Transformation Cafe Podcast

TC357: The Eight Active Ingredients of Tai Chi – Harvard Medical School

Posted by on Jul 31, 2017 in Health & Healing, Mindfulness, Podcast, Self-Care, Tai Chi, Wellness | 1 comment

TC357: The Eight Active Ingredients of Tai Chi – Harvard Medical School

The week we are pleased to welcome Elaine Brovont, a certified trainer of “The Eight Active Ingredients of Tai Chi” based on the Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi by Peter M. Wayne, PhD and Mark L. Fuerst. Elaine is the first person certified to train this program on the West Coast.

She describes this work as “Translating the Eastern concept of Tai Chi into Western language and bridging that gap.”

Elaine describes how she originally got into Tai Chi, and then how she became connected with the Harvard research program of Dr. Peter Wayne.

Can you apply it to your daily life?

“You can change the energy in a room by changing your posture, and your demeanor, and passing positive energy into a negative environment.”

The Eight Active Ingredients of Tai Chi

  1. Awareness – including mindfulness and focused attention.
  2. Intention – including belief and expectations.
  3. Structural Integration – including dynamic form and function.
  4. Active Relaxation – Tai Chi’s circular, flowing motion helps shift the body and mind into deeper levels of relaxation, and is a form of meditation in motion.
  5. Strengthening and Flexibility – Tai Chi provides moderate aerobic training equal to levels obtained by walking at a moderate pace.
  6. Natural Freer Breathing – more efficient breathing improves gas exchange, massages body tissues, including internal organs, helps regulate the nervous system, improves mood, and balances and moves Qi within the body and between the body and the environment.
  7. Social Support – including interaction and community.
  8. Embodied Spirituality – including philosophy and ritual.

From the description on Amazon:

“Conventional medical science on the Chinese art of Tai Chi now shows what Tai Chi masters have known for centuries: regular practice leads to more vigor and flexibility, better balance and mobility, and a sense of well-being. Cutting-edge research from Harvard Medical School also supports the long-standing claims that Tai Chi also has a beneficial impact on the health of the heart, bones, nerves and muscles, immune system, and the mind. This research provides fascinating insight into the underlying physiological mechanisms that explain how Tai Chi actually works.”

Contact Elaine:

Email: ebrovont(at)stanfordhealtcare.org

Phone: (925) 918-1026

TC356: The Creative Process and the Poet’s Muse

Posted by on Jul 24, 2017 in Creativity, Podcast, Poetry | 0 comments

TC356: The Creative Process and the Poet’s Muse

On this week’s podcast, host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Frost welcome back poet Michael Mejia. They are joined by Marsha and Vanessa, the owners of Sundappled Boutique in Claremont, California.

Mike shares three more of his poems. The first is one called “The Remembrance”. Mike says that this poem comes “from the eternal aspect, from a place that isn’t broken, and a place where the more we clear what’s fragmented and bring it back into alignment with the source of everything, then I get to create more evenly from that place.”

Mike reads a touching poem about the gift his parents gave to him: the wisdom to look inside one’s self for answers.

Michael’s upcoming events:

  • July 30, 2017 6:00 – 9:00 PM– Poetry reading at Sundappled, 216 Foothill Blvd, Claremont, California. Michael is the featured guest along with Staxx and Ron Blakely
  • August 12,2017 6:00 PM – Interworks Wellness Center,  1306 Monte Vista Ave. #8, Upland, CA – Kundalini Yoga and Poetry Reading

Sundappled Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sundappledboutique/

TC355: The Power of Poetry

Posted by on Jul 17, 2017 in Podcast, Poetry | 1 comment

TC355: The Power of Poetry

In this week’s episode of the Transformation Cafe, host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Frost welcome poet Michael Mejia. Mike shares several of his poems, and he and Robin discuss the poetry of Ahmed Badr, Rumi, and others.

Mike Mejia in Sedona, Arizona

Read Mike’s poem Untitled – A Journey Beyond Labels“.

Poetry is ordinary language raised to the Nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words. – Paul Engle

Mytho-Poetic States?

In this video Jason Silva  muses on the Power of Poetry from his “Shots of Awe” series.

Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary. – Kahlil Gibran

Michael’s upcoming events:

  • July 30, 2017 6:00 – 9:00 PM– Poetry reading at Sundappled, 216 Foothill Blvd, Claremont, California. Michael is the featured guest along with Staxx and Ron Blakely
  • August 12,2017 6:00 PM – Interworks Wellness Center,  1306 Monte Vista Ave. #8, Upland, CA – Kundalini Yoga and Poetry Reading

References:

10 Points on the Power of Poetry

Iraqi Refugee Empowers Youth to Share Their Stories with Narratio – Ahmed Badr, an Iraqi-American,wrote the moving poem “A Thank You Letter From The Bomb That Visited My Home 11 Years Ago”. This article talks about his project that provides a forum for others to tell their own story. The article contains an audio link to Ahmed reading his poem.

TC354: The Game Called Life – Interview with author Kay Gilley

Posted by on Jun 20, 2017 in Books, Personal Development, Podcast, Spirituality | 0 comments

TC354: The Game Called Life – Interview with author Kay Gilley

In this week’s episode of the Transformation Cafe podcast, host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Frost welcome Kay Gilley. Kay is the author of “The Game Called Life” available from Amazon. Kay and Amy have been friends for over 20 years.

About Kay:

Kay Gilley is a spiritual coach and mentor to executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals. In her writing, public speaking and individual work, she helps individuals break out of habitual near-life experiences to rediscover life, foster latent creativity and reclaim their whole potential. Kay has been described as “the world’s leading thinking on intention.” She says that means intention is the assignment God has given her to master at this point on her journey. To date, here spiritual homework has included writing four books on fear, courage, and intention. She describes The Game Called Life as the ultimate exercise in spiritual surrender…written in five days with passion that changed her life and her health. Kay writes the blog YouKnowInYourHeart.blogspot.com, and she is also a keynote speaker, in addition to her “day job” as senior organizational development consultant at NASA Headquarters.

You can read more at Kay’s blog: http://youknowinyourheart.blogspot.com/

TC353:Self-Care for Caregivers and Laughter Yoga

Posted by on Jun 13, 2017 in Podcast, Self-Care, Veterans | 1 comment

TC353:Self-Care for Caregivers and Laughter Yoga

On this episode of the Transformation Cafe podcast, host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Frost welcome Michelle Bassett, a Hidden Heroes Fellow, to discuss self-care for caregivers and the work of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.

Hidden Heroes brings vital attention to the untold stories of military caregivers and seeks solutions for the tremendous challenges and long-term needs they face.

In 2012, Elizabeth Dole founded the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to support military caregivers after witnessing the hardships these spouses, parents, siblings, and friends of wounded, ill, and injured veterans and service members face while she was caring for her husband, Bob, during an extended stay at Walter Reed Hospital. Since the Foundation’s launch, she has led the way in exposing the military caregiving crisis and bringing crucial resources to help these hidden heroes.

You can learn more about VA Caregiver Support, and participate in 4 weeks of daily self-care reflections and activities provided by the Veterans Administration. Check out the excellent “Caregiver Workbook Module 1: Caring for Yourself“.

TC352: Staying Well on Vacation with guest Catie Fitzgerald

Posted by on Jun 4, 2017 in Health & Healing, Nutrition, Podcast, Self-Care, Travel | 0 comments

TC352: Staying Well on Vacation with guest Catie Fitzgerald

On this episode of the Transformation Cafe podcast we welcome back nutritional counselor Catie Fitzgerald. Catie tells us about her approach to staying well on vacation, by preparing your body ahead of time so you don’t get sick while having fun!

The CIGS Approach

A 4-prong approach to staying healthy on your vacation: CIGS. This is the only time that CIGS denotes something healthy for you!

  • Condition your body to be active
  • Nourish your immune system
  • Prime your GI tract for proper function
  • Reduce the impact of Stress on your body

Below is a link to a PDF of Catie’s great article! Download the article and you’ll find great resources to help you prepare your body and mind. Catie also includes a table of foods that provide vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system.

Staying Well on Vacation – (PDF file)

The Four R’s

After vacation, apply the four R’s to make your transition back to normal a smooth one.

  • Reflect – on what you saw and did
  • Re-establish routines– go to bed at a descent hour and set your alarm for the time you normally go to work
  • Restock your refrigerator and pantry with healthy whole foods  so you can replenish your body
  • Recalibrate – Plan your schedule and to-dos for your first week back to work. Revisit your personal and professional goals.

CONTACT INFO

Catie Fitzgerald, Health and Nutrition Coach
Enhanced Health Solutions
www.enhancedhealthsolutions.com
Email: cfitz@enhancedhealthsolutions.com

TC351: The Book of Joy – Relationships and Community

Posted by on May 22, 2017 in Books, Cafe Book Club, Joy, Podcast | 0 comments

TC351: The Book of Joy – Relationships and Community

In this week’s podcast we conclude our Cafe Book Club review of “The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World“. Host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Frost provide a meditation exercise for each one of the Eight Pillars of Joy, and Robin demonstrates a Laughter Yoga exercise that will put a smile on your face.

From the description on Amazon:

Two great spiritual masters share their own hard-won wisdom about living with joy even in the face of adversity.

The occasion was a big birthday. And it inspired two close friends to get together in Dharamsala for a talk about something very important to them. The friends were His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The subject was joy. Both winners of the Nobel Prize, both great spiritual masters and moral leaders of our time, they are also known for being among the most infectiously happy people on the planet.

From the beginning the book was envisioned as a three-layer birthday cake: their own stories and teachings about joy, the most recent findings in the science of deep happiness, and the daily practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives. Both the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu have been tested by great personal and national adversity, and here they share their personal stories of struggle and renewal. Now that they are both in their 80s, they especially want to spread the core message that to have joy yourself, you must bring joy to others.

Most of all, during that landmark week in Dharamsala, they demonstrated by their own exuberance, compassion, and humor how joy can be transformed from a fleeting emotion into an enduring way of life.

The Book of Joy cover

This book is filled with the wisdom of these two great spiritual leaders. They share their simple but profound ideas of how a shift in thought or behavior can have a tremendous impact on one’s sense of joy, regardless of the challenges we experience. And as we’ve seen science backs up their claims that humility, humor, acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity have a significant impact on our level of happiness.

The Eight Pillars of Joy:

  1. Perspectives: There are many different angles
  2. Humility: I try to look humble and modest
  3. Humor: Laughter, joking is much better
  4. Acceptance: The only place where change can begin
  5. Forgiveness: Freeing ourselves from the past
  6. Gratitude: I am fortunate to be alive
  7. Compassion: Something we want to become
  8. Generosity: We are filled with joy

We are grateful that we’ve been able to share this wonderful book with our audience. If you ever need a reminder of how a change of perspective can make a difference, or how acceptance can help you to move forward, feel free to revisit these episodes. We encourage you to share the book with your friends and family in the hope that they too will be able to experience more joy in their lives.

Additional Resources:

In the podcast Amy makes a reference to St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits. The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by the Reverend James Martin “shows us how to manage relationships, money, work, prayer, and decision-making, all while keeping a sense of humor. Filled with user-friendly examples, humorous stories, and anecdotes from the heroic and inspiring lives of Jesuit saints and average priests and brothers”.

TC350: Cafe Book Club presents The Book of Joy – Pillar 8: Generosity

Posted by on May 14, 2017 in Books, Cafe Book Club, Generosity, Joy, Podcast | 1 comment

TC350: Cafe Book Club presents The Book of Joy – Pillar 8: Generosity

In this week’s podcast host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Frost discuss the last of the 8 Pillars of Joy from the “Book of Joy” by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Pillar 8 is “Generosity”.

Generosity is the habit of giving freely without expecting anything in return. It can involve offering time, assets or talents to aid someone in need. Often equated with charity as a virtue, generosity is widely accepted in society as a desirable trait.

Generosity is often a natural outgrowth of compassion, thought the line between the two can be hard to distinguish. We don’t need to wait until the feelings of compassion arise before we choose to be generous. Generosity is often something that we learn to enjoy by doing. It is probably for this reason that charity is prescribed by almost every religious tradition.

The Science of Giving

Generosity was so important for our survival that the reward centers of our brain light up as strongly when we give as when we receive, sometimes even more so. Renowned neuroscientist Richard Davidson and his colleagues have identified that generosity is one of the four fundamental brain circuits that map with long-term well being.

Davidson is finding that happiness is something we can cultivate and a skill that can be learned. Working with the Dalai Lama, Davidson is investigating the far-reaching impact of mindfulness, meditation, and the cultivation of kindness on human health and well-being. The video from National Geographic below features Davidson on “The Science of a Happy Mind”.

“The Science of Giving” video below gives a great summary of how generosity can improve your mood, boost your immunity, and provide other benefits.

Generosity can also be spending time, money, or labor, for others, without being rewarded in return.

Although the term generosity often goes hand-in-hand with charity, many people in the public’s eye want recognition for their good deeds. Donations are needed to support organizations and committees, however, generosity should not be limited to times of great need such as natural disasters and extreme situations.

You don’t have to be rich to be generous

Generosity is not solely based on one’s economic status, but instead, includes the individual’s pure intentions of looking out for society’s common good and giving from the heart. Generosity should reflect the individual’s passion to help others, but it doesn’t have to cost you money.  You could volunteer at a senior center, a food bank, your local animal shelter, or any of a number of worthy causes. Your time is your gift.

What of those people who want to know how they can find joy in their own life while there are so many who are suffering?

As the Dalai Lama says, we do not have to take on the burdens of the world. “It helps no one if you sacrifice your joy because others are suffering. We people who care must be attractive, must be filled with joy, so that others recognize that caring, that helping and being generous are not a burden, they are a joy. Give the world your love, your service, your healing, but you can also give it your joy. This, too, is a great gift.”

The Eight Pillars of Joy:

  1. Perspectives: There are many different angles
  2. Humility: I try to look humble and modest
  3. Humor: Laughter, joking is much better
  4. Acceptance: The only place where change can begin
  5. Forgiveness: Freeing ourselves from the past
  6. Gratitude: I am fortunate to be alive
  7. Compassion: Something we want to become
  8. Generosity: We are filled with joy

TC349: Cafe Book Club presents The Book of Joy – Pillar 7:Compassion

Posted by on May 7, 2017 in Cafe Book Club, Compassion, Joy, Meditation, Podcast | 0 comments

TC349: Cafe Book Club presents The Book of Joy – Pillar 7:Compassion

In this week’s podcast, host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Front continue their discussion of “The Book of Joy”. This week we focus on Pillar 7: Compassion – Something We Want to Become

Compassion – All traditions carry the same message: the message of love. Compassion is a sense of concern that arises when we are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to see that suffering relieved. It connects the feeling of empathy to acts of kindness, generosity and other altruistic tendencies.

According to the research, we are hard-wired to want to relieve the suffering of others.

Can compassion be taught?

How is compassion related to joy and happiness?

TC348: Cafe Book Club presents The Book of Joy-Pillar 6: Gratitude

Posted by on Apr 24, 2017 in Books, Cafe Book Club, Gratitude, Podcast | 0 comments

TC348: Cafe Book Club presents The Book of Joy-Pillar 6: Gratitude

In this week’s podcast, host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Frost continue their discussion on The Book of Joy. This week we focus on Pillar 6: Gratitude – I am Fortunate to be Alive

The quotes below are excerpted from this chapter.

Greet each day with gratitude

“Every day, think as you wake up, ‘I am fortunate to be alive. I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it.'”

Gratitude is the recognition of all that holds us in the web of life and all that has made it possible to have the live that we have and the moment that we are experiencing. Thanksgiving is a natural response to life and may be the only way to savor it. It allows us to shift our perspective toward all we have been given and all that we have. It moves us away from the narrow-minded focus on fault and lack and to the wider perspective of benefit and abundance.

It is gratefulness that makes us happy

Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Catholic Benedictine monk and scholar who spent a great deal of time in Christian-Buddhist interfaith dialogue explained, “It is not happiness that makes us grateful. It is gratefulness that makes us happy. Every moment is a gift. There is no certainty that you will have another moment, with all the opportunity it contains. The gift within every gift is the opportunity it offers us. Most often it is the opportunity to enjoy it, but sometimes a difficult gift is given to us and that can be an opportunity to rise to the challenge.”

“A grateful world is a world of joyful people. Grateful people are joyful people. A grateful world is a happy world.”

In the video below, Brother David Steindl-Rast talks about the power of gratitude.

Joy is the happiness that does not depend on what happens

“Whatever life gives to you,” Brother Steindl-Rast explains,”you can respond with joy. Joy is the happiness that does not depend on what happens. It is the grateful response to the opportunity that life offers you at this moment.”

Unforgiveness robs us of our ability to enjoy and appreciate our life, because we are trapped in a past filled with anger and bitterness. Forgiveness allows us to move beyond the past and appreciate the present, including the drops of rain falling on our face.

Gratitude cuts across the negative bias

Scientists have long known that our brains have evolved with a negative bias. It was no doubt advantageous for our survival to focus on what was wrong or dangerous. Gratitude cuts across this default mode of the mind. It allows us to see what is good and right and not just what is bad and wrong.

Grateful people do not ignore the negative aspects of life, they simply choose to appreciate the positive

Grateful people do not seem to ignore or deny the negative aspects of life; they simply choose to appreciate what is positive as well: “People with a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathetic and to take the perspective of others. They are rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks.” The are also more likely to have helped someone with a personal problem or to have offered emotional support to others.

Keep a list of things for which you are grateful

People who focus on gratitude, by keeping a list of what they were grateful for, exercised more often, had fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives, and were more positive about the week ahead compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events. Similarly, those who focused on gratitude were more likely to have made progress toward their important personal goals. So it seems gratitude is motivating, not demotivating. Grateful people report more positive emotions, more vitality and optimism, and greater life satisfaction as well as lower levels of stress and depression.

Gratitude helps us catalog, celebrate, and rejoice in each day and each moment before they slip through the vanishing hourglass of experience.

When we recognize all that we have been given, it is our natural response to want to care for and give to others.

The Eight Pillars of Joy:

  1. Perspectives: There are many different angles
  2. Humility: I try to look humble and modest
  3. Humor: Laughter, joking is much better
  4. Acceptance: The only place where change can begin
  5. Forgiveness: Freeing ourselves from the past
  6. Gratitude: I am fortunate to be alive
  7. Compassion: Something we want to become
  8. Generosity: We are filled with joy

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