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Beginners’ Feedback 6/5/18

Five people attended, four female and one male. Four people filled out the feedback form. A summary of their feedback is posted below.

One of the participants attended the Beginners’ meetup and Practitioners’ meetups before. She said this meditation was life changing for her. So she brought in her friend and friend’s college going daughter for today’s class. She said lot of things were going on at her home but her husband said she should go to the class as she feels and does better after the class. Also that she felt peaceful simply being in my presence.

Another participant had attended the Vipassana program at Barre (Massachusetts) but never practiced at home after the program (1). At the end he said he liked how I presented the technique.  A set of my handouts was given to each participant (2).

I knew about this group from

– meetup.com
– Sign I saw
– Friend

My purpose in joining this group

– Feel calm and peace
– Learning how to de-stress and have my mind become more peaceful
– Renew my meditation practice, Control stress, Improve health and sleep
– To relieve anxiety, Improve sleep

Today’s ‘Take home’ ideas

– Method of breathing to improve feeling of relaxation
– Going to sleep and walking practice
– Find little moments to de-stress and have my mind become more peaceful.
– Feel calm and peace
– Don’t stress about the rules

Overall evaluation of the session

– Very useful 4

Suggestions for future meetups

None

I plan on joining a follow up group

– Practitioners’ meetup
– Beginners and Practitioners group
– I travel and so I will come as my schedule allows

My sources of stress

– Life in general
– Sleep and joint pain
– Home
– School
– Relationships at home and work

I cope with my stress by

– Exercise, Yoga, Sports, Hiking
– Eating, Reading
– Need to develop healthy ways to eat normally

Total donations offered – $27

(1) Insight Meditation Society
(2) Documents for download

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Practitioners’ Feedback 4/17/18

Three members came in.

What did we do?

–  Each of us shared how we practiced after the last meetup.

– Meditated sitting on cushions in sofas/chairs to effortlessly maintain an erect posture. Each of us practiced in our own way for about 20 minutes and then chanting ‘May we all be happy silently’ once at each segment for 10 minutes. Total meditation was for 30 minutes.

– At the end, massage all over the head, neck and shoulders using one hand at a time.

Summary of feedback

My purpose in joining this group
– Improve and motivate my progress
– Practice meditation
– Inner peace and relaxation

Today’s ‘Take home’ ideas

– “Watch the movie” in the mind (watch the thoughts appearing in the mind like an audience watching the images
on the movie screen)
– Let thoughts pass by like a movie
– Path not goal (Focusing on the journey rather than the goal?)

Overall evaluation of the session

– Very useful – 2
– Useful – 1

Suggestions for the future 

– More time, may be
– Perhaps a lamp, to soften relaxing to the reality after meditation

I plan to attend the next meetup

– Practitioners’ meetup 2
– Beginners’ and Practitioners’ meetup on third Saturday

My sources of stress

– Relationships at Home 2
– Life in general
– Relationships

I cope with my stress by

– Meditation (I want to use it more)
– Meditation
– Getting busy with activities Doing things that I enjoy
– Exercise 2
– Yoga

Total donations – $20

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‘Beginners’ Feedback 4/3/18

Two people attended. A summary of their feedback is posted below.

My purpose in joining this group

– Learn to meditate
– To kick start the practice. I have wanted to start but always put off.

Today’s ‘Take home’ ideas

– Different techniques, Doing ti before bed and upon waking up
– Various methods, Pick one that seems to work

Overall evaluation of the session

– Very useful  2

Suggestions for the future

– Not sure. I think the length of time is fine.

I plan to attend the next meetup

– Practitioners’ meetup – 2

My sources of stress

– Home
– My health
– Relationships

I cope with my stress by

– Exercise – 2
– Hiking, Listening to music
– Math & Algorithm development

Total donations offered – $40

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‘Beginners’ Feedback 2/6/18

Three people attended. One of them was a 15 year old teen who came along with her mom. A set of my handouts was given to each participant (1). A summary of their feedback is posted below.

I will use this technique for my

– Stress, Anger
– Trouble sleeping, Anxiety, Relationship stress

Today’s ‘Take home’ ideas

– Counting breaths
– Can be done with eyes opened, Do it routinely
– Counting my breaths! Love the segment mode

Overall evaluation of the session

– Very useful  2
– Useful  1

Suggestions for the future

– Keep food nearby (a lollipop was offered)
– If possible, weekly classs

Books on meditation taken with deposit

– Finding the quiet
– Transformation and healing

Total love donations offered – $40

(1) Documents for download

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Practitioners Feedback 1/16/18

One member came though it was snowing and said he didn’t want to let down others who RSVP’D. It was so nice of him. Two others cancelled the RSVP in advance.

What did we do?

–  Reviewed the practice after the last meetup

– Meditated sitting in chairs on cushions to effortlessly maintain an erect posture, using the segment mode, for about 30 minutes and then chanting ‘May we all be happy silently’ once at each segment completing two hands. During the chanting visualized the images of people in the immediate vicinity, then family, coworkers, extended family members and so on, expanding the coverage wider and wider, as the time permits. The goal is to extend the good wishes to one and all including those we don’t like.

– At the end, massage all over the head, neck and shoulders using one hand at a time.

– Then CS (Organizer) demonstrated the movements of ‘Stretching for beginners’ as shown in the video posted in ‘countingbreaths.com’ (1). This stretching is to follow the morning meditation to prepare the body for action during the day. It also develops body awareness, supplementing breath awareness.

Suggestions from CS

To improve sleep: Before lying down, empty the mind by downloading the swirling thoughts on to a paper. Make two columns – one titled “Worries and Goals’ and the second titled ‘Plans’. Post all the thoughts into the respective columns. This would free the mind. After lying in the bed, as soon as one desires to sleep, practice the ‘Segment mode’ non-stop to automatically fall asleep.

– To bring lying or sitting meditation into the daily routine, set an alarm 30 minutes before the current waking up time. Use this newly created free time to practice meditation either lying in the bed or sitting on the chair or floor.  Morning meditation will make a big impact on daytime stress. After the meditation practice becomes a daily habit, prepone the alarm by 15 minutes and practice the stretching routine also.

– On weekends, allot at least 45 minutes to practice meditation and stretching.

– Meetup for all levels: We talked about setting up another meetup for potential Beginners and Practitioners who are not able to come on Tuesdays. The second Saturday of the month from 2 to 3.30 was considered a good time.  I invite other members to comment on this proposal. If no comments are received by 1/24/18, I will go ahead and announce as above.

Summary of his feedback

My purpose in joining this group

– Rewind and review the practice, release the stress and reclaim control of my emotions and reactions.

Today’s ‘Take home’ ideas

– New morning routine
– Meditation and then stretching

Overall evaluation of the session

– Very useful

Suggestions for the future –

I plan to attend the next meetup

– Yes

My sources of stress

– Work
– Family
– Relationships

I cope with my stress by

– Meditation
– Doing things that I enjoy

Total voluntary donations offered – $10

(1) Stretching for beginners

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18th Seminar – East Greenbush Library

I offered the 18th seminar at East Greenbush Community Library (1) on Jan 10, 2018 from 6.30 to 8.30 pm. Attended by 7 women and 4 men. A folder containing my key handouts  and testimonials was given to each participant (2), (3). 

Summary of the Feedback

I will practice this technique for my (concern) 

  • Stress and Sleeping
  • For stress reduction, Improved sleep, Improved quality of life and health
  • Stress, Falling asleep
  • Getting back to sleep
  • Sleep
  • Sleep,Tension
  • Stress, Learning to relax
  • Relaxation, Relieve stress
  • General Stress reduction

My ‘Take home’ points

  • Practice breathing
  • Learn to relax
  • Practice for six months, Breathe through nose and counting
  • Focus of breathing to relax
  • Breathing meditation based on counting, Practice when you have time anywhere
  • I want to share with my sister who has chronic back pain
  • Finger tip counting
  • Breathing 1-2-3
  • Counting breaths and the times to do the breathing

Evaluation of the seminar 

  • Very useful – 7
  • Satisfied – 3

Comments

  • Excellent presentation, Experienced presenter, Thank you for offering
  • Very good info.
  • Thank you!

I wish to 

  • Receive ‘Annual update’ on this technique – 1
  • Interested in ‘follow up classes’ on today’s techniques –
  • Interested in joining a support group for meditation –

(1) East Greenbush Community Library
(2) Documents for download – All handouts
(3) Sample testimonials – 16

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Related pages
Public Seminars

+ Counting Breaths Meditation – Annual Update 2018

I Wish You and Family A Happier New Year!

New!!!    “meetup groups for Beginners and Practitioners. See (1)

Testimonials – 2017 (2)
“Blessed to have you  in my life” (3)
*** “From a From a ‘Human Doing’ to a ‘Human Being’” (4) ***

 

Who said Meditation is difficult? (5): Counting breaths meditation is different and ideally suited for beginners who want to meditate routinely. It doesn’t demand time or posture, appeals to all and offers assured benefits. Begin humbly and step up at your own pace.

Falling asleep: ‘Count your breaths’ at bedtime to calm your mind by reducing the flow of thoughts and enjoy good quality sleep (6). You will like its doability and usefulness.

Daytime: ‘Focus on a few breaths’ when the mind wanders like when waiting at the red light, driving on a highway, standing in a line and walking. Sporadic but frequent micro meditations will lead to spontaneous meditations in a few months (7)! Enjoy multiple benefits for Mind, Body and Relationships (8).

Try ‘Lying meditation’ when not in a rush: On waking up in the bed, returning from work or weekends, for 20 – 30 minutes and more. You will be impressed with its healing impact on mind and body (9). Regular meditation prevents building up stress and also dissolves the roots of recurring stress (10).

Programs

Monthly ‘meetup’ groups for Beginners and Practitioners (1)
Six monthly seminars on at the East Greenbush Library (11)
Solo classes by appointment (12)

Select Books on ‘Relationships’

Myself and my clients have immensely benefited from the insights and practical suggestions in the books by Susan Forward, Mark Goulston, Kerry Patterson, Adele Faber and Karl Pillemer, Harriet Lerner, Gary Chapman, Harriet B. Braiker and more (13). You too may like them.

I thank you for your patient reading and welcome your comments and suggestions. Have a nice day and a happier year ahead.

(1) meetup groups for Beginners and Practitioners
(2) Testimonials 2017 – 11
(3) Blessed to have you in my life
(4) From a ‘Human Doing’ to a ‘Human Being’
(5)Who said meditation is difficult?
(6) Falling asleep ‘counting breaths’
(7) Daytime practice

(8) Helping Mind, Body and Relationships (A to Z)
Addictions,   ADHD   Anger,   Anxiety,   Fear and Panic attacks,   Attitude,   Compulsive thoughts,   Concentration and focus,   Courage to take decisions,   Dental work,   Depression,  Driving stress,   Face – grim to bright and smiling,   Fatigue,   Grief,   Hypertension,   Infertility treatments – reducing repeated failure of,   Insomnia,   Migraine,   Obesity,   Pains – Chronic,   Pains – acute   Phobias   Pregnancy and childbirth,   Relationships – difficult,   Smoking and Tobacco chewing,   Stress at home or office,   Stuttering (Stammering),   Surgery – before and after   Willpower

(9) Lying meditation
(10) All about my meditation
(11) East Greenbush Library
(12) Solo classes by appointmentat my office
(13) Select list of self help books on “Stressful Relationships”

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+ Journaling for Mind, Body benefits – Guest post by Gemma Philips

How Journaling reduces stress
Recent scientific studies have backed what has long been known in Eastern philosophy since ancient times: holistic practices such as yoga and mindfulness meditation lower stress hormone levels, lift our mood, and boost our academic and work performance. If you are already well versed with the many benefits that meditation can bring to your life, you might consider adopting a complementary activity, which will only enhance the relaxing effects of meditation. It’s called journaling, and it is currently a therapy that is encouraged in a variety of settings – including centers for rehabilitation for drug abuse, for eating disorder recovery and for the treatment of stress-related conditions such as depression and anxiety. Journaling is also used for patients which chronic health conditions, including cancer, asthma, chronic pain, insomnia, etc.

How does Journaling differ from diary writing?
Far from merely recording the events of the day, as is the case with diary writing, journaling goes a step beyond, in that it involves writing down our thoughts and feelings which are our reactions to the day’s events. In this way, we can get to know ourselves better – find out what triggers stress or anxiety, note down the way we tend to react to conflict or difficult issues, and jot down alternative, more positive reactions the next time we encounter a similar situation.

What benefits does journaling bring?
Some of the many benefits of journaling include:

  • Helping us deal with stress
  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Helping us deal with challenging events and circumstances
  • Helping us ‘metabolize’ our experience – when we do not journal, we can simply block any unpleasant thoughts or emotions, which are transformed into a muddled memory we obtain little value from. Journaling helps us process the day’s events, so that we are not plagued by distressing thoughts and feelings. In this way, journaling very much resembles mindfulness.
  • Helping us track our progress – we can use our journal to create strategies to deal with difficult situations, and take note of how we are progressing in our goals.
  • Identifying triggers – journaling regularly enables us to identify the situations or people that tend to make us anxious or upset. We can analyse how they manage to have this effect on us, and either make a conscious decision to process their words and actions in a different manner, or take more drastic measures if necessary (such as limiting the amount of time we spend in these types of situations, especially if they are toxic or bring no good to our lives).

What Types of Journal are there?
Ultimately, each of us defines and creates our own type of journal. Some people find success from keeping a gratitude journal – in which they regularly list down the things, people and events they are thankful for. Others (such as those in recovery from substance abuse, for instance) keep a recovery journal, to help track their progress, triggers and setbacks. Still others keep a journal to note their progress towards a defined goal. Another popular journal is the evening reflection journal, which enables the writer to reflect on their reactions to a specific event.

How to Journal?
Journaling ultimately only works if we are truly committed to it. The aim should be to write daily, or every couple of days, for a set amount of time (between 20 minutes and around half an hour at least). If you are considering starting a journal, find a comfy, quiet spot in your home, where you won’t be bothered by noise. Make this area as personal as you can – fill it with lights, put on relaxing music or decorate it so that just the idea of journaling seems immensely appealing. Every few days, go back over previous entries to reflect on them. During the day, use your phone or keep a small notebook, jotting down any important thoughts or feelings you may otherwise forget. Remember that journaling is a reflective exercise; use your journal to become more self-aware and to make the necessary changes you need for a better quality of life.

Further Reading:
Journaling as an Aid to Recovery, Recovery.org
Mindfulness meditation may ease anxiety, mental stress,
Journaling for Mental Health, Urmc.Rochester.edu
The Benefits of Journaling, UWhealth.org

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+ “I am blessed by your counsel and friendship”- a client

Anna (name changed) in her seventies attended four of my classes. One day she came to our office in my absence and left an envelope. It had a ‘thank you’ card and some payment. The payment was far beyond what she owed me for the used books I sold her in the last class (1). Her note in the card reads –

“Dear C S
Enclosed is my payment for the books. The extra money is what I wish to give you, for your therapy sessions. While you may not have a counseling degree, it’s no matter. You are a wise, intuitive, compassionate and warm human being. You and I know ‘the degree’ doesn’t always equal quality and common sense. You possess both (2). I am blessed by your counsel and friendship.”

I feel humbled by her appreciation and unexpected payment.

(1) Her son in his forties Joseph (name changed) died under unbelievable circumstances. As shared by Anna:
Joseph separated from his wife and shared the custody of their five year old daughter. He was under stress, having been fired from his job when he reported to the management about discrimination at the work place.  Anna visited him and granddaughter in Minnesota. One day, Joseph was driving with Anna and family in the back seat. For an unknown reason, Joseph showed his middle finger to another driver (5).  The other driver followed them in his truck. When they both stopped at the next red light, the other driver jumped out of his truck with an ax, smashed the rear screen of their car, pulled out Joseph out and badly hurt him. The police arrived promptly and took the other driver away.

After the near death experience, Joseph was devastated. He thought that his having a puny body was the cause for his humiliation. He resolved not to let anyone humiliate him again. He bought a gun and always carried it with him. Anna realized his acute stress and tried her best to convince him to seek therapy. But he did not like to do that.

One day, Joseph and his ex-wife were in a store parking lot, exchanging the custody of their daughter. His ex took custody of their daughter and backing up her car, about to leave. An unknown car driver who was behind her, beeped, to caution her. Joseph was watching the scene from his car, parked a few spaces away. Apparently, he misunderstood that the other driver was harassing his ex-wife and daughter. He jumped out his car with his gun, fatally shot the innocent stranger and himself.

(2) The circumstances which led her to my attend my counselling classes:
Anna came to my seminar for NAMI Rensselaer County members in March 2014 and liked the technique (3). She enrolled for three of my Meditation classes at Venture Inward in Nov 2016, but did not show up after the first class (4). When I called her in Jan 2017 to inquire, she told me about the tragic death of her son. I could hear her crying over the phone. I advised her to seek help from a counselor. On a follow up call, I came to know she was not inclined to seek a counselor. I then invited her to come to my solo classes, as I owed her 2 classes anyway.
(3) NAMI Rensselaer County: National Alliance for Mental Illness
(4) Venture Inward
(5) Middle finger – Wiki page

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Seminar – East Greenbush Library

I offered the 16th seminar at East Greenbush Community Library (1) on January 11, 2017 from 6.30 to 8.30 pm. Attended by 12 adults. A folder containing my key handouts  and sample testimonials was given to each participant (2), (3). It was interesting to hear from a participant that she attended the seminar a few years back and the technique helped her sleep. She came this time along with her husband. They both met me at the end and her husband commented “she falls asleep so quickly”. She said she brought him along because he does not sleep well.  

Summary of the Feedback

I will practice this technique for my (concern) 

  • Anxiety and Insomnia
  • Insomnia and to turn my brain “Off” when I want to sleep.
  • Sleep
  • Anxiety and Panic attacks
  • Stress
  • Relax when feeling stressed
  • Increased peace

My ‘Take home’ points

  • 3 Steps/ ways to fall asleep
  • Breathing at bedtime and awakening
  • Practice breathing, Try morning routine
  • Waking up with stretches and breathing, Chanting, Picking something that speaks to my heart
  • I like the ideas of breathing techniques before sleep and after waking
  • Stretching techniques before starting the day
  • Counting while breathing

Evaluation of the seminar 

  • Very satisfied – 9 (only 9 people returned the forms. Two people left early as they had an appointment)

Comments

  • I took this class a few years ago & the breathing techniques definitely help with my sleep.
  • Very useful ideas to use going forward.
  • Too short! I loved every minute. I want to learn more.
  • Counting, Feeling, folding – I will use tonight to relax and sleep.
  • Very passionate about topic, obviously a major part of his life
  • Thank you for sharing from your learning.
  • Great!
  • Thank you!
  • Counting, feeling and folding modes – I will use tonight to relax and sleep. Thank you so much!

I wish to 

  • Receive ‘Annual update’ on this technique – 4
  • Interested in ‘follow up classes’ on today’s techniques – 2

(1) East Greenbush Community Library
(2) Documents for download – All handouts
(3) Sample testimonials – 16

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Related pages
Public Seminars