We love the Positively Newsworthy section of our magazine, in which we share the most happy news stories we can find, designed to make you smile. Enjoy the Spring 2021 edition of Positively Newsworthy below.
In this extract from our Autumn 2018 issue, the acclaimed wellness coach Alison Canavan shares her advice on the true importance of self-care. She says, “when we show up, wake up, give back and make a difference, it accelerates our collective healing.”
The Care Behind Self-Care
Showing up for ourselves and our planet
by Alison Canavan
The conversation around self-care has been lengthy. At times, you would be forgiven for feeling like it has tipped over into narcissism. As human beings, the ego tends to take over sometimes and this can lead to an inflated sense of self. However, showing up for yourself in an authentic way means becoming aware that with our world the way it is at the moment, we simply don’t have time for everyone to work through all their problems fully before showing up for each other and the planet.
We live in a world of instant gratification and social media fame, leading us to think that there’s no point in doing anything that might matter unless it’s on a grand scale. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, when we show up, wake up, give back and make a difference, it accelerates our collective healing, and that is certainly something this world needs right now. Let me put it like this: if you work on your own self-improvement and you are a little bit less messed up than you were yesterday, and your friend does the same, and she’s a little bit less messed up, and then your neighbour does the same, all of these little bits help to raise the collective consciousness as a whole.
So just what does it mean when I say ‘showing up for yourself’? Very simply, it means doing the work and facing the parts of yourself you would rather ignore. This can be done through meditation, mindfulness techniques, journaling or any other way that helps you to dig deep, feel and, in turn, heal. For generations in Ireland, we have lifted the rug and swept our problems underneath, hoping that no one would ever lift that rug and release them. What we fail to understand is that we pass those unhealed traumas onto the next generation and the generation after that.
I believe we are living in traumatised times and the planet as a whole is pretty traumatised. However, I have great hope in humanity. If we truly want to feel at peace in this world, we need to go within and work from there. We can certainly get temporary reprieve from numbing ourselves when we feel uncomfortable with things like alcohol, drugs, medication, shopping, gambling and our phones, to name a few. But these temporary fixes keep us stuck as an individual and as a collective. Maybe we are feeling uncomfortable because we know the world is suffering and needs action?
We need to stop waiting for someone else to reclaim our communities. We need to reconnect with people in real life, not just on social media. When we do the work, we become more conscious and aware of waste too. Our oceans are at risk as a result of our instant gratification lifestyle. Slowing down, which is essential for human beings, enables us to live more in the present, making better choices each day like carrying reusable coffee cups, shopping bags and water bottles with us.
Remember that the world was never changed by the masses, but by the few who decided to wake up and make their lives matter. Could you be one of those people too?
PLEASE NOTE: due to unforeseen circumstances, this event, which had been scheduled to take place on Thursday August 23rd, has to be postponed. We will arrange a new date as soon as possible and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. People who have booked tickets for this event can request a refund, earn free entry to any other Positive Nights event, or be granted free entry to the new date for Alison’s event, once this has been organised. Please email email@example.com if you have any concerns.
If you are a regular reader of our print magazine, you may recognise Alison as the author of our Positively Metaphysical column: offering her sage advice, issue after issue, on subjects such as mindful exercising, the importance of spending time in nature, or learning how to care for ourselves.
She is also the organiser behind the highly successful Full 360 health and wellbeing shows that take place on a regular basis around the country. Alison says: “People are more stressed and busier than ever and we all put enormous pressure on ourselves to be everything to everyone, often treating ourselves quite harshly and negatively. It’s time to practice self-care to cope with the demands of our busy world.”
Alison believes in living life according to five basic principles, which she calls the 5 A’s:
AWARENESS: Being aware and present for yourself and keeping an open and curious mind towards the world around you.
ACCEPTANCE: Accepting with grace where you are in this moment, which is the only place you can truly start from.
ACCESSIBILITY: Accessible practices that you can use every day like gratitude, mindfulness, movement and good food to help you on your personal journey towards freedom and joy.
ATTITUDE: Your attitude to life is everything and having a good one makes all the difference.
ALIGNMENT: Aligning with yourself, others and the world around you is important. It starts with your daily practice of going within.
You can learn more about Alison’s work by going to her website, alisoncanavan.com.
During our time with Alison, she will tell us more about how we can learn to care for ourselves, every day, in this hectic world. This fascinating event will take the form of a one-hour interview, followed by a short break and then a Q & A session.
We wanted to share this powerful article by Amanda Collins from our Winter 2017/18 issue, in which she urges us to stop looking to unknown future events for our happiness, and to live for today instead. She says, “You can choose and claim happiness by living, breathing, and doing everything, every day, from a place of self-love.” The time for us to step into our power and choose our birthright of happiness is NOW.
You are love, pure and simple. Happiness is your birthright. All you have to do is choose it and claim it. “How?” you may wonder. You can choose and claim happiness by living, breathing, and doing everything, every day, from a place of self-love. If that sounds impossible to you, it’s time to begin listening to your self-talk, to look for signs and symptoms of denying the love and self-love that resides at the core of your being.
Do you say things to yourself such as “I’ll be happy when…” and then add an event in the future? When I lose more weight, when I find a boyfriend, when I make more money, when I quit my job: all of these thoughts deny you the happiness you might be feeling in the here and now. You are postponing your happiness when you could be inhaling joy and self-love with every breath instead.
Do you say other things to yourself such as “I wish I were as successful in my love life as I am at my job,” or “If only I were as good a parent as I am a friend”? Such thoughts again deny your ability to bring happiness into every area of your life. Instead of wishing, reframe your thoughts with the belief that you can bring the same ease, flow, and energy to your “weak” areas as to your “strong” ones.
Do you say things to yourself such as “Oh, it’s just my usual bad luck!” or “This kind of thing always happens to me”? Such statements deny your freedom of choice. They make you subject to some past negative idea of fate or destiny controlling your life. Be aware of the ways you criticise yourself or expect the worst. These are strong signs that you do not love yourself unconditionally. At some level you may feel (or have been told) that you do not deserve happiness. If so, you can begin the process of rooting out such self-denying attitudes.
Once you have developed the capacity to hear the negative messages in your self-talk, begin affirming the positive in yourself. Meditate to quiet the chatter so you can hear the deeper voice that knows you are love and that feeling self-love is the first step on the path to feeling deserving of happiness. Then you may choose to be happy. NOW.
Affirmations are a key method of reprogramming your mind— which has the quality of neuroplasticity—by replacing negative thoughts, doubts, fears and expectations with positive ones. State positively, as if it has already happened, your intentions and gratitude for whatever will bring greater positive energy and happiness into your life. Repeat each with full conviction five times in the morning and five in the evening. Here are a few examples to help you create your own:
- I give thanks for my lovely children who bring joy and pleasure to my life.
- I deserve to be respected, valued, loved and honoured.
- I am a magnet of success, grateful that limitless opportunities open for me now.
- I give thanks for my busy career and the clarity to use my time wisely.
- Radiant, vibrant good health is mine in every cell and atom of my being.
- I love myself unconditionally and shine that love into the world.
Examine your morning ritual. When you wake up in the morning, do you immediately reach for your phone or computer? Do you look for distraction or affirmation in the outside world? Change that habit. Tap in first. Tap into your heart and higher self. Ask yourself what you are grateful for. Breathe in and fill yourself with gratitude and the possibilities of abundance that each new day brings. From that place of strength, listen to the gremlins of negative self talk and banish them. Go for a run in nature. Stand in the sun or let the rain bathe you so you can connect yourself with the earth.
Find practices that are really nurturing and nourishing to you: whether it’s reading inspiring books, joining webinars and classes, or perhaps getting the therapy you may need for greater support and healing. If you notice you are depressed or low on energy a lot of the time, that’s a good sign you may need some expert help to heal and grow. I believe that getting expert help is a way of loving ourselves. Know that you deserve that time and that support. Give yourself permission to do what is self-loving by practicing self care each and every day.
Listening to yourself, affirming your strengths, examining your habits, practicing self care: these observances will help you cultivate self-love. Stop looking for happiness outside of yourself. Happiness is an inside job. Self-love is an inside job. Choose happiness, claim it as your birthright. Now!
For more information on Amanda’s work, go to www.AmandaCollins.com or www.InternationalFengShuiSchool.com
On page 56 of our just-released Autumn issue, we published Alison Canavan’s breathtaking story of her experience of a Vipassana silent retreat. The magazine version is an abbreviated version of the full article below. Let your mind expand and relax as you read this truly beautiful account of self-discovery and healing.
By Alison Canavan
What is intuition? Are modern human beings stuck in logic and left brained thinking? Am I a product of what I have been told, rather than tuning into my own inner essence or knowing?
All of these questions moved around my mind as I wondered what my upcoming 10 day Vipassana silent retreat would bring my way. As a daily meditator for many years, I have wanted to sit a Vipassana for a long time and this year I finally felt ready. Having recovered from addictions and mental health problems using meditation as one of my tools, I’m acutely aware of the power of going within. In fact, I believe it’s the only way to really heal emotional pain and move into a life of freedom and peace.
As my retreat approached, I felt anxious as I knew there was deep rooted pain ready and waiting to come to surface, given the right time and space to do so. I didn’t have to wait long as on the first day I reacted very physically to the practice and had to leave the room, as I was going to both throw up and pass out. As I sat outside, pale as a ghost, the course coordinator assured me that this was a very normal reaction. That afternoon, the teacher did too.
As human beings, we all have pain and suffering. It’s simply a part of life. However, we become very good at suppressing experiences and emotions, in the hope that they won’t rise again and cause us any trouble. This is something I did for many years: I pushed everything down and thought that I didn’t ever have to face it or deal with it again. During the 20 years of depression, anxiety and addictions that followed, I never connected my emotional pain to my problems, and neither did anyone I went to see. Instead, I got handed tablets and hoped for the best.
This is like cleaning the outside of your kitchen cupboards every single day so that when you have visitors your house appears to be gleaming, clean and bright. However, if someone were to open your cupboards, the stark truth would shock them. The inside would be dirty and food would be rotting. This is what suppressed emotions look like in your body. They are giving off toxic fumes that manifest as emotional problems, such as over or under-eating, depression, anxiety, stress, sleep issues, addictions and much more.
We fail to connect the dots, and we outsource our power to external sources, hoping that they can fix us and heal our pain. My greatest learning from a week of Vipassana was that only you and you alone can heal your pain, and there is no escaping the work if you want to get well or live better. You need to feel and deal with your pain to truly heal.
The word Vipassana means to see things as they are. You are up at 4 a.m. each day and have 10 and a half hours of meditation. Bedtime is 9 p.m. The noble silence you agree to means silence of speech, body and mind, so no eye contact or hand gestures are allowed either. The silence and no phone part were incredible, and I did not miss either. Dealing with my emotional pain, however, was quite another story. You begin the week focusing on your breath entering and leaving your nose. You are instructed to simply observe your bare breath as it is and not try and change it. Then you are asked to observe the sensations just above the upper lip area. This helps to focus your brain on the sensations of your body. The technique of Vipassana is based on Buddha’s experience of enlightenment. It’s also based on science – the law of nature, which states that everything, at all times, is constantly changing. We are all made of molecules that are constantly changing form, and during Vipassana you are instructed to observe the sensations within your body with an aware and equanimous mind. This means if you are experiencing pleasure or pain, you simply observe the sensations and don’t feed into them. In life, we either feed into our cravings or aversions. Through Vipassana practice, we learn to have an eqanimous mind with the intention of taking this equanimity into our every day life, meaning that we can better respond to the everyday problems of life that come our way.
For someone like me, who has an incredibly addictive personality, it was very interesting to observe this in myself. I also had a lot of pain during the retreat, which I learnt to sit with and observe in the knowledge that it would pass, as every experience passes with time.
During the retreat I struggled with my mind many times, and some days I felt like it was a torture chamber. On day 8 I asked to see the teacher and explained to her through my tears that every thought I had was negative and my mind simply did not want to meditate. She explained that this was all part of the process and it’s what they call ‘storming’. She instructed me to go back to my breath during storms and allow them to come up and they would pass. They did. She was 100% right. Vipassana is like doing a deep surgical operation on your most deeply rooted emotional pain. My pain was certainly deep and had I not been on a silent retreat, I know I would have avoided working with it.
During the retreat, I vowed never to return. The process was so painful at times the noble silence was actually a great relief, as I didn’t want anyone to look at me and see my pain. On day 11 as I was driving home I felt an overwhelming rush of gratitude for my experience. I also realized what a blessing it is to get 10 days to sit and go within. Since returning from my retreat, I have been able to deal with stress in a different way and I also see myself and my place in the world quite differently too.
Vipassana allowed me to really see my truth. It gave me an insight into how disconnected we all are from ourselves and from our own personal GPS/guidance systems. We live in a rat race where we rarely stop to appreciate the beauty of life and the world we inhabit. I learnt that my mind really is the root cause of all my suffering, but by working with it and working on myself there is a very different life available to me: one of peace and acceptance – a life where I truly feel connected and alive.
Most modern people are not in touch with intuition. We have let our awareness drift and we have completely forgotten how to be aware of the many dimensions of life and not just the external one. You have to get connected to your senses and most of us can’t do that anymore.
We need to rethink how we sense the world and our place in it. One thing I now know for sure is that life is an inside job. We need to help people to reverse what they have been told, because working from the outside in is simply not working. Everything we need, we already have.
This is taken from our autumn 2015 issue. Subscribe here to have the next four issues delivered in print, direct to your door.
By Dee Wallace
I have been, and still am, tracking something and I am not quite clear about what it is. I thought it was regarding money. Now, as always, it is morphing into something much larger and it is an interesting one with lots to glean from it already. It has to do with a shift of energy between the ‘rules’ we keep for ourselves, and those we have for other energy. It began to crystalise in front of me in New York, as I watched myself and others fl uctuate in what we were claiming, how to get it, and how that affected other energy.
This is what I saw:
- An inequality of happiness and freedom as we were actually creating what we want. This usually came from a deep-seated belief that we couldn’t/wouldn’t get it anyway, or that we had to struggle to get it, so we wouldn’t allow ourselves to acknowledge we were creating it.
- We settled for less and then made excuses that whatever we created was enough. And then we said it was enough.
- We thought there should/had to be more. So we were never content.
All this, in one way or another, led to an inequality of the exchange of energy. It also pointed to the fact that we are not actually saying what we want, knowing the experience of joy after fully receiving it. The quote the channel gave me: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I want to extend that to ourselves, also: Do unto yourself as you would have others do unto you. Are we giving ourselves the love? Are we giving ourselves the encouragement? Are we giving ourselves permission to say and receive what we want? Are we giving ourselves the joy of knowing we are accepted, honored, respected, seen and heard in this life?
And are we giving that to others? Are we asking more for a service so we can experience our worth by getting MORE of an exchange in energy? Or less so we can justify our perception that we don’t deserve?
Look back over the last week and feel into the balance of when the energy feels equal and peaceful. As I was doing this around a situation, I was given this clear guidance: In order for me to feel my integrity, or to be in integrity, I had to give more than I needed to give. That creates an imbalance for me in the exchange of my energy with other energy. And it sets up the experience of “not ever having enough to give.” Even down to fi xing too much for Thanksgiving dinner.
Are you asking too much for the service/time/expertise you are offering in relation to how you are feeling? Look for the intention underneath that is driving it. Are you asking too little in relation to the energy exchange with other energy? Let’s demand that we hear and know the highest truth about what our true perceptions of ourselves are, because that creates the outcome. When we know our self-worth, and we know others’ self-worth, the exchange automatically goes into the correct alignment of the scales, and all is harmoniously balanced.
Dee Wallace has worked as an author, teacher, dancer and actress in film, television and the stage for over 30 years. (E.T., Cujo, The Howling). her book, Bright Light, tells that tale and shares the spiritual lessons she has learned from a life in acting. iamdeewallace.com
Mayan Abdominal Massage
By Anna Campbell
Mayan Abdominal massage is a treatment that focuses on aligning the reproductive and abdominal organs. Intended for both men and women, the treatment helps to re-position the abdominal organs, loosen the hips and remove any scar tissue on the sacrum and along the spine. This increases the circulation of blood to the abdomen and with that resolves a wide range of conditions. The Mayans believe that ‘people’s issues are within their tissues’, so in gently working to release the abdominal tissues people can heal and let go of anything that may be hampering their health.
I am a trained Mayan Massage therapist and acupuncturist and have been working in this relatively unknown work in Dublin. Mayan Massage is known for reducing painful periods, prolapse of the uterus and resolving digestive problems. What I find shocking is the amount of women who live with painful periods. Simply put, periods are not meant to be painful and after a treatment with me you will be armed for life with techniques to reduce that monthly pain. A vital part of this work is called Self-Care.
What is Self-Care?
I spend a lot of time explaining the importance of this with every treatment. It is a shortened version of the massage that you can perform on yourself daily. Self-Care is at the core of the Arvigo Techniques of Mayan abdominal massage. I really believe that everyone should take control of their own health and Self-Care is the perfect technique for doing so. During your session there is a lot of emphasis on this, diet and other simple home remedies (e.g. castor oil packs, Epsom salts bath ) and you are provided with ample information so that you feel confident in what you’re doing.
Self care is an empowering method of healing as so often with allopathic medicine patients are just given a prescription and that’s it. What I find in my work, that explaining why it makes sense to massage your abdomen to help relieve IBS symptoms for example, empowers clients so they finally feel they themselves can make an impact on their health in a practical way.
Abdominal massage works from the pubic bone up to the ribs on the anterior aspect of the body. I work through every system gently massaging away any stress and tension allowing your organs to achieve homeostasis. The massage also works on the back, this is because there are nerves along the spine and through the pelvic bowl that are connected with the organs on the front of the body. I then work gently and systematically along your spine, over the sacrum and into your hips to release out any scar tissue.
So how do you know if you need a Mayan massage?
Well in truth I believe that everyone should experience this healing therapy. Some of the symptoms that you might experience as a female in need of this work include uterine prolapse, pelvic achiness with your period, painful and irregular periods, endometriosis and PCOS, bladder infections/cysitis, fibroids and cysts, fertility challenges, pre-menstrual syndrome, painful ovulation, menopausal or peri menopausal symptoms.
Mayan massage also works on the digestive system. I have been able to help people who are crippled with severe digestive problems. Just like your periods should not be painful, you should not experience pain after eating or while digesting.
Symptoms that can be treated with Mayan abdominal massage include bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, IBS, heartburn, oesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Chrones disease, lower back ache and headaches.
So the men reading this will be thinking what about me?
I find men benefit from this treatment greatly, I ask my female clients to teach their husbands this work if they are not able to come for treatment especially if it is for fertility reasons they are attending. This also helps to keep the tactile relationship healthy within couples who are undergoing a very medicalised IVF protocol for example.
Apart from all the above digestive symptoms men benefit from Mayan massage for symptoms such as; early stages of prostate swelling, prostatitis (mild), prevention of prostate inflammation, erectile dysfunction, fertility challenges due to sperm abnormalities
At Conscious Health your treatments will always be personalised to suit your needs.I put huge emphasis on the person behind the body, and I find this creates a beautiful safe space for people to allow themselves to heal. This massage will feel exactly just what you need, relaxing and deeply therapeutic on a physical and emotional level.