Tag Archives: living in the present

Paint Brushes in Art Mug

Art Therapy Beneficial for Mind, Body & Spiritual Wellbeing

Art therapy is a healing practice used to increase the overall health of one’s body, mind, and spirit. It’s a therapy that can easily be successful for people of all ages and for people suffering from many different challenges, such as illness or trauma.

The American Art Therapy Association was established to help promote the healing aspects of art and how it can improve the overall quality of one’s life.

Art therapy is often used when working with the aging population, as it is effective with increasing people’s self-perception, memory, and coordination.

Wellness with Art Therapy

Paint Brushes in Art MugResearch has shown that the creative process has many benefits, including:

  • helping with managing stress levels;
  • developing conflict resolution skills;
  • balancing emotions; and
  • improving cognitive clarity.

Useful for everybody of all ages, art therapy helps with personal development because the creating and reflecting aspects of art increases self-awareness.

Accepting Aging Through Creative Expression

As we age, there are many things that change in life that sometimes we may not be willing to accept or have a hard time coming to terms with: we lose people, we lose our health, we lose our home, and we lose our mobility. Depression is common among elderly people, in addition to confusion and low self-esteem.

Art helps people come to terms with various aspects of aging and can help people reclaim their identity. Because art is full of choices people have the freedom to make, it helps ease the feeling of dependency that aging people may feel. Growing older is often viewed as merely a day-to-day survival issue, whereas creative expression lays emphasis on the person’s experiences, memories, and relationships.

American Art Therapy Association

With over 5,000 members globally within 36 chapters, the American Art Therapy Association strives to promote the effectiveness of art therapy for every type of person of every age. The Association supports legislation involving art therapy at both the state and federal levels of government and supports different research projects, educational programs, and clinical uses of art therapy.

The following video was produced with help from the American Art Therapy Association with the goal of showing people how effective this creative therapy is for the elderly population. It is an example of rediscovering one’s joy and happiness through expression.

As art therapist Wendy Miller notes, “[Art is] not a luxury; it’s really a necessity.”

Book Cover for The Diamond in Your Pocket

Awaken to Your True Nature with The Diamond in Your Pocket by Gangaji

If we are constantly searching for happiness, we will never be satisfied, according to spiritual teacher and writer Gangaji.

In that quest, our true nature is overlooked, and happiness can only be found when we discover our true selves.

In The Diamond in Your Pocket (Sounds True), Gangaji posits ideas that will change the way people think and act as they find their way along their spiritual journey.

Referring to the precious jewel we all carry with us, The Diamond in Your Pocket is a reminder to all of us to live in the present as our true selves.

Spiritualist Focusing on Self-Inquiry

GangajiIn the early 1970s, Antoinette Roberson Varner started on a quest of spiritual fulfillment. Her routines involved practicing Bodhisattva vows, as well as Zen and Vipassana meditation. Working for a Buddhist Meditation Center and running an acupuncture clinic, Varner continued to carry with her the feeling of unfulfillment, regardless of her spiritual practices and daily routines.

Varner travelled to India in the 1990s where she met Sri H.W.L. Poonja (Papaji), a spiritualist who shared with others about the true nature of the path of self-discovery. Varner, now known as Gangaji, continous spreading Papji’s message today as she shares her spiritual enlightenment.

Today Gangaj is a teacher, author, and speaker who travels internationally, sharing her experiences and inspirations she acquired from Papaji. Gangaji has assisted thousands of people with her words, specifically discussing the discovery of one’s true fulfillment, who you really are, and what this revelation really means.

Finding Fulfillment Within Yourself

In The Diamond in Your Pocket, Gangaji presents ideas and topics that encourage individuals to contemplate their spiritual path in a new way. People are on a constant quest for fulfillment. Gangaji strives to assist people with letting go of the constant need to control every aspect of life, and rather refocus the mind on what’s truly important.

Book Cover for The Diamond in Your PocketThe Diamond in Your Pocket also encourages people to be vulnerable at times and embrace experiences with the “unknown.” Gangaji teaches individuals that it’s okay to let go of the suffering, or the drama, that gets carried around throughout life. By doing so, one puts his or herself in a better position to truly understand who they are.

Anyone in search of ways to fulfill their life will be captivated by Gangaji’s wisdom.

She reiterates that it’s not the constant search for happiness that will leave one eventually feeling fulfilled, but only when one stops to live in the present moment and to appreciate their true nature will fulfillment happen.

The Diamond in Your Pocket is available as an audio download, on CD, or as a paperback book.

To learn more, please click > The Diamond in Your Pocket by Gangaji

Gangaji Reflects on Searching for the Perfect Future

About the Gangaji Foundation

Established in 1993, the Gangaji Foundation is an educational, non-profit organization that “serves the truth of universal consciousness and the potential for the individual and collective recognition of peace inherent in the core of all being.” The Foundation organizes events with Gangaji, publishes spiritual and inspirational books, and contributes to numerous outreach programs.

The Gangaji Foundation also funds a scholarship program that assists people to attend an event featuring Gangaji, so her words can be heard by as many people as possible. The scholarship is provided by donations, fundraising, and event fees.

To learn more, please click > The Diamond in Your Pocket by Gangaji

Advice on Transforming Loss and Change Into Gift and Opportunity

SARK’s latest book released Nov 1, 2010, Glad No Matter What: Transforming Loss and Change Into Gift and Opportunity offers a loving and helpful handbook for anyone in transition.

Because we live in unprecedented times, a light-hearted but effective handbook to navigating through the emotional roller coaster of loss and change has arrived-with impeccable timing!

You may also want to visit Planet SARK to learn about her workshops, courses, and other books.

This Is Not A Book About Feeling Glad When You Don’t

Image Depicting Planet SarkSARK’s style is colorful, casual and surprisingly helpful, and the author thankfully goes past the typical “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” diatribe.

As SARK herself says, “This is not a book about feeling glad when you don’t—how annoying. This is a book about finding and living from the glad parts in all of your feelings (page 4).”

SARK offers up some sound advice and some fantastic suggestions. For example, she says, “I’m learning to hold the little hands of those sacred parts inside of myself, and just sit with them (page 94).”

She later stresses the importance of feeling our feelings: “If we don’t allow ourselves to feel or express our emotions, they will get larger and louder or may go into our bodies and present themselves as some kind of physical condition (page 97).”

Empowering and Inspiring

Glad No Matter What Book CoverUnfortunately, SARK speaks from experience, as she shares her Transformational Practices (Chapter 6) and suggestions that came to her through her own journey of transformation.

She writes candidly about the death of her mother, her cat, and her love relationship. She also addresses her childhood sexual abuse and the pivotal role of forgiveness in her life.

Although her “loss list” (page 170) is full, SARK writes in a way that is empowering and inspiring, as she shares her formulas for feeling the feelings and finding the gifts along the way. SARK also offers up some sage advice for “Telling and Living New Stories” (page 171) and learning to “Live in the Middle” (page 181).

Glad No Matter What is also full of surprising resources, including books, music, web addresses, inspirational quotes, and a whole chapter on case studies called Portraits of Joy and Transformation Through Change and Loss (Chapter 7).

Practical Joy

SARK’s real world, common sense approach to surviving loss in any form is comforting and approachable.

SARK may be the mother, aunt, or best friend that you never had, and once you have read her work, you will want to have her over for dinner—or maybe book a cruise to the Caribbean for the both of you.

She and her work are delightful, open, and full of what she seeks: practical joy!

Learn more, visit Amazon > Glad No Matter What: Transforming Loss and Change Into Gift and Opportunity

Learn more, visit Amazon > Glad No Matter What: Transforming Loss and Change Into Gift and Opportunity

Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness by Susan L. Smalley, PhD and Diana Winston

Do you feel like your life is operating on warp speed?

Are you so caught up in all of your daily activities that you end the day feeling like you don’t have a clue as to what really went on?

With the modern world’s emphasis and value on speed, fast, and now, it’s hard to get through a day without feeling constant pressure, strain, and a “Hurry up!” attitude. In fact, it seems like most people are more interested in how fast things happen rather than how well things get done. Living in the present is almost an absurd attempt with the all of the stresses and strains we’ve let society put on us.

In this first of its kind book, Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness, Susan Smalley and Diana Winston take the reader on an easy-to-read lesson into the art and science (just as the title states) of mindfulness and how it can transform your life. If you’ve ever wanted to discover living in the present and how empowering and freeing it can be, Fully Present teaches you how.

Understanding Mindfulness and Living in the Present

Author SmalleyAuthor WinstonMindfulness is the art of being aware and paying attention with openness and curiosity to the present moment. Mindfulness can transform your life in ways you can only imagine.

Fully Present begins with the authors’ own personal accounts of their experiences with mindfulness. Susan Smalley tells the reader how despite her seemingly happy dream life as a mother of three, successful professor, and wife of a successful Hollywood entrepreneur, she was really feeling angry, resentful, and out-of-touch inside. Living in the present didn’t exist.  Smalley explains how her life transformed into one of connectedness, deep peace, and true compassion for others as well as herself. She learned to live in the present and appreciate it for all it is and all it isn’t.

As for co-author Diana Winston, she explains to the reader how she came upon mindfulness, living in the present, and how vital it is to having a truly happy life. As a meandering new college graduate, Winston took to traveling to India. During this journey she became interested in many of their teachings—including mindfulness—from Buddhist teachings. She almost immediately became immersed in this way of living and of thinking, which included many mediation retreats and even a year spent as a Buddhist nun in Burma.

These two authors beautifully weave a tale of living in the present that encompasses both their personal stories as well as science and art. Fully Present offers a baseline view of what mindfulness is and how to make it part of your life from both the scientific and art perspective.  If you feel rushed, out-of-touch with yourself and others, angry, upset, depressed or just feel you aren’t living in the present, Fully Present provides the tools and insight to set you free.

A Perfect Merge of Science and Art

Book Cover for Fully PresentFully Present offers both an understanding in the scientific realm of what living in the present and mindfulness actually are, as well as the art of mindfulness. Not only does the reader come to understand with the mind what mindfulness is, you’ll also learn how to make this mindfulness part of your life on a daily basis.

Mindfulness is helpful to any person regardless of who you are, where you’ve been, or where you want to go. If you want to live life in deep inner peace and feel contentment that is unwavering, Fully Present is the tool to take you there.

Both Susan Smalley and Diana Winston work at the Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) at UCLA—which was founded by Susan Smalley.

To read other 5 Star Reviews, visit Amazon > Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness

The Mindfulness Code: Keys for Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, Fear, and Unhappiness by Donald Altman

Many of us find during the week there are days we feel rushed, running on empty, and wishing we had add a few more hours to the day.

Or we wish we had a few more days to the week and so on.

If you’re a member of today’s fast paced society there’s little doubt that at one time or another you’ve felt this way.

Depending on the exact specs of your life you may feel this way often or rarely. Either way, it doesn’t feel good and in fact may be damaging to your health; body, mind, and soul.

clock hanging on ceilingThis is why we wanted to alert you to Donald Altman’s most recent book, “The Mindfulness Code,” which teaches you how to get out of this type of life – actually the thinking – that keeps you feeling like you’re a clock watcher, running on a treadmill and the speeds just a bit too fast.

In The Mindfulness Code: Keys for Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, Fear, and Unhappiness, Altman teaches the reader what exactly is going on in the brain – or brain science. He then takes the reader on an easy to understand journey into active ways to really re-wire your own brain to disable these thoughts and patterns that tend to overwhelm us.

Step Out of the Rat Race of Pain with Mindfulness

Altman, a former Buddhist monk, now a practicing psychotherapist, teaches the reader how to get in touch with his or her own reactive thought patterns which cause stress, anger, anxiety, and fear.

These negative emotions seem to becoming more and more the ‘norm’ for how people in our society feel on a daily basis.

These negative feelings not only impact our jobs, our relationships with family, friends, and loved ones but also our health. When we’re stressed the infamous “stress hormone” cortisol increases. This stress hormone is now being linked to cancers, and other chronic diseases like heart disease.

The Seeker of Peace will Find It in Mindfulness

peaceful insideIf you feel at all like you’d like to be more in touch with yourself, less stressed or anxious, and not running on the treadmill like a mindless mouse, then The Mindfulness Code is a good match for you.

In forty-four chapters, and 273 pages, Altman will clue you in on what’s really going on when we argue, react, and feel stressed out in general.

Learn to turn what you used to see as the negative into positive, learning experiences that enrich your life and the lives of the ones you hold dear.

Science, Spirituality, and Mindfulness Meet

Altman teaches the reader through science, words, and case studies that there are four vital keys for living a healthy, fulfilled, and happy life; The Mind Key, The Body Key, The Spirit Key, and The Relationship Key.

This book is a one of kind tool that not only tells you’re the science behind what’s going on, but gives you real life ways to apply this to your life for peace and harmony in all you do.

The Mindfulness CodeAs you look at the “rat race” we’ve all become part of it’s hard to know exactly how to get out while still being a productive part of society. The Mindfulness Code takes you step by step to a life you may have yearned for but didn’t know how to reach.

Deepen your relationships, turn turmoil into triumph, enjoy the day to day life you live, and become even more productive with less stress and more creativity.

This is a phenomenal book that all who are suffering in our world today would benefit from reading and applying to their lives.

To read other great reviews visit Amazon > The Mindfulness Code