It’s Hard to Heal by Your Lonesome.

It’s Hard to Heal by Your Lonesome.

Isolation: The Shadow That Follows Illness One of the familiar characteristics of being ill, or going through a tough time, is a sense of isolation. Maybe we reach out less often to our friends, or enter into a cold orbit that takes us further away from our partner and other people we share a living space with. Simple questions like, “How are you?” become complicated and unpleasant. Even if we could really communicate what we are going through, what good would it do? You might imagine, who wants to hear about my depressing…continue reading →
Don’t Make Pain the Enemy.

Don’t Make Pain the Enemy.

My friend Jeff once told me a strange story about a Japanese monk imprisoned during World War II. The Zen monk was being interrogated by the militaristic government for any possible information on antigovernment activities. To crack the monk, he was restrained on a table as water was slowly dropped on his forehead for many hours. Years later, during a reconciliation program in Japan, one of the guards who participated in the interrogation encountered the monk. Incredulously, he asked the monk, “You were the only one who didn’t break or fall apart. How…continue reading →
How to Rest: a Workshop for Activists and Concerned New Yorkers

How to Rest: a Workshop for Activists and Concerned New Yorkers

The other night, I tried to turn off my computer but the white circle in the center of my screen kept spinning for several minutes. Was it stuck, “loading”? Or, like me, had it been reading The New York Times too much and not exercising? If you’ve been lying awake in bed at night, hostage to your own spinning, I can relate. The turbulence in our world is impossible not to feel and metabolize somehow. Maybe we are protesting, or thinking about protesting (which is probably more draining), or maybe we have other…continue reading →
Learning to Run like a Child, As an Adult.

Learning to Run like a Child, As an Adult.

This guest blog comes from my colleague, Lindsay Newitter, who is doing incredible work with running: Running has become as habitual as laundry or brushing my teeth.  I make time for it 3-5 times/week.  I feel normal when I do it and I feel off when I don't.  This was not always the case.  I've been running regularly for about 3 years.  The seed was planted two years prior that I might want to start running, but apparently I needed some time to warm up to the idea. Stepping back even farther, let's…continue reading →
Healing the Underlying Condition: Ourselves

Healing the Underlying Condition: Ourselves

Over the last few years, I’ve been hatching a book, tentatively titled, Don’t Get Better: How to Discover Sanity, Well-Being, and Your True Path. I will periodically share excerpts in this newsletter and around the Internets on various blogs. Today’s installment (which includes a brief exercise at the end) is from a chapter called, “Healing the Underlying Condition: Ourselves.” “Pain is like a truffle hunting pig, which with its blunt snout digs up uncomfortable emotions.” When I was growing up, my mom and I watched Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, a TV series about…continue reading →

Letter from a Capsized Boat: My Plan for Life after Tuesday

(Sent with my newsletter last week) Dear friends and students, I suspect I may never forget the details of this last week, seared into my memory through shock and mass anxiety. Wednesday morning on my commute, the disappointment of several passengers was palpable. Their expressions were downcast, and their bodies were quiet without the usual manic smartphoning. There’s a sense that as our world rearranged itself Tuesday night based on the number of votes, our bodies and heads are slowly rearranging themselves to catch up. Some of us feel elated and vindicated, others…continue reading →
How to Be Nervous

How to Be Nervous

There is plenty of advice on how not to be nervous: by breaking big tasks down into actionable steps, for instance. In fact, there’s a whole industry of bloggers and app developers to help you feel more prepared and in control. But what doesn’t get a lot of press is how to deal when things are out of control (you know, like most of the time). So I thought I’d let rip a few hundred words on how to be nervous since even an organizational black belt will sometimes find themselves with sweaty…continue reading →

Video #8. Sanity & Smartphones: an Unlikely Pairing

Why do we feel so depleted after time on the computer or with our smartphone? These tools, which offer such promise of productivity and connection, can often feel as if they rule us and not the other way around. In this short video, my 8th in a 10 part series, you'll learn the third step of my three-step process for adding more health and sanity to the way you use your devices. This step is all about how we can make a "clean break" from sending emails, checking notifications, etc. so we can…continue reading →

Video #7: This Will Put You to Sleep!

Dear people who sleep, This seventh video in my 10 part series is my response to a student who's been having trouble going to sleep recently. She would lie in bed worried whether she would be able to fall asleep, and find herself cycling through tomorrow's activities with dread knowing that she'll be exhausted. My advice is to try using a skill taught in the Alexander Technique called inhibition (not in the Freudian sense), which helps to quiet our nervous system and take some of the pressure and tension out of a given…continue reading →

Video #6: Waiting to Exhale (Is Not a Good Idea)

Waiting to Exhale may be a good title for a movie, but it's bad advice for our breathing and well-being. In this three minute video, number 6 in a 10 part series, I'll show you a short breathing exercise that you can do to develop a full, refreshing, and relaxing breathing cycle, to help shed stress and provide more oxygen to your body. Try this exercise at work, on the subway, or – for added challenge – while watching "Waiting to Exhale." It's truly portable! You can watch the entire series on this…continue reading →