Archives for June, 2010
There’s a wonderful surge that’s happening in the world of mindfulness right now and its movement into the schools with children. When I saw this video of what they are doing in an elementary school in Oakland, California I was blown away. One of the kids said: “Before a test, if we’re nervous, we just breathe, calm down and it sends a message to our mind that ‘we can make it!’ Wow, that is powerful.
There are a lot of reasons to feel overwhelmed right now for most of us. A difficult economy, natural disasters, oil spills, war, family drama, personal conflicts, among other things. When the mind is focusing on the negative details of life, it is practicing seeing things through this lens and a cycle ensues where we even start seeing the future with this lens. leading to feelings of anxiety or depression. Mindfulness is about being aware of what lens we’re wearing when looking at life, so we can be more intentional. The unintentional act of looking toward the future with a negative lens can really sap our motivation to make any progress toward a more fruitful and positive future. After all, if its doomsday, what’s the point in even trying? This is major fruit for procrastination too. I want to introduce you to or remind you of a practice that will help you intentionally engage your mind in a way that could lead to a more fruitful future.
In a recent posting Forgiveness Means Giving Up All Hope for a Better Past, one reader left a comment highlighting a lifelong experience he had that gives us some insight into how forgiveness really happens and its transformative effect. Robert described his experience so beautifully that it would do it injustice to paraphrase it so I’m just going to quote him:
There is a tradition on the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy Blog. Every Monday, I cite a quote or a poem that is related to mindfulness and psychotherapy in some way and then explore it a bit and how it is relevant to our lives. For me, quotes and poetry can often sink me into a state of greater understanding. So for today, here is a quote by Lily Tomlin: “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past." This quote is often met with either people saying “aha” or laughing because it is simply so true. When we refuse to forgive it’s as if we’re holding onto the past and saying “see past, I’m not going to let you have the pleasure of me letting go of you.” Meanwhile, the past is the past, it’s not happening right now in the present moment, or is it?
Many of us may not think about it, but fear of flying ranks up there as a very common phobia. Today I am pleased to bring to you an interview with Captain Tom Bunn. Tom was an airline captain and licensed therapist and is President and founder of SOAR, Inc. He has helped over 7,000 people overcome difficulty with flying. Tom was part of the first fear of flying program, which was started at Pan Am in 1975. He founded SOAR in 1982; and to offer the most effective help possible, he completed graduate school to become a therapist. He spent five additional years in training at psychological institutes, finally developing a therapy that has made it possible for everyone to fly. Today Tom talks to us about what the fear of flying is all about, how mindfulness can help, and advice for getting through your fear.
It’s no secret that human beings are social animals and with that comes a host of potential difficulties. We can be rude, obstinate, aggressive, impatient and sometimes just plain difficult to deal with. Sometimes when others are that way with us we take it personally and at the very least it can ruin our day. At the most, it can stick with us for years to come. Sharon Salzberg wrote The Kindness Handbook: A Practical Companion and in it she recites a story from the Buddha that I found a great lesson to help when people are being difficult with us.
Today I have the pleasure of bringing you David Simon, M.D.. David is CEO, Medical Director and Co-Founder of The Chopra Center. David is the author of many wellness books, including his latest Amazon best-seller, Free to Love, Free to Heal: Heal Your Body by Healing Your Emotions. His other popular books include Return to Wholeness: Embracing Body, Mind, and Spirit in the Face of Cancer; The Wisdom of Healing; Vital Energy; and The Ten Commitments. He has co-authored numerous other books with visionary Deepak Chopra, including The Chopra Center Cookbook; Grow Younger, Live Longer; Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives; and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga. David's books Vital Energy; The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga; and Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives each received a Nautilus Book Award. The Ten Commitments was the winner of the 2006 Foreword Award. Today, David talks to us about where the belief of not deserving to be happy came from, the fears that underlie it, and how he would guide someone toward emotional freedom.
What’s happening to our teens nowadays? CNN came out with an article recently quoting some studies that reported more than half of a 262 person sample being “excessively sleepy.” Apparently teens are only getting about 6 hours of sleep on school nights and 8 hours on the weekend? I’m among those who believe that nothing is a problem unless it’s a problem; however, I do know that sleep is the foundation for mental health and studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lead to depression. Who’s the culprit and what can we do about it? There’s a lot going on as a teen. In my own practice I’ve noticed an increase in anxiety among teens due to mounting academic pressures. I would say even more so than this is the access to technology without the maturity to know how to use it (which arguably we all suffer from). What do I mean by this?
There is a tradition on the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy Blog. Every Monday, I cite a quote or a poem that is related to mindfulness and psychotherapy in some way and then explore it a bit and how it is relevant to our lives. For me, quotes and poetry can often sink me into a state of greater understanding. So for today, here is a quote by Thich Nhat Hanh: “There is no enlightenment outside of daily life.” Here’s the thing. Going on retreats, vacations, taking time away from the daily grind is important and can help us deepen our connection to what is truly important. However, most of our hours are spent here (well, all of our hours are spent here, but you know what I mean). So here is where we seek the power of now. Here are 10 ways to gain freedom from suffering in daily life
In an earlier interview, Christopher Germer, Ph.D. explored with us why compassion is getting so much attention lately and how it might heal the prevalence of unworthiness in our culture. Christopher Germer, PhD is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Arlington, Massachusetts and author of the recent book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions. He is a founding member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School, and co-editor of Mindfulness and Psychotherapy. Christopher also conducts workshops internationally on the art and science of mindful self-compassion. Today Christopher shares with us the radical notion of accepting our difficult emotions, some neuroscience behind it, and a bit of advice for the rest of us. Elisha: You suggest something radical in your book, which is the practice of accepting our difficult emotions and even responding to them with compassion. Can you give us a practical example on how someone might go about this?