Archive for April, 2015
Last night I came across a video portraying scenes around Baltimore and all that has been happening this week. Unlike most of the violent acts taking place, this was something different. Several clergy from all denominations were linked arm in arm, marching down the street. A true sign of peace and compassion. Ahimsa is a Sanskrit term for “non-violence,” and that is exactly what these men and women were practicing.
The following is taken from an article written by Dorna Djenab called Ahimsa: The Yoga Practice of Non-Violence-
The essence of ahimsa is non-violence of our own heart. The violence we inflict on each other is only the outward manifestation of the war raging inside ourselves and it is only by stopping the war within that we can stop the war without.
Violence is manifested in actions, in words and in thoughts. We may consider ourselves non-violent people but violence can work on very subtle levels. It has many disguises.
Thoughts of guilt, shame, resentment, disappointment all have a seed of violence within them. Words like *should* and* must* are the same. When we are unable to forgive ourselves or someone else, when we carry resentment; when we expect far too much of ourselves and put the responsibility of the whole world on our shoulders; when we expect the whole world to run according to our liking we are being violent towards ourselves and the rest of the world. When we don’t act according to our truth, but out of our fears, we are being violent to ourselves… Truth and nonviolence are inseparable. As Ghandi said: When I look for Ahimsa, Truth says, ”Find it through me.” When I look for Truth, Ahimsa says, ”Find it out through me.”
Non-violence is unconditional love, it is true compassion. We achieve that non-violence by learning to love and be loved; but how is it possible to love and be loved if we choose to escape or ignore some aspects of ourselves?
Yoga encourages us to meet our inner darkness impartially and compassionately, so that it can be transformed without being acted out in the world. We practice how to meet our inner violence nonviolently and how to express our negativity without hurting anyone, including ourselves. When we learn to discharge our negative energies with the positive intention to transcend these aspects of ourselves, we contribute to spreading peace in the world.
On the mat, intend to practice non violence in action and perform the poses gracefully without force. Intend to respect and love your body’s limitations. Have the intention to practice non violence in your mind. Watch and become aware of your thoughts and see if there are any that contain seeds of violence towards you or another. Once you’ve become aware, you won’t need to push it away, just recognize it, watch it come to your awareness and watch it leave. Thoughts come and go. It is by holding onto them and repeating them over and over that they become the source of our violent actions, or violent words. If you just observe them, without reacting to them, you’ll see that they will leave your awareness as easily as they came.
When we allow ourselves to fully experience the hate and pain within us without cringing, violence, hatred and pain will disappear and open doors to new understandings and liveliness. Just as a flower begins its journey from a seed beneath the earth, non-violence begins out of self acceptance and love of the true Self, deep within the human heart. Yoga leads us to a peaceful reconciliation with our own true nature.
I would like to give a shout-out to my sister and her colleagues as April is OT Month.
Occupational therapists play a vital role in helping individuals participate in things they want and need to do and to help manage their health to be as active and independent as possible. One of the first questions they will ask is What matters to you?, rather than What is the matter with you? Common interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
Many people question the difference between physical therapy and occupational therapy. PT deals with pain, strength, joint range of motion, endurance, and gross motor functioning, whereas OT deals more with fine motor skills, visual-perceptual skills, cognitive skills, and sensory-processing deficits.
Occupational therapy is often thought of for adults only. But that is not the case. According to the AOTA, kids with these medical problems might benefit from OT:
- birth injuries or birth defects
- sensory processing disorders
- traumatic injuries (brain or spinal cord)
- learning problems
- autism/pervasive developmental disorders
- juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
- mental health or behavioral problems
- broken bones or other orthopedic injuries
- developmental delays
- post-surgical conditions
- spina bifida
- traumatic amputations
- severe hand injuries
- multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and other chronic illnesses
The “occupation” of children is to thrive, and occupational therapy practitioners work with children and young adults, from infancy through college, and their families to facilitate participation and independence.
Thank you to all OT’s as they help to improve our lifespan.