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Moving and sounding meditations

Moving you to where you want to be



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Lessons from Trolls: from the Butterfly Courage blog

Posted by [email protected] on 19 February, 2017 at 21:20



Being a mum of 3 kids, means that I’m regularly heading off to the latest movies with my kids. There’s been some stand out movies for kids recently. Two movies that are standouts for different perspectives on psychology in recent times are; Inside Out and Trolls.


After attending the movie, Trolls, I thought I would write an initial overview of my learning from the movie….


Encourage positive, respectful human touch across our wider community – especially hugs! (I loved the timed, hourly hugs in the movie.)

Have fun – by singing, dancing and having more communal activities. (Perhaps as a society we are forgetting this?)

It’s okay to be depressed, sad or blue, as there may be a reason for it – and if we look at the past, there may be clues. If you are sad or depressed, have others encourage you to join in!

Sadness has its place and can assist us to consider the other side of an otherwise awful situation. Perhaps those who are ongoing in their sadness in our community, may be more realistic than those who are blindingly positive and ignore reality.

Every person has their place in society and we need to encourage togetherness and working together on problems.


Please note: Whilst this is very simplistic about depression, Beyond Blue encourages those on their website to seek out other sources of support, other than just traditional therapy or medication.


Beyond Blue also suggests maintaining a healthy lifestyle, having good support people, relaxation training and attending supportive groups to be other options to those suffering from Clinical Depression. Therefore, counselling is only one component in assisting clients work through depression.

When it comes to looking at the human psyche, psychology, happiness and emotional intelligence from a new perspective, Trolls was particularly fantastic.


Princess Poppy and her father, King Peppy, assist the Trolls to have a happy life by singing, dancing and hugging. The Trolls in the movie are a colourful group of creatures that live, dance, sing, work and interact with each other in happiness and are continuously encouraging each other to do better.


Their enemies, the Bergens, appear to only ‘feel happy’ if they eat a Troll. So, the Trolls spend their time ensuring that they are not captured by Bergens and so long as this doesn’t happen, then the Trolls are happy – and aren’t aware of the dangers that lurk around the corner with the Bergens.


Branch, the ‘dark’, ‘depressive’ and ‘conspiracy theorist’ Troll character in the movie, proves a welcome relief from the never-ending happiness cycle in the Trolls community.


One day, Princess Poppy holds a party for her birthday. Her friend Branch refuses to attend due to his belief that the Bergens will find out about the party. Unfortunately, for the Trolls, Branch was correct. After having Poppy’s party, a Bergen comes to the Troll village.


This Bergen grabs Poppy’s friends with the intention of eating them later.


Poppy discovers her friend Branch has built an underground bunker, due to his concerns of a potential Bergen attack.


Poppy comes to Branch to ask for help and encourages Branch to house the rest of the Trolls that remain, so they can hide out in his bunker.


Poppy and Branch then go out in search of the missing Trolls. They have an adventure and get to know each other in the process, though in true Hollywood style, all Trolls come back in the end.


From this movie, what I was left with was – a feeling of togetherness, joy and authentic happiness that comes from helping others in the community, as well as encouraging all to participate in the collective outcome.


Ultimately, what makes us happy, is a number of different things.


According to research, there are three key findings from Dan Gilbert’s work:


1. We can’t be happy alone

2. We can’t be happy all the time

3. We can be happier than we are currently


Certainly, I came away with these and many more take homes from Trolls.


Renee's Youtube Channel

Posted by [email protected] on 19 February, 2017 at 21:15

Check out the latest from Renee's desk on her Youtube Channel


Mindfulness, Meditation and Prayer

Posted by [email protected] on 14 July, 2016 at 3:40

What is Mindfulness?



Mindfulness is awareness of your thoughts, feelings, sensations and processes in the here-and-now, moment-by-moment. It is being aware of how you may be feeling, what emotions and sensations are coming up for you and that awareness leading to an acceptance of such thoughts, however positive or negative they may be. Mindfulness encourages participants to understand that nobody is ever wrong with their thoughts, feelings or internal processes.


Mindful practice has come largely from Buddhist and Eastern teachings and has become more mainstream and Westernised since the early 2000’s, from people like Jon Kabat-Zinn, who largely incorporated mindful practice into modern-day psychology.


There are many types of mindful practice. You just have to have a look on Google, Youtube or other internet-based searches and there are countless ways to practice mindfulness.


Generally, mindfulness is seen differently from meditation. Mindfulness is seen as a way of being and being in the moment mindfully, and meditation is just one, deeper way of practicing being mindful.



What is Meditation?



Meditation allows a deeper practice into thoughts, and consciousness than in mindfulness-based work. Meditation often involves going into deeper states of subconscious and unconscious states. Often relaxation is involved and participants may chant, lie down, or sit still for a period of time for meditative practice.


Meditation can help to build your energy. Buddhists suggest meditation helps you to develop more compassion, love, patience, gratitude and forgiveness, especially self-forgiveness. There are many loving kindness and compassionate meditations that are practiced by meditation participants.


Meditation goes further than mindful practice to assist to clear the mind. Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts and your mind processes. Meditation goes further to allow your repetitive thoughts or ways of being to completely leave your mind.


Meditation involves a process of going deeper into your mind-heart process and finding yourself through that.


Meditation can be a way of connecting to the divine in yourself and others - a way of mutual connection to others, yourself and the divine. It is different to prayer, as prayer generally only one-way communication to God or of the divine.



What is Prayer? : Prayer is different to meditation



Prayer is a request of God or the Divine, usually directly speaking with God, Goddess or the divine ultimate energy. Meditation is being in communion with the divine. Christians and Eastern religions do this in similar and different ways. Though prayer is only one-way, as stated above.


Meditative practices in the Christian faith often happens by use of songs, Gregorian chanting and the energy of the church parishioners themselves. Buddhist teaching suggests chanting and ongoing, regular meditation by yourself or in a group assists with being in communion with the divine.


Prayer does not have to be religious, it is just a request of God, the Divine, or your higher power. It is literally handing your problems over to a source greater than yourself.

Guest Blogger

Posted by [email protected] on 18 April, 2016 at 8:25

Hi everyone,

Check out this blog that I was asked to contribute to: Our Body Matters.

Thanks for checking it out.

I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you soon.



Term 4 classes back at Lotus Wollongong

Posted by [email protected] on 16 September, 2015 at 9:35

I'm back at Lotus Wellbeing Centre in Wollongong for more Heart & Soul Movement classes for Term 4, 2015.

The dates are: Fridays - 16th, 23rd October, 6th & 20th November, 11th December

Time: 6.30 – 7.30pm

Cost: $20 per session or all 5 classes for $90.


The class is my moving meditation class: Heart and Soul Movement

You will learn the art of meditation without sitting still. For anyone, or for people who have trouble sitting or remaining still in a meditation class. The class involves moving, chanting, meditation and breath work. Learn a deeper connection to yourself and others.


I look forward to seeing you there!



New events and details for Heart & Soul Movement

Posted by [email protected] on 25 June, 2015 at 9:30


It's been a while since I've done some blogging here!

A warm welcome to those reading this news of the moment.

Some exciting announcements...

Firstly, I will be at the Embrace Life, Live Life Festival in Sutherland at Club East, this coming Sunday, 28 June from 10:30am - 5pm.

I will be a stallholder and a workshop presenter at this festival. Be sure to swing by at 11am to check out a free workshop from us here at Heart & Soul Movement.

After this, we have secured a workshop space for our 1-day Rejuvenation and Balancing Workshop at Earth Angels in Cronulla on Sunday 26 July from 10am - 4pm.

So, this busy beaver needs to get back to organising for the festival for this weekend.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Love & light,

Renee xox

It's all about quality at Heart & Soul Movement

Posted by [email protected] on 16 April, 2015 at 7:55

“Quality is never an accident;

it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skilful execution;

it represents the wise choice of many alternatives."

William A Foster

At Heart & Soul Movement the quality of our classes is definitely not an accident.

We pride ourselves on the hard work we have undertaken, to provide the best service we possibly can in holistic health.

Renee McDonald and Rebecca Thornborough currently co-facilitate Heart & Soul Movement groups in the Illawarra.

Renee has an Associate Diploma of Music, Dance Teaching experience and spent over 20 years as a dancer. As a therapist, she holds a Graduate Diploma of Counselling, a Master of Applied Social Science (majoring in Existential and Mindful therapies), a Your Healing Voice and Your Healing Voice for Professionals Certification and a Certificate IV of Training & Assessment (TAE40110). So Renee is also a trainer, group facilitator and facilitates training for would-be therapists. She has worked in therapy for the past 13 years - in private practice for 9 years - and in Heart & Soul Movement for the past 18 months. She has also been a regular attendee and facilitator of various mindful, meditation and movement groups over many years.

Rebecca comes from a dance background, with thirteen years of RAD ballet training. From her experience with ballet she felt the need to approach dance in a more holistic way. In 2013 Rebecca completed her Pilates Instructor qualification and has since been teaching the Pilates method for the past two years. Rebecca completed her Bachelor of Dance Studies in 2014, where she was educated in somatic practices and a more holistic approach to dance. To further this education, Rebecca started her education in dance movement therapy at the start of 2014, she has since then completed her certificate in dance movement therapy, and this year is completing her advanced clinical practicum.

This pool of extensive knowledge between the two of us, sets us apart from other similar holistic classes. Our classes will teach you different techniques that you can use on a daily basis to take care of your physical, mental/emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing.

We both look forward to sharing our passion, enthusiasm and knowledge in our upcoming classes.

Click on the 'classes' tab to find out more. We have adult and kids classes coming up this term in April and May.


New classes starting April 2015 - Move to the beat of your heart & soul

Posted by [email protected] on 6 April, 2015 at 9:00

New - OPEN - classes starting April 30 2015!

Firstly, a very warm-hearted welcome to Heart & Soul Movement's new therapist, Rebecca Thornborough! Thank you Rebecca for all you have done so far for Heart & Soul Movement!

Rebecca comes with a wealth of dance and movement therapy experience. Rebecca will be joining me, working with Heart & Soul Movement at all of our classes. Rebecca will be assisting and co-facilitating with me - to enrich your experience at each and every class.

And we are just about to start our classes in Wollongong!

We have secured a new venue and we will now be working on Thursday evenings in Wollongong.

Heart & Soul Movement classes are now happening from Thursday 30 April at the Old Court House.

We will be there at the Old Court House every fortnight on Thursday evenings, starting Thursday 30 April and going from 8:30pm to 9:30pm.

Classes cost $20 per session, or $90 per term (5 fortnights per term).

We look forward to seeing you there!

Blessings & take care,

Renee & Rebecca

Feel healthier and happier

Posted by [email protected] on 15 October, 2014 at 8:20

Would you like to feel healthier and happier?

‘Deep relaxation changes our bodies on a genetic level – for the better.’ (SMH, 2009)

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH, 2009) suggests that meditation is good for your health and overall wellbeing. This is something that has been known to Buddhists and other Eastern traditions for millennia.

So what is different about what Heart & Soul Movement offers?

Renee McDonald is a local mum, counsellor, educator and psychotherapist who has been extensively trained in mindfulness, counselling, psychotherapy, dance and somatic movement therapies. She has also just recently become a Your Healing Voice Professional, after training with Ganga Karen Ashworth. This makes a unique combination of skills that are able to be utilised in workshops that she runs.

Renee has successfully run Heart & Soul Movement classes and workshops over the past 12 months to rave reviews from her clients. These workshops and classes are an extension of these services and the kids classes have been at the request of many parents and practitioners alike.


Why Heart & Soul Movement?

You can be rest assured with Heart & Soul Movement that you will come to a professionally run, quality service, combining compassion, empathy, attunement and practices that you can implement into your daily life.

Renee is passionate about assisting children and adults alike to achieve peace and joy in their mind, body, heart and soul using her unique combination of intuitive, educational and therapeutic skills. Renee is also enthusiastic about self-care. So coming up this November, she is also offering a day of self-care, meditation, movement and peaceful rejuvenation at Lotus. In addition to this workshop, she is now offering meditation classes for kids.


Classes coming up....

Adult classes Kids classes

Self-care 1-day workshop Meditation and movement classes for kids

Calmly flowing into the silly season Saturday mornings at Lotus Wellbeing Centre

Sunday 30 November at Lotus Wellbeing Centre Commencing Saturday 1 November

10am – 4pm 10:30am-11:30am

$120 early bird special if paid by 4 November $80 for all 6 sessions OR $15 per session


Music, Movement and Mindfulness for Kids course launched!

Posted by [email protected] on 4 August, 2014 at 0:55

Hi everyone!

Last Tuesday evening I had the privilege of teaching to a group of childcare workers. It was amazingly beautiful! 

We discussed the basics of mindfulness, neuroscience and neuroplasticity and mindful practice. I provided a brief guided meditation that focused on breathing and importance of the type of breath in meditation.

In addition to this, I provided the basic theories of mindful practice, I utilised skills of working with music, sounding, how to work with toning and how all of these skills of calm, peaceful practice may be implemented with children at their childcare centre - to create an overall calmer feel of the workers and for that to flow onto the children in the centre!

If you are interested in finding out more about how I can implement a program like this, please let me know. I would love to implement this program with you as well! This tailor-made course teaches skills of mindful practice to childcare workers, or other professionals working with children.

So far, the feedback has been excellent and the workers can see real ways of applying new breathing techniques, mindful music and mindful practice in their work with children.

I look forward to working with your peaceful intentions!

Much love & light,

Renee xxoo