Coming This Fall:
September 23rd: Mindful Eating for Vibrant Living at Insight LA’s Santa Monica location with Beth Mulligan begins Monday evenings, September 23rd. Learn more and register here
October 1st Do you want to learn to teach MBSR? Here is one important step on the pathway: begins October 1st, 2013 MBSR Teacher Training practicum through Insight LA, with Christiane Wolf , M.D.PhD and Beth Mulligan, PA-C both certified MBSR teachers offering this unique in-depth training in the MBSR curriculum and opportunities to practice teaching. Read more here for application and prerequisites.
October 2nd Save the date: Hugh O’Neill will be teaching MBSR at The Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine -not posted on their site yet, but registration will open soon.There may be opportunities for day and evening classes. He’ll be kicking it off with a Free Evening of Mindfulness ; Tuesday September 24th on the UCI Campus. www.sscim.uci.edu
October 8th MBSR Santa Monica with Beth Mulligan, PA-C and Christiane Wolf, M.D. PhD click here to learn more and register. The well researched program will be co-taught by two dear friends and certified MBSR teachers.
Listen to Beth give an introduction here.
Listen to Dr. Christiane Wolf define Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction here.
Look for October classes at Eisenhower Medical Center to be scheduled soon, announcement to follow shortly.
Weekly meditation groups: In the Desert go to Insight Community of the Desert where you can sit with guidance of excellent teachers including Larry Yang and Beth Mulligan every Sunday form 4:30–6:00 PM by donation only. In Los Angeles there are many opportunities at Insight LA it really helps to strengthen one’s practice to sit with a group.
Yokoji Zen Mountain Center is open to support your practice. Join the Sunday program every and any week, or look for the many retreat opportunities they offer this fall on their site. They have literally weathered the storm and practice there is as strong and steady as the mountain. Thank you Yokoji teachers and residents!!
UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center has classes, workshops and Retreats throughout the year-including on line training. Check out this page for the calendar!
September Message From Beth Mulligan- Founder of Mindful-Way Stress Reduction
Reflections on our summer retreat and the Zen teaching; “Not Knowing is Most Intimate”
In my July message the title was: You Can’t Stop the Waves But You Can Learn How to Surf! (Read it on my blog here) How little I knew about what lay ahead. For those of you new to the newsletter, a quick re-cap: our annual summer residential mindfulness retreat which we have always held at Yokoji Zen Mountain Center- had to be moved very quickly to a new site, in Joshua Tree due to the devastating Mountain Fire (which the Zen center survived but was followed by flash floods which made it temporarily unavailable-it’s open for practice now!). In addition to this change-one week we were able to offer housing for 5 fire/flood evacuees ( 8 if you count 2 dogs and one cat), the next we ourselves were evacuated. (our home is basically fine).The theme we chose for the retreat was from a classic Zen teaching on the importance of being aware of the fact that while we may think we know what our plans are, who we are and how things are going to go, being truly intimate with the reality of things, means we have to face the truth; which is that most of the time we don’t know. Having a meditation practice can help us meet the uncertainty of life with some measure of equanimity. The retreat went extremely well due to the whole hearted participation of our retreatants, their flexibility and the great group of teachers; Hugh O’Neill, Celeste Brook Young , Noelle Pederson and myself. The feedback we got from this particular retreat was so moving that I decided to let it be my message this month. Not so much to say “this is what happens on our (Mindful-Way) retreats and classes”; but rather, this is what practice itself has to offer and to inspire you to find a class or retreat near you. Read on to hear what they had to say:
Hello Beth and Hugh,
I am writing you this email to say a big Thank You. As you may have gathered from my communal share I had some interesting ideas about the retreat, (I think I was the only person in the group who wanted to have fun). I think I was looking for a reminder of something I loved from the past and wanted to replicate in the present.
For several years I attended yoga retreats at the Zen center put on by Free Spirit Yoga, with best friend Mei, my beloved sister Laurel, as well as her adult daughter. Laurel and I also went on other retreats in her part of Northern California. Sometimes when it was just the two of us we wore the same clothes. And occasionally people referred to us as the twins. This made us laugh. We always laughed. We laughed as if all the love inside us could come out. We loved being together on these retreats.
Three years ago Laurel was diagnosed with ALS. Last year she died. I have been sad, lonely and feeling lost. I don’t know what led me to your retreat except that I just needed something. So ‘Googled’ the words yoga and retreat. I found yours and committed. I didn’t even know it was at the same Zen center. I talked Mei into going and that was that. She informed me it was the same place we’d been with Laurel. And then I began to feel all kinds of emotions. “No I can’t go there. Yes I can go there”. So in this state I was in when I received your email with the terrible news of the fire. I knew then at that moment I did not have to go. And Beth it was in this spirit that I withdrew.
But then the email with the new place arrived, and your beautiful offer of a special room for me and Mei, I felt inspired, and Mei was over the top with excitement about the place. So I arrived not knowing about the mindfulness and the meditation. And when I saw the schedule I started to panic inside. Could I do this? I have not done this before. Would I be OK? I was more than OK, I loved it.
Today, Thursday, I used my new meditation bench in my yoga room which I ordered the day I returned home. I sat comfortably knowing that was exactly what I needed. I am OK. I am good. I am grateful. Happy I came and allowed myself to receive your many teachings. Glad I was able to hear them. My friendship with Mei deepened and I found a way to be kind to me, and that is the biggest gift of all. In Gratitude, Nancy L. Los Angeles
Beth and Hugh,
First, I want to again express the utmost gratitude to you both for working so hard, putting on such a wonderful retreat, and giving me the opportunity to be so involved with it. Second, I know you are both probably very busy but I wanted to share some things with you about my experience. This past weekend really helped me in some amazing ways and I am so grateful for it. I must say that as the weekend approached, more and more things came up that I could have done instead but I held firm to my decision and it turned out to be the best choice I have made in a while because I knew, throughout the whole weekend, that I was right where I needed to be (particularly when we discussed the theme of not knowing). I have been exploring mindfulness for the past couple years and I thought I had worked a lot of things out within myself so I was caught completely off-guard by several moments (during and following some of the meditations) where I felt so moved that I could cry. I felt all kinds of things come up that I thought I had let go of, and then I felt those things fall away and a greater, deeper understanding fill the void they left. There were even a few moments during the meditations when I felt part of me—the judgmental, anxious, controlling, obsessive part—literally up and leave my body and it was a beautiful, liberating, rejuvenating feeling. I realized so much (like the fact that the pain and knots in my shoulders are merely remnants of past trauma) and I brought so much back with me (I have told and retold some of the stories and poems you both shared countless times already) and I also left so much behind (so many burdens I no longer need or wish to cling to). That being said, I would like to share a poem with you both that I wrote on my drive home:
I left my baggage in Joshua Tree
Though what I carried, none could see
The torrential downpour washed my soul clean
As I thought of who I had once been
Practicing compassion and trusting my senses
Looking within and letting down my defenses
I walked the labyrinth, took my time
And in the center I left it behind
I left my baggage in Joshua Tree
And what I brought back was a complete me
Thank you again for all your hard work and genuine compassion. I am sure I will be seeing you both again.
Book of the month: Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson, PhD
Editorial Reviews “The cultivation of happiness is one of the most important skills anyone can ever learn. Luckily, it’s not hard when we know the way to water and nourish these wholesome seeds, which are already there in our consciousness. This book offers simple, accessible, practical steps for touching the peace and joy that are every person’s birthright.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh, author of Being Peace and Understanding Our Mind
“Hardwiring Happiness teaches us the life-affirming skills of inverting our evolutionary bias to hold on to the negative in our lives and instead soak in and savor the positive. What better gift can we give our selves or our loved ones than an effective strategy to increase joy through brain-based steps that are both accessible and pleasurable? Bravo”
–Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine, author of Mindsight, The Mindful Brain, and Brainstorm
“Seamlessly weaving together insights from modern neuroscience, positive psychology, evolutionary biology, and years of clinical practice, Dr. Hanson provides a wealth of practical tools anyone can use to feel less anxious, frustrated, and distressed in everyday life. With humor, warmth, and humility, this book combines new research and ancient wisdom to give us easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions to live richer, happier, and more loving lives.”
–Ronald D. Siegel, Psy.D., Assistant Clinical Professor, Harvard Medical School, and author, The Mindfulness Solution