Nourish to Flourish

For those of you who follow along with my blog here, you may recall that I sometimes use this platform to work on upcoming practice related talks I’ll soon be giving, usually at my local sangha Be Here Now, as it helps me to plan out and organize my thoughts about what I want to share.  This time, however, I’ll be offering a talk to a group of volunteers with a local nonprofit called CASA, which stands for: court appointed special advocates. (From their website: CASA of Missoula provides independent, trained advocates for the best interests of children within the judicial system who are at substantial risk or have experienced abuse or neglect. We provide consistent, long-term advocacy until every child resides in a safe, permanent home.)

As I was asked to talk about the relationship between our energy output and our energy input, I’ve titled this talk Nourish to Flourish.

I’ve often thought about offering these kind of support sessions to volunteer organizations or in work-place settings, as both non-profits and many professions require annual trainings, continuing education credits or have wellness programs built-in. So, this is my first step in that direction.

Talk Prep:

I’d like us to start by having us all count how many breaths we take in the span of 1-minute. And we’ll try our best not to alter our natural breathing rate as much as possible. (Bring a timer and set for 1-minute – instruct folks to remember their number.)

Now, I’d like us to do 5-minutes of quiet sitting together, to settle into the room and this time here together, as simply a way to help us bring our attention and presence into this space and transition from wherever it is we just came from. So I’ll invite us to gently close our eyes and softly focus our attention on the sensations of our breathing in and breathing out…feeling as our chest expands and contracts….feeling as our stomach rises and falls…and noticing how we’re feeling, tuning into our body and our mind…(monitor time for 5-minutes, sound bell to start and end) (NOTE: I find that using the pronoun ‘our’ when doing guided meditations, deep relaxations, or in practice talks in general has a more communal and relational feel to it, verses the more common ‘you’ or ‘your.’ It is also has a less “preachy” or “instructional” air to it when I include myself in the mix by using the word ‘our.’ I mean, we’re all in this together, right? I’m practicing, too!)

So, let’s re-test our breathing rate. Again, for the span of 1-minute we’ll count how many breaths we take, without trying to alter our breathing. (Time for 1-minute.) Ask: How many people found that your number went down after the 5-minutes of sitting? How many people found that it stayed about the same? And did anyone find that it increased? It might interest you to know that the optimal breathing rate for highest functioning and good health is around 6 breaths per minute, with the medical norm around 12 breaths per minute, and the average adult is now breathing even faster, at about 15-20 breaths per minute. And severely ill patients have an even higher rate.

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This is Just a Drill

City Emergency Response Drill, Morning Prep

City Emergency Response Drill, Morning Prep

Yesterday there was an emergency response drill at the airport.  Community members were asked to volunteer to be part of the process in order to enable city emergency responders to practice their organization and skills in the event of a tragic occurrence.  The FAA requires every airport to perform these drills every three years.

The day was sectioned into two parts and a volunteer could sign up for all or part of the day.  The morning was designed as the Response Phase, where volunteers would act as victims of a plane crash, and the afternoon was set up for Family Reunification, where volunteers would be searching for their injured loved ones from the crash at the local hospitals.  I signed up for the whole day.  When I heard about this volunteer opportunity I was motivated to get involved due to having been active with the clean-up efforts of the local avalanche that struck a neighborhood in our town three months ago, burying four and claiming the life of one.  After that experience I figured the more I can do to help train emergency responders the better.

The Response Phase required us to sign in around 7:30am.  We were given cards upon our arrival that listed our injuries and symptoms and then proceeded to go through moulage, the application of scars and make-up to simulate our assigned injuries.  There were around 70 volunteers so this process took some time.  My card stated that I had upper back pain, a lacerated left shoulder, and trouble breathing deeply.  It also had my vitals listed on it.  Here is a pic of my fake wound:

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