So, a few weeks ago, I discovered that our website had been infected by some kind of internet virus. In Google searches, the top 3 key words affiliated with our site were "prescription", "mindfulness", and "Nasonex"! As one who prefers meditation to medication, I knew that I had to do something. But what? I combed through the site and could not determine the cause of the problem (such is the fate of having a psychologist like myself as our IT department). So, I decided it was time to create a whole new site. Please have a look around and let us know what you think. And, for those of you seeking affordable deals on allergy medication, I'm afraid you'll have to look elsewhere. :-)
Submitted by Jonathan S. Kaplan, Ph.D.
Starting 2 days ago, Drs. Jonathan Kaplan and Jenny Taitz began participating in a meditation challenge issued by Sharon Salzberg. As part of her wonderful book, Real Happiness, a community of meditation practitioners has convened in order to practice together...virtually. We've joined the group, and we're committed to meditating (and blogging) for 28 days...in a row! You can read about our meditation experiences on Sharon's blog here: UM & Real Happiness. For folks in NYC, you might want to check out one of the many meditation centers in the city. The "Reviews" section of this website provides details on the various centers, as experienced by one of our former interns. See you on the cushion!
By Jenny Taitz, Psy.D.
Are you crawling into 2012 with a new juice fast or gym membership?
Often, around New Years, people will themselves to start yet another restrictive diet or rigorous fitness trend. The concept of starting anew feels meaningful and hopeful. I cheer loud and smile big when my patients’ feel excited about new potential methods of achieving the goals they choose.
When we set goals, we also need to accept both others and ourselves. Tara Parker-Pope recently wrote an illuminating article in the New York Times on the struggle people face in trying to lose weight (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazine/tara-parker-pope-fat-trap.html?_r=1). The research she describes explains compassionately weight loss is not just about willpower. Your body may resist weight loss despite your most valiant efforts. Ms. Parker-Pope courageously recounts her own battle against her biological predisposition and shares data on the ubiquity of weight loss resistance.
Just to be clear, I am not recommending you return your not-yet worn Lululemon outfit and spend the money on Michelin dining! You will improve your health by improving your habits. The matter to resolve is how you go about the process of moving toward your ambitions.
Do you judge yourself a failure if you don’t reach a certain weight or accomplish a particular objective? People often feel tempted to define success in all-or-nothing terms and similarly judge others according to certain assumptions. For instance, you may assume someone who struggles with obesity lacks willpower or someone who is thin is happy.
For a moment, consider, if you do engage in judgments, are they useful in helping you achieve your goals or connecting with others?
In the service of increasing peace with yourself, in addition to any goals you may set, you might consider committing to pursuing your resolutions with mindfulness.
3 ways to befriend rather than battle yourself in 2012:
1. Notice judgments. Do you wish the process were easy and dwell on how unfair it feels? Wishing things were easier actually makes life harder. If you find yourself engaging in judgmental thinking, noticing this process is the first step towards stopping.
2. Focus on this moment. Instead of harping on what you did wrong yesterday or what you’re hoping for tomorrow, attend to what may be possible now. Reviewing in full detail what you ate yesterday won’t remove calories or curb your appetite.
3. Appreciate now. There is more to notice than your battle. We can pay a lot of attention to the things that upset us or we can shift our perspective toward the reality we may feel grateful for.
Adopting a mindful stance towards our bodies may feel foreign and difficult. It also may feel like a weight has been instantly lifted--- I don’t know any other diet program that can promise that!
Starting on January 29th, I'll be offering a 9-month series of workshops on parenting, mindfulness, Buddhism, and family life. The group was recently profiled on the popular blog, A Child Grows in Brooklyn. If you're interested, please visit the dedicated page of my website for more information: Parenting on the Path. Also, if you live elsewhere or find this link after the group has started, please feel free to reach out to me. I'm happy to be in touch.
Urban Mindfulness--the practice, organization, and website--was featured on Yoga City NYC this morning. I feel especially grateful to Gina De La Chesnaye who conducted the interview with me. Thanks Gina!
Also, if you're checking out our site for the first time, please take your time and browse around for a bit. We have free meditation handouts, YouTube videos (starring a great psychologist and bad actor--me!), and some great older posts. And, if you're already thinking about holiday presents, why not give the gift of inner peace this year? Urban Mindfulness--the book--is available on Amazon, B&N, and elsewhere.
Also, if you're in NYC, you might want to come to a public talk that I'll be giving at The Interdependence Project next Monday night. Here are the details: Insight, Mindfulness, & Psychotherapy.
Thanks so much for your interest and support!