The Happy Starfish

Living Mindfully & Celebrating Health, Happiness & Peaceful Living


4 Comments

Mindfulness – Responding not reacting

images-42

 

It’s been a strange few weeks for me. I’ve been betrayed by someone I once considered a friend which has cost me both financially and personally. I’ve been left feeling hurt and bewildered, unable to quite understand what has happened or why.

Pre-Mindfulness I would have reacted to this situation instantaneously, from the heart, without taking time or space to consider my options. As it is, I have been able to wait, think things through rationally and calmly. Reacting automatically is an understandable human response but it can make situations worse. I’m sure everyone has responded, from a place of heightened emotion, to an email, text, or comment and then had that stomach churning ‘why did I do that?’ feeling later on.

In today’s instant world it’s so easy, with 24/7 access to text, social networking and email, to mindlessly fire off a message within seconds and then wish there was a retract button.

Being kind is a choice. 

86fca170fa45f951bfa2ebca65e1a98c

Mindfulness has taught me patience, compassion and self-respect.  It’s been an invaluable tool. I don’t know where I’d be without it.

Find out more about Mindfulness, here.

 

 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Zen tale – The Scorpion

acceptance-flower-picture

 

The Scorpion (author unknown)

A zen master was bathing in the river when he noticed a scorpion almost drowning.

He lifted out the scorpion and placed it on a nearby rock to dry. Just was he was withdrawing his hand the scorpion bit him.

The people sitting by the river observed this and they said to him ‘What have you achieved? You have saved him, only to get yourself bitten.’

The zen master replied ‘I did what I had to do according to my nature. The scorpion did what he had to do according to his. I can not change him just as he cannot change me.’


Leave a comment

Easy vegetable chilli

IMG_5551

 

I was salivating cooking dinner last night.

This vegetable chilli is so yummy my family ask me to make it all the time.

I can’t take credit for the recipe, it’s from the fabulous The Endless Meal but it’s so good I had to share.

Ingredients

  • 2 of the large 28oz cans of whole tomatoes and their juice (use your hands to roughly crush the tomatoes)
  • 2 can of beans, drained and rinsed (I used kidney and white beans)
  • 2 cup of frozen corns (you could use fresh but frozen is easy an works great)
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 peppers, diced (I used 1 red and 1 yellow pepper)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1-3 tablespoons chiili powder (more will be spicier)
  • ¼-2 teaspoons of chili flakes (the more chili flakes the spicier it will be)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • Salt to taste(you’ll need quite a lot)
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, cheddar cheese, cilantro, diced avocados or green onion.
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more. Add spices and cook stirring for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add peppers, carrots and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, or until they just start to soften. Add tomatoes and their juice and bring to a simmer. Once the chili begins to simmer, reduce the heat to medium low. You want the chili to be at a low simmer with the lid off.
  3. Continue to cook the chili, stiring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Add beans and corn and let the chili return to a simmer. Cook for 5 more minutes or until the corn and beans have heated through.
  4. Generously salt to taste.
  5. Serve on its own or topped with one (or all!) of the delicious toppings.
  6. Enjoy!


Leave a comment

Vegan pasta sauce

IMG_5737

 

I made this for dinner last night and it was so yummy I had to share.

I cubed half a butternut squash and two sweet potatoes. Drizzled with oil, sprinkled with herbs and roast in the oven for twenty minutes until they were soft. I then blitzed them in a food processor with a can of coconut milk and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. I heated the sauce, adding vegetable stock until it reached the consistency I wanted (I used about 1/3 pint) and seasoned.

In a separate pan I melted some coconut oil and tossed in chilli flakes, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and toasted over a low heat.

I served the sauce over pasta with a sprinkling of crunchy seeds. Delicious.


Leave a comment

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Course

th-9

 

8 week Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy programme, based on the original programme devised by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

MBCT combines traditional cognitive behavioural therapy with mindfulness and meditation. MBCT enables the participant to recognise and step out of automatic cognitive processes that can trigger stress, anxiety and depression. Participants recognise that certain thoughts and feelings are mentally destructive and are taught to allow the mind to move from automatic thought patterns to conscious emotional processing.

Scientific research supports the effectiveness of mindfulness for reducing depressive relapses, reducing cravings for substances people are addicted to, combating stress and being an effective tool for managing chromic pain and health conditions.

The MBCT programme takes place over 8 weeks. There is a weekly course and practice is done outside of the class with the use of MP3’s for regular meditation and techniques to integrate mindfulness into daily routines. The course is a blend of experiential meditation and theory enabling participants to really explore and understand the mind/body connection and how our thoughts impact on every aspect of our wellbeing.

See what previous participants are saying here.

Our courses will run regularly at the Oxford Street Therapy Centre in Wellingborough, Northants. £160.00 each. A course manual, worksheets and MP3’s are provided.

Our current course is full. A new course will be starting on Monday 15th June at 10.00-11.30 am. Places are limited.

Contact us for further details or fill out the registration form to secure your place.

Week One

Automatic pilot

Doing and being mode

Week Two

Suspending judgements

Week Three

Staying present and dealing with stress

Week Four

Acceptance and allowing

Week Five

Exploring difficulty

Week Six

How can I best take care of myself?

Week Seven

Forgiveness

Week Eight

Practicing gratitude

Moving forward mindfully

 

This can also be taught via Skype or in a 1-to-1 coaching session.

To be kept up to date with current news and events please sign up to our Newsletter.


Leave a comment

Zen tale – The businessman and the fisherman

th-3

 

The businessman and the fisherman

A few years ago, a very rich businessman decides to take a vacation to a small tropical island in the South Pacific. He has worked hard all his life and has decided that now is the time to enjoy the fruits of his labor. He is excited about visiting the island because he’s heard that there is incredible fishing there. He loved fishing as a young boy, but hasn’t gone in years because he has been so busy working to save for his retirement.

So on the first day, he has his breakfast and heads to the beach. It’s around 9:30 am. There he spots a fisherman coming in with a large bucket full of fish!

‘How long did you fish for?’ he asks.

The fisherman looks at the businessman with a wide grin across his face and explains that the fishes for about three hours every day. The businessman then asks him why he returned so quickly.

‘Don’t worry,’ says the fisherman, ‘There’s still plenty of fish out there.’

Dumbfounded, the businessman asks the fisherman why he didn’t continue catching more fish. The fisherman patiently explains that what he caught is all he needs. ‘I’ll spend the rest of the day playing with my family, talking with my friends and maybe drinking a little wine. After that I’ll relax on the beach.’

Now the rich businessman figures he needs to teach this peasant fisherman a thing or two. So he explains to him that he should stay out all day and catch more fish. Then he could save up the extra money he makes and buy and even bigger boats to catch even more fish. The he could keep reinvesting his profits in even more boats and hire many other fisherman to work for him. If he works really hard, in 20 or 30 years he’ll be a very rich man indeed.

The businessman feels pleased that he’s helped teach this simple fellow how to become rich. Then the fisherman looks at the businessman with a puzzled look on his face and asks what he’ll do after he becomes very rich.

The businessman responds quickly You can spend time with your family, talk with your friends, and maybe drink a little wine. Or you could just relax on the beach.

The fishermen smiles ‘but that’s what I’m doing now.’


Leave a comment

Mental Health Awareness Week

2014-05-06-Mental-Health-Week

 

Count your blessings

Count? My mind is hazy. I cannot concentrate on the simplest of tasks.

Snap out of it

Snap? I have slept for twelve hours but still don’t have the energy to move.

A good meal will cheer you up

I told you I cannot eat. My throat is constricted, my stomach a mass of swirling emotions.

Turn that frown upside down 

I try. I really do, but my face feels like a grotesque mask.

If you can’t be bothered to help yourself

I am screaming for help, can’t you hear me? But the room is silent and you turn away.

 

 

It is Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. Depression is not something you choose.

 

We have experience in teaching Mindfulness within the Mental Health field to sufferers and carers. 

Please contact us for more information.