The Ten Dimensions of Wellness from an Aging Well Perspective (Podcast)

Have a listen to my interview with Dr. Andrea Wilkinson on the BrainShape Podcast, “Flourish or Fade with Angela Gentile.” Episode #121.

It was fun being a guest for the second time with Dr. Andrea. My book, Flourish or Fade: A guide to total well-being for women at midlife and beyond is available on Amazon. For more information on Dr. Andrea, please check out her website, https://www.brainshape.ca/ I hope you enjoy the interview!

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

Flourish or Fade: A guide to total well-being for women at midlife and beyond – Book Now Available

Angela Gentile’s newest book is now available for purchase from Amazon.

A perfect Mother’s Day gift for Mom (Sunday, May 9, 2021).

>>>Buy the Paperback on Amazon ($16.99 USD) 

>>>Buy the ebook (Kindle) on Amazon ($5.99 USD)

Join us at the Zoom Book Launch during National Women’s Health Week,

on Tuesday May 11, 2021 at 8:00 pm CST.

A recording on YouTube will be available if you are unable to attend the live event.

WIN PRIZES!

TAKE CHARGE OF THE WAY YOU AGE

Flourish or Fade: A guide to total well-being for women at midlife and beyond provides you with the information and tools needed to improve life satisfaction. The Flower of Wellness Method will help you devise a plan to balance your body, mind, and soul. 

You will learn how to enhance your overall well-being by exploring the ten dimensions of wellness: 

Physical, Emotional, Brain, Social, Sexual, Spiritual, Environmental, Recreational, Financial, and Occupational.

This anti-ageist, realistic, and optimistic approach to life in the middle years and beyond will provide you with inspiration and tips that will have you feeling confident, happy, and satisfied with whatever may come your way. 

The Flower of Wellness Method is a fresh and contemporary approach to finding balance.

Do you want to flourish or fade in the later years? It’s your choice. 

Angela G. Gentile, M.S.W., R.S.W., is a registered clinical social worker/specialist in aging with more than 25 years of experience working with older adults and their families. She was born and raised in Ontario and now lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

www.AngelaGGentile.com

“Flourish or Fade” Book Launch Giveaways and Contest Details

Celebrate National Women’s Health Week with us! On May 11, 2021, at 8:00 pm CST, Angela G. Gentile will be hosting a Zoom book launch for her newest book, “Flourish or Fade.” Register on Eventbrite to attend. There are a number of awesome books, services, and products that have been donated by some amazing women to help make this book event special. Please see the list below and enter to win! (see Contest Details below).

Flourish or Fade

1. Angela G. Gentile: “Flourish or Fade: A guide to total well-being for women at midlife and beyond” (paperback, $21.00 CAD value). Now available!

BrainShape Accountability Calls

2. Dr. Andrea Wilkinson: BrainShape Accountability Calls ($300.00 CAD value)

“Free Phase II Accountability Calls with Dr. Andrea of BrainShape” ($300 CAD value)

Accountability Appointments take place via TWO 60-minute video calls. 

CALL 1: Discuss your concerns and struggles + build a plan to help you address them (e.g., sleeping difficulties, chronically stressed, low energy, lacking mental focus, etc.) Whatever the problem, let’s talk about it & build a plan you can implement right away. 

CALL 2: Accountability Appointment to check-in on the goals you set out in Call 1.

The winner of the BrainShape Services prize will book their INITIAL CALL by visiting www.BrainShape.ca/call and book a time in Dr. Andrea’s calendar. This is a free offering of the supportive elements provided inside the Brain Vitality Blueprint, and helps people take the first step towards improving their health and well-being. 

How I Made a Huge Mess of My Life

3. Billie Best: “How I Made a Huge Mess of My Life” (paperback, $12.99 USD value)

https://billiebest.com/

The World Came to Us

4. Molly Duncan Campbell: “The World Came to Us” (paperback, $12.99 USD value)

http://mollydcampbell.com/

The Playground of Possibilities Card Deck

5. Kay Ross: “The Playground of Possibilities” (card deck, $20.00 USD value)

This card deck is a self-help, personal-development tool with 52 questions for you to ask yourself. Every question starts with “What would be possible for me if I…?”, to prompt you to let go of your old, limiting thoughts, beliefs and stories about yourself and the world, choose more useful ones, take inspired action, and improvise more resourceful, joyful ways of being. Kay was born in Scotland, grew up in Australia, and has lived in Hong Kong for 27 years. She’s passionate about personal development and healing, and is also an improv performer. The deck costs $20 USD plus postage from Hong Kong (the full amount depends on the number of decks ordered and the destination).  

https://playgroundofpossibilities.com/card-deck/

Seize the Moment!

6. Camille Goscicki, of Vitalaging4women, “Seize the Moment! A Guide to Living in the Present” (ebook, $4.99 USD value)

Do you live with regrets from the past, and fear the unknowns of the future?

It’s time to let go of fears and regrets and live for today. Seize the Moment! is your mini-guide to grab the present moment and live for today. It includes three bonus worksheets that will help you become more mindful. (Everyday mindfulness tips, practicing mindfulness, and becoming present for peace of mind.) Note: eReader not included.

https://www.vitalaging4women.com

The Unexpected Journey of Caring

7. Donna Thomson: The Unexpected Journey of Caring (hardcover book, $39.00 CAD value).

“The Unexpected Journey of Caring: The Transformation From Loved One to Caregiver” by Donna Thomson and Zachary White, PhD with a foreword by Judy Woodruff (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019) Available at all online booksellers Hardcover – $39.00 CAD)

With a foreword by Judy Woodruff, The Unexpected Journey of Caring is a practical guide to finding personal meaning in the 21st century care experience.

Personal transformation is usually an experience we actively seek out—not one that hunts us down. Becoming a caregiver is one transformation that comes at us, requiring us to rethink everything we once knew. Everything changes—responsibilities, beliefs, hopes, expectations, and relationships. Caregiving is not just a role reserved for “saints”—eventually, everyone is drafted into the caregiver role. It’s not a role people medically train for; it’s a new type of relationship initiated by a loved one’s need for care. And it’s a role that cannot be quarantined to home because it infuses all aspects of our lives.

Caregivers today find themselves in need of a crash course in new and unfamiliar skills. They must not only care for a loved one, but also access hidden community resources, collaborate with medical professionals, craft new narratives consistent with the changing nature of their care role, coordinate care with family, seek information and peer support using a variety of digital platforms, and negotiate social support—all while attempting to manage conflicts between work, life, and relationship roles. The moments that mark us in the transition from loved one to caregiver matter because if we don’t make sense of how we are being transformed, we risk undervaluing our care experiences, denying our evolving beliefs, becoming trapped by other’s misunderstandings, and feeling underappreciated, burned out, and overwhelmed.

Informed by original caregiver research and proven advocacy strategies, this book speaks to caregiving as it unfolds, in all of its confusion, chaos, and messiness. Readers won’t find well-intentioned clichés or care stereotypes in this book. There are no promises to help caregivers return to a life they knew before caregiving. No, this book greets caregivers where they are in their journey—new or chronic—not where others expect (or want) them to be.

“Nobody grows up planning to be a caregiver, but many of us will become one and sometimes when we least expect it. Thomson and White bring powerful insights to help understand what it means to be a caregiver and how to truly support those of us who will travel this unexpected journey.” – Samir K. Sinha, director of geriatrics, Sinai Health System and University Health Network, Toronto; health policy research director, National Institute on Ageing

www.donnathomson.com 

Keeping it Together

8. Eleanor Silverberg: “Keeping it Together: How to Cope as a Family Caregiver without Losing Your Sanity” (paperback, $20.00 CAD value)

https://www.eleanorsilverberg.com/kit-book

I Could Be Wrong

9. Billie Best: I Could Be Wrong (paperback, $7.99 USD value)

https://billiebest.com/

Contest Details:

  • Contest open to adults aged 18+, worldwide. No purchase necessary.
  • Identify which prize(s) you would like to win. Submit the item name/number, your name and email address to Angela at caretoage@gmail.com. (Your name and email address will not be given out to anyone else, unless it is required in order for you to obtain your prize(s)).
  • One entry per person, per item.
  • Entries accepted from Wednesday April 21, 2021 at 5:00 pm CST until Saturday May 15, 2021 at 12:00 noon CST.
  • Winners will be drawn on or before Sunday May 16, 2021 at 12:00 noon CST.
  • Qualified winners will be notified by email and your mailing address will be required so we can ship you your prize.
  • Every attempt will be made to get your prize to you, however, in the unfortunate event there are restrictions in your country, you will be ineligible. In that case, another draw will be made to seek a suitable winner.

Good luck!

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

www.angelaggentile.com

Weaknesses Are Only As Strong As We Allow Them To Be

I saw this quote on Instagram, on the Optimal Living Daily account (@oldpodcast) — “The more willing you are to face your weaknesses, the less likely they are to remain weaknesses.” I wanted to know more about Tynan, the person who was quoted. I took his quote, put it onto a picture my husband took while on vacation in Hawaii, and wanted to share it. I hope this inspires you to face your weaknesses, too.

weaknesses

What weaknesses are you willing to face?

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

A Story of Cancer Survival That Will Touch Your Heart and Soul (and Funny Bone!) – Book review

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Brown Ribbon by Robbi Woolard

Psychologist Dr. Robbi Woolard is a survivor of a rare form of cancer. She was encouraged by two of her friends to put her experiences and thoughts into a book (eBook for Kindle). “Brown Ribbon” is part memoir, part self-help book and is written with a humorous slant (a story about a doctor and a commode made me laugh out loud!). She has an “incredibly strong faith” and her beliefs in God and heaven are referred to throughout the book. She is clearly not afraid of death and is a very brave and courageous woman. She believes accidents, illnesses such as cancer and other traumas are random events and no one is immune (no matter how well one lives their life).

Woolard writes in an entertaining, yet educational and inspiring tone. The book could have used some editing, however, the reader can forgive this oversight as she speaks in a conversational tone and the stories flow nicely. There are some repetitive themes, but overall it’s an easy and pleasurable read.

The warrior spirit in Woolard spares us the gruesome details of her anal cancer treatment. She gives the reader just enough information which helps one to imagine the suffering she experienced. She writes in a way that reassures the reader that although cancer and it’s treatment are difficult, the alternative is worse.

For those who want closure, they will find the last story of her post-anal cancer treatment to get a “colposcopy” a bit frustrating. The chapter called “Caving” does not provide the reader with the results of her biopsy, but Woolard states she hopes she had experienced the last appointment with that doctor (we can only hope along with her!).

In the final chapter, Woolard shares her own personal growth experience. I found this chapter called “Everything I Have Learned from Cancer” especially inspiring (as I am also affected by anal cancer myself). Many of her insights such as “setting new goals after cancer” and “improving connections with others” are very positive and uplifting. I can definitely identify with her lessons learned. She states, “As I age, I’ve begun to believe something that I’d never pondered in years past. I’ve always assumed that all of both the good and the bad that we experience culminate in who we become. Now, drawing upon many decades of both ends of the experience spectrum, I think all of it should be credited with making us richer, deeper, more complete human beings.”

A recommended read for those affected by cancer, especially newly diagnosed anal cancer patients, their families and survivors of cancer.

Get your copy – Brown Ribbon: A Personal Journey Through Anal Cancer and the Adventure it Entailed (2016) by Robbi Woolard.

Angela G. Gentile

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Angela G. Gentile  MSW, RSW is a clinical social worker and author of the book, “Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide”, “A Book About Burnout: One Social Worker’s Tale of Survival” and the “Dementia Caregiver Solutions” app for iPhone and iPad. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and has two adult children. She is creator of the Facebook communities – “Aging Well for Women” as well as “God, Cancer and Me.” For more information, visit: www.AngelaGGentile.com

 

 

 

Aging Specialist Offering Two New Courses This Spring (Winnipeg)

7fd3c75caf166af80aef7cb58709152dWinnipeg, Manitoba – There are two new courses being offered by Angela Gentile, a registered clinical social worker. Angela has a Master’s degree in Social Work and a graduate specialization in aging. She has worked with many older adults and their families and she has written two books and an app. She is passionate about helping people and exploring what it means to age well. Attend these informative and interactive sessions and get Angela’s professional advice. Come away feeling confident and empowered.

10 Tips for Graceful Aging

Learn what you can do to help yourself thrive in your middle years and beyond. The dimensions of wellness will also be covered.

►Date and Time: Tuesday April 25, 2017; 7:00 – 9:00 pm.

►Location: St. James Civic Centre, 2055 Ness Avenue, Winnipeg Manitoba.

►Fee: $25.00

When a Loved One Has Memory Loss

Are you living with or do you know someone who has been experiencing memory loss and you’re not sure how to help? Get some information and tips on how to approach this sensitive and difficult topic.

►Date and Time: Thursday May 11, 2017;  7:00 – 9:00 pm.

►Location: St. James Civic Centre, 2055 Ness Avenue, Winnipeg Manitoba.

►Fee: $25.00

Registration Information:

Both courses are listed in the City of Winnipeg Leisure Guide, Spring/Summer 2017 pages 69 and 70. See page 4 of the guide for registration information which begins Wednesday March 15, 2017 at 8:00 am. It can be done online, by phone, or in-person. Limited spots available!

Contact Angela toll-free at: 1-(855) 974-4219 or online at www.AngelaGGentile.com for more information.

Learn About Burnout at the Transform Conference

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From Burned Out to Fired Up!

Angela G. Gentile MSW, RSW

I am honoured to be one of six guest speakers at the Transform Conference to be held on February 21, 2017 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I will be presenting on my knowledge and experience with job burnout and compassion fatigue. In addition to discussing the issues of the costs of caring too much, I will share my personal story of burnout. I will offer advice, tips and solutions to nurses, social workers, healthcare professionals, students and other helping professionals on how to recognize, cope and survive in the demanding yet rewarding field of healthcare.

What better way to learn. Be inspired. Some consider it a gift from a wounded healer.

You may also want to read my eBook, “A Book About Burnout: One Social Worker’s Tale of Survival“. Paper copies will be available at the conference.

For more information on Transform, the conference, please visit Sycamore Care.

www.AngelaGGentile.com

 

 

A Canadian AncestryDNA Reveal

 

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I received some gift money for my 50th birthday. I wanted to do something special. I considered getting a nice piece of jewelry, but instead I decided to get my DNA tested through AncestryDNA.com.I am really happy I did it because now I can truly say what my heritage is.

We all have a unique set of DNA and it carries our genetic information. We inherit or “receive” our genes from our parents, who receive them from their parents, and so on, way back through the generations.

I have done some genealogy (Family Tree history) over the years, and I know that my parents and three grandparents were all born in Canada (one was born in the USA). My great-grandparents were born in Canada, Sweden and Scotland. Through my research, I learned my  great-grandparents and their parents (my great-great-grandparents) on my fraternal grandmother’s lineage were all born in Sweden.

Prior to getting my DNA results, I guessed that my ancestry was about 60% Great Britain (including Scotland, Wales and England) and 25% was Europe North (Scandinavian/Swedish).

I was very surprised to find out that I am 97% European! I was born in Canada, have lived here all my life, but my DNA is primarily European. This is how my “Ethnicity Estimate” breflat,1000x1000,075,faks down:

  • 30% Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark)
  • 23% Ireland
  • 17% Great Britain
  • 11% Europe East (Includes Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Russia, Austria)
  • 10% Finland/Northwest Russia
  • 6% Trace Regions – Includes 4% Italy/Greece (I married an Italian!), 1% Europe West, and less than 1% European Jewish and Iberian Peninsula.

The remaining 3% is comprised of traces (less than 1%) of Native American, Asia South (India) and West Asia (Middle East such as Saudi Arabia).

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I find my results very interesting and it makes me realize that although I was born in Canada and my parents are also from Canada, my DNA mainly originated from Europe. I don’t even think I can really call myself Canadian after learning this. (I also have a Canadian Passport!)

AncestryDNA also notified me to say that I have some possible matches in their database and two are possible 2nd-3rd cousins! Confidence level: Extremely High. I have sent them both an email asking if they would like to explore this further.

Maybe I should get into Scandinavian art. I’ve always liked painting and I love old folk art. Maybe I’ll have to take a trip to Sweden and Ireland! I will have to explore all those other cultures in my heritage, too (e.g., Poland, Finland and Austria).

If you are interested in knowing more about your DNA and ancestry, it’s a fun thing to do. It costs about $129.00 Canadian (www.AncestryDNA.ca).

I recorded my reveal on video. Take a look if you are interested in hearing/watching my reaction (6 minutes).

Thanks for reading and watching.

Angela G. Gentile MSW, RSW

http://www.AngelaGGentile.com

 

 

 

 

Communication Skills 101

couple arguing

Couple Arguing by Ambro, freedigitalphotos.net

Communicating when you are angry, upset or frustrated can be very difficult. Our emotions sometimes get the best of us, and it is very easy for us to point fingers and lay blame on others.

For example, if you are angry at someone for not listening to you, it is tempting to yell out, “Quit ignoring me!” The person will take this as you are blaming them, and it will not end happily.

A little skill that you can try is called,”I-Messages” or “I-Statements.” There are four easy steps, and with practice, it can be done.

Start by getting the person’s attention in a kind way. That may mean tapping them, holding their arm, and asking them to look at you.

Step 1. “I feel…”

Use a feeling word to help the person understand how you are feeling.

Step 2. “When you…”

Describe what the behaviour is that is making you upset.

Step 3. “Because…”

Describe how the behaviour relates to your feelings.

Step 4. “And I’d like…”

State what you would like the person to do instead.

An example would be, “I feel ignored when you keep reading when I talk to you. Your reading shuts me out, and I’d like you to stop reading and look at me when I talk to you.”

This is a great technique that can be used any time.

Angela G. Gentile, MSW RSW
Specialist in Aging
www.AngelaGGentile.com

Exploring Meditation, Spirituality and Mindfulness: Satisfying the Curious

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Girl Doing Yoga by ponsuwan

My curiosity has led me to learn more about meditation and the benefits of it. I have read in many books and articles the benefits of this ancient practice. One of my goals for 2016 is to learn more about meditation and how to do it. Anyone can do it at any age.

I invited a teacher (Uday, originally from India) into my home on 11 Feb 2016 and he presented his beliefs of “Self-Realization and Meditation” to my family (four of us) and one of my daughter’s friends. He was at our home for two-and-a-half hours and we learned a lot. At the end we did a 20-minute meditation. It certainly stimulated a lot of thoughts, debate and conversation.

We all had a very different experience. His teachings relate to self-realization with an emphasis on the spirit or soul. He had us think about many things. He encourages us to be human “beings”, versus human “doings.” He praises the benefits of meditation and offers his teachings as a community service to those who are interested.

I’d like to share with you some of what I learned that night and some of the thoughts from others who were at the session.

We are all made up of a body, mind and spirit. Some of us don’t believe in the “spirit” part or haven’t yet made it that far in our spiritual growth journey. I believe some of us may never believe it or get to that spiritual part in our lives. One’s upbringing, beliefs, age, or stage in life will influence and determine what level of spirituality is attained, if any. When I was young, I remember exploring organized religion. I learned about God, Jesus and faith. As I matured, and became more educated, I became more aware of my mortality. I became very conscious of my finite time on earth and started realizing my true purpose and what I really wanted in this lifetime. I called this a “spiritual awakening” and opened my eyes to what is beyond the material desires in life. I started seeing and appreciating the beauty in nature, the miracle of life and all that was good in the world.

To appreciate the concept of “spirit” or “soul,” we explored the question, “Who am I?” Uday says we are not just a body, or a mind. We are more than that. He talked about death. How are we different from animals and other living plants when we die? When we die, our body and mind and all our parts are still physically there, but “we” are gone. He asked us to think about “What is gone?” He taught us that the life force, or spirit energy is the true essence of our being. Amanda, my daughter Simone’s 17-year-old friend said she thought it was interesting to learn “you are not your body, you are your soul who is occupying your body.” My 20-year-old son Lorenzo said he feels he is all the parts put together – “body, mind, consciousness, etc.” He finds the concept of spirit hard to grasp. My mother said my grandmother didn’t believe that we had a spirit, either.

Our teacher also pointed out how humans are different from most other living entities. For example, when animals die we can still use them. We can use plants while they are living, and after they are picked. We eat the cow, we use the leather, we use the wood from the tree, we use the fruit from the plants. For people, there is no use for our bodies once we have died. They are vessels that carry our spirit from the day we are born, until the day we die. That’s the only purpose for our bodies. My son pointed out that our pet dog Rocky is not useful to us after he is gone, so there are some exceptions when it comes to pets.

What is  human life? Our teacher explained that the Life Force is oxygen. Without oxygen we will die. We breathe it in and it is needed for our body to function. He also discussed that in order for life to be possible, there is a perfect balance of the five great elements: fire, earth, water, air, ether. If it was too hot or cold, we’d die. If there wasn’t enough water, we’d die. If there was too much water, we’d drown. He said that for some, Life Force is God. I know some call it the Divine and others call it Source. For others it is Universe. Life energy is whatever you want to call it.

Life is a puzzle. Each life experience has it’s purpose, whether good, bad or indifferent. These are like pieces of a puzzle. It all fits perfectly. Each day, each moment, it’s all part of the bigger picture. We learn how to accept all parts of the puzzle, for without all the pieces, our picture would not be complete.

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Purple Lotus by Panpote

The Lotus – A great analogy for life’s beauty amidst struggles and pain is The Lotus – from sludge, mud and slime, comes a beautiful flower. There is beauty in life no matter how difficult it gets.

Meditation clears the mind.  For me, an analogy for meditating is like having a cluttered or dirty path in front of me, and I am sweeping away the debris and clutter. This is how I see it clearing my mind or my internal being. Our teacher said it’s when the consciousness, subconscious and unconsciousness meet. Amanda found this concept interesting as well. Meditation brings consciousness to the subconscious act of breathing. He said 20 minutes a day is all that is needed. He said if we all meditated for 20 minutes a day for a week, we would all have a different experience. If a thought comes, acknowledge it, then gently turn your attention back to your breathing. For me, I liked to say to myself, “breathing in…breathing out…” He had me light a candle in and we were all asked to look at it. He instructed us to take a deep breath in, hold it for a couple seconds, then breath out and hold it for a couple seconds. Many of us closed our eyes. This eventually becomes more of a habit. The more we meditate, the happier we become. In fact, our teacher said something that really impressed my daughter Simone. He said he was the happiest person he knows! Regular meditation practices helps him control his thoughts and desires of the senses. Simone was also impressed by the fact that he “never gets sick because he can control his body.” Another thing he shared with us is that he weighs the same as he did when he got married over 40 years ago! He ended by saying that meditation experiences will be different for each and every one of us. It’s a very personal experience. Uday said meditating on a regular basis can change you and change your life. It took him about 6 months of practicing meditation on a regular daily basis and it completely changed who he is. It also cured him of his migraines. He still meditates one hour a day.

 

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Waterfalls in Alberta by Angela G. Gentile

 

Our teacher told us to make sure we enjoy what nature has to give us. Go outside. Enjoy the trees, the sky, the earth. He explained that we call our world Mother Earth, because she carries us. I would like to add travel to beautiful places if you are able. We can enjoy different parts of the world and the beauty that is on this earth.

We talked about our fears. He explained how a lot of our fears are learned. My son Lorenzo also added how many of our fears are innate, and they have been necessary for our evolution and are basic survival instincts. For example, we are born with two innate fears – the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. Other fears developed naturally in order to ensure our survival. Some of these fears have been carried with us from a long time ago, and are no longer necessary for our survival. Still, other fears are learned and we also develop irrational fears. For further reading, check out this article called, Are We Born to Be Afraid? from Psychology Today.

Dreams are meant to be self-interpreted. Our teacher told us to throw away your dream interpretation books. He says we have to interpret our dreams for ourselves. When we have disturbing dreams, it usually means we are experiencing some mental stress. The more bizarre and disturbing our dreams, the more distressed we are. We all dream, but we don’t all remember our dreams all the time. Here’s an article from PsychCentral That explains How to Analyze Your Dreams (And Why It’s Important).

Lorenzo liked the focus on “being aware of and having more control of your thoughts, something everyone could benefit from.” I remembered I knew about the practice of mindfulness and shared a related meditation with him. This one had no religious or other afiliations. No reference to spirit or soul. He thought this was a more realistic approach to being aware of your thoughts and breathing, and it was nice having a guide talking you through it. If you’d like to check it out, Mindfulness Meditation – Guided 10 Minutes by TheHonestGuys.

My husband Cupp states that “calming the body and mind for 20 minutes a day is a beneficial addition to your daily routine. It’s ‘internal hygiene.’ Things like exercise and brushing your teeth is hygiene for the body. Meditation is like internal hygiene starting in the mind and eventually benefiting the rest of the body. The ability to reach a higher level of consciousness may come in time.”

Our teacher was very enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge and beliefs. At times some of what he was telling us was hard to believe. For example, he said meditation has been clinically proven to cure people of cancer. He also said that there was one yogi who was able to go into a vacuum chamber, was pronounced dead by doctors, then emerged three days later, alive. He claims there are ways that very advanced meditation practitioners can control their subconscious actions such as heartbeat. I’d be open to hearing more about the validity of his claims. Incidentally, my son did a Google search and found an article about a study that debunks this belief – Can Yogis Stop Their Heart?

Every one of us is at different stages of spiritual evolution and we need to be mindful of this. I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about spirit and soul, and meditation, and how the two relate based on the concept of self-realization. I am enjoying my curiosity and openness regarding this subject. Going inward takes a higher level of thinking and consciousness, something most of us find difficult to do. My son and daughter daughter do not buy into the “spirit or soul” idea quite yet. I believe for some this can take years of life experiences in order to fully appreciate the concept. Some are at the self-realization stage already, others are on their way. Some are at the very beginning of their journey. It’s hard for some people to even imagine we have a spirit as it is such an abstract concept. We can’t measure it in the scientific sense. We can’t see it either. For now, we just have to believe.

Namaste,*

Angela G. Gentile, MSW RSW
Specialist in Aging
www.AngelaGGentile.com

*Namaste is an ancient Sanskrit greeting still in everyday use in India and especially on the trail in the Nepal Himalaya. Translated roughly, it means “I bow to the God within you”, or “The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you” – a knowing that we are all made from the same One Divine Consciousness. (Urban Dictionary)

For further exploration:

The Spiritual Research Foundation: http://www.spiritualresearchfoundation.org/

How to chant Aum with Yogi Shanti Desai. Watch on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cudh7lXZw70

Chanting vs. Meditation. An article from the Spiritual Science Research Foundation. http://www.spiritualresearchfoundation.org/spiritual-practice/steps-of-spiritual-practice/chanting/chanting-japa-meditation

How Spiritually Intelligent Are You? Take this quiz and find out. http://www.beliefnet.com/section/quiz/index.asp?sectionID=200&surveyID=90