Does crisis feel much like an “opportunity” to you?

Crisis just feels threatening. The Loving Community’s Growing Pains (Volume 1, Issue 5) walks you through its phases, touching varied issues of transformation, addiction, and a family scenario.

Issue 5 Growing Pains gives you straightforward thoughtful reflection suitable to read over your favorite beverage, and for talking points in conversation.

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Spring cleaning and I haven’t written much since my new computer got stuck in Canadian French keyboard…

Many years ago I wrote a retreat package that I did not get around to marketing–a typical flaw of writers. It was in the ancient times of no e-books. So, I shall get cracking and get those creative juices going again.

It was called Day by Day Patterns of Life: Tools to Break Negative Habits to Release You for Joy.

If you have experienced retreats that worked for you, let me know. Tell me what did not work for you.

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Naturopath Dr. Natasha Turner tells us how to incorporate health boosting herbs and spices into our everyday lives.

Boost Your Health with Herbs & Spices

Balance blood sugar with a little cinnamon:

A little cinnamon in your smoothies or topping your oatmeal can go a long way towards balancing insulin levels. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care (2003) showed that cinnamon may cause muscle and liver cells to respond more readily to insulin, and therefore improve weight loss. Better response to insulin means better blood sugar balance and, therefore, less insulin in your body. Cinnamon also seems to reduce several risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. Just a 1/2 teaspoon a day for 20 days is enough to improve your insulin response and lower blood sugar by up to 20 percent.

How to Use :

Add ½ – 1 teaspoon to your smoothies or sprinkled on your oatmeal daily.

Beat inflammation with Ginger:

Ginger is another fabulous herb proven to prevent and treat nausea from motion sickness, pregnancy and chemotherapy. It’s a potent antioxidant that works by blocking the potentially nauseating effects of serotonin on the gut. Like turmeric, ginger also possesses natural anti-inflammatory benefits and may improve blood flow. A study conducted at the University of Miami showed ginger extract also had a significant effect on reducing the pain of osteoarthritis. Similarly encouraging results were found in a 2006 study at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. These researchers found powdered ginger killed ovarian cancer cells just as well or better than traditional chemotherapy. Slice up gingerroot and add it to stir-frys or simply boil it and drink it as a tea a few times a day.
How to Use: Slice up gingerroot and add it to stir-frys or simply boil it and drink it as a tea a few times a day.

Add a little color with Curry:

Curry is a rich source of curcumin (also called Tumeric) which naturally reduces inflammation, pain and swelling. In one clinical trial, participants who consumed 1200mg of cucuminoids (the antioxidant pigment found in turmeric) for two weeks found reduced morning stiffness and joint swelling caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

A study from Tufts University in Boston suggest that curcumin may help with fat metabolism and weight loss. The researchers studied the effect of curcumin both in mice fed a high-fat diet over a period of 12 weeks. They found that curcumin did not affect food intake but reduced body weight gain, fat accumulation, and density of fat tissue. Curcumin also increased expression of key enzymes involved in fat oxidation. Blood cholesterol levels were also lowered by curcumin treatment.

How to Use:

For reducing inflammation take 1,200 milligrams of curcumin, divided into three doses daily, or add ½ – 1 tsp of curry while cooking, according to taste preference.

Boost immunity with Garlic:

Not just for staving off vampires, garlic is well known for its ability to fight off a cold or flu. The substance in garlic called allicin has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties, according to University of Maryland Medical Center.

How to Use:

Add 1-2 cloves of raw garlic daily to stir fry, entrees, or take 300 mg of dried garlic powder tablet 2-3 times per day with food.

Rosemary Protects Blood Vessels

Rosemary is another one of the healthy herbs on the super list of spices that may help protect blood vessels. Like the antioxidant OPC, the protection and strengthening of blood vessels naturally helps to lower high blood pressure. When you read about herbs for high blood pressure, you’re really finding out which ones reduce the chance for blockage and constriction from inflammation. On a separate note, Rosemary is also great for vision and has been shown to help prevent cataracts.

How to Use:

Use 1 – 2 tablespoons daily, added to meat entrees, cold dishes or salads.

Oregano – the Antioxidant

Oregano has the highest antioxidant levels of the 39 various types of spices. Recently it has gained popularity as a bacterial killer and an anti-fungal agent – but remains one of the most powerful anti inflammatory herbs available.

How to Use: Add ½ tsp – 1 tsp to an entrée. If you feel a virus coming on, or are plagued with candida, you can get Wild Oil of Oregano. Take 3-5 drops in water every few hours for the first few days or until symptoms pass.

Aid Digestion with Caraway:

It is probably one of the best digestive aids. People often take it for gas, bloating, and indigestion, and you can easily make an infusion by using 1 ounce of caraway seeds to 1 pint of water. Then steep the seeds for twenty minutes. Usual dosage is 1 to 2 tablespoons every half hour until symptoms disappear.

How to Use:

As a digestive aid, you can easily make an infusion by using 1 ounce of caraway seeds to 1 pint of water. Then steep the seeds for twenty minutes. Usual dosage is 1 to 2 tablespoons every half hour until symptoms disappear or add 1 teaspoon to dishes while cooking.


Club House Canada

Guiding the Counselling Process: the ABCD Model

Pastoral care is traditionally a lay person receiving help from a trained pastoral care worker. There is a two-fold problem with this model.

Firstly, there aren’t enough people trained to counsel all the people in need. Secondly, we can learn skills from pastoral care training for self-reflection. The following uses language that sometimes addresses the therapist, and other times to the client. We have both the therapist and client within us as we learn to nurture ourselves.

The 1920s was the beginning of loss of theological perspective, the beginning of pastoral care using behavioral and social sciences, psychology, transactional analysis, Carl Rogers, and so on.  Priorities have been misplaced.

Role confusion ensued with too many roles for one clergy person to spiritually shepherd (be sheep dog for the shepherd) the followers of Jesus. Misplaced priorities where preaching, teaching, administration and so on take a back seat. Clergy/rabbis/gurus… (the sheep dogs of the sheep-people) should not be dragged into the long lengthy process of personality change in a counselling situation.

The number one role of clergy is to impart God’s message of love, facilitating confession, repentance of error, and the power from God to aid you to make revolutionary change within. We can give pastoral care to ourselves when there is no one to go to. Having recovered from crisis, we then can be better friends to others we meet.

It is not about analysing yourself. Don’t over-think your past. Rather, become aware of your weaknesses as well as strengths to continue to grow in love. As you stop to listen to your own heart, you will learn to listen to others better.

Spiritual councillors are useful for crisis; six week problem solving, six to eight weeks of marriage counselling, grief counselling, and individual, marriage, and family problems.

You are not alone, yet ultimately it is your experience.

Stresses are developmentally derive: anxiety over rule following; rituals; beliefs; values; situational issues, both normative and catastrophic.

Choices are yours. What are the factors affecting the ability to solve problems?

In crisis, the precipitating event usually has occurred within 10 to 14 days before the individual seeks help. Frequently it is something that happened the day before or the night before. It could almost be anything: threat of divorce, discovery of extramarital relations, finding out their son or daughter is on drugs, loss of boyfriend or girlfriend, loss of job or status, and unwanted pregnancy, and so forth.

The ABCD Traing Model

Follow this protocol for yourself and others:

A – Achieve an empathetic listening relationship. Ask about the crisis. Be willing to problem solve together. Affirm the person’s strength in asking for help and their ability to cope. If you have the crisis without anyone to listen to you, begin a journal and write the problem down. What does the crisis event that has happened mean to you? Is there someone you can trust? Do you have a support network? Is there a member of the family that can be trusted? The more people available to help at the start of the crisis, the better the outcome.

In the assessment phase it is imperative to ask: “Are you planning to kill yourself or someone else?” “How?” “When?” The therapist must find out and assess the seriousness of the threat: Is he merely thinking about it or does he have a method selected? Is it a lethal method – a loaded gun, a tall building or bridge picked out? Is a time to do it picked out? If so, it is time for a psychiatric evaluation.

B – Boil down the problem. Concentrate on the items that can be changed. Has anything like this ever happened before? How do you or your client abate the tension, anxiety or depression? Has the same method been tried this time? If not, why not? If it didn’t work, why didn’t it?

What would reduce the symptoms of stress? Exercise? Playing a musical instrument? Lessened stress makes it easier to think clearly.

C – Challenge the person to take constructive action, realistic small attainable goals, to foster hope. Make another appointment.

D – Develop an ongoing growth-action plan. Review progress. Develop more plans which gets easier as one builds on success. Build on a mutual support system. There is growth in constructive coping.

When helping other friends and yourself, establish verbatim reports with dialogue on the left half of the page and with the right side for comments:

1. Marital status
2. Education or Training
3. Medical History
4. Religious history
5. Major changes in life.
6. Impression of a person
7. Description of reaction/feeling
8. What you would like to do for this person
9. What would you like to accomplish
10. Goals and plans
11. Strengths and weaknesses

Keep Up the Good Work!

What motivates an employee?

Your response will expose your economic labour philosophy. For this blog, however, the approach is to delegate responsibility to laborers. Grant complainers some of the work they are concerned with.

Can the person do the job?

Provide training for skills related to the job.

Who’s available to do the job? Who can do it better?

Develop a support network for confidence boosting. Yet, through it all, take care not to punish a good performer with more work. Take care not to overwork a good performer.

Job Ownership – the 3 W’s:

Who do you delgate to? Why? Where does it fit in the big picture?

Recognition – the 3 S’s:

Sincere. Specific. Steady. Reward with personalized acknowledgements to emphasize that good performance matters. Link incentive programs to a specific work with a specific reward.

In team building, ensure the individual goals support eam goals. Get people to want to do what you need to get done.


Realistic:goals, vision statement, reward steps, celebrate accomplishments.

Empower: delegate authority, maintain some control by increasing communication to utilize strengths of everyone involved.

Synergy: sum of the parts are greater than the whole. One person’s strength helps to strengthen weak areas of the team. Be confident, not arrogant. Be open to new ways to doing things.

Understanding: communication needs feedback for verification and evaluation.

Learn: learn knowledge follows with experience knowledge. Repeat with learn knowledge followed with experience knowledge.

Time: Economize on time and energy. Not “How are you?” but “What can I do for you?” Maximize potential.

Satisfy: motivate with the end in mind. Spell it out.

Fish Philosophy

Have a huge breakthrough in your life – make work fun. You will have more energy and commitment. Have fun at work. Deal in service to the best of your ability. Play and make their [the customers’] day. Be the person in the moment. Be present in the moment. Choose your attitude. Communicate effectively.

Book When Fish Fly, Catch! A Fishmonger’s Guide to Greatness. Technology of Being

Peace of Mind is a Choice

Distractions seem to be the order of the day but it need not be distressing challenging any exercise to quite the mind. Utilize a few simple steps to avoid identifying yourself with erroneous thought and emotion patterns that distract you from a peaceful fulfilling life. Denial of distractions are as harmful as undue attention to them, ultimately fueling the distraction’s strength.

Prayer life to, or meditation before the Creator of all things good, is an important aspect to avoid an egocentricity that cuts us off from fundamental connections with one another and the rest of creation – a living death.

Refuse to identify yourself with distracting resentment, anger and the like. Everyone has interrupting thoughts when they engage in prayer; sometimes these distractions are barely present, when at other times there is a pitched thought-battle for your attention. Whether you use a specific prayer or meditation time, or use the maxim to pray without ceasing, these suggestions will aid in maximizing those moments to best advantage.

Briefly pray about a distraction and move on to what you had originally set to pray about. Even the act of trying not to think about an invading thought is a form of giving it undue negative attention which can only injure your peace of mind. Use tactics to keep yourself from ruffling your “spiritual feathers”:

a. Acknowledge the distraction as a part of life. Declare it does not belong in your space.
b. If you are recalling a person, convert the thought to prayer, for the person’s needs and spiritual welfare. Having brought the person to the throne of grace, you may then let the person go from the forethought of your mind.
c. Temporarily abort prayer to journal about the distraction writing it down, and out of mind.
d. Read uplifting scriptures and spiritual books such as the Psalms, New Testament, The Imitation of Christ until a passage grips your train of thought or until the meditation time is finished.
e. Be patient with yourself. Think of the thought or cascading thoughts like an awake dreaming, as inevitable as REM sleep to keep you healthy. They reveal aspects of yourself that you can nurture or change.

Prayer without ceasing is good and advised for a truly integrated life. It is fundamental. Yet, like multi-tasking, it has its limits. Give up a few minutes to half an hour per day at least five days a week to specific mental prayer or at least two hours per week to truly move toward peace of mind.

Before going to sleep, read whatever spiritual resource that you have, such as the gospels or other inspirational texts to prepare your mind in dream-sleep for your meditation in the morning before the work of the day. Your understanding of the text will be clearer after “sleeping on it.” Morning may not be possible so pick a time that works for you.

Peace be upon you.

The helping relationship is to enhance self exploration for better self-understanding leading to more appropriate action or direction. Understanding and empathetic depth are important.

EIS Framework

Evaluative – Determine appropriateness of client and what client might, or ought to, do.
Interpretive – Responses of counselor to teach, impart meaning or to explain why.
Supportive – Reassurance, decrease intensity of feeling.

PUA Framework

Probing – The counselor’s intent is to query for information, feelings, provoke discussion so that the client might develop a point further.
Understanding – Feedback so client knows if he/she understood in early rapport building. Self-disclosure, “I’ve been there too.” Genuine honesty, realness.
Advising – Concrete constructive suggestion. Phrase where you have the ability to be specific.

Confrontational needs

EIA “Confront” includes pointing out discrepancies in the person’s thinking and feeling. Do not confront another person if you do not intend to increase your involvement with client, acquaintence, friend. Confront with feelings of caring when basic trust has been established. Help the client become ready to use the information once it is offered.

Defensive clients discount the information given by the counsellor by rationalizing, justifying, leading away, consequenses involved in the situation missing the opportunity for growth, change and decision making. Make sure the defences are under control before offering suggestions or confronting. Defensiveness prevents an action plan for growth and the ultimate goal of acting in growth.

At the moment of confrontation “a person’s anxiety level is high or his motivation or ability to change is low, the confrontation will not be utilized as an invitation for self-examination, and, therefore, it should not take place” (Johnson, D. W. Reaching Out, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1972, page unknown). As helper, it is also a rough road to hoe.

Trials deepen our humility. Rest in God. Be kind and gentle to yourself. Treasure life and do not presume on it. We cannot change the time we have so use it to best advantage. Show love to one another; an opportunity to reach into greater depths of love. Tactfully confirm information given you.

First Stage: Facilitation Phase of the Helping Relationship:

The helpee describes symptoms. Helper suspends acting on evaluations. Helper’s tenderness emphasized, earning the “right” to risk conditionally.

In-depth intense thinking is stimulated through communication responses. Listening in prayer aids in this process as well. Try these communication techniques with yourself and as you speak with others:

· Summarize: “I want to be certain I understand what you have told me….”
· Interchangeably respond: reflect feelings and beliefs, “I hear you saying that you are angry that your wife does not respect your privacy.”
· Clarification request: “Could you tell me more about these feelings of confusion when you get when you are alone?” “Could you give me another example of a time when you got so angry you wanted to hit the other person involved?”
· Probing questions to clarify feelings, beliefs, values and assumptions: “Is that something you are proud of?” “How might you express your commitment to that point of view?” “Let’s see if we can figure out the assumptions behind that point of view. Were you upset enough that you really wanted to disengage from the discussion?”
· “I messages”: “I am curious as to how you dealth with that difficult situation.” “ I am eager to know more about your thinking on this issue.” “I am wondering about how your parents reacted to this news.” “I am pleased th know that things worked out so well for you.” “I am disappointed that things did not work out for you as you had hoped.” “I am concerned about the fact that you are engaging in unprotected sexual activity.” “I am confused about what you are saying to me.” “Could you clarify what you are saying so that I can understand more fully?”
· Low level inferences: “I am sensing that you were really disappointed that your boyfriend did not call you.” “I have a hunch that it was very difficult for you to be assertive in this situation.”
· A combination of techniques: “I hear the anger you are feeling.” “I am sensing you were especially disappointed that your parents did not tell you sooner about their decision.” “I am wondering if you took their actions to mean they thought you weren’t mature enough to understand the problem.”

Second Stage: Transition

Helpee defines the problem and accepts responsibility for its change, gently pressing the helpee toward recognizing helpee’s role. Helper cautiously and tentatively becomes more evaluative.

Third Stage: Action

Helpee takes appropriate actions to solve problem. Helper may be conditional (judgmental). The helper’s self-confidence and knowledge is emphasized.