Compassionate Breath for Self, Compassionate Breath for Other, a 9 minute audio practice

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:


As we enter into the month of November, we enter into a time of excitement and wonder with holiday celebrations, as well as a time of emotional ups and downs. This experiencing of emotions can be felt in the gathering and coming together with family and friends, as well as the emotional landscape within ourselves in facing old “roles” of ourselves within these family constructs.  It’s important to allow yourself to reflect on the “you” that you are in the present day, rather than the “you” that you were born into, or that your family created around you.

Compassion for yourself is pivotal at this time of stress. You will come away feeling more strength from within, and your clarity will further be communicated, not only through your body language and posture, but also through a breadth and depth of understanding of your more true self.

Use this 9 minute breath of compassion as a tool to invite your true self to be more present and aware. It draws upon the Tibetan practice of tonglen, which means giving and taking. The offering and symbolism of this practice, is to inhale in the suffering and difficulty of self and other, and exhale out compassion and warmth to self and all others who suffer similarly.  Cognitively, stretching your awareness of suffering beyond yourself and your ego, detaches you from the very pain, emotionality and limitations of the suffering itself. Compassion, broadens your sense of kindness towards others and from a spiritual perspective purifies negative karma.

Download Audio File : compassionate-breath-for-self-other


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Help for Child & Teen Anxiety

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:

In any given week, but especially as school begins in the Fall, our practice receives calls from parents about their child’s behavior, attitude, and anxiety. The academic pressures combined with peer pressure are categorically diverse, but these pressures, combined with fears and worries about school violence, add a new level of pressure.

The developing brains of children and teens are unaccustomed to recognizing these pressures, symptomatically, the child may begin to outwardly notice the physical symptoms and pressure they feel in their body, but the worry and the fear that may be funneling through their mind as daily thoughts can begin to take on a familiarity and disconnect them from recognizing and asking for help.


On a basic brain-science level, our brain has a thinking side and a feeling/emotional side. The thinking side is the cortex, and it operates logically, is able to reason, and recalls conscious memories. The feeling/emotional side has many components, but the structure that is in control of our anxiety response is the amygdala. This is the evolutionary part of our brain that is meant to keep us alive. Many of the physical symptoms that the body exhibits in a state of anxiety are the same as when a person is in a state of fight/flight.  The amygdala can hijack systems in the body: the sympathetic nervous system, endocrine, and the actual cortex.  The body can begin to respond in a cyclic fashion of anxiety whenever there is a feeling of discomfort, fear or worry.

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Mindfulness of Breath – a 6 minute audio download

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:



An invitation to yourself to return to mindfulness:

Dear Beloved Self:

I know we sometimes have our difficulties with each other. From the moment I awaken, from a usually not so restful sleep, I try to prepare for the day ahead, either work, school, family or in the rare moment, a day for self. Responsibilities, errands, family issues, worries, fears and life, creep back into my mind. I forget to take time for myself and I dive, instantly, back into the structures, ideas, and identities that mask me.

Today, I will offer myself a moment of remembrance, a moment to return to myself, to return to my sense of grounding and calmness that is inherently within me, maybe deep within me, but there nonetheless.

Today, I return to mindfulness, being aware of the present moment and not losing myself in past fears or future worries.

Today, I practice mindfulness of breath. I can do this practice wherever I am, I only need my willingness to participate, and I only need 6 minutes.

Thank you for guiding me back to myself,

Signed (My True Nature)

Download audio file


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Mindful Wounds–a verbal wound is as painful as a physical wound

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:

I read a touching commentary in my paper about the passing and reflection of Muhammad Ali. The commentary was submitted by a man, who in his youth, had the unique experience of spending a weekend at a training camp with his boy scout troop and Muhammad Ali. The writer shared his experience in hearing some of the lovely poetry and wisdom words of Muhammad Ali, and one of these recollections, actually a metaphoric story, inspired this post.

The story is called, “The Fence,” perhaps you have heard it before, but if not, I hope it leaves an impression.

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down.

He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it; and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

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When There Is No Other Path, Turn To Gratitude

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind Body Services:

It is during our most difficult moments, when we may feel like we can go no further, endure no more pain, suffer in silence no longer, and just stand in the disbelief that is our life, that we are given the greatest opportunity to become and learn that which we need the most. What we seek, we can provide, but it is often fraught with great agony and suffering, and usually more so, it is a long, long, path of resistance, fighting (with others and ourselves) and agony. In my own life, I can recount certain movie-frame snapshots in time that feel ingrained in my mind, as if they are residue and “proof” that I have served my time and deserve my accomplishments and joys.  And how beautiful it feels to exclaim such a pronouncement, but in truth, I know my mind will certainly try to convince me, quite quickly, that I don’t deserve to rest and pause, as I have more work, more jobs, more goals and more responsibilities to complete and cross off my checklist before I can even rest and pause.

BUT, when I can mindfully pause at this junction, I know that a pause and time for gratitude, reflection, and compassion is exactly what I need.  Pausing into a time for Gratitude, sets the mind to be more resilient to the regular onslaught of negative emotions and habits, welcomes in more positive internal dialogue within self, offers a deeper connection to others and reminds one of their inherent value as an individual and human being.  It is grounding and reality based. Through a regular daily practice of gratitude, we have the capacity to wire into our brain, new circuitry and paths  of resilience, well-being, and positive felt sensations, with the ability to review, replay and ingrain them into a place of familiarity, safety and knowingness…and truly in such a way that the prompt of Gratitude practice as a action, just becomes a felt sense of knowing, rather than naming, and of feeling, rather than labeling.

Gratitude = knowing and feeling and thus becoming….

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Strong Silent Type: Male Trauma

First Person Blog Series on Male Trauma

There is an amazing book by Terrance Real, LCSW- “I Don’t Want to Talk About”, it is the bible on male depression and trauma from his treatment accounts of working with men presenting in all manner of suffering and the people who love them.  It is complete with extensive statistics and examples of how men suffer from being male, depressed and traumatized- based on the too often painful paradigm men follow, to be a man we somehow lose our masculinity if we admit our vulnerability; we lose our man card if we break the silence of our suffering. 


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Somatics, anxiety, anger & neuroplasticity

A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind Body Services:

Sometimes when I feel alone or sad or misunderstood I want to run. Run away from my life, people who don’t understand me, people who I’ve decided look at me funny, and the pressures and pain of my failures and non-accomplished goals. The thoughts come, I pay attention to them, and I spin myself up in a fury of anger, fear, sadness, worry and despair. Emotions are very good at controlling our attention, after all, they are energy in motion. But all of these emotions, especially the anger, fear, sadness and worry, don’t really present well, feel good, nor bring us closer to our authentic self.

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“Love is to be renewed everyday”

The couples that comes to sit and meditate out loud, (couples therapy), with me have many things in common.  As with all  they approach therapy seeking to understand, as Thich Nhat Hanh has illuminated, “Misunderstanding is the source of all suffering”.  If we do not understand the person we are trying to love then in trying to love them our way we may in fact be hurting them.  So couples come into session to be still with each other and to understand HOW to love their beloved properly.  It is through understanding the others needs and hopes and heartfelt desires that we love well.  Pain and heartache is the clue that we are not loving or being loved well; we are misunderstanding something.

Renewing love softens the heart
Renewing love daily softens the heart
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The New Year of Intentionality…Again

This time of year for a psychotherapy practice is the busiest. This is the month of the “new me”, the “new you”, the “new us” resolutions and promises. These are the agreements we make to ourselves, to our children, to our lovers to reach toward change; reach towards more love, more patience, more understanding, more meditation, more presence, more… They often feel and sound familiar, these are the intentions we have been intending all of last year, the whispers or shouts from that part of us, that place inside of us that holds our truths – our true selves. How do we get so lost, how does this awareness get so vague, when we recognize so completely what we know so clearly?

Lao Tzu Quote

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