counselling psychotherapy

Spirituality

The Singing Stone

Singing StoneEnjoy this story, The Singing Stone – it was told to me during my training at the Institute of Psychosynthesis in London.

Once upon a time long long ago when the land barely showed the imprint of man’s invasion upon it, there was a small settlement in which lived a gentle and loving folk whose ancestors had dwelt in and tilled and ploughed that land for many a generation. Little changed in that small tribal community; they honoured each others rites of passage and marked the changing seasons with due ceremony and ritual, and time went by.

Into that small community was born a boychild, born of parents who lived, with the child’s grandparents on his father’s side, in a small wooden home on the edge of the settlement. The little boy grew strong in the loving care of this place, he loved the woods and fields near to his home, he ran strong and free in this familiar landscape, he loved to swim and fish in the nearby brook, explore the rich forest land to the south, or climb to the very top of the great hill behind his home and see the tops of unknown mountains and catch the sparkle of faraway rivers in his gaze. But most of all he loved the stories that his grandmother would tell him of an evening before he went to sleep. And best of all the tales that his grandmother told him, was the story of the Singing Stone.

The Singing Stone, a stone of great mythical character and absolute beauty; so exquisite, so true and magical that it was said that whoever possessed this Singing Stone would have the wealth and power, knowledge and wisdom of all the world at his fingertips. And time again he would say to his grandmother “But where, grandmama can I find this Singing Stone,” and Grandmama would shake her head, “Nay I know not where it can be found, many have sought it out but none have returned with its secret”.

And so time went by and the boy grew into a young lad, and thence into early manhood. At that time the young men of his age were entering into their apprenticeships or working the land of their fathers and grandfathers, but the boy of this story was not tempted by any of these. He was not lazy, no he was a strong and healthy youth who could turn his hand easily to many things, but none called him to a trade. He had only one desire – to find the Singing Stone. And so one day, he went to his parents and asked leave of them to go out into the world to search for this magical rock that would bring he and his family all the wealth and power and wisdom they would ever need. His parents were dismayed, but wisely gave him leave to go, stressing that he could return at any time.

Then he went to his dear Grandmama and one last time he said to her “Grandmama, do you know where I can find the Singing Stone, for find it I must!” She shook her head sadly but said to him “I myself do not know where this stone may be found, but I know of a very wise and learned Scholar who lives in the North beyond those great peaks you see in the distance when you stand on the hill at the back of this place. He lives in a great house which contains a library and there in that library is every book in the world that has ever been penned, and perhaps, a few that have to be written yet. Go to the Scholar of the North and see if he will allow you to look in his library, perhaps there you will find the whereabouts of the Singing Stone”.

The young man took this as very good advice, and so, taking his leave and with only a simple knapsack on his back he set out for the North.

He travelled for many many weeks; the terrain grew rougher and steeper as he travelled north, and the forests through which he traversed contained creatures of great dread, but at last, after many adventures and many false trails and dead ends, he found himself on a path which led up a mountain on which there stood a great grey house. “Is that the home of the Scholar of the North” he asked of a tree nymph who hung from the branches of a nearby beech. “Why yes” she said laughing, “although what you want with all those dry and dusty books when you can hang upside down and sway with the wind I shall never know”. And he thanked her and followed the path to the great wooden door set in the granite wall of the home of the Scholar of the North. He had expected to be turned away, but the Scholar smiled knowingly and in welcome when he rang the great bell and asked to be let in. Of course he could read the books in the library. He could stay for as long as he wanted. And the Scholar showed him to the great bookrooms in the great grey house and left the young man to his own devices.

He didn’t know where to start, so many books, so many rooms full of books. Surely here he would find the knowledge of the whereabouts of the Singing Stone. He sat down to read, and he read and he read. Winter came and the snows fell and the great fires in the halls were banked up, and he stayed warm and snug in the great book rooms and read, and read and read…. And Spring came, and Summer, and Autumn and then another Winter prevented his leaving. Again he stayed warm and snug in the great book rooms and read and read and read…. And so time passed by, and he quite forgot why he was there; the books contained knowledge so fascinating that he could not put them down. The Wise Scholar was never seen again but the Young Man had forgotten all about him too. Food was provided for him at every meal time and he had a warm bed at night, although many a night he spent before the great library fire reading, and reading, and reading……. Years passed by, many years, and then suddenly one bright Spring morning, he came to the end of the books, all the books the library contained. And he sat there wondering and remembering. For of all the great knowledge in that noble library, not a single book, not a single page of a book, had contained a single word about the Singing Stone.

He jumped up with a jolt – and went to the find the Wise Scholar in his study. “sir” he said “I have stayed over long in your wonderful library and I have searched through every book in every room on every shelf, and yet in not one of those books not a single word have I found of that which I seek”. “And what is it you seek” said the Wise Scholar gently “The Singing Stone, I seek the Singing Stone” replied the not so young man. “Ah” said the Wise Scholar, “I know not where you may find this Singing Stone, I know not even if it really exists. But I know of one who may be able to help you. She is called the Butterfly Queen and dwells deep in the South of this Land. Leave my house by the front door and follow the track deep into the forest, you must find your way to the warm tropical lands of the South, and ask for the Palace of theButterfly Queen”.

Our not so young man thanked the Wise Scholar and set out once more on his journey. Many, many weeks and months passed as he stumbled back down the stony ground of the North, back through the forests of dark creatures of great dread, over the plains of the middle lands and into the rich tropical jungles and rivers of the South. And at last after many an adventure he reached a great lake with a boatman on the shores. And in the centre of the lake was an island upon which was built a great shining palace of crystal and glass set with magnificent jewels, and with turrets topped with gold and rare ivory. “Is that the Palace of the Butterfly Queen” he asked of the ferryman. “Ay that it is” replied the ferryman “and I will gladly row you across, but you must remember one thing – this is a magical lake and you must NOT look into the lake but keep your eyes firmly fixed on the Palace ahead”. And so our hero stepped into the boat that was to take him across the magical lake to the island Palace of the Butterfly Queen. And, yes, he could not resist it. The further into the deep lake they rowed the more he felt his senses being pulled and tugged towards the bottom of the lake until at last he looked down. Oh the sights that greeted his hungry eyes, the lake was filled with rich rich treasures, jewels and gold coins, exquisite palaces and exotic gardens. And his senses were filled with delight at this great beauty after the dry dusty libraries of the Wise Scholar of the North. And he vowed to stay there for ever – his purpose of the Singing Stone forgotten in a moment. And so he came to the Butterfly Queen who made him most welcome, smiling knowingly at the desire in his eyes. For many a year he remained at the Palace of the Butterfly Queen, where indulgence was commonplace, where food and rich clothes and beautiful maidens were his for the asking. He covered himself with jewels, he built a fine palace in which to dwell, gave legendary banquets for the nobility of the area, and lived a life of great luxury and pleasure.

But…. after many years had passed, and he had gorged his appetite on the fine rich foods, sated himself with the many willing maidens, worn every mode and change of fashion, indulged in every known sport, pleasure and pastime, after many years, somehow, it lost its appeal. He lost his appetite and began to lose weight, he no longer was interested in his clothes and jewels, not even the most outstanding Beauty of the day could now tempt him and he felt something calling from within. Calling, calling. He picked up a stone listlessly one day from the path before him, and remembered. “The Singing Stone!” he cried and ran to the Butterfly Queen in her great Palace. “Butterfly Queen” he said “you have kept me a prisoner here many years and I lost my purpose. I had come to ask you of your knowledge of the whereabouts of the Singing Stone. I have tasted of all the delights of your beautiful Land, but nowhere is this knowledge to be found. May I take my leave to continue my search, and have you any knowledge of this magical Stone.” The Butterfly Queen smiled quietly “The only person who has kept you prisoner here has been your own self” she said “and you are free to leave at any time, as you have always been. As for the Singing Stone, I know none of it but I know one who may do – in the West there lives a great Wizard who dwells on a rocky cliff overlooking the sea. He has great wisdom and can teach you many things, he will make you a wizard if you ask him. and mayhap he knows of the Singing Stone.”

And so our now middle aged hero took leave of the Butterfly Queen and set out for the Marshlands of the West which he knew would lead to the Great Sea. Many a month it took him, the terrain was difficult to cross for huge bogs of stinking mud barred his way and great flat plains rolled endlessly on and on. The insects bit him day and night, and he nearly gave up the Quest, but, just as he began to despair he saw in the distance a great glistening shimmering ribbon of light and he knew what he was seeing was the sea. And there near the glistening shimmering ribbon of light was a plateau and on the plateau stood a great gleaming castle of turrets and windows and many coloured stones. This must be the Castle of the Wizard of the West. He approached the entrance timidly but found that the doors swung silently inward and invisible hands took his burdens from his back and led him to the great hall of the Wizard of the West who was indeed the last of the Great Mages of that Land. And the Wizard was mightily pleased to see him, he had seen of course, the coming of this man in his great sorcerer’s mirror many nights before and knew that here was someone to whom he could pass his knowledge.

And so our hero stayed with the Wizard of the West for many years, learning all manner of tricks and spells, made many a shamanic journey, learned to turn frogs into princes and princes into frogs, turnips into coaches and how to rustle up a five course dinner from a beech nut in a matter of seconds. And he became so proficient in all these and many other things that he surpassed even the Wizard of the West in his skill. And by now he had completely forgotten the purpose of his coming to the Castle of the Wizard of the West, so taken was he with his new powers. For powers indeed they were. But. like all things, intimacy with the strange and bizarre becomes commonplace, and he began to wonder what he could do with all these strange and magical powers, apart from live in the Castle and view the sea. And so he went to the Wizard and asked if he could leave and take a journey, he knew not where except that the East was calling him now, and in a flash he remembered his purpose – the pursuit of the Singing Stone. “Have you any knowledge of the Singing Stone” he asked the Wizard of the West. “I know not where it may be found” said the Wizard “but I should follow your instincts and go East, and to save time why not shapeshift into an Eagle and fly swiftly across the terrain you took so long to traverse on foot to arrive here.” This of course was very sound advice and our rather elderly hero now took his leave, jumped off the Eastern Turret of the Castle and as a magnificent golden eagle sped like an arrow towards the East, into the rising sun. His great wings beat the air into huge eddies on which the wrens and gulls rode in his wake. He flew over marshland and forest, mountain top and river, not knowing what he would find at the end, but knowing only that he must follow the rising Sun. And after many a day and night he came one sunny dawn to a settled part of the Land.

Below he could see a group of small wooden dwellings and enclosures containing domestic animals. A peaceful scene it was, with smoke eddying gently out of the smoke holes in the roofs of these simple homes. It drew him downwards for by now too, he was tired. He landed in the branches of a great Oak Tree on the edge of this little hamlet, which overlooked in the distance a small wooden house.

Something…..something…….something so familiar. He perched in the lower boughs of the oak tree and watched as the door of the little home opened and a very old couple came out arm in arm and stood on the porch watching him. And he remembered that he was a man and stepped down from the tree to land on his own two feet. ….. something……something…… boyhood memories of swinging from those boughs, of swimming in the brook at the side of the cottage…. and he knew that this was his home, that this was the place he has set out from nearly 50 years ago now, in search of the Singing Stone. And these two old old people before him, were not his grandparents but his parents who had grown old in their long wait for him.

And he ran, ran up the path, through the gate and into the garden, he ran laughing and crying into the arms of his parents on the steps of the porch. And as they put their arms around him and held him to them, his Mother whispered softly “Welcome Home, Singing Stone.”

Source unknown – please comment below if known.

I’d love to hear what you make of this story – feel free to comment below 🙂

About Jodie

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Sydney counsellor, soul-centred life-coach and psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

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20 Ways to Practice Gratitude [Infographic]

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20 Ways to Practice Gratitude

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie (via Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance).

Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

A long-term study performed by UCA on the power of gratitude reported many amazing results. As a result of keeping a gratitude journal and practicing gratitude on a regular basis, the researched showed that people who did so received the following benefits:

  • Higher levels of health, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic.
  • More likely to have made progress towards important personal goals.
  • Higher levels of positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy.
  • Better sleep at night and more energy throughout the day.
  • Rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks.
  • More likely to acknowledge a belief in the interconnectedness of all life and felt a commitment and responsibility to helping others
  • Less likely to judge success in terms of possessions accumulated; less envious of wealthy people; and are more likely to share their possessions

(Reference: UCA, HealthWatch & The Gratitudes)

20 Ways to Practice Gratitude

  1. Give thanks and appreciation to yourself. Reflect on the things that you like and love:  your qualities, your achievements and any healthy changes you are making.
  2. Give thanks, bless or say Grace for your meal.
  3. Make a gratitude board. Use images and words that speak of gratitude. Be creative, use different colours, textures, art mediums or create a board on Pinterest.
  4. Breathe – you are alive!  Practice a gratitude breath prayer.
  5. Read books to learn about how to cultivate gratitude.
  6. Place a gratitude evocative word card in sight. You can put it on the fridge, on your desk or carry in your wallet. Try this psychosynthesis evocative word exercise to evoke gratitude.
  7. Use a special object as a seed for gratitude reflective meditation. It could be a crystal, a figurine/ statue, a talisman, a quote on a card or an image.
  8. Find value, meaning and purpose out of suffering. Think back to a challenging situation which has now become a blessing – how have you found value, meaning and purpose out of your suffering?  A helpful book is Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
  9. Thank your body for all it does for you. Treat it with loving kindness. Treat yourself to some beautiful body products, a bath ritual or a massage.
  10. Send notes, cards and letters of gratitude to show your appreciation. No need to wait until you receive a gift!
  11. Move and dance to the beat of gratitude. Check out these gratitude dances: Dancing Gratitude and Gratitude Dance
  12. Hold a gratitude ceremony: Simple Steps Gratitude CeremonyMontessori Gratitude Candle Ceremony or a Wiccan/Pagan Gratitude Ritual
  13. Say thanks with a random act of kindness. Check out these 35 Little Acts of Kindness.
  14. Practice a goodnight gratitude ritual. Just before sleep, share with your partner, family or self, at least one thing you are grateful for today.
  15. Send a prayer of thanks to people who inspire you and who have touched your life in a meaningful way. Think of your role models, family members, friends, pets or teachers.
  16. Hold a birthday gratitude ritual/ceremony. What better day to celebrate thanks than the day you were born?! Value your life, your place and yourself as an important part of the whole.
  17. Make a gratitude garland, tree or jar. Add one a day and watch how gratitude grows.
  18. Make a gratitude playlist on your iPod. Check out the Timeout NY Top 20 Songs of Gratitude.
  19. Use daily gratitude cards as a gentle reminder and as a seed thought for meditation.
  20. Start a gratitude journal. Note at least one thing a day that you are grateful for. Add images, quotes, blessings and be as creative as you like.

For examples of all things mentioned in this 20 Ways to Practice Gratitude list, check out my Gratitude Board on Pinterest.

About Jodie

Sydney counsellor, life-coach and psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches.

 

How to create a sacred space for meditation

sacred space website (593x600)How to create a sacred space for meditation

In the midst of the busyness of life, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by an excessive amount of information and too much stuff.

Even though we are spending more time supposedly ‘connecting’, in fact, many of us feel more disconnected from our authentic, true and spiritual selves than ever before.

For some of us, there is an inability to be with ourselves without something or someone to constantly distract or entertain us. For others, the life energy increasingly becomes immobilized by concerns such as codependency and relationship issues, weight and eating problems, addictions, anxiety, fatigue, depression and major health crises.

The Self calls us to wake up to its presence in mysterious ways. It may call us to awaken to our true nature through the aforementioned life crises. Alternatively, we may have a peak experience which calls us to awaken to a new way of living and being. Both ends of the spectrum can shine the light on our growing sense of disconnection and unease.

One way that we can heal our suffering is by reconnecting and becoming present to what is. It is tempting to get busy booking expensive holidays or spiritual retreats in the hope that we can slow down and be. How often though do we return home with the post holiday blues and feel as though we need another holiday?

By creating a sacred space, we can retreat close by on a daily basis, even ground our retreat and spiritual experiences from far away places. Ultimately we are able to create a space whereby we can connect with our own sacredness and the Divine within.

What is a sacred space?

A sacred space is a place to:

  • Get grounded
  • Set our intentions
  • Relieve stress
  • Recharge our batteries
  • Practise self-care
  • Affirm our worth
  • Claim our space
  • Be present to ourselves
  • Dedicate to our purpose
  • Find ourselves again and again
  • Bring new energy into our lives
  • Connect with our deeper essence
  • Meditate and practise mindfulness
  • Practise yoga
  • Honour and uplift our spirit
  • Dialogue with our higher, deeper, Spiritual Self
  • Worship God or Spirit

Preparing for the creation of a sacred space

Spend time journaling, in prayer, meditation or reflection before and during the creation of the sacred space. Here are some possible reflections:

  • Would I like my space to be inside or outside?
  • What colours and textures call me?
  • Is my sacred space private or are others allowed in my space?
  • What boundaries do I need to negotiate with others regarding my time and space?
  • Do I need to schedule some ‘me time’?
  • What other needs do I have?
  • What are my intentions for this space?
  • What is the purpose of my space?
  • What makes my heart and soul sing?
  • What does sacred mean to me?

Where to create a sacred space

A sacred space might be a quiet spot in the garden or a homemade area with or without an altar. For example:

  • A quiet and peaceful corner
  • A spot in the garden
  • A room in the house
  • A quiet nook
  • A window seat
  • A kitchen table
  • A special chair
  • A giant floor cushion
  • A bathtub/bathroom
  • A place on the land
  • A church, temple or other place of worship

Some elements and ideas for bringing a sacred space into being

There is no need to rush out and buy expensive mats, buddhas or other artifacts. Many of the elements in my sacred space I have collected over time at women’s retreats and workshops. Creating a sacred space is about listening to that quiet voice inside. The following elements are often found in a sacred space:

  • Alter
  • Plants and flowers
  • Rocks and crystals
  • Windchimes
  • Candles and incense
  • Goddess and daily meditation cards
  • Books that awaken and nourish the soul
  • Beautiful bath and skin products
  • Water
  • White sage
  • Delicious fruits
  • Statues and figurines
  • Art and craft supplies
  • Journal
  • Rugs, cushions and throws
  • Photos and images of sacred places
  • Sand tray
  • Music
  • Singing bowl
  • Worry dolls
  • Guided meditations and visualizations
  • Evokative word cards for reflective meditation
  • A small suitcase for a portable sacred space

Quiet time nook (448x600)Sacred space for children

For those who have children, consider creating a space where they can play quietly, read or listen to audio books/music. Creating a quiet time or reading nook is a great idea for little ones. Keep loud toys in a designated play area and soft toys, books, puzzles, dolls’ house, audio books, guided meditations and visualizations near the quiet time nook. Children who learn mindfulness and meditation skills at an early age have higher self-esteem, a better attention span and live healthier and happier lives.

Benefits of a sacred space

We don’t need to spend hours in our sacred space to experience the benefits. Even a few minutes of quiet time can help us to build a more balanced relationship with our body, feelings, mind, sexuality and spirituality. Practising mindfulness and meditation in a sacred space can have the following benefits:

  • Reduce stress
  • Enhance emotional intelligence
  • Increase self-awareness
  • Develop compassion and kindness towards self and others
  • Manage painful thoughts and feelings
  • Live a balanced and conscious life
  • Experience more peacefulness and calm
  • Reconnect with our true selves, others and our environment
  • Gain a greater sense of clarity, focus and concentration

Check out my Pinterest page for more inspiration and beautiful images of other sacred spaces.

About Jodie

Jodie Gale is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She is a therapeutic counsellor, life-coach and psychotherapist practising in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.

Top 10 Self-Help Books for Women

top 10 books for women (600x600)Top 10 Self-Help Books for Women

As a therapeutic counsellor, soul-centred life-coach and psychotherapist specialising in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being – there are many books that I recommend over and over again. Many are listed in my bookstore and on my Pinterest page but here are my top 10 recommendations to help women find change as well as adding depth and meaning to their lives.

The Gifts of Imperfection

by Brené Brown

Having taken part in The Gifts of Imperfection Art Journaling Course with Brené Brown – this is my new favourite go-to book for women. Her research focuses on shame, vulnerability, authenticity and belonging. If you have a relentless inner perfectionist and never quite feel enough – this book is for you! You will come away chanting, ‘I’m imperfect and I’m enough. Brené is a wonderful storyteller and that makes this an easy read.

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing

by Dr Christinane Northrup

“By the wisdom of the body I mean that we must learn to trust that the symptoms in the body are often the only way that the soul can get our attention.”

This is the ultimate bible for women’s health. It covers topics such as the body, menstruation, infertility, motherhood, menopause, sexuality, intuition, wisdom and self-nourishment. Dr Northrup takes a holistic approach towards healing physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual concerns.

Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estés

This deep, soulful and inner life enhancing book has been described as ‘vitamins for the soul’, ‘a gift of profound insight’, ‘fertile and life-giving’, ‘a bible for women interested in doing deep work’.

Jungian analyst, Dr Estés uses intercultural myths, dream symbols, fairy tales and stories, to help women reconnect with the fierce, wild woman and instinctual self within.

Women Who Love Too much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He’ll Change

by Robin Norwood

Along with ‘Codependent No More’ by Melody Beattie, this is one of my most recommended books to women who suffer with a fear of abandonment, controlling behaviours, co-dependency, love addiction and relationship problems such as choosing unavailable or abusive men.

Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything

by Geneen Roth

Geneen Roth suggests that food, diet and weight related issues are an attempt to fix something that has never been broken. We are already good and whole; our journey is to awaken to our goodness and wholeness.   She writes,

“It’s never been true, not anywhere at any time, that the value of a soul, of a human spirit, is dependent on a number on a scale. We are unrepeatable beings of light and space and water who need these physical vehicles to get around. When we start defining ourselves by that which can be measured or weighed, something deep within us rebels…We don’t want to EAT hot fudge sundaes as much as we want our lives to BE hot fudge sundaes. We want to come home to ourselves.”

Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children

by Sarah Napthali

Along with ‘Attachment Focused Parenting’ by Daniel Hughes – this book is my bible for parenting in a calm and peaceful way. Napthali applies Buddhist teachings such as mindfulness, presence, acceptance and compassion to the everyday challenges and stresses of raising children. Rather than focusing on the child’s behaviour, this book focuses on the inner self of the mother.

Breaking the Spell: The Key to Recovering Self-Esteem

by Rachel Clyne

‘What matters is that we stop hating ourselves; when we do so what has to replace it is Love!’

At the heart of addiction, food related issues, depression and other modern day concerns – working to increase self-esteem and self-worth is always at the core of the healing process.  Psychosynthesis psychotherapist Rachel Clyne gives very practical suggestions in each chapter for developing a healthier and more loving sense of self.

The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions

by Dr Christopher K. Germer

This is one of the best books out there for healing a toxic, harsh, punitive and critical inner voice. With practical mindfulness techniques for living in the present moment, this book teaches us how to nourish the spirit, reconnect and show kindness, compassion and empathy towards ourselves. Germer shows us that through self-compassion, we can heal pain and suffering.

Depression as a Spiritual Journey

by Stephanie Sorrell

This book is rigorously researched and takes a well-balanced view. Psychosynthesis practitioner Stephanie Sorrell explores indepth – the medical, psychological and spiritual aspects of depression. She writes poetically about suffering and depression as a ‘Dark Night of the Soul’. Sorrell shows us that it is possible to find value, meaning and purpose out of our suffering.

Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life

by Thomas Moore

This life affirming and soothing read illustrates how to add spirituality, depth, and meaning to modern-day life by nurturing the soul. Moore uses myths, stories and dreams to help us understand everyday concerns such as depression, anxiety, death, low self-worth, envy and narcissistic wounding.

Man’s search for meaning

by Dr Viktor E. Frankl

‘If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering.”

This moving book was named one of the 10 most influential books in America. Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl spent time in four Nazi death camps. He survived his pregnant wife, parents and brother. Man’s search for meaning is based on Frankl’s own life experience as well as those he worked with in private practice. His ultimate message is that we cannot avoid all suffering in life but we can choose how we respond to it and ultimately, we can find meaning and purpose in it.

About Jodie

Jodie Gale is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being. She is a therapeutic counsellor, life-coach and psychotherapist practising in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia.

 

Part three: Children and iDevices. The effects of iDevice use, little brains and neuroscience

iPad for kids (600x600)This post is part of my Children and iDevices 5 part series.

The effects of iDevice use, little brains and neuroscience.

Touch screen devices – and before them TV and video games – have been of great interest to paediatric neuroscientists and researchers for many years.

One of the justifications for allowing early iDevice use is that children will learn their ABCs and 123s faster than their less fortunate counterparts. In ‘What to Expect the Toddler Years’, Eisnsberg, Murkoff and Hathaway write, ‘While children who have had some number experience before school may enjoy a temporary edge, studies show they don’t retain it, as other students quickly catch up’. So… while early use is linked with some temporary benefits, there is also a cost…and one that far out ways the advantages.

iDevice and internet use has been linked with disrupted sleep, inability to focus, lack of creativity, forgetfulness, impatience, narcissism, loneliness, depression, anxiety, addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder and autism.

In ‘iPad mini will be bad for your kids’, Kit Eaton from the New York Times writes, “Inactivity associated with TV and computer watching is connected with developmental issues, mobility issues, and health issues to do with diet, diabetes, and other issues. There are also psychological concerns related to depression, disengagement, poor social skills, and damage to a child’s ability to empathize.”

Kevin Donnelly states in ‘Educating your child… it’s not rocket science!’, ‘The danger is that too much time on computer games, watching screens and surfing the net damages the way we process information and the way we think. Unlike printed texts that require you to focus on the words, concentrate, read carefully and sit quietly, TV and computer screens are full of colourful graphics, ever changing images, sounds and lots of movement.”

Many parents are noticing that their children enter a trance like state, commonly known as a ‘flow experience’ in the world of psychology. This often happens when children watch TV, play video games or become engrossed in their favourite toys. Technology guru, Ben Worthen suggests that when playing with toys such as Lego, it is the child who makes the choice to end playing, however, with touch-screen apps, the game decides when the child will end. It becomes increasingly difficult for children to stop playing because of the dopamine reward in the brain that they experience.

Dopamine is the chemical associated with pleasure. Many of the apps aimed at children, including the ‘educational’ ones, are designed to stimulate dopamine releases. These encourage children to keep playing by offering rewards or exciting visuals at unpredictable times (Worthen, 2012) . Philip Newton, neuroscience lecturer at Swansea University, describes dopamine as a ‘neurotransmitter, one of those chemicals that are responsible for transmitting signals inbetween the nerve cells (neurons) of the brain. Very few neurons actually make dopamine.’ Altered levels of dopamine can cause a range of symptoms and issues. Some of these are known to be Parkinson’s disease, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), psychosis and schizophrenia. Dopamine is also linked with addiction. Tony Dokoubil, in ‘Is the web driving us mad?’ writes, ‘Dopamine also plays a role in addiction, because it is part of the brain’s system of motivation. Some drugs stimulate its production, leading to increased levels and a corresponding high. When the drug exits the system, it leaves behind a sense of depression and a slowdown, which can only be remedied by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter again. The brain quickly learns to seek out drugs that will stimulate production, leading to addiction’.

Comparable to children’s physical, emotional, social and psychological development, the early years of neurological brain development are formative. Why then, would we introduce them at a young age to using something that could potentially have long lasting effects and consequences on their health and well-being?

If we want our children to grow healthy brains and have a solid sense of all round physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being, their little brains need their primary relationships to be with human beings – not with iPads, iPods & iPhones!

Coming soon: Part Four: The winter of our disconnect.

Coming soon: Part Five: Top tips for healthy iDevice use

References

Donnelly, Kevin, (2013 to be released), Educating Your Child … it’s not rocket science! Connorcour cited in Digital age is dumbing down our children. The Australian. Retrieved from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/digital-age-is-dumbing-down-our-children/story-e6frgd0x-1226436959981

Dokoupil. Tony, (2012), Is the Web Driving Us Mad? The Daily Beast. Retrieved from http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/07/08/is-the-internet-making-us-crazy-what-the-new-research-says.html

Eaton, Kit, (2012), iPad mini will be bad for your kids, Fast Company. Retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/3002200/ipad-mini-will-be-bad-your-kids-discuss

Einsberg, Arlene, Murkoff, Heidi and Hathaway, Sandee, B.S.N, (1995), What to expect: The toddler years, HarperCollins, Australia

Worthen, Ben, 2012, What Happens When Toddlers Zone Out With an iPad. Retrived from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304363104577391813961853988.html

About Jodie

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Sydney Soul-Centred Life-Coach, Counsellor and Psychotherapist Jodie Gale, is a leading specialist in women’s emotional, psychological and spiritual health and well-being.

Over the last 15 years, Jodie has helped 100s of women to transform their lives.

She has a private counselling, life-coaching and psychotherapy practice in Manly and Allambie Heights on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

Jodie is passionate about putting the soul back into therapy!

Sign up for some SOUL in your inbox (aka. latest news, blogs and workshops).

Live Your Life with Purpose! * Sydney Life Coaching Christmas Special *

Live your life with purpose! *Sydney Life Coaching Christmas Special*

Are you feeling lost or disconnected?

Does something keep getting in the way of where you want to go with your life?

Would you like to know yourself at a deeper level?

Are you looking for value, meaning and purpose in life?

Would you like change in 2013?

 

It is only 5 weeks until the new year! Now is the perfect time to have some life coaching sessions to set you up for your new year’s goals.

Using guided visualisation – you will connect in a symbolic way with your deeper source of understanding and inner wisdom.

Some of the themes we will explore together are:

  • managing change
  • how your history might be impacting on your present life situations and relationships
  • life direction
  • what gets in the way of living the life you dream of?
  • self-nourishment
  • moving towards a life filled with value, meaning and purpose

Life coaching sessions can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Explore how your past is impacting on you in the here and now
  • Connect with a sense of value, meaning and purpose in life
  • Find and build upon your existing strengths
  • Build a tool-box of coping and life skills
  • Experience meditation and visualisation
  • Learn mindfulness techniques
  • Make healthy long-lasting changes
  • Change unhealthy thought patterns
  • Discover Journaling
  • Enjoy symbolic artwork
  • Explore your dreams
  • Unleash your creativity
  • Learn through psycho-education

‘Live Your Life on Purpose’ bookings with therapeutic counsellor, life coach & psychotherapist – Jodie Gale

You can experience ‘Live Your Life with Purpose’ as a 3-hour one off experience ($275pp) or for a deeper exploration, over 6-12 weekly sessions ($90 pp per session). This offer is available to purchase until 25th December, 2012.

Life-coaching makes a wonderful gift to yourself or for friends and family.   It is perfect for individuals or for a small group of family members and/or friends. Gift certificates are available.

The following session times are available before Christmas:

Saturday 1, 8, 15 December at 11.45am

Saturday 1, 8, 15 December at 1pm

Sunday 16 December at 9-12pm

Business as usual in the new year if you would prefer to start then.

Addiction: A Psychospiritual Perspective

capa journal spiritualityThis Journal article is subject to copyright. To cite this Journal article: Gale, J. (2010). Addiction: A Psychospiritual Perspective. The CAPA Quarterly, Journal of the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association of NSW (4), 20-23 retrieved from http://jodiegale.com/addiction-a-psychospiritual-perspective/

Addiction: A Psychospiritual Perspective

In every human being there is a special heaven whole and unbroken’

                                                                                                            Paracelsus.  

The word ‘holistic’ is used often within the helping professions, yet on deeper exploration, ‘spirituality’ is often neglected. It is not seen as legitimate and is rarely given space in psychology, social work, counselling and psychotherapy training (F. Gale, 2007). Considering global emergencies such as financial and environmental crises, war torn countries and displaced peoples, the widening gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian’s health and well-being, levels of addiction to the internet, food, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex and shopping and a growing sense of disconnection from self and others – neglecting a spiritual context continues to have dire consequences for individuals, communities and the ‘whole’. ‘Outcomes based’ medical models supported by many governments are primarily concerned with ‘getting rid’ of problems rather than caring for the whole person (WHNSW, 2002). Yalom sees that our field is in crisis due to economically driven, perforce symptom orientated, brief, superficial and insubstantial therapies (2002, pg. xiv).  In ‘Healing the Split’, John Nelson (1994) suggests that no area of Western thought is more in need of the input from spiritual disciplines than our understanding of [neuroses] and psychoses. Wilber (1994) writes, Continue reading

Let your light shine and live the life you have always dreamed of! Contact me now to book your first appointment.