This evening I listened to a presentation hosted by NICABM with two presenters, Ron Siegel, PsyD and Elisha Goldstein, PhD on the topic of mindfulness, that helps us be in the present.

Fascinating smorgasbord of information, from showing children how to pay attention to the smell, texture and taste of an apple to teaching people to urge surf, my latest favourite expression… Just a wealth of great information. I know myself well: have to make note of it here, or it gets lost in the ethers and not easily retrievable when I want it for some random conversation or serious dialogue with someone who could use the techniques.

Factoids from tonight’s presentation:

• People are measurably happier when their minds are in the present.
• We perpetuate our problems when we allow the mind to loop our thoughts, instead of being in the present moment, attending to our immediate surroundings.
• Grounding is most helpful for anyone experiencing anxiety or panic. Breathing practices and meditation with closed eyes are not so good… they tend to become flooded with overwhelming feelings. We need to pay attention to the body, find something to touch or feel, getting a sense of the connectedness to the chair, the floor, or a visual clue. (Imagine me, in a holistic class learning to meditate with eyes closed, becoming suddenly flooded with unwanted emotion, panic, in the midst of a spiritual gathering, unaware of the hidden traumas that were about to surface but not yet cleared, before the days of HMR. Not so good.) Here is a quote from the broadcast: “People who have people who have non-integrated trauma, or who are fragile at all, do not do well with closing eyes, because they tend to amplify the emotions…” Yep. I would have had no idea what non-integrated trauma was, back then, as you may not. Just a fancy way of saying trauma that was not yet dealt with in any way, through traditional or non-traditional therapies.

Where was I? okay… Grounding exercises bring in safety. Grounding is taking in the presence of the tree, noticing the chair, noticing an object that is distal, not in the heart region, and grounds you in the safety of reality. Not breath focused. I feel like I am learning backwards, since I was fortunate to learn grounding that was so helpful, especially the Donna Eden work, before I learned any of this about why it is good for this or that.

So if you are in a small group, and someone is asking you to close your eyes and breathe, and you feel uncomfortable, tell them you learned from Ron Siegal and Elisha Gold to sit that one out. Here is the quote if you need it: If someone has an overwhelming emotion, it is better to use mindfulness by focusing outward rather than inward, with eyes open.

I have been to lots of conferences with intuitives like myself who raise eyebrows around us by not doing what is requested, like uncrossing legs, and OM-ing in a group. Doing what feels right is part of listening to your body and your wise bodymind, that would keep us all out of trouble if we were not so socialized to ignore the messages.

As you can see, mindfulness practices are a range of very broad techniques that help us be in the present tense and not somewhere in the past or future creating suffering for ourselves, as the Buddhists say.

I need to mention urge surfing – a psychotherapeutic term for allowing the sensations of say, anger, to develop, surface, and abate, without needing to act on them. Like blushing with anger, and sitting still, if you ask me. Go try this at home. They mentioned that it was useful to teach caregivers and parents, whose biggest mistake is taking personally the innocent behaviour of, um, kids.

Lots more to say, leave it for another day. I should remind that you can search within the blog and of course on the internet for names and modalities I mention. HMR stands for Holographic Memory Resolution, developed by Brent Baum for healing trauma. My specialty. I am trying to remember to tag my posts…

Kettle’s boiling. Be well,