Mindfulness In 2017

It’s a little after 4:00 PM and I’m just catching my breath. I’ve been running all over the hospital trying to put out the usual psychiatric consultation fires. And I remember the message from Bev, the Director of our Mindfulness-Based Programs way last week. It was not the usual message we get about the mindfulness program schedule. It was an extra reminder, almost as if she knew how fast I’ve been chasing my tail since the first of the year…so fast I have not had the time to write my first post for 2017–until now.

But first an announcement. Our Psychosomatic Medicine Interest Group (PMIG) celebrated the first year anniversary this past Monday. I want to thank everyone who attended and my helpers who got the balloons and that fantastic marble cake!

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I was presenting that day–and got paged out twice for crises in the ER and the ICU. It was still fun although I’m feeling a little ragged and maybe on the way back to autopilot since the day after New Year’s Day. A few days after that, I got Bev’s message, perfectly timed, although I haven’t had a chance to look at it until today. It was a reminder about the Graduate Groups and a few links to help keep the graduates focused on mindfulness practice.

One link is a list, 5 Ways to Jumpstart Your Day. It’s about a few ways to integrate a Purposeful Pause into your life. I got a chuckle about the first one, which is to start your day with a drink. Now you’re talking! OK, it’s coffee or tea. It reminded me of one of the first exercises in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction a couple of years ago in which we had to mindfully eat a raisin. I’m already the slowest eater in the world so that one was not so tough. And I take time to eat lunch every day, despite the psychiatry consultation service being a reactive, crisis-driven business in which I never have an inkling when or why my pager will go off.

Walking it off is a good one. I walk everywhere in the hospital and I always take the stairs. I plenty of opportunities to walk it off.

The other link is to a fascinating movement practice that comes with a long list of steps.

  1. Separate your feet using any standard crosscut saw and hold your hands in front of you, interlacing your fingers.
  2. Inhale and press your iliac crests forward as far as you can; if your hips snap out, just go with it.
  3. Exhale and open your back by grabbing the zipper at the base of your neck, pull down and step out of your body like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. Be mindful for butterfly nets wielded by aggressive entomologists who typically start the day with a drink, I’m told.
  4. Inhale and reach up to the sky as high as you can, higher, higher, higher, until you bang your knuckles on the ceiling, then you can stop.
  5. Interlace your toes behind your knees.
  6. Inhale, look up and lift your heart up to the sky, after you’ve removed it from your chest with suitable attachments on your Swiss Army Knife.

No kidding, it goes on like that for like 20 more steps. It might be easier to watch someone demonstrate this.

Wow, doesnt that feel better? I hope Bev doesn’t see this.