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 3. Thoughts & Emotions

In my sit this morning, it wasn't long before I was drawn away from the soothing anchor of my breath into strong emotions of anxiety. It was all about what I needed to get done on my personal "to do list" before I could even imagine beginning my full day of seeing clients. 

When I caught myself pretty far down the list, ruminating over each item, I noticed body sensations of restlessness and agitation. I was like a pre-schooler who was wiggling so much that I couldn't stay in my chair--or in this case on the cushion. I realized the agitation was simply fear--fear of not being able to get it all done, and then, fear of self-judgement around failing myself or others... and so on. 

Amazing how the stories we create through thinking mind, or planning mind, create such intense somatic states that lead to emotions strong enough to pull us from the cushion -- to pull us out of the present moment that could be so full of ease, even serenity, or at least equanimity. 

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