Diagnosed with cancer I, like many other cancer patients, was thrown into the dizzying world of doctors, hospitals, MRIs, biopsies, surgery, chemo and radiation at a terrifying pace. I am grateful to western, allopathic medicine, for all it had to offer me in terms of treating my cancer, and hopefully, getting rid of it. Yet it is the world of complementary medicine that has held the key to the quality of my life from that day forward.
By June Hyjek
Let’s talk about the concept of “surrender.” Whenever I do events and signings for my recent book, Unexpected Grace: A Discover of Healing through Surrender, I inevitably get asked the question, “Who did you surrender to?”
The answer? No one. My concept of surrender doesn’t require that we give ourselves over to another person, party or even God. Surrendering isn’t about religion, giving in or resignation. We don’t have to surrender to anybody or anything to discover deep healing.
We just have to stop fighting.
My participation in the first Center for Mind-Body Medicine training workshop in Israel in 2004 marked the beginning of a personal and professional transformation that reverberates in me still. Today, the integration of mind-body skills with CBT (cognitive behavioral treatment), of which I am a therapist, supervisor and instructor, is central to all that I do. I use them in a variety of cultural settings: Israeli, Palestinian, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, secular, ultra-orthodox.
It has been 20 plus years since my first encounter with The Center for Mind-Body Medicine. In the early years I was part of the team that travelled to the refugee camps in Kosovo. We had the profound privilege of teaching our work to children, civilians, and professionals. All had suffered the traumas and anguish of war. I saw the transformations that resulted from our work; how enduring presence and teaching provided healing and growth. After “Soft Belly” breathing with a group of 40 people in a refugee camp, one man said that he hadn’t experienced a sense of safety and calm since the outbreak of the war in Kosovo until then. A young man in a small group I led felt free to cry for the first time after drawing a picture depicting the murder of his father in their home.
During these joyous yet stressful holidays, we want to take a moment to stop and appreciate everything we have to be grateful for. At the top of our list is YOU — the people who make our work possible! As a thank you, we want to share with you one of our favorite stories, Empty Your Cup. Dr. Gordon often shares this story at our Mind-Body Medicine Training Programs. It’s a nice reminder to not allow the holidays to overwhelm you. So when the kids are screaming, and the line in the store is a mile long, and the cookies are burning in the oven, stop for a moment and take a few breaths. Breathe out the stress and breathe in the love that is the foundation of this season.
Happy holidays from all of us at The Center for Mind-Body Medicine!
Are you working as a nurse, physician, massage therapist, Reiki practitioner, acupuncturist, HR professional, nutritionist, educator, or fitness consultant? Do you have an ongoing yearning to maximize your expertise and make a difference in healthcare in some way? Are you seeking an advanced degrees to better understand the research and best practices known to enhance healthcare delivery and individual wellbeing?
In August 2009, James S. Gordon and the Center for Mind-Body Medicine collaborated with Saybrook University, founding the Graduate School of Mind-Body Medicine for individuals pursuing a master’s degree and/or doctoral degree. As the program has grown over the years, the graduate school now provides four doctoral level specializations, to prepare graduates for careers in healthcare and mental healthcare. Influenced by the humanistic philosophy of Saybrook University, the central focus of each degree program and specialization emphasizes person-centered health care, and advocates the importance of integrating self-care, mind-body practices, and other alternative approaches within the mainstream of health and mental healthcare. The School of Mind-Body Medicine is designed as a hybrid program, which affords working professionals the opportunity to conveniently attend a maximum of three short residential conferences a year, as well as complete all of their coursework through online and videoconference technology.
I teach a one-day childbirth preparation course — an odd phenomenon in itself, especially when you think that people will spend a year or two planning a wedding that is a single day’s event versus the birth of your child and the impact that childbirth has on one’s life and all of eternity.
Recently a single woman attended with her boyfriend, the father of their unborn child. She was both unusual and brave, as she openly acknowledged that this was not a “committed” relationship. Yet, here they were, questioning, open, at odds, yet together.
“All is well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” This phrase has been reassuring for me in times of stress and anxiety for years. The fifteen months between May of 2012 and August of 2013 were months that challenged Julian of Norwich’s words as I lost both parents and my husband. I felt I could barely come up for air from one death, one crisis, until another hit. My friends were concerned for me; I have health problems including multiple sclerosis, and stress can exacerbate the disease.
Affect dysregulation in young children is a significant problem in preschool classrooms, often leading to preschool expulsion and teacher burnout.
To address this issue, I and the Outreach Counselors at Kamehameha Schools Community Based Early Childhood Education Program — a Hawaiian-based statewide preschool system — developed a training that focuses on helping teachers learn how to self regulate. Learning and practicing “soft belly” helps teachers stay calm while allowing children to “co-regulate” their fragile nervous systems (young children “lean on” the nervous systems of their caregivers).