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See the Light

Today I have been reflecting on the energies of those we have lost in our lives. Sometimes it’s just because we are not speaking with someone important to us and sometimes it’s because that person (or pet) is no longer in the Earthly realm that we see. I have become very mindful about reaching out to those that are strongly on my mind and still alive – yet even reaching out to each of these with a text or call is not even humanly possible. So I send energy with thoughts and wishes.

Some people do this through prayer and some through meditative intent. And it reaches the people in the intention. I have full faith and trust in this belief. I have learned that souls feel our energies towards them through thought, word and action (positive or not-positive) once they have passed away and I know many who are today not alive in body form, visit their loved ones even to the point that I can pick up some of their energies when I work with their loved ones. I have experienced this and many who have lost a loved one also have their own personal experiences (which many brush off as just wishful thinking) but I truly believe there are no coincidences. So those dreams, breezes, familiar scents or music… all mean something to the mind that is open to them.

Today I was reflecting upon the many souls that I am consciously aware of, that have helped me in my life so far – too numerous to even list easily. I sent them all a silent thank-you. Then I thought about how many things I am enjoying today that help me, that I’m often not consciously aware of. I thought of my last meal. Since my veggie-planters are showing my lettuces are getting burnt through this heatwave we’re having in Ontario, I thanked first the veggies themselves as I compassionately recognized their own perseverance through suffering. I reflected on the likelihood of entire crops that farmers have spent endless hours nurturing (with the help of sun and water too) that may also be experiencing a similar situation. I thought of the actual land feeling the heat and all of the birds and animals that are feeling the effects on their respective feet and paws. I reflected on the people working to care for animals tenderly, keeping them out of the heat (or even indoors if possible), the farmers fretting their poor sales based on limited healthy crops, the grocery stores raising prices and the customers unable to pick up basic foods for life. I sent out a compassionate prayer for all. Everyone is doing the best they can.

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.

Dalai Lama

I reflected upon how easy it is to un-consciously live our lives without gratitude and appreciation for all of the details that seem to come easy and feel like they are always available. I have come to a habit of thanking everything that consciously comes to mind as I see/experience it. And somehow, I trust that each is receiving this energy with gratitude too.

This is what I know happens with souls from our human lives. Souls (living and “not” living) feel energies. This I have felt and experienced. I have now an Awareness that each life is also a conscious energy that is with us for some time and then blends into the energy sustaining our collective Consciousness. I love extending a loving intention towards all life – each is an essential piece of Pure Consciousness.

Today – maybe you will spend a few minutes connecting with some lives (living or not) that have blessed your life too. It is noticed and raises the vibration of all of our lives.

May you feel peace, may you feel grateful, may you feel certain – your loving energy is felt.

See the light, be the light.

Kindly,

Hanifa

Featured post

If The Shoe Fits

I will begin with the poem inspired by my morning throughs. Hope you enjoy it and the thoughts that follow it.

Comforting Shoes - a poem by Hanifa Menen

Am I like stiletto - do you love how it feels  
As you have added height with my tall slender heels? 
And when I am wearing my fun thigh high boots 
Though you're driving by me, you modify route. 
Do you look forward to my peekaboo shoe 
As glance at my toenails to check color too 
Each one is just me - how to know what is Real? 
Look inside of your heart to understand how you feel. 
Now what bring you to me, in form of your shoe? 
Do you care how I feel when wear what you do?  
And what does a lady want from a gent?  
How much time thinking on this have you spent? 
A woman needs secure support to feel whole 
A love that is felt from her heart to her "sole" 
A stylish eye to detail that's kept 
Not shoes that through dirt have carelessly swept 
Laces tied nice or clean, comfy wear 
This shows to my heart, that you also care 
To bring out my smile as wear just for me 
And not for the benefit of others to see. 
So as we each put on our best shoes today 
May we honor and support as go on our way. 

Today I am inspired to write about shoes. I was thinking that I (and perhaps all of us) can feel like shoes. I used to love wearing high heels (not crazy high… maybe about 3″ was my comfy height to wear) and boy did I feel sexy in those shoes. Interestingly, I felt confident and exciting and I know that my company enjoyed the look too as they might stand closer, or hold me tighter around others. Yet, I was always very happy to get out of my heels too. To slip into comfier shoes for longer walks or even hanging around home.

Interesting how a single detail can make anyone feel a particular way. I have felt like an accessory in some relationships at various times. Like an object to hold on to especially around other admiring eyes. Yet the best I have (and do) feel is when I am my most stylish self (I love dressing up and I love dressing down too depending on my timing, my planned activities and/or my company). My shoes do seem to reflect the many shades that make me who I am.

I am drawn this morning to the idea of relationships and what people think of when they are in one. Is your relationship something that makes you “look good” – because the person is beautiful, admired, capable, wealthy? Or is is something that just feels right? I love thinking today about the people that have (or do) make me feel comfy. It’s interesting that as a shoe, the shoe does not have a conscious choice as to whether it wants to carry the foot within, yet as a person, I do have that choice. I love feeling loved, nurtured, understood, appreciated and comfy… and who wouldn’t?! What I notice is that I love helping people feel that way with me. Whether clients, friends or loving relationships. And today I am more mindfully-conscious of my thoughts, words and actions than I have ever been. This is the “shoe” that I am.

Do you think of how you make people feel? Do you strive to make others comfortable by understanding and nurturing them or do you focus on your own needs and comforts? I believe we all have this choice to make in our thoughts, words and actions each day. Too often I am seeing that in this age of easy hidden communication, sexting, breadcrumbing and ghosting, people are easily led to making others less comfortable (consciously or unconsciously). Of course, it’s not only in “this age” since throughout history people have found ways to either focus on their own needs or to make sure they are mindful of the needs around them. Today, I know that while I cannot change how anyone else treats me or others, I am happy to be my unique self with the intention to make others comfy so I can sleep with a peaceful conscience.

I see many moving into more conscious communication today and I love it! How comfortable we make one another helps not only the relationships we are in, but sends a ripple of positive energy through our world. When we know we are making, or have made another uncomfortable, I believe that a karma eventually catches up to us in our own experience – and I’m all for creating good karma today!! And we have all done both – made some people comfortable and made some uncomfortable – why not try to be consistent in every interaction? We can always improve ourselves through each communication we share and this work itself creates good karma!

I hope we can all think of being the “comfy” shoes that partners or friendships can depend on to “come home” to, for kind words, warm hugs and unending love and support.

This may decrease some of the grieving we see and experience regularly in our own lives and the lives of all around us too. Be the change, be the light, be the dependable comfy shoes.

Kindly,

Hanifa

Featured post

Because… I am.

Good morning everyone! Today I am thinking about the incredibly powerful transformational experience of grief. As I work with clients through their own personal experiences and contemplate the shared similarities in so many of our lives, I am reflecting on who I am today and why. Grief has played a major role as I believe it can/does for many and I thought I’d share some thoughts with you all about my contemplative time this morning.

  • Because I have cried… I am loving to laugh.
  • Because I have felt weak… I am feeling my strength.
  • Because I have been ignored… I am attentive.
  • Because I have heard lies… I am speaking truthfully.
  • Because I am curious… I am learning.
  • Because of the power of emotions… I am noticing the blessing in each that arises.
  • Because I have suffered and I have seen suffering… I am choosing to uplift myself and others.
  • Because I have lost… I love what I find (and love to be found too!!).
  • Because I have heard silence… I am communicating openly.
  • Because I am sensitive to sadness… I am sensitive to happiness.
  • Because I receive gratefully… I am giving joyfully.
  • Because I know absence… I am present.
  • Because I am humbly accepting… the Universe is generously giving.
  • Because I am learning… I am sharing.

We all go through so many grief-related experiences in our days and over our lives which gives us so much to learn from. What we choose to become from such experiences can be a beautifully conscious experience. I hope this post helps you reflect on your learning and inspires your intention to live a consciously-mindful existence too.

Have a beautiful day!

Kindly,

Hanifa

Featured post

Love Out Loud

There’s something about love that is free and open. Now I love to laugh out loud so you can probably figure out how the “love out loud” feels very similar to me. In fact, the friends that I love the most are the ones that easily move into silly-mode with me. Sometimes it’s taking a funny picture together, sometimes sharing a joke, sometimes for no reason at all. But it’s this open “vulnerability” that I love the most.

I have been blessed with much loving communication from many in my life. Some very open and honest and some very reserved and perhaps even secretive (for various reasons). And who doesn’t love feeling loved? But the biggest heart-filling experiences I have felt have been with those who have honestly and openly said loving comments to me (sometimes on social media – which I really appreciate as even there some prefer to write private messages) and I most love when kind words are spoken in person followed with consistent actions that match the words spoken. Now that makes my heart melt. And I’m not talking about just romantic relationships. Meaningful friendships with some men and several women in my life also have such beautiful communication.

I am writing this article in this particular blog because I speak to many people who have/are working through grief from the loss of a close relationship in their lives. One thing I know for sure is when each person (and even myself) consider grief, one of the best things to remember are the loving-out-loud moments. The freedom of easy walking/singing/laughing together is often part of the joys that I hear from people working through loss of relationships that were/are filled with genuine love.

Those that I hear grieving loss from secretive relationships (either because of the fear of friends/family finding out because age, culture or religious differences; or because of affair situations) – these I feel miss the beautiful opportunity to “love out loud.” And to me, that is the real loss. If you are in a relationship today, do appreciate this “simple” pleasure. You don’t have to have PSA (public shows of affection) if you are not comfortable doing so… and if you are not comfortable to even hold hands, ask yourself why. But whatever you do – do it with the the intention to be free which is what I believe is the essence of living life fully-present!

In life, we never know how long anyone will be part of our journey. Honest, open, loving friendships or romantic relationships (and I wish you at least one of each in your life) make the heart sing!! See if you can be more open, more honest, and more “out loud” with your shared love in meaningful connections.

Finally – Tonight I was looking for a video that I made for a client who was dying but still in great spirits for her birthday party that I was invited to. Unfortunately, I could not find it (was made several years ago but I’ll never forget the experience). I love making videos of important events so I went around taking loads of pics (as usual) of the family and friends that had gathered (pre-Covid time). I used “I Have a Feeling (Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night) by the Black Eyed Peas for the background music and sent it as a gift to the Birthday Lady through her husband right away. The patient passed away in the same week and the family was so grateful for the video memory. Wow.

Loving out loud. Fully enjoy the blessing of each moment. What a blessing that whole experience was for me. I can still feel the true love and joy from the people gathered at the party that day. That energy was fueled by the birthday-lady herself – with a spirit of love always shining through, a smile always on her face, her nails always beautifully done with great self-artistry, and a heart that breathed love to all. I know you are sharing your style of loving-out-loud with a whole new group today D.H. Thank-you for the fine example you showed us all.

I am wishing anyone reading, many authentic, love-filled moments that are truly lived so loud, the sound and feeling of joy and love reverberate long after any loss.

Wishing you all a beautiful week ahead!

Kindly,

Hanifa

Featured post

Cellphone Secrets

As I see more grief experiences every day, I am amazed with how “clever” many minds are in adapting to the times. In the past people may have smelled an unusual perfume or cologne on their partner’s clothes, sometimes noticed longer working hours, and sometimes actually seen or heard about their partners with a new love interest which may have been shared as a “friend,” a “colleague” or a “business meeting.” One of my clients years ago had a life-changing moment when his wife came home with her blouse on backwards; another had a feeling something was up when her 14-year relationship started being less communicative and she followed him secretly to confront a woman driving him back to her home from a local bar.

Today, more and more, people are going out less and communicating on their cellphones more. We know that parents often worry about kids hanging out with poor friend choices and many apps even help parents stay on top of their kids’ communication on their cellphones. Of course, kids often find new ways to hide information from parents! What I am amazed about today is that many adults are also hiding secret communications with new interests while maintaining long-term relationships. This is not new behaviour, just new tools with which to do this with.

I have been contemplating today and I know that there is a window of opportunity for such behaviours to come to light, be addressed openly and honestly, and for all to learn from the experience. What matters most, it seems to me, is once a secretive behaviour is discovered, that it is no longer continued. I truly have compassion for all sides here. There are innumerable reasons that such times can arise in relationships. What matters most is the respectful and honest communication for all sides. I see that often the person outside of the long-term relationship is only learning bits and pieces of the full story; it seems even inside the relationship only bits of the full story are shared. What happens for the healing for each person is important. The dis-honest party needs to take ownership of their behaviour and communication; the long-term couple needs to acknowledge how each can work on themselves to improve their relationship, and the “extra” person needs healing from their own painful awareness too. Each party is working through pain, and often times, hurt people, hurt people. This is not a good time for finger-pointing as that never helps anyone long term. It is a time for reflection, understanding and healing.

Once trust is lost in a relationship, lots of healing time is needed. Anyone who finds themselves in such a position needs healing time and effort. Can you imagine being the partner who is too caught up in work or other family responsibilities who is finding out that their partner has looked elsewhere for (at least) emotional support and perhaps love that is not felt so clearly at home? Or the partner who feels forgotten by such a partner but hasn’t got the heart or courage to mention this repeatedly to the partner who is not really listening? Or the person starting a new and fun romance with a person who never honestly shared they were not truly available? Each is needing healing.

What I do encourage people to try to do is to heal and move forward without re-living the past hurt in the mind. This is not so easy. To be present in the current moment is the only way to bring true healing. This may be the best way to bring healing to many situations in life and it can be learned. It is a practice that requires people to monitor their own thoughts regularly to truly experience the now, and now is shaped by the thoughts people think about most regularly in the present moment.

I see that most of the people who are deceiving others in their relationships with them are too fearful about the likely angry or upset reactions from the people that may love, which holds them back from sharing. I encourage anyone doing this to take ownership of the dis-honesty and recognize the hurt being created for the many people involved (this includes extended friends and family as well as the direct participants in this “unfolding drama”). It’s not fair to anyone. And it’s not worth one’s own peace of mind to do this. I do feel it is this person who hurts the most. Yet they leave a trail of low-vibrational energies of sadness, pain and loss.

To be consistently honest is the backbone of respect that I feel every long-term relationship can lean on. If this has some weakness in it, practice that honesty muscle often and regularly, to re-build the strength that will support every relationship.

For those affected by dis-honesty in relationships know this: it’s not “the unknown other” that is the concern. It is the not-fully-honest person. Focus on bringing in honest communication regularly. Know that if honesty is truly being practiced, it may not be easy to hear what is said. Hear it. Lovingly, not reactively.

For each person in such situations, let yourself feel the love and the pain of such a situation. Each is still there. Recognize this, and know that you can trust again (either yourself or another). Healing is possible. Take it one moment at a time. You can do this.

I am here if you’d like to work through such grief. My heart goes out to each of you who is reading this and has experienced this personally, or has felt the hurt of a friend or family member in such a situation. I encourage us all to be able to share freely and openly our cell-phone communication with our loved ones. We are not children and being adults does not give liberty to un-truths, secrecy, or even just the comfortable avoidance of speaking the truth. Let’s live honourably and with genuine love through our thoughts, words and actions, especially to those we love. Otherwise one may learn to use this powerful word (love) without truly understanding its depth and meaning. And true love is magnificent. I wish this for each of you.

Wishing you all a healthy grieving journey ahead.

Kindly,

Hanifa

hanifahelps@gmail.com; 416-920-8975; www.hearthealthbrainhealth.com

Featured post

Understand Your Vibration to Understand Your Experience

Do you remember the first few times you looked at someone and felt that JOY of connection?! Ah, it is a beautiful feeling. You may have seen the person in pictures before you met, or you only spoke on the phone, or perhaps you worked with them. And then you met up to spend time with just them. You were Present. Do you remember the curiosity with which you listened to their likes/dislikes/preferences as well as their joys/sorrows? Nothing was too much, you accommodated everything as you understood it was their experience. You cared. Everything was manageable.

Time moves forward and not you do not look at the same person the same way. You are busier, you crave time together like this, but recognize you do not have the same time available yourself. And they do not seem to want to spend this sort of time together… What has changed? Have you gained weight? Is there another person taking up the time/attention of your partner? Maybe it’s too much time spent “together” in these Covid times where you are both around each other continuously and now you’re getting in each other’s way? Maybe you both need more personal time. Yet, you hardly even see each other now, even in the same home – as each of you is working on responsibilities that need to get done. In fact, you have more time “with” each other than ever before. So what has truly changed? You have.

Now before you get into the whole – “I have because they have” thinking, take a moment. Breathe. The only person any of us can change is ourselves. If you can first acknowledge that you have changed, start there. Each of us emits a certain vibration of energy that reflect our current state. If you think about the happy/excited energy you felt when you were first meeting your partner, you may notice that it is not the same energy you feel today. Your energy influences your relationship. This awareness is not to start feeling guilty about it. First acknowledge that your energy is different (just notice it with the curiosity you first noticed about meeting your partner). Then accept the fact (with just an accepting awareness without judgement or blame). Then act. Take charge of what energy you are choosing to spread around you. This is not a fake or “put on” happiness… this is a feeling of certainty in who you are. Start there. Thoughts, words and actions all matter.

Remember that loving gaze into your partners eyes when you first met? Allow yourself that memory to shape how you look at your partner today. Be mindfully Present to the thoughts you think about yourself and them, the words you speak to yourself and them, and the actions you do for yourself and for them.

This is how to start healing a relationship that is not in its best place. You can do it. It does require a mindful focus, but it is so worth this energy. You will feel better first, then you will see the external effects of your new focus.

I wish you a beautifully-focused re-energized journey in creating the vibrations you desire to manifest in your experience.

Photo by Lauren Brown on Pexels.com

If you need any help, do contact me at hanifahelps@gmail.com or by text/phone at 416-920-8975. Or learn more through www.hearthealthbrainhealth.com.

Kindly,

Hanifa

Featured post

Oneness

These days the concept of Oneness is very much on my mind. I came across this fitting quote that shares how I feel:

“The heart creates oneness,
And oneness is another name
For spontaneous joy.”

~Sri Chinmoy

Ah, joy! Who does not love this experience? I believe that it is beyond happiness as I like to share with clients because it is enduring; not transient like happiness which comes and goes based on (often) individual achievement or satisfaction. If you have ever worked with another person to achieve something together, you may have felt the feeling of joy. You may have felt joy in doing good for another or helping another achieve something by supporting in some way. Or maybe you have lifted another’s spirits by merely being Present for them. Each of these experiences can result in a heart-felt joy.

Since this blog is focused on healthy grieving, I thought I would bring light again to the awareness that grief can truly be the opportunity for Awakening that brings Joy. Healthy grieving can allow a person to transform their experience into Conscious expansion into the perfection of all that is. When I lost my brother many years ago, he was only in his 20’s and I had only just been accepted into the Naturopathic Medicine program in Ontario. I was going into this program partly because of my interest in helping many people and largely for my desire to help my brother. By the time I began the program, however, my brother had passed away. I will never forget the not-easy experience of seeing him go through a chronic illness for 7 years, and also never forget the gift it brought to me to provide the direction into my own healing work (as I was still determined to help others through this medicine and began the schooling after his passing). And what a joy that learning has been – not easy, but definitely joyful.

When I have experienced relationship break-ups (whether my own or through my clients), I am always amazed at the expansion of my own Awareness of the gift of more they have brought me. More compassion, more understanding, more empathy, and more peaceful knowing of the perfection of the experiences. Of course, I believe that the layers of thinking/feeling of the experiences are good to clear with Grief Recovery work (or meditation or both?!) for the ability to truly see the gift in the experiences too. This work can bring an objective mindfulness to the duality of the experience and then create an appreciation of how focused attention can re-direct us to Joy.

Now in relationship changes, I feel that this Joy is felt most often when there is a Conscious desire and hope for peace and happiness for all involved. When there is a loss of life, the Joy can come from the Conscious awareness of our own self-improvement from the experience. The gift that was left with us (or rather for us) as survivors. This gift can be experienced as a joyful awareness filled with gratitude. This is Oneness. The fact that our individual experiences are never truly individual and independent of each other. This is a joyful awareness itself.

All of this awareness today has then allowed me to stumble upon another great quote that I feel explains this concept simply and beautifully:

Now, to prepare the mind to accept far better things… that will be something I will shed more light upon this year, so wait for it!!

For an additional resource about some of my thoughts do watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SROXTRFlnpo

For now, open your heart and mind to the transformational opportunities inherent through the experience of grief and allow yourself to come back to Joy! The first step is the curiosity and openness to this possibility. Trust.

Wishing you all a fabulous New Year ahead filled with peace, love and joy!

Kindly,

Hanifa

Featured post

Divorces Are On The Rise

I certainly know the feeling of grieving during un-happy relationship experiences. They can take up space in our thoughts, words and actions and I suspect more people have worked with counselling for this and the loss of a family member to death, than any other areas of grieving. This is my experience in any case and these are often cited as the two highest causes of grief in many statistics too.

I recently read that our rates of divorce are steadily rising over the years and I suspect that the current pandemic of Covid is also contributing to extra strains in relationships. Job security has been questionable for several years before this time as you may have noticed that many large companies were already downsizing their salary budgets by hiring contractors for positions that used to be held by full-time employees, many top-level executives were being let go (fired) with enough financial incentive to avoid lawsuits, and it has been many, many years in most businesses that a single person is doing the work that would ideally be done by several. Today, we are seeing several businesses close down and many people losing their jobs and incomes. Many kids are home-schooling, many services and freedoms previously enjoyed are restricted. Of course this has an impact on marital relationships.

The emotion that is arising most notably is anger/frustration. Not only are people feeling this individually, but most of us can sense the general anxiety which is fed by media, daily conversations and a background fear in many people. More people are now working from home too, which as far as I can see has increased the workday for the majority of people rather than decreased it, as may have been expected by less travel time to get to work. All of this can then move into the feeling of frustration and anger, and often it is marital relationships that suffer first. The frustration can also spill over into other relationships (personal and/or professional) and soon there can be a domino-effect of un-easy times and experiences.

And guess what the most common cause for marital un-ease is due to? Financial distress. You can imagine that with the fear (or experience) of job loss, and the reality of restriction of regular activities (which may lead to overspending in other ways), money can often come up as a reason for divorce in these times. Especially as the financial strain on a single working parent or spouse is often non-sustainable for very long without a clearly building resentment which can result in marital strain and possible divorce.

Did you know that a study at Utah State University found that couples who disagree about financial matters once a week are 30% more likely to divorce? See: https://www.tesh.com/articles/do-couples-lie-about-money-to-each-other/ for other interesting information (and truths in my opinion and experience) about couples’ communication about money.

So what to do? Learn to communicate with each other openly, honestly and effectively. This can benefit from each person getting some counselling and guidance. Often the current situation is the “last straw” from a series of prior experiences in life (for each, likely) and if you know anything about the Power of NOW, you know that today, focusing on this moment/experience is most important. Yet most people feel that they “know” what to do (most often this involves changing the other person’s unacceptable behaviour- lol!) and it takes some self-awareness and drive to improve a situation to work with someone (coach/therapist/counsellor) that may help a person see things outside of their own direct perspective.

In my practice, I have found that often times people benefit from the validation of their feelings, honest communication, and encouragement for movement in new positive directions. The least easy part of this for most people is often the total honesty that each person needs first, about themselves. Understanding one’s own needs, worries, and fears first is a fantastic way to open honest and compassionate communication in even the most precarious of relationships. I truly believe that Grief Recovery (7 sessions total needed) has been a huge blessing for many couples I have worked with. Some people benefit from working with a Psychologist or a Psychotherapist. I encourage people to work with such help if they are contemplating divorce in a relationship that they truly would like to save from such a fate. This takes a sincere desire for healing at some level for both parties; either to stay together or to part amicably.

I believe that now more than ever, it helps to have loving and supportive relationships in our lives. If you or someone you know is going through some relationship un-ease please reach out for help. For those that are already working through a separation/divorce, know that I am very aware that this is definitely not an easy time to get through for most, and it needs the same care (maybe more?) to heal from this experience too. Please take the time to heal – and know that healing comes from first a desire to do so.

I wish you all good and healthy relationships, strength and courage to get through any un-easy times, and compassion for yourself through your process, wherever you are.

Kindly,

Hanifa

www.hearthealthbrainhealth.com; hanifahelps@gmail.com;

And please like, subscribe and share my tips on YouTube with anyone who could benefit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtAAm2qVoGiWTommQS5CRog/videos?view_as=subscriber

Priorities

Today so many people are busy with so many things and often people do not prioritize what is most important to them. Now one could say that whatever we give our first attention to, is our priority and that may be telling. When asked, most of the people I speak with tell me that their families/friends are their first priority (often depending on age), then work, then some exercise (whether physical or spiritual/connecting with nature).

Family covers a broad area since often there will be concerns about meals, sporting events for kids or adults, care of pets, housekeeping, home-related projects and planning/hoping for the future of all. So how much quality time is spent doing this? Here I mean meaningful (loving) communication, easy appreciation of one another, and a simple contentment? Many couples I speak with are excited to watch movies, favourite shows or mini-series with each other. Which is also not a particularly personal communication with the family member/partner that most say is their biggest priority.

I thought I would write this post to bring some attention to this idea. Mahatma Gandhi expressed this nicely by saying: “It’s not just words. Action expresses priorities.” You see, we have come to understand that the amount of time we spend with/around someone we care about shows that they are a priority in our lives. And then we feel like we should spend lots of time together to show this. Of course many people expect the same in return. Yet although quantity of time together can be fabulous, the quality of time together is even more important. The quality begins with ourselves.

Do we express regularly how important a family member (or insert your #1 priority here) is? Many silently do but few express through loving looks and conversation or even self-reflection/journalling. Do we listen to the people we love most? If we love work most, do we listen to the communication around us with curiosity about others’ ideas, and an eagerness to apply good ideas, or do we believe our own ideas are always best? Do we appreciate what others are doing for us and make time to communicate this regularly or are we too busy sharing our day’s details and hoping for appreciation ourselves?

And finally – what are we doing to improve ourselves for the benefit of our priorities? Are we becoming smarter (think: “know-it-all”) or wiser? Are we more bitter or loving through our life experiences? Are we bringing our best into our priorities?

The only way to do this regularly is to be mindfully-attentive to our own thoughts, words and actual actions. This requires an intentional decision to put our own mental/emotional health first. If we are not in our best mental/emotional space (especially while working through grief) we are not the best quality of company (anywhere) regardless of how much quantity we give to any priority.

May we all strive to be the best of ourselves rather than “good enough” – especially in our priorities.

Wishing you the BEST (of you)!

Kindly,

Hanifa

Grief and Love

I find it very interesting how these two powerful emotions are so clearly linked. As Queen Elizabeth II said: “Grief is the price we pay for love.” I believe this is true as it is only that which we love that we grieve if/when it is lost. This does not have to be a person (although often it is). It may be the loss of health which one previously had; loss of physical or mental strength/ability, loss of a loved job, the loss of a pet or even loss of one’s youth and/or sense of vitality.

The most important thing to remember is that whatever you are enjoying today may not be here tomorrow. This is not meant to be a bleak statement but an opportunity to open ourselves to gratitude for what blessings are right here, right now. So often we do not take time to truly love what is here right now, and this definitely includes personal relationships.

I find that as I work with understanding the depths of myself I am amazed that my capacity to love has expanded exponentially. Yes, lots of meditation has helped me get to this place and I will credit that, combined with my sincere intention to help myself as well as others with my full heart. Now I thought my full heart has always been in my work (personally and professionally) but… there is more heart to share now. Does that even make sense? I feel the breadth of my emotions so fully these days. I can’t believe how much I enjoy my daily walks looking at the simplest details around me with a full and pure appreciation for the Creation around me. And I can’t believe how much I care for clients, friends and family (past and present) too.

Yesterday I was letting a client know how much I enjoyed seeing her face and connecting with her in our sessions and she said “I bet you say that to all of your clients” – and I had to let her know that I truly do love each of my clients, yet the interaction with her is truly special. I meditated on this thought and realized… it’s because I am truly Present with each of my clients… and also friends and my family (whether we speak or through text/email). I like it, yet I realize that it’s taken a while to be in this space… and clearly I wasn’t consciously “trying” to do this… I wasn’t even aware of this until after my meditation and contemplation! Yet, I feel this is the real reason. And it feels fantastic! There is no judgement, no comparison, just full appreciation for each unique soul that I have the pleasure of interacting with. It’s a very heartfelt experience (I believe all around!).

Most of you know that the focus of my work is to help people recover from Grief and then to move forward more positively and wisely. Yet I didn’t realize that this work would lead me to Brain Re-Training and then an exploration of Consciousness. And what a journey it has all been and continues to be. Never in my dreams (that I know of) did I think that this work would lead me back to Love. A deeper, more meaningful and cherished experience than I ever knew was possible. With my own Higher Self/God/the Universe and with every soul around me too. Of course I am still drawn to those who are silently grieving (and I believe there are silent grievers all around us). Today as I write, I hope I am also helping people realize (just like I have) that there is a transformation possible through the portal of grief that I do not believe is possible in any other way. Some traditions will refer to what I am calling “grief” as “suffering” (Buddhism). I have to admit, there is some “suffering” (though I prefer to call it un-ease) in times of grief or loss. Yet this love that is possible once a person has mastered their Grief Recovery processing (this means not just doing the work to get through one experience, but using the information learned, to process every grief/loss encountered with the same principles), then… it’s really not easy to explain but it is truly a beautiful sense of peace and contentment. A brighter space from which to give and receive love.

Which makes me think… perhaps there is a way to teach love? I actually believe that this is what many sages and mystics, as well as some painters, artists, poets and writers through the years have tried to teach in their own chosen form of expression. Today, I know that my next course creation will be exactly this: how to love more. More fully, more openly, more whole-heartedly. What an exciting awareness and I hope it will help people in helping themselves, their romantic relationships and/or their family through not-easy moments and times. I also believe that patients/clients will be helped more through this Conscious decision (to love more) from the healthcare professionals that work with them – and you know how I love to encourage compassion and care in healthcare practice! So look forward to that course soon!

I also believe that we do not need grief to experience love more fully. Yet, it’s so “human nature” or the mind’s tendency to put off the realization that this feeling is what really needs to be nurtured, fed and allowed to grow in our lives. Often this very obvious fact is missed when we try to justify “why” we need more from others, from life or from even our day… until a significant grief/loss… and there’s that portal that still many may miss. And that’s one of the reasons I am here. If you need help in your journey, do contact me through my contact details at http://www.hearthealthbrainhealth.com.

Wishing us all the clarity to see the opportunities to love more in each moment.

Kindly,

Hanifa

The Healthcare Professional’s Ego

You may be wondering why on earth the Healthcare Professional’s Ego is being discussed in a blog about healthy grieving. Well, this post is to remind each person that we all have a tendency to build up or break down the egos of healthcare professionals. The patient/client wants to be helped and the healthcare professional wants to help. It’s a great system until something is not great. Which usually means that the healthcare system or professional has missed something. Maybe a lab test was missed being ordered (or false negative/positive result came from an ordered test); a follow-up that was not followed through (maybe through a phone call or email); maybe medicines or supplements or other treatments did not result in healing and new measures need to be taken. This is a time that patients can grieve and lose faith in the healthcare system or providers. And let me tell you, healthcare providers go through much grief in such a time too. Both expecting that either the patient or the healthcare professional “should have” done something different, prevented, or treated, a current concern differently.

Now, I do understand that this is a situation of mutual concern. Yet I am drawn to the awareness that no one practitioner, one treatment, or one factor has created such a time. When a doctor believes “I should have known” or the patient feels the same, both are coming from an ego space (the healthcare provider feeling they should have been “better/wiser than” the patient; and the patient feeling let down because they are “lesser-than/less wise” than the provider. And although both are relatively right; the education and experience of the practitioner does help to detect a possible diagnosis, and the patient is trusting the practitioner to do so. Yet, patients also know their own bodies better than even the wisest and most caring healthcare practitioner. And no matter what, sometimes all of the right tests, procedures, and actions do not reveal underlying details until the “right time.” And no matter when something is discovered, there is no predicting healing. Sometimes much later diagnoses have spontaneous and complete healing; sometimes early diagnosis still is followed by significant disease progression.

Let us also not forget that each healthcare provider is juggling their own health concerns, family and friend concerns, possible major life changes and the same types of un-easy life experiences that each patient is bringing to them too. When they are expecting perfect actions leading to perfect results from themselves and patients are expecting the same, there is an illusion that needs to be lifted/overcome. No one is perfect. But a perfect energy is at play with perfect intentions from all.

And here is the piece that I feel has to be recognized. There is a different energy (Higher Consciousness) that directs a lot of things beyond what we work to create with even the best nutrition, supplements, lifestyle and/or medications. I have always truly believed that people learn about their various medical diagnoses at the “right” time for themselves. Not “too early/too late” but “just right” for the individual’s personal journey. If I had it my way, I know I wish no one would ever experience illness and disease. Yet this would be denying the human and the basic life/death cycle of all. Birth and death are part of our life experience.

Did you know that the therapeutic relationship between the practitioner and patient is the MOST USEFUL aspect/space for healing? When trust is lost by a patient or confidence lost by a practitioner that space of healing becomes shaky. If both are able to let go of ego attachments (I am healthy because I see this practitioner; or my patients are healthy because they see me), this can allow for the best directions to guide health care from that Higher Consciousness space available for healing through both sides. I feel the best results are achieved when Ego is overcome for both; however, it is the practitioner that has chosen the healing profession. Remember that when something is not perfect, all of the times you have helped your patients/clients are almost completely forgotten or blurred for both sides. What a shame. The healthcare provider feels the patient is doing well because of the provider’s good care; the patient feels the same. Yet that was never the case. A Higher Consciousness was working through both for great benefits; yet wisdom recognizes this truth for both the good and not-good times. So in good times, something extra is guiding; in not-good times, something higher is guiding. Not many humans (or healthcare professionals) think normally from this space of awareness, yet I would encourage all to do so. Mindful awareness of this fact will help us provide care that values that unseen/less-understood space of of the unknown too.

This post was inspired by a fantastic TED talk recently recommended to me from a colleague and I absolutely loved it. The doctor is speaking about the value of the physical exam (something I also often received great feedback about), and he speaks of the importance of physical touch with patients – so touching I cried. I’m linking it below and hope you will watch. The only aspect I didn’t love was that beyond the fantastic care this doctor was speaking about, there is also an ego related to “the right things” done for his client(s) through him or his hospital. I believe that each practitioner that helps from their heart-centred actions, even through different styles, matter in any patient’s journey. I feel that many times it is the mental-emotional state of a patient that is the area that could benefit from more focus from a caring doctor or healthcare provider.

This is what I would love each healthcare provider to focus upon. The caring energy with which you do your work out of a compassionate understanding of a patient’s concern/life/experience is what I believe matters the most. As the following quote reminds us.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”― Maya Angelou

Make sure you let your clients/patients feel heard and cared for. And mean it. It is felt even if situations may bring feelings of sadness, regret or concern all around. Sometimes we do not know why/how something happens but I do believe that everything happens with Divine intervention and guidance. When great things happen for patients, know this same energy is helping (through you and your patient) and when not-great things happen it is this same energy directing. Can you help by your specific knowledge, intentions and actions? Most definitely. Do your best and always know that even your best will be limited or assisted by other energies too.

I believe that keeping a healthcare provider’s ego in check also helps to empower patients to direct their own actions as well – most of all in the understanding that many things happen for most people on a daily basis without any conscious direction from patients or their healthcare providers (e.g., breathing and heart-beating). This may bring back what has been missing in much of healthcare delivery for some time: humility– backed compassionate thoughts, words and actions from practitioners that CARE.

Be that practitioner; welcome humility into the care you provide and welcome compassionate understanding from your patients/clients too!

Here is that great TED Talk by Abraham Verghese about A Doctor’s Touch https://www.ted.com/talks/abraham_verghese_a_doctor_s_touch

Remember to keep a touch of humility and loving kindness/compassion in your care.

Lose the Ego!

Kindly,

Hanifa

Understanding the Commonly-Used Stages of Grieving

Check out this post about grieving from my website at https://www.hearthealthbrainhealth.com

Here is the link: https://hearthealthbrainhealth.com/2021/05/22/understanding-grief/

Have a good night everyone!

Kindly,

Hanifa