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Healing Art Photography and Fine Art Gifts

I believe in the healing power of nature. If we take a moment to immerse ourselves in an image of nature we will feel rejuvenated, renewed and revived. Studies have shown that what we look at not just affects our mood, but also how we relate to others and our attention to detail. So if your feeling stressed, run down or just deserve a break, look at the images under "Healing Art" and immerse yourself in them.
My new line of photo gifts enables you to have Healing Art with you wherever you go and also to give as gifts to those who may not be into wall art.

The photogifts include watches, clocks, clothing, hip flasks,keyrings, usb sticks, phone covers, ipad covers,kindle covers, cushions, cards, stickers and so much more. Click on the tab that says Photo Gifts to see them all.

I send out an e-newsletter to anyone who wants one, including a free monthly image to use as a screensaver or desktop image to help in your healing and to lower your overall stress levels. I also let you know what I am up to and include any specials or coupons. To subscribe please send me an email at jules@juliaharwood.com with "Subscribe" in the subject line.



About Me

My photo

Hi, I am a photographer & mixed media artist who has learnt the healing power of nature. I am also a Reiki master. I live with osteoarthritis & fibromyalgia, so live with constant pain. Nature & art have given me hope & help me to be grateful for life even such as it is. My desire is to help others on this journey and to help everyone to decrease their stress and increase their wellness through my "Healing Art". I have a blog at http://www.juliaharwood.com & my art is available for purchase as a gift to yourself or to others at  http://juliakharwood.redbubble.com/ I look forward to connecting with you & hope my images bring you peace, health & happiness in an imperfect world.
I also put out a newsletter each month in which I also give you access to a subscriber only section of my website. If you would like to receive this newsletter please sign up at http://www.juliaharwood.com
All my images are copywrite with all rights reserved.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Relief from Chronic Pain, stress and anxiety

Do you suffer from chronic pain, stress or anxiety?
I have just been reading a book and doing a workbook called Zero Pain Now, by Adam Heller. I wish I had of known this stuff years ago!!!


As you may know I suffer with pain from injuries, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. Although the regime I am on helps to control the pain, I was faced with constant breakthrough pain which became very debilitating. Since reading the book and doing the exercises in the workbook I have found that a lot of my pain is related to my emotions. This made sense when I read it because when I am stressed angry or upset, the pain is definitely amplified. 


But even more important, is that I now have a way to deal with it and that is not by stuffing it down or bottling it up.


Following the technique shared by Adam I have been able to release my emotions when they occur. I can acknowledge them and through his technique I can let them go. I have discovered that when I acknowledge and release my emotions my pain level decreases.


I am finding I am able to accomplish so much more in my day and I also feel like I have some control over the pain which for someone with long term pain, this is incredible.


By doing the workbook I have also learned many things about myself that I hadn't realized before.


For me this is an ongoing journey, but I wanted to encourage you to check out his book at http://zeropainnow.com/


I just wish I had known about this years ago.


This is how I feel right now, like a rose bud who has found some warmth and light and is just beginning to bloom.







Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lake Cave, Margaret River/Augusta, Western Australia

My Hubby & I recently took a few days out to go and explore an area only an hour away from us. We travel all over the country, but often forget whats on our doorstep.
Hope you enjoy the pics.






 These last two are a little experiment I did with light painting!!!


Friday, November 25, 2011

HELP!!!! Are any of you feeling overwhelmed with the silly season upon us?

I see so many people saying how awful the holiday season is because they feel they don't have the time or energy to accomplish what they want to.

As someone who suffers with chronic pain this is a real biggy..but for everyone I think the following will help.

Spontaneity is not something I can do anymore, everything has to be planned to the last degree. Although not everyone is like this it does help to break the holidays down into smaller portions.

1. Write a list of who you need presents for & if possible email them for ideas.
 If you have a large family a "secret Santa" is a great idea. This is where everyone's name is put in a hat and then everyone pulls one out & that is the person you buy for. Everyone gets a present and it doesn't break the bank. (if you pull out your own name, put it back and draw another). It is best to do this after you have given out the gifts for the year so you have a whole year to keep an eye out for something that might suit the person you are buying for.

2. Shop as much online as you can. You can still buy local and support your local shops, most of them have websites, so you can see if they have what you want and how much and a lot of them will even deliver. If they don't then use the phone and give them a call.
Don't forget gift vouchers are a great idea & don't need wrapping.
If you have a credit card that is part of a rewards program, check out what rewards are available to you, you may be able to get lots of your gifts this way.

3. Wrap one or two presents a day, then it's not a huge chore.

4. Putting up your decorations for Christmas, don't leave it till the 1st Dec and then try to put them all up. Start a week or two before and put up one or two decorations a day.

5. Work out where the celebrations are going to be held. If it's not at your house offer to bring something, make it something that is easy and stress free for you. If it's at your place then ask everyone to bring something so it's not all on you.

6. Try not to do too much on one day, if you have lots of friends and family to visit then make it over a couple of days, some on Christmas Day and some on Boxing Day or even have one side the family for Christmas a week earlier, a lot of people prefer this as they don't have to race from one place to the next all in one day & this is especially good if you have family that live a distance away, you can meet half way and have a celebration.

7. Don't make it complicated. If it is getting stressful and becoming too hard work out ways you can simplify it.

Remember the holidays are about spending time together, relaxing and having fun.

And I would encourage you all to remember the reason for the season.

http://juliakharwood.redbubble.com

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I failed!!!

My goal for this month was to write a blog each day...I started off alright, but now I have missed two days:(

So how do we handle failure?

My first think was to avoid the problem....but here I am, so finally I worked out that burying your head doesn't accomplish anything. It is better just to say, ok, I didn't achieve it this time, re-evaluate and go on from there.

When we fail to achieve a goal it just means we got distracted or other things took piority, so learn from this so you do better next time, but watch your self talk and don't let it be bigger than it is.


So on that note....see you all tomorrow!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Smile

Sometimes life is so hard we find it hard to smile, but if you can you will find you feel better.

If you are doing okay, remember to give a smile to someone & if they don't smile back, remember, it may be because they don't have one to give.

Here's one from me to you....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Verbal abuse is still abuse!


I came across this image on G+ and traced it's origin back to an advertising campaign on child abuse. It carries a very powerful message!!
Created By:  Advertising Agency: EuroRSCG Chicago, USA
                    Art Director: Puja Shah
                    Copywriter: Eugene Fuller
                    Creative Director: Blake Ebel

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Disability, Curse or Gift?

It was suggested to me to look at my disability as a gift given to have a chance doing what I am meant to.


This got me thinking, I usually look at all the things my disabilities have taken from me, such as an active social life, the ability to work and earn an income, the restrictions on my movement and consequently my lifestyle and so on.
But what if I was to do as this person suggested and turn it around and look at what the disability has given me. The opportunity to practice my photography, the time to get so much better at it, a mobile home to travel in (we only have this as it's to painful to sit in a car for long periods.) Freedom to travel as much as we want, when we want, to enjoy time with my husband, to understand others with chronic conditions and to be able to reach out and help them. A closer relationship with God as I have to rely on him 24/7 to get me through each day, real friends who have stood the test of time and an appreciation and gratefulness for the little things in life. 


So after doing this little exercise, it's up to me to decide if it's a blessing or a curse, it's all in the way we perceive it.


I am going to start focusing on the positives instead of the negatives and see if it helps my quality of life, will you join me??

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Are you an angel who has lost his/her way

We are all devine beings walking this earth, but sometimes we forget where we came from or what our purpose is.


This is how I see myself sometimes, a devine being come to earth, cold in a snowstorm and yet there is a beautiful ray of light and love reaching down to me from above, letting me know I am never alone. 

Neither are you ever alone, if we will just stop for a moment and feel the love that is reaching down to us, we will be able to go on, knowing that somewhere, somehow there is a purpose and a reason for our being and it is our job to remember what that is.

May heavens light warm and guide you.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Where has Christmas gone

This came through my facebook page, so I felt I needed to share it.I don't know who wrote it, but it is very true


Twas the Month before Christmas 

Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
Not a Christian was praying
Nor taking a stand.

See the PC Police had taken away
The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
The children were told by their schools not to sing
About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
December 25th is just a ' Holiday '.

Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-Pod
Something was changing, something quite odd!
Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.

As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.

Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
Are words that were used to intimidate me.
Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !

At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
and we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace

The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
The reason for the season, stopped before it started.

So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'
Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS, not Happy Holiday !

Please, all Christians join together and wish everyone you meet
MERRY CHRISTMAS
Christ is The Reason' for the Christ-mas Season!

If you agree please forward

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Remembrance Day

I know I'm a few days late, but I couldn't face this post till now.
Remembrance Day is about remembering all those who have died serving their country. I appreciate what these people have given us so much and what their families gave was made so much more poignant by the passing of Ruby. Yes Ruby was just a tiny dog, but she was part of our family. It brought home to me how much grief and sorrow the families of our fallen soldiers must have to endure. A grief that never ends. A hole in their heart that can never be filled.
No greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for another....this is what they have done for each and every one of us.
So to all our men and women in the armed forces, thankyou.

Friday, November 11, 2011

RIP Ruby

I am finding it hard to blog today, what do you say when your second dog in 6 mths has died.

Life seems so unfair.

6mths ago our little Amara got run over and then we got Ruby who was 7mths old to keep our other Pap, Louie, company.

He and Ruby had pups 7 weeks ago, they went to their new homes on Saturday and then she died yesterday.....why did it have to happen, why didn't it happen before the pups had gone, why do bad things happen to good people....all these things and more have been running through my head.

I know I can resist this lesson & it will be twice as hard or I can accept it even though I don't understand why. I am trying to accept, but it is overwhelming at times.

So RIP our beautiful Ruby
Ruby with one of her pups

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Treated Badly

How do we handle it when people or organizations treat us badly?

I recently had a case where I had joined a greeting card company when they were just starting out. I supported them, I advertised for them, I introduced other artists to them and then when I was not putting up lots of new work as I was unwell they "deactivated" my shop and then informed me after the fact.

I was upset, more at the way they treated me. I know that when one door closes another opens & I have already been invited to start up a shop with another company and I now sell my cards through my local art gallery and make a lot more than I did through the previous company, but it would be nice to have been treated right.

I have sent them an email, explaining how I felt, but what else can we do in situations like this?

I find my internal talk is the answer. My first instinct was to feel rejected and undervalued, but then I stopped my thoughts and said, to myself, they have actually done me a favor I am now free to pursue other areas. I felt a misplaced loyalty to them & that has now been removed so I can move on.

Many people buy my cards and my art and just yesterday I had a stranger tell me how awesome my work was and how blessed they were at being able to own it. It is these comments I will now focus on and move forward with no regrets.

When one door closes another always opens.

So if you are looking for cards, please go to Greeting cards by Julia K Harwood for a selection of cards, but also any of my images are available as cards, just go to my redbublle gallery, click on the image and choose greeting cards:))

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Handling Stress

How do you handle life when it seems to get out of control?

Today was a hectic day where I felt things were just beginning to overwhelm me, so I said to my hubby, "It's beach time"

For me heading to the beach and just enjoying the moment help to restore my equilibrium.

For those who can't get to the beach or anywhere else in nature I share this picture to allow yourself to take a moment....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Google+

What is Google+?

Do I need it if I have fb and twitter?

I will declare an interest upfront. I am on G+, but I am also on fb & twitter, so why G+?

I have found G+ to be a more interactive platform. You can still play games, but they don't clutter up the feeds, you have different circles for different interests and can post to all or limited, but the thing I like the best is Hangouts.

What is a hangout?

It's where you and a group of friends or colleagues can get together in one room via your video cam and talk to each other, you can plan events, you can hold teaching sessions or you can just share an interest. I have learnt so much and met some incredible people since joining G+

My advise would be to check it out and see which format you like best. My G+ profile is https://plus.google.com/105894760755439344491/ for all my posts, I also have a business page at https://plus.google.com/b/112360760974850124817/ Have a look and see what you think.

Would love to hear your feedback.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fatigue

Have you ever felt so tired you can't keep your eyes open, so tired you feel sick in the stomach, so tired you can't get your words out properly. This can be part of chronic fatigue.

The distinguishing feature of ME/CFS is a type of exhaustion known as post-exertional malaise, ‘crash’ or ‘payback’.


Many people with fibromyalgia also suffer with chronic fatigue.

One of the main things you need to manage this is to listen to your body and keep activity within your limits to avoid relapse.

If you are unable to do this then allow for recovery time after activity.

Taking time out to spend in nature, just being still, breath in  the clear air and let your body rejuvenate will help.
If you can't get out in nature, immerse yourself in this image. Allow the bush to heal you, become part of you and renew you.

Do we need Support networks?

What do you think, do you thing support networks are important?

I know that for myself, having a disease that a lot of people don't understand, that support groups or networks really help. Even if someone is just saying I hear you I know how you feel.

I wonder sometimes if the path we have to travel is to help us develop empathy for others. I know of people who have had very little suffering in their lives and they are often very unemphatic and I find others who have suffered so much and yet still have empathy for others suffering.

I have found I use Facebook and more often now Google+ to link up with others with similar conditions. Living in the counry there are no support groups where I live but via the internet I can get support and help.

Where have you found support for your issues?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Don't judge a book by it's cover

This is an amazing video that I felt I had to share. It shows what someone when given a chance can do. It really is amazing, you have to watch it.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150373441113934

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Friends for a reason

I am sure most of you have probable read this saying at one time or another, but I would encourage you to read it again and really think about it.

People always come into your life for a reason,
a season, or a lifetime.

When you figure out which it is,
you know exactly what to do.
 

When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need
you have expressed outwardly or inwardly.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty,
or to provide you with guidance and support...
to aid you physically, emotionally, or even spiritually.

They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrong doing on your part
or at an inconvenient time,
This person will say or do something
to bring the relationship to an end.
 






Sometimes they die.
  

Sometimes they walk away.

Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand.

What we must realize is that our need has been met,
our desire fulfilled; their work is done.

The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON,
it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.

They may bring you an experience of peace
or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it!
It is real!

But, only for a SEASON.

And like Spring turns to Summer and Summer to Fall,
the season eventually ends.

LIFETIME relationships teach you a lifetime of lessons;
Those things you must build upon
in order to have a solid emotional foundation.

Your job is to accept the lesson,
love the person/people anyway,
and put what you have learned
to use in all other relationships
and areas of your life.

I find it very hard to let people, animals or even things go and when they do it can be easy to slip into depression, but by remembering these words I am able to peacefully let go knowing that it is for the best. Yes it still hurts sometimes, but it just means they meant a lot to us. We can still let them go and move on.




Thank you for being a part of my life...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blog a day for a month

Today I accepted a challenge to blog every day for a month!

Yes a big one for me, but we'll give it a go.

Do you ever have days you wished you didn't have to get out of bed?

I do, somedays like yesterday, life is a huge struggle. I get up and put on my smiley mask and head out, but inside I am a crumbling mess. Everything people say or do either stops the crumbling a bit or exacerbates it enormously. I know in my head that I am being oversensitive, but it feels so real. I try to find things to do that I enjoy, but even that is hard sometimes. Yesterday I went for a swim, which helped, but then I felt miserable because I was swimming alone!!!

What do you do on days like this?


I have a list to remind me of what makes me feel better on days like this.

1. Put on some lively music
2. Go for a walk
3. Take some photos
4.Visit a freind
5. Play games on the computer or talk to someone on social media.
6. If all else fails, eat chocolate and then have a nap!!!


I hope this will help you on days when you feel down too.
A beautiful little blue wren who kept me company while I was taking photos

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chronic Pain

We hear people talk about Chronic Pain, but do we really understand what Chronic Pain is?

There are two main types of pain, acute and chronic. Acute pain is like when you break a bone and the pain is agonizing. Think of the worst pain you've had or can imagine and make this a 9. Acute pain is 9 or 10 level pain and is usually, hopefully, only for a short time until you get to medical help.

Chronic pain is pain that is there for long periods of time, like weeks, month, years and sometimes decades. Chronic pain can go from a 1 right through to a 10 but it doesn't let  up...it goes on and on and on.

Let me give you an example from my life. I have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. In 1991 I injured my back and it was discovered that I had HLAB27+ a condition which affects the bodies ability to heal. The result was that at only 28yrs of age I was told I would never work again and I would have to live with chronic pain.

I have done everything to counter that diagnosis and was able to return to work briefly, but then the pain returned with a vengeance. It was then that I was given my current diagnosis.

Over the last 20 years apart from a small period of respite I have had to cope with chronic pain. Most days my pain starts at a 2 to 3 and depending on what I do or the weather or stress, it can rise to a 9 or 10. (fortunately for me most times my pain killers keep it below an 8)

The feeling this gives you is one of being overwhelmed, there is no long term relief, and even max pain killers only give you an 80% reduction.

Why am I telling you this? Because I am not alone, many people who look fit and healthy are actually suffering with what we call the invisable illnesses. If you know someone who suffers from chronic pain ask them if you can do something practical to help. Apart from that, understand that they want to participate in life but are often unable to or often start out enjoying something only to have leave or stop because of the pain. But we still want to be asked and included. We know our limits and will say no if it is beyond us.

Chronic pain wears out the body and the brain chemicals are also used up quicker and so the mind struggles to cope as well as the body gets tired. Many people with chronic pain also suffer with chronic fatigue. This is because their bodies are worn out just coping with the pain before they have done anything at all.

So how do we deal with chronic pain. We read up on it as much as possible so we understand it, we join support groups so that we feel there are other people who understand us and then we have to try to find a way to still contribute to society and give ourselves a feeling of usefullness. Fortunately the internet has made that possible for so many of us. If nothing else, we can support others, but we can also learn from home, do art and scan it for others to see, do photography as I do or any number of other things.

So if you suffer with chronic pain I would encourage you not to give up, but to be kind to yourself and if it's a tough day, week, or month then rest knowing it will get back to a better level and if you know people who suffer with chronic pain, ask them what it is really like for them living with their condition and really listen to their response.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Winner!!!

Yes, I'm excited!!!! I have been announced as a winner of the Steve Parish calender competition and one of my images will appear in a 2013 calender. To see which image go to http://bit.ly/kDUZz6

Friday, September 30, 2011

Steve Parish - Photographer

This is what Steve wrote for his Google+profile and it rang so true with what I am about I had to share it.
“Educating others was my primary objective in starting the company. It wasn’t just about taking spectacular images, although that is extremely rewarding, too. It was about promoting an understanding for the importance of nature. The first step has to be to light a fire in someone — inspire them to learn more, inspire them to genuinely become one with nature, urge them to connect with it and to celebrate its beauty and diversity. Then let’s talk about saving it.”

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Take Nothing for Granted

This poem goes really well with our 365 day thankful project. 

Take nothing for granted, for whatever we do,
the joy of “enjoying” could be lessened for you -
We rob our own life more often than we know
when we fail to respond, or in any way show,
our thanks for the givings that are daily ours----
Warmth of the sun, fragrance from the flowers,
beauty of the twilight, the crispness of dawn,
and the crisp smell the fresh mown lawn.
Kind little deeds so thoughtfully done
Favors from friends, and the love from someone
given unselfishly to us, in so many ways,
Payment is not expected, nor words of praise -
So great is our loss, when we no longer can find
a thankful response to things of this kind.
For the joy of enjoying and the fullness of living
can be found in the “heart” that thanks for the giving
(unknown)
This is a tiny zebra orchid which most people never get to see, because to see them you have to really look for them as they are tiny and found in woodlands. How often do we miss the beauty of life because we fail to stop and look at what is around us?
Take a moment to have a look at http://juliakharwod.redbubble.com/ and add some beauty to your life. If you are looking for a gift why not give a gift of healing and beauty.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What happens to your facebok page when you die?

Did you realize that if you die, your facebook page lives on!!!!
Your family can request it to be memorialized so it becomes a tribute page and a place friends and family can connect and share their grief.

If the person who has died wasn't on facebook you can create a memorial page here  http://tribute.perfectmemorials.com/

For those who have lost someone to suicide then this is a great site http://www.childsuicide.org/memorialsites.html

Or even better, you can create a time capsule for when you do go at http://neverforgotten-px.rtrk.com.au

There are many other sites if you want to goggle them.



Saturday, September 17, 2011

Suicide the Other Side (Part two)


For those who know someone who has committed suicide, the other side....

Often when someone commits suicide we ask WHY???
Why didn't they talk to us, why didn't they reach out? Why didn't I see their pain?

Most people who commit suicide don't want to be a burden to anyone, they think they are making life easier for those around them by ending their lives.

Let me give you an insight into what it is like to be in this place, yes I speak from experience, but thankfully I am still here. Some of this may feel a bit overwhelming or confronting, but that is how someone in this position actually feels.

People with cancer are often given a idea of how much time they have left, an opportunity to say and do all that needs doing.

People with heart problems sometimes get a second chance, but everyone knows there's always a possibility it will happen again.

Someone with a severe injury is given support, counselling, retraining and understanding.

But what if something happens to you that is just as life changing but society and those around you don't see it or realise it's severity?

Often we feel as if we have no hope, no longer able to do the job we love, no longer able to be with the person who is our soul mate, no longer able to do the things we used to enjoy. Everything that is important to us has been taken away but no-one seems to really understand.

Constant pain, no chance of rehabilitation, no retraining, no support networks. Knowing we will have to live with this forever, living a bleak life with little chance of fulfilment. Some of you may say there's always hope and help if you reach out, but sometimes there really is nothing anyone can do and sometimes we really can't reach out.

Before someone takes this final step this is some of what is happening for them.

“The pain hits, constant and ever increasing, firing a bombardment of electric shocks to the brain. My brain freezes, stop, stop, stop. The only thought the brain gives is ways to stop the pain. I am no longer in control, my brain has taken over my body. The computer that is me has malfunctioned and is set on autopilot. All it knows is that there is nothing left, only blackness. I have to end this pain forever. My body carries out the brains final command and both my body and my mind are free – I have found peace at last!”

What the brain has failed to perceive is that when the pain ceased for me, it only moved from me to those who I love the most. Oh cruel, cruel mind, how could you have blinded me so?

My legacy is for my family and friends to forever be left with the agony of grief, an enduring sorrow. If only my brain had been able to perceive this it wouldn't have told me to do what I did. But that is exactly why no one could stop this person or help at this point, because the brain, the thinking, rational part of us has malfunctioned and the person does whatever they have to do to make it all end. To make the pain stop.

This does not mean there is no hope. If help and support are given before people reach this point then there is a much greater chance of survival, but just as people still die from heart attacks, a malfunctioning heart, so people still die from a brain malfunctioning. Unfortunately we are human beings that are made up of many vital organs and if any of these fail it usually results in death. The brain really is just another organ and it too gives out when it is put under too much strain.
This is an image of what it is like when our mind breaks.

Why have I shared this with you? To let you know that if you loved and cared for the person who has gone and you were there for them, then you did all you could. They have died because a part of their body has failed, not because of something you did or didn't do. People who 'suicide' in reality die from a disease just as anyone else, it's just the disease is of the organ that we know as the brain, instead of the heart or kidney or liver.

I hope this brings you some comfort at this sad and agonising time.

Suicide, The other side (Part One)

For those who have ever contemplated suicide, lets look at the other side....

Most people who commit suicide think that the world and their family and friends would be better off without them. They often feel they are a burden to those around them. If this is you then let me show you the real burden.

Most of what I am writing comes from reading the memoirs of a friend who has lost someone to suicide and talking to many others who have lost those close to them.

Often we are driven to suicide by pain be it physical, emotional or spiritual. We just want it to end. Our brain can't take it any more....but by releasing ourselves from pain we inflict it on the people who know us and care for us, for the rest of their lives. We often feel people don't care or understand, yet think, if you were dead, who would show up at your funeral. Even if it is only one person, do you want to inflict unending pain on them.

This will give you an insight into that pain...

These are the words of someone who has lost someone they care for, to suicide, “Please help me so that one day I will heal and that the agony will slowly depart. The feeling of emptiness that I feel is truly indescribable as is the intensity of my pain. I am left behind feeling totally rejected.
You may be at peace now, but the turmoil you have left behind is overwhelming. Your death has caused so much pain. I feel I have lost part of myself . Guilt and Fear live with me now. I have lost my self esteem. I doubt myself at every turn. I am no longer confident in many ways.
Sleep is impossible, but I try, I lay there and think over and over WHY???? When I do sleep it's always restless and I hope to wake up and find it was a dream. Of course that doesn't happen and the reality is pain that never stops and tears that seem to go on forever. I aimlessly get about the daily routine achieving nothing and getting nowhere. When you took your life you took ours as well.”

Is this the legacy you want to leave behind for those who care for you.

For most of us the answer to this would be, “No, we want to make life easier for them.”
So this is not the answer. Go and speak to a friend, ring your Doctor and tell him you are feeling suicidal. Don't be afraid to admit it. It is better to get help and to learn to live again than to cause all those around you a lifetime of suffering.

I have been where you are if you are thinking like committing suicide, and I know that no matter how much pain I am suffering or how despondent I may be, that tomorrow is another day and with that comes the hope of something good. I would rather endure my suffering than transfer it to someone I love.

I have also found that even in the midst of pain and suffering we can find happiness and love and hope. I speak from experience as I live with constant pain and yet when I take myself
Looking at this sunset helps relax and soothe me, hope you can enjoy it too.
out in nature and spend time just sitting watching the ocean or a beautiful sunset and I know that life is still worth living.

I still need to ask for help when things become overwhelming, but I know that the inconvenience that this may be to someone is much better than the pain and suffering they would endure if I was gone.

If you would like to connect with me I am on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/105894760755439344491 facebook at http://www.fb.com/Photography.by.Julia.K.Harwood/ and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JKHarwood/
I would love to talk to you or you can follow this blog.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How does Nature heal?

Many of you know that my motto is "Bringing the Healing Power of Nature to you", so how can I do that and how does nature heal?

Firstly I speak from personal experience, Nature helps to take us to a place where healing can naturally occur.

How many of you have watched a sunrise or sunset and been moved by it? Did it make you feel better about yourself and better about the day that had just been?
Tropical Sunset

For most of us the answer would be yes. When we see nature at her best, it makes us realise how big the universe is and how small our problems are in comparrison to it. It also takes our focus off ourselves and our issues onto something else and something that is uplifting and rejuvinating.

Studies have proved that spending time in nature improves our sence of wellbeing, our stress levels decrease and our mind, body and spirit and nutured. They have also discovered that even sitting looking at an image of nature will have a similar effect.

For me when I go out in nature I am instantly transported into the now. What that means for me is I don't have to think, "how will I make it through the rest of the day with this pain, life is so hard, can I keep putting one foot in front of another?" to "oh the feel of the sun on my back is so beautiful, the feel of the ocean lapping my feet so refreshing, the smell of the sea air so peaceful".
I can just sit and observe nature and know that all is okay in the world. I look at the flowers with all their beautiful colours and the birds that find the food they need each day and it makes me realize that if God is looking after these things that live for such a short time, how much more does he have my life under control.

No I can't stop the pain or change my circumstances, but for a moment I can think of other things and somehow afterwards I seem to have the extra strength I need, not just to endure life but to know I can even enjoy it.

I want everyone to be able to experience this, even if they live in a dirty city or somewhere where they never have time to find that moment with nature, so I take pictures of nature at her best and you can put them on you wall, on your computer, even on your clothing so you are able to let nature work her magic in your life too.

http://juliakharwood.redbubble.com/


Friday, September 2, 2011

Fibromyalgia and Stress


Research has shown that people with fibromyalgia have much higher ongoing stress levels than normal people.

Experts believe that people with FMS actually suffer from a malfunction in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) which is the body's primary way to deal with stress.

This then causes the body to secrete hormones that actually further impair the bodies ability to deal with stress.

Virtually any kind of pain is worse when it's accompanied by stress and stress causes a flare up in fibromyalgia, so you can see how people with this disease are part of an never ending circle of pain and stress.

It is imperative that we take action to break this cycle, even if it is only for a short time each day.

The ways we can do this are many and varied and usually require a combination of things.

I will give you a few ideas here. These are of course in addition to your Doctors treatment.

Gentle stretching exercises, walking, meditation, especially before going to bed, gentle swimming, cognitive behavioural Therapy (CBT) and taking time out enjoying nature.

Take time to gaze at Geiki Gorge, a beautiful spot in Australia 



If you have other things that have worked for you, please add them in the comments section.

JAMERRI ARTISTRY

Ths is a friend of mine and I thought you may like to see her work. This is an intro to her:-

Through my company JAMERRI ARTISTRY, I offer my original artwork, prints, note cards, jewelry, and other items inspired by my artistry. It's my goal to present my unique perspective of a mix of American and other cultures. In addition to my artwork, I offer interactive workshops designed to inspire others to use color in enhancing their everyday lives.

My JAMERI ARTISTRY FB page is www.facebook.com/jameriartistry.
My website is www.JameriArtistry.com


Sunday, August 21, 2011

What not to say to someone who's grieving

Have you ever had someone close to you lose someone they loved and not known what to do or what to say to them?
I have, a friend who has lost both a son and a husband. I found it so hard to know what to say to her and so I asked her and she told me some things that you SHOULDN'T say, so I thought I would share them with you.
"It's God's will, he knows best"
"You have other children....you should live for them"
"You should keep busy"
"There are other people worse off than you"
"Don't dwell on it"
"They are in a better place"
"They're not suffering anymore"
"I know how you feel" (unless you to have been through exactly what they are going through. ie both lost a partner to cancer.)
"At least you had them for x number of years"

But remember it is better to be there and say the wrong thing occasionally than to stay away.
They need you to be there. You may need to see them or call them every couple of days for many months.

Let people talk, reassure them that everything they say is ok and that they are in a safe environment. Allow them the emotions that come up whatever they are. They don't want to hear about other peoples experiences. They want to be allowed to be in their grief, to feel what they are feeling and know it is okay. They will often repeat the same story over and over again, they need to speak their story until they feel they have really been heard and till they hear themselves telling it. Then they will naturally move to the next stage when they are ready. You can't speed the process along. Even though you may want them to be back to their old self and living life again that won't happen until they are ready. they will never be their old selves, they will be a person who has suffered grief and will be changed by it but they will eventually start to move on with their lives, but they will never be "over" it so don't expect them to be.

You can say you are sorry, that you remember the person, if you do.
Let them talk and let them cry.
Be their friend, let them still be a part of your life, let them know whats going on in your life, even though they may feel sad that life is still going on for everyone else they still want to be included and be told about your life. But don't complain about things that they can no longer do, like buying presents or organizing birthday parties etc.  If you are going to events they would normally be invited to, still invite them. if they don't feel up to it, they will say no. Don't make decisions for them.

I hope this will help you through a difficult time and will help you to help those around you.



Monday, August 8, 2011

Photo blog of things to be grateful for

For those of you who are interested in the 365 Grateful project, I have uploaded the latest pictures athttp://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150188485753796.324325.135415283795
For those of you who don't know what this is all about, it is finding something to be grateful for, for a whole year. I have chosen to take photos of what I am grateful for. I encourage you to take up the challenge and also look for things to be grateful for.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Soulistry-Artistry

I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine:-
Here's what she had to say:
Would love to have your followers be part of the Soulistry FB page (www.facebook.co​m/soulistry)
Okay - short post ... I'm the Founder and Facilitator of "Soulistry-Arti​stry of the Soul" an umbrella for workshops and retreats and publications that connect spirituality and creativity. "Soulistry-Arti​stry of the Soul: Creative Ways to Nurture Your Spirituality" has just been published and is now available on Amazon etc. To read book reviews, have a look at www.soulistry.c​om/category/boo​kreviews

Friday, July 29, 2011

Rest is the next best thing.

What is rest?
Peace, ease, or refreshment resulting from sleep or the cessation of an activity.
Sleep or quiet relaxation. Relief or freedom from disquiet or disturbance. Mental or emotional tranquillity.
Most people associate rest with sleep, but you are able to rest while being fully awake.
Why do we need to rest?
A quarter of all women and a fifth of men who work full time say they are dissatisfied with their work-life balance according to the 2010 Australian Work & Life Index. If we are able to have time to rest and relax we are better able to deal with the stresses of life. 32% of people also have insomnia or sleep disturbances, so they are stuck in a vicious cycle. However you can still get rest and recharge your batteries. According to Dr Matthew Edlund we need four types of rest - physical,social,mental & spiritual rest. 
So how can you get rest and restore balance to your life?
You take some "Me" Time.
Physical rest can just be a 5 min doze, social rest is about spending time with people that make us happy, mental relaxation can include visulization and listening, and for spiritual rest we need to be present in the moment. The way I find to do this most effectively is to sit out in nature and just enjoy the moment, however if you can't do this look at an image of nature instead, be present in the moment and imagine yourself in this setting. Spend a few minutes doing this a few times a day & you will experience the benefits. 
This is what I bring to you in my photography and art, a way to rest & relax wherever you are.

Natures Window http://juliakharwood.redbubble.com/sets/149771/works
Allow youself to imagine that you are sitting in this natural rock window looking out at the vista before you, feel the warmth of the sun's rays and the cool touch of a gentle breeze, see the reflections in the water and allow yourself to flow through the landscape with the river. Take a deep breathe and inhale the scent of the bush. Take time to rest!!!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Whale Watching

Whale's tail as it dives.
Today I got to tick something off my bucket list....Whale Watching. i had always wanted to take a boat cruise to see the whales, but had always put it off because I didn't want to get sick. But today was the day, I took my sea sick tablets and yet I still ended up feeling quite green, but it was worth it. Sometimes we have to put up with a little discomfort to realise our dreams. I didn't get as many photo's as I would have liked, but being ill made me sit back & just be in the moment, something us photographers often forget to do. Just sitting & watching them without getting frustrated about the missed images was very healing & calming. They really are absolutely magnificent creatures. Here are some of the pics I did get.
Whale's diving

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Things I am grateful for

Man & His best friend.....just one of the things I'm thankful for...
I have just updated my 365 day grateful project, so if you'd like to follow it goto https://www.facebook.com/Photography.by.Julia.K.Harwood/ and under photos look for 365 day grateful album.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Dolphin magic

Many of us get great pleasure and company from their pets, but when we commune with wild animals in their enviroment, something magical seems to happen. It is as if these wild animals are taking time out to interact with us even when there is nothing in it for them. For me it helps to put life into perspective. Dolphins are beautiful creatures who own nothing and have to hunt each day for their food & yet still have time to frollick and play and even interact with us. I hope you can take the time to relax and just spend some time with them here.
I've got my eye on you:)

Freinds

Let's play

Hello

serene







Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Blowholes....dangerous but beautiful

We went to Quobba near Canarvon in West Australia and were facinated by the water being forced up through the holes in the rock forming what is commonly known as "blowholes".
This area is reknown for king waves which can suddenly come up & wash you to your death on the rocks below, but still we are drawn to the beautiful and the dangerous. As i shot this video I had Colin, my husband, watching ready to warn me if the waves even got anywhere near large.
Check the video out here http://youtu.be/6imUPEb800U
Remember in life we are often drawn towards things that are facinating yet often dangerous, but do we put safety nets in place & if we do, do we listen when they say Stop?

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