Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

Thich Nhat Hanh, in 2001, wrote a book called Anger.  This is one of my favorite quotes:  If you can relieve a lot of his suffering.  Listen with only one purpose:  to allow the other person to express himself and find relief from his suffering.  Keep compassion alive during the whole time of listening.  Anger, TNH.

Okay, I have an awesome team of medical people helping me:  neurologist, PA, plenty of RNs and LPNs, LCSW, Psych, Biofeedback, PT, Acupuncturist, etc.  Most have been very sweet and kind to me during my stay to try to break up my migraine cycle.

But here’s the thing. . .  People come in and look at the computer screen and ask you how you are.  They ask a question but do not listen fully or mindfully.  Often times, one part of the team does not know what the other side is doing.  Showing up 5 minutes after I’ve woken up and having not even gotten to the bathroom, someone bubbly comes in and asks how my headache is.  Really?  Thich Nhat Hahn is right about people needing to share their story, their myth, etc so that they can free up the energy and emotions that keep them suffering.

I’m not knocking the staff.  Trust me, care here is way above just being cordial.  They are a great team.  It’s just sad that when you tell your doc that your advanced directives are done and you are my age, that he looks up with a question mark.  Hello?  I’m the one who has lived around dying, caregiving, and grief for 34 years and I know what I want and don’t want — my choice.  That’s why those of us in end-of-life care have worked tirelessly.  NO matter what age you are, you deserve to have the autonomy to chose; you have a right to decide how much suffering you are willing to put up with in situations like these.  Sorry, I get frustrated over end-of-life topics.  We need to start making all docs, nurses, etc take up communication classes and end-of-life classes.  It’s one smart.

But compassion and empathy are they places to start.  How do we teach those things?  Can they be taught?  Who is it in your life that affirms you and gives you their whole attention and mindfully listens to you with no corrections, advice, shaming, doubting, etc, I mean really just listens?  And who do you do that for?

Have you ever sat in and watched a class of children in the past 10 years?  Where I live, there is very little use of the word mindfulness and even when it is used, it is not what Thay, Salzburg, Brach, Pema Chodron, etc teach us.  Classes are too big and kids problems are too expansive.  Not enough time in the day for teachers to “fix” the kids in a classroom of 38, when they are teaching to the test.  Wow, what would happen if we gave kids 10 minutes a day to be listened to, heard, and empathetically listen to others?  I bet it would change an awful lot in this world.

 When we take turns compassionately listing and loving speech, we communicate with one another, not at one another.  It is there, in the space between the two communicating that true communication, true empathy, true love and grow!

(Aside, check out Thay’s books:  True Love, The Art of Communicating, Beginning Anew, Reconciliation, and the Miracle of Mindfulness.)

With Love and Gratitude,   Jenn


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Dear Post-It Note:

Post-It Note Art Collage (PINAP)

Post-It Note Art Collage (PINAP) (Photo credit: Adrian Wallett)

This is a great post by www.mindbodygreen.com.

I think it is one that if I was reading it again for the first time, I would have my trusty post-it notes nearby me.

“What other people think is irrelevant”. . . shouldn’t that be by your computer at work?

What about, “You are enough?”  Where would you post that?

I might post it on my bathroom mirror, where I do my make up every day.

And on the table, where I have all my books that I have been using to write my dissertation, I would have, “Don’t Give Up” for all those days that I sit with my head in my hands or stare blankly at the computer screen.

Grab your pen and post it notes and then let us know where you posted your inspiration!

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I think before we can talk about grief due to a loss because of suicide, we need to understand suicide.

I believe that psychoeducation is one of our most basic and important tools for conquering anything.

So, how do we know if our loved one needs help or is in danger?

Here is a list of warning signs from “Survivors of Suicide” by Rita Robinson.

Suicide Warning Signs

  • Suicide threats
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Statements revealing a desire to die
  • Sudden change in behavior – withdrawal, apathy, moodiness, anger
  • Depression – crying, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, helplessness, worthlessness
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions
  • Loss of interest in appearance
  • Taking unnecessary risks
  • Acquiring a weapon
  • Failing to take medication
  • Giving away items
  • Sudden appearance of happiness or calmness

There is a lot of help out there.  Contact a qualified mental health professional in your area if you need help or you are seeking help for someone you love.


http://www.griefnet.org/resources/suicide.htmlRelated articles



Related Articles:

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Joan Halifax with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dala...

Joan Halifax with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, at the XIVth Mind and Life Institute conference, 2007, Dharamsala (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jack Kornfield, Roshi Joan HalifaxDan SiegelRick Hanson

Jack Kornfield


I’d love to go back to Seattle but I cannot lie, the Vegas conference carries the biggest bang!

I think if you could make it to any of these conferences you would learn a tremendous amount from these giants in the fields of mindfulness, science, therapy, spirituality, and more…




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Candle Lighter Award

The Candle Lighter Award is an award for a post or blog that is positive and brings light into the world.

The Candle Lighter Award belongs to those who believe, who always survive the day and who never stop dreaming, who do not quit but keep trying.

There are no rules. If you wish to, simply accept it and you are done! You are also free to decline or ignore it.

Recipients can pass it on to as many nominees as they wish and as often as they wish. This does not diminish the weight attached to this award. On the contrary, I reckon it places a huge but welcomed burden on the person passing on the award.

Ben, at http://bennaga.wordpress.com/ gave me this award and, well, I didn’t know what to do with it.  🙂  I was sweetly honored that Ben would pass on such kind words about my blog.

There is so much simple complexity to Ben’s words. . .

“Do you ever think

You might have it wrong?

Hold that thought

(But not too tightly)”

Book of Guff, 2/10/12

Sometimes I think we can convey that which is most human on through poetry and Ben does a brilliant job at it through his multiple blogs.

Heart to Heart” on 1/21/12

Now your time comes

Now you can speak

Be heard



Now the tears come

So long withheld

Let go



Where else can one find so much about the complexity and simplicity of the human kind of being and all it’s paradox and totality.  I find Ben’s posts to be both uplifting and on the edge. . . I feel hopeful when I read them and at the same time, sometimes I hear the sound of the meditation master’s stick on my shoulder as he simply calls us to wake up as we read his words.  Simply refreshing!  And I look forward to following his journey.  Thanks Ben!!!!

There are so many wonderful blogs here on wordpress and I am so inspired by the stories, courage, and compassion that is shared here.  And here some sites that I think deserve the honor of the Candle Lighter’s Award. . . they are sites that I look forward to following every day to find the truth, light, and honest activism and inspiration…







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Don’t worry that they’ve started with out you. . . As Pema Chodron’s title suggests, start where you are. . .


Join countless others who are doing the Commit to 28 Days of Meditation with Sharon Salzberg.

All this month, Tricycle Magazine has great tips in their online and their paper magazine to help you get started.

Also this month, Shambhala Sun Magazine is devoted to the neuroscience of meditation including a Dharma talk by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche‘s archives, celebrating the 25th year anniversary of his death.

We have 29 days this month. . . don’t let one slip by mindlessly….

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I have just downloaded my first book by Rick in the past month and haven’t gotten to it. I have several friends who practice who like his work so I will pass this on to you.
I will check back in when I get to read some of “Just One Thing”.

Rick Hanson, whose work really delights me, now has a youtube channel with Just One Minute practices. They are simple and straight forward tips, making mindfulness practice a part of every minute of our lives. That is how it’s supposed to be, but it’s so often taught in ways that make people think it’s not something they can do. It’s for other people. But that’s just not true. It’s for everyone who is at all drawn to it! Start with just one minute at a time.



Rick Hanson also has a book that is a collection of small everyday and every moment practices to build our “Buddha Brain:” Again, I love the simplicity of the exercises and that you do them while living your life.  Just One Thing: Developing A Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time

I get his Just One Thing newsletter to my…

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I love this blog.  I am always inspired by the photos and quotes that are posted here.

I’ve been experiencing a lot of solitude lately, while travelling, and have had a lot of tine for some soulful contemplation… Maybe that’s why this post really stuck me tonight…

It also reminded me of a book I read as an undergraduate student, “Solitude:  A Return to the Self” by Anthony Storr, author of The Art of Psychotherapy.  This passage has helped me greatly in my years of being a companion to those on a healing path:

“In a culture in which interpersonal relationships are generally considered to provide the answer to every form of distress, it is sometimes difficult to persuade well-meaning helpers that solitude can be as therapeutic as emotional support.”  pg. 29

If you are a caregiver, professional or not, remember that there is a balance between being-with in an active form and being-with in a spacious form.  Learn to tune into which is needed in the moment.

Life is but a dream!

Solitude is
When you do not need anyone around
And even if you are sick,
You are still happy.
Solitude is
To be wrapped in silence
By a mind unattached,
Sinking deep into a foundation of stability.

Solitude is
A clear understanding that
All of us, everything
Are just mental creations, conditioned.

Solitude is
To have abandoned the “I am” conceit,
And is free.

— Venerable Sujiva – Wind in the Forest – Solitude

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If you have never picked up a book by Stephen and Ondrea Levine, you are truly missing out.  They now have a website as well.

The Levine’s have worked with dying and grieving people for decades, incorporating a genuine spiritual practice to the gift of caring for the dying.  The work, like the work of Ram Dass, Roshi Joan Halifax, and Frank Ostaseski’s, is about cultivating a compassionate presence to those who are living with their dying, living with their grieving.

Check out their books on amazon.com.

Here is a clip of an interview with this amazing couple and their own journeys with illness and aging.

Keep an eye out for a series of posts based on the Levine’s work that is forthcoming!

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