Articles Tagged with: Meditation
The MINDFUL WORLD PARENTING SUMMIT: An Invitation to Be Part of The Change that Can Change the World

How did you come to host this?  This is one of the most common questions I get asked by my interviewees after we stop recording their contribution for the Mindful World Parenting Summit, a free, 7-day online event that has brought together leading experts on parenting, mental health, brain science, nutrition, education, and mindfulness in service of creating a more mindful world.  The subtext I hear is, “why you?”.  It’s a fair question.    I do not have much of a following. I am not a best-selling author.  I have not been on a podcast nor have I done a TED Talk.   I am an unknown; a virtual nobody in our virtual world.

My answer to the question is quite simple:  I just committed to doing something to make a difference.  With no following,  I just decided to do it –  to try to expand my reach beyond the four walls of my office.   I sincerely did not feel I had a choice to do otherwise.

The process started 2 years ago, when I was shaken to my core with the turmoil I witnessed happening in the world.  As upsetting as it all was, once I got quiet through my own practice of meditation and expressive writing, there were two things that soon became crystal clear:  1) that within the darkness and the chaos, there would be a natural attraction of the masses to anything and anyone that inspired the light and 2) I needed to do more to democratize mental health and make evidence-based mental wellness tools more accessible.

The latter was something I felt deeply called to do.  This was not about me.  It was about doing what I could to have a positive impact because there were clearly too many who needed to be supported to do the inner work necessary for the world to change.

And so I just started.  I had no idea how I was going to do it, but I was committed to doing what I could and waited for inspiration.   A year later, the how I was looking for began to take shape in the form of a guided journal.  A year after that, after having self published the Growing Forward Journal, and bearing witness to the impact and massive shifts people made almost instantly as they accessed, and shared the truth that came through on the page as they got quiet, and allowed the pen to express what they needed to hear, I knew that I was on the right track.

Along the way, I happened to share The Growing Forward Journal with Stephen Huszar, a friend and one of the founders of Mindful World.  Mindful World produced Milton’s Secret, a gem of a movie starring Donald Sutherland, based on the Ekhart Tolle book of the same name.  I had gifted my time as a consultant to help with the development of the learning materials based on Ekhart’s response to the film. Interestingly, my involvement happened soon after my awakening two years ago.

Stephen loved the journal and encouraged me with much needed advice about how to launch it to a wider audience.  As part of the launch and the community I wanted to build around it, I had always envisioned inviting other experts and seekers, known and unknown, to offer their wisdom about growing forward through life’s challenges.

This vision is what I had in mind during The New Moon Ceremony I hosted this past summer along with Roseline Mouana.  It was a truly magical night on the roof at 321 Carlaw where my office is located.  After having let go of all that did not serve us, getting grounded through yoga, and coming together in celebration of all that we were inviting into our lives, I found myself setting this intention:

 

 

About a month later, the opportunity of a lifetime came my way, courtesy of Stephen:  I was invited to host The Mindful World Parenting Summit.  I was indeed going to be sharing my Big Voice with other Big Voices for Big Impact in a way I had never thought possible.

The Summit,  has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life.  This psychologist, who can barely figure out how to post on Facebook, was suddenly given access to professionals and thought leaders I have long admired, who themselves are also dedicated to having a positive impact on the world.  The opportunity to engage with them and share their teachings has touched me so much.  It has impacted the way I parent and has affirmed a truth that I know without question:  We humans are at a turning point in our evolution.

It is an exciting time.  Our best science undeniably confirms the power of mindful practices for building the parts of the brain that allow us to respond vs. react and to feel deeply connected with ourselves and others.  We can now literally see how the mind, i.e. our thoughts, impacts the physical structure of our brains.  And we have irrefutable evidence that as creatures of attachment, it is through the ability to connect that we are able to realize our highest potential.

Yes, there is indeed a science to happiness and it is high time that everyone learns about it and understands how to practically apply this knowledge so we can all start living from the inside out, build true resilience and thrive.  This is how we can change a generation. This is how we can change the world.

So if you are on my mailing list, or follow me on social media, you can expect that I will be talking a lot about this event for the next several weeks.  This event is far too important for me to be shy about promoting it.

My hope is that you will help me with this mission.  Click the link and register.  And once you are done registering, share it with everyone you know.

The summit runs from January 21-27, 2019.  But as soon as you sign up, you will get access to a bunch of free gifts, including two interviews included in the summit, one of them being with Dr. Shefali Tsabary one of my favourite conscious parenting experts of all time.  You will also get access to The Growing Forward Journal by your truly, as well as other books and programs from the event producers and some of our more prolific experts in the summit.

As for my journey…the lesson I hope you take from it is to commit and act.  You know that idea that has been rattling around in your brain for months, maybe even years?  It is there for a reason.  That reason is bigger than you.  You owe it to yourself to discover that gift you have to offer to the world that only you can give in the way that you can.  And know that if you commit to making it happen, even if you don’t know how to do it, the universe will help you.  It has your back.  My story is proof of it.

With Deep Respect & Gratitude for joining me in helping to create a more mindful world.

Let’s do this, together!

Dr. Stacy


An Invitation to Recharge & Refresh with the Muse Brain-Sensing Headband

My vision for The Design Your Life Centre has always been for it to become a hub for all things related to mental wellness, a place where people could stop in and find resources to help them on their journey  or even just use it as a place of refuge to take a break and recharge before going back to face the challenges of the day.  So rather than allowing my extra treatment room to sit empty when not in use,  I thought that it was the perfect opportunity to turn it into The Muse Room, a place where people can engage with a cool piece of technology that has helped so many around the world build a meditation practice and reap the benefits of improved focus and calm.

The Muse is a game changer.  It is an EEG device that reads your brainwaves and gives you audible feedback so you can redirect to the intended focus of your breath whenever your attention drifts.  And afterwards you can see exactly where those drifts happened.  In addition to allowing to see what is actually happening in your brain when you meditate, it will also help you understand that those times that you do drift and resume focus is akin to doing a push up for your brain. It is those reversals that improve your ability to focus, and actually has a positive physical impact on building the parts of your brain designed just for this.

As part of the recognition of the 1 year anniversary of The Design Your Life Centre, I will be offering up the muse room experience free to anyone who wants to use it.  Come once, come daily.  Its all good.

Click here to book your free 15-minute experience in The Muse Room today.

When you arrive, Nora, my assistant extraordinaire, will be there to meet you and walk you through the process.

We look forward to seeing you soon and helping you start the habit that is actually good for your brain.

Warm Regards Always

Dr. Stacy

 

 


The MUSE Headband: The One Piece of Tech I Let My Son “Play” with As Much As He Wants

A few months ago, while immersed in creating curricula to assist families incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives, I realized that I was becoming the caricature of the acclaimed architect who leaves her own house unfinished.  The fact is, that while I was focused on guiding and encouraging others to find ways of integrating meditation as a mindful practice, I was not doing the same for the people nearest and dearest to me – my own family.

And so one day during dinner, I decided to announce my hope that we would all start a regular meditation practice.  The reason I gave my audience, made up of my husband, my 2 year old daughter and 6 year old son, was that it is a practice that essentially gives us super powers.

Meditation is like doing push ups for your brain.  It literally makes the part of your brain that is in charge of controlling your emotions, your behaviour and your creativity, bigger.  The stronger it becomes, the better you are at focusing your attention, which is important for performing your best at whatever you want to do.  It also feels good to do it and it is a tool that you can use to calm down when needed. Dealing with challenges without feeling overwhelmed, leads to better decisions, and ultimately allows us to lead happier lives.

I am telling you, I sold it well.  Everyone was on board. The sell was easy.  As for the implementation…?  Well, that did not go as smoothly.

To be clear, it’s not that my children are completely new to meditation.  I have incorporated some kind of guided meditation in their bedtime routines for years.  However, I felt it was time to up the ante a bit and make it a more conscious process, so that it could become a go-to strategy they could use in their waking lives.

My initial idea was for all of us to get in the habit of doing a breath meditation for 2 minutes when we got home as a way of transitioning from the activity of the day to time together at home.  Sounds good in theory, doesn’t it?  But the reality was that, for my son, 2 minutes of quiet focus was up against the lure of LEGO, toys, TV or whatever it was he had his heart set on doing.

Soon, the enthusiasm he had for the idea in the abstract, quickly became the barrier to fun in reality.  It was something that had to be done in order to get to the good stuff of being home; something that had to be done to appease Mom. This was definitely not the vibe I had intended nor was it conducive to the practice itself.

And so I retreated and recognized that the answer to getting my family to buy into adopting a meditation practice lay within the core of the resistance I faced.  I had to find a way to make it fun.

As if in direct response to my quest, the Universe answered in the form of an Instagram post by my colleagues at the Integrative Health Institute featuring the MUSE Headband. Bingo!  I had my answer.

The Muse Brain Sensing Headband essentially reads your brain waves as you engage in a meditation session and gives you feedback in the form of a change in the sounds you are hearing to let you know when you have drifted away from focusing on your breath to reviewing the to do list, replaying a scene from the day, or the million other random things that pop up when the monkey mind is in full swing.  When you are in a calm meditative state, you hear soft rippling waves on the beach. When you maintain that calm state for a while, birds start chirping.  When you drift, you hear the low rumbling of thunder, like a storm approaching from the distance.  This is the cue to just come back and refocus on the breath. Brilliant!

me-with-muse-headband

Even cooler, is that once your session is done, you get to see your own data:  the percentage of time your brain was actually in a calm vs. neutral or active state, and a graph of exactly when those different brain states happened over the course of the meditation.

muse-interface

 

And for those with a healthy sense of competition, there are extra points you can earn based on the amount of time spent in the calm zone, recognition for high levels of performance and the ability to advance to a higher level once you have demonstrated mastery.

Whoever developed this device clearly knew their stuff when it comes to both brain science and how to foster motivation.  Not surprisingly, a quick perusal of the team behind the product confirmed that none other than Dr. Norman Doidge, Toronto psychiatrist, and bestselling author of The Brain’s Way of Healing and The Brain That Changes Itself is on the advisory board among other top researchers and tech developers.  Enough said.

So now, with the help of the MUSE, we are playing “the meditation game”.  My son not only loves it, but like many children, he is a natural Zen Master.  And he is curious to see how he will do as he advances to the next level and meets new challenges.  Mission accomplished.

Just as going to exercise classes with me from the age of 3 months to 3 years helped to imprint exercise as a fun game he loves to play vs. something he “should do”, my hope is that playing the meditation game as a family and cheering each other on as we progress to higher levels using the MUSE will help ingrain this practice as part of a healthy lifestyle that will be maintained for years to come.

In the meantime, I am curious to know what you might have tried to integrate meditation into your family life?  What has worked?  What have been the challenges?  I’d love to hear about your experience, so please share your thoughts and experiences.  We can all benefit from learning from each other.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Stacy

Order the Muse Headband on the D.Y.L. Shop!

 

 


Milton’s Secret: Bringing the Message of Mindfulness to Movie Goers Far and Wide

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to see this project finally come to fruition.  Milton’s Secret, the movie is finally out in theaters and is a must see.

Based on the children’s book of the same name by Ekhart Tolle and Robert Friedman, Milton’s Secret the movie brings Tolle’s teachings to a wide audience with a story to which most children and families can relate.  Milton is a pre-teen with loving parents who is overwhelmed not only by the bully at school, but also the stresses to which he is exposed in the family as a result of hard economic times.  As each member of the family copes in their own way, we see that the disconnection between them adds to Milton’s state of anxiety.  Then grandpa comes to visit.  It is through grandpa, played with amazing finesse by Donald Sutherland, that we see Tolle’s teachings of mindful presence and compassion in action.  The result is a shift that appears to naturally occur in others as they learn from his example and awaken to living more consciously.

As you can tell by this brief description, this is not your typical Hollywood Movie.  In fact, the producers of the film knew that if they took this script to Hollywood it would have never been made.  The only reason this film is here today is because of the kick start it received by conscious people around the world.  Crowd funding helped bring this film to life.   I was one of those contributors and this story, which was so lovingly crafted and directed by Mr. Barnet Bain, has far more value than the money I contributed to the cause.

 

Here I am with producers, Ryan Lockwood (left) and Stephen Huszar (right)

With producers, Ryan Lockwood (left) and Stephen Huszar (right)

Listening intently as Barnet Bain , the director, shares his insights during a moderated discussion on bullying as part of the Creator Talks at VIFF. The cast members in attendance pictured here from left to right were William Ainscough (Milton), Hays Welford (Tim) , and Mia Kirshner (Jane, Milton’s mom)

Talking to CTV's Norma Reid about my involvement with the film

Talking to CTV’s Norma Reid about my involvement with the film

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The movie is just the beginning.  The really exciting part is what’s coming next:  materials that will help people learn how to put Ekhart’s teachings into practice to benefit their ability to navigate life’s challenges, relate better with each other, and get more out of life.

Go to miltonssecret.com to find out how you can see the film and for updates about accompanying learning materials as they are released.  I encourage you to share the film with friends, family, classmates, schools, coworkers…and get talking.  And please send me your thoughts and comments about the movie.  They might just inspire some of the content of teachings that are to come 😉 .

Stay tuned…

Dr. Stacy