal and professional life recently. Hence, the subject of this weeks blog post!
I have found that exploring your intentions can be very helpful with being mindful of how you react to things in your life. We all have “triggers” from past experiences that we have had in our lifetime. These triggers can cause us to be very reactive allowing our sympathetic nervous system to “take over” and put us into a fight or flight state of mind. This “flooding” of our system often leads us to do and say things that can often be hurtful to our relationships with others. It can also cause us to make choices that may be against our core beliefs and values

Often our intentions grow from our beliefs and values that we have developed through our life experiences. How do we really want to be moving through our life? How can we fine tune these things to move toward being more intentional?  I have found that crafting a personal mission statement is a great way to start the tuning process. I have included an article Personal Mission Statement that gives you some prompts for developing your statement. This statement will grow and change with you as you move through your journey. I often compare it to a guiding star in how you intend to be when interacting with others and how you move through life.

Another exercise, that I recently found, in The Bullet Journal Method is doing a mental inventory. Ask yourself the following questions in 3 separate columns: What are you presently working on?, What should you be working on?, and What do you WANT to be working on? This can help you focus on being more intentional in how you navigate throughout your days.
How does being intentional help you in your relationships? How can it stop you from being reactive? Through the above tasks you will explore how you want to be in life and with others. These exercises can help you be more mindful of your true intentions.  So, when you do get triggered, you will stop and ask yourself how do I choose to be in this moment. Do you want to be reactive or do you want to stay true to your intentions? My hope is that you will utilize your intentions as a guiding light to allow you to stay on the path of your true intent.
How can you keep your intentions in the forefront of your mind? Intentions may present as a word, a value, or an affirmation that starts with “I am.” I recommend that you start your day with re stating your intention to yourself in some manner (meditation, journaling, etc.) Remind yourself daily of your intentions and review your mission statement on a regular basis. You may make changes to your mission statement as you move through your journey of being intentional. Think about what your “I am” statement will be and share in the comments.

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Living with Intention

Enjoy your journey,
Faith

Means to Inspire

The idea of starting a book club that provides an inviting environment for people to come together and gain inspiration has been slowly blooming in my head for over a year now. I am a helper by nature and am always seeking new forums to provide people with opportunities to grow and change wherever they may be in their journey.

The actual construction of this idea has been put into action over the past few weeks. Slowly but surely it is become a reality and something that I want to offer to others. I am looking for an eclectic group of people to join me in this adventure. You should be willing to get out of your comfort zone to participate in discussions and activities during our time together to get the full benefit. I hope to ensure a respectful and kind environment to make everyone comfortable (therapist goals creeping in).

My hope is that our selection of books will also be eclectic and not stay within a genre. However, the common theme of all the books will be that of an inspiring nature.

Members will meet for a monthly (2nd Sunday of the Month) gathering with a time commitment of two hours. One of these hours being committed to socializing with an activity to promote wellness and growth. The second hour being for book discussion and choosing our next book. I am hoping to have a theme for each month but that is a work in progress.  Nino’s Restaurant in Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania has graciously given permission for meetings to be held there.
I am holding a Meet & Greet on February 10th at 5pm at Nino’s Restaurant. This would be around the time and day our typical meetings would occur. This event will provide people with the opportunity to meet me and gather with others that may be interested. I am providing this to ensure that this is a good fit for people before they make the commitment to the group.
Make sure to check out my website smallthingsoften.com and like my Facebook Page Small Things Often  for more information on the event.

Enjoy Your Journey,

Faith

Hello 2019

Small Things Often has been on hiatus with posting regular blog posts for the year 2018. My goal is to change this for 2019. I apologize for my lack of diligence in this area. A quick update is in order to get everyone back on track.
The year 2018 led me in a new direction in my capacity for helping others. I am excited to announce that I started my yoga teacher training this fall and am currently working towards my RYT 200 with Satya Yoga. I felt a draw towards learning more about yoga over the summer months and chose to follow the universe on this pull. A blend with yoga continues to occur with my recent completion of my grief therapist certification. I will be applying for my certification with the start of 2019. In addition, I will be attending a grief yoga teacher training in February at Kripalu. I am thrilled to blend my experiences of being a therapist into the yoga world and feel that this can be a great benefit in my work with others. I hope to continue making connections that will enable me to provide unique ways to work with people in a variety of environments. Stay tuned for all the ideas and thoughts that get conjured up in me during my long hikes. This is the year my ideas are going to start coming to fruition! I have chosen the word “try” to motivate me this year. I hope that you also have chosen a word to keep with you throughout the year. Think of this word as a reminder of the goals you have set for yourself for the coming year! Feel free to share yours with me in the comments!

Enjoy your journey,

Faith

What Makes YOU Happy?

When was the last time you thought about what makes you happy?

We often get the message that if we are not “doing” then we are not being productive.  Some people may consider an individual that is not always “doing” as being lazy or unmotivated.  This type of attitude has caused many individuals to neglect one of the most important things in their lives…themselves.  One of the most common topics discussed in my office involves making time for self-care.  Encouraging people to make a shift from always “doing” to taking the time to find joy in some of the smallest moments.  The shift from a negative perspective on their day to seeing something more positive.  I believe that doing “small things often” can help with making this shift to a more “happy” life.

I welcome you to take time for yourself and follow the upcoming Happiness Challenge the month of March.  Before starting this challenge, I would like you to think about  where your level of happiness is currently.  You may do this by gauging it on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the happiest you have ever been and 1 being the lowest of lows.  I would like you to revisit your level of happiness at the end of the challenge to see if there is a shift.  You can follow the challenge on “Small Things Often” Facebook or Instagram pages.  You will find a daily quote and thought for the day that you can comment on in whatever forum you feel comfortable.  So, spring into action this March and make it a month of happiness !

Enjoy Your Journey,

Faith

Thoughts on Sauntering…

Most people have an awareness that self-care is important to their overall wellbeing.  However, this is often one of the first things that people neglect when things get “busy” in their lives.  We do not expect other things, such as our car, to keep running efficiently if we do not provide the maintenance that is required.  Why then do we expect our mind and body to keep going without the maintenance that it requires? If you do not make a conscious effort to carve out time for self-care you will often find yourself “broke down.” 

You can provide self-care in many different areas which can include the following areas: physical, psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual realms.  Engaging in self-care is highly personal and each person has their own journey. You must make an active choice to engage in some form of self-care in one or all the areas to maintain a sense of overall wellbeing.  What do you do for self-care on a regular basis?

One of my favorite forms of self-care is sauntering in the woods.  I am working to replace the word “hike” with “sauntering” after reading a passage from Arnold Palmer’s work The Mountain Trail and Its Message. Check out this passage at the following link: Parable Of Sauntering  This passage helped me gain awareness to the fact that I was still “rushing” my time in the woods.  I was often focused on getting x number of miles in for the day or completing this in a set amount of time.  This focus often takes away from the true benefits of being in the woods.  The saying “stop and smell the flowers” comes to mind here.  I am now going to work towards enjoying more of what the woods can offer me. I will focus more on the smells, sounds, and sights that will help me to become more mindful of my surroundings.  My recent time spent on the Appalachian trail has taught me to stop and talk with others along the trail and hear their stories and gain a better understanding of their journey.  If I keep “rushing” through my time on the trail, I will risk missing out on some great opportunities.  I feel that we can all benefit from this concept in our everyday lives.  We often get caught up in the “busy” and forget what really is important.  So as you move through life, I challenge you to stop “hiking” and learn to saunter. 

Join me for a great opportunity to practice self-care by participating in the upcoming event Sauntering In the Woods! More information at the following link: Upcoming Events

Enjoy Your Journey,

Faith

Friendship

It is so easy to get caught up in our busy lives that we often neglect the smaller things that often add up to being very big things.  One of the things we neglect the most are unfortunately our relationship with others.  We often do not take the time to sit and “catch up” with people and update our knowledge about what the may be dealing with on a regular basis.  It may be that we neglect to share what we really appreciate about that person or that we often think of them.  Sometimes, we forget to respond to others when they reach out to us in some way.  This may take many forms such as:  a phone call not returned, an invitation that we turn down, or a distracted response.  This neglect can happen in relationships with friends, families and even our partner.

The above mentioned things all play an important role in what is called the “friendship” base of our relationship with others.  Even though all relationships are important, I want to focus on the relationship we have with our partner.  Dr. John Gottman spent endless hours observing and interviewing couples to find out what successful couples were doing consistently in their relationship.  His research showed that what separates the “masters” from the “disasters” is that they make time to nurture the friendship base of their relationship.  This friendship base gives relationships a solid foundation and allows us to have a more positive perspective of our partner overall.  When we are able to maintain a more positive perspective with our partner we are able to move through life’s challenges with more ease.

The hard thing about maintaining this friendship base is making sure that we make it a priority.  We can not get in the habit of “getting around to” our relationship.  This type of attitude will lead to you being disconnected with your partner and having a negative point of reference about your relationship.  You will find it more difficult to move through challenges and often find you are “stuck” when trying to reach a compromise.  Taking steps to nurture your friendship is one way of preventing this situation from occurring.

My “challenges” are a great way to get in the habit of making the time necessary to maintain that friendship base of your relationship.  One of the topics of your newsletter will begin to build a knowledge base of how to nurture the friendship base of your relationship.  The corresponding challenge for the week will give you an activity to increase your friendship and get you in the habit of making time for your relationship on a regular basis.  I challenge you to not put your relationship on the “back burner” and keep the friendship base of your relationship strong.  Make sure to check Upcoming Events to see if there is a challenge that meets your needs for where you are in your relationship journey.

Enjoy the journey,

Faith