Loving Dad: Early Morning Father’s Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Begin Father’s Day with the brief gift of attentive presence in simple contemplative practice, readings about fatherhood and parenting, reflecting on how we might honor the fathers in our lives and ourselves.  Bring a story, photo, heirloom or otherwise about fatherhood and share a bit if you wish.

This is intended to be a unique and nourishing  way to begin your day of honoring fatherhood.  Perhaps honoring your father, your father’s father, fathers you know, you as father, perhaps a son or relative who is a young father.  If you bring your Dad he is welcome as my guest.

Learning materials will be included during this shared morning with you.  Materials for writing a card for Dad will be available and included.   8-9:15am with doors open at 7:30am. $15 tuition.

Please RSVP/Preregister so we have enough space for all!  More details:  Loving Dad more details link.

Kind Regards  —  Brant

The Holy Longing

 

 

 

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

 

 

These passages seem to capture some of the essence of the consequences of practice as we continue a way of living with a sense of offering an unqualified attentive presence.  Of course in Goehe’s time the notion of mindfulness was nonexistent though of course presence or mindfulness is simply a quality of being human.  We all find our own way as Goethe reflects in his writing.

 

 

The Holy Longing
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Tell a wise person or compassionate, or be silent,
because the fearful, angry, or reactive person will shut you out.
I adore what is truly alive in us,
The passion and longing will risk everything

In the calm waters of loving,
where you were conceived, where you have conceived,
wonder can claim you,
wonder in the warm light and searing flame of a candle.

In such moments you are no longer obsessed with darkness,
a desire to know love more deeply will sweep you upward.

This won’t make you falter.
You’ll sense magic as if flying,
then lust for that light,  insane for that light
you’ll be the moth and you’ll enter the flame
and you’ll be gone; you will be transformed.

As long as you avoid such passion, such commitment, such loss; to die and so to grow, you will only be a troubled guest on this dark earth.

For Folks in Greater Portland: Two MBSR Courses this Summer – Saturday and Thursday

As I did this spring  I have opened registration for summer’s Saturday MBSR Course in addition to my regular Thursday evening MBSR Course.  The Saturday, 2pm training, is an excellent choice for Portland area commuters with good traffic and Max nearby.  And it is just after the Saturday Market, a few yards from the classroom’s front door; nice food, market goods, city fountain!    My classrooms are an easy 2-block walk from both downtown Hillsboro Max stations.  Also there are a number of excellent restaurants, shops, and parks downtown near my classrooms.

A rich background of scientific research and books has made MBSR one of the most effective and respected methods of helping people though the most stressful challenges of life: heart disease, cancer, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, asthma, multiple sclerosis, sleep problems and much more.  Read a summary of my MBSR program’s clinical results.  You may want to read the review paper about my MBSR program and mindfulness in the Journal of Participatory Medicine coauthored by my colleagues, 15 local referring physicians, therapists, teachers and MBSR participants: Mindfulness in Participatory Medicine Context & Relevance.  Also, you may be interested in my clinical research paper in the same Journal:  Mindfulness, Self-Care, & Participatory 
Medicine: A Community’s Clinical Evidence.

Learn more background about MBSR training here at this link:  MBSR at the Stress Reduction Clinic.  Please feel free to contact me with any and all questions about MBSR and my trainings:  Contact Brant.

Announcing Recovery Yoga: A new class offered at Yoga Hillsboro

Recovery Yoga is restorative yoga designed to help students face the challenges of substance abuse and chemical dependency. Classes provide a supportive, non-judgmental, sober experience which can enhance mindfulness and reduce stress. The class is designed to support, but not replace, a formal addiction recovery program. 

Recovery Yoga employs breathing awareness, yoga postures, and meditation techniques suitable for beginning students. Activities can be modified for individual physical limitations.

Classes will be taught by John McGinity, who has incorporated yoga in his recovery journey for over 18 years. 

A free introductory class will be offered on Thursday, May 31, at 7:00 pm at Yoga Hillsboro. Regular summer classes will be every Thursday from June 7 to August 2 from 7:00 pm to 8:15 pm. More Details Link

For more information visit recovery-yoga.com or message me at john.mcginity@yogabodyandbreath.com. 

Helping you thrive in recovery.

Update: How to Make the World a Better Place – The Be-Well Gathering, Saturday, May 5th;5-6:30pm

 


On Saturday, May 5th, 5-6:30pm we are honored to have Laurie Huffman MS, The Executive Director of the Oregon School-Based Health Alliance join us.  She has many  years of experience working in organizations that help to make the world a better place.  So glad to have her in our conversation this evening to share some of the heart of what may help us make the world a better place.

Let’s spend part of an evening considering how we might make a better world following each others ideas and learning from those who have pondered and acted directly themselves and have provided suggestions:

Before one of my recent classes there was a passionate discussion about politics. Lots of heated commentary about one of the recent spates of national political turmoil.  I usually don’t comment on politics or such distracting topics during class but I did chime in.

The atmosphere was heavy with difficult and heavy emotion.  In response to my suggestion to consider pointing difficult emotions and energy about the world toward some constructive, person-to-person act of kindness or contribution, one of my students became agitated and said that such things won’t help at all and are useless in the face of mean-spirited powerful people and organizations.

I always appreciate and accept students’ comments and work diligently to create an atmosphere that is open to the honesty of the moment.  That said, I fully disagree with that student and I believe what I said was misunderstood; we affect the world with each of our actions and most powerfully so in direct contact with others and often in very simple and direct ways.  This can point passion and anger through us in a useful and helpful way and can effect the world in ways we can’t predict; large and small.

This has been referred to as the Butterfly Effect and has grown to be recognized as a physical phenomena in weather systems and nature.  Many consider is so in society as well.  I know that very direct and earnest acts of contribution, whether offering a kind word or an act of tough love, are the way to make a difference in the world and to move our frustrated energy in a helpful and unexpectedly powerful directions.  Even those who make a positive difference seeming to act on the world stage (i.e. Martin Luther King, Helen Keller, those who award the Nobel prize each year, so many more)  who seem to change the world mostly act directly, earnestly, and simply with those around them to make a difference.

Hope to see you here!  Please RSVP to this free event assure there is enough room for all!  Kind Regards  —  Brant

Nice Restaurants Nearby if you choose to share the evening!  See the list:  Find Yoga Hillsboro & Nearby Restaurants.

Supporting and Practicing with One Another Here


Over the years here, now fourteen years, I have witnessed so much generosity and kindness within the community of folks who spend time here.  Informally and spontaneously folks reach out to support one another.  I am certain that the nature of our practices shared here, whether yoga or mindfulness practice or otherwise,  echo forward through our daily lives with a quality of genuine compassion. Simple moments here witness this, ongoing.

Over and over students have volunteered to supplement my efforts to offer scholarships and help pay  the tuition for someone with limited means.  Once, at new student had an disabling epileptic seizure in class and while I comforted her, two students volunteered to take her home.  Students have passed on with the kind acknowledging and genuine grieving of others here.  Many students give birth and proudly bring their new ones here to share their joy.  If someone has missed class for a few weeks and we know they aren’t well I’ll call them on speakerphone at the beginning of class to simply have all of us say “We love you” with a big shout.  Generous and heart-felt conversation and sharing flow across the moments before and after each class.

One of the most visible and beautiful recent contributions to the life and work here is the street sign one of my students, Bill with his dear wife Carol in the photo, offered to create; beautifully framed and hand-assembled cherry-wood like fine furniture.  In some ways it is emblematic of transitions we endure and can offer beauty toward; the acknowledgement of aging and maturity embodied in our practice and then brought back to life in transition in that beautiful sign; a sweet metaphor.  Note that transition from old to new in this other picture.  Me, the aging, with the frail 14 year-old sign, and my dear niece born about the time of that first sign’s creation and standing with the new, freshly created sign.

Many years ago one of my students came in to offer a beautiful, hand-made vase that has adorned the shelf near to front door downstairs since then.  Over a dozen seasons of flowers have found a home in that vase to share their beauty with folks in the classroom.

Another beautiful embodiment of the kindnesses received here is a hand-painted wall hanging the a student, near retirement and would soon move, offered as a gift to the folks here.  It now occupies the foyer upstairs.

Students continue to offer their kind presence and simple acts of generosity find their way; poetry, post cards while traveling, heart- rocks place in sweet corners of the classrooms, letters from students long-gone after a move but still close to heart and thankful for time spent in classes here.

Acknowledging here in classes and among folks nearby the transitions in life and how our practices, yoga and mindfulness, can be  helpful as we meet one another in those transitions; birth, aging, passing on, creativity, compassion, sharing and much more.

Kindest Regards  —  Brant

My Trainings with Police Officers and First Responders: New Research Paper About Results Just Released


Many of you know I have been training police officers, fire fighters, paramedics and other first responders with a program I developed called Mindfulness-Based Resilience Training (MBRT) over the past five years.  I developed the MBRT curricula and tailored for each group and taught the courses  in a number of places; here, police departments, Pacific University, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, Bend Fire Department.

Most recently and over the past two years the National Institutes of Health provided a grant to my colleagues at Pacific University where we worked together to tailor my MBRT trainings for a controlled study of the consequences of MBRT for police officers.

That study has now been published and is available online for your reading if you wish through May at this link:  Mindfulness-based resilience training to reduce health risk, stress reactivity, and aggression among law enforcement officers: A feasibility and preliminary efficacy trial.  The study confirmed that, true to my previous MBRT trainings and the many similar MBSR studies, there were significant reductions of aggression, organizational stress, burnout, sleep disturbance, and reported increases in psychological flexibility and lower reactivity after the training.

I feel so privileged to have been able to assemble such a training at the beginning and then work with organizations to develop and deliver them.  Now, I am devoting more of my time to other sorts of trainings, writing, and support of folks here while my colleagues a Pacific University continue to submit grants and intend to follow up with more research!  It’s kind of like I was Johnny Appleseed and planted a few mindfulness-training  seeds that others are now growing to nourish more folks.  Especially folks in those trauma-filled professions.  I am so very thankful to have played a part!

i have been privileged to support colleagues who bring their own expertise to training first responders.  Two colleagues, Rich Goerling and Dr. Stephanie Conn continue to work directly with police officers to support them in a number of ways.  Rich, who has worked with me and collaborated on many MBRT trainings, continues to offer trainings around the country through his consulting company Mindful Badge.  Stephanie has just release her insightful book, Increasing Resilience in Police and Emergency Personnel: Strengthening Your Mental Armor.  Bill King, my colleague at Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, continues supporting folks there as their Behavioral Health Specialist and now offers mindfulness trainings for TVF&R’s new recruits.  My colleagues Dr Michael Christopher and Dr. Mathew Hunsinger at Pacific University continue their mindfulness research ongoing.

Let’s all continue to do our best  —  Brant

Here are some links to video, papers, and research results of the other work I have done with first responders if you are interested:

 

Mindful Yoga Practice; Nourishing Our Universal Hunger for Generous Movement . . . Our Children Haven’t Yet Forgotten

It has become more and more apparent to me over many years of teaching that we hunger for movement.  Our bodies are made to move in generous and robust ways yet modern life has us live mostly above the neck ignoring how famished we have become for generous, nourishing motion.  Our practice can be helpful here.

Movement is nourishment for this body.  There is an innate longing to move.  Just as we hunger for protein, water, and vitamins our bodies hunger for movement.  And just as each of us can find an optimal diet that satisfies and keeps us healthy, we can move our bodies in ways that enhance our unique path toward optimal health and well-being.

Our children have fewer layers of numbness to their bodies and more easily find a path toward the joy of nourishing movement. They are more eager to simply explore the experience of life in motion.  During a recent visit with my children and grandchildren I had the lovely experience of waking early one morning to find a yoga mat in the living room and began a simple yoga practice.

Right away my 3-year old granddauther flew into the room and set up a yoga mat to began practicing with me.  The one-year old was mystified and perched nearby to watch and try a few of the apparently joyful movements as you can see in the photos.

Students in my mindful yoga classes will often ask how they can practice at home.  More than not I ask them to watch and learn from the children nearby.  How they continually move, explore, feel, and learn with playful interest during the experience of movement.  That is the heart of yoga practice I invite you toward in my classes. Let’s be playful, explore, and nourish this heart, mind and body.   As a helpful practice let’s remember what has been forgotten in the blizzard of unneeded adult distraction that leaves us hungry for the nourishment of simple, attentive, generous, and appropriately adapted movement.

Much Love  —  Brant

Daring Greatly. What Teddy Roosevelt had to say about meeting challenge; practice encourages us to ‘dare greatly.’

Teddy Roosevelt moved mountains during his lifetime.  From a sickly childhood to grand adventures across the globe and eventually to the presidency of the United States.  Hi bright spirit shined the light on many progressive issues of his era; preserving and protecting the natural world, policies to benefit common people and beyond.

Likewise his imperfections are apparent to us as we look back on his life.  One this that stands out is his willingness to lean forward in every era of his life.  He was perpetually “daring greatly.”

I have found, as many have in this small portion of one of his speeches, the encouragement to lean in no matter the challenge.  I have found and many of us find that our contemplative practice encourages us to dare greatly in the face of distractions large and small, internal and external.  Below are my recording of this portion of his speech often referred to as “The Man in the Arena.”  I hope it is an encouragement as you continue to practice and continue to meet life directly.  In kindness and encouragement  —  Brant

 

 

“The credit belongs to the man (*or woman)
who is actually in the arena, 
whose face is marred by dust
and sweat and blood (and tears);
who strives valiantly; who errs, 
who comes short again and again; . . .
who spends himself (herself) in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly . . .”

Theodore Roosevelt – Excerpt from the speech
Citizenship in a Republic”  delivered at the Sorbonne,
in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910
(*Modified slightly to include us all by Brant)

Last Night as I was Sleeping: An inspiring poem about listening at the edge of the great silence by the beloved Spanish poet Antonio Machado.

Antonio Machado was an inspiring Spanish poet of the early 20th century.  He encountered staggering personal loss during his lifetime and during the Spanish Civil War.  HIs mode of working with that loss and meeting life was to practice the art of poetry.   He became  one of the world’s most beloved poets of that era.

This poem, Last Night as I was Sleeping, is an expression of the consequences of meeting life without the distractions that hijack our hearts and minds.  He expresses what emerges in sleep and dreams for him and it seems to me parallel to our experience as we continue to offer an attentive contemplative practice or meditation practice over time.

As we settle onto that edge between distraction and presence we discover something like he describes, “My soul is not asleep.  It neither sleeps nor dreams, but is wide awake . . . and listens at the edge of the great silence.”

Here is my reading of his poem and below is the text.  The original is in Spanish and hopefully the intent comes through well in this English version.  I hope it will be helpful as you continue to practice.

 

Last Night as I was Sleeping

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt a marvelous illusion
that there was a spring was breaking out in my heart.
I asked along what secret aqueduct,
are you coming to me,
oh water, water of a new life
I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt a blessed illusion
that there was a beehive
here in my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt a blessed illusion
there was a fiery sun here in my heart.
It was fiery because it gave
warmth as if from a hearth,
and it was a sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,
I dreamt a blessed illusion
that there was God
here in my heart.

And then later in another writing Antonio Machado reflected on this poem continued reflecting on what emerged in his dreams at the edge of losing the experience he found in the poem.

“God, is my soul asleep?
Have the beehives of my dreams
stopped working, has the waterwheel
of my mind run dry, gone empty?
is there only shadow inside?

No, no my soul is not asleep.
It is awake, wide awake.
It neither sleeps nor dreams—
but watches with clear eyes
far off things, and listens at the shores of great silence”