Friday, December 19, 2014

Ahh, end of term and off to the warm beaches

Yes!  I am flying away to the big island tomorrow.  I have never been to Hawaii and not only am I going to this beautiful place, I am going to a yoga retreat.

What a wonderful way to heal from the continuous stresses of the now ending semester.  Sometimes the therapist truly must take good care of herself.

A week of quiet, healing yoga practices in one of natures most wonderful gifts will serve well to set me back on the path to being ready for another new year.

I am sending positive energy and good thoughts to everyone as we head into 2015.  I encourage myself to think kind and loving thoughts to move me into strength in the new year.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Seasons of California

It has been hot and beautiful.  The wind keeps the air moving - it's possible to forget all the external stressors - drought and fracking and the monster SUVs that make walking the dog a real challenge.

These beautiful days as California changes seasons are part of the reason we come to California.  And, yes, there are season changes.  It's a very subtle change that requires close observation.  The air smells different and the light changes.

When I first arrived, I experienced an odor that has become, an indication of the seasons - the heat of the summer produces an almost mechanical odor mixed with scents of greenery.  When autumn arrives the scent is another blend of crisp green as well as the scent of drying leaves. 

Immersing myself in this change requires a total awareness.  The changes of weather in the east make acknowledging these changes simpler - the falling leaves and the changing colors - while in California recognizing these seasonal changes demand a focus and total awareness - a wonderful lesson in mindfulness: observe, describe and participate.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Another new Year

In two weeks the year 5774 will end!

The Jewish Calendar begins with the harvest and the gathering of all the energies of the year so that we can not only assess the year that is just being completed and also look forward.

How can we better prepare ourselves for both our material growth - growing in relationships and in the skills we show to the world around us and our spiritual growth.

Taking time to acknowledge adventures of the year just ending and making way for the awarenesses we bring forward is powerful.  These days before the new year can  set in motion the tone for what is to come in 5775.

During the next few days I must maintain an awareness of what was satisfying in the activities of the past months and what will be necessary for me to discard in the year ahead.

Change is what life is about: change is inevitable, growth is optional.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Arrgh! Another Password nightmare

Sigh.  Finally I'm back - even with all the obstacles to my talking about the challenges, joys and even small steps forward in this deep morass of technical challenges.

It's been a very satisfying Summer and now, moving into the third week of school, it is going to be a rich and challenging semester.  I love that I am being forced to learn a whole 'nother body of tools for supporting my clients.

Now, in the midst of enhancing my skills for a younger group of clients, I am getting to share this experience with my students.

It's so important to keep the neuropathways oiled and challenged - just another means of staving off diminishing intellectual brain power.

More pushups for the brain.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Luscious Summer dishes

The tomatoes are reaching their peak.  The aroma of melons surrounds fruit stands and the tree ripened peaches reach out to me from each bin along my path. 

The stimulation of these smells and sights brings visions of gazpacho made with those yellow tomatoes and Persian cucumbers and the red onions.  Maybe a peach ice cream or even a plum tart - this is that time of year when walking through the farmers market is the adventure of August's bounty. 

Last December I took cooking classes in Vietnam.  My first Wednesday back in LA I went to the farmers market in Santa Monica and found ingredients I had used in Saigon and Hoian and Hanoi!  What a delight to learn that I could reproduce those dishes right here in LA.

Sunday's exploration of my neighborhood market brings me back to the richness of California farms and triggers pictures of the lovely dishes I've cooked in other parts of this world.

Surviving Summer Heat

All the thoughts of the easy, sunny days at the beach or hiking in the mountains are just lovely images for self-employed people.  Additionally the idea that woring for myself offers flexible time for vacation or even a massage is another myth with which I have been living this season.

I am teaching on-line from 10 am until 3:30 on Tuesdays (Pacific) then on Wednesday and Thursday I am in my private practice office while on Friday I am back on-line.  On Saturday I'm back in my office.  Busy is something of an understatement.  So what am I doing to get through this summer with a bit of sanity in place???

Mindfulness.  Yes.  Everyone can benefit from a bit of quiet breathing.  It may be boring to hear the same idea so often AND it works.  Sadly I don't have time to do the above described hiking or laying in the sun.  On the other hand, I am making time to sit five and six times a week. 

Here's a powerful and quick tool to help you get through your own impending Fall stress: 
Stop what you are doing (fixing breakfast, changing a diaper).
Take a deep, gentle breath, take another
Observe how you feel, your thoughts, just observe.
Proceed with what you are doing and hold the refreshed state of mind.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Integrity, truth, honesty

So here's the real issue: in learning the DBT skills I am teaching my clients, integrity is a fundamental quality everyone should adopt and I feel strongly that I am dealing with some issues of honesty.

The questions I hope my clients will address are the importance of being honest with oneself even if they are not happy with the information they confront. 

Integrity is a really precious commodity that many people do not understand.  I feel strongly that in order to manage the vulnerability we all carry, we must practice telling ourselves the truth.

My task now is to communicate the power of being honest with ourselves and being willing to take responsibility for this condition.  How can we consider ourselves reliable, trustworthy people if we are unable to be truthful and even more, if we are unable to be truthful with ourselves.

These are important concepts that we cannot expect other people to practice, if we are unable to practice them ourselves.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Back to the Password

I have finally uncovered the really weird reason Google will not permit me to change the password and thus easy access to this blog:

They don't believe the e-mail to which this blog was originally connected no longer exists.

Google thinks in order to protect my identity, it must carve that old e-mail address in stone and thus NEVER change it!

So I am stuck back in the early 21st century with a non-existent e-mail address while everyone with whom I would like to share these posts are connecting to blogs generated from sites that are alive and well in 2014.

Watch the steam rise from my frustrated self.  Breath.  It's Mercury retrograde.  Sigh.

Mercury retrograde or mindfulness?

Summer craziness and on top of all of that Mercury is retrograde.  Okay, astrology isn't for everyone, but this little condition does remind me to slow down and let go of the frustration of not getting everything completed right this minute.

If I hadn't spent so many years with my ex who was an astrologer, I wouldn't spend so much time thinking about the stars.  It does help to put the glitches and confusion of daily life off on some other condition than my lack of mindfulness.

And there's the real issue - staying focused on the present, doing one task at a time and reminding myself to take a deep breath before I make a decision are the actions I must practice.

It's so hard to let go of all those issues over which I have NO influence.  So the real work is to remind myself of Radical Acceptance - change the things I can, let go of those things I cannot change and recognize the difference between the two.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Great in Uniform

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

what a chaotic time

Good and challenging

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Whew - I got it ALL done

Well not quite - I must still pack!  I got the preparation for both classes, the proposal and the tedious e-mail including the boarding pass managed.

The packing could be a real problem - it's just Massachusetts in March meaning it's colder than a  - - - so I'll have to take my long underwear.  And then I have to remember all the work to do for the two classes I'll teach on line on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. 

Even with this lovely event - more DBT training - Life goes on.  The classes still happen and I have to take care of my commitments.  Sometimes reality rears it's unattractive head.

Now I'm just reminding myself about packing the charger for the cell phone and the one for the computer and the documents for the classes and something to sleep in and hand cream and . . .

After I actually get onto the plane I may breathe a sigh of relief.  Meanwhile, I'm close to flying away from  home.  I miss Jack - he's at his spa.  I'm surprised that I am missing him - he is NOT Ralph.

My advice to me: breathe.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

So why all these password obstacles?

Here's the real reason I can't write here as much as I should:  I am password challenged.

I thought I had solved all the issues when I uncovered the way Google has hidden access to  my blog - they set it up under an e-mail address that hasn't existed for almost two years!

Now I want to sign in and blow off steam about having too  much to do and NO time.

All of the preambling is providing insight into why I must take my breaks and get another mindfulness session scheduled.  I will stop and do a yoga practice and I will aim to get some sleep - tomorrow is another jammed day - appointment in W. Hollywood, then must be back at my phone to participate in a call-in show on suicide in the military and then teach on-line and then see a client - I'm tired just describing it.

So here's my guidance to myself:  S-T-O-P.   S (stop what I am doing) -T (take a deep breath) - O (observe what I am feeling now) - P (proceed with your day).  Do it.


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Finally, got the secret password!!!

After, literally months of trying to get access to my blog so that I can share the wisdom I may have gained through using my clumsy, low tech skills, I have learned the magic password - Google is NOT flexible, understanding nor does it have ears!

I have talked to the people in my circles who are really competent with technology and they all tell me there is no human behind the way in which Google operates it many tools.

Finally, I have accepted their assessment - silly me, I kept hoping a real person would respond to my questions.  Through those many attempts to enter this site, I learned, Google is unable or unwilling to remove my internet address that has been dead for ages.

All of this frustration leads me back to some basic advice for me: breathe.  Use the skill of radical acceptance.  There are times when logic is the last tool for resolving the problem.


Monday, February 10, 2014

A little wisdom

Whew - Password Craziness

Now if I could just remember how to get to this spot, I might write more often.

I no longer have an internet carrier; however, Google does NOT permit me to remove that account which was closed over one year ago.  Sigh.

Did you know that Mercury is retrograde?  Meaning: communication is challenging, if something is to go wrong with the computer, now is the time that will happen and (for me) if I am going to lock myself out of a website because I can't remember a password, it will happen in spades now.

The most important aspect of the above annoyances is to practice mindfulness.  Remind yourself no website would offer the tools for recovering or resetting your password, if you were not expected to at some point forget that word. 

Be gentle with yourself.  You are doing the very best you can.  You  must need to know at least 10-20 different passwords and forgetting which one you use for every site is pretty challenging when you have so many other much more important tasks.

Breathe.  You will be able to get back to that website.  Hey, if I can return to this blog, you can remember your password.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cooking in Vietnam

The cooking classes I took were rat ngon or in another language muy subrosa.

Fresh, fresh, fresh - the greens were gathered from the garden we toured before we began chopping and the shrimp that was included in the spring rolls were swimming in a basin at the market before we cleaned and chopped them.

We also selected herbs at the market and the rice pancakes we made right there in the class.  Such lovely delicate dishes.  There was only one glitch in all the foods to which I was exposed in Vietnam.

In Northern Vietnam they serve dog!  As I was riding on the road from Hanoi to Han Lon Bay we passed a man on a motor bike with a milk crate carrying about six 20 pound dogs.  I asked the guide where the dogs were going.  His response: To the restaurant.

Needless to say, I was very distressed.  No, I did not eat dog while I was traveling.  What I ate was lovely, fresh, and delicate.  Just keep breathing.

Monday, January 27, 2014

miracle of consultation

Two minds are always better than one and in the case of my consultation group, four very sensitive, skillful and wise clinicians create an amazing group for growing and enhancing my ability to support my clients.

Every Monday morning at 9 Pacific time, Noon on the East Coast and 11 in Minnesota four of us join to provide guidance and get information for being more effective in working with our clients.

This small community has made it possible for each of us to resolve problems that felt insurmountable when we began the session and transformed into manageable issues through ideas offered by these wise clinicians.

This little love note is a thank you to my consultation team which is located physically in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Minnesota and (me) California.  I feel so much wiser for your support.

We all benefit from the willingness to share understanding that comes from experience.

Keep breathing.

So many changes, So many adventures

First there was DC for really excellent turkey smoked by my nephew and then there were papers to read and grades to submit and from that assignment I conducted two classes on-line from Vietnam!

What an amazing experience - not the class - I'd been teaching the class for a couple of semesters.  No, it was the realization that it was Wednesday at 6am for me and it was Tuesday at 3pm for my students.

Okay, here's the question:  What is time?  We were connecting across time and place and it was one hour of the day for me and another hour for my students. I taught two separate classes while I was a day and 17 hours away from my regular location.

This experience was so powerful that six weeks later, I continue to chew on it.

Breathe.  We are all connected.  There really doesn't appear to be a concept such as time.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Still here and still breathing

It took months for me to get this weird Google set up to allow me to check in!

Anyway - so much to share but mostly - so much to say about feeling better and - well - let's admit it - sometimes it's just all about staying alive.

The daily stresses with which we must contend can get to be just enormous.  That is IF we don't realize we have choices.

We can turn our minds away from those worries that feel insurmountable or we can use precious energy worrying about the bank balance or that message we didn't receive.

The choice is to make these stumbles huge or recognize that we can take a deep breath, gently allow our minds to let go of that challenging idea and feel okay.

In the moment breathe.  Allow yourself to find one nice image and be comfortable with that picture.

Sit with the ease you have just created.  Then move on to the rest of your day.  Breathe!