Where is my mind?


I have really enjoyed dropping off the face of the earth for a few days. The academic schedule suits my glutton-for-punishment alternating with complete and total slacker personality. Of course I can be as maniacal at slacking as I am at work. Over the past week I read a 700 page novel in time to have a meeting of the introverts’ book club. You know–two people at a bar who read the same book. Reading a beautiful novel that has nothing to do with health care then going to a bar, an entirely selfish act for a wife and mother, is my best shot at spiritual renewal.

Early in graduate school our class was introduced to a mindfulness curriculum. It intends to create embodied, resilient, and compassionate providers. Man, I thought, this nonsense is going to burn off like so much morning fog. Then came the infamous mindfulness retreat. There was gentle yoga and meditation to the sounds of jungle rain. No wait that was just me crying uncontrollably. Mindfulness:1, Melissa: 0.



I was not ready for mindfulness. It is powerful medicine. What was wrong with my foremothers’ ways of coping with life’s ups and downs? Beating carpets, aggressive scrubbing, tea.

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a booming area of research. What interests me is finding the best way to provide access to the modalities, germane to many folks aren’t hanging out on Maslow’s lowest 2 or 3 spots, to people who are unfamiliar with CAM and have a list as long as my arm of more immediate food-shelter-safety concerns. The people at Common Ground Healing Arts are making some impressive forays, working in public housing projects and a prison, and showing good results in terms of better controlled diabetes and lowered BPs. I came to them last winter with a note from the cancer center and they took care of my penniless self, too. I want to talk to them about their work. I kind of love them.

So to review, meditation/yoga/acupuncture, the whole package, is a significant thing. I buy it okay, I’m on board. I’m just not all the way ready. So practitioners please be aware that efforts to induce mindfulness may create a paradoxical reaction. Also, it’s okay if your way of clinging to mental health like hang in there kitty is reading a big book, drinking three fingers of whiskey, and talking to your friend about this beautiful line of prose, did you catch that leitmotif, and oh the point is that half of love is yearning.

Happy holidays all, do your thing to get restored.


3 thoughts on “Where is my mind?

  1. Shoot, I was leaving a comment and then it disappeared. Anyways, it may show
    up but I replying to Chandra’s comment. The Haven has offered acupuncture, yoga, and dance classes to the guest. Rarely are they used. I think education about what it actually is before posting a sign about a class to the board is needed:) I managed to get 5 guest to go to a dance class one day when I happened to be there when it was happening. It was really nice to see the guest for that hour loosen up and actually smile a real smile. CAM has real promise and I am a firm believer in the power of mindfulness and meditation. I hope it finds its way into the emergency room. I read a lot of Thich Nhat Hanh during my undergraduate education and he is amazing. I just ordered the newest book No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering to my iPad. If you want to learn from the real master I suggest any of his books. They will give you a whole new perspective. 🙂

    I am so happy to read you reached out to Common Grounds Healing Arts. I hear they are wonderful!! Great blog once again!


    1. Thanks Michelle! I knew you would be a wealth of knowledge on this one =) I’m still just dipping a toe in, but I’m a believer and I’m glad CAM is on the medical scene.


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