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. 
Week 2. Body Work.

Following Sharon's challenge as presented in her book, I used my body and physical sensations as an anchor in the second week. In our Monday night sitting group we had 90 minutes to practice -- first with the breath, then following sensations in the body as they arose. We also practiced a walking meditation together. Experiencing the rise and fall of each foot step on the ground... and the rhythm of the breath in the body. "This is how it feels to walk." Something as simple and natural as breathing... when we actually show up for it can be profound with so many layers of experience. 

I continued this practice on my own throughout the week. Noticed, again, however, that in the presence of others, the flow of mindfulness and awareness is more fluid. 

Mid-week, I took my walking meditation "on the road"-- out into the hills and onto the beach. Beach walking rocks: 

The feel of my heel touching the beach, 
the slow roll into the arch, 
supported by sand warmed from the sun, 
then moving onto the ball of my foot, off the toes... 
sand, gritty, wet, cool on first contact, now warming...
only distraction the sublime sound of waves brushing the shoreline. 
Again, awareness shifts from waves back to feet on sand, body erect along the edge. 
Different perspective. Being in the feet, on the sand, by the sea. 
Simple waves of sensation.  

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