The Center for Mind-Body Medicine

A Visit to South Africa

A Visit to South Africa

I’d read about the work of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, knew that he was on the board of directors of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine and even read several articles and a book that he had written. Whatever impressions or ideas I’d formed were nothing compared to the pure presence of the Archbishop himself.
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Fear or Trust. You Choose.

Many things have happened lately to make me fearful of others and of life itself. My world seems to be filled with people who hold unfounded grudges that baffle me and choose to say vindictive things for no other reason than spite. We’ve had deaths and serious illnesses, difficult medical prognoses. Family members whose actions are more about greed than family values. Job losses and insecurity. It’s been difficult to hold on to the trust and acceptance that got me through past challenges. I see fear peeking out of every corner, tugging at me, knocking on the door, enticing me to believe that the world is full of anger, resentment, greed and struggles. Fear is ready to haunt me, settle into my stomach and my bones. In fact, I can already feel it in my body, aching and throbbing.

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Shame

Shame - blog post

Shame is an inevitable component of binge eating disorder, so although it’s the most common of eating disorders, it’s rarely discussed.

Binging was a carefully hidden secret for me since my early teen years. I remember getting upset over a running injury and devouring a chocolate cake. Not a piece of cake — a whole chocolate cake — and it was still mostly frozen. Binging was my normal; I didn’t believe change was possible. So even as I got degrees in nutrition and ate more nourishing foods, there were still nights where I’d polish off a can of frosting, and suffer through the inevitable self-loathing hangover.

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The Ecstasy of Surrender

The Ecstasy of Surrender cover

Most self-help books emphasize will and action. From The Power of Positive Thinking to Skinny Bitch, they sound the same affirmative, even aggressive, bass note. Judith Orloff, a UCLA psychiatrist, appreciates the effort necessary for achievement and its satisfaction. In The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life, she balances this emphasis on doing with a deep understanding of being and the great, transformative blessings of acceptance. Power, she tells us, gains grace when we wear it lightly and peacefully welcome its limitations. It serves us best when we share it with others.

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Mind, Body, Spirit!

Mind, Body, Spirit!

I am facilitating my second Mind-Body Skills Group since completing both the Advanced Mind-Body Medicine and Food As Medicine courses. The first group started with eight members and ended with a core of four, who have since held two reunions with a third on the horizon. During the time between reunions these individuals have no contact except through me and yet they want to keep in touch, so every few months we get together for lunch.
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A Limitless Life

A Limitless Life

When I was growing up, my Dad always told me that I could do anything, be anything. You just had to work hard enough for it. Although that put a great deal of pressure on me to strive for excellence (and probably accounted for years of therapy), it also gave me great confidence. For me, there were absolutely no limits in life.
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6 Words That Changed My Life

6 Words That Changed My Life

I was raised as a completely non-religious person. I never learned to meditate, didn’t think much of the mind-body-spirit stuff because I couldn’t wrap my head around the ‘spirit’ part.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 44. I didn’t know a single living soul with cancer, and folks seemed to go out of their way to tell me about their next door neighbor’s cousin “but she died”, or their co-worker’s sister’s friend – “but she died”. So I had NO doubt that I would die – especially because I met with a surgeon on Thursday and was told they had an opening on Monday. I interpreted that to mean I was doomed.

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Tools for Packing Away the Pain

Tools for Packing Away the Pain

Several years ago, the Universe forced me to examine the “scar tissue” surrounding my heart, the direct result of a chronic American illness– racism. The multiple re-injuries to this wound affected every aspect of my existence, from family interactions, to childhood friendships, to personal and professional goals. Tragically, it also affected my own self-image.
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Rice and Gravy, Love and Spirit

Rice And Gravy, Love and Spirit

Today was the first of eight sessions in a Philadelphia private medical practice where I am implementing an evidenced-based treatment protocol utilizing The Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s small group model. The common diagnosis for this group is Morbid Obesity with a BMI of >40 and co-morbidities including Diabetes type II, chronic kidney disease, osteoarthritis, hypertensive heart disease, and chronic pain syndrome. All of the group participants have tried multiple diets; some have experienced success then put the weight back on, and then some.
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Peace on Earth

Peach on Earth

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

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