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lMy name is Dr. Dawnn McWatters, Psy.D., and I’m a licensed psychologist in Portland, Oregon. For the past 15+ years, I’ve offered mindfulness-based individual psychotherapy, in addition to educational workshops, groups, and classes.

Effective June 5th, 2019, I have retired as an individual psychotherapist. A heartfelt thank you to everyone I’ve served throughout my career.

Please check back soon for updates from The SAVOR Project, where we grow food literacy, resiliency, and mindfulness skills. Join the mindful eating movement and reclaim your relationship with food!

9389a10aa827004f79c4f63dbe307fd3.jpgIt’s been exactly two months since I’ve closed my practice as a psychotherapist, but it already feels like I’ve been away a lifetime. During that time, I’ve celebrated birthdays and an adoption anniversary, given a whole lot of attention to my edible garden, volunteered at local farmer’s markets as a Master Gardener, written a little, cooked a lot, and read a handful of books.

I do miss sitting with all of you, feeling awed by the courage and vulnerability and determination I saw every day. I miss being of service, feeling connected to a profession that is doing good things and working hard to remedy past wrongs, individually and collectively. I miss bearing witness to so many stories, those jewels of human experience. Continue Reading »

Edible art

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From my garden (clockwise, from bottom): Starburst radishes, parsley seed, red-veined sorrel, snap pea, German chamomile flowers, apple mint, mustard mix, Redbor kale, borage flower, sage flower, New Red Fire lettuce. Tristar strawberry and nasturtium (middle).

Yes, you should play with your food! Mindful eating invites us to feast with all of our senses during our next meal or snack. Learn how by attending an upcoming SAVOR Project workshop (registration opening soon).

For families who want to have fun with gardening, check out this article: https://www.pbs.org/parents/thrive/gardening-with-kids-how-it-affects-your-childs-brain-body-and-soul.

And here’s another blogger’s perspective on how mindful gardening can connect us to our bodies: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/gardening-blog/2016/sep/01/if-you-want-to-practice-mindfulness-the-garden-is-the-place-to-be.

Happy summer eating and gardening, friends.

 

 

 

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Recently, my 9-year-old daughter came home from school and shared an event that had happened during recess while playing a game known as “deadly tick tock” on the tire swing. She’d flashed back to a memory of our family’s car accident the July before, and remembered some scary details surrounding her dad’s head injury. Needless to say, she became upset, and she didn’t know what to do.

This is an especially emotionally-laden example but the reality is that life crashes into each of us, in some shape or form. We’ve all had difficult days, at work or at home – and there are more to come, as long as we wake up breathing. Life is glorious…and challenging, and messy. When our bodies feel as if we are in the middle of a four-alarm stress fire and we’re not sure where to turn, we might benefit from a self-compassionate first aid kit. Continue Reading »

Women of Worth3In addition to food literacy and mindful eating training, I’ve always felt passionate about supporting mothers, especially as it relates to navigating our own emotions and balancing competing needs. Although much of my work has been 1:1 in the psychotherapy office, I’ve also facilitated workshops on self-care for parents and for caregivers, and taught basic mindfulness skills to parents who’ve attended my community presentations over the years.  As I’m prepare to retire from my role as a psychotherapist, I’m eager to lead such workshops again. Let’s make it happen! Continue Reading »

Yes! This still stands 🙂

The SAVOR Project

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As farm-to-school programs, community gardens, CSAs, and farmer’s markets grow in number, more individuals are participating in and gaining an appreciation for the entire food cycle, from growing their food to procuring, preparing, cooking, and savoring it. First Lady Michelle Obama’s famous White House Garden will continue under the stewardship of new First Lady Melania Trump, who said: “Gardening teaches us the fundamentals in care and the evolution of living things, all while inspiring us to nurture our minds and to relax and strengthen our bodies.”

Here at A Mindful Meal, I’m not just a psychologist and mindful eating educator, but I’m also a cook, hobby farmer, and food justice activist. I love food from just about every angle, and part of my mission is to help reconnect you to meaningful experiences with food, too.

In the book Mindful Eating,Dr. Jan Chosen Bays, MD

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As I wind down the final month of my practice as a psychotherapist, things are exploding (in a good way) at home on our little farm. But rest assured, I’m hard at work growing the SAVOR Project, as well, and updates will be coming soon!

In the meantime, here are a few farm shots. I love playing in the dirt so very much. Some of these herbs will show up as plant starts in a future SAVOR workshop – maybe my Back to Food Basics, exploring food literacy through a variety of fun mindful eating exercises, in the fall?

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