My Summer Reading Recommendation

My Summer Reading Recommendation

What Sharon Salzberg has contributed to meditation and Buddhism in America is hard to quantify. Nowadays, she is everywhere you look within the recent mindfulness surge (and deservedly so): interviews with Oprah, podcasts with Tim Ferris, magazine articles, and her nine books on the subject. She has become known for her emphasis on the practice of metta, or lovingkindness, and her seminal book on the subject (Lovingkindness). This focus has been particularly needed in the West where the temptation to use meditation and spirituality as another self-improvement project or an attempt to control…continue reading →
Anxiety Generates an Endless To-Do List. Don’t Listen to It.

Anxiety Generates an Endless To-Do List. Don’t Listen to It.

Embedded within everyday anxiety is the hope that if we could only complete the remaining tasks on our to-do lists, then we could rest in an aura of accomplishment and contentment. Anxiety creates its own logic: we should maximize all our moments with doing or thinking about doing. I know it's hard for me to relax when I think about my swollen email inbox. Email has a field day with my adrenal glands. While we know that meditation and self-care ultimately may be good for our productivity and happiness, choosing them in the…continue reading →
Become an Expert in Empathy via this Buddhist Contemplation

Become an Expert in Empathy via this Buddhist Contemplation

I had a stereo speaker as a teenager that would lapse sometimes into a static, distorted blare unless I gave it a good knock on the upper right corner. Some loose wire or circuit board would then jiggle back into place and the music would return clean and powerful. The distance between a headache and a song was only a few millimeters. In my life, pain has similarly alternated between being a source of connection and empathy, as well as shame and isolation. I remember a year of terrible housing luck where my…continue reading →
Here’s How We Are Designed to Sit in Meditation Posture

Here’s How We Are Designed to Sit in Meditation Posture

Do you struggle in meditation posture, or avoid meditation because you assume it's agonizing? I've created a four-point checklist, called STAG, that helps meditators create a posture with stability and openness. Click here to watch Fifteen years ago, I was first given meditation instruction during a time of chaos in my life. The teacher mentioned posture almost as an aside. Be upright. Don’t slump. This worked for about three or four minutes which, considering I was on a weeklong meditation retreat, meant that back pain was to be my transcendent experience. I remember…continue reading →
The Ultimate Example of Turning Lemons Into Lemonade: My Career

The Ultimate Example of Turning Lemons Into Lemonade: My Career

I was recently interviewed on The Career Passport podcast, which is funny since I came into my career with the same trajectory as a Plinko ball. Falling, falling, I seem to be headed towards early retirement in my mom’s basement after health crisis in my mid-20s left me disabled and in chronic pain.Those dramatic events, and my perspective on them years later,  is the subject of my interview with the podcast host, and my friend, Jill Ozovek, “The Ultimate Example of Turning Lemons into Lemonade. ” Jill and I talked about the healing mindset…continue reading →
When the the Dogs Are Barking: A Four-year-old’s Perspective on Fear

When the the Dogs Are Barking: A Four-year-old’s Perspective on Fear

Last week, I discovered a handwritten message that had been taken off the wall of my daughter’s Pre-K classroom. The message – really a complaint – had been voiced by my daughter during a classroom intervention led by the teacher. The teacher wanted to know why the “Doggy” game had led to so much arguing and crying. As far as the game, I think you get the idea: the kids take turns acting like a dog, crawling on the floor, rolling over, barking, and sometimes being sick and needing to be taken care…continue reading →

Why Self-Compassion Isn’t Bullshit.

Of the many responses you might have to chronic pain or stress, self-compassion does not usually top the list. It’s ineffectual. It’s Stuart Smalley. Self-compassion is often seen, at best, as a salve for when we stink at something – a vague way to be “nice” to ourselves. What we are drawn to are solutions, or at least strategizing in our head about solutions. Often, pain and anxiety can shift us into an increasingly turbulent state of mind I call the Treadmill of Self-Improvement. On the treadmill, peace is just a shoulder roll…continue reading →
Insight on Suffering: the Podcast

Insight on Suffering: the Podcast

  In this podcast IDP teachers Kimberly Brown and Dan Cayer discuss their experience with both physical and mental suffering, how it informs their teaching, and the ways they've learned to bring patience, kindness, and compassion to themselves. Kimberly Brown is the executive director of The Interdependence Project, and a graduate of its Meditation Teacher Training Program.  She leads mindfulness and compassion classes, workshops, and retreats for groups and individuals in NYC.  Kim studies American and Tibetan Buddhism and practices lovingkindness meditation.  Her teaching methods integrate depth psychology, compassion training, and traditional Buddhist…continue reading →
Don’t Make Pain the Enemy: The Podcast

Don’t Make Pain the Enemy: The Podcast

Most approaches to solving chronic pain fail because they try to either overpower the pain through exercise or PT regimens, or ignore the discomfort and ‘get on with life.’ Both approaches act as if the pain and uncertainty aren’t there. Both approaches act as if you aren’t there – dealing with the swirling feelings and thoughts that arise. In my 20 minute interview on the podcast, “Body Learning,” I share a different approach to resolving chronic pain that I’ve tested out in my personal life and with hundreds of students. My interview discusses:…continue reading →
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 →