Tag Archives: Wellness

Hope in a Weary World

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. And this year it’s not about the bustle of the Holidays and Christmas shopping, if anything those activities were a welcome distraction.

After a year of  extreme politics and further division within the USA, rising deficit and threats against health insurance,  I for one am just tired.

As I look back to the events that have led to where we are, I remember the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.  I remember videos of terrorist attrocities in the Middle East.  I remember US cabinet members laughing and clapping when a Middle Eastern leader was killed, and most of all I remember angry people arguing politics, myself among them.

It occurred to me that we are a Nation and a World that is constantly dealing with both primary and secondary traumatic stress.  And we are dealing with these stresses not only as individuals, but as communities, as nations, and as a world community of human beings.

There is a phrase from old Western movies that applies to how communities deal with traumatic stress: “circling the wagons.”  We form groups of like minded people with the intent of protecting ourselves and our families.

Both ancient and modern history are filled with examples of communities experiencing extreme stress and trauma, pulling together, rallying around a common identity, be it ethnic or religious or nationalistic, becoming powerful, and in turn becoming the source of stress and trauma towards neighboring communities.  Eventually, someone stronger always comes along and the cycle begins again.  Trauma, circle the wagons, gain power, cause trauma, and then experience oppression and trauma all over again.

At Christmas time, the world celebrates the birth of a man called Jesus.  I say the world because at this point in human history, with few exceptions, everyone is pretty much aware of everything, including the origins of the Christian religion and culture.  I say the man Jesus because the humanity of Jesus is something we all have in common.  Jewish people may view Jesus as a historical Rabbi, Buddhists and Hindus may view Jesus as an Enlightened Being, Muslims may view Jesus as a revered Prophet, and Christians view Jesus as both Human and Divine.

Enlightened, Prophet, Human, Divine, Personal Savior, or anointed Christ, however we view Jesus, the words and teachings attributed to this person are what is left for us in the 21st century to read, share, interpret, and draw inspiration from.

2000 years ago, Jesus’ words and teachings inspired a group of people, human beings, to become  followers.  These human followers of Jesus the Christ also experienced extreme trauma, at the hands of a government, specifically the Roman government who had power at the time.  And like human communities have done since the beginning of time, the followers of Jesus the Christ reacted by circling the wagons.   They focusing on mutual care of each other, they comforted families who lost loved ones to the Roman Government’s systematic oppression, they cared for each other, and they talked about ways to deal with the stress of living in the traumatic world they lived in.

They also turned to the teachings of Jesus the Christ whom they followed for guidance.  And in those teachings, they learned of the repeated history of violence, conquering, and being conquered.  And they saw the alternative message that Jesus taught: demonstrate our love of God through loving each other, loving neighbors, and even loving the oppressive enemies.

So, instead of gathering weapons and power, these followers of Jesus the Christ offered love and help to their Roman neighbors.  They bound wounds, offered medicine and a kind presence to people who were sick, they loved their neighbors, they loved their enemies, and they prayed and worshiped together, reminding each other that though the path they chose did not make sense in a world of “fight power with power,” this was the path that Jesus of Nazareth lived and taught.

The world is still a dark place, people are still circling wagons and gathering resources to hide or fight.  But Christmas is a reminder, a still small voice, a voice so small it is symbolized in  the presence of an infant child, calling us to a path of Grace.  A small voice reminding us that peace is possible, we don’t need to react with anger and violence, we can choose to be loving and caring instead, even with those we perceive as enemies.

It is my fervent wish this year that even in the midst of darkness and conflict, even with memories of trauma and fear either fresh or distant in our minds, experienced first hand or vicariously through social and broadcast media, we think of this infant, this prophet, this enlightened one, this Jesus who is called Christ, and remind ourselves that even as we circle our wagons, we can choose to share peace and kindness with others, even others we don’t know or feel suspicious about.

I’m going to follow this thought with a challenge.  For those who are able, if you find yourself sitting in a drive through window waiting for coffee or a meal, consider buying the coffee or meal for the car in line behind you.  It’s a way of sharing that does not judge, and does not expect a reward or even a thank you.  Catch the Spirit of Christmas, offer up a gift of kindness.  The family in the car behind you may be Jewish, Christian, may be Muslim, may be Buddhist or Hindu.  They may be black, they may be white, they may be Hispanic or Asian, they may be Gay or Straight.  They may be living in poverty or blessed with great wealth. They may be politically conservative or liberal; they may be a member of the law enforcement community or they may be struggling with legal issues.  No matter what their race, culture, or circumstance, they are human, and they are loved, even as we are loved.  Share the Love.

May All People experience a Merry Christmas, a Blessed Holiday, and a Peaceful and Prosperous New Year.

Spiritual Discernment, Peace Gathering, and Meditation Classes

At Sunrise Meditation and Counseling, we provide counseling services, meditation classes, and Spiritual Discernment services.  Whereas counseling is primarily focused on healthy thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, Spiritual Discernment addresses questions of deeper meaning.  Questions like what is my place in the Universe?  Am I alone?  Is there a God?  What does God want me to do with my life? Is God on my side, against me, or does God even care?  What will happen to me and my loved ones after we die?  Is healing possible for me and my loved ones?

lotus-1205631_1280Like in counseling, good Spiritual Discernment helps people to find their own answers in a supportive, safe, non-judging environment.  We all bring different thoughts and feelings to the table regarding God, Spirituality, and the Universe.  The ideas we bring are based on our religious backgrounds, our cultural backgrounds, and our personal experiences with our families and friends. Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Atheist, something completely different, or some mix of several faiths, we all have unique takes on what it means to be human on this planet and in this Universe.  For people of faith, there is often a still, small voice, a calling, a higher power, or an intuition that helps guide us through life and the big and small questions that come with life.

My personal beliefs are Christian, and it’s my experience that the Spirit speaks through many avenues if we have ears, eyes, hearts, and the courage to listen.  The Spirit also speaks through all traditions and cultures.  No belief or idea is “too weird” or “unorthodox” to share in a Spiritual Discernment session.

The one guideline I share regarding the presence of the Spirit in life or in a decision is to lookdove-41260__180 for the fruits of the Spirit.  Love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control are the fruits of the Spirit as described in the Christian tradition, and I believe this applies universally.

To celebrate Spirituality in a safe group environment, Sunrise Meditation and Counseling will again begin a weekly Peace Gathering starting Thursday September 7th, after Labor Day weekend.  The gathering will begin at 6:00 pm and last less than an hour.  The format will include a time of gathering, a time of sharing brief inspirational thoughts and readings, a time of contemplative silence, and a time for closure.  There will be no cost for attending, but donations will be accepted.

logolargerWe will also begin another round of Christian Tantric Meditation workshops beginning Saturday September 9th from 10:00-11:30AM.  This is a four class program that introduces several meditation techniques, including breath centered mind stabilization, self emptying, Divine Communion as a form of guru yoga, and Compassion outreach meditation.  If you are interested but unable to attend four weekends in a row, we are flexible, our classes often take 6 to 8 weeks to complete based on the schedules of the participants.  Now is the time to manage stress, let go of some of the luggage that holds you back, and connect with your true potential.

Our workshops cost 25.00 each, and a 20.00 discount is available for registering and paying for all 4 classes in advance.

For more information or to register for a Workshop or an Individual Therapeutic or Spiritual Discernment Session, visit our Contact and Registration page  or call 678-358-8775.

Meditation Class Reminder

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Christian Tantric Meditation classes provide tools for connecting with our Creative and Spiritual roots, and developing compassion for self and others.  Our next set of four Christian Tantric Meditation classes will begin on Saturday, May 13th from 10:00 to 11:30 AM EST.  We will be providing classes at our studio in Sautee near Helen Georgia, in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains.

Classes cost $20.00, and space is limited so sign up today.  Call 678-358-8775, email me at dave@sunrisemeditation.org, or register at http://sunrisemeditation.org/contact-us/.

Culivating Creativity

People usually contact a counselor to address specific issues, including anxiety, depression, addiction, or relationship issues.  When challenges like these inhabit the life of a person, they tend to use up a person’s energy, leaving no time nor energy for creativity.

cropped-20141025_163721_1.jpgIn the 1940’s, a man named Abraham Maslow developed a concept called the Hierarchy of Needs.  Maslow’s hierarchy can be broken down into three categories:  Survival, Love, and Creativity.  Maslow said that when people have survival issues to deal with, they are not going to apply energy to pursuing love nor being creative.  Survival needs include food, shelter, and feeling safe.

While this model may not apply to every person, it does seem to apply to most people.  The counseling related issues mentioned above are survival issues to the people who are afflicted, and as a result relationships become strained and all creative energy is applied to the pursuit of survival.

Unbounded creativity on the other hand, requires nurturing.  An ongoing sense of freedom, 1338259321security in relationships, and security in personal safety contribute to a person’s ability to  pursue creative gifts.  Everyone has unique creative gifts, be they artistic, physically expressive (like sports and dancing), people related, mechanical inclination, gardening, or something else.  The variety of creative gifts people are blessed with are endless.

While the initial goal of counseling is to get relief from specific issues and symptoms, the underlying goal is usually the restoration of the joy and freedom of creative expression and sharing.  At Sunrise Meditation and Counseling, we believe that we were all created to be healthy, creative, loving, and joyful people.  Using Mindfulness Oriented Meditation and Therapeutic tools, we help people to accept, let go of, and grow beyond the experiences and issues that hold us back in life.  Our goal is to help people discover and cultivate the gifts that we are blessed with, in both individual therapy and in Meditation Workshops.

20141026_085602_1Christian Tantric Meditation classes provide tools for connecting with our Creative and Spiritual roots, and developing compassion for self and others.  Our next set of four Christian Tantric Meditation classes will begin on Saturday, May 13th from 10:00 to 11:30 AM EST.  We will be providing classes at our studio in Sautee near Helen Georgia, in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains.

Classes cost $20.00, and space is limited so sign up today.  Call 678-358-8775, email me at dave@sunrisemeditation.org, or register at http://sunrisemeditation.org/contact-us/.

Upcoming Events and Workshops

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Sunrise Meditation and Counseling Upcoming and Current Schedule:

Peace meetings:  Tuesdays 7:00 PM Starting Feb 7th – Contemplative time of reflection, all faiths (and no – faiths) welcome.  Cost:  No cost, donations accepted.

Recovery Workshops:  Thursdays 7:00-8:30 PM Starting Feb 2nd – Addiction and recovery education, people in recovery and family members welcome.  Cost: 25.00 / session, 20.00 if paid in advance.

Meditation Workshops:  Saturdays 10:00-11:30 Starting March 4th. Cost: 25.00 / session, 20.00 if paid in advance.

Individual Counseling and Spiritual Direction sessions available for 65.00 / 1 hour session.

Call 678-358-8775 or visit http://sunrisemeditation.org/workshops/ for more information or to register.

Meditation and Recovery Workshops Announcement

Meditation Workshops:

Sunrise Meditation and Counseling, located in Sautee Georgia in the North Georgia Mountains, is happy to announce that we will be providing a series of four Christian Tantric Meditation classes begin Saturday March 4th 2017, from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM.  Our location is in Sautee Georgia which is near Helen Georgia, about an hour from Gwinnett and about 1.5 hours from Metro Atlanta.

Our workshops cost 25.00 each, and a 20.00 discount is available for registering and paying for all 4 classes in advance.

For more information or to register for a Workshop or an Individual Therapeutic or Spiritual Discernment Session, visit our Contact and Registration page  or call 678-358-8775.

Our Meditation Workshops are helpful for Managing Stress, Releasing Barriers to Growth, Increasing Spirituality, and increasing Compassion for self and others.  We teach techniques that have been in practice for thousands of years, presented in a manner consistent with Judeo-Christian Scripture and Practice, with proven therapeutic benefits. 

Recovery Workshops:

Sunrise Meditation and Counseling, located in Sautee Georgia in the North Georgia Mountains, is happy to announce that we will be providing a series of eight weekly addiction recovery classes starting Thursday February 2 2017 from 7:00 to 8:30 PM.  The curricula of the classes will include education regarding addiction and recovery, emotions management, codependency, and long term recovery strategies.  People in recovery, families of people in recovery, and people seeking knowledge regarding the challenges involved in recovery are welcome.

Classes will cost 25.00 per person per week.  A $40.00 discount will be available for advanced registration and payment for all 8 classes.  Upon completion of the classes, a certificate of completion will be provided.

These classes are intended for people actively involved in recovery and people affected by addiction, including family members.

Our Recovery Workshops include Education and Tools for establishing and maintaining physical, emotional, and Spiritual health. We provide tools for increasing Self Awareness, promoting Emotional Stability, encouraging Healthy Relationships, and building personal long term recovery strategies.  All recovery workshops include mindfulness oriented meditation instruction.

For more information or to register for a Workshop or an Individual Therapeutic or Spiritual Discernment Session, visit our Contact and Registration page  or call 678-358-8775.

Why does Change Feel so Strange?

There is one thought and feeling that is common to everyone who begins to make healthy changes in their lives.   And that is the thought and feeling that “this is not me, this is not who I am.”

This is true whether the changes involve meditation, exercise, diet, codependence related “assertive living”, or recovery.

ButterflyFor example, we go to a yoga class and find ourselves surrounded by people who are experienced and seem to know what they are doing.  We may feel clumsy and strange, like we “don’t fit in.”

Changes we make to take care of ourselves also inevitable involve feelings of guilt.  These feelings are often reinforced by our loved ones.  Early in the morning or later in the evening we move to a quiet place for meditation or pull out a yoga mat, and we practice.  Our family gives us that look like “what the hell are you doing?”  They complain about how their lives are disrupted and how we are no longer “available,” even if we are only taking 20 minutes out of the usual routine.

In recovery, someone from the old crowd calls and says “let’s get a beer”, or a spouse soul-623424_640pulls out a bottle of wine and offers a glass.  If we reply “no thank you”, suddenly we are “better than they are” and “no longer trusted”.

Within ourselves we ask “What the hell am I doing?  This isn’t me!  I should be enjoying a joint on the back deck,” or “vegging out in front of the TV,” or “sleeping until the last possible second and rushing through the shower and off to work.”

This is the nature of change.  It feels strange.  Other people are better at whatever we are attempting to do.  And the people in our relationships really want stability, they are uncomfortable with change.  Especially in recovery, people we know and love are very wary of change, as they know from experience changes can mean drama or relapse or even worse.

How do we get past this?  Mindfulness teaches us to live one moment at a time.  To accept our temporary discomfort, recognize and accept that these feeling in ourselves and our loved ones are “normal”, and carry on, one step, one moment, one day at a time.

20140704_181100_1We also must be kind to ourselves.  At first, change may happen in starts, stops, and stutters.  Yesterday wasn’t so great, but today I am here, I am doing this, and I feel good about it.

Eventually, we wake up one day and realize that the changes we were attempting to make in our lives are no longer changes.  They are a part of who we are, our day to day lives.  We are no longer uncomfortable with meditation or yoga or going to meetings, in fact we are more uncomfortable with neglecting ourselves.  And we feel relieved when we can get back to our self-care routines.

Change, growth, stepping out and rising to a challenge, all starts with a first step.

At Sunrise Meditation and Counseling we are blessed and happy to be available to help people with that first step towards healthier living.  We will again be offering a series of four Christian Tantric Meditation classes in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains beginning the weekend after Labor Day, Saturday September 10th.   This is an opportunity to experience all four phases of the Christian Tantric Meditation protocol in a low cost short series of classes on four consecutive Saturdays.  The traditional Wellness based Christian Tantric Meditation protocol will be offered from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM.  And we will again be offering these Meditation classes from Recovery oriented perspective from 9:00 AM-10:30 AM.  Our location is in Sautee Georgia which is near Helen Georgia, about an hour from Gwinnett and about 1.5 hours from Metro Atlanta.

Visit our Workshops page and sign up on line, or call 678-358-8775.  Our rates are very reasonable, 20.00 for a class.

Christian Tantric Wellness and Recovery Meditation Classes

Greetings,

We are happy to remind everyone that we will be offering a series of four Christian Tantric Meditation classes in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains beginning Saturday July 9th.   This is a rare opportunity to experience all four phases of the Christian Tantric Meditation protocol in a low cost short series of classes on four consecutive Saturdays.  The traditional Wellness based Christian Tantric Meditation protocol will be offered from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM.  And for the first time we will be offering these Meditation classes from Recovery oriented perspective from 9:00 AM-10:30 AM.  Our location is in Sautee Georgia which is near Helen Georgia, about an hour from Gwinnett and about 1.5 hours from Metro Atlanta.

FireworksBoth traditional Tantric Meditation techniques and Christian Contemplative perspectives are explored in the classes.  Our wellness meditation classes teach skills for dealing with stress and increasing enjoyment of life and personal freedom through letting go of negative thoughts and emotions.    Classes also explore increasing Spirituality and exercising Compassion with healthy boundaries for self and others.  People who are new to meditation and people who are experienced with meditation find our classes helpful.

People who attend our recovery oriented meditation classes learn about the disease aspects of youth-570881_1280addiction, and tools for building self awareness in recovery.  Classes will also explore emotions management, healthy relationships, and long term recovery strategies.  Note that these classes are intended for people and family members actively engaged in recovery.

Walk in registrations are welcome, or visit our Workshops page and sign up on line, or call 678-358-8775.  Our rates are very reasonable, 20.00 for a class.

Breaking Destructive Cycles

Life is full of cycles.  Yearly cycles of seasons, seasonal holidays and cycles of learning and growth, graduation, and then beginning again to learn more.  And there are monthly cycles of bills to pay, full moons, and fertility.

blossom-918453_960_720While some cycles are natural and can be comforting and even inspiring, other cycles can be painful and destructive.  Cycles of anger, codependency, depression, and addiction for example.

All destructive cycles have certain characterizing words in common, words like triggers, breaking points, regret, so called “honeymoon periods,” and periods where emotions builds again.  Some destructive cycles can be very short, repeating weekly or even daily, and some can be much longer, repeating monthly or even longer.

Consider anger for example, and its partner codependency.  In the anger cycle, tensionsurreal-402830_960_720 builds, a trigger causes a break when yelling and breaking of things may occur, followed by regret and a period of calm.  Meanwhile,  a more passive or passive aggressive partner might try to be “nice” for awhile, but eventually attempts to exercise some form of rebellion or self care, which changes a usual routine.  This break from routine may “trigger” an argument or angry outburst, and the cycle repeats.

Even depression can have an identifiable cycle, moving from self care, to self isolation, and self neglect.

Every close relationship experiences disagreements, everyone gets angry or unhappy at one time or another, and many people have occasional alcoholic beverages without embarrassing or hurting themselves or others.  How can people recognized they are getting “trapped” in a cycle?

1338259321When life or livelihood gets interrupted, especially on a routine basis, it is time to consider making some meaningful changes before someone gets hurt.  The monthly arguments that always escalate into loud conflict, damaged property, or bruises, the occasional drinking or prescription drug use that turns into every weekend and eventually creeps into the work week, the mood swings that lead to either avoiding friends and family or erupt in conflict with coworkers or customers.

The good news is that recognizing these cycle traps is the beginning of healing.  Developing self awareness about triggers, addiction, anger, general anxiety and depression levels, and codependent complacency behaviors can help us to break out of cycle traps before they reach a critical “blow up” or “melt down” stage.

How do we develop self awareness?  Tools like journaling, taking note of our state of mind, recognizing the repeated events that lead up to “breaking points”, becoming aware of words or events that trigger impulsive outbursts or depression or drinking or drug use can be of great help.

Coupled with developing self awareness are development of tools for altering thinking or feet-538245__180behavior patterns.  Techniques like deep breathing, grounding, calling a friend or sponsor, or just walking away can be helpful.

This is where taking part in therapeutic groups dedicated to emotions, alcoholics, narcotics, or codependency, can be helpful.  Engagement in one on one counseling with a trusted professional can be helpful also.

Meditation practices are a natural form of self care.  Meditation can lead to increased awareness and compassion for self and others, while the relaxation and breathing associated with meditation can be a helpful tool in letting go of the some of the thoughts and feelings that feed the cyclical traps.

With this in mind, Sunrise Meditation and Counseling  are happy to announce another “Meditation Day Retreat”  in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains on Saturday April 30th.  Our location is in Sautee Georgia which is near Helen Georgia, about an hour from Gwinnett and about 1.5 hours from Metro Atlanta.

logolargerPeople who attend our classes learn skills for developing self awareness, dealing with stress, and increasing enjoyment of life and personal freedom through letting go of negative thoughts and emotions.  More advanced classes explore increasing Spirituality through Divine Communion practice, and exercising Compassion with healthy boundaries for self and others.  People who are new to meditation and people who are experienced with meditation find our classes helpful.

Our Saturday morning class from 10:00-11:30 teaches basic meditation skills including breath centered mind stabilization and mindfulness.  Our afternoon class from 1:00-2:30 explores more advanced skills designed to Open our Consciousness.  Our classes generally include about 20-30 minutes of instruction and discussion, and 20-30 minutes of meditation skill practice.

To register, visit our Workshops page and sign up on line, or call 678-358-8775.  Our rates are very reasonable, 25.00 for a class or 40.00 for signing up for two classes or bringing a friend.

March 2016 Meditation Class Announced

Greetings,

We are happy to announce that our next set of introductory meditation classes in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains will be held Saturday March 19th.  Our location is in Sautee Georgia which is near Helen Georgia, about an hour from Gwinnett and about 1.5 hours from Metro Atlanta.

logolargerPeople who attend our classes learn skills for dealing with stress and increasing enjoyment of life and personal freedom through letting go of negative thoughts and emotions.  More advanced classes explore increasing Spirituality through Divine Communion practice, and exercising Compassion with healthy boundaries for self and others.  People who are new to meditation and people who are experienced with meditation find our classes helpful.

Our Saturday morning class from 10:30-11:30 teaches basic meditation skills including breath centered mind stabilization and mindfulness.  Our afternoon class from 1:00-2:00 explores more advanced skills designed to Open our Consciousness.  Our classes generally include about 20-30 minutes of instruction and discussion, and 20-30 minutes of meditation skill practice.

Registration is open from 10:00 to 10:30 AM, or visit our Workshops page and sign up on line, or call 678-358-8775.  Our rates are very reasonable, 25.00 for a class or 40.00 for signing up for two classes or bringing a friend.