Mindfulness is trending. It’s been on the forefront of conversations in terms of Western therapeutic methodologies since Jon Kabat Zinn integrated it into his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program (MBSR) in the early 1980s. Today, mindfulness practices are at the heart of many psychotherapeutic approaches such as: mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT); acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT); dialectical behavior therapy (DBT); mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP); mindfulness-based trauma therapy (MBTT); and mindfulness-based eating awareness training (MB-EAT). The word itself, however, is often confused. Its meaning subjectively associated with who or what entity is promoting its use. There’s clearly a difference between Eastern approaches to meditation and mindfulness and the current Western emphasis. With the proliferation of modalities integrating components of meditation and mindfulness practice, this book is a welcome addition to Hogrefe’s Advances in Psychotherapy: Evidence Based Practice Series—noted as Volume 37.
Russell Delman’s dedication to the study of awareness and human potential began in 1969, when he was a college undergraduate. The main influences on his teaching are over 40 years of Zen meditation, his close relationship and training with Moshe Feldenkrais (he has helped to train over 2500 Feldenkrais teachers worldwide), a deep study of somatic psychology including Focusing, and his rich family life. Over the last seven years, his friendship with Gene Gendlin has illuminated his understanding of life and had a strong influence on his teaching. In this conversation, we explore the concept of “Beginner’s Mind” in a down-to-earth way.
Turow begins her book by introducing mindfulness. Turow thoroughly goes over each aspect of mindfulness, explaining everything from its core concepts to the proper time and setting for practices. Included is ‘Resolving misconceptions and overcoming stumbling blocks’ to encourage further practice and ability, but perhaps the most significant portions of this chapter are the parts of “Special Considerations for Practicing Mindfulness After Trauma” and “Choosing a Specific Practice.” The parts begin a trend that moves throughout the book, encouraging careful and safe practice for survivors especially and consideration that not all practices work for everyone; indeed, she has her reader explore specially for themselves, rather than a prescribed program.
The goal of Flow of Leadership is to make more choices available for ourselves in those situations where implicit memories bypass our conscious mind, causing us to act or respond in ways that produce havoc and disconnect. Situations where when we look back, we feel like our survival was threatened, and if we have enough objectivity we are left wondering “What the heck happened? Why did I do that?”
From an expanded sense of creativity, I suggest that all psychotherapists, whether engaged in somatic work or in traditional talk therapy, are simultaneously artists, and that all effective psychotherapy is co-creative by its very nature. The art of psychotherapy is in the precise timing and subtle choices of what gets said or how touch is delivered. From the perceptual side, psychotherapists pick up on tiny cues that allow synchronous rhythms of body, mind, heart and soul. Likewise, it is a creative act to encourage, inspire, and welcome in emergent products from the relational unconscious, such as images, symbols, metaphors, or dreams that guide, light, or unblock the path forward.
I struggle to sit still (unless I’m sitting outside in nature, but I’m talking about everyday life here). Ask me to sit and be silent? Well my mental chatter loves to make me nuts. I focus on the breath. I focus on sensation. I focus on the fact that I am not focusing, with a touch of loving kindness and compassion. I am kind to myself no doubt there; I accept that my mind loves to whirl and twirl, to take facts and create stories, to take a fleeting image or sensation and create a long-winded tale. Even here, on the page, the words keep flowing when the point has most likely already been made. I’ve read countless books (reviewed many, done the practices). I’ve attended webinars and workshops and meditation groups, all with the same frustration. Silence while sitting escapes me. I thought I was hopeless until now.
This time of year vibrates with LIGHT & RENEWAL. It speaks directly to what is possible when we successfully lift the shroud of shame and negativity and discover what lies in wait as we gently yet powerfully move through a larger doorway into a world of greater and greater acceptance, belonging, empowerment and worth
When we set a purpose, i.e., a resolution, it’s absorbed in our inner mind and anchored in our body thus creating the most potential for follow through. People who visualize healthy lungs, imagine what it feels like to breathe fully and somatically anchors their intention for health are more apt to succeed in say smoking cessation or weight loss than those who simply make a statement.
Serge Prengel talks with Richard Schwartz about dealing with our inner conflicts on his Active Pause® Blog & Podcast:
Proactive mindfulness: Waking up to our lives, moment by moment.
“These are difficult times.” One member noted during my mid-November stress management group. “Everyone is angry. People who used to be friends are not speaking. It’s giving me stomach aches.”
“I know!” Her couch mate said with sadness in her voice. “There are too many changes. I’m having migraines.”
Group members discussed their usual stressors—interpersonal conflicts, worries about children and grandchildren, work stress, a few health concerns—but on that fall morning I sensed a difference in their presence and in each person’s felt sense of his/her stress.
“Maybe it would help to talk about it,” said a group member settled in the rocking chair. “In times like these we all need support.”