Mindfulness teaches us to use an entirely 'nonviolent' approach to be present to our lives. We train attention to stay aware to what we are feeling, what we are doing in this very moment.... and then allow whatever we notice to reside in our awareness without judgment, rejection, or attempts to alter it. WOW... that is a deep form of welcome and acceptance; utterly without 'violence'. And it offers such calm relief from the habitual torrent of judging, comparing, and 'not quite good enough' evaluations that typically run our experience. This is not to say that we never change ... only that we are able to reside in acceptance before deciding on any particular response. You might try it... how do you feel right this moment? Check in and see. When I do this I notice a mild sadness --- I just read the headline news of the day and that is still present inside of me. Can you breathe right into your experience and allow it to be just as it is without commentary or judgment. When I do that it feels like a mix of worry and heaviness ... sadness just is. It kind of feels nice in a way; kind of appropriate actually. We are using the same attitude we might use as we watch the world outside our window on a slow morning over a cup a fresh brewed tea ... letting it all pass by. Allowing. Noticing. Breathing. Allowing.... It occurs to me that this is profoundly needed right now. I sure need it. As our outer world rocks around in unpredictable moments of change; as our political world spins through policy changes and viewpoints clash; as our seasons and weather patterns shift.... this ability to be stable, present, allowing --- is exactly the salve and respite we need to stay in balance. ... See MoreSee Less
Today I offered a little meditation honoring the Earth (for Earth month) and our place in the larger order of things. It was about grounding and how the physical connection we feel to the planet --- our feet on the floor, our backside in a chair, our shoes on the forest floor is the experience of grounding; of stabilizing. Amid any chaos we can turn our awareness to this and feel the stability of solid ground. And then I stumbled upon the idea that Earth's gravity is kind of a really great metaphor for self compassion. (Stay with me here...). Gravity holds us fast to the surface of the Earth; it refuses to let go of us. Gravity refuses none of us. Gravity grabs hold and makes sure we stay connected. It shows us where we belong. Right? Something about this tickled me and made me smile. Can you sort of imagine gravity as unconditional caring? No matter how we happen to feel or what we might have done (or not done), the Earth holds us tight. Now, that's the kind of self compassion I want..... And I think mindfulness teaches us to show up for ourselves that way. Never let go; gently hold everything; stay connected. And self compassion, like gravity, is a 24/7 kind of deal. I don't know about you but I really like the idea of trying to show up for myself that way.... ... See MoreSee Less
For the last 6 months I've been in conflict with someone who matters to me. Angry. We've been having difficult conversations that are passionate --- respectful but difficult. Intentional topics. And after each one of them I felt angrier. I prefer warm, easy interaction so this has been hard. Yet, to my surprise, I have actually treasured, even taken some pleasure from feeling my anger. In it I found the power of saying what is true; even if hard. And from that vantage point I recognized how many things, important things, I had NOT said. One of my friends who knew anger was difficult for me suggested I try a forgiveness practice to 'heal'. Immediately I resisted. I did NOT want to neutralize this anger; somehow I knew it was teaching me something and I still had more to learn. And then this last week, this person came by for a quick meal. They were tired, not feeling well, and yet eager to help me as I chopped vegetables for a salad. Those tired eyes and those eager hands chopping red cabbage touched something soft inside me. Something genuine and unforced and this softness was there side by side with my anger creating a powerful cocktail. I'm still figuring out what emerged from a blending of these two --- perhaps powerful authenticity? That sounds a bit clinical but yes, I think it might be something like that ... I do value my anger --- not the verbal violence or self righteousness rigidness of anger but the power within anger that motivates true words and supports the essential health of clear boundaries. The tender softness of forgiveness and compassion are truly welcome; yet, I must (we must) take care not to force them in any overly convenient timeframe. With mindfulness, they will come of their own accord. ... See MoreSee Less
I don't know about you, but meditation is sometimes hard to fit into my hectic days. I think it is like anything that doesn't have that certain 'urgency' to it; it is easy to shift down the to-do list to a lower priority. Right? Well, I've been paying attention to this habit I sometimes have and realized a couple things that help. First, I like thinking of meditation as 'refreshing'... and that seems to invite me into practice much more easily. And this is true. That's how it feels to me. Another way I think of it is 'the simplest care, consistently given'. Gosh, this is actually pretty amazing. It's Golden. I like offering myself simple care. So that moves it up my to-do list quite effectively. And then last but not at all least... practicing with others has a certain something special about it. So come to my drop-in meditations on Wednesdays at noon (if you aren't already) and/ or consider finding a meditation buddy or group that you gather with regularly. It can be a sweet way to share time. ... See MoreSee Less
Mindful communication is quite a practice. It asks us to be present, be our best, stay put and listen, and speak out for our truth. All at once! Such a needed practice in our complex world. Here are a few thoughts on this:
How well can we talk across differences? I'd like to offer a few possible thoughts. Would love to hear yours.
Unravel your Judgment. Remember that others, even those you disagree with, have been hurt and long for safety --- just like you. They've been shaped by conditions you can't know or understand without asking. They may be different but are also human.
Ask questions. These questions should come from curiosity. Things you would like to understand (not questions that are designed as an ambush).
And Listen. It it is pure gold to listen to another. Listening well DOES NOT have to mean you agree. You can listen anyway. Set aside any agenda to change them or shape your best response. Hear them out.
Offer your view, but see if they are receptive first. It's an interesting exercise to say 'I'd like to share my view with you. Would that be ok?' Offering some choice this way can open doors .... Most people will say yes.
Keep it calm. Breathe in. Breathe out. Watch your words. Set aside insults and diminishment (online also). But say what you mean. Engaging without the attitude is a form of strong engaged kindness that spreads. See how that goes.
Accept Imperfection. It will be bumpy, hard work. That's ok. We're mindful for the long haul. ... See MoreSee Less
Some of you know that I'm a fan of 'extreme' mindfulness practices. The kind where I commit mindfully to something I think is important and attempt to align my actions with it 100%... and then be gentle and aware when I trip up to learn more about myself and my missteps. Be Kind. Always. is a practice I started about 5 years ago. I'm not into a wimpy, doormat style of kindness or the kind of kindness that occurs randomly with strangers (random acts of kindness are good but I find kindness with people we see over and over is particularly meaningful). I'm committed to speaking and acting towards others with respect and kindness --- always. Yet doing this from a place of personal power and integrity. I believe we can say ANYTHING to another, even the hard stuff, if we choose kind and respectful ways to do it. This is the kindness I practice. Anyway, yesterday I was driving to work and two young women crossed the street right in front of my car --- no crosswalk but I did have to a complete stop to avoid hitting them. They had actually seen me coming and walked out in front of me anyway --- I imagine they recognized that I'd have to stop for them. It struck me as inconsiderate. I respect the rights of pedestrians for sure... yet mutual consideration is my expectation. I made eye contact with these women and raised my hands in a gesture of 'what the heck, you two?'. I wasn't mad... I just wanted them to be more aware of their impact on me. I didn't honk or say anything. One of them faced off with me and flipped me off. I guess being challenged for walking out in front of a car struck her as out of line. I thought about this interaction afterward. I felt I had been respectful... and yet I spoke my mind. I'd lived up to my commitment to myself to Be Kind. Always. Then I wondered about her anger... why was it that my feedback gave rise to her ire? I know we all make mistakes? Get caught up in conversation and forget that other people share the road with us? I do it... but why flip me off? Isn't 'oops' a more conscious response? It occurred to me that in these turbulent times it is increasingly relevant to be able to hear the POV of others who disagree with us; who object to our choices, perhaps? And I now wonder what it takes to do that with grace and respect.... I think this may be my next extreme practice. To try. Want to join me? ... See MoreSee Less
The truth is that we have to actively choose to relax in wholesome ways... With the weekend upon us, maybe you would enjoy a little time away from the clatter of your mind and the pile up of expectations... maybe allowing yourself some time to watch the birds gather bugs outside your window. Maybe settling into a favorite chair with a favorite mug and watching the sunset (or, in the hush of early morning, the sunrise). Maybe slowing down to fully taste the soft warmth and smell of a freshly baked cookie. Maybe telling someone why you value them so much. In words. With eye contact. Maybe enjoying the company of a good friend reflecting back to you the simple joy of belonging; of being loved. No technology dangling between the two of you; setting aside the weeks' politics. Calvin and Hobbes have this one figured out. Savoring the little things heals our wounded and heavy hearts and reminds us just how beautiful our lives really are when we gaze in the direction of simple & wholesome pleasure. I hope you can have a little of this for yourself this weekend... ah heck, have a big ole truckload of it! Enjoy. ... See MoreSee Less
I haven't written anything for nearly a week. FB started reminding me that I was neglecting my UI Mind page. And I read that and just shut off my computer to read a book... then I asked myself what was up. Why not write something? I like posting here. I like this community. And I realized that I'm struggling inside. I'm deeply sad. My mindfulness practice over the years has opened my eyes and softened my heart. And that is actually WHY I practice. But in these times when we are in political and social upheaval, my heart weeps on a daily basis. I wince at seeing families hurting, people afraid, and I hate the exchanges of misunderstanding, lies, and insults. It hurts. And today I realized that THIS TOO is an element of my practice. Mindfulness practice asks that we NOT harden ourselves or turn from the things that hurt. No matter the source. The practice asks that we steel up a bit and see it all and feel all that we feel. Breathe in deeply, resting in our stablity. And THEN, when needed, take a little break to get refreshed. And then come back. So I came back. It helped me just to tell a friend what I was feeling. Not to fix it or deny it or shake it off so much as to lean on her a little bit. 'Me too', she said. I write this post mostly to urge you into deeper connection with all that is real in your experience. Know when to take a break. But don't run away. The truth of our full experience and our strength to hold it is our gateway to living profoundly our fullest most touchingly alive life. ... See MoreSee Less
My University of Idaho Mindfulness Projects:
More about UI Mind >>
Dr. Derrick’s clinical approach encourages eyes-open, courageous self reflection tempered with self compassion. She has an expertise in therapeutic techniques which help identify patterns of thinking interrupt happiness and create resilience. The path to personal growth is challenging yet playful and she uses dialogue, mindful awareness practices, guided imagery, dream content, humor, and her warm welcome to create safety and healing. Her unique approach grows out of years of training in academic psychology, Jungian dream work, mindfulness, and body-based awareness.
Jamie Derrick has been a licensed psychologist in Idaho for fifteen years. She graduated from Stanford University and completed clinical residencies in the Yale Medical School/ West Haven VA Medical Center, the Stanford University Student Counseling Center, University of California at Berkeley Psychology Department.
Dr. Derrick is a warm, welcoming faculty member at University of Idaho. She has taught courses on human development, emotion, mindfulness, and the creative arts.
Jamie is a UCLA certified as a mindfulness teacher (Mindful Awareness Research Center). If you have or want to develop a meditation practice, she can help support that in her classes or in one to one consultation. She can also tailor mindfulness instruction for your setting --- she has offered mindfulness classes in the workplace, school environment and has provided consultation to business executives facing the challenges of complex decisions and workplace interactions.
“I cannot describe how wonderful it is to have your lovely voice guide my mind and body into a relaxed state in the middle of the day. If there is any way to continue the Pod-Casts, I (and many others) would be grateful! .”
“Jamie explained meditation in a way that finally made sense.”
“There is no question that I receive a benefit each time I attend. I go back to the office more at ease than when I left. The sense of peace I feel/receive at the sessions is quite real and tangible and is something I appreciate very much.”
“The half hour is a little oasis within the week. I am so much more focused when I return to work.”
“IU's TEDx talks about kindness, big doubts.”
-- The Moscow Pullman Daily News, April 11, 2016
“Creating a Mindful Campus.”
-- The Argonaut, February 2016
-- The Argonaut, September 2015
“Meditate Stress Away.”
-- The Argonaut, February 2015
-- Lewiston Tribune (Balance Insert), April 2015
“Mindfulness on the Palouse.”
-- KRFP Yin Radio, May 10, 2015
“Mindfulness & Stress Reduction.”
-- Idaho Public Radio, May 8, 2015