Every Thought Matters

“The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.”
― Marcus Aurelius

From various research I have been looking through, it seems that humans have between 6000 to 60000 thoughts per day! Yikes! Not only is that a huge range but even the idea of 6000 thoughts per day with the lower number is quite substantial. More interesting is the fact that most of these thoughts are just not useful at all. There are many repetitive thoughts like repeating words heard or spoken, and even more senseless wanderings of the mind. Remember that the mind thinks. That is its function, just as the heart beats. Today is my fur-baby Caesar’s birthday so you can see what led to my choosing this pic of a woman loving her dog for the pic on this post! This is an easy way for me to see what I’m thinking from my actions. Of course I encourage (and practice) a mindful attention to thoughts quite regularly.

If you have ever tried meditating, you may become aware of how very many thoughts pass through the mind (try not to count them if you’re truly meditating! Just observe) and you may notice the speedy rate at which this thought flow is happening.

Now most people also understand that the more consistently (or persistently) the mind thinks about a thought (or in a direction of thinking), the more likely they will eventually speak about that thought (to themselves or others) and the more often they speak about it, the more likely they will take an action along the same path of thinking. Here, a mindful attention to this process can help anyone trying to understand why they said or did something – which often can be traced back to the thinking pattern that preceded the word or action.

In this post I’d like to help readers remember that every thought leads to a feeling/mood. Persistent feelings/moods then create a particular attitude. A persistent attitude will lead to an action which repeatedly performed leads to a habit. Persistent habits of thoughts then create a personality. A personality with its bundles of thoughts that have created its own existence will then effect one’s physical body, one’s environment, and every person and experience around the individual beginning with just the vibrational energy that the personality carries (consciously or unconsciously). What people experience from their body/environment/other people leads to Karma (action of some sort that is/are the cause of their next experience). Each person lives out their “destiny” from their own original thought creations.

So people get into patterns of thoughts that may not help create happy and healthy life experiences. Yet thoughts can be Consciously changed/modified with mindful attention. I heard a great lecture today that shared a simple way of modifying thoughts which I thought I’d share with you. Here are 3 easy steps for your mindful attention every day:

  1. Pay mindful attention to your thoughts – we know we can’t modify until we first become aware of our own thinking!
  2. Think of 4 categories of thoughts: positive&pure (includes love, peace, compassion, mercy); notpositive (includes ego, jealousy, hatred anxiety and depressed); neutral (includes basic tasks of the day that are matter-of-fact and bring no positive or negative feelings); and wasteful (these are not useful as they focus on past or future events) leading to overthinking in non-useful directions.
  3. Any time you become aware of a less-than-comfortable feeling see first, what is in the mind through mindful observation and attention on the thoughts. By the time we feel something, the mind has already been thinking for a while. Understand the thought, ease the mind with loving communication, limit the time the mind is “allowed” to stay in the space of not-positive or wasteful thinking and gently guide it to a positive or neutral space.

This may not sound so easy since the mind will certainly try to resist the gentle/loving guidance to pull away from a space that is not helpful. Yet knowing that continuing not-positive thinking patterns can lead to various health conditions (anxiety/depression/physical and mental/emotional weaknesses and many chronic health concerns) might help you mindfully-attend to your own patterns of thought. I work on this daily and highly recommend this simple strategy for anyone ready to take charge of their thought patterns. And believe me, even with consistent practice, the mind will still try to pull us into patterns that have developed over many years. Yet, it gets easier each time and I can honestly tell you this – it really does.

Listening to some favourite uplifting music, singing, dancing, walking or writing can also be very helpful as we move the thinking into right directions! Let yourself enjoy this experience when you re-direct your thoughts.

And as always, I am here to help you too. Do reach out if you would like some personalized help from me. I would be very happy to help you! Remember that every thought matters. To change unhealthy patterns of thinking, action is also absolutely necessary.

Wishing you a peaceful and loving evening ahead (or morning – depending on where you are!).

Kindly and Compassionately,

Hanifa

www.hearthealthbrainhealth.com; https://hearthealthbrainhealth.com/2022/05/05/new-ebook/

New Book for Authentic Healthcare!

It’s done!! My latest book – who is this book for? For parents raising children (any age), adults caring for parents or siblings, and those who have taken an oath in any Professional Service for the health of patients/clients/groups. It’s time to bring Mindful Awareness back into the healthcare we provide! Let’s move beyond Ego-centred practice and interaction and back to the Wisdom that flows with the energy of Love in the service provided.

May this book inspire you back to true connection with our Soul energy which guides and directs each of us daily… if we’re ready to listen!

Each chapter begins with a poem, each gives direction and guidance for philosophical and intellectual reflection.

Let’s remember the Power of alignment with our Soul’s purpose in our journey.

Cost: $free!! See link below to download (I suggest onto external hard drive to save computer space for the almost 300 page book)!

https://hearthealthbrainhealth.com/2022/05/05/new-ebook/

May we bring back the CARE in HEALTHCARE.

Optimistically Yours,

Hanifa

Understanding and Compassion

Today a story that some of you may be familiar with is in my mind (explained under picture). And I will let you know that the 3 “gunas” spoken about extensively through ancient Eastern scripture are also in my Awareness. The 3 gunas are known as Rajas, Tamas and Sattva (these are Sanskrit words).

Rajas is the innate tendency or quality that drives motion, energy and activity. Rajas is sometimes translated as passion, where it is used in the sense of activity, without any particular value and it can contextually be either good or bad. Rajas helps actualize the other two gunas.

Tamas is  the quality of imbalance, disorder, chaos, anxiety, impurity.

Sattva is the quality of balance, harmony, goodness, purity, universalizing, holistic, constructive, creative, building, positive attitude, luminous, serenity. This is a space that also encourages no attachment to the outcome (good or not good).

The story is this: A young monk is on a journey with his old teacher. As they got to a river, a beautiful woman was sitting there wanting to cross the river, but unable to swim. The old teacher offered his help, which she accepted. He took her in his arms, waded through the river with her and put her back down on the other side. Very appreciative the woman thanked him, then said good-bye and they all walked on. During the time it took to walk back to the monastery, the young monk was stewing and very upset at his teacher, because as monks they took an oath of not ever touching a woman. He was internally totally distressed. Just before they arrived at the monastery, he mustered the courage of confronting his teacher with his inner turmoil. The old monk burst out laughing and said: “The difference between you and me is that I left the woman at the river’s bank, while you are still carrying her around!”

Now we can understand that the old monk is depicted as acting from both a Rajas and a Sattvic space. The Rajas was needed to take action and the Sattvic to do good work and let it go.

The young monk may be interpreted as thinking from both a Rajas and Tamas perspective as his mind is active with anxiety and then expresses as judgement to the older monk.

The woman may be seen as working from a Sattvic perspective as she received the help gratefully.

Yet… if we look deeper, we can see that the same action by the old monk could have come from any of the 3 gunas. We can see the Sattvic space explained, yet there may have been a Rajasic space in his mind, stemming from wanting to show his bravery and courage to his young monk and/or to the woman herself. From a Rajasic/Tamasic space he may have even touched her inappropriately in the action and only he and she would know this. And he may now be excited about looking for her in the future for a similar opportunity from both a Rajasic and Tamasic space.

The young monk may be seen as Sattvic in his non-reaction initially for the help he was watching the older monk give. From the same space he may have also noticed the beautiful woman and held himself back from helping upon assessing she was safe and wanting to stay true to his vows, and he may have consciously held back his judgement of the old monk through some of the walk. We know he was Rajasic when he was internally frustrated and when he judged the old monk later. And he may have been thinking from the lazy and non-helpful space of Tamas when he first saw the woman that did not want to help the woman at all because of the effort needed or because it would pull him away from his intended walk.

Finally, the woman could be in a pure Sattvic space as it seems. Or she may be in a Rajasic space as she is lonely and wants to have some interaction with anyone that may come by. The Rajasic space may even lead to her dreaming/wishing for this monk to come by again in the future, especially if she had never been helped like this before. And she may have even feigned needing help to receive the help she did, from a Tamasic perspective. The Tamasic space can also make a person feel like one is entitled to use people as needed and not care about the experience or effects on the other.

Now each of these gunas continues to operate in each of us (and we all have all 3, all the time). Moment to moment, they are playing in our minds and experiences. Each of us will predominantly be in one for our general life experience unless we consciously choose to be aware of how we are thinking and helping to shape it as we choose.

Can you see that although the story seems so simple and clear, we can expand our own awareness to know that only the individuals will know their own full perspective? Now I know I like to contemplate such things and many may not take the time to do so. Understanding gunas is really for the purpose of understanding ourselves so that we may be compassionate and non-judgmental to ourselves and to those around us too.

If we have a hope to improve ourselves, we must first try to understand ourselves – many people hope to improve others without fully understanding themselves! I wish us all the courage to honestly work on ourselves first.

And since this is on my mind, a meaningful poem written by Thich Nhat Hanh also came to mind that can further help to raise our own awareness and compassion for all. I will share it below and if you are ready to understand, heal, and re-train your own thought patterns, I welcome you to reach out to me by email: hanifahelps@gmail.com or by text/phone at (416)920-8975.

Please Call Me by My True Names – Thich Nhat Hanh

Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow —
even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope.

The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that is alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird
that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond.
And I am the grass-snake
that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl,
refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am the pirate,
my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo,
with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay
his “debt of blood” to my people
dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm
it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears,
so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and my laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart
can be left open,
the door of compassion.

May our doors of understanding and compassion remain open.

Kindly,

Hanifa

Shakti – A Beautiful Sanskrit Word

This year I am somehow drawn to begin with much connection with the Divine Feminine energy around and within (which is in both men and women btw!). Here is a simple YouTube video to share some of these thoughts which you can see here if you’d like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BruP7NT5px4

And today I’m inspired to write a little more about this feminine energy post-meditation, as my Awareness seems to be on this word “Shakti” which means force, power or energy. It refers to the active, creative and dynamic feminine principle in the universe that is often personified as a Goddess, as well as a God’s female aspect or consort (according to Vedic teachings). This word describes the innate power in reality, and has five aspects. It manifests as the power to be conscious, the power to feel ecstasy, the power of will/desire, the power to know, and the power to act.

Yet, in this post, I wanted to share most of all, some simple ideas/thoughts for your personal reflection and action.

Shakti actually represents two things in yogic tradition: the first meaning of shakti is the goddess of the same name. Goddess Shakti, in Hinduism, is essentially the feminine goddess of all of creation, also known as The Divine Mother. And shakti (with a lowercase “s”) also represents divine feminine energy. Here, you can see how the two meanings of shakti tie in with one another; shakti, as divine feminine energy, is the animating life force that imbues every living being in the Universe. Furthermore, in order to stay in balance, one’s Shakti is best balanced equally (ideally) with what’s known as one’s Shiva (or divine masculine energy). Taoist philosophy might compare this with the inter-relationship between Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine) forces that are forever intermingled in the Universe.

But what exactly are divine feminine and masculine energies? Think of it this way: while “Shiva” can represent the container of still, pure consciousness– i.e. God or the Universe– “Shakti” is the life force that exists within this container, or the energy which creates all of life. We all have both Shiva and Shakti within us, and yet often, we tend to get out of touch with our shakti (or yin) energy in our highly-masculinized world. Shakti energy is the energy associated with nurturing and creativity which is also linked with the energy stored in the sacral chakra (located about a hand’s width under the belly button). You can probably remember this as it is the area most associated with fertility and creation of life that most of us are familiar with. This area and energy is also related to the moon, to water, to sensuality and to emotional intelligence. If you are interested in building/improving/perfecting your own Emotional Intelligence do take a look at the course I had created for anyone interested in applying it to personal and professional relationships (whether working in healthcare or not) here: https://www.udemy.com/course/emotional-intelligence-in-mindful-healthcare-delivery/ which recently was reviewed by an independent team and received a grade of 9.6/10!! That sure energized my Shakti (or perhaps Shakti energized that creation!).

And there are ways to build up this energy within ourselves. I thought I would provide 3 simple techniques for you to work with.

  1. Connect with nature. Whether this is paying attention to (or meditating in) sunshine streaming through your window or even better, walking in nature while being mindfully-attentive to your connection with Mother Earth below your feet and/or the vision/smell/feeling/knowing of the Creative energy all around you.
  2. Bring attention to your sacral, heart and third eye chakra areas. Of the seven chakras, these three are most closely associated with feminine energies. Remember that the sacral chakra is the home of our emotions. The heart chakra is the home of empathy, compassion and yes, love! The third eye is the home of our intuition, understanding and wisdom. Together these are powerful aspects of the divine feminine (again, in both men and women). Healing these chakras can invite more shakti into your being. You can benefit and balance these chakras through journaling, meditation, and mindfully-breathing into these areas consciously.
  3. Chanting mantras, such as OM or OM Shakti, will help you to raise your energetic vibration and calm your nervous system, and both of these will improve the flow of shakti in your energetic body. To start, try setting a timer and chanting your chosen mantra (out loud or just quietly to yourself) for 5 minutes straight.

As a beneficial hand position (known as a “mudra” in yoga to help build this energy in the body, consider the image below during your sitting or meditation time.

(image borrowed from 7pranayama.com – no affiliation to site but looks useful for those interested)

Finally, I found a wonderful description of Shakti online today that explains in some detail the history and mythology associated with Shakti that you can read here (quite interesting, in my opinion): https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Shakti

This is what I just had to share with you this morning. I hope you learned something new that will inspire your Conscious steps today and regularly too!

Wishing you a beautiful day! Om Shakti!

Kindly,

Hanifa

Abundance

Today I thought I would write about abundance. And who doesn’t love abundance right?! Of good things, I should clarify… because I do not believe that anyone would consciously choose an abundance of not-good things!

Now do you know that we live in (mostly) a transactional relative-reality? In this space or energetic sphere, something good is often balanced with something not-so-good. You may notice this – a job promotion happens but the boss is a “nightmare”!! Or a friend offers to take you out to your favourite restaurant and when you get there you notice the chef has changed and the meal you used to love for its flavours now tastes quite bland.

Let’s look at things that people chase – consciously and not-consciously. Sometimes money, sometimes relationships, sometimes possessions, sometimes food. Haven’t you heard or seen people (perhaps yourself?) when you have what you are chasing? Feels fantastic doesn’t it?!

Photo by Alexander Mils on Pexels.com

I thought that pic above puts a whole new meaning to “the money shot” – lol!! Well we know that many chase this to afford actual and perceived necessities. Have you seen those that have plenty of it? It’s not something that they speak of often, but you might have noticed their very fancy cars, homes, numerous vacations, etc. We can look at movie stars or famous/popular musicians to understand this next idea: Eventually these things become less satisfying. Once any person is able to buy anything, the stakes get bigger; bigger risks may be taken and things that others would think are luxuries are just not appreciated in the same way. So the home may get some renovations, or a new place will be bought, cars will change, vacations get longer. You get the picture. And you may think: I’d like to have that “problem”!

So let’s look at something simpler/more common. Try eating your favourite meal/snack – something you absolutely love and imagine it has no concern with calories or health risks. Think of eating it today for lunch. Then dinner. Then every meal for the next month. I suspect you might like it much less even by next week.

This happens for anything/everything that is objectively tangible. What we like, we would like more (our mind believes) and what we do not like we run from. What is interesting is that what we “like” can turn into what we run from too (and often does). How is that possible you wonder? The business person who loves traveling and finds a job that allows them to do this regularly will eventually prefer to have more stability in their work. Another who loves to eat will eventually have a health condition that may not allow this or may find he/she has tried so many different types of foods that they can’t enjoy fully the meals he/she eats because something is just “not right” to a palate that knows all the best. A person who is constantly looking for the next quick fling will eventually want to settle down.

So whatever we enjoy most will also be things that we run from eventually (or realize are not satisfying). I remember when I first came across this idea (many years ago) I used to joke about not wanting to date any gynaecologist (no offence to any gynaecologists reading this!) – as I thought, wow – if someone is working with seeing this every day for their career, it’s probably the last thing they would “enjoy” with a spouse (just how I saw it!) – lol!! Yet, there is some truth to this thought.

So do I think that people should not pursue pleasures? Absolutely not. I feel pursuing pleasures are as important as appreciating what is right here, right now. Savour each bite of that meal, appreciate your home, fully enjoy the vacation – each step (including the long wait at the airport, the delayed flight, the lousy airplane meal). And when people are involved, love honestly, openly, and fully.

To be completely present in each moment is the gift to realize. I hope that you will do this for yourself and for your uplifting life journey ahead – I believe that connecting to your Higher Consciousness (or God/the Universe) helps us appreciate and savour each experience in this way – whether you use the idea “you only live once” or the “I seek enlightenment/realization” or even “it’s just life” – learn (or remember) how to be fully Present. You’re welcome – lol! If you’re not thanking me now, I assure you, you will do so at some later time. And I wish this for all of us!!

Here is a video I made recently to understand where we can all comfortably enjoy “a little more”!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrXhaaq1mQg (do like/subscribe to the YouTube Channel of just my name – to spread info around the world) – maybe the videos may lift another person. I hope you feel lifted just a little more today (you’d need to watch the linked video to understand that comment)!

Carepe Diem my friends! Have a beautiful day!

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

Kindly,

Hanifa

Grateful for Learning

Gratitude is such a beautiful energy. It lifts those that give it, and those that receive it too. And this happens whether others hear it or not. The subtle energy of gratitude is felt even without words spoken. I however, love to speak or write the words too. Today more than ever.

I believe my awareness and evolution in my Spiritual growth (or remembering!) brings more awareness of this to me every day. It’s so interesting to me that the work that I do with Grief Recovery also encompasses this experience. Often people are able to be grateful for those they have lost in their lives – whether as family, friends or pets. And it’s a beautiful time to remember gratitude then. But why wait until then? Or until something is not right with a relationship or experience to have gratitude. This is a high-vibrational energy when felt (and meant) authentically and I encourage all to think about it, express it, and/or feel it regularly.

Often the most common expressions of “gratitude “I hear about from people who have lost someone with whom they have had less-than-easy experiences with is more the sentiment of “good riddance.” Yet, it’s often those losses that allow us to understand ourselves best; and perhaps even become better. Because those ones really expressed what they didn’t like about us. And we eventually thought about those words. And often consciously or unconsciously, we chose to improve ourselves. Maybe we became kinder in our communication, maybe more aware of our positive qualities that we thought “everyone had” – like not being hurtful or vengeful. Something. Something can shift in a positive way within ourselves even from relationships that do not end on a good note. We can still wish that person well. We can learn how to let go of resentment graciously. Which means those relationships have helped our own Soul’s evolution.

How could we not be grateful for such blessings? I hope you will consider seeing even un-happy endings through this Conscious perspective.

Just my thoughts tonight. May we all feel blessed and grateful daily.

Gratefully Yours,

Hanifa

Goddess Lakshmi

Gaja Lakshmi at Shravanabelagola Temple, Karnataka. (image from Wikipedia.com)

I had one of the most profound meditative “visions” or rather communication a few months ago. Funny, at first I only wanted to share with a close relative and dear friend and somehow… now I feel I would like to write about it (maybe so I will never forget it?) – yet, it feels like something I never could… but so did some of the academic exams I have taken – lol!!

So I’ve decided to write about the experience! Better not rely on the transient thoughts in this mind! So here goes: I was in a deep meditation, connecting with that blank/empty space when.. I suddenly saw a vision. There is a beautiful woman sitting. I know somehow she is “me” in this vision. Yet she had a perfect body, a beautiful outfit and she was wearing beautiful jewellery too (from what I could tell it all looked marble to me but I could see intricate detail). Yet I couldn’t see any of that in very specific detail – I just know this to be true (and for those that might be curious, physically during this vision, I was sitting in meditation, and my eyes were closed). I’m interacting with many before me in the vision and everyone is important. I find they are coming to me to get something or other and I have (what seems like) EVERYTHING!! Outside of that scene, I hear a voice asking… where am I? Who am I? I know this voice. It is me. And another voice answers: Deva Loka and Lakshmi.

I did not know about the details of these terms until I looked them up later. Deva Loka turns out to be a plane of existence where gods and devas live. Lakshmi is the/a goddess of wealth, fortune, power, beauty, fertility and prosperity – in Hindu, Jain , Tibetan, Chinese and Japanese ancient texts alike.

What was even more profound in the experience was that I know that the people were coming to me for receiving something of their desires – maybe money, maybe fortunes of other sorts, and it was EASY for me to give each what they wanted. And suddenly I was inside the mind of that “Lakshmi” and could hear her thoughts. It was as if she was shocked that she had SO MUCH and an ability to give as much as she wanted with no effort required at all. But her mind was weighing out what each person had given/done for her before giving to them. Like a mental tally. And I remember her sadness because she wanted to give so much more – just out of Pure Love. Yet, in that world she could not.

I was suddenly back in my human form of today. The message… you wanted to love freely from your heart without a mental tally. Here you are. Be that Love.

Interesting that for most of my life I have been looking to see if people love me as much as I love and care for mankind from my heart. After that vision however, I see every opportunity to share authentic love and compassion as the blessing that I have been offered from my own heartfelt desires. Love cannot be measured and/or matched. It is in each of us to give and we are the first recipients of the Love that we allow to flow freely from ourselves.

Some may wonder (if they believe in such things) how it is possible that a god/goddess would ever come back to this Earthly realm. Today I know that the Love that we can consciously share from our human forms (through thought, word and action) is beyond even that which is in heavenly realms. What an Awareness.

Some may think this is a fantasy that my mind has created. Yet, however anyone else looks at this (and I welcome you each to look from your own understanding) – for me, I believe that the energy of Pure Consciousness has fed this Awareness.

Feeling grateful and I thank-you for reading.

Mindfully, Kindly and Consciously Loving,

Hanifa

Hair Raising

I posted a new picture on Facebook yesterday. It’s the same that I used for this post. I received so many kind comments and feel truly blessed to have received them. See, I’m thinking of cutting my hair and I have done this through the years – grow my hair out to a good length and then when I notice I’m putting it up more often than wearing it down, it’s a sign to me to cut… usually a good chunk. Which got me into reflecting upon a particularly meaningful time when I did this which I thought I’d share with you.

Many of you know that I got my first (and only) dog in 2010. Just before he arrived I had chopped my hair and many joked that I was preparing myself for “mommy duties” – lol! What most did not know is that I was also working with many cancer patients at the time. I remember the many ladies that would look at my hair as they removed their wigs during the physical exam we were doing on the first visit. I remember the fears of ladies who had just received a cancer diagnosis and their thoughts about possible hair loss as a side effect of the planned chemotherapy sessions. And I remember wearing my hair in a bun many times when I knew someone in such a situation was coming to see me. Chopping my hair helped me to feel closer to and more compassionate for the experience of the ladies (and sometimes men) I was seeing who had lost their hair. My fur-baby Caesar couldn’t care less about my hair length and it never interfered in the love we shared as he couldn’t grasp it as a human baby might… though he might have chewed on it occasionally! lol!

I have seen people without any cancer diagnosis who have come to see me with significant patches of hair loss. I’ve seen many people who notice their own gradual greying, thinning and/or loss of hair. Each one notices their own changes. We all change. I truly feel that we are so much more than our external beauty and this is not limited to hair. Whatever external beauty you or I have today may not be there tomorrow but the inner-work we do to be better from the inside… that’s permanent. That is the area I hope we all focus most on so that we can enjoy, but not be attached, to even the best external shells of our existence. Remember that everything changes and internal changes to be better people are precious to ourselves and others forever. I hope when the day comes when I leave this human form, you will remember me most for who I truly am – and I hope you look deep enough to understand that part of not only me but everyone you meet. And if you remember my hair… I’ll still be smiling.

Of course, this reflecting time brought about a new poetic creation that I thought I’d share with you today too. I hope you like it.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow -a poem by Hanifa Menen

This hair it grows quickly and flows softly down

I wash it and curl it, enjoy like a crown

Whether soft or dry it knows cycles too

Its personal wisdom I now share with you.

Nothing lasts forever in a world that’s finite

This hair lets go easy when knows time is right

So full hair seen now will be gone in a blink

Lets all understand the way we can think

While long I enjoy the outwardly fun

I know I must trim when it’s oft in a bun.

Yet I am the same – do you see my true Soul?

The Love that I share Is truly the goal.

My hair does not cling to me on my head

It seems just as happy on the floor or my bed

And I release easy as I’m also free

To express myself truly as Love that is me.

May we all enjoy the true Essence in each of us. Do not wait for any crisis or health condition to remind you what you truly love most about your friends, family… and even strangers.

Kindly,

Hanifa

www.hearthealthbrainhealth.com

Equanimity

Recently I spoke about the 4 parts of True Love shared by the Buddha and then by Thich Nhat Hanh and I spoke of Upeksha (Sanskrit for equanimity) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DY9-MpBnQd4&t=330s For some reason, although I LOVE all four pieces and do mindfully-practice each as often as possible, it was this piece that has really been on my mind.

Wikipedia defines equanimity as “a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of, or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind.” Ah… no wonder I’m so drawn to this. It is that sweet spot I love to reach through meditation! And of course, what did I read next? This: “The Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as “abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will. Meditation, indeed, can help to train the mind to be sensitive and flexible which results in developing and maintaining a state of composure, peace, and balance in all sorts of experiences.”

Wow. And I am feeling this!

So I have been contemplating equanimity. I believe the times that our minds can most easily get un-settled are the times when the ego is involved somehow. The thoughts often include the “poor me” – when we feel no one understands our perspective or even our true wisdom; or when we may feel overlooked. I’ve certainly felt this often enough to become mindfully-aware of it, if/when it arises. It does like to visit often! And then I nurture the feeling or thought with compassion for the experience and then… it’s gone!

I have listened to many clients share their own varied experiences through Grief Recovery sessions and as I mentioned in the video link earlier, I see that times of loss are a very common time for the true test of equanimity. The original quote I was trying to remember in the video is this:

A son can bear with equanimity the loss of his father, but the loss of his inheritance may drive him to despair.”

~Niccola Machiavelli

Yes, many people may feel the loss of a parent as a great loss indeed yet I have seen many focus much time and effort thinking about the possible inheritance that is/is not received in the time with much jealousy, anger and frustration at what is shared and with who. I truly believe that whateve/r blessings are going to come to any person in life (financial or otherwise) will arrive at just the right time yet not always from the place one might hope to receive it from. Trust that there is a Wisdom that works its way into each of our life experiences. Meditation definitely helps me to trust in this Wisdom itself. It is a place that I can happily and wholeheartedly trust easily. And this “knowing” makes all the difference. May you feel such peace in your heart with the awareness of God/the Universe/Something that is the absolute best example of honest equanimity. And may we all learn and practice from that example as we trust in this Wisdom.

Have a beautiful evening and may we all mindfully practice equanimity in our thoughts, words and actions!

Kindly,

Hanifa

Love

Ah… love. I believe we have all felt this sometime, somewhere. Maybe from a partner, a spouse, a parent, a pet, a great friend. Many of you know that this is one of my favourite things to contemplate.

Some of the readers here have known me for many years. Some know that I had what seemed to be almost a “perfect love” with a spouse that I did everything with – all work, play, vacations, cooking, cleaning, hand-raising budgies and “parenting” a beloved mini-schnauzer. And some of you know that one day that love had a “dramatic” ending.

Everything changes in this human realm. At the time of my official divorce I was so shaken by the experience that I posted a post to my facebook friends about some key details and my experience from a still-healing heart and it was a relief to hear from many going through similar experiences – especially from my Naturopathic colleagues and even dear friends that I hadn’t spoken with for years who were so personally supportive through that time. I removed my post promptly as I knew I had at least shared what I needed to get off my chest and was happy that several that saw it felt somewhat freed to share their own experiences.

Some may know (and now you all will) that after this very not-easy experience I reached out to write a note of appreciation to my Ex (Jeff) for our good times together. He reciprocated soon after to share similar sentiments from his own perspective. After that I reached out a few times (maybe every 4-6 months?) to ask how he, his parents and our dog Caesar (truly my 4-legged “baby”) were doing. I got a response once but had not received responses after. A time came in March and April this year where I felt I had to write another letter of appreciation for the good times with Jeff. I wrote on April 16th of this year which happens to be my brother’s death anniversary. I again asked how Caesar, Jeff and his parents were doing. Now remember… this came (I am certain) from some Divine guidance pushing this urgent writing to Jeff – and the intention was to remind him of the wonderful I know he had shown me in our good times and to please share that with his next relationship – and btw, in case you’re wondering – no, I do not desire to be back in a relationship with him. Jeff wrote back to me in early June to let me know our 2 surviving budgies had passed away over the previous year and that his Mother had just passed away on June 1st. She did not have any diagnosed chronic illness during our separation and divorce several years earlier but had passed away from a significant and aggressive illness that did not last long but did allow enough time to have her closest family with her. In case you would like to see the video I made after learning this you can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gItkrSdS_Ic&list=PLHwKV9dqqcDj9xmcvue76qJO05yWpXZps&index=82

Jeff did let me know that the Grief Recovery work I had learned and helped him learn about too had helped him and his family get through that time and I can’t tell you how heart-filling that was for me to read from his last note to me. Like my “purpose/duty/responsibility” with this family had been achieved.

The reason I am writing this today is because I am feeling a similar feeling through my meditation and contemplative time over the past several days. Yet the direction (from the Universe) is different today. Today I’m being guided to reach out to anyone who has known Jeff to reach out to him – to share a kindness for the good person that he is (and he truly is as many of you who have met him have personally experienced). I believe many times he felt that more people knew/liked me (though I do not believe this is true). I know that I was always amazed by the kindness he showed others. And I believe he was impressed (though sometimes not loving?!) how much I truly cared for my patients and friends (that’s a blessing I believe I learned from my parents).

Please know that in our least-easy times Jeff did continue to drive us back and forth to our clinical spaces (as I was not driving at the time). He spoke kindly to me and loved Caesar (what else could I wish for in such a time?). He did not speak harshly with me or anyone I have known him to interact with. And he deserves kindness coming back to him. Not necessarily today because you’re reading this or just once to feel like you finished a task. But in whatever regular frequency you can do this. I feel that his and my paths crossed for many reasons. Maybe one is to share the love/kindness that I feel would not have come to him without something guiding me to put this message out to the world.

Love does not love because we are in a particular relationship. Love just loves. Everyone deserves this.

To all of you who read this and reach out to Jeff sometime with a note, a call, or even a prayer – I send you my love.

May we always give from this space of unlimited abundance to those who cross our paths. Life is short. Do not put off doing the meaningful things.

Have a beautiful day!

Kindly,

Hanifa

by Hanifa Menen, BSc (Neuropsychology); former ND (early retired after 21 years of practice!) – Grief Recovery and Brain Re-Training Coach. Encouraging Empowered Actions for Clients through Mindfully raising Consciousness.