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Two Minutes of Mindfulness, 2nd Practice

Here is the second video in our ongoing series, Two Minutes of Mindfulness, a collection of short videos that give you a chance to stop in your day and come back to yourself.

This one actually came out a bit longer than planned… So enjoy your bonus minutes of mindfulness!

Give yourself many chances to stop this week, and then you can come back and enjoy the new one next week.

Sending Peaceful Thoughts,



Two Minutes of Mindfulness, 1st Practice

This is the first in a series of short Mindfulness Practices called, Two Minutes of Mindfulness, an ongoing series of short videos that give you a chance to stop in your day and come back to yourself.

I hope this mindful pause brings you a little ease today. It’s very short, so hopefully you can do it several times a day this week, to regroup and recover from the many challenges you encounter daily. Then next week you can try the next, building your practice and your balance and calm, moment by moment, day by day.


My mind is like a bad neighborhood… I try not to go there alone.

ImageIn the Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy classes, we have been focusing on the way feelings manifest in the body.  We are learning to use the body’s wisdom to increase our awareness of pleasant feelings — leading to more joy — yes!  We are also learning to develop a mindful awareness of the difficult feelings, and this allows us to experience them differently — as if they are held in a wider space — which actually hurts less!

(I’ll admit, this experience is hard to describe in words, but you might be able to experience it yourself using the meditation you can download on our homepage.)

This mindful awareness also allows painful feelings to follow a natural arc of arriving, lasting a while, and then leaving.  By paying attention, we notice this flow happens more easily, with less resistance, and they can pass more quickly.  It also allows us to notice that they have passed and feel the spaciousness they leave behind.

This all came to me in a new way this morning, as I was listening to a talk, and I heard this great quote by Annie Lamott that I’ve come across before:

                   “My mind is like a bad neighborhood, I try not to go there alone.” 

It made me laugh, but I also saw the wisdom in it.  Years of weekly practice with my friends in RockBlossom Sangha provided me with the opportunity to sit with my oh-so-challenging mind over and over again, held by the anchor of my friends and their breathing and their solidity.  I didn’t have to go there alone.

But of course we can’t always be with others. 

But, this morning, hearing this quote again, I suddenly thought about it in a new way.  I thought, “Yes, I don’t need to go into that bad neighborhood alone, as long I have my body with me.” 

It was such a startling thought!

But I realize this insight grew out of our practice in the class.  Over and over, we see how bodily awareness grounds us in the here and now.  Whether this moment is a bit challenging or REALLY DIFFICULT, it only becomes worse when the mind starts to take off!  And bodily awareness can bring us back to the relatively better experience of the actual present moment, which is much easier than the dark places our mind takes us.

If you would like to learn more about mindfulness classes, please contact me.  I continue to be blown away by how beautiful it is to watch people get this.  Here’ s what one participant wrote just this past week:  

“This class has helped me enjoy the enjoyable bits of life more, and cope with the less enjoyable bits.  I feel like I have found a method to prevent myself from spiraling down into panicky and negative thougts.  Instead, I am more present in my life, and in the realization that I have a really nice life!  This has been incredibly valuable to me, more so than anything else I can think of that I could do.”

A surprising bonus of mindfulness is that it can also bring us back to awareness of the startling joy that is possible here and now!  I do not diminish just how hard your life is.  I really get it.  There have been days I too have my head on the table and don’t know what to do.  But I really want to offer that skillful responses can make it much much easier and awaken us to the possibility of happiness in this moment.  Join us sometime!

Smiling mindfully (and endorphin inducingly!)



“Depression Cure” online support group — Starting Soon!

The Depression Cure Book CoverI am extremely excited about “The Depression Cure,” the research being done by Dr. Stephen Ilardi and his team at the University of Kansas, and so I am starting an on-line support group for The Depression Cure.

Our first three group members are a client who has been depressed for 15 years, a colleague of mine and… myself!   To find something that might actual cure my client’s depression feels like a glimmer of light on the horizon and as for my colleague and myself, we are both really impressed with this protocol for our clients, and we have both experienced depression or low mood on and off in our lives, so we are doing it ourselves!

Here’s why…

  • The researchers have been working for several years with hundreds of people and have had fantastic results!
  • Even though they are working with some people who have been severely depressed (including one man who was depressed for 41 years!) ALL the people who have completed the 14 week program have gotten significantly better.
  • The program is effective in preventing the return of depression.
  • Because the changes in the program help your body and brain chemistry move back into a healthy balance, there are many other benefits of doing the program, including the possibility of improvements in blood pressure, asthma and other inflammatory conditions, reduced joint pain, improved sex drive, increased energy, enhanced mental sharpness, improvements in memory, better sleep and a host of other benefits.
  • It’s just good for you!  No awful side effects, and a lot of general better health.

So join us!!

In my years of leading workshops, working with clients and doing healing work, I know it’s very difficult for people to stick with the elements of a program on their own, no matter how motivated they feel, and so I am putting together a support group to move through this process together.

I have contacted the researchers and will be using the elements they have used with their clients.  The fee for participation will be very reasonable, with a wide sliding scale so that anyone can afford it.

To learn more, drop me a note or call me, and I will add you to the list of people who I will directly send updates about the group.  You can get started right away, and I will tell you how to do that.  The support group will start in the next couple of weeks.

If you have any questions, you’re welcome to write or call.

(Or use our online form:

More coming soon about the group!  Meanwhile check out these links if you want to learn more.

Dr. Ilardi’s TED talk

The site about The Depression Cure book

The researchers’ website

Day of Mindfulness, Sunday, November 10th

Dear You,

You are invited to join us for a Day of Mindfulness in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Sunday, November 10th, from 11am to 4pm.  Please feel free to invite others and especially send this to anyone in Red Hook and Brooklyn who has suffered loss or is having troubles.

Mindfulness is a deeply rejuvenating and healing practice.  The Day of Mindfulness will be an opportunity to stop, breathe, regroup, and take good care of ourselves, in an environment that supports feelings of peacefulness and ease.  We will practice breathing exercises, we will take a quiet walk along the waterfront, stopping to look at the seagulls and the Statue of Liberty, we will enjoy quiet eating together, and a most lovely exercise, total relaxation.

You do not need to have any prior experience to attend, and you will be guided through every step, so that you can really relax into the present moment.

For many of us, there have been really difficult things in our past, and we are anticipating painful things in our futures.  Our minds tend to spend a lot of time worrying about the past and the future, and it can be exhausting and overwhelming.  It sometimes seems there’s no end to the amount of bad things that can happen.

If we can stop for just a few breaths and rest our awareness in this moment, we can feel all our anxiety drop away for a little while, and it can bring us a deep sense of peace, which we can carry with us into our day.

At the bottom of this page are some comments from people who have come to previous days of mindfulness, so you can get an idea of how it was for others.  Please feel free to call me with any questions, and if you are curious, you can come and try it out.


Sunday, November 10, from 11am to 4pm

If you can, please arrive between 10.30 and 10.55, so you have time to settle in and we can start on time.  You are also welcome to come for part of the day, but I recommend you try to come for the whole thing, because the people who come for part of the day usually wish that they had been there longer.  :^)


We are profoundly lucky that Martha Bowers, Executive Director of the nonprofit Dance Theatre Etcetera, has generously offered us their space for the day.  It’s a beautiful wood floored room with big windows on the waterfront in Red Hook, Brooklyn, very peaceful and spacious.

Dance Theatre Etcetera
480 Van Brunt Street, Ste 203
Brooklyn, NY 11231

The office is located above Fairway Market.
Entry to DTE is on the east end of the building, on Van Brunt Street
Ring buzzer #3

If you aren’t familiar with Red Hook, I strongly suggest you look into travel directions nice and early.  There are quite a few ways to get there.  The easiest way is to drive, and parking should be fine.  You can take the F train to Carrol Gardens or Smith & 9th then catch a bus or a cab.  Another route is to take the Ikea Water Taxi and then walk.  There are many others, and biking from the subway is also an option!  I encourage you to leave plenty of time for travel on both ends.


There is no charge for the day.  You are invited to offer a donation to cover costs associated with offering the day and to support Dance Theatre Etcetera in gratitude for their giving us their space for the day.


Wear comfortable loose clothes, and bring a lunch and a drink of some kind.  There will be a couple of kettles to make tea, and if it’s convenient, you can bring a mug to cut down on trash.  There is a small fridge in case your lunch needs refrigeration.  It’s also a nice option to bring a little something to share with others if you wish — some dried fruit or cookies or something — just a small amount, because there is usually a lot!

If you can, it’s a fine idea to bring a cushion for sitting or a yoga mat.  If you can bring extra for someone else, that would be very kind.  I will bring several floor seats, meditation cushions and yoga mats.  There are also chairs.


Just know that this day is for you, for your happiness, and for your well being.  In truth, if you don’t bring anything else, but just bring yourself and your willingness to be kind to yourself, that will be enough.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to write or call me.  I look forward to seeing you,



Responses from participants of previous Days of Mindfulness

I had SUCH a wonderful time on Sunday. It was one of those really special days that I’m sure I’ll remember for years to come. I came into the day feeling tired and wanting to be in bed, but I actually exited it feeling refreshed and very present. I’ve been able to carry that presence into the next few days, too. I feel like the day of mindfulness helped to cement some of the concepts we’ve been learning in class. Practicing the mindful eating and walking with the group helped me to understand those activities more fully, and I’m confident that I can now do them all by myself (where as before I was still a little unsure of whether I was doing them “right”). After Sunday, I’m really wishing I could have a day of mindfulness once a month!


The Day of Mindfulness we had together was extremely nourishing. Practicing with you and the group is also wonderful because we can support our practice and the entire realm of emotions in a safe and caring atmosphere. Mary, your joy and care as our facilitator is very beneficial and I truly appreciate your knowledge and guidance. There is a lot of delight available in every moment. We celebrated that together!


I really enjoyed the day of mindfulness. As i said that day, it was cool to realize that even though i felt like i “took a vacation from my life” when we were all together, the truth is THAT WAS MY LIFE, and i can be there anytime i want, appreciating and noticing what is in front of me. It was very nourishing for the soul to come back to the body. I’m very grateful for the opportunity.

Stopping: The Power of the Pause

For a FREE mp3 recording of a powerful stopping exercise, read on to the bottom of the page…


The Power of the Pause And How It Can Make A Difference In Your life

STOP now…

Look away from the computer for a moment, and take a slow and gentle in and out breath.

Go ahead…


Did you do it?

I’m guessing there’s a good chance you didn’t.  When I did an informal test to find out who Read more

Protected: FREE Recording Of The 3 Minute BREATHING Space

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The “Living a Prosperous Life” Workshop

I am delighted to announce an eight-week workshop, “Living a Prosperous Life”.  I will be co-presenting with my amazing colleague, Lair Torrent.  We have been working and learning and healing together for about 10 years now, and my admiration for him grows and grows.  His expert advice and generous heart-felt support have been hugely helpful in my own growth, and his work with clients is amazing.  Now, for the first time, we are teaming up to offer a class to address the challenges we have seen our clients face and that we have struggled through ourselves. Read more

Public Talk: Healing, Moment by Moment

On Tuesday evening, I will be presenting a public talk at Namaste Healing Center.

Healing, Moment by Moment
Using mindfulness of the nervous system as a powerful tool for healing

In this two hour workshop, you will learn essential tools for using mindfulness to heal your mind, your heart, your body and your life.

In every moment we are moving toward or away from wellness, and the decision to shift direction happens in an instant.  Mindfulness is the key to catching the present moment, so that we can move into a state of awareness and choice.

But sometimes this is just the first step Read more

Day of Mindfulness and Deep Relaxation

Dear Friends,

You are invited to join us for a FREE Day of Mindfulness in Red Hook, Brooklyn, THIS SUNDAY, January 13th, from 11am to 4pm.  Please feel free to invite others and especially send this to anyone in Red Hook or other areas that are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.

Mindfulness is a deeply rejuvenating and healing practice.  The Day of Mindfulness will an opportunity to stop, breathe, regroup, and take good care of ourselves, in an environment that supports feelings of peacefulness and ease.  We will practice breathing exercises, quiet eating together, mindful walking, and the most lovely exercise of all, total relaxation.

You do not need to have any prior experience to attend, and you will be guided through every step, so that you can really Read more