Monthly Archives: December 2012

Happy New Year!

Wishing you, your family and friends a wonderful New Year! Let 2013 bring you lots of happiness, success, prosperity and joy. We look forward to bringing you wellness information in the new year to continue to help you grow emotionally, physically and spiritually. All the best!

-The Wellness Staff

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Winter Light

To be lost in that shadow
where the starlight could not find my sight
and the skylark dared not to fly
A place to me the coldest sound
spoken by the blackened lips of a fallen lover
words of remorse, hatred and callousness
And though the wind knew no breeze
and the hail knew not of soft snowflakes
blinded by darkness, I found my light.
A light so clear and true no mask
nor storm could diminish its joyous glare
stretching outward endless, resonating inward eternal
Within my heart it gathered to revelation
its core a faint but magnificent glimmer
that expanded, infinitely.

Enjoy the time off from the calamity and the time on with loved ones.
Take a moment, if you will, to relax with a cup of whatever warm something you enjoy and this wintry-video organized by ChiyoIshido:

Music by: Fridrik Karlsson

Categories: Audio & Visual Clips, Relaxation Space | 1 Comment

Philosophy on Thoughts

Even a thought, even a possibility, can shatter us and transform us.
~Friedrich Nietzsche

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Live your life as though your every act were to become a universal law.
~Immanuel Kant

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A Christmas Parable

StoryThe old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn’t been anywhere on Christmas Eve in years, since his wife had passed away. It and Christmas Day were just like any day to him. He didn’t hate Christmas, he just couldn’t find a reason to celebrate. He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.

Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up. “Thank you, but I don’t mean to intrude,” said the stranger “If you’re busy, I’ll just go.” “Not without something hot in your belly.” George said. He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. “It ain’t fancy, but it’s hot and tasty. Stew … made it myself. When you’re done, there’s coffee and it’s fresh.”

Just at that moment he heard the “ding” of the driveway bell. “Excuse me, be right back,” George said. There in the driveway was an old ’53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front. The driver was panicked. “Mister can you help me!” said the driver, with a deep accent. “My car quit and my wife is having baby any minute.”

George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold, the car was dead. “You ain’t going anywhere in this thing. Wait here.” George said as he turned away.

“But Mister, please help …” The door of the office closed behind George as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building, opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting. “Here, take my truck,” he said. “She ain’t the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good.”

George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. He turned and walked back inside the office. “Glad I gave ‘em the truck, their tires were shot too. That ‘ol truck has brand new . . .” George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man was gone. The thermos was on the desk, empty, with a used coffee cup beside it. Well, at least he got something hot in his belly, George thought.

George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered that the block hadn’t cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. “Well, shoot, I can fix this,” he said to himself. So he put a new hose on.

Those tires ain’t gonna get ‘em through the winter either. He took the snow treads off of his wife’s old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn’t going to drive the car anyway.

As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, “Please help me.”

George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. Pressure to stop the bleeding, he thought. The uniform company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound. “Hey, they say duct tape can fix anything,” he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease.

Something for pain, George thought. All he had were the pills he used for his back. These ought to work. He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. ”You hang in there, I’m going to get you an ambulance.”

The phone was dead. “Maybe I can get one of your buddies on your car radio.” He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two-way radio.

He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. “Thanks,” said the officer. “You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area.”

George sat down beside him, “I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I wasn’t going to leave you.” George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. ”Looks worse than what it is. Bullet went all the way through. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time you’re gonna be right as rain.”

George got up and poured a cup of coffee. “How do you take it?” he asked. ”None for me,” said the officer. “Oh, your gonna wanna drink this. Best in the city. Too bad I ain’t got no donuts.” The officer laughed and winced at the same time.

The front door of the office flew open and in burst a young man with a gun. “Give me all your cash! Do it now!” the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George thought he looked like he’d never done anything like this before.

“That’s the guy that shot me!” exclaimed the officer.

“Son, why are you doing this?” asked George, “You need to put that cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt.”

The young man was confused. “Shut up old man, or I’ll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!”

The cop started to reach for his gun. “Wait,” George said to the cop.

He turned his attention to the young man. “Son, it’s Christmas Eve. If you need money, well then, here. It ain’t much but it’s all I got. Now put that pee shooter away. ”

George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. “I’m not very good at this, am I. All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son,” he went on. “I’ve lost my job, my rent is due, my car got repossessed last week .”

George handed the gun to the cop. “Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can.”

He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. ”Sometimes we do stupid things.” George handed the young man a cup of coffee. “Bein’ stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin’ in here with a gun ain’t the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we’ll sort this thing out.”

The young man had stopped crying. With deep regret on his face, he looked over at the cop. “I’m so sorry I shot you. The gun just went off. I’m sorry.”

“Shut up and drink your coffee.” the cop said.

Sirens could be heard approaching, and then the sound of a car skidding to a halt out front. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn. “Chuck! You ok?” one of the cops asked the wounded officer.

“Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. Glad you figured out I needed help.”

“When you didn’t respond to a location check, Dispatch sent us. Who did this?” the other cop asked as he approached, looking at the young man with interest.

Chuck answered him, “I don’t know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran.”

George and the young man looked puzzled at each other.

“That guy work here?” the wounded cop asked George, as he looked him directly in the eye. George understood. “Yep,” George said, “just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job.”

The EMS that had been called arrived and the paramedics loaded Chuck onto a stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, “Why?”

Chuck just said, “Merry Christmas boy … and you too, George, and thanks for everything .”

After the others had left, George said to the boy, “Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems.”

Then he went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled a ring box out of it. ”Here you go, something for the little woman. I don’t think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day.”

The young man looked inside to see a ring. “I can’t take this,” said the young man. “It means something to you.”

“And now it means something to you,” replied George. “I got my memories. That’s all I need.”

George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car and a truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. ”Here’s something for your little guy too.”

The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier.

“And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that too,” George said, “Now get home to your family.”

The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. “I’ll be here in the morning to work, if that job offer is for real.”

“Nope. I’m closed Christmas day,” George said. “See ya the day after.”

As the door closed behind the boy, George turned around to find that the stranger had returned. “Where’d you come from? I thought you left?”

“I have been here. I have always been here,” said the stranger. “You say you don’t celebrate Christmas. Why?”

“Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn’t see what all the bother was. Puttin’ up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin’ cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn’t the same by myself and besides I was gettin’ a little chubby.”

LightThe stranger put his hand on George’s shoulder. “But you do celebrate the holiday, George.

“You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry.

“The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor.

“The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists.

“The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and will be like a son to you for the rest of your life.

“That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as well as any man.”

George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. “And you know all this, how?” asked the old man.

“Trust me, George. I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again.”

The stranger moved toward the door. “If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned.”

George watched as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that the stranger was wearing turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room.

“You see, George … it’s My birthday. Merry Christmas.”

George fell to his knees and replied, “Happy Birthday, Lord.”

~Author Unknown

Photos By: Larry S Anderson            License: Creative Commons

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Approaching Christmas

Christmas TreeChristmas comes around and I find myself filled with questions: Why is this holiday here? How did a holiday like this even come about? What is the point of all the hoopla? Do I need to be a Christian to celebrate? What if my family wants to celebrate and I don’t? Do I need to have a family to celebrate? What if I don’t feel connected to my family? What if my family is the cause of my suffering? How can I celebrate when there is so much pain and suffering in the world? Is there something deeper than a big man wearing red bearing gifts? Is this more than just shopping at the mall? What is the real message here? Why are we celebrating? What are we actually celebrating?

Historically, Christmas has its roots with the benevolent St. Nicholas, a man who was dealt a difficult hand in life yet somehow lived as a protector and helper of those in need. His wealthy parents died in an epidemic during his childhood and following the words of Jesus, “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist all those he found suffering, especially children. To learn more about the history of St. Nicholas and the origins of Santa Claus, click here.

Although this is a holiday based in Christian tradition as it honors the birth of Jesus, it is not necessary to be a Christian to celebrate. The essence of Jesus’s teaching is love – pure, unconditional love that defies all illusions of separation in the supposed differences that cause so much war. This time therefore seems to be less about correct identity and more about the gifts of love, compassion and kindheartedness that we can give to those around us and those in need whom we actively seek out to help. This seems to be what the spirit of Christmas is truly about. The Suffolk County Food Banks and Soup Kitchens list is a comprehensive directory that will guide you through different organizations which you can join in an effort to help folks in need.

If we find ourselves currently in families or relationships that we just don’t feel connected to, this can be a time where we can reflect on what the experiences provided thus far are meant to teach. We can inquire further, seek to understand and find both the positive and the negative influences in these dynamics rather than be consumed by the negative aspects. Everyone and everything in our lives provides us with the opportunity to learn something about ourselves and the world. Perhaps, a greater force has placed us in these families or relationships for reasons we do not yet understand. This can be a time to take a closer look to forge and re-forge connections.

If we are born into families that cause more suffering we must remember – we are not forever tied to this family and instead, we can choose friends, teachers and mentors to create our own family. If we find ourselves in abusive familial situations and/or relationships, this is a good a time as any to take the necessary steps to get out. If we find ourselves feeling suicidal as these times can bring out, there are other options not within our view just yet that offer better solutions. Follow these links for wellness resources that can greatly help during these times:

Use this time to move with the spirit of Christmas to help others in need and to help ourselves in need. Some quotes below for the spirit of Christmas…

 “It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.” ~W. T. Ellis

“There’s more, much more, to Christmas than candlelight and cheer; It’s the spirit of sweet friendship that brightens all year. It’s thoughtfulness and kindness, It’s hope reborn again, for peace, for understanding, and for goodwill to men!” ~Anonymous

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” ~Calvin Coolidge

“Let us keep Christmas beautiful without a thought of greed, that it might live forevermore to fill our every need, that it shall not be just a day, but last a lifetime through, the miracle of Christmas time that brings God close to you.” ~Ann Schultz

 “Christmas began in the heart of God. It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man.” ~Anonymous

“Somehow, not only for Christmas but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing the poor and lonely and sad, the more of your heart’s possessing returns to you glad.” ~John Greenleaf Whittier

 “When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow, we hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago, and etched on vacant places are half-forgotten faces of friends we used to cherish, and loves we used to know.” ~Ella Wheeler Wilcox

 “Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love.” ~Lucinda Franks

 “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all year.” ~Charles Dickens

Photo By: DΕΠΠΙS             License: Creative Commons

Categories: Green Room, Mind | 2 Comments

‘Tis the End?

Winter Night SkyIs the world ending? Are the changes we are experiencing planetary alignments? Rogue planetary collisions? Gaping black holes? Shifts in human consciousness? The decline of current constructs and systems? Our own deep-seated desires to see things end? The understanding of our mortality? A way to escape deep suffering? Whatever this is, one constant remains – a wave of changing human reactions seen from doomsday prepping to end of the world parties to deep states of meditation and everything in between this emotional continuum.

Scientists do believe that the Earth is overdue for a geomagnetic reversal that will take up to 5,ooo years. Is this that time? NASA scientists have thoroughly studied and analyzed the possibility of the Earth ending in 2012 and have concluded that December 21, 2012 will be nothing more than a normal Winter Solstice, meaning the sun will reach its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees (when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun). According to the Gregorian calendar which is strictly a linear solar calendar, the solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20 and December 23. On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north (Arctic Polar Circle) are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south (Antarctic Polar Circle) receive 24 hours of daylight.

Interestingly enough, the last day of the Mayan calendar corresponds with the Winter Solstice according to the Gregorian calendar on December 21, 2012. The Mayan Calendar consists of three separate corresponding calendars, the Long Count, the Tzolkin (divine calendar) and the Haab (civil calendar). These three calendars are used simultaneously and here, time is seen as cyclical where a set number of days must occur before a new cycle can begin. This is the 5,000 year cycle. The Mayan calendar in its essence points to change – what is this change? Now that is left to human interpretation triggering human emotional reactions as the lens of the mind interprets and creates our current realities.

There are so many theories out there all suggesting various views and explanations yet they all have one thing in common – change is upon us as the Winter Solstice transitions in. So besides the technical aspects of the Winter Solstice, what else does Winter have to offer?

Winter can offer us the opportunity to withdraw and seek solitude to reflect and contemplate our lives. Who are we? Why are we are here? What is our purpose? How are we living? Do we need to change? What do we need to change? What needs to stay the same? What do we need to accept? What do we need to let go of? What is in our control? What is out of our control? What is Truth? What is Time? What is Space? Are we a microcosm of the macrocosm? These questions seek answers, answers that lie dormant within us and can only be reached through quietude. Winter holds this sacred space for exploration. These are but a few questions that when revealed can greatly impact our lives and therefore the lives of others. If this a time for anything, it is a time to look within ourselves, for the changes of the world that we have influence over start with the Self. The rest of the climatic changes that happen are external and beyond our control.

May the pinterest-button board on Winter Therapy serve as an inward jumping point to explore the landscapes that are moving us consciously and unconsciously…

Photo By: Dave Morrow        License: Creative Commons

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Happy Holidays & Happy New Year!

4111276817_5187e0b6d9_qWishing you and your loved ones a wonderful Holiday season and happy New Year filled with love, happiness and health.  We thank all of you for your continuous support of the wellness blog, and look forward to sharing more of our wisdom in the new year!

Photo by: gurdonark on Flickr             License: Creative Commons

Categories: Reflections | 1 Comment

Counseling Center (BK) Hours

Many students, some at the urging of faculty and staff, have come to the Counseling Center over the past few weeks to address depression, anxiety, frustration and anger in response to the aftermath of Hurricane  Sandy and it’s negative impact on many aspects of their lives.

If you are concerned about a student who is exhibiting signs of anger, aggression, sadness, or anxiety, please refer them to our Counseling Center by having them call 718-940-5853 to schedule an initial appointment. We will be available to students during intercession on Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 10am to 3pm.  Once the spring semester resumes, our regular office hours will be Mon., Tues., Wed., and Fri. 9 a.m.-4p.m. and Thurs. 9a.m.-7p.m.. 

The following is a list of mental health resources that are also available to you, friends and family members:

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene-1-800-LIFENET is a free, confidential help line for New York City residents. You can call 24 hours per day/7 days per week. The hotline’s staff of trained mental health professionals help callers find mental health and substance abuse services.

Mental Health Association of New York CityDisaster Distress Helpline1-800-985-5990 (available 24/7).

National Mental Health Association-1800-273-TALK

21 Things You Can Do While You’re Living Through a Traumatic Experience

Thank you again, and on behalf of the Office of Career Development, Wellness and Disability Services, Happy Holidays to you and your families.

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Science and Spirituality

We have discovered breakthroughs in physics, breakthroughs in technology, breakthroughs in medicine; but what of our minds? Ancient philosophers attempted to grasp the greater questions through logic based around the perceivable. Mathematics, for example, was created to defend ideas of quantity and comparison. Great thinkers developed entire systems for math, technology, medicine, with the focus on proving a foundation to sustain their attempts to grasp what it is “to be.” This can be seen as searching for a reality of self; seeking spirituality.

At the time these thinkers had limited technology, understanding of the cosmos, and foundation to ground their challenging questions. Around the time of Aristotle, for example, it was thought that the Sun was the center of the universe. Imagine how far Plato or later Newton and daVinci could have gotten with the modern conception of Einstein’s energy to mass equation, Schrodenger’s quantum mechanics, string theory? How far they could have delved into understanding with the invention of lasers, brain-scans, ultrasensitive microscopes that can spot an atom, and telescopes that can spot a galaxy billions of miles away.

It is here that we realize technology and science have been developed out of the quest to discover the unknown. At the cusp of scientific evolution, we seek its original purpose. We can use what we understand of “The Big Bang Theory,” Relativity, the human brain through explorations in psychology. In doing so, the collective whole, with positive intention, can reshape the course of human development.
Jeff Lieberman of MIT and host of Discovery Channel’s “Time Warp,” discussed such an idea at a “TED talks” conference:

Categories: Green Room, Spirit | 3 Comments

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