I have some of my best insights in the shower. I know this is common. The quiet, the warm water, the suspension of daily busyness that offers the perfect context for inner wisdom to bubble up. These are moments of creative, inspirational, and, often, novel insights. It’s as though I know things I didn’t know I knew. These insights arise from the bottom up; up from root and core and flesh and bone. I cannot chisel them top down from the facts and logic of my brain. They are the stuff of another place. And yet, I have discovered I can foster them with mindfulness. With a practice of curiosity and a receptive inner ear, we can feel deep into our inner echoes and dusty corners. And with a practice full of receptivity we offer the promise to care for anything we discover. Maybe try this. Try sensing what your inner nature, flesh and bone would like you to notice today … maybe something simple but important ... close your eyes, ask your logic to step aside, be soft and receptive, breathe three slow deep breaths and listen carefully so you can hear your inner whispers. ... See MoreSee Less
My campus is about to go on a week long Spring break. If you count the weekends it's about 10 days off. There is a sense of exhaustion everywhere on campus... students, staff, faculty... We are all doing our best. Sacrificing for tomorrow to get the task done.... Even if you aren't part of this campus community, you know what I'm talking about. This habit of overwork. Mindfulness invites us to consider a more wholesome balance in our lives. Consider this: Could you give Up TOXIC Delay of Gratification. Work for what matters/ a future vision ... of course. But not at the expense of well-being TODAY. Take time to get outside and breathe in fresh air. Take time to savor your morning coffee. Take time to tell your beloveds what you appreciate about them. Soak it in when they tell you the same. Take a nap. Read a poem. You know? Find your joys in every day... Enjoy your break(s).... ... See MoreSee Less
This past week in the course I teach about mindfulness we explored the importance of 'living by commitment'.... But, commitment to what? Such a great inquiry, don't you think? What is most important really? We all probably have our own answers.... Ghandi has been quoted as saying 'when what you think, what you say, and what you do are all in harmony --- you will be happy'. Could happiness be this simple? If we commit to our own integrity... What would it feel like if you committed to live like Ghandi suggests --- 100%--- for 24 hours? ... to mindfully tune in and notice how thoughts, actions, and words are in harmony (or disharmony) .... moment by moment. How does it feel when they ARE.... And what is it like when you are tempted to misalign them? What is it like to think one thing and say another. Or to believe one thing but fail to act that way. What's up with that? (explored with great kindness towards the process of mindful discovery... no judgement). I tried this recently and noticed that I tell little white lies to avoid difficult social moments and how that distances me from my own courage. And limits growth in my relationships. Taking the 'easy' way out never leads to the deepest joy..... yet when I speak truthfully, directly, respectfully I feel good about myself. Is there an area in your life where you might try living out Ghandi's view of harmony? ... See MoreSee Less
Over the years of working closely with people who are 'stuck' (and working to unstick myself as well) I've noticed something that pretty consistently gets in our way. This is going to surprise you how obvious it is. It is our thinking. But a particular type of thought. The thoughts that say 'I can't ... because ...' I can't ask for what I want because my friend won't like me anymore.... those kind of thoughts. And the 'because' in the thought is often so upsetting or unthinkable that we simply CANNOT reconsider. So we're stuck. But what I've found is that actually reconsidering is exactly what breaks the impasse. Mindfully questioning our assumptions .... 'Am I sure this outcome will be as bad as I think?' 'Am I resilient enough to try it out and see how it goes?' 'What is harder on me; the protecting or the taking a risk to try?' 'Who could I ask to help me?' So often we adopt our beliefs and never think to look back on them and question if we REALLY believe them or if we REALLY want to let them be what guides our actions. So often it is worth... really worth ... asking a few honest, mindful questions of ourselves.....AND ... maybe, with great kindness towards our own fear, move out of our comfort zone. How might you take better care of yourself by moving out of your comfort zone? Today. ... See MoreSee Less
Very recently I was enjoying a piece of spoken word poetry by a strong Black activist that I admire deeply. It was a more or less private moment but others were nearby. Someone walked by and said 'how could anything be more sanctimonious'? I was appalled. Caught off guard. I was so drawn into those beautiful words I was unaware of anything else. It hadn't occurred to me how she might be heard by other ears. My beloved poet... so 'misunderstood' by another. I said the first words that rose to the surface, 'Don't. Please. Just don't.' My words were calm but sad. Eye to eye. They stopped. I stopped ..... I do sense how the poem could be viewed as sanctimonious if you lacked the larger context her life and her struggles and why it was written. But this kind of hasty judgment prevents that larger context from ever surfacing. What if we had started with curiosity? Either one of us could have asked to know more. This is one of the ways the attitude of mindfulness can surface in and perhaps nourish our everyday interactions. ... See MoreSee Less
Last time I posted, it was about bringing mindfulness to pain. That was before the Parkland shooting happened. I've spent the last two days doing my best to be present to my sorrow for the lost lives and broken families and trying also not to numb or turn away from the deep rage that I carry inside about my impotence. Is it possible to mindfully hold this much pain? I breath to settle some. I smile when I see the mischief of a kindergartener tossing a snowball at his mom's back. Yes, maybe I can. I hadn't realized that just below my sadness lies a powerful energy that feels like anger. As I turn my mindfulness toward this anger, I realize it's so intertwined with sadness that tears are the first reaction as I begin to mindfully investigate it. As I sit in this soup crying, this upwelling reminds that I care. I CARE. And I want to help my world and my country and my community and my fellow beings somehow. This is a soft awareness. It is tender but full of life.... it's a care that has muscle. Authentic, uncertain, but also not afraid to speak. It has to speak. I think we all look for our own version of how to authentically live through moments like this most recent shooting --- to show up mindfully to our emotion; to let the emotion offer some kind of roadmap pointing to behavior that honors our feelings. Of course we might differ on the specifics... But in our shared humanity we do know that life is a gift, fragile, and it can be stolen in an unexpected instant. And what exactly are we to do about that? May we all be compassionate and caring toward each other as we encounter the pains and losses of our lives. May we all be gentle and mindful with the fullness of our questions. May we all remain tender and open without hardening when we so deeply care. And may we find potent, caring action. ... See MoreSee Less
I'm getting ready to do a talk about how mindfulness can be used to help with pain, discomfort, frustration, boredom... that whole set of things we prefer to avoid. I've been 'meditating' on this topic for about 5 days. Here are two things that have emerged ---- neither of them destroy or end the pain --- and THAT is actually the first thing. Thing One: we must make peace with our discomforts/ dislikes. It's really best because we can't directly control so much of what causes us discomfort. This means ... let pain have it's place. Be honest about discomfort... it's there and it can feel bad. BUT the first step is to relax, stop fighting it, and accept with some self kindness the truth of how you feel .... now, right now, take a deep breath or two..... and keep reading. This acceptance does not necessarily mean we are destined to live in physical or emotional pain. But insisting that pain must be eliminated is a fast track to frustration --- pain and emotional discomfort belong in our human lives. What we need are skillful means to allow them their place. Thing Two is one type of skillful means: We can broaden our perception. Even while in discomfort. Pull out the wide angle lens and notice WHAT ELSE that you enjoy is present EVEN WHILE you are in discomfort. Discomfort narrows our view ...pretty soon all we focus on is how to get rid of discomfort. BUT even as my shoulder aches from a recent injury, there are tiny white flowers pushing up through the soil of my garden. And when I lean in, I realize this pain is variegated. It comes and goes. EVEN as my heart feels heavy, I can remember I AM MORE than my feelings. I have broad wings and a crimson heart. I can glide sometimes. And I can turn my awareness and make contact with the parts of me that are whole and awake --- and hold my pain in this larger perspective.... it is just part of my experience. I can delight, even if it is briefly, in the purr of my kitten and the smell of fresh baked muffins. And THOSE brief moments are my salve. My wholeness, my wing span, my awakened eyes will hold me through this.... and help me figure out what it is that I want to do next. ... See MoreSee Less
Here is something simple that I have been thinking about this past week: wholesome, mindfully-chosen ACTION is a simple, reliable path to living better and feeling better. We control our own action far more easily that our feelings or our thoughts or, certainly, the reactions of other people. We can act well even when we are upset --- yup, it may be hard but it's true. Feeling upset doesn't mean we have to act mean or disengaged. We can be upset and polite. We can be strong, forthright and upset and still polite. We can be upset and productive. Upset and generous. Upset and still notice that the morning coffee smells nice or the chickadees are singing. I somehow like the simplicity and freedom in this. ... See MoreSee Less
My University of Idaho Mindfulness Projects:
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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