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Welcome to a Mindful Meal, dedicated to improving mind/body health through the application of empirically supported compassionate-awarenessinterventions.

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

Winter 2018 update: My schedule is currently full and I don’t anticipate having new ongoing appointments until January 2019. I continue to prioritize clients who are seeking help with binge or “emotional” eating issues, although I am willing to consult with other individuals. Please note that I am no longer accepting new Cigna, Providence, or UnitedHealthcare insurance plan members as I will end my contract with these plans in December 2018 (although I am happy to bill these plans as an out of network provider).  Also, my office will be closed Tuesday, November 20th through Tuesday, November 27th. 

If you are interested in working with me, please take a look around and read this post to learn how to become established as a client. Once we’ve scheduled our initial intake appointment, you can download the new client packet.

Thanks for visiting, and do return soon!

When you are lost

a Mindful Meal

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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…

View original post 32 more words

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.

 

A sneak peek

20180915_153044A few shots of my new office space at 2188 SW Park Place Suite 303, to help everyone find me in the coming weeks – this first view is of my waiting area, a third-floor landing that I share with several other psychologists and businesses. You’ll find a restroom on this floor, as well as on each floor of the building. Continue Reading »

20180828_105302.jpgFor those that follow me here or on my business Facebook page, you’ve seen my postings on the therapeutic benefits of gardening. When I’m not in the office, I’m usually either working on my hobby farm, writing, or parenting. This morning, I was struck yet again regarding the parallels that run beneath these varied experiences of being human.

Continue Reading »

Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness bookI was delighted to receive this book in the mail recently – not only is Dr. Treleaven’s book a long-awaited and valuable contribution to the field of scientific mindfulness-based programs, but it is also a timely exploration of the relationship between trauma, privilege, power, and oppression.

From an article he wrote recently:

“Trauma is not just an individual tragedy—it is rooted in larger social systems that shape our lives. When we peel back the layers of a traumatic experience, we find that they’re bound up within a larger social context.” Safety is an essential ingredient in the development of any self-awareness practice.

Sharing-meal-eating-habits_blogCheck out the NPR podcast, the Hidden Brain, interviewing a social scientist who has spent his career investigating our relationship with food.

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/618941407/619011338