I am about to embark on a journey. Not one that takes me to a distant land or one that pulls me back into the past or projects me far into the future. Instead, I am heading on a journey that will continually arrive me back to the present moment. After nearly 10 years in practice, I have witnessed (and personally experienced) a common theme connected to the physical, emotional and spiritual suffering that individuals experience – a resistance to accepting what “is” and wanting a different outcome or different response than what actually occurs. I remember the instructor of my Family Medicine class in school many years ago describing this phenomenon as the definition of “.”  As mind blowing as this concept was for me to learn back then, I feel like I will be continuing to learn about it for the rest of my life. Our reactions to life events can be both the cause or cure for our . How empowering yet ridiculously challenging!

To deepen my own learning and better support my patients who also struggle with letting go of expectations, I have enrolled in an 8-week coursespring 2009 lobby day flowers 010 called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction or MBSR which includes a weekly class taught by Gina Sager, MD and a daily practice. The program was designed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979 and has long-served as a basis for -based clinical research. I am grateful to my patients who have also begun to implement practices as part of their wellness-regimen. I feel inspired and supported by their growing awareness and practice of this powerful healing tool. Below I have shared several of my favorite mindful practices that you may enjoy implementing this Spring for a deeper connection to yourself and to Nature.

: To start preparing for the upcoming MBSR class, I have downloaded an app called CALM (www.calm.com) which offers FREE guided meditations in 2, 5, 10, or 20 min increments. The addition of ocean sounds or gentle rainfall adds to the relaxation experience. Mindfulness made Simple.

: What to do with all of those veggie scraps and leftovers going bad in the fridge?  Send them back to the Earth to fuel the next generation of vegetation! The Compost Crew makes composting easier than ever with weekly pick-up service at your doorstep. For around $30 per month you can turn your dinner scraps into nutrient rich compost. After 6 months of using the service, you can receive compost for your own garden!   (www.compostcrew.com)

CRANES: has been a long-time beloved hobby, and as an adult, I have come to appreciate how the practice of requires both patience and presence. The making of the classic paper crane has become a type of meditative practice, and I thoroughly enjoy sharing this art form with others. If you have never made a paper crane, I encourage you to follow along with this video while practicing kindness and compassion with yourself as you try something new.