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 Four: Loving Kindness Meditation

In the vipassana mindfulness tradition there are various tools for concentration: 1) Mindfulness of the breath and or body sensation 2) Mindfulness of the sense doors or sensory cues in the body, 3) Mindfulness of thoughts and or emotions, 4) Metta practice. The metta or lovingkindness practice is the most structured or active other than a walking or eating meditation. I like it especially because this is the primary practice I hoped to experience in Salzberg's 28-day challenge--to return to myself the same level of compassion and unconditional warmth and acceptance I so willingly extend to others. 

For two weeks, on a daily basis, I have practiced the following phrase directed to others, to someone a stranger, to someone who has been a mentor or teacher to me, to someone with whom I might struggle, to someone I deeply love, and to myself:

May I be safe.
May I be free from internal and external harm. 
May I be happy.
May I be free.
May I be healthy and strong.
May I find joy in the joy of others.
May I live with ease. 
May I feel peace and hope.
And, may I love myself just the way I am. 

With this as my final entry, I thank Sharon Salzberg for inviting so many of us into this experience and for the invitation to be one of her bloggers and psychological consultants. 

May all be well!

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