Mindfulness Doc

Michele is a practicing psychologist who extends to herself & others the 
same level of presence she gives to clients-- exploring the positive changes that are internalized through a daily practice. 

This blog offers resources, reflections, & her work with Salzburg's 28 day mindfulness challenge to realize true "Happiness".

Doc M has enjoyed studying with Dan Siegel, M.D., Chris Germer, Ph.D., Trudy Goodman, Jack Kornfield, & Tara Brach. Sustained silence is her best teacher each August during month-long retreats and hermitage in the wilderness of northern New Mexico. In 2013 Kornfield encouraged her to start a sitting group in her community. In 2019 she was certified by Jack & Tara Brach through UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center.  
Day One of 28- Day Challenge. Staying on the Cushion: 7 Minutes, 7 Hours, or 7 weeks? 

In comparison to east coast folks (who may now be starting the second day of their 28-day mindfulness challenge), for me at 11:15 pm in southern California on February 1, 2013, it is still day one of what I refer to as the official "Salzberg Challenge". 

I sat for 7 minutes this morning before leaving for the office. That's right, seven minutes. But, at the office I managed to comfortably sit for eight hours compassionately listening to my clients. My hope in making this 28-day commitment is to extend to myself what I so readily give to others. Compassionate presence to oneself through the simple act of sitting in silence and breathing. I want to be open to exploring where this exercise takes me. 

Guess I have a way to go in staying on the cushion. Yep, day one here, and I got bucked off way too soon. Metta to all who are joining with me in this online experience. And a big thanks to Sharon for her inspiring talk last Sunday in Santa Monica. Sharon, once I walked with you; now, I will sit with you. And, through this blog I'll invite others to join us. 
Day 3. Off the Couch, Onto the Cushion

Actually made it out of my spot on the couch this morning to sit on my cushion by the hearth. When I sit upright with a straight, relaxed spine, I'm definitely more awake in my practice. Still, without the support of sitting with others, I find it hard to even get to the cushion. 


Despite my determination to sit before starting my day, out of habit, I walk out to pick up the Sunday paper. I fill my fresh mind with headlines about war and guns and violence. Mistake. Then, I hit the cushion. Following my breath, I drop in for moments of stillness; soon interrupted by thinking mind: SuperBowl Sunday. Hum? Ravens or 49ers? Planning mind: Food for the day, the week. Worried mind: Will I finish my writing deadline? 


I'm frustrated with myself, my inability to settle down. But, I stay anyway, returning to the breath each time I notice and name a distraction. I imagine I'm in the gym of my mind, strengthening muscles and synaptic connections I don't exercise often enough. 


I use a loving-kindness practice to center myself, "May I be safe, may I be happy, free, joyful, may I love myself just the way I am. May all beings be safe, free, happy." Before I know it, I've dropped into a concentration practice. I lose track of time, I've been sitting for 40 minutes when I next open my eyes to greet the new day. I feel ease, even hopeful about meeting my writing deadline. It felt good to be "out of time".


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