Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hi everybody,
As I evaluated myself again I gave myself 8/10 in the thre domains of psychological, physical, and spiritual well-being. The reson why because I think I am almost there in each one of them, yet there is more room for improvement. If I can improve myself I will reach 9 and not 10 because I will never be able to reach place where people dedicate all their life to achive ( I am being realistic). In my own way I am 8, I am not comparing myself to others. My 8/10 could not be the same as yours or as anyone else, but to me it is an 8. My score did change from y previous assessment because I did not know that I was actually involved in meditation exercises until I discovered that I do grasp a psychospiritual ritual which is visualization although I did not realize it at the time and furthermore, I give myself more time to revisit happy places from the past.I consider visualization as one of my previous goals that I achieved.
As I said psychospiritually I am investing more time in visualization and physically I am biking more often, I even take my bike to my work as a mode of trasportation these days.
Personally this course helped me discover easy ways to be happy and healthy and I appreciate the step-by-step guidance I received. The rewards for me was discovering my ability to engage in visualization as well as being able to practice the loving-kindness which I did not know about prior to this course. The difficulties lied within me, to commit, to find the time, and to be able to silece the chatter in my mind and concentrate. I am already recommending meditations to others and if anyone seems interested enough I would explain the practices I learned and I would give them the book or the meditation CD to help them understand. I may be able to do more if I only give myself some more time to perfect myself in this newly discovered autohealing practices.
I am glad I took this course and one thing for sure, it changes my life.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Unit 9 final project

My Plan for Integral Health
Fatima Lazim
Kaplan University

My Plan for Integral Health
I Introduction:
“Integral Health is a perspective on health, personal transformation, and optimal well-being that addresses the entire range of human experience: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, interpersonal, and sociocultural.” (Integral Health Resources). Starting with our body, we should realize that the body is the context in which the brain and the spirit connect. Therefore, no one could dispute the importance of physical health as an essential component of integral health. On the other hand, we deal with our mental health that influences our physical being as well as our spiritual being. In a physical sense, the East say our mental life can affect our body like writing on water, on sand, or on a stone. Light mental disturbance disappear rapidly from our mind and body just like when writing on water with a figure, stronger disturbance will stay longer like writing on the sand with our finger, but huge traumas will be like engraving in a stone and will leave a permanent mark on our mind and body as well as soul (Dacher, 2006, p. 19). Nevertheless, the spiritual aspect of our health is the unseen, but felt part of our being. Think of it as a newborn with the best breast milk, but no kindness or love provided, what do you think will happen to the newborn? Will he thrive? The answer is no and he may even die. Our spirit is as important as our body and mind. The healer is a key ingredient for the success of his healing approaches. Education alone will not grant the healer or practitioner the opportunity to achieve integral health for his patients. On the other hand, mastering integral health is a hands-on learning process. Incorporating the integral process into the practitioner’s life will enable the discovery of profound possibilities of integral health and healing. Knowing firsthand how we can achieve integral health will give us the insight to help other do the same. After all, we cannot preach what we do not practice, therefore our honest advice would be the one we applied on ourselves first (Dacher, 2006, p. 167). In my own experience, I realized my need to devote more time for my spiritual flourishing. I do practice breathing and visualization exercises, yet I think I need to do more.
II Assessment:
An honest and accurate assessment of our cultural level of development will allow us to plan for the future. There are six principles to integral assessment:
• Alleviate needless suffering
• Recognize the short-term relief and the permanent relief.
• It recognizes the distinction between immediate pleasure and long-term flourishing.
• Psychospiritual development is an essential component of integral health.
• Integral assessment relies on deep listening and guidance.
• Integral assessment addresses the aspects, levels, and lines of development that are available to our current circumstances. (Dacher, 2006, pp. 105-106)
The assessment that I have done on myself revealed that I lack in my interpersonal quadrant. I would say I am on level one on my development in this quadrant. Although my body, mind, and spirit are all underdeveloped interpersonally, yet I am on the right track to enhance my spirituality through the exercises that I learned like the loving-kindness and the visualization exercise. Psychospiritual, biological and worldly developments are all where I want them to be and I am happy with the results, yet nothing wrong with more improvements and commitments.

III Goal development:
Setting goals for the future is to add further lines and levels to my developments in the four integral quadrants. On my physical level I need to work on my self-regulation. Although I follow a healthy diet and do my best to stay physically active within the range my back injury allows me, yet I do need to self-regulate my homeostasis through a mind/body practices to break the cycle of stress. Psychological, I need to control unneeded emotions and sufferings. I tend to react very emotionally to situations and for a very long time I did not know how to work on this problem. What I learned is that intentions are very close to attentions and subtle mind, breathing exercises, and meditation could help me hold my attention on a certain experience and train my mind to recall positive images and feelings in bad situations which will help balance the negative emotions and help me put a tight lid on my reactions. Last my goal on my spiritual level is to be able to maintain what I already achieved and may be try to pass it to others. I would love to be an inspiration and influence for people to explore their spiritual side and feel the connection between their inside and the universe.

IV Practices for personal health:
First we should know that all integral practices should be supported by inner development, second is that integral practices should be based on the individual’s specifics needs and the totality of the available resources (Dacher, 2006, pp. 119-120).
Ken Wilber’s had a vision to reach an integral health point in which we achieve three goals; profound and enduring health, happiness, and wholeness (Dacher, 2006, p. 3). Integral mean from the inside out, so what I want to do is to start with my body, then my mind, and ending with my spirit to revolutionize the way I acquire health, happiness, and wholeness.
Physically I ride my bike every day, especially early in the morning or at night to clear my mind from all the chatter; it really calm me down and give me clarity.
I also like to do breathing exercises because I do believe that engaging my brain and body in the rhythmic movement of breathing benefit me manage my back pain and tension headaches.
Psychospiritually, I do loving-kindness and visualizations exercises; both help me balance the negative energy and give me a feel of peace, satisfaction, and happiness. Counting my blessing through the loving-kindness exercise or by recalling the wealth of happy memories that God gifted the human mind to store is priceless for me.
Spiritually I believe in God existence and that alone got me through so many hard times and heartbreak. I practice prayer every day and if I skip my prayer I feel guilty and disconnected from God, so I will have to continue my praying. The other thing that helps me spiritually is to help others. I cannot walk by a poor person or injured animal without helping. I believe that we are here for a reason and the universe is connected somehow. When God send a person in need our way, it is like God is helping us redeem ourselves or feel better, so I never waste the chance and it really enlighten my spirit to make someone happy. In the future I really wish I can find a job where I can do both my job and help others at the same time because that would be my dream comes true.

V Commitment:
I would be assessing and re-assessing my integral health using Dacher four quadrants and their lines and levels of development. I have been on the road of integral health for a while now and it is just getting better. I assume in six months I would master the contemplative practices that I learned about. In order for me to maintain my progress I would like to get involved in some kind of compassionate service, provide mentorship to those who would like to learn about integral health, and above all continue to commit to prevention approach to health rather than treatment when it is late. As I said before I have been working on my goal of integral health for over a year now and I think in six months I will be in a better place than today thanks to all the knowledge I got in this class.

Dacher, E. S. (2006). Integral Health: The Path to Human Flourishing (p. 19).
Dacher, E. S. (2006). Integral Health: The Path to Human Flourishing (p. 167).
Dacher, E. S. (2006). Integral Health: The Path to Human Flourishing (p. 105-106).
Dacher, E. S. (2006). Integral Health: The Path to Human Flourishing (p. 119-120).
Dacher, E. S. (2006). Integral Health: The Path to Human Flourishing (p. 3).
Integral Health Resources. Retrieved Sunday 25, 2010 from

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Loving-kindness exercise and meeting asclepius worked for me

Hi guys,
We meet again. This course taught me a lot about relaxing and although certain things were alien to me, others turned out to be familiar to me although I did not know their significance to my health.
Both loving-kindness and meeting Aesculapius are close to my heart some how. I loved loving-kindness because it was like a hopeful exercise; it was like hypnotizing ones mind to function in a positive direction, I do it all the time to myself and others in my life, I guess when we tell our children "I know you can do it" ot "You always make me proud" that is a form of loving-kindness and we can say it to ourselves that we are good, we are strong, and most of all we can make a difference.
Meeting Aesculapius on the other hand is a visualization exercise that I did all my life without realizing it was some kind of meditation. When I am sad or stressed I always take the time to remember better times and remind myself that I was blessed and lucky and definitely the black cloud will pass and things will be good again.
Both of those exercises gave me hope and confidence and those are very important factors to my success. As long as I am moving forward knowing that I am doing my best, having the confidence in my abilities, and hoping for better results then I am happy and healthy, at the same time I will have a feeling of wholeness being a contributing part of my society.
The key word for health in my opinion is balance and as long as we are happy, we are balanced. Those exercises make me happy, I will practice them and advice people to try them or find what work for them best, after all we are our own uniques selves.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Meeting Asclepius

Hello everyone,
Meeting Asclepius is a visualization exercise that I have done before with little luck, yet this time I had better luck connecting with the visual individual I created and for the few minutes I did the exercise I felt calm and positive. I realized that we are what we think. If I think of someone giving me love, I would feel loved and if I visualize what is inside me as power for healing I will feel healed. At certain point of my life, I used my imagination to draw a positive picture of the world and my future and that helped me survive war, I guess in the future I need to use more visualization exercises that develop a positive feelings toward life and the future. It is like one of "Harry Potter" movies that he found a mirror where he saw his deceased parents and his friend saw himself in a dream job, both of them felt great until his teacher told him this mirror shows what ones deepest wishes are, but the result is feeling happy and calm, the happiness they felt were real not an illusion, although what was in the mirror was an illusion basically. This mirror is inside each of us that God created to give us strength, happiness, and hope.
"One cannot lead another where one has not gone himself” The concept is simple, I can not teach my son swimming if I don't know how, or dancing if I never danced, and I can not say I hate roller coaster if I never rode one. It is the same with healing, if I did not achieve physical, psychological, and spiritual healing myself, I will not be qualified to help others achieve it or I will be a fraud or a hypocrite, I am neither. In my life I use moderation to help my physical health, I use family to ground my mental health, and I use God to keep my spirituality. I love life, I love people, I believe in God and I believe everything is for a reason even the bad things that happen to us, they turn out to be for our own sake years later, life taught me that much and I am grateful for everything.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Loving-kindness/assesment unit 6 blog

Hi everybody,
Of course the Spring break still not finished, hence my late blogging, but late better than never in this case.
The loving-kindness exercise seemed to me like hypnotizing myself to think of a world free of suffering, like Michael Jackson's (RIP) son "heal the world", but in this case and although I felt better for a while, I realized nothing had changed. I am not a patient person, if I am on a diet I want immediate results, if I pray I want immediate answer, if I study I want immediate success and so many times I give up something if I did not see immediate results. I am wrong though, I know I am, so I guess this exercise is meant to make me feel better for a reason, to expand my spiritual experience and to make reflect my positive feeling towards others, so I guess at the end I got it.
The assessment was another story. I lack spirituality in my interpersonal quadrant, I did not before, but recently or for the last two years I do not look at people the same way, I kind of froze and not willing to get in the social game anymore. I know things happen for a reason and my failure in my relationship had its own benefits and I appreciate that failure that set me free of so many things, but I do not feel like getting emotionally involved or even be with people as much as I used to be. I would say I am on level zero on my development in this quadrant and I would be lucky if I managed to get back to any level other than zero, I am saying zero because my body, mind, and spirit are all underdeveloped interpersonally.
I am not sure how I can enhance this area if deep inside I do not see why, I do have family, but I have no personal or community activities like I used to be. May be if my school is done and I have more time in my life I would invest in this area, I am trying to think about it now that I recognize my short-coming.
I need to prepare the ground for my upcoming development may be by commiting more to social events in my community, of course I have to chose things that involve my son as well. I recently became a member of the wild life reserve society because I am an animal lover so is my son. I think I will get more involved in the Summer because may starting with animals will lead to better ralationship with people as well. I do have friends by the way, but I stopped visiting or going out with them for the last two years, making all kinds of excuses and I just e mail them, I even hate talking on the phone!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ocean wave

The Subtle Mind

Hi everyone,

Last week the love and kindness exercise did not work for me, for some reason I was not able to concentrate or in the psychospiritual language I would say, my conscious awareness was distracted in a very bad way.

This week subtle mind exercise started very smooth because I usually do breathing exercise. When I feel charged with emotions, I tend to breath and focus on my breathing. I believe in breathing exercise; they have worked for me for years, I guess since I read an article about Chinese medicine when I was a teenager and in the article it was said that we live half our lives because we breath half our capacity. We tend to breath faster and shallower depriving our body from its fullness of Oxygen and depriving our mind of it rhythmic regulator. I even used to do yoga for a while, but I guess my limited time got in the way of that, but breathing I do it whenever, sometimes I do it in bed before I sleep.

Although the CD track was horrible for this exercise, but I guess I was able to achieve some calm abiding mind with some relaxation music and concentration on my focal point of breathing.

May be loving kindness could benefit some people, but for me I think subtle mind is more beneficial because I do not have to recall loved one to proceed because that did take me to a tangled place in my mind. One major different I noticed is that loving kindness start by recalling a loved one while the subtle mind require us to send love to a loved ones, I mean the cycle was reversed.

Our three axes of being are body, mind, and spirit and they are interconnected, so if one side is pressured it will vent somewhere else. People who get physically abused should only suffer the physical pain if there is no connection with the mind or spirit, yet the physical pain is soon forgotten and the real suffering will manifest the mind and the spirit, right? So there is no argument the connection between the three axes does exist.

I personally suffer physically when I am sad or stressed. I am a living proof of how my mind and spirit affect my body and vice versa. If I get bad news I have to expect to be sick, usually respiratory infection of some kind and if I get sick I should expect an episode of depression. I literally have to get out of my way to break the cycle, although I recently decided to address my pain and live with it and then move on because I do not know how to let go without getting inside the turmoil, I could avoid it and then explode some other way, so I prefer the short pain cycle to the accumulative one.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Loving-kindness exercise

Hi guys,

I am embarrassed to admit that I could not fully engage myself in this exercise, may be because there is no quite place in my house or may be I kept drifting or above all, the person I love most is dead and every time this person is present in my mind I will remember equally painful memories. Any way, the part where I flood with love is there but to direct it to others! that was hard for me, yet I connected this experience to prayer because sometimes when I pray to God, I pray for others and I do my best to direct My prayers to them and for unknown reason to me, after I am done with my prayers I feel like the recipients of my prayers are in better state.

I still think this loving-kindness exercise can be of a benefit if I can master it and just like swimming, driving, and riding the bike, this exercise need to be figured out and once it is the rest will come easily. I did not figure it out in order to master it, but as I said the closest I came to such exercise is in prayer.

I would recommend this exercise to people because they may benefit from it, although I would not be able to teach them myself, just direct them to the text to do their best and achieve some results.

When I was young, my grandmother who is the person I love the most, God may bless her souls used to tell me to use my brain like my muscles or I will loss its strength, she used to tell me to read and do math just help my brain keep moving, I listen to her although I found her concept funny to comprehend ( a brain like a muscle!). As I grew up I realized that we can train ourselves to do everything, to eat less, to sleep less, to breath slower, to stick to anger management, to be athletic, to be a mask no one can penetrate..etc. The same is true about mental exercise or psychospiritual abilities. If do not use it, we loss it and to me at least, I side with logic most of the time, so my psychospiritual abilities are limited. Studies showed one hour a day dedicated to our mental training(like the loving-kindness exercise) could help us reach a level of psycho spirituality and I found this to be true because when I was younger, I was living in the Middle East where spirituality is stronger than here in the West, I used to be a better spiritual person and I even possessed what we call a sixth sense. I used to dream of things that will happen in the future and they did happen and I used to sense when someone in my family was suffering and I would call them and find out, my dreams were so clear like a movie, but now, I do not even dream as long as it is not a nightmare! So, YES, I agree with the study that approve of the concept of training our minds.

That being said, I am open to any of your comments.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Reflection On My Wellness

We meet again on my blog.

Now I am going to ask myself, am I well? Well, I feel fine. The truth is, I can not answer such question with three words "I feel Fine", no one can. All of us are a mix of forces that take their toll on our bodies, I like to think of our bodies like a ship in the middle of the ocean. There are so many variables that will guarantee the safety of that ship like the wind, the water, the material in which the ship was made, and above all, unthinkable circumstances like storms or defects in the body of the ship. Human body is not different, there are times that I feel I am in the middle of a storm and there are times that I wish I did not exist, yet there are times that I feel I am part of a great world. I am sure I am not the only one who feel this way, we all do at some point.

Physically I am a strong woman in general, but the wear-and-tear of aging is starting to show its ugly face, yet I tend not to think about it much and live my life as tended to do years ago. I love to move and enjoy that as long as I can. I think moving helps me feel alive and that makes me happy. Psychologically, my happiness is connected to my physical state. I am one of those people that exhaustion does not sit well with my psychology. I need to sleep well, eat well, and be physically active in order to be psychologically balanced. Spirituality is not one of my biggest focuses, yet I do believe that we are all here on this earth for a reason and I do know that what I do will touch other people lives in one way or another. Therefore I am very careful not to hurt people's feeling and if I do I try to make it up for them because I believe my bad energy will transdescend from them to other people as well and the end result will be like spreading a plague.

I would rate my physical being 7/10, my psychological well being 9/10, and my spiritual well being is 7/10. I would love to be on the top scale for all my well being parameters, but to me I feel the physical part is the one controlling the rest, therefore I am aiming to improve it and the rest will follow.

What I am doing to improve my physical well-being is going to physically therapy to improve my back pain which affect my mode and personality in a negative way. I also go cycling to help get some fresh air and rewind all my stress. In the future I am willing to incorporate breathing and relaxation exercise to help me be calm and balanced.

I loved the relaxation exercise "the crime of the century" and I admit the name did not give me the right idea in the beginning and I was preoccupied by negative thoughts when I started it, but once I did, I got caught. I think the exercise was smooth, calming, and the voice was very hypnotizing. When it was done I really felt something had changed in me, I honestly felt weightless and like my body does not exist, weird huh? yet that how I felt and it was awesome considering I never felt like this before. I would definitely do that again as it turn out I can use my imagination to work for me, how nice!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My First Relaxation Blog

Hi every one,

This is my first correct blog ever! Yes because the first one was a free idea of mine and because I love books and movies the subject was chosen accordingly.

I am doing it right this time, I hope!
I am welcoming everyone to my blog. My first topic would be relaxation and relaxation techniques.
Who do not want to be relaxed, as a matter of fact people go to desperate measures to feel relaxed and serene, but unfortunately, life and responsibility get in the way.
In a literal meaning, Relaxation is a way of spending time in which you rest and feel comfortable. On the other hand, what happen to our body during relaxation is a very different story, important stuff happen during relaxation, our body rebuild and rejuvenate during relaxation.
Some of us heard that exercise help us relax, dancing help us relax, deep breathing help us relax, so why is that? In normal circumstances when our body goes through sudden stress, our sympathetic system will fire up the fight-and-flight response by pumping blood to the limb's muscles, increase the heart beats and blood pressure, does that sound like a vigorous exercise vital signs? yes it is and after it is over, our parasympathetic system will take over sending blood to the intestine, other visceral organs, slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure, all a long giving us a feeling of relaxation, the body will start a maintenance mission to assess the damages after the fight-and-flight fiesta and all along our body is relaxing and rejuvenating.
That being said, we do realize that we need to relax to be healthy and well. There are so many relaxation techniques, but I favor meditation, breathing exercise in particular because focusing on the in-and-out of air will take the mind off the stressful subject swarming in our subconscious mind, and if accompanied by music it will release endorphins which is even better. The closest way to think of endorphin as natural Ecstasy drug, it will make you happy. The body release endorphins after exercise, sex, eating, and listening to music, isn't that cool to know.
I guess we do not have to be cynical about the affect of breathing exercise, the Chinese used for hundreds of years, nevertheless, music was believed to heal and was used to treat certain physical ailments by the ancient Greeks.
I will be looking forward to hearing from you.
All comments are welcome.

Friday, February 26, 2010

American On Purpose

American on purpose is a book written by one of my favorite comedians, Craig Ferguson. I have always liked the Scottish writer, actors, and brilliant comedian with his spiky hair, gorgeous accent and the funny snake mug on his desk, yet after I read his book I developed an admiration to a person who hit rock bottom more than he can count and came out ambitious and successful.
One thing that really stuck in my mind after reading his book though and trust me the book can shock you, he said that after two divorces and 25 years in the show business, the one worst woman or human being for that matter was his first elementary school teacher back in Glasgow/Scotland. His teacher and other teachers as well used to belt the kids which mean hit their small hands with leather belts. Mr. Ferguson said that his first teacher gave him his first belt when he was barely five years old for a reason he does not even remember, what cruelty.
I just watch his show "the late late show" and laugh; I also read his book and enjoyed my time reading it, but I also came out with the realization that most of us took for granted. THANKS GOD I am an American and thanks God I was not born 20 years earlier, what about you?