Tag Archives: Mindfulness

Is Society Rejecting 21st Century Change? Adapting to Postmodernism Learning…

4_easytobuystuff

Managing chaos in a changing world…it’s complicated…

Postmodernism  Click here…for more… A quote from NZCR…21st Century Learning

Post-modern just means ‘coming after’ modernism. The term is used to refer to a period in history (the one we’re in now), but it is also used to refer to a set of ideas that ‘go with’ this period in history. This set of ideas is a reaction to—and, to some extent, a rejection of—the ideas of modernism.

According to one theorist, post modernism is the passage from ‘solid’ (stable) times to ‘liquid’ times (Bauman 2007). It is the end of traditional structures and institutions, and the end of what another theorist calls ‘grand narratives’–the big, one-size-fits-all stories of modern thought (Lyotard 1984). There is a loss of faith in the idea of ‘progress’, the idea that we are gradually heading along the one true pathway towards certain universal goals – such as the full picture of knowledge, or equality and justice. Instead, there is an emphasis on multiple pathways and plurality; on diversity and difference; and on the partiality of all knowledge (that is, the idea that we can only have an incomplete picture, and the idea that all knowledge is biased). Change is seen, not as a linear progression, but as a series of networks and flows, connections and reconnections that, because they are always forming and reforming, never have time to solidify.

Thus, where modern thought emphasises direction, order, coherence, stability, simplicity, control, autonomy, and universality, post modern thought emphasises fragmentation, diversity, discontinuity, contingency, pragmatism, multiplicity, and connections.

Read more about some of the theories behind the shift to 21st century learning, or click on one of the specific theories below.

References

Bauman, Z. (2007). Liquid times: Living in an age of uncertainty. Cambridge UK: Polity Press.
Lyotard, J-F. (1984). The postmodern condition: A report on knowledge. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

#####

I don’t believe many of us from the baby boomer generation really loved a life of constantly disruptive and painful change, but to survive and thrive we had to adapt fast, especially to rapidly changing and evolving technologies.  Can’t we just get back to the peace and love movement of the 1960 era of hippies and Woodstock?  Nobody could even find us! There is no rest for the weary even now as the 3rd decade of the 21st Century is just around the corner.

I love technology, but hate how it forces humanity to change too quickly for our own good.  My very soul rejects the idea that we are at a point now where practicing mindfulness and grounding is mandatory to get through each hour of the day.  We are asked to “build Rome in a day” every day of the week, even on Sunday during worship services.  Everybody wants something, or wants us to do something.  Being hyper-vigilant is no longer considered an unstable emotional behavior.  Hyper-arousal behaviors have evolved to a 21st Century asset in managing effectively the chaos of every day living and work life.  Our technology devices help us live in chaos and stay focused, but we lose it when we have to sit in a meeting and have a thoughtful conversation.  Thinking about what happened yesterday and being fearful of falling off a cliff in the future is contrary to living in the moment.  We thrive in the modern world by learning as quickly as possible how to fix the mistakes of the past and anticipate the moving targets of the future.  Wow!  We are forced to adapt and become super nimble to navigate successfully our daily life on the planet.

What do we do?  Well, we must learn to live in the modern world, and teach our children to do so.  We are not going back to Woodstock!  That was fun, but my peers of that time in history quickly realized after a few years of traveling the country smok’n n jok’n that we needed to jump right in the thick of all the crap and make a difference for ourselves, our families, and others in a larger context. Our lives could not be meaningful nor rewarding if it is not about something larger than us.  We cut the long hair, stopped the drugs and alcohol, returned to school, started a family, and begrudgingly wore that awful 3 piece suit each and every day.  The good news is we started dressing more casually in the 1980’s.  Politicians and bankers are the hold outs, and still wear suits and ties.  Bill Gates and Steve Jobs showed us how to relax more at work with openness, mindfulness, self awareness, self-care and in reaching out to others in collaborative work groups.  Otherwise, in a chaotic world, burn-out comes entirely too early to suit the needs of the corporate bottom line. Work has to be fun or we are not at our best as innovators and entrepreneurs nor as caring and loving human beings.

So, get with it!  Learn to be adaptive and mindful in your life at home and at work.  Stop rejecting technology and start loving it.  An offense is always the best defense.   When you can take ownership and stop rejecting change, your life can be as rewarding and peace loving as you want it to be without returning to Woodstock.  Each and everyone of us are in-charge of our own future, one way or the other. Wake up and smell the roses, and think “I got this” each and every day.  Strike an agreement to own your own future…

Steve Sparks. Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page to order books and other stuff from Amazon.

Steve2016

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate, and member, Lincoln County Oregon, Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC)

Boomers Turn Age 70! We 46ers ain’t done yet!

1140-boomers-at-70-kathleen-casey-kirschling-birthday-cake.imgcache.rev1451936140652.web

Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, First Boomer, “You only have the moment. You can’t live in the past, and you don’t know what the future is going to bring.”

Boomers Turn 70!  by Bill Newcott, AARP Your Life… Reference article and website, click highlighted text.

Excerpt from my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, published in 2011…Signalman Publishing, Orlando, Florida

A New Beginning!

Using words like summary for the end of this story seems off the mark. I have a hopeful outlook in writing this book after doing research and connecting the dots. Life can begin again at any stage in life, especially for those of us who are entering the golden years. Writing this story has given me energy, renewed confidence, and a much brighter look into the future. Finding peace of mind has been a huge benefit, but requires continued effort. I believe more now that when one reaches out for answers to big questions and becomes fully engaged in living in a proactive way, we find more peace of mind. My thinking has changed from thoughts of death and dying or old age to planning my next writing project, next adventure, and sharing more romance with Judy. It is never time to sit down and forget about it all. It is extremely healthy for the mind and body to be engaged, to discover, to learn, and to love. Living, learning and loving never ends until the day we actually leave this life for good and go on to the next life, assuming the faith that this is where we are headed.

“Retirement” means transitioning to new beginnings rather than stepping away from all the action. There is really more action in retirement if you are willing to take the leap of faith, and jump in and continue to make a difference in your life and the life of others. The more of my time spent giving to others feels like a gift. Continuing to share my life with soul-mate and wife Judy is comforting and exciting. Finding new friends and building new relationships is invigorating. Getting the most out of participating in the lives of friends and family, including watching my children grow along with the grandkids, is most gratifying. I can say life is as good as it can be as long as my feet stay firmly on the ground. Writing this book clearly represents a new beginning. I am very thankful for having the motivation to tackle this project and the many rewards it has and will produce in the future. I am ready for the next surprise and challenge life has in store for us!

#####

I didn’t know in 2011 how writing my first non-fiction memoir, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, would change my life.  It was at that moment in time that writing became a source of healing from childhood invisible wounds.   Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, First Boomer, “You only have the moment. You can’t live in the past, and you don’t know what the future is going to bring.”  These words really hit home for me at this time in my life as age 70 looms on July 6, 2016.  Wow!  This new decade for me was a scary beginning of the New Year until healthy change came into my life and our family.  When it is time for change, it is up to all of us to take action…we own it!  My major action was to clear away my agenda and all commitments that were no longer rewarding or fun.  It was my time and the opportunity to make a difference for myself and to focus on my family, especially my loving wife, Judy.  I set myself free to love more, explore and to innovate.  It is a new day in the Sparks home!  We are busy with new goals, planning, and excitement for the very special years ahead of us.  I feel blessed and thankful for good health and new energy at age 69.  “We 46ers ain’t done yet!”

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page and to order books, etc.

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

Music for the Soul…Take a break and be mindful of the need for balance…

Oceanside

Oceanside, California…a perfect spiritual moment captured by Judy Sparks in October 2014…

 

Healing Music for the Soul…Spiritual Awakening…  Click on the highlighted music clip to the left… Crystals Healing…Energy Healing at a whole new level…

“Crystal Healing is the art of using and placing specific crystals in the right places to achieve a desired result.  Crystal healing can help with headaches, difficulty sleeping, lack of energy, lack of libido, lack of concentration, healing the mind and more.”

#####

There are many choices to take a spiritual break and become mindful of the beauty of nature and the healing power of music.  Each opportunity to fly away for a moment to a happy place can happen anytime and anywhere…  When I feel overwhelmed or begin to question my priorities in life…it is time to regain some balance…  Mindfulness of my own spirituality while taking a spontaneous break, listening to the music of healing or a walk on the beach hearing the waves pounding the shore and birds singing helps me greatly to appreciate the wonders of life in the moment…a special treat.  I can usually bounce back, feel and see a more grounded perspective.  Sometimes taking one moment at a time to feel the energy of life brings me back to reality and the joy of living each and every day.  I do this best with my soul mate close to me…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click on the highlighted text for my author page…

 

Practicing Mindfulness is Life Changing! Being in the present…Now a classroom exercise for kids…

mainguymeditating

Jon Kabat-Zinn: There are a lot of different ways to talk about mindfulness, but what it really means is awareness. Anderson Cooper: Is it being present? Jon Kabat-Zinn: It is being present. That’s exactly what it is.

Being Present and Aware is Mindfulness…  Quote from this website article and highly informative video clip with Anderson Cooper, CBS News 60 Minutes…

Anderson Cooper: I don’t feel I’m very present in each moment. I feel like every moment I’m either thinking about something that’s coming down the road, or something that’s been in the past.

Jon Kabat-Zinn: So ultimately all this preparing is for what? For the next moment, like the last moment, like, and then we’re dead (laugh) so in a certain way…

#####

Our teachers at Neighbors for Kids, Depoe Bay, Oregon, spend a couple of minutes before each new program or class to help kids to be in the present…to be mindful.  I have watched the technique many times and notice immediately how important it is to learning for children to transition quietly and breathe deeply as a way to focus on the present.  Kids run from one thing to the next, minds full of anticipation and reflection…often not ready to focus in the present.  Helping kids get back to being in the moment really works!

It took me many decades and most of my life to appreciate the value of being in the present.  Mindfulness is the foundation for my own journey of healing as a trauma survivor.  I am practicing being in the present right now while writing this important blog post.  Writing is one of my key treatment strategies that changed my life almost 4 years ago while researching and writing my book, along with starting this blog.  My mind does drift and being in the present takes some discipline.  Self talk resulting from returning to a painful past and thinking too much about the future with anxiety is a habit not easily broken, especially for trauma survivors. 

Although my life experience has proven that during those special times that I unknowingly practiced being in the present, it was always relaxing and joyful…  I dreamed of being mindful of the present every moment of the day, but did not know how…  I haven’t yet achieved perfection at “being,” but the joy of being present most of the time these days is a peace of mind to be treasured…  Jon Kabat-Zinn: “a timeless quality of being in the moment…”

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click on the highlighted text for my author page…

How are survivors affected by the constant news of NFL domestic violence and child abuse? Is this kind of stressful awareness and triggers of past emotional pain healthy?

Mariska_SVU

The Joyful Heart Foundation…A Message from Mariska… It all started for me when I began my work on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit over a decade ago. In my research for my role, I encountered statistics that shocked me: One in three women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. Every two minutes in the United States, someone is sexually assaulted. More than five children die every day in this country as a result of child abuse and neglect, and up to 15 million children witness domestic violence in their homes each year.

The Joyful Heart Foundation…  Quote from this website article…

“Families or individuals who have experienced domestic violence are in the process of healing both physically and emotionally from multiple traumas. These traumas can have various effects on the mind, body and spirit. It is natural to experience these, and acknowledging the effects can be an important first step in embarking on a process towards restoration and healing.

People who are exposed to domestic violence often experience physical, mental or spiritual shifts that can endure and worsen if they are not addressed. According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control, nearly three in every 10 women—about 32 million—and one in 10 men in the United States who experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner reported at least one measured impact or effect related to forms of violent behavior in that relationship.1

#####

I am a survivor of domestic violence and child abuse…a lifelong journey of healing is a work in progress…  I noticed this past two weeks with all the news and video clips pounding away at my mind, that my usually upbeat disposition was starting to change for the worse.  It became difficult for me to keep the images and feelings of past emotional pain at a safe distance.  The images of childhood traumatic experiences started to appear much more frequently and put me back in a depressed mental state.  Eventually my healing therapy and training kicked in and I started talking about my feelings with my wife and a close trusted friend.  This was the first step in getting back on track as indicated in the above quote, “ acknowledging the effects can be an important first step in embarking on a process towards restoration and healing.

My close and trusted friend, Byron Lewis, is also a student of NLP.   Byron has written several articles for this blog about NLP (click on highlighted text for more on these alternative treatment strategies for trauma victims) and the therapy value of practicing techniques that can be very effective.

Just today over coffee, Byron, reminded me of one such NLP technique that addresses the images of pain from past traumatic events so that they are not all consuming and powerful.  It works this way…  When the image appears or as soon as you become aware of the image, keep it pictured in your mind and focus on the experience.  Next then, if the image is moving, freeze the frame. If the image is in color, make the image black and white, then look away.  Once the image has changed, try moving to look at it from a different position as if it is projected on a screen. Practice this technique over and over again whenever the painful image appears…  The ultimate result is the image will no longer have power over your thought process…you are then back in control of the present mindfulness of living in the moment…

For me, the journey of healing from a traumatic past is always a work in progress.  Human connectedness, including support from family and friends is truly the best way to keep the emotional pain from the past at a safe distance.  Trying to remove the pain of these images with denial never works and it takes so much longer to heal.  Being proactive and completely aware of post trauma symptoms is the very first step in healing.   Good luck on your own journey of healing…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click on the highlighted text for my author page…

 

Something Different to Calm Your Soul… Download “free” ebook…

anangaandrati

Ananga Sivyer… “We are meant for so much more than to merely exist, to worry over bills, to feel stressed and exhausted. We have the rare gift of a human life, the chance to explore our core potential, to learn, to live with purpose, and to cultivate our spiritual nature.”

“Beautiful Calm…” Click here for more. Quote from this website…by Ananga Sivyer

“That all changed in 2003 when a sudden illness put me to bed and I was “forced” to reflect and put  what I had learned into practice. As the months and years rolled by with me largely confined to my own home I learned how to reframe the experience and, for the most part, I didn’t feel confined at all. I learned to journey far and wide in my own mind; to walk, run and swim, to travel and explore. And beyond that, I learned to find my calm centre, to work with my breath, to ease physical pain and to relax more deeply than I ever thought possible.” ***** Finding stories that reinforce the journey of healing is a favorite past-time and critical to my own peace of mind.  It is also exceedingly inspirational to read stories of individuals who find their own unique ways of healing from traumatic events in life.  The story of Ananga Sivyer (click here) from the UK is such an example of the power of mindfulness and alternative treatment strategies that evolve sometimes in magical ways from the very soul…often unexplainable…but demonstrated in the lives of sufferers who survive and thrive.

Download “Transition to Calm”  Click here or download from my sidebar…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story… Click highlighted text for my author page…

“Meditation, Relaxing Healing Guitar Music…Pablo Arellano

PabloA

Pablo Arellano

The Music of Healing from Pablo Arellano…Click on video music clip…

Published on May 1, 2014

Relaxing music for the soul, Guitar and strings for meditation and relaxing.
Share,relax,enjoy and subscribe.

*****

Friday has become my day to share the music of healing from special selections, including Pablo Arellano…  Music of this soothing variety and extended play is very much part of my own mindful journey of healing.  It is important to take time out and use music to wander to happy places where living in the moment takes a priority, even for a short period of time.  Pablo Arellano’s music takes me to those happy places.  Hope you can take time away from your busy schedule in the privacy of a quiet and comfortable place at home, on the beach, or in the mountains and listen to this uplifting spiritual music.  Mindfulness is the perfect way to practice living in the moment, a most healing experience and relief from stress.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

Mindfulness1

Click to expand graphic…

“The Road Back” in life after trauma… Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) research for PTSD treatment is gaining traction in America!

 

TheRoadBack

“The Road Back” in life after trauma… Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) research for PTSD treatment is gaining traction in America!

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

The Road Back…  The following is a quote from an article on the Research\Articles page of this website. The article, written by Byron Lewis, was first published on my blog as a three-part series: Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories: A New Treatment for PTSD…

“This article is presented in three parts. The first describes research into underlying mechanisms of the brain that result in the formation of the disorder. The second introduces the basis for a unique state-of-the-art treatment based on that research. The third part demonstrates how the technique is applied. Throughout these articles certain words are highlighted with links to additional information if you want to read more.”

*****

 

The Neurolinguistic Programming Research and Recognition Project (NLP R & R) has recently launched its Facebook page. The current focus is “The Road Back” from PTSD, a treatment research pilot program currently underway in Middletown, NY. The Road Back page has links to articles, resources and videos of the procedure in action as well as short narratives like the one below:

“I am a veteran Marine Officer who was combat decorated in Viet Nam. I have been on meds for decades, but the side-effects have sometimes been very difficult to deal with. My time with VA outpatient clinic was very helpful but never resolved the nightmares, sleep disorder and “combat guilt which the RTM Protocol resolved in two days. Doctor Bourke and his team, in my opinion, have a treatment and counseling methodology which complements the VA approach WITHOUT the ‘meds’.”

Click the following link to join us in exploring this promising short term and cost effective treatment option for those who suffer from symptoms of PTSD:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Research-and-Recognition-Project-The-Road-Back/245255995662821

For more information and to watch a short video on the goals of the project, go to an online article by Times Herald-Record writer Nathan Brown’s article at: http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20140321%2FNEWS%2F403210336%2F-1%2FNEWS

For more on NLP, visit the NLP Encyclopedia NLP WIKI at http://nlpwiki.org/wiki

*****

Byron Lewis and I have been close friends for over 8 years and learned of our mutual interest in PTSD treatment strategies over 3 years ago when starting research for my first non-fiction book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Byron assisted me in the research by pointing to a treatment strategy currently gaining popularity in the U.S., NLP…”Neurolinguistic Programming.”  Byron Lewis authored his own book, Magic of NLP Demystified and wrote a three-part series (part 1) guest articles on my blog… If you like what you read, click links for part 2 and part 3.  Byron also wrote an introduction in my book connecting my own transformational writing therapy to his experience with NLP,  “Language is a remarkably powerful instrument for affecting personal change…”

Connecting the dots of my writing therapy and new perceptions to NLP did not resonate with me at first.  We can now talk about emotional challenges connected with life after trauma as a journey of healing.  Healing is driven by proactive engagement with others and making a difference as a healthy and wholesome way to keep the pain of past trauma at a safe distance.  We can even change the brain chemistry back to a happy place most of the time if we stay engaged, aware, and connected with ourselves.   Stay tuned for more detailed posts on the subject of NLP research from guest blogger, Byron Lewis.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

 

 

 

The Music of Healing from Pablo Arellano…

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

Pablo Arellano Healing Piano 23

Pablo Arellano Healing Piano 23

photoPablo

Pablo Arellano…

20140422_132314_resized (2)

Gift to my bride, Judy, on our 30th Wedding Anniversary, April 21, 2014…

Beautiful Long Time Relaxing Music (The spirit of joy) Part 5… click here for the music video clip…

Friday has become my day to share the music of healing from special selections, including Pablo Arellano…  Music of this soothing variety and extended play is very much part of my own mindful journey of healing.  It is important to take time out and use music to wander to happy places where living in the moment takes a priority, even for a short period of time.  Pablo Arellano’s music takes me to those happy places.  Hope you can take time away from your busy schedule in the privacy of a quiet and comfortable place at home, on the beach, or in the mountains and listen to this uplifting spiritual music.  Mindfulness is the perfect way to practice living in the moment, a most healing experience and relief from stress.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

Mindfulness1

Click to expand graphic…

 

Mark Knopfler – Brothers in arms [Berlin 2007]… The mindfulness and healing value of music is powerful!

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

 

DS_Brothers_in_Arms

 

“Brothers in Arms…”  Click on here for this emotionally powerful video music clip…

Artist lyrics…Brothers in Arms (Berlin 2007)…  Quote from this website…

“Now the sun’s gone to hell
And the moon’s riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it’s written in the starlight
And every line on your palm
We’re fools to make war
On our brothers in arms…”

Brothers in Arms…Dire Straights Album…learn more…

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Why Worry (song))
Jump to: navigation, search
Brothers in Arms
Studio album by Dire Straits
Released 13 May 1985 (1985-05-13)
Recorded AIR Studios, Montserrat, November 1984 – March 1985
Genre Rock, roots rock, blues rock, new wave
Length 55:07[Note 1]
Label Vertigo Warner Bros. (USA)
Producer Mark Knopfler Neil Dorfsman
Dire Straits chronology
Alchemy (1984) Brothers in Arms (1985) Money for Nothing (1988)
Singles from Brothers in Arms
  1. So Far Away” Released: 8 April 1985
  2. Money for Nothing” Released: 24 June 1985
  3. Brothers in Arms” Released: 14 October 1985
  4. Walk of Life” Released: 30 December 1985
  5. Your Latest Trick” Released: 28 April 1986

Brothers in Arms is the fifth studio album by British rock band Dire Straits, released on 13 May 1985 by Vertigo Records internationally, and by Warner Bros. Records in the United States. Brothers in Arms charted at number one worldwide, spending ten weeks at number one on the UK Album Chart (between 18 January and 22 March 1986), nine weeks at number one on the Billboard 200 in the United States, and thirty-four weeks at number one on the Australian Album Chart. The album is the seventh best-selling album in UK chart history, is certified nine times platinum in the United States, and is one of the world’s best selling albums having sold 30 million copies worldwide.[1][2][3][4]

The album won two Grammy Awards in 1986, and also won Best British Album at the 1987 Brit Awards.[5][6] Q magazine placed the album at number 51 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.[7]