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Menen Centre June Newsletter

Today I thought I would share here what I shared in my latest clinic newsletter. I hope you find it thought-provoking in your own personal improvement

Happy Summer from the Menen Centre!

June 2020 Newsletter
by Hanifa Menen, BSc, ND
Grief Recovery and Brain Re-Training Coach

Us vs. Them

Hello clients and friends of the Menen Centre!  In this newsletter it’s time for us to discuss the recent events that have brought attention to this important idea/concept. It’s time for each of us to be mindfully aware and personally responsible for our thoughts, words and actions.  So this month I would like to draw your personal attention to the way you think, speak and act in relation to others.  I thought I would draw attention to an area that many people feel are ok to let “slip” into their thoughts and/or conversations with others. This is the idea of what makes “us” different from “them” and what is this doing in our personal and our collective lives?

Different Cultures, Languages, Countries, Colours

In light of recent news events that I am certain you have all read about or seen, North America especially, and the world somewhat, is remembering that we do not all look at each other equally.  This is not surprising. Humans have compared themselves to others for centuries. It is a normal part of the human conscious development that allows this to happen as we each try to understand ourselves and the world around us. With further evolution of our consciousness however, we can learn that we are all more similar than different.  Now remember that this requires an evolution in our Conscious awareness that allows us to think in this way.  If you would like to see/learn more about the evolution of our individual consciousness, do take a look at my series of seven videos on just that on my YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtAAm2qVoGiWTommQS5CRog
The first of this specific series of Conscious Evolution starts here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20fpQLum5AI This is a process that Deepak Chopra has also described in some detail so that could be a useful resource for anyone who is interested.

I believe it is easy for each and every person to fall backwards in their own Conscious Evolution as it is easy to fall into past learned behaviours shaped by fears and/or a desire to maintain perceived control.  I also feel it is the responsibility of each individual to monitor their own thoughts, words and actions.  Now if this was so easy, we would not have “needed” police, laws, and even certain social-etiquette expectations. Yet, those of us that feel we are the “good ones” are already fuelling this separation.  It’s important to remember that not only “bad guys” do “bad things” – anyone can fall into this space of unconscious at any time.

What is the best way for you to contribute to the positive shaping of first your own, and then the Collective Consciousness? Watch what you think and speak! Remember that everything is energy. The minute you say “those people” are not good, is the minute you fuel the energy that does not help. People can do some unkind things – it shows their human side coming through their human form. And people can do some profoundly kind actions too. This shows the best of their spiritual side coming through their human form.

Have you noticed the areas of unconscious bias you may have? If you look at the image at the top of this page you will see that there are age biases, gender biases, cultural biases, physical biases… do you notice that you have any of these?  Maybe you notice in yourself or others a “beard bias” or “turban/scarf/hijab bias” or maybe you have a “white person bias” which is not discussed much but maybe you judge this colour as the “other” that your do not trust or secretly envy?  What happens when you see a caucasian with a thick beard and in a turban?  Does it make you pause? Make you uncomfortable? Every major religion and spiritual tradition has encouraged us to look at each other as equal and good – do you consciously try to practice this in each moment? You don’t even need any reason outside of your own clear conscience to know that this just feels right! No religion or spiritual teaching needs to show this to you.  How beautiful is that?! It’s truly good for the soul!

I remember I was helping as a caregiver for a young blind woman in her 20’s many years ago when I tried to “help” her by holding her arm to cross the street – she was so upset with me at the time because she wanted to do it herself (which she had done for many years before me and needed me to just help by making sure she was safe as she was crossing that street!). In that moment I understood that even well-meaning biases are still biases.  So we can see that any of us can fall into well-meaning or fear-based biases which shape our thoughts, words and actions to others.

You might think that if you do not treat others (noticeably) unkindly, you are good. Do you later talk about them anyways with bias around your dinner table, or think the bias silently while not speaking it? It all matters.  It’s all energy and I encourage you to be mindful of where you put your personal energy!  A bigger concern can happen when you are mindfully-avoiding a particular bias and a person hurts/offends you!  Remember that any person, at any time, can act from an unconscious state. Focus on the action and do not generalize your thoughts to feed an unconscious bias.

I leave you in this newsletter with the words of Mother Theresa that I feel are so incredibly appropriate today and always. It is, and never will be, between “you and them” – it’s always between you and your God/Higher Self.

Today as I am coaching many through Grief Recovery and towards Empowered living through Brain Re-Training, I see that this awareness is the key to beginning (or continuing) personal transformation!

If you have any questions/concerns do feel free to contact me at hanifahelps@gmail.comor call/text 416-920-8975.

And remember that my current discounted pricing for block-appointments is continuing through the rest of this month and July 2020 to help people more comfortably afford the services I offer. You can see my current rates here:
https://hearthealthbrainhealth.com/costofservices/
Wishing you all a beautiful summer season and a Consciously-positive life experience in each moment!
Kindly,
Hanifa Menen

 

Words Matter

As we move closer to the end of this unique school year that has been done for most students and teachers largely online, I am reminded about my own grade-schooling as well as my University and College experiences.

I was the “good” student. I loved learning, loved getting great marks and loved the awards of all kinds. From grades, pats on my back from teachers, meaningful messages written into my “autograph book” that I preferred to store such messages in rather than the simple signatures in yearbooks. And I had the rewards of loving care from my home because I was so “smart.”  I never considered myself smart. Unless I compared myself to my brother’s marks – he was the social personality and I was the academic! Oh yes, I then compared to other students too and judged how good I was based on that comparison and then by my accomplishments every step of the way.  Yet I never found schooling easy.  I was not one of the gifted students with a fabulous memory for detail – but I had perseverance. I studied long, not-easy hours. I was motivated to study.  My goals were worth it.

I was very fortunate to feel/sense my “calling” by both an internal desire and drive, and through a series of family health experiences that solidified my desire to become a Doctor.  I had vaguely considered becoming a professional tennis player but my coach in Edmonton had recommended my coaching continue in the States and there really was no way that my family at that time could afford such an expense. Plus, my practicality always reminded me that athletes often lost their entire careers from a single (yet significant) injury. I wanted a career for life.

Today I am working on creating a new academic course to share with the world sometime soon but as I learn new computer skills through a new course, I am enjoying my learning with a group of incredibly-talented and intelligent students in Healthcare, Engineering, Education and Sports backgrounds. Some have Master’s degrees, some have 2! All are working in academic institutions and seem incredibly computer-savvy! And I’m learning!  Interestingly, I do notice that the “wisdom” I bring to the table is really my honest, compassionate and mindful interactions.  And this feels great.

We all give each other feedback on our assignments and plans and today as I was reading over a classmate’s assignment (the plan for her course) – I noticed how wonderfully-supportive her whole plan was towards her (adult) student success at her University.  And then I came across a beautiful section on grading which was clearly put together to help students understand why they would receive either an A,B,C,D or F on their final grades.   And most of you know I love language!  I noticed in some of the descriptive words (for every grade after an A) there was potential for significantly changing the direction of student-thinking post-graduation from their undergraduate degrees.  I know some students (like myself) would be inspired to work harder to improve and receive more positive feedback (out of their own need for encouragement), and others may feel discouraged.  Language matters.  Words matter.

This made me realize that my fascination with words began long before reading an awesome book a few years ago called “Every Word has Power” by Yvonne Oswald which changed the way I guide my patients and clients.

It made me remember that I had as a pre-teen once asked my parents for a book I fell in love with at a local Coles bookstore – it was a Dictionary of Quotations!! I LOVED it and read every single quote in the book, putting a pencilled star beside my favourites for future reference! I still have that book in one of my many boxes of books in my garage! Before I moved to Ontario a family friend gifted me the book called “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran. I had never heard of it but I absolutely loved it! And over the last few years I have read hundreds of books (some of the same many times) and the words of anything I re-read certainly moves me and sticks with me.

When today I read my classmate’s grading comments planned for students I remembered that the most common and frequent comment I received on my report cards was “Conscientious Student.” I remember thinking “I think that’s good…”  I’d ask my Mom and she’d say it was but the word always stuck in my mind as a bit of a mystery even though I looked it up several times since my childhood.  As an adult, I now know that these comments (typed codes usually) were just the most fitting out of the comments available. Throughout grade school however, I would have loved understanding that this meant “(of a person) wishing to do what is right, especially to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly” or “relating to a person’s conscience.” As a kid I was very self-conscious so in my mind I had always thought that’s what my teachers were noticing in me!

It wasn’t until my Junior High School experience that I truly began to gain confidence in myself as a student.  Here I had loads of direct feedback from teachers and a new drive and motivation in my learning too.  Maybe it’s good that I didn’t know the meaning of the report card notes earlier – maybe my Ego would have emerged sooner?! And maybe I would be exactly where I am today, smiling appreciatively for things being exactly as they should be.

From my experiences I can see that words are such an important part of my lifelong awareness. And now I guide people how to use their words lovingly, compassionately and kindly with the people in their personal and professional lives.  To empower, to heal, to help, to share authentically.  What a beautiful journey!

Please know that your words matter too.  When people can put their feelings into words, empowered action can arise.  I hope you will lift yourself and the people around you with the honest words that you share, the sincerity of your expression, and then watch the creation of your own magic in your life.

I am here to help if you need me. Until then, I wish you all the loving words you need to hear from yourself! Create your own magic!

“The key to pursuing excellence is to embrace an organic, long-term learning process, and not to live in a shell of static, safe mediocrity. Usually, growth comes at the expense of previous comfort or safety.”
— Josh Waitzkin

Kindly,

Hanifa

hanifahelps@gmail.com

www.hearthealthbrainhealth.com

We Grieve What We Love(d)

We grieve because we love. The intensity of the grief often proclaims the depth of our love. ~Gary Roe

Love and grief can be seen as two ends of one human experience. Or two sides of a coin; or a yin/yang experience.  This is why if one does not care too much about something or someone, there will be less grief in the absence of that thing or person.  When one does truly love, however, grief can be equally intense.

I remember a client calling me once in an absolute panic because her husband thought she may have had feelings/interactions with another man early in their dating and/or marriage time. She was beside herself with grief and frustration about the false accusation that still haunted her husband who was threatening divorce.  When I spoke with the husband I reminded him of what he knew was true of his wife and what I felt was the sincere and honest communication she was currently sharing. They stayed together, and they are happy today.  Of course we may never know if the husband’s fears were based in fact, but here we can see that it really didn’t matter what may/may not have been true from years before this time, yet the human mind will often look for things to be troubled with, even if it does not pertain to now.

Another client I met was in her 70’s when I met her. She had found her husband in bed with another woman… on her wedding day! She still went through with the wedding and stayed married to a man who had several affairs that she was very unhappily aware of.  She felt she didn’t have the courage/confidence to leave the relationship.  One day she came home to see all of her clothes and belongings scattered on the lawn – the husband wanted a divorce.  She needed to share her story to heal this pain.

So many experiences of grief.  My own conscious experiences with grief began with seeing my brother (who I had the BEST relationship with – a sibling connection many would wish for) go from healthy, to wheelchair-bound, to passing away in his 20’s.  That experience led to my desire to go into healthcare.

A few years ago I went through my second separation and divorce.  Here too I enjoyed a relationship that I could not imagine being better – until it wasn’t.  I have grieved many losses with patients and for myself too.  I have lifted others and lifted myself.  And each time, I am reminded about the absolute perfection in all that is, right here and now.  I know that my own experiences have helped me be the compassionate health coach that I am today, and this is a blessing.  I have also had the blessing of numerous kind souls in the forms of family, friends and healthcare professionals that have helped me in my journeys through grief too. So I have felt love even through times of grief. What a blessing!  And this is what directed me to my current work focused on healing grief from losses of all sorts. Also a blessing for my own direction.

I was discussing with a friend today the fact that most of us have been raised to think we can live our lives from either “martyr” or “survival of the fittest” perspectives.  So we can either hurt ourselves trying to help others or we “push others into the ditch” (friend’s words!) to get ahead.  So true.  The biggest learning I have had through my grief experiences is that loving myself is just as important as loving anyone else.  Isn’t it nice that our world is evolving to a place where loving ourselves (without harm to another) is no longer seen as selfish? I think it’s a huge step forward.

So what is the best part of healing grief? It brings us right back to LOVE!!  A little wiser perhaps, and a little kinder too.  What a joy it is to help others get to this space too. True healing goes a long way.

Today as we socially-distance ourselves for the safety of each other, I would like to remind you that each person is truly carrying their own grief.  Let’s help each other’s burdens lighten through this compassionate awareness.

Wishing you joyful, and love-filled days ahead!

Kindly,

Hanifa

 

A Hopeful Future Ahead – for individuals, communities, businesses and organizations!

Recently I have been going through lots of new brain research. As some of you know, my original BSc focused on the brain (neuropsychology) and today I see so much research showing how old ideas of meditation and “new” mindfulness has shown benefits for everything from Alzheimer’s disease (especially prevention/management), to developing healthy minds in children, and to healing emotional traumas! And all of this is linked to measurable increases in joy and happiness of participants in each group!

Can you imagine the job satisfaction, productivity and overall contentment in life this can bring to individuals, communities and organizations? It is incredible. Now I like the good old-fashioned process of sitting or lying down quietly to do this, but yogis and spiritual teachers have shown for ages that this can be a regular practice of how one lives life in every moment (I’m working on it for myself!).  And I have to acknowledge that there are “apps” for this process too through technological advancement – it’s just not my chosen tool at this time.  I believe that different tools are useful for different people and each person can look for what works best for themselves.

I also have seen and experienced the benefits of meditating in groups and I have seen that it truly does create a force greater than what an individual can achieve alone. I learned this first with my first small group experience (in the 90’s?!) at a Naturopathic healing centre in British Columbia and recently experienced it through a retreat with Eckhart Tolle and Kim Eng which had small and large group opportunities. There is strength in numbers.

What I want to make sure you know through this post is that the research has finally caught up with the mass movement towards Conscious Awakening. People are starting to take seriously our unconscious and almost robotic actions of “getting through the day” and/or onto the next task – and noticing that this process may be less important than the addition of even just 15 minutes of meditative practice daily. In that space, I believe an opening is created that allows for creative, loving and kind-hearted actions through our days. People are now doing this more and research is also becoming more abundant about the benefits! And this indicates to me, that there are hopeful days ahead for us all. Do try to fill your own Awareness of this detail rather than getting lost in worries/anxieties about events outside of your ability to change in a practical way at this moment. You are here. Now. What you do with this moment is everything.

I am sending healing energy and positive wishes for anyone going through any suffering today. May you feel lifted from knowing there is a hopeful future ahead and that you are part of it!

Kindly,

Hanifa