All posts filed under: Meditation

Why Healing Touch is Better Than a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

When I tell someone I have a healing touch practitioner, I still have the impulse to apologize — to feel some misplaced, new age shame for saying my magnetic energy fields need realignment, or even to speak of having them at all. It’s silly. You’d think that after 30-odd years at the spiritual salad bar — self-help books, yoga, rosaries, meditation and finally the path of sobriety — that I’d just come out with whatever I’m doing now to keep myself in check with no concern about the possible woo-woo factor. I send my dog to day care, for God’s sake. What kind of shame about my life choices can I possibly have left? A little, it’s true. Deep inside of this post-millennial searcher is the voice of the Greatest Generation that helped to raise me, that says — with love — that a grilled cheese sandwich, a beer and maybe a movie will fix what ails me, so stop my bitching. But that’s been proven disastrously wrong. So I’ve learned that when the magnetic …

Silencing Your Screaming Mimi: 4 Ways to Quiet Your Inner Critic

Recently, I had a massage with a therapist I’d never met before. After I arranged myself facedown on her table, Denise (who is thankfully a petite woman) climbed aboard, sitting atop my backside with her knees digging into my glutes. Denise read my reaction, which was silence, as permission to push deeper, shifting her weight from side to side to accentuate the pressure on each cheek. “Wow,” she said. “You have a high pain threshold. Most people scream when I do this.” Later, she worked on my neck, shoulders and spine, then pressed her fingers into the top of my skull. It was then that she apparently determined that I was screaming…on the inside. “Hmmm,” she murmured thoughtfully. “You might want to think about stopping all the yelling you’ve got going on inside your body.” Did Denise possess some sort of X-ray hearing? Because while her assessment might seem nutty, she was exactly right: Denise had run smack into my inner banshee who was, as usual, roaring at the top of her lungs. Mimi is …

Why I Was Ungrateful For Those Gratitude Lists

For many years, you could spare me your gratitude lists. I didn’t want any of that manufactured positivity. I didn’t believe in it, couldn’t abide by it. The last thing I needed was your swirly font and numbered reasons to dig life, doubling as a reminder of all of the things I didn’t have. Then, faced with a choice to change everything or die, I quit drinking. The first person who really helped me understand how to live as a sober person asked me to send her a gratitude list as soon as I woke up every day. It wasn’t really negotiable. She told me a grateful person had a better chance of not drinking, and my desire to quit was bigger than my hatred of gratitude lists. l had also opened my big mouth and told her I would try anything to get better, so I shut up and sent her five things (mostly) every morning, in a plain black font text thread. My gratitude lists include being alive and they often include coffee, as some mornings …

I Spy: How a Simple Game Ignited My Senses

When I was a kid, I was sick all of the time and missed many days of school. I almost got held back in first grade because I was absent more days than I attended that year. I don’t remember the actual sickness too much, but I do have memories of spending time in the doctor’s waiting room with my mother. “I spy something yellow,” she’d say. “Is it the chair?” I’d say. “No.” “Is it the doll’s dress?” “No.” “Is it the flowers?” And so went this looking and guessing until what was spied was discovered. On the surface, this simple game helped to pass the time while we waited. But on a deeper level, it cultivated skills of observation and required us to open our senses and notice what was around us. This rooted us to the reality we were in, which, whether my mother knew it or not, is a useful thing to do during moments of stress. The technique is called grounding and I came to know it decades later in …

When Lou Reed (Nearly) Beat Me Up in Tai Chi

So let me tell you about the time Lou Reed roughed me up — a little. It was in 2004 or so. A colleague, who’d worked in the music biz, happened to mention that he took a regular Tai Chi class and that the rock-and-roll superstar was a regular attendee. “Excuse me? Repeat that?” “Yeah, he’s a Tai Chi expert, been taking the class for years. You should try it sometime…” Um, where do I sign up? I feigned interest in the martial art of Tai Chi; I’d seen the older Chinese women practicing in the basketball court near my apartment — it looked way too slow for my impatient monkey mind. But the idea of sweating aside one of my rock and roll heroes seemed like either the coolest or strangest thing in the world. I had to do it. Lou Reed and his first band, the Velvet Underground, were the soundtrack to my college years. My roommate dragging on a cigarette on a “Sunday Morning”; dancing with 20 sweaty people in a dorm …