One Roof Welcomes Clinical Psychologist Dr. Dana Lau.

One Roof Welcomes Clinical Psychologist Dr. Dana Lau.

This month we welcome a new clinical psychologist to One Roof, Dr. Dana Lau. Her specialty is adolescent therapy, and she treats families and adults as well. Her practice includes DBT and mindfulness, so she is a great fit with all of us here. Her complete bio is on our website, and she accepting new patients at this time. Feel free to reach out to her directly to schedule an appointment.
 

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Rx: Healthy Heart

Rx: Healthy Heart

Rx: Healthy Heart by Dave MacDougall.

An enormous amount of energy has been spent on research for a better means of preventing/treating cardiovascular disease, the #1 cause of death. Reliance on medical saviors obscures the simple fact that our own breathing habits may be the most important determinant of coronary health. This failure to recognize the value of learning to breathe more fully is unfortunate because we are thereby forfeiting a powerful means of maintaining heart health.

Efficient breathing requires effortless expansion of the thoracic area drawing air into the lungs. Muscle tension in any of the muscles which affect the ribs and breastbone reduce expansion. For example, many adults hold their abdominal muscles tight on inhalation, thus inhibiting the depth of thoracic movement. The shallow more rapid breathing style produced causes hyperventilation syndrome, characterized by elevations in blood pressure.

Essential hypertension (80-90% of cases) is persistently high blood pressure not due to any identifiable medical pathology. Hypertension is associated with substantially increased risks of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes. The links between habitually shallow breathing, chronic high blood pressure and the incidence of cardiovascular disease are well known.

We can learn to improve our respiratory habits, breathe easier and reduce our disease risk. A field of study and practice known as Somatics has developed in recent years, as discoveries in neuroscience and biofeedback have shed light on the internal self-regulatory abilities demonstrated by students of so-called “mind-body” disciplines (yoga etc.). A wealth of learning in methods of intelligent self-care and healing await those willing to take responsibility for their own well-being.

David MacDougall, MA, LMT, is a certified Hanna Somatic Educator specializing in intelligent self-care for the reversal/prevention of muscle/joint pain.
Dave will offer an intro to Somaticcs Self-Care class at One Big Roof on January 20th
and a special Somatic Approach to Better Breathing on February 24th
Contact Dave to register.

 

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Intro to SOMATICS

Intro to SOMATICS

By Dave MacDougall.

Somatics is a term coined by Dr. Thomas Hanna to describe a field of study and practice that focuses on a person’s own ability to use internal awareness to improve physical function. Based on his studies in neurophysiology, biofeedback, yoga and the Feldenkrais method, Hanna devised a self-care routine he called the “Daily Cat Stretch” which he presented in his book Somatics: Reawakening the Mind’s Control of Movement, Flexibility and Health (1988).

Habitual muscular tension is at the heart of a wide range of health problems from chronic pain syndromes such as backache and headache to a variety of arthritic complaints. We know muscles have no will of their own, so we can see that the problem lies not in the muscles themselves, but is instead a consequence of deficient regulation and control. This functional deficit in the nervous system’s management of muscle function represents a lack of voluntary control that cannot be remedied by any amount of structural reengineering. Change must come from the inside out.

In other words, the illnesses of hypertonicity are not medical problems needing treatment, but instead are sensory-motor problems requiring somatic education. Since studying with Dr. Hanna in 1990 Dave MacDougall has taught the “Cat Stretch” and other somatic exercises to over 3000 people desiring to prevent or eliminate chronic muscle/joint pain and stiffness.

Mark your calendar and register today for Dave’s “Intro to Somatics” workshop at One Big Roof on Sat. Oct. 28th, 12-4pm. Learn an easy to practice set of somatic exercises that will enable you to reduce unwanted muscle tension and restore/maintain comfort and ease of movement with 10-15 minutes a day of pleasurable movements.

David MacDougall, MA, LMT, is a certified Hanna Somatic Educator specializing in intelligent self-care for the reversal/prevention of muscle/joint pain.

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Reflect and Refresh, by Pierre Zimmerman.

Reflect and Refresh, by Pierre Zimmerman.

We call ourselves human beings, but we might as well say we are human doings. Most of our time is spent in work projects, relationship management, and related details. Reflection allows us to explore and discern which thoughts and actions will contribute to the services that make any system flourish. Reflection provides a platform to redirect the focus needed for interventions to turn things around for the well being of the individuals and the company with which they are associated.

Pierre Zimmerman Director One Big RoofMeditation, a focus on emotional intelligence and mindful practices in the workplace, can create more balance between doing and being. Reflective awareness maintains integrity, commitment and alignment with the goals of the organization. Social competencies determine how we manage relationships, leverage diversity, influence and build a web of relationships, become change catalysts and enhance cooperation and team building.

About fifteen years ago as the executive director of a specialty hospital, I would invite staff to honor a minute of silence before starting meetings. At first people reacted to having their mental models challenged, but over time people were able to re-set their breath in a natural rhythm and their bodies and minds into a state of regulated functioning: calm abiding. It gave them time to reflect, to bring awareness to their emotions and figure out how to proceed with the agenda items in a manner that provided more stability, flexibility, curiosity and coherence. Meetings became attractive and rewarding!

Reflection is important for understanding ourselves and others. It enhances efficiency and because of this, outcomes are more productive. Victor Frankl, who survived many atrocities in concentration camps, was once asked how he was able to integrate all he witnessed. This was his response: “Between every stimuli and response there is a pause and in that pause lies freedom.” The pause is the refresh. We even have a bio-pause between every in-breath and out-breath. Frankl figured out in the midst of exceptionally extreme conditions and an unsafe environment how to resource himself.

We all need, in our daily busy lives, to call on ways that allow us to recharge our batteries and observe the world from a different perspective. These can include reflection, physical exercise, playtime, hobbies, artistic endeavors and volunteer activities. It is paused time that allows us to move beyond ourselves and embrace passionate activities for not only ourselves, but also everyone’s benefit around us.

Kids are given a “time out” when they cannot stop unwholesome behavior or don’t know when to rest or move on to the next moment. We as adults need to choose and determine a “down time” to replenish ourselves and become more resilient. Self-care keeps us healthy and activates loving kindness for ourselves and non-referential compassion for others.

PIERRE ZIMMERMAN IS DIRECTOR OF ONE BIG ROOF AND AN INSTRUCTOR WITH THE SARATOGA STRESS REDUCTION PROGRAM. This essay recently appeared in the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce “Workplace Wellness Guide.”

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The Four Immeasurables by Pierre Zimmerman

The Four Immeasurables by Pierre Zimmerman

From the Desk of Pierre Zimmerman, MS
THE FOUR IMMEASURABLES OR GATELESS GATES

Bee-image

I wanted to share with you four intentions that are part of lay Buddhist practice to better be connected with others and share our deepest humanity. During the summer we tend to gather and visit friends, families and acquaintances and these intentions always come in handy in small or large groups.
 
Loving kindness is love with no strings attached or any particular agenda, just the pure, innocent wish for others and oneself to be content.
 
Compassion is the highest spiritual ideal of wishing other sentient beings to be free from suffering. The Tibetan word for compassion means “king of hearts.”
 
Sympathetic joy is experiencing happiness for someone else’s contentment, well being, successes and good fortune.
 
Equanimity is staying calm and centered, no matter what life throws at us; pleasure and pain, success and failure, praise and blame, fame and disrepute. It lets us relate in a deep way with friends, relatives and strangers.
 
Each of the four immeasurable has an opposite:
For loving kindness it is ill will or harmful intent,
For compassion it is cruelty,
For sympathetic joy it is envy or jealousy, and
For equanimity it is greed, aversion, prejudice.
 
Setting these four intentions sustains our energy and purpose to live in alignment with our best aspirations and wishes for ourselves and others. May it be so!
 
 
PIERRE ZIMMERMAN IS DIRECTOR OF ONE BIG ROOF AND AN INSTRUCTOR WITH THE SARATOGA STRESS REDUCTION PROGRAM.

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Empathy, Compassion and Altruism

Empathy, Compassion and Altruism

By Pierre Zimmerman

The word empathy is a translation from the German word Einfuhlung, which refers to “the ability to feel the other from within.” Empathy can be set off by an affective perception of feeling for a person with whom we enter into resonance or by cognitive imagination evoked by the other person’s experience. Emotional resonance usually precedes cognitive resonance and depends on the intensity of our emotions as to whether we can really respond or become reactive instead.

heartTrue empathic concern consists of becoming aware of another’s needs and then feeling a sincere desire to come to his or her aid. It doesn’t involve pity, which is egocentric or condescending, or for that matter emotional contagion, which results in distress or empathy fatigue because we confuse our feelings with that of the other.

Compassion is the capacity to use our heart to relieve the suffering of another and all the possibilities to accomplish this. It includes the realization that ignorance is the fundamental cause of suffering and gives rise to an array of mental obscurations, lack of love, meaning, confidence and absence of a clear compass. Motivation for taking actions for release of suffering counts more than their outcome or results. Compassion doesn’t exclude anything possible to prevent the other from continuing to harm or break the circle of hatred.

Altruism is the motivational state that has the ultimate goal of increasing another’s welfare. It is a willingness to lead a life devoted to the well being of others without the need of ulterior motive. Valuing others and being concerned about their situation are essential. Buddhism defines it as the wish that all beings find happiness and the causes of happiness. In this context, happiness is not just a temporary state of well being, but a way of being that includes, wisdom, inner freedom and strength, as well as an accurate view of reality.

Altruistic love and compassion add joy when perceiving the happiness and good qualities of others as well as impartiality. Rejoicing means that we don’t want others’ qualities and happiness to diminish, but instead to increase and persist. This serves as an antidote to competitiveness, jealousy and envy and is a remedy for depression or despairing views. Impartiality or equanimity doesn’t depend either on our personal attachments or the way others behave towards us. Altruistic love requires courage; fear and insecurity are major obstacles to altruism. We need to develop an inner strength that makes us confident in our inner resources, which help us face the constantly changing circumstances of our lives.

PIERRE ZIMMERMAN IS DIRECTOR OF ONE BIG ROOF AND AN INSTRUCTOR WITH THE SARATOGA STRESS REDUCTION PROGRAM.

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Let’s Choose Love by Pierre Zimmerman

Let’s Choose Love by Pierre Zimmerman

By Pierre Zimmerman, M.S.

February usually reminds us of cold days and nights, school vacations to warm far away places for some, stuffy noses and red cheeks for those who stay here, and Valentine’s Day celebrations with roses and delicious chocolate. This winter season so far has missed the mark for whiteouts in our area bringing joy to some and disappointment to others. This heart image-2might change by the end of February, as the weather is just as unpredictable as everything else: the economy, gas prices, job security, health narratives and romantic love. Beacons of certainty are hard to come by.

No matter what change affects us in the short run or long run, how we relate to it always gives us the option to look at things with an open mind and heart. So I say let’s choose love, reigniting the embers of the smoldering fire within us, being kind to ourselves, loving others with all their differences and diversity.

We are hard wired to be kind, and we long for connection and intimate affection. We are born with a strong biological predisposition for caring. Positive emotions like love, joy and playfulness are beneficial to our health and strengthen our immune system because our well being depends on our inner happiness, not just on external things. Our usual menu of worries, frustrations, hopes and fears keep us focused on petty concerns. Selflessness, kind wishes and altruistic acts, large or small are antidotes to loneliness. When we offer non-biased compassion and realize our shared humanity, we too benefit from feeling love and contentment.

 

Pierre Zimmerman is Director of One Big Roof, Center for Mindful Practices and teaches in our Saratoga Stress Reduction Program.

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Finding Peace Of Mind in Challenging Times

Finding Peace Of Mind in Challenging Times

FINDING PEACE OF MIND IN CHALLENGING TIMES

By Pierre Zimmerman, M.S.
In the face of hate, ignorance and cruelty we can build stronger communities of service and compassion with small acts of kindness toward each other, realizing how precious this rare Pierre Zimmerman Director One Big Rooflife of ours is. We can see the gifts and skills of people, rather than their shortcomings; experience more spaciousness in our views of others; let go of solid opinions and sense the inherent goodness that lies at the heart of our diverse circles of being. We can give fearlessness by eliminating our habitual, unwholesome thoughts and planting seeds of kindness, looking upon others with soft eyes and suspending hateful narratives and judgments.
 
A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt about the tragedy of September 11th. He said, “I feel as I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is vengeful, angry and violent. The other is loving, forgiving, compassionate.”
The grandson asked him, “Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?”
Grandfather responded: “The one I feed.”
 
Wishing you all a New Year filled with peace and loving kindness,  Pierre
 
A full article by Pierre appears in the January 2016 issue of Natural Awakenings magazine at this link
HTTP://ISSUU.COM/ALBANYAWAKENINGS/DOCS/ALB_0116/1

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“On Gifting” by Pierre Zimmerman, M.S.

“On Gifting” by Pierre Zimmerman, M.S.

To privately delight in your own way during this month of gifting, try offering the free gifts of patience, presence (without multi-tasking), unconditional love (by dropping agendas) and spending time in the community of family and friends, as well as people in need.

My gift to you is this beautiful Buddhist story:
INDRA’S NET

Indra, king of the gods, once asked his royal architect to create an appropriate monument to his greatness. The architect created an immense net that extended through space and time. At each point of the net that the threads crossed, a priceless jewel was placed. The jewels were infinite in number.

If we were to arbitrarily select one of the jewels for inspection and look at it closely, we would discover that it is polished. Every surface reflects all the other jewels, infinite in number, in the net. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that the process of reflection is infinite.

Indra’s Net is the infinitely repeated interrelationship among all the phenomena of the universe. As every jewel is intimately related with all other jewels, a change in one jewel means another change, however slight, in every other jewel. This is the story of interdependence.

Happy holidays to all!  Pierre

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Dr. Selma Nemer’s New Adventure: Guardians of the Treasure!

Dr. Selma Nemer’s New Adventure: Guardians of the Treasure!

Dr. Selma Nemer & Gabrielle Nemer co-author a new adventure titled, Guardians of the Treasure…

Clinical psychologist and owner/director of One Roof, Dr. Selma Nemer, and her granddaughter Gabrielle, a middle school student, are thrilled to share with you an exciting fantasy-mystery tale, Guardians of the Treasure, available now from Amazon or locally at Northshire Books.

 
Guardians-Nemer2015As dark forces are trying to take over the world, best friends Chrystal and Stephine stumble upon a mystery in a small historic town, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. They inadvertently discover a treasure, woven into their ancestry, and must learn to unlock its secrets, to be used against these dark forces before it’s too late. 
 

Dr. Selma will sign copies locally on Dec. 3rd during the Victorian Streetwalk at Northshire Books on Broadway in Saratoga Springs beginning at 5pm; a perfect chance to have Dr. Selma inscribe a special message to a special young person on your holiday list! A group of local authors will be available during the festivities in the Children’s Room.

 

We hope you’ll join in courageously unraveling the secrets of the treasure!

Dr. Nemer is also author of The Beheaded Goddess: Daughters of Narcissistic Fathers, available from Amazon.

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