Transformation Cafe Podcast

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

TC347: Cafe Book Club presents The Book of Joy – Pillar 5: Forgiveness

Posted by on Apr 16, 2017 in Books, Cafe Book Club, Forgiveness, Joy, Podcast | 1 comment

TC347: Cafe Book Club presents The Book of Joy – Pillar 5: Forgiveness

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 5: Forgiveness.

Forgiveness does not mean we forget. You should remember the negative thing, but because there is a possibility to develop hatred, we mustn’t allow ourselves to be led in that direction–we choose forgiveness.”

Forgiveness do not mean you forget what someone has done, contrary to the saying “Forgive and Forget.” Not reacting with negativity, or giving in to the negative emotions, does not mean you do not respond to the acts or that you allow yourself to be harmed again. Forgiveness does not mean that you do not seek justice or that the perpetrator is not punished.

“There is an important distinction between forgiveness and simply allowing others’ wrongdoing. Sometimes people misunderstand and think forgiveness means you accept or approve of wrongdoing. No, this is not the case. We must make an important distinction. The actor and action, or the person and what he has done. Where the wrong action is concerned, it may be necessary to take appropriate counteraction to stop it. Toward the actor, or the person, however, you can choose not to develop anger and hatred. This is where the power of forgiveness lies–not losing sight of the humanity of the person while responding to the wrong with clarity and firmness.”

Forgiveness is the only wan to heal ourselves and to be free from the past. Without forgiveness, we remain tethered to the person who harmed us. We are bound to the chains of bitterness, tied together, trapped. Until we can forgive the person who harmed us, that person will hold the keys to our happiness, that person will be our jailor. When we forgive we take back control of our own fate and our feelings. We become our own liberator.

 

 

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

TC344: Cafe Book Club presents The Book of Joy – Pillar 2: Humility

Posted by on Mar 20, 2017 in Books, Cafe Book Club, Joy, Podcast | 0 comments

TC344: Cafe Book Club presents The Book of Joy – Pillar 2: Humility

In this episode host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Frost continue their discussion of the Eight Pillars of Joy. This week focuses on the second pillar: Humility.

We are all just human beings

Dalai Lama said, referring back to the Archbishop’s story about preaching at Chris Hani’s funeral. “You mentioned when you spoke at the funeral that you did not consider yourself superior, you were just one of them. That’s very, very important. I always feels the same way when I give a talk. I consider myself as simply another person, just like those in the audience, same human being. So, I am just one human being talking to other human beings. ”

“Similarly, they should consider me as the same human being, with the same potential for constructive emotions and destructive emotions. When we meet anyone, first and foremost we must remember that they, too, have the same desire to have a happy day, a happy month, a happy life. And all have the right to achieve it.”

“Then, you see, my talk may offer them something relevant, but if I consider myself something special, or they also consider me something different and special, then my experience will not be of much use. So it’s a wonder that, in you, Archbishop, I have found a comrade who fully shares this same view.”

The Archbishop tells a joke

“‘Can you explain the role that humility plays in cultivating joy?’ I asked, as the Archbishop started laughing.”

“They tell the story of a bishop,” he began, “who was about to ordain candidates to the priesthood. They were speaking about virtues, including the virtue of humility. One of the candidates came up to the Bishop and said, ‘My lord, I’ve been looking in the library to find a book on humility.’ The bishop said, ‘Oh, yes, I’ve written the best book on the subject.'”

Humility is essential

“The Dalia Lama and the Archbishop were both insistent that humility is essential to any possibility of joy. When we have a wider perspective, we have a natural understanding of our place in the great sweep of all that was, is, and will be. This naturally leads to humility and the recognition that as human beings we can’t solve everything or control all aspects of life. We need others.”

Purchase your own copy of the Book of Joy

 

TC342: Cafe Book Club – The Book of Joy: Part 1

Posted by on Mar 6, 2017 in Books, Cafe Book Club, Compassion, Joy, Meditation, Podcast | 1 comment

TC342: Cafe Book Club – The Book of Joy: Part 1

In this episode host Robin Masiewicz and co-host Amy Frost begin their review of The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams.

The book explores how to live a more joyous life and is broken down into the “Eight Pillars”: Perspectives, Humility, Humor, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Compassion, and Generosity. This is one of a hundred or so (!) books  that the Dalai Lama has authored or lent his name to, and the first one with Archbishop Tutu.

The Four Independent Brain Circuits

In this week’s show, Robin mentions the “four independent brain circuits that influence our well-being. According to Davidson:

“There are four independent brain circuits that influence our lasting well-being, Davidson explained. The first is “our ability to maintain positive states.” It makes sense that the ability to maintain positive states or positive emotions would directly impact one’s ability to experience happiness. These two great spiritual leaders were saying that the fastest way to this state is to start with love and compassion.

The second circuit is responsible for “our ability to recover from negative states.” What was most fascinating to me was that these circuits were totally independent. One could be good at maintaining positive states but easily fall into an abyss of a negative state from which one had a hard time recovering. That explained a lot in my life.

The third circuit, also independent but essential to the others, is “our ability to focus and avoid mind-wandering.” This of course was the circuit that so much of meditation exists to develop. Whether it was focusing on one’s breath, or a mantra, or the analytic meditation that the Dalai Lama did each morning, this ability to focus one’s attention was fundamental.

The fourth and final circuit is “our ability to be generous.” That was amazing to me: that we had an entire brain circuit, one of four, devoted to generosity. It is no wonder that our brains feel so good when we help others or are helped by others, or even witness others being helped, which Ekman had described as the elevation that is one dimension of joy. There was strong and compelling research that we come factory equipped for cooperation, compassion, and generosity.”
― Dalai Lama, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

The Book of Joy from Human Journey on Vimeo.

Next week Robin and Amy will discuss “Perspectives”, the first of the “Eight Pillars of Joy”.

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

Join us as we cover this amazing book! We will be continuing through the end of April.

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