Repair or Despair – Is forgiveness the answer?
Everyday we’re bombarded by a torrent of bad news on TV, in the newspapers or on the radio etc, there’s no escaping it. But how much personal responsibility should we take for the impact these things have on our lives – and could forgiveness be the solution? If you’d asked me this question twenty years ago I’d have laughed, but in 2005 personal circumstances threw me into that very arena, when my partner was murdered. Psychologists say we experience 5 stages of grief before finding real peace. Maybe that’s true in most cases, but for me it was much quicker because I chose to forgive his killer……. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/02/repair-or-despair-is-forgiveness-the-answer/
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Stress it’s all in the mind! By Julie Kelly
Expert Stress Consultant & Tibetan Buddhist Practitioner. In 2010 Julie left her long term role as a social worker to travel India. There she spent many months studying Tibetan Buddhism & Tibetan Buddhist philosophy in Dharamsala at the home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She now runs her own practice in Rochdale Greater Manchester. In today’s hectic & demanding Western climate explains Julie, we’re constantly in hot pursuit of the one thing that will bring true happiness. A bigger house, better car, more attractive partner, latest iPhone or higher paid job etc, the list is endless – but is it ever really enough? Even if we’re lucky enough to get what we want, it’s only a matter of time before we’re off again – running in circles & chasing the next best thing in the hope of being fulfilled.
Constantly running on the ‘hamster wheel’ of life can be physically & mentally exhausting, always pursuing happiness and satisfaction but getting nowhere.
Living this way is bound to have its consequences, and the impact on mental & physical health can be devastating. Illnesses such as stress, high blood pressure, depression, heart problems, asthma and even cancer cell growth etc, are all evidenced as being linked to stressful lifestyles. The sad thing is, most people don’t realise they have an inherent ability to prevent these things if they’d only stop to breathe & look at life more objectively.
There’s been no better time to consider this, than over recent weeks where people lost their homes, livelihoods & belongings in the devastating floods that swept through Rochdale and of course other areas. Now all that’s left are the devastated memories of material things that we worked ourselves into the ground to achieve, only to have them so cruelly snatched away. This is in itself a reminder that nothing is permanent and that trying to cling on as if they are, is nothing more than futile.
As Julie explains: “Most of the problems we experience in Western society today definitely come from the mind, for example – how we perceive the world and ourselves. This of course impacts our physical health, but if we learn to change these beliefs and stop clinging to negative behaviours & ideals, it’s very possible to live a happy peaceful & healthy life”. – http://www.juliekelly.co.uk
Rochdale’s Golden Heartbeat – Article by Julie Kelly
2015 is one that many across the UK certainly won’t forget. Its definitely been a rollercoaster ride in my hometown of Rochdale, North West England. For many, the name Rochdale will conjure up all kinds of images ‘many sadly not so positive.’ It’s true, we’ve definitely had our share of controversy – when it comes to pulling together as a community however, Rochdale has a heartbeat so strong it leaves most standing speechless. This was never so apparent as in recent days when many lost their livelihoods, homes & businesses to raging floods whilst rivers all across the UK continued to burst their banks. From a personal perspective, the source of that beating Rochdale heart has undoubtedly been The Golden Mosque on Lower Sheriff street. Whilst it’s fair to say other faith based communities around Rochdale have played a positive role in keeping people safe, these guys deserve special recognition for their tireless work over the festive period ensuring vulnerable people got food & candles when the power went off, a place to get warm drinks and someone to talk to. Being central to Rochdale, there’s also been a period where the Mosque itself was without power but you’d never have known it. Even despite their own hardships, our Muslim community have pulled together to literally save lives. This seems strangely ironic now considering the stigma and prejudice that’s surrounded our Muslim brothers & sisters over recent months, due to a small pocket of dangerously misguided individuals.
Although our Muslim brothers & sisters as far as Im concerned, have nothing to prove in relation to their integrity and sincerity, you can’t help but wonder if there’s been a deeply embedded message for all of us in recent events. After all, wasn’t it the floods that brought Muslims, Christians, Buddhists & Atheists etc, together? Not for money or personal gain, but to volunteer their time and embrace each other as human spirits with no interest except to benefit others. Of course there’ll always be those looking for a place to lay blame with opinions on where money should or shouldn’t go – those who procrastinate about what should or shouldn’t have happened etc, but that’s ok! It takes all kinds of people to make the pulse of our communities beat. For me, despite having limited water and generated power supplies, nothing could be more perfect than looking from my window onto the very place where compassion really has been put into action- Rochdale’s Golden Heartbeat.
The lotus is a flower that grows in the mud.
The thicker and deeper the mud, the more beautiful the lotus blooms. Sogyal Rinpoche
The Golden Mosque is located on Lower Sheriff St Rochdale (near town flats) They’re also on Facebootk and have their own website at www.goldenmosque.org
Mind Over Menopause by Julie Kelly
Ladies! What can we say about the menopause? It’s a confusing time for sure, both hormonally and mentally – oh and we can’t leave out the physical aspect either. Menopause is brought about by the reduction of the female hormone oestrogen, and boy doesn’t it let you know that changes are taking place? For me it started with the black moods, then came the forgetfulness followed by itching under my skin like an army of frantic ants. Yes it’s absolutely true, when you’re going through the menopause or (change) it’s hard to tell whether you’re being cooked alive or frozen to death because your body temperature fluctuates so dramatically but ladies don’t despair! I’ve found the perfect way through. Here my latest article tells you just how to beat the menopausal mayhem. Best Wishes Julie
Buddhism in the Workplace by Julie Kelly
What’s the connection between Buddhism and the workplace? That’s a great question but if you’re a compassionate person, trying to live a good life with main intention of benefiting others you’re pretty much living a Buddhist lifestyle no matter what religion you follow – but then reality kicks in!
One of the biggest causes of sickness in the workplace is stress, often resulting from demanding workloads, the need to meet impossible targets & deadlines and an inability to see beyond the culture of fear & anxiety. Being trapped with these negative emotions often leaves us overwhelmed and unable to cope. This is a dark place to be, affecting not only our own physical and mental health but also that of those closest to us. In a nutshell, stress becomes an epidemic of our own creation which we often can’t move away from. Living a happy, healthy & fulfilled life becomes impossible because we’ve become emotionally trapped. Seeing things from this perspective helps us understand how Buddhism could be so beneficial in the workplace. But what are the principles of Buddhism and where do we start?
Most of us will have heard the term ‘mindfulness’ being thrown back and forth which is actually a key element of Buddhist practice. Mindfulness means using the mind to its full potential (fully) bringing everything back into the present moment so we can see our situations as they really are – objectively as opposed to subjectively. Only when we learn to see things this way, can we begin to consider realistic solutions – thus preventing conditions such as workplace burnout & other stress related problems. Objectivity allows us to fully appreciate the perspectives of the other person(s) for example; the manager piling on the work may actually be under pressure himself and fearful of losing his job. So here you can see how the cycle of fear, unhappiness & stress manifests itself, but how do we break the cycle? One option is to just up and leave altogether, which of course isn’t the most sensible thing to do but there is another option – meditation.
Taking just 10 minutes of our working day to sit quietly and undisturbed can make a world of difference to our lives. Focusing only on the breath, we distract the mind from those issues that are bothering us. Regular 10 minute practice can reduce stress levels to the point where they’re almost non existent, and this in turn impacts our behaviours with others.
Because meditation helps us change the way we perceive the world around us, we also know that the problems we experience i.e. stress are only in the mind and not real. We know this is true, because if they were real we wouldn’t be able to change them. Buddhism is all about using our own thoughts, speech, views, actions, motivations etc for the benefit of others. It’s about compassion and understanding the needs and feelings of those around us. In reality we all want a happy life but when were trapped in negative emotions such as anger and stress, we can no more help ourselves than we can others. This is why Buddhist practice in the workplace can only be a step forward. For further information or a free no obligation advice just contact me by email at kelly_Julie1 @sky.com or for more information about my work, please go to http://www.juliekelly.co.uk
Are you finding meditation impossible? Article by Julie Kelly
A life to die for