Friday, July 25, 2014

Shafa Enlightens Delhi University About Social Work In Addiction

On Wednesday 23rd July 2014, four staff members and SHAFA’s director went along to Delhi University to present a short discourse regarding the efficacy of ‘the Therapeutic Community model of treatment’ and how SHAFA HOME generates social awareness of the disease of addiction offering much needed support and guidance to addicts and their families. The event was effectively a chance for SHAFA HOME to give necessary knowledge and insight to the audience of 50 social work students from India and  USA. The event spanned the course of the day in which separate speakers came to give their two cents on different psychological problems and the integral role of counselling within successful treatment programmes.
As the day progressed and different speakers took to the floor to lead the never-ending discussion down different tangents of thought, it slowly got round to SHAFA’s turn to present a well constructed and totally knock-out discourse regarding our alternative to the mainstream approach of tackling addiction problems. Our staff members introduced themselves and leaped into action by explain the different components that comprise the Therapeutic Community and how it allows the individual to disassociate from their deep-rooted beliefs to transform their self-harming behaviours into sensible and self-preserving conduct.

 The Delhi University students were deeply engaged by the presentation and even got a chance to watch some of our documentary videos regarding treatment. Judging by the looks on the faces of many it seemed that they did not expect such a conscientious and reliable supportive force from an NGO in the fight against drugs. People were impressed and inquisitive as to how SHAFA places primary emphasis on behavioural change rather than on only abstinence from substance.  The resounding answer? That recovery lies in a total personality and behavioural shift accomplished by hands-on action rather than empty words promising change. 

SHAFA staff answered the students’ other pressing questions regarding the day’s discourse. Topics dissected by our most senior social worker Ms. Sangeeta and the director included the complex and abnormal cognitive processing within the addict and how faulty thinking is healed and normalised over time by peer-to-peer therapy. The students’ participation and captivated expression gave us hope that our time invested in the event was a fabulous success.

Our staff went home quietly triumphant and wholly contented with the outcome of the day’s event.    We feel it was a true blessing to have shared our humble message of hope, strength and unity in the struggle to save countless souls from sinking further into the misery of addiction. We thank our facilitators at Delhi University for inviting us along to this smashing occasion.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Getting Under The Skin Of A Persona With Maheshwari Jani

On Saturday 5th July 2014, Maheshwari Jani, experienced behaviour analyst and master of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, presented her ninth session at SHAFA HOME, Delhi. Today’s session aimed at eviscerating the inner bowels of the human psyche to explore the formation of individual’s multi-faceted personality.
We were asked to consider what ingredients go into the blend of personality formation. From dynamic discussion we learnt how our temperament and behaviours are shaped by various intrinsic and extraneous factors like our environment, our upbringing, social role, our personal judgements amongst a multitude of other factors. We discussed how in active addiction, we had made corrosive and poisonous judgements of ourselves which had a knock-on effect on our personality. Since we rendered ourselves as ‘parasites of society’; we were unable to muster up courage and faith that we could behave positively. Addicts have a “broken” personality; but rest assured this can be rebuilt with self-love, time and dedication to behave differently.
Maheshwari Ji entered and briefed us with the day’s topic. Many residents were obviously quite pleased with the subject. At SHAFA HOME, our personal growth is heavily linked with personality development. Armed with their memories of the past, every resident had a roundabout idea of their working points; the clear majority knew what needed to be brushed up, modified and enhanced. The key question was did they currently possess the discipline, patience and heartfelt commitment to take the necessary steps? Yes, it seemed so!

Ms. Mahi fronted us with a fantastically odd question...were we monkeys, lions or owls? This was the first exercise of the morning. Based on a 1950’s psychological model of behaviour response, this task focused our residents to find similarities of character with the traits of these three animals. The key message conveyed was that an appealing personality type balances and harmonises different contrasting traits The purpose of this task was to consider the strengths and working areas of our current personality in order to acknowledge what areas can be improved.
An effective personality not only works on internal balance and adaptation of personal style. It also works on such principles such as ‘emotional intelligence’. We need to become ‘emotionally savvy’ i.e. being emotionally intelligent to express ourselves without offending others. Individual needs to balance their level of enthusiasm without bordering on hyperactivity, seriousness without bordering on misery etc.
After considering winning personality traits, we were then asked to consider society’s best orators. We discussed celebrities, politicians, actors, authors...and realised that whatever spark Narendra Modi, Chetan Bhagat or Rakhi Sawant seemed to possess inside them, we surely had too. The only issue is that it was simply a matter of rummaging inside ourselves to unearth that pizzazz. Social orators go through daily practise to hone their communicative skills. Ours were a little rusty to be fairly honest...nonetheless; it was nothing that a little practise couldn’t fix!
Roll on the second activity of the morning – The ‘Thematic Appreciation Test’. This test is used by Human Resource personnel in the recruitment process for the military, government factions, world-wide business conglomerations. Our residents viewed a series of six monochrome images depicting different scenes of life and different emotional states. They then individually volunteered to come before the rest of the residents and present a five minute discourse on what they felt was being expressed in the picture.
This fantastic exercise tested our resident’s speaking skills and creative ability. The way some of our boys eloquently expressed themselves honestly blew us away...many of them are astoundingly sharp, intellectual and highly inventive fellows indeed. Whatever they had learned in previous sessions regarding successful communication was certainly incorporated today. Their ability to engage and entertain us all was superb. Hats off to them!                   
From everyone at SHAFA HOME, our ongoing thanks goes to Ms. Maheshwari Jani for presenting another superb session for our residents and staff members!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Spiritual Rejuvenation By Pranic Healing In Kotdwar

On Tuesday 15th July 2014, three outreach members from the Yoga Vidya Pranic Healing Trust of New Delhi travelled to Kotdwar, Uttarakhand to present a two hour session on Pranic Healing to our eager and attentive residents. As you are most likely aware the majority of our Pranic Healing sessions take place in our Delhi facility centre, however once a month our dedicated visiting practitioners take time out of their heaving schedule to travel 250km northeast to our Kotdwar centre to give our boys a chance to experience that same peace, power and positivity that has been bestowed upon the residents in Delhi.
 A warm welcome awaited Mr. Kishore Vij and his charming entourage who had gone to great effort to create a super interesting and highly explanative presentation about the spiritual science. The presentation was coupled with a short practical session in which our residents took part in two highly integral Pranic Healing practises called “Twin Heart Meditation” and “Super-Brain Yoga”.
The session kicked off with our Kotdwar crew getting to grips with the fundamental aspects of this age old practise. They learnt how the spiritual and bodily rejuvenation technique utilises prana (life energy a.k.a “the breath of life”) to heal the entire physical body. They even had the chance to have their energy bodies scanned for any potential blockages in their chakras. When chakras and nadis (meridians) become blocked then ailments and illnesses can occur. Luckily, auras scanned and chakras checked...the majority of our boys seemed to be hale and hearty!
The PowerPoint presentation went into great detail to explain how Pranic Healing can completely rid a person of their physical and psychological problems. Initially as the session started, many of our younger boys were puzzled and deeply cynical that this was even a real concept...Sending telepathic beams of energy at an invisible point on the body seemed daft. For all they knew it could have been a sugary delight too-good-to-be-true, stolen from the windowsill of Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, sprinkled with some heady Eastern esoteric knowledge, heated up and served as an enticing spiritual pie. Rest assured, they took a bite of the Pranic Pie and quickly learnt that it was not just a figment of the overactive imagination! There was some sweet truth in the treat indeed. Kishore Ji emphatically told the boys how biological and psycho-spiritual studies have noted that the body’s supernatural ability to heal itself even when medical cures seems to lack effectiveness. The power of positive thought is the main force that permits this body and mind to regenerate in the way it does.  

Towards the end of the jam-packed session our residents encountered a blissful zen when they embarked on the thirty minute long “Twin-Heart Meditation”. This practise makes you as fit as a fiddle spiritually speaking and connects the spiritual aspirant to the Earth’s etheric ‘telephone network’ where they send and receive others’ positivity, good-will and love.   

All-in-all, residents gave encouraging feedback regarding the session. Many of our boys claimed to have experienced a tangible reduction in their stress levels and physical pain through the meditations undertaken. They also commented how the Pranic Healing sessions are a great addition to the SHAFA treatment programme and how they hope to see their continuation in the near future. Our warm thanks go to Mr. Kishore Vij and other members of the Yoga Vidya Pranic Healing Trust for their ongoing time, dedication and effort with our Kotdwar residents.  

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sending Out The Signal To Obliviate The Noise With Mr. Shree

On Friday 4th July 2014 Mr. Shree Kumar; experienced life-coach, renowned motivational speaker and master of EFTT, presented his seventh session at SHAFA HOME, Delhi. Today’s gathering was a free-for-all forum discussing a wide variety of topics such as the power of prayer, open-mindedness and emotional intelligence.The first half of the session involved our residents servicing their ‘inner TV’. To be very honest, many of us were a little perplexed as to how we were alike to a ‘metal picture box’, but we have always been reminded to keep an open mind in Mr. Shree’s sessions. A well functioning, healthy mind precipitates good, wholesome actions. We are like TV’s because we project a huge variety of different feelings and behaviours. Residents discussed how wholesome actions act as precursors for a successful and productive life. Our conversation progressed further; we explored the different components of our internal TV’s such as our antennae and tuning dials. These had been unused and have become rusty when we were in active addiction.  

Armed with our past experiences we have an active choice to adjust our “living frequency” in accordance with negative or positive stimuli. The beauty of the present moment is ability to make free and independent choices.  If we want our internal TV to show bright life-scene images, then we must open our receptivity to positive influences which will no doubt create the beauty we hope to see in life. It’s in our hands to make and shape it.
Mr. Shree then gave a short dialogue regarding personal responsibility. He emphatically reiterated to us how life is a succession of right decisions. Only we can differentiate between right and wrong actions in life and progress accordingly with a reliable value system. So what facilitates all this?...”Awareness and prayer”. When we open our eyes to reality and surrender ourselves to the guidance from a Higher Power, then we see the blockers and enablers to our progress. After all, “God helps those who help themselves”.
So back to the analogy of the TV set...when our mind receives mixed up signals, the screen is obviously going to emit ‘white noise’ and pixelated image distortions. If there is no clear input, there will inevitably be no clear output. That clear and focused image he held in his mind regarding his future from a young age lost its clarity in addiction time. Living a prosperous and fulfilling sober life is indeed possible. The person needs to be constantly aware of negative and positive turn the picture on his TV screen will be bright and visible.   
The session drew to a close with our residents listening to an old Hawaiian prayer, a timeless classic called “Ho Opono Pono”. This charming prayer highlighted the importance of forgiveness. We need to exonerate ourselves if we want to move forward. Whatever had happened in our tumultuous past no longer needs to cast an ominous shadow over our lives today. Of course, the past will always remain in our memories, but when we truly forgive ourselves, then our internal floodgates are wide open to let in success.  
All in all, this session was soothing and calmed our resident’s jangling nerves. It gave them reassurance that the future could be a fantastic if they took the personal responsibility to make it so. The key factor to the success of today’s session was Shree’s incorporation of the TV analogy in relation to the human psyche. This allowed our residents to exercise their mental visualisation and concentration skills, ensuring that they dynamically responded to the session. From all of us at SHAFA HOME, our continuing thanks and gratitude to Mr. Shree Kumar for these wonderfully insightful gems of knowledge.    

Friday, July 18, 2014

Reading between the lines with Maheswari Jani

Maheshwari Jani presented her eighth outstanding session with our residents at SHAFA HOME, Delhi on Monday 30th June 2014. The aim of this session was to facilitate our internal attentiveness to carry out correct behavioural response. All agreed that this topic perfectly complemented the teachings of SHAFA’s treatment programme in terms of considering an appropriate and inappropriate way to act behave. This is SHAFA’s fundamental goal in helping its residents.   
The first activity involved our residents playing a role-playing game testing their emotional-responses. Participants split into small groups and enacted situations where they had to depict their true and innermost feelings without actually speaking a word. This activity gaged whether we could successfully make genuine responses and whether others could accurately discern the difference between a ‘sincere’ and ‘fake’ response. Maheshwari Ji encouraged to take off our ‘emotional mask’ and express ourselves openly without the fear of being ridiculed. Residents were also encouraged to let go of the assumption that their companions would somehow ignore or misunderstand them. This second-guessing of others is a troublesome habit that addicts seemingly demonstrate. The typical addict is a great pretender, believing him or herself unable to be understood by anyone. This is a total myth! Last week we were fronted with the fact that 70% of our communication is carried out through paralinguistics and this game validated that fact.
Residents’ non-verbal communication superseded that of spoken communication. The breadth of expression demonstrated through paralinguistic communication is immense through subtle and overt body movements and positioning. This activity was then followed by a small game of dumb-charades. Members got into the flow of things and let their team-spirit shine strong.         
Members further explored verbal vs. non-verbal communicative exchange. We feed off each others’ emotional cues. Once we are able to sensitise ourselves to others’ emotional cues (thoughts, feelings and behaviours) then we are better able to measure out our words and body language in order to execute an effective and multi-dimensional dialogue. Communication is an art form. The aim of communication should be to acknowledge and respect the words and emotions of others. In order to do this, we need to keep an open, compassionate and empathetic mind. Once we fix up our interpersonal skills and learn to be more aware of how others think and feel, then we are all set to achieve positive, relationship-fortifying encounters and consequently communicate in a meaningful and harmonious way
We have to admit every recovering addict’s communication skills are a little rusty when they enter treatment, but rest assured, it does not remain that way. They become brilliantly perceptive of themselves and others. The more we open our minds to new ways of behaving and the more we strengthen our positive communicational response, the more relationships we will forge and sustain within our lives.Once we learn to respect our own and others’ boundaries and learn how to respectfully portray our intentions then we can strengthen our social networks.

Maheshwari Ji’s succession of winning sessions never fails to amaze and astound us all. It certainly perks our residents up and fills them with fresh insights and fantastic knowledge; further propelling them onwards their journey of self-improvement. From all of us at SHAFA HOME, we send our continuous thanks and deep gratitude for Ms. Maheshwari Jani’s ongoing time, dedication and effort with our keen residents. 

To view pics please click the link below:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Exploring the weird and wonderful world of our body’s beguiling biochemistry

On Friday 27th June 2014 Mr. Shree Kumar; experienced life-coach, renowned motivational speaker and master of EFTT presented his sixth session at SHAFA HOME, Delhi. Today's session was an informative seminar on healthy living. In recent weeks residents had learnt vast amounts of EFTT for psychosomatic ailments but now it was high time for us to consider the nitty-gritty of the human body.
Today’s topic areas included: The optimum diet for the human body and holistic exercise. The session incorporated spiritual knowledge among the body’s physiological functioning.
As the session kicked off, one resident enquired as to how he could ‘combat his tiredness problem’. Mr. Shree commented this was a common problem amongst those who over-exerted their energy, consumed artificial preservatives and did not keep properly hydrated. Want to be naturally buzzing with energy? Ditching coffee and red-bull helps! Fruit and vegetables are great ways to overcome lethargy due to energy-boosting minerals and vitamins contained in these eatables. Since our body is 70% water, it is crucial to keep hydrated. Water helps our concentration and eradicates tiredness, it also flushes the body’s toxins out...greatly diminishing the chances of contracting minor infections.

As the session progressed, many of us were downright shocked to learn paneer contains trace amounts of plaster-of-Paris in order to retain its firm, spongy consistency. Over time, consumption increases our chances of heart-attack and cancer. Meat and dairy products are a problem too since they upset the acid/alkali balance of the stomach. Excessive acid causes digestion problems and ‘eats away at organ tissue’ Mr. Shree remarkably also proclaimed it is unsafe to consume animal milk, since this milk is specially designed to fortify growth of that particular specie. For a human to drink animal milk may trigger abnormal activity in the pituitary gland which can attribute to unnecessary growth and height. To be honest, some of his arguments seemed a tad far-fetched.  
Mr. Shree has background learning in etheric body healing practises such as acupressure and pranic healing. As our resident’s know the etheric body’s interpenetrates the physical body. Intense, negative feelings are borne in the etheric mind; these sharp negative impulses disturb the energy balance causing physical manifestations, ranging from mild headache all the way up to cancer. Best way to avoid the nasty consequences? Adopt a happy, optimistic and calm frame of mind and perform positive and virtuous deeds. We should love and forgive people more and undertake no animosity.

As the session drew to a close, Mr. Shree taught us a technique to facilitate our awareness of our emotional and physical state, through feeling the heartbeat in our thumb...the rate of our heartbeat is directly affected by our breathing and emotions. If it is going FAST, it needs to be normalized by recognising the source of the Fear, Anger, Sadness and Tension that is cropping up.  Our residents were awestruck by the wealth information that was presented to them. For our residents, recovery is more than ticking months off the calendar. Not simply is it a restorative rejuvenation and learning journey, but also a resurrection...breathing life back into our lungs. A huge thank you Mr. Shree Kumar for his ongoing time, dedication and effort with our residents!  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Bite the bullet, get a grip, take hold of the reins and JUST DO IT!

During the last month, experienced addiction counselor and motivational speaker Neil Paul has presented three more “life-coaching” sessions at SHAFA HOME, Delhi. These sessions have adopted more of a discursive format than previous ones wherein Neil Paul focuses less on “lecturing” our conscientious participants. Instead he now acts as a passive ‘facilitator’ watching from the sideline. He has gradually encouraged the residents to take the reins themselves to generate their own peer-to-peer discussion regarding their recovery.
Neil Paul’s fourth session residents viewed and debated well-known recovery slogans and therapeutic community maxims. These included “one day at a time”, “keep it simple”, “this too shall pass” amongst a throng of other impactful and poignant words of advice and guidance. We were encouraged to think about the impact of recovery words (maxims) upon our behaviour. Neil Paul posed a question; “how do certain words manage to infiltrate our mind and shape our responses? Why and how do we become emotionally influenced by others? The atmosphere was lively and residents were chirpy to share their unique points of view. The next level of the discussion revolved around how residents implemented these slogans into their recovery and how. All-in-all, this session gripped our enthusiastic participants, allowed them to develop on their self-expression skills alongside their broadmindedness and compassion towards different perspectives within recovery. All in all, another successful movement forward in their mission of building upon their personal growth!

His fifth session involved an interactive discussion regarding the adorable but incredibly informative psychological short story entitled “Who Moved My Cheese?” a tale regarding the importance of adapting to new situations. The story involves two mice and two humans who live to seek out and consume their beloved “cheese”. This “cheese” is a psychological buzz-word for what they desire in life. The residents were urged to consider the applicability of the story’s message within their own life. What was their favourite cheese? How did they respond when it was removed? Residents were urged to reassess the priorities within their life and most importantly remember that new experiences lie ahead of them.
His sixth session involved our residents discussing their feelings regarding their recovery journey so far. This was undertaken in a senior peer-to-younger peer forum. Neil Paul gave occasional verbal prompts in order to steer the discussion down different tributaries of subject matter. Key topics covered teamwork, positive thinking and the applicability of TC skills in the outside world. One of our coordinators mentioned that younger residents let small issues eventually overpower them and spark a mental breakdown within treatment. Another key problem is that they don’t verbally offload their problems. This procrastination is totally dangerous!! They result in a massive backlog of unresolved fears and anxieties which block a resident’s attainment of personal growth.
So the hot question searing our lips was “WHAT CAN WE DO TO SUCCEED IN TREATMENT?” –It came down to one clear answer...”bite the bullet, suck up your apprehensions and just do it [treatment]. Do what is asked of you with blind faith”. After viewing a short story called “The Old Wise Man”; we realized that it didn’t matter if we were 92 or 22, in an old folk’s home or in a drug de-addiction centre. As long as we challenged our menacing ‘stinking thinking’ to vomit out our prickly cynicism and ‘smart-alecky’ probing, then we would find gratitude for treatment.

Neil Paul’s sessions have been successful reminding the residents that currently being in treatment is the best thing for them at the moment. They are continuously adding to their self-confidence, self-worth and positivity! The content discussed over these three sessions gave them an opportunity to consider the necessary steps needing to be taken to progress forwards. Our ongoing thanks to Mr. Neil Paul for his time, dedication and edifying sessions with our residents.    

Monday, July 14, 2014

SHAFA HOME stands tall and proud at the UN Day against Drug Abuse event in New Delhi

On 26th June 2014, SHAFA HOME proudly sent two of its ambassadors (one senior staff and one trainee-staff member) to attend and present a discourse at The UN DAY AGAINST DRUG ABUSE at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi. The event was hosted by the President of the IRS (Indian Revenue Service) and Director General of The National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics, India from Faridabad, Haryana. The event was a day-long series of presentations, informative seminars and question-and-answer sessions.
We were incredibly proud that SHAFA HOME (as you all probably know is a NGO) was selected to participate with other government-affiliated law and medical organizations at such a prestigious event. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our trainee staff member, she commented that she had never attended an event of such unequivocal importance. Meeting and greeting members of the national security infrastructure, along with high-ranking medical practitioners was beyond her wildest dreams. The fruits of recovery are indeed sweet for this optimistic young recovering addict!     
Behind all the pomp and glamour, a serious message was conveyed: “India is aware of this evil of drug abuse. The good nation will not stand by inactive to allow millions of its bright young souls to fall into the clutches of this disease, nor will the country any longer remain apathetic in its action to remove these demons.
The day heralded forward progress and a time of serious contemplation of necessary efforts. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated the event, commenting this was a “shining effort of India’s serious effort to preserve its beautiful nation”. Along with Shri Jaitley, three other celebs graced the event…Cricketer Virender Sehwag, umpire Mr. Hari Haran and the musical guru Adesh Shrivastava added that young people should get addicted to keeping their body fit and healthy and pursuing their creative talents  instead of drugs! Drugs kill the chance of a successful future. The Chief Minister of Meghalaya also made a guest appearance along with an entourage. This went to show that the Indian people are more than ready to unite in their efforts to secure our nation’s future; allowing the prosperity, beauty and integrity of country to be preserved for countless years to come.
Governmental and Non-Governmental organizations both have a part to play in effectively combating this terrible social plague. Our two SHAFA ambassadors presented their piece explaining why centres like SHAFA HOME are vital in the fight against drugs. Our confident women presented a convincing discourse and a video documentary on why our centre provides a unique and deeply effective treatment against the typical mainstream medical de-addiction option of addressing the disease. After their piece, the buzz and applause they received was immense. They were also presented with trophies for their superb effort! This gives us strong, infallible hope that we too will merge into national effort to preserve our country’s future.  

 As the day drew to a close, participants were thoroughly impressed with the breadth of knowledge which was presented. Without a shadow of a doubt, the UN Day against drug abuse was a fantastic learning experience for our trainees! Not only did they present a convincing and highly persuasive argument to why SHAFA HOME’s ‘TC approach’ is a much needed and unique treatment option in the throng of countless short-term, medical alternatives…It is high time that India pulls its socks up and fulfills its promise of swift and decisive action to research substance addiction and preserve the success of future generations to come.      

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Recognising, remembering and replenishing the divine love, light and beauty that lies within us all.

On Friday 20th June 2014, the charismatic and charming Mr. Shree Kumar graced SHAFA HOME, Delhi to present his fifth session for our residents. Today’s topic followed on from last week’s theme; the definition and search for love and the presence of God within all living beings.
Mr. Shree opened this week’s session clearly stating that these sessions are not simply a ‘TGI Friday time-pass’, they are offered so that the participants can further their personal growth within the treatment programme. He wants our residents to enrich and fortify their personal growth using these valuable EFTT experiences alongside their TC treatment programme. After all, nobody can force-feed us suggestions on how to live a happy and successful life...if we want to succeed it requires dedicated action. After all, recovery has no middle ground!
Today’s key topic was how we start to perceive the divine light, divine love and divine power that lies within all of us. Mr. Shree gave a preliminary discourse about the deep importance of perception modification; in NLP this is called re-framing and re-viewing our schemas attached to the world. Basically in simple speak – the need to start appreciating, giving and receiving love and stop fearing love.
If we seriously want to live harmoniously with each other, then its high time we stop the hating, stop the judging and quit believing ourselves to be superior to others. God doesn’t judge or hate, so when did us mere mortals have the audacity to think we have the right to do so? We are all equally beautiful forms cut from the same infallible diamond. A perturbed younger member stood up and asked “so that light shining inside you is the one shining in me then?” His response was met with a resounding “Indeed!” Brother we are all the same, despite our colour, gender shape, size or substance of choice.
Love is the liberating force that allows us to forgive each other for misconduct done to us. The highest duty we can do is to love, care for and appreciate our fellow humans and environment. Mr. Shree explains that as humans we have fed our minds with such corrosive spiritual poison, we have ignited our own funeral pyre...As addicts, we are frighteningly adept at burning our own bridges to reach safety. When we resigned ourselves to hopelessness, how can we move forward? In last week’s session Avinash vanquished his incorrigible guilt and shame to the EFTT practise, finding after countless years that he had the capacity to forgive himself. If we want to feel hopeful and happy, we have to send out those positive vibes – this whole universe functions on the law of karma - What we send out, we will receive back.  
Nonetheless despite what happened in our pasts, God works in mysterious ways. After all, He somehow rounded up all of us to coexist under the roof of SHAFA HOME right? We have been given a chance to do each others’ “seva” (help). We are all here for one common purpose; to help each other to recover from this fatal longer did we need to shut ourselves off from the light of the Spirit.
Bring on Mr. Shree ‘self-illumination’ exercise! As the session progressed, Mr. Shree went round all of the residents, saluted and embraced them...many grown men were reduced to tears from this experience. The atmosphere was indescribable...many experienced were moved to pure rapture whereas others felt intense embarrassment as they relived the past in their minds.
As the session wound to a close it was time for residents to spread the love themselves. Residents stood up and embraced their brothers with warm, tight hugs and sentiments of good-will. A specialised EFTT was also undertaken regarding the learning from today’s session.

Mr Shree concluded that we would learn more advanced methods of EFTT in coming sessions. When our residents heard this fantastic proposition, the wide eyes and grins on their faces spoke volumes! Mr. Shree and our ever-observant staff believe they are making brilliant progress reflecting from their enthusiasm.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Connecting the components of peer to peer interaction to crack life’s cryptic communication code!

On Wednesday 25th June 2014, the fabulously charismatic Maheshwari Jani hotfooted it to SHAFA HOME, Delhi to present her seventh session with our residents on the topic of establishing an effective peer to peer communication. The session lasted for two hours in which all residents and staff members attended the insightful class.
Maheshwari’s winning interaction style never fails to wow the socks off us... Despite the intense summer humidity, she magically roused our half-asleep residents out of their drowsy state and immediately set them to task! After all, we all know there’s no time for dilly-dallying in any of Mahi’s sessions!...The question of the day was: How can we best interact with our peers? Today we would be investigating how different components of linguistics (speech) and paralinguistics (body language) when coupled together establish an individual’s unique communication style.
The resident’s first exercise involved them writing a positive and working point for each other on the piece of paper pinned to their backs. The set up of the exercise was such that members would receive personal feedback anonymously. This ensured no resentment would be generated as a cause of the activity. Then after receiving feedback, individual residents were called to the front of the hall and were instructed to verbalise their positive comment with full intent, force and conviction. We could notice whether the resident was being true to himself through his body positioning; if it was square, strong and grounded, we could all realise he honestly felt the positive quality shined within him too. She then progressed to one-on-one consultations where she empathetically and compassionately explained how they could improve in certain aspects of their behaviour. Her voice tone was low, soft and caring. This activity greatly added to their self-confidence and empowerment. Maheshwari’s knack of engaging our boys is second to none!  
Communication wins people over or makes them run a mile from us; it’s all a matter of how we choose to conduct ourselves and relate to our peers. Do we want to be open and positive? Or closed and sullen? This was the first golden rule that Maheshwari Ji made clear to us. Our body language gives us away and it is something we need to be 100% aware of constantly. Prior to recovery, addicts have that unfortunate ability to repel people away by their mere presence even before they manage to open their mouths...This is the sheer power that body language fact, 70% of communication is done non-verbally and 30% is accomplished through speech. It’s a known fact that you can judge a person’s personality within the first 30 seconds of meeting them without needing to speak to them...armed with this fact, Maheshwari Ji set the residents to their second task!
We were asked to spread the love...everyone knows that free hugs never go amiss at SHAFA HOME! Residents meandered round the ‘Asha Grah’ and embraced their fellow brothers. Now, the beauty of this exercise was that it immediately obvious that emotional intents cannot be faked easily. A subtle application of touch/pressure (paralinguistic components of communication) can distinguish whether a resident meant his intent wholeheartedly or was being fake. Emotional intent shapes the words that eventually leave our lips. If our intents are false and flaky then inevitably our actions aren’t going to be particularly robust to our purpose either. For any recovering addict, a strong inside is reflected by his outward composure. For our residents, a key goal of recovery is establishing a honest and decisive mentality – making positive decisions then firmly sticking to them and carrying them out. To achieve this, their words and actions must synchronise in order to produce this infallibility of character. This is what will make them a success in the outside world!
Maheshwari’s following task involved our residents enacting four different situations; the first involved two friends meeting after a long separation period, the second involved the giving of mopping directions, the third involved a neighbour finding out his motorcycle seat got burned and the fourth involved a typical SHAFA senior-to-younger peer ‘dealing’. Giggles of glee resonated within the ‘Asha Greh’ as residents enjoyed in the theatrical presentations of our enrapturing and entertaining boys. They have incredibly imaginative minds!   
Behind the fun, frolics and “draamebaazi” there was an insightful message conveyed regarding the day’s topic. Receptivity, awareness and emotional intelligence are all very important factors which stimulate healthy dialogue between people. This activity allowed our residents’ sensitive streak to shine through and their aptitude at deciphering non-verbal and verbal ‘feedback’ cues as well as knowing what words were appropriate to use in each respective situation. ‘Perception of Position’ is an NLP term which describes this; healthy and effective communication requires an individual to regulate their body language and their speaking style (vocal modulation, voice-pitch and tone) as he or she consciously adapts to their surroundings and company.
The very fact that our residents are able to pick up on these cues and thus successfully fan and channel the direction of the conversation to the natural apex of ‘compromise and resolution’ is a fantastically positive sign of their emotional growth ascertained within treatment so far! The staff were resoundingly impressed and pleasantly relieved that their residents were slowly slowly gleaning something positive from TC life are implementing their newly discovered skills into practice.  
In the final activity of the day, Maheshwari Ji became the ‘Queen of the Jungle’; fearful roars boomed from this lioness catching four poachers trespassing into her kingdom. Our four boys were quite startled by her vibrantly vivacious vocalisations. Some were a little frightened to be quite honest! They had to reason coolly and calmly with the lioness. This exercise tested how well our residents could keep their cool despite being faced an emotionally uncomfortable and difficult situation. Reasoning, assertion and negotiation skills were examined here. We are proud to say our boys emerged as verbal virtuosos! Many of them have a natural flair at self-expression and a captivating penchant for words!

Today’s session was a dazzling success showing that our residents are indeed capable of successfully “assembling the components of peer to peer interaction to crack the communication code” through their empathetic, compassionate and emotionally intelligent natures. They shone like stars this, so its fair to say treatment is clearly working its magic on them. The way we communicate makes or breaks our charm and magnetism. Through awareness and willingness to break through communicative barriers we can aver our ability to fortify our social connections with others. From all of us at SHAFA HOME, our sincere thanks go to Ms. Maheshwari Jani for another marvellous and informative session! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Saga of a tenacious man ....Piyush ji’s 6th Recovery Bday

Piyush ji is a living and a prime example that recovery can move mountains and animate stones. It’s the sheer will power and tenacity to endure and be the catalyst to bring the change within that defines Piyush ji. His life is metaphorical of embracing the change ; that what a pupa calls the end of the world ...a butterfly calls it the beginning of a new life. 
On 28th June the residents of both our facility centres geared up to celebrate the beloved Mr. Piyush ji’s 6th recovery birthday. Incidentally the family counselling meeting was also to be held on the same day so we decided to celebrate the event along with the families of residents. Everyone cheered and welcomed a jubilant Piyush ji with a standing ovation into the Asha Greh. He went on to share his life story with everyone present. It really was an intense and quite an emotional journey for everyone present. The family members were so moved by his sharing that they could not resist hugging Piyush ji and wiping tears from their eyes at the same time. 
To quote Piyush ji “The addiction led me to hide in my shell and shelter behind painting my mind. I was too frightening to listen to a stranger and to egoistic to put my pride in danger. I had got demons in my closet and I was screaming out to stop it...thinking that life's begun to cheat me, friends are out to beat me. But in recovery I have learned not to let the tears linger on inside now 'cause it's sure time I gained control. To get my life back and on the road....” .  
Everyone then joined for the cake cutting ceremony and Piyush ji was presented with a birthday card. And in the evening residents let the music take control as everyone got on the dance floor. Afterwards the day came to a close with residents enjoying  a sumptuous dinner comprising of tandoori naans, chilli paneer and mouth watering kheer....