Not long ago I retired after nearly 10 years as manager of the Center’s Food As Medicine professional nutrition training program. I’ve been asking myself — what are my most enduring takeaways?
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Cinnamon oranges. Aren’t those words together scintillating?
On a freezing cold night in January I joined 30 friends at Marrakech near Dupont Circle in Washington, DC for a 5-course feast. Platter after platter of savory dishes were presented in succession, the flavors all much the same. And then–unexpectedly–the most marvelous thing happened. The waiters brought for dessert thick orange slices dusted with cinnamon, arrayed on the plate like shimmering orange flowers, glowing in the mysterious, darkened room. The smell of cinnamon aroused our senses before we even tasted. And when we tasted our eyes opened wide with amazement–these were some of the most delicious things we’d ever had! By far our favorite dish of the evening. And it quickly dawned on me that this was also the most amazingly easy dessert to create, ever! And that it would be the perfect thing to share with you.
Sometimes we talk about how the Center’s work at a very broad level is really peace and conflict resolution work: healing trauma in individuals, families and communities, to bring about forgiveness, revitalization, growth, and hope. Perhaps, if you are an alum of our programs, you have experienced this?
Sometimes healing means understanding, sometimes it means letting go. It might mean leaving, or staying; it might mean developing gratitude, awareness, self-compassion, or self-expression. Mind-body medicine allows us to be human, and our group model creates the holding container in which what needs to happen can finally happen, instead of being held in or held back. Again and again, we witness the beauty and resilience of the human spirit.
In the season of light, as the new year approaches, we look forward to continuing this remarkable healing work, bringing comfort to people who are suffering, and doing our part to bring peace on earth.
Sending love and our very best wishes to you and yours!
The Staff of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine
Author: Jo Cooper, Online Communications Editor
Have you been looking for a fresh cranberry relish recipe, that makes the perfect accompaniment to holiday meals?
This is it.
It was a tense moment. The phlebotomist had tried drawing blood from both of my arms without success, and had left the room in search of a colleague to take over. I sat, band aids and bruises in the crooks of my arms, curious about how this next attempt would go… when I had a BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious). It wasn’t all down to the technician — I could help! I just had to riffle through the rolodex in my brain to find the right resources.
Happy holidays! Sending our best wishes and gratitude that you are part of our community, and of our efforts to make the world a healthier & more peaceful place!
Introducing….Mindful. We’re already partial to being mindful, but now there’s a magazine all about it–the latest findings, the latest programs, the most wonderful stories–the juicy bits. The October edition features an interview with Center founder and director Dr. James Gordon called “A Journey to the Center of Yourself,” 8 pages of his sage perspectives with beautiful illustrations. As soon as we got our hands on copies, staff members were pouring over the interesting articles cover-to-cover, from “At NASA, Meditation is Rocket Science” to “To Pause and Protect”, the cover story about Oregon police officers learning mindfulness techniques, to “Children Helping Children”… oh, my! Do I need to say we are all hooked?
Would you like to help the special children in your life cope with worry and anxiety?
We’re thrilled to announce the publication of Bye-Bye Butterflies: Seven Ways To Breathe Out Worry, written by our Mind-Body Medicine faculty member Lilita Matison, LCSW. As a K-5 children’s counselor for 5 years, Lilita became familiar with the children’s worries and creative about helping them mindfully cope. This book is a marvelous result. Publicity for the book describes it as teaching “self-regulation, stress management and mind-body techniques”, and it certainly does; but it’s really just the cutest, most empowering and practical gift you could give any young child.
Interested in teaching your patients, colleagues, family or community members about the value of eating healthy foods? I have two words to suggest: feed them.
Our signature mind-body medicine technique is something Founder and Director James Gordon, MD calls “Soft Belly”, by way of encouraging each of us to relax — which few of us instinctively do these days.
We sit quietly, breathing in through our nose and out through our mouth, which both calms the sympathetic nervous system and awakens the parasympathetic nervous system, creating a feeling of relaxation in the mind and body. Dr. Gordon suggests we think “soft” as we breathe in and “belly” as we breathe out, reminding ourselves to relax our belly so we can take in full, healing breaths rather than shallow, tense ones.