By Jo Cooper

Jo Cooper, Online Communications Editor, is the editor of the Centering blog. She posts on and tweets @MindBodyMed and about marketing, design and photography on @JoCooperStudio. Questions about the blog? Contact her at

Mind-Body Bookshelf: Enjoy Every Sandwich

Every man dies– not every man really lives.
— William Ross Wallace

Several thoughts struck me after completing Lee Lipsenthal’s Enjoy Every Sandwich: Living Each Day As If It Were Your Last. One- this is one of those very precious books like Randy Pauch’s The Last Lecture that are sublime in their honesty, vitality, and sheer joie de vivre. And two- I wish I had met Lee. We emailed several times as publication approached. I hoped he would be able to do an author talk for the Center, sharing some of his wisdom and unique personality– but he passed away before that could happen.

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In Haiti

The Center always begins meetings with meditation- to calm and center us after rushing to arrive. Now we are here, together– preparing to focus as a team to accomplish the work at hand.

This is the pre-program staff meeting yesterday in Jacmel, Haiti, where the Center is training 120 care providers in our Initial Mind-Body Medicine program. Initial and advanced trainings have been held previously in Port-au-Prince, and some of those trained are now part of a Haiti Leadership Team serving as interns in this training. Dr. Gordon and Center faculty are guiding the deep process of learning that begins today. The trainees will learn the science and practice of self-care, in a supportive small-group setting. They need this support themselves, and will learn to share it with their families and their communities in Jacmel.

Blessings on the work!


Mind-Body Bookshelf: Learning to Breathe

 Priscilla Warner’s Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life is an instant mind-body classic, tracing her journey from panic to peace in generous detail.

Though happily married, with two wonderful grown sons and a satisfying career as an art director turned author, Warner suffered from serious anxiety and panic attacks. She made a decision to spend a year seeing if meditation and other mind-body techniques could help her heal, and the results are riveting. She describes her explorations, from breathing and lovingkindness meditation to Trager work, Ayurveda and EMDR, with refreshing honesty, growing wisdom, and humor.

This may be a book you’ll enjoy for your own pleasure and edification, as well as to recommend to patients or clients and friends. A keeper.

Available in our new online bookstore


The Magic of Presence

I never miss watching Jim Gordon, Center Founder & Director, lead the fishbowl exercise at our Advanced Mind-Body Medicine training program. In a fishbowl, for those of you who haven’t experienced it, chairs are arranged in concentric circles, with those seated in the large outer circles acting as witnesses to the activity in the smaller circle within.

In this case, Dr. Gordon invites trainees to volunteer to be part of a Mind-Body Skills Group– something that is usually quite private, among a group of 10 to 12 people including the facilitator– but in this instance is quite public. It takes a great deal of courage for volunteers to raise their hands.  One physician said during the process last week when asked why she wanted to participate, “Well, 3 minutes ago I didn’t even know I did!” She felt moved, in the moment, to join in the experiment.

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Mind, Mood & Food

Join us for Mind, Mood & Food: Optimal Nutrition for the Brain March 16 - 18, 2012 at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, MA

How would you like to learn more about nutrition and the brain from some of the nation’s top experts, in a beautiful retreat setting in the Berkshire Mountains, where you can nourish yourself over a weekend full of learning, yoga, terrific people and delicious, colorful whole foods?

Join us for Mind, Mood & Food: Optimal Nutrition for the Brain March 16 – 18, 2012 at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, MA, our brand new Food As Medicine seminar. Center Founder & Director James Gordon, MD and Kathie Swift, MS RD, nationally renowned clinical nutrition expert and educator; Jay Lombard, DO, a neurologist who makes learning brain biochemistry and physiology a joy and shows you step-by-step how to use nutrients for optimal functioning; Charles Parker, DO, a psychiatrist who worked with Daniel Amen to develop easy to follow, highly successful programs of nutritional healing; and Mark Pettus, MD, a gifted and compassionate holistic physician and author of It’s All in Your Head comprise our fabulous faculty.

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Winter Joys

Isn’t it lovely that such abundance is still available, on a chilly Saturday morning when even the usually jolly cashiers were whining?

We collected our glittering treasure of organic cranberries, kale, baby chard, arugula, apple cider, honey, onions and garlic, Brussel sprouts and broccoli, crimini mushrooms, and have enjoyed them in the days since—blessings of the earth.

Happy holidays to all! Or, as my colleague says this time of year, cinnamon & honey!


Cooling Green

Heat wave! We’re expecting over 100 degrees here in Washington, DC, so I started the day with a favorite smoothie I call “Light & Lovely”, a combination of frozen pineapple, a frozen banana, a small head of organic butter lettuce and some parsley sprigs from the farm market.  I used coconut water for extra electrolytes and threw in a black mission fig that was handy.

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