Archive for the ‘Quick Reads’ Category

Rainbow heart of fruits and vegetables


A must-read article, which explores the notion that “food, and the very rituals of eating, could also have the power to heal afflictions of the mind.” Check out the following statements by Jeffrey Zurofsky, the culinary director of a treatment center in California, who also sits on an advisory board at the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts:

“It’s not just that food can affect and change emotions…but that the entire act of eating, the physical process—farm to table in the most literal sense—can be analogous to the trauma healing process.

We talk about understanding of, and comprehension around, what is the true healing power of this food,” he says. “The ideas around the transformative power of not just food, but the table, and the context in which we enjoy our food, and the memories we create, and the social connections that we make in that experience—how powerful that is to heal us.”

Zurofsky even has a name for the approach: the meal as medicine.


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For 2018

Love After Love

The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you have ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.


Derek Walcott, Collected Poems 1948-1984.

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Wise words, torn from a magazine and pinned to the bulletin board above my writing desk:

“My favorite sentence of all time is: You’re not defined by what happens to you, you’re defined by how you handle it.” 

Each moment contains infinite possibilities – how will we greet and navigate through this moment, and the next?

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Family Eating BreakfastIf you are interested in learning more about the Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training program as it was developed by Dr. Jean Kristeller, Ph.D., and perhaps want to check out her book or related resource, her website is worth a visit. The Emotional Eating Worksheet (at the very bottom of the page), in particular, could be a useful self-monitoring tool to learn more about the relationship between your emotions, stressful situations, and eating habits. If you use this form to gather information, however, remember to bring lots of self-compassionate “seasoning” to your experience!

As Dr. Kristeller reminds us, “mindfulness can help bring balance into every aspect of how we eat. It involves cultivating a combination of “inner wisdom” (awareness of how our body and mind are responding), and “outer wisdom” (engaging nutrition information and recommendations to meet your own personal needs and preferences)…”


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2370002698764This past month, I’ve re-read “Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine,” by Saki Santorelli, Ed.D., the Executor Director of the UMASS Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society. Dr. Santorelli is a long-time MBSR practitioner and teacher,  and I would add poet and philosopher to his impressive list of credentials, after moving through his book for a second time. And truly, I was moved.

Narrative medicine has been described as a way for healthcare providers to “…reach and join their patients in illness, recognize their own personal journeys through medicine, acknowledge kinship with and duties toward other health care professionals, and inaugurate consequential discourse with the public about health care. By bridging the divides that separate physicians from patients, themselves, colleagues, and society, narrative medicine offers fresh opportunities for respectful, empathic, and nourishing medical care” (Charon, 2001).

In Heal Thy Self, this author thoughtfully enters into an intimate exploration of his own experiences, personal and professional (as Saki himself reminded us during an MBSR training, the two are not separable, as much as we might wish to demarcate a distinction), over the span of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course.

More than ever before, healthcare providers and their patients are engaged collaboratively in efforts to improve individual health and well-being. (more…)

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“The research indicates that these are very simple contemplative practices that don’t require any special tools other than one’s own mind and can be practiced for a few minutes at a time and if they are done regularly, they lead to systematic changes in the brain, systematic changes in behavior and changes in experience.”davidson

From a short article on bringing mindfulness into daily life….And read even more of Dr. Davidson’s work by visiting his website at http://richardjdavidson.com.

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Recently I came across this article from the American Psychological Association on the power of the “redemptive story.”  As many of us know, the stories we tell ourselves – the meaning we make out of life events, whether they are positive or painful – can shape our identities, our futures, even the our memory of the experiences themselves. If we allow ourselves to feel (and accept) the impact of living through adversity, we can come out on the other side with greater wisdom and positive well-being.

What’s been difficult for you, in your life? And how much do you allow or acknowledge its impact? Do you tell yourself a story that is distorted or negative – that you are inherently “bad” or “unworthy,” as a result of these circumstances? Or do you admit that while painful, the event might have revealed a need for greater awareness, skills, or support, or otherwise taught you some lesson that has made you stronger as a person?

What we say to ourselves – and others – really does matter…

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