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27 Feb

I’ve been coming into my neighborhood cleaning store to drop off or pick up clothing for years.  I usually chat with the same attractive, caramel-colored, 40-something woman at the counter.  We talk about politics, children, movies, travel - you name it – for about 5 or 10 minutes, and then we both move on.  

From all these brief, casual, accumulated moments – moments that are the glue of any real neighborhood – I’ve come to like this no-baloney woman quite a lot.  

One thing I began to notice a few months ago, however, was that she was starting to look pretty haggard.  And her conversation was getting bleak. 

21 Feb

A friend just sent me this terrific video of a TED presentation by Kathryn Schutz on Being Wrong.  I hope you have time to watch it (it’s about 18 minutes), because it will open up your thinking and goose your creativity.  Really. 

Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz

13 Feb

So, you need a guided imagery narrative that will captivate the average teen, not to mention the more geekazoidally-oriented adult? Check out this hilarious cartoon and you'll have an imagery metaphor with legs….
We got this from friend and colleague, Karen Rosenberg, who says she actually uses this kind of patter when she’s teaching kids to do guided imagery or meditate.  So it’s not just funny – it’s useful.  Karen says feel free to adopt it as your own.

06 Feb

As Cindy wrote when she forwarded this thank you note to all of us last week, “These stories never cease to amaze me”.  But rest assured, we never get tired of hearing them.  

Just to throw in a relevant factoid, an interesting finding from two separate studies done years ago – one from Blue Shield of California and one from a cardiac surgery pilot study Mehmet Oz and his team did (before he became a TV rock star) at Columbia Presbyterian – was that the more anxious and distressed the pre-surgery patient was, the more dramatically the guided imagery helped them.   

We also have plenty of hard data about significant differences in blood loss, recovery time, use of pain meds and more.  But these personal stories tell the tale and bring home the point best!

30 Jan

We got this delightful message from Annie Umbricht MD, a general internist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.  What she says about how difficult it is to introduce healthy behavior change to patients is something we can all relate to.  

And the way she responded to her patient who had his heart set on a Xanax refill for his panic attacks, was nothing short of brilliant, if you ask us.

She writes:

Although not all my patients follow through and listen to the guided imagery CDs, those who do are really doing well. 

23 Jan

Thanks to Ken Burns, we have footage from various Civil War reunions from 1913 to 1938, showing Blue and Gray coming together at Gettysburg.  It surely does give perspective on our various American wars.  

(A friend sent this to me and I opened it not knowing whose film this was.  It’s a tribute to Ken Burns and his gifted staff that after less than a minute I knew it could only be Ken Burns’ impeccable editing, scoring and narrating. There’s nothing quite like it, is there?)

View Civil war veteran soldier footage, captured between 1913 and 1938.

16 Jan

Here’s a dramatic story that came out of Fargo, ND, about Alison Kohler, a woman who was so traumatized, she’d basically shut down her life, and how her therapist, Connie Bjerk, trained in practicing integrative therapies, helped release her from being controlled by fear, and jump-start a very juicy new chapter in her life, filled with hope, romance and possibility.  

Every now and then it really does happen this way.  You can read more about it here.

09 Jan

This wonderful description from a string player about using his own, personal version of guided imagery to help him play his music and cohere his technical knowledge with the emotionality and meaning of the piece, came from a post in Chamber Music Today.

“In order to have fast mobility and clarity on left-hand fingers, string players have to train their fingers to have these 3 elements when dropping their left-hand fingers on the fingerboard: speed; strength; and the fast release right after the drop.

02 Jan

Dear Cheryl,

Thanks for sending me the catalogs I requested for my Grief and Loss Workshop, conducted at my church.  We had six women attend, all of whom are actively grieving because of serious losses of loved ones. These included deaths by accident, murder and due to Alzheimer ’s disease. None of these women were aware of guided imagery or your audios.
I played the Affirmations portion of my well-used Relieve Depression tape and they were so deeply touched. One widow commented specifically on the reference to “being held in the hands of God” and the group agreed that image is especially comforting.

27 Dec

Here’s a moving rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah from an 8 year old Gospel singer with a big voice named Rhema.

Hearing Cohen’s tortured, powerful poetry… his grown-up wrestling with ageless, complicated themes, coming out of this cute little kid’s mouth, is a little weird but moving nonetheless.  It’s as if her voice understands what her young brain couldn’t possibly know yet.  

Plus, thanks to this video, we finally get to see the lyrics, which I never fully heard before.  Yikes.  

[Question: Did Cohen purposely conflate Bathsheba (roof-bathing) with Delilah (haircut)?  Yeah, I think so.  Seems to me the guy knew his Bible, so this has to be his way of speaking universally about temptation,  the meeting ground of sexuality and spirituality, and our bent human proclivities toward violence and aggression…. which makes it all the more disorienting, being sung by a kid.  But if you close your eyes and forget she’s eight, this is one song that will grab you and refuse to let go.]