Wednesday, August 15, 2012


What arises in our experience is much less important than how we relate to what arises in our experience.
                               Mark Epstein 

I'm not sure I've ever written about the first mindfulness meditation class that I took about fourteen years ago when Henry was a newborn baby and Sophie, a screaming for unknown reason three year old with uncontrolled seizures. I look back on many phases of my life since my children were born and wonder how in the hell I got through them, but here I am. Through them and sort of, kind of, prepared for the next phase.

One of the things that helped me most, that didn't just help me, actually, but transformed me was a class called Mindfulness Meditation for Stress Reduction. Each week, I traveled to the deep, dark San Fernando Valley for a three hour class with a group of people whose problems included chronic pain, depression, severe illness, trauma and post-traumatic stress syndrome. We were taught the basics of mindfulness meditation and the practice of sitting, as well as the benefits of utilizing the principles throughout one's daily life.

I'm not a master at meditation, but I know that the practice enables me to cope in far better ways than the frantic pleading and praying I did previously. For me, there had been so much dread in the practice of a religion with no resonance, and when I began to meditate, I finally found a bit of the peace and connection with divine love that I had only read about. More importantly, though, the practice of meditation helps me to deal with nearly everything difficult and challenging -- it doesn't make anything not difficult or challenging, but  somehow, almost by stealth, the seemingly impossible becomes possible.


  1. Thank you for that gentle reminder.

  2. I really need to do this. I do think a lot of what makes us nuts is the meaning we make from things.

  3. Yep. You are right. And like Liv, I need the reminder.

  4. the quote, and your experience say it all. one of my favorite quotes is "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional."

    Buddhist philosophy has helped me stay somewhat sane and balanced over many many challenges in life. I'm lousy at meditation, but the reading and reflecting seem to do powerful work nonetheless.


  5. Up until 3 years ago I too was praying into the emptiness. It was so empty. I first learned about the practice of mediation when I started going to Reiki 3 years ago. It is now something I must incorporate into my life lest I go mad.
    Mindfulness is something I learned about a bout 2 years ago when (of all things) reading an article of photography. "Miksang", the good eye has helped me slow down and really pay attention to the world around me. Only recently have I started incorporating Mindfulness into the rest of my life. I have sooo far to go on this one!

  6. well. i believe i shall go google mindfulness meditation for stress reduction classes in nyc!

  7. I concur with the commenters above and appreciate this post as a reminder of what I neglect to make time for. Taking medications for various things that ail me pisses me off and yet I don't make time to care for myself with meditation -- something I know works if I do it. This post is beautiful as all your posts are. Sweet Jo

  8. I've slipped in my own meditation practice, but it definitely helps. I think it gets us out of our heads, extracts us from all our fears and IDEAS, you know?

    I love your blue Buddha head, by the way.

  9. Thank you for this beautiful post. I am relatively new to mindfulness and meditation. I found these practices to be very difficult at first. Silent visualization was very difficult for my racing mind to achieve for some reason? So, I searched through many meditation cd's until I found one that resonated with me. It was like I was searching for a specific "tone" for lack of a better word. When I found the right cd "sound" I found that the more I practiced with that cd and sound the more it helped me. Immediately, I thought of Sophie and her humming, I was as if I too was searching for a specific "frequency". Now, I have a collection of cd's, since I find my mood can effect which sound seems right? So thank you dear Elizabeth and Sophie for inspiring me.

  10. I couldn't agree more. I can't overemphasize the importance of mindfulness when I find myself in a situation I am certain I can't navigate. The simple act of accepting the reality of where I am always brings me away from that desperate need to DO something or ASK for something and back to the fact that I am here now and that's enough.



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