Image by Lesly Juarez
 

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally."

Jon Kabat-Zinn

 
 

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

I came to mindfulness through Yoga practice when I was 18 years old. Later reading the books of Karen Horney I found Zen.  As a young adult in my early 20's I wanted to become a psychoanalyst. I attended the Karen Horney Clinic for my own self-analysis and later the  American Institute for Psychoanalytic Institute for a one-year psychoanalytic psychotherapy training before I left to complete my doctorate.


Karen Horney was way ahead of her times in the 1950's when she met Shunryu Suzuki a Sōtō Zen monk, and teacher who helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States. Karen Horney believed that psychoanalysis and Zen could be integrated because of their many similarities. The roots of mindfulness come from the contemplative practices of all world religions. These religious traditions and scientific findings show the benefits of “allowing” and relating to our experience rather than struggling with it and avoiding them. 


So, how do you describe mindfulness?

 
 

Have you ever felt such a deep quality of awareness that you felt like you were flowing just totally ok with this moment, nothing to change, all accepting?

If you were out in nature, you felt such a deep connection with the world around you. 

If you were doing the dishes, you could feel the warmth of the water, and the lemon scent of the soap.

If you were kissing your baby, you felt the warmth of his/her cheeks and the baby powder scent of his/her body.

Mindfulness is about the awareness we bring about in our everyday experiences. 


So lets practice 

Just take a breath. Breathing in just breathe in. Breathing out just breathe out. 

Sit with an awareness, first of your thoughts, and let thoughts pass as thoughts.

And just be present with whatever comes.

So, as you read, take a pause and close your eyes, and just be aware of your thoughts, and any bodily sensations. A tightness or a flow.


Be Present.

Take a pause. Listen.

Don’t’ force it, just let it be.

Just watch what your mind creates. Just notice where your mind goes and where it wanders.  Notice. 


Mindfulness is about noticing without judgment, so just notice.

Continue to practice for just one minute. Breathe in and Breathe out and whenever your thoughts come, let them pass and continue to focus on your Breath.

 
 

“Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn

 
 

You are here
“When it comes right down to it, wherever you go, there you are. Whatever you wind up doing, that’s what you’ve wound up doing. Whatever you are thinking about right now, that’s what’s on your mind.”
“Like it or not, this moment is all we really have to work with.”
“Give more than you think you can, trusting that you are richer than you think.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

ACT

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness



Right now, just take a moment and bring

your awareness to the here and now, to

this moment with openness, and

curiosity. 


In the ACT, mindfulness =

acceptance = willingness 

 

ACT THERAPY

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) pronounced "act” is mindfulness-based values-oriented psychotherapy developed by Steven Hayes in 1982. ACT uses acceptance and mindfulness strategies with commitment and behavioral change strategies to increase psychological flexibility.  

According to Jon Kabat Zinn defines mindfulness as a state of awareness that arises through paying attention, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. In ACT mindfulness is used in the service of understanding the self and it is just one of the many ACT skills. ACT provides you with a range of tools to learn mindfulness skills, Diffusion, Acceptance, and Contact with the present moment are a few.


In defusion, you learn to let go of unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, and memories. In Acceptance, you learn to make room for painful emotions, body sensations, and urges by allowing them to be and let them go, and reducing the struggle with them. Contact with the present moment engages you to be present at this moment with a curious open attitude.  

In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), we work to transform reactions linked to these early life memories and develop greater flexibility taking by considering what is happening in the present moment.


Many of the ACT therapeutic techniques originated in the practices of mindfulness which helps you to improve the way you observe yourself, your experience, rather than acting out your life patterns, your habitual ways of responding based on prior learned life history.  


Schema Therapy and ACT may seem like two different perspectives, but they actually go well together.  Schemas often manifest as somatic reactions, in thoughts, affects/emotions, and behavioral tendencies, and it is possible to change your relationship with these private experiences through the use of mindfulness, more flexible and philosophical ways to see the world, and new techniques derived from ACT. Contextual Schema Therapy integrates Schema Therapy and ACT

ACT uses various protocols. I have used the ACT protocol for depression, anxiety, eating disorder, self-esteem, pain, and ACT and Schema Therapy for relationship difficulties, and ACT for Compassion to reduce shame and self-criticalness.  

Scripts for Building Compassion

With deep gratitude to ACT with Compassion.  

Like the RUMI poem “the Guest House” we invite all of our difficult emotions to come in as they are there to teach us something about ourselves

 

WHAT IS FOCUSING

Mindfulness-Based and Somatic Therapy

I came to Focusing when I was creating a new course for graduate students at New York University in the late 1990s when I was a professor there.  I was researching therapeutic presence, and my research led me to Focusing.  I read Eugene Gendlin’s book “Focusing” and later recommended it to everyone I met.  I took my first course on focusing with Anne Weiser Cornell and then joined psychotherapist and focusing trainer, Charlotte Howorth Focusing-Oriented two-year training

I am a Focusing-Oriented psychotherapist and Focusing trainer, and focusing is part of my everyday life.  I teach Focusing to all of my students at  Touro College Graduate School of Social Work. I offer introductory focusing workshops in Spanish and in English, Focusing and the creative process, particularly writing and the visual arts. I am grateful for the Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy process of Laury Rappaport and I use her work in teaching trauma-informed expressive arts at Touro.   As a  Zen practitioner, and meditation teacher, I also offer Focusing and Meditation instruction.  


Focusing is best experienced through a guided session. It is developed through continuous practice through an individual partnership or through workshops. I offer both guided sessions and workshops, to schedule a session, please contact me. If I am not available, please contact the Focusing Institute.

I am deeply grateful for all of the Focusing teachers and peer focusers I met and who have continued to be wise teachers and friends. With gratitude to Eugene T. Gendlin, and my teachers Ann Weiser Cornell Ph.D., Lynn Preston,  and Charlotte Howorth, and my lifelong Focusing partner Kim.

So what is Focusing?


Focusing was developed by Eugene Gendlin and others in Chicago in the 1960s, the following work with Carl Rogers and Richard McKeon.  Dr. Eugene Gendlin wrote, Focusing is a way of “unlocking the wisdom of your body.”


So, Focusing is an inward way of listening to our body's wisdom.   It involves open, mindful, non-judging attention to our internal knowing, which is directly experienced, but it is not yet in words.


Focusing can help you become clear on what you want or need, to obtain insight or healing into a situation. 


For me, Focusing is a mindfulness-based somatic approach that consists of specific steps for getting a body sense of how you are about any issues in your life. The body sense might be vague at first, but later becomes clear like “butterflies in my stomach” or “tightness in my throat” and as you pay attention you open to words and images and you begin to experience a physical change in the way that the life issue or concerns are being lived in the body. With focusing, we learn to listen to our body's wisdom to live in a deeper place with ourselves and issues as they arise.  

Focusing is incorporated into many therapeutic modalities including Emotion-Focused Therapy, AEDP, Internal Family Systems, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, ACT, and others. These are Focusing instructions created by Eugene Gendlin.  On the focusing institute website, there are several modifications to these instructions.


Neil Friedman for example states “There are no sacred instructions.” and I know, Eugene Gendlin would agree. 

 

THE GUEST HOUSE


JELALUDDIN RUMI, TRANSLATION BY COLEMAN BARKS

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Copyright 1997 by Coleman Barks. Posted with permission. All rights reserved.

From The Illuminated Rumi.T

 
Annecy.jpg

HELLO AND WELCOME!

I came to mindfulness through Yoga practice when I was 18 years old. .Later reading the books of Karen Horney I found Zen.  As a young adult in my early 20's I wanted to become a psychoanalyst. I attended the Karen Horney Clinic for my own self-analysis and later the  American Institute for Psychoanalytic Institute for a one-year psychoanalytic psychotherapy training before I left to complete my doctorate.


Karen Horney was way ahead of her times in the 1950's when she met Shunryu Suzuki a Sōtō Zen monk, and teacher who helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States. Karen Horney believed that psychoanalysis and Zen could be integrated because of their many similarities.   Later, I trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and years later in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy both incorporate mindfulness


The roots of mindfulness come from the contemplative practices of all world religions. These religious traditions and scientific findings show the benefits of “allowing” and relating to our experience rather than struggling with it and avoiding them. 


I hold a teaching meditation certificate from Shambhala Meditation Center of New York and a restorative yoga certificate from Integral Yoga studio in New York City. I have trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) with Jon Kabat-Zinn.


Integrating mindfulness with my love for contemplative photography. I completed the Nalanda Miksang level 1 training with Miriam Hall at Shambhala. I attended the Summer Institute of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society to share this practice in higher education.