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Welcome

lMy name is Dr. Dawnn McWatters, Psy.D., and I’m a licensed psychologist in independent practice in downtown Portland, Oregon. I offer mindfulness-based individual psychotherapy to clients 18+ years of age, as well as educational workshops and classes.

Update for the week of April 8th: I am no longer accepting new clients as I prepare to retire from my role as individual psychotherapist and move on to other adventures. Thanks for visiting! Feel free to check back as the year unfolds for updates on my educational SAVOR program.

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Check out this article from Scientific American on the benefits of self-compassion (today and everyday!).

Connect with Food

Hollywood winter farmers market 2019Did you know: Connect with Food is one of the four modules of the SAVOR program (coming soon!), in addition to A Mindful Meal (all about mindful and intuitive eating), Sow to Savor (basics of growing food, accessible to any lifestyle or living situation), and Cultivate Resiliency (which includes guidance on how to care for our amazing, precious bodies). Continue Reading »

Growing SAVOR

recommended books

Just a few of the texts I’m drawing from as I develop the online SAVOR for mind/body health program. Cultivate mindfulness, self-compassion, acceptance, and inner wisdom in the New Year.

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Why I love this series (or, at least, a few of the many, many reasons): Continue Reading »

When you are lost

SAVOR for Mind/Body Health

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This picture is from the grounds of Cloud Mountain, a meditation retreat center in rural Washington (1 hour from Portland), where I’ve been grateful to sit at in the past. It seemed fitting for a poem I also return to, again and again.

Lost

Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you

are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,

and you must treat it as a powerful stranger,

must ask permission to know it and be known.

The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,

I have made this place around you,

If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.

No two trees are the same to Raven.

No two branches are the same to Wren.

If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,

You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows

where you are. You must let it find…

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image-header_long-e1447711621383This morning during a writing exercise, I found myself reflecting upon how frustrated I feel when I don’t have enough time for my creative projects. How painful it feels to start — only to end before I’m ready. Zooming out, I suspect that sometimes I might even avoid creative work because I don’t want to experience this uncomfortable, unpleasant dynamic.

Suddenly, I remembered words of advice that I share every day: I encourage others to show up and “savor” their experiences with food. We practice inhaling delicious aromas, gazing at our food, exploring texture, and holding it in our mouths to fully absorb flavors. By doing so, we experience the richness of each bite, each meal. We allow ourselves to feel more fully satisfied – and to discern what we like, or don’t like, and how our bodies receive these gifts, so we can make adjustments in the future.

So often, I forget that I can practice savoring many moments of my day. With food, and during other activities. I do remember to “show up” for some of the good stuff – a walk beneath a beautiful, smoke-free blue sky, for example; doing so fills me and helps to buffer difficult parts of my day. However, for those activities that I especially love (writing, as an other example) but experience with scarcity, I become fused to the story “not enough, not enough”….and miss what is happening, what is possible, even in the moment.

Is there an activity or connection in your life for which you desperately long? Can you experiment with showing up – with intention and curiosity – to its next occurrence, to explore what is available to you, even in a few brief bites?

 

 

13972775576_ac7b8af48c_bA few weeks ago, I began reading The Book of Awakening, by the poet and teacher Mark Nepo. From the September 23rd entry, he writes:

“There is no expected pace for inner learning. What we need to learn comes when we need it, no matter how old or young, no matter how many times we have to start over, no matter how many times we have to learn the same lesson. We fall down as many times as we need to, to learn how to fall and get up…We suffer our pain as often as is necessary for us to learn how to break and how to heal. No one really likes this, of course, but we deal with our dislike in the same way, again and again, until we learn what we need to know about the humility of acceptance….”

We fall down as many times as we need to, to learn how to fall and get up.

To be human, is to fall. “Everything looks like a failure in the middle,” I heard a TED talk speaker once state.

It’s how we respond to the falling, how kind (or unkind) we are to ourselves, whether we are willing to get up – sometimes again and again and again, that can make all the difference.