My life is not this steeply sloping hour in which you see me hurrying."
- Rainer Maria Rilke
("The Art of Conversation in the Digital Age" article included below)
An Invitation to Learn
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
Photo by Sandy Renna
Learn to live with greater vitality, health and well-being through Jon
Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. Presented by
the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center of New Jersey, the program
offers powerful methods for reducing stress in your everyday life.
Diane Handlin, Ph.D. is the only instructor in New Jersey and one of the few in the world (not just trained) but actually Certified by Jon Kabat-Zinn's and Saki Santorelli's Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School.
waiting for you
Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation...
All the birds and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.
Everything is waiting for you.
I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn
flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing to stay - how everything lives, shifting
from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.
by Mary Oliver
Let yourself be silently drawn
by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.
~ Rumi ~ (Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks)
Fall 2015 talk in Summit NJ
Nov. 18, 7:30 - 9:00 pm
Grand Summit Hotel
570 Springfield Ave, Summit NJ
Winter 2016 course in Summit NJ
begins Tuesday, January 19
All are Welcome
Reservations are required.
~ Summer 2016 Course in Edison NJ ~
For more information or to reserve a place for course, please contact Dr. Diane Handlin at 732-549-9100 or firstname.lastname@example.org
(Please note that MBSR is an educational course
and not psychotherapy. If you suspect that you have medical or
psychological issues, please pursue appropriate treatment.)
on Healing from Within
from the series Healing and the Mind
Selected past issues of The Living Moment
The Art of Conversation in the Digital Age
we find ourselves entering Autumn, a season I like to approach as a
time of new beginnings, I wanted to write to you about a well crafted
article by Sherry Turkle published in the Sunday Review of the New York Times on September 26, 2015. She calls it, "Stop Googling. Let's Talk
it she addresses the impact our digital world has had on the art of
human exchange and conversation, and by extension, the impact our
digital world has on our relationship with each other and ourselves.
Dr. Turkle, an M.I.T. professor in its Science, Technology
and Society Program who has been studying the impact of the digital age
on our lives for over thirty years, begins her article by citing what
some college students described as a "rule of three." They pointed out
to her that when five or six people are having a conversation at dinner
they check to make sure that three people are paying attention to the
conversation and not looking at their phones before they can look down
at their own phones. The result of this is that the conversations, while
maintaining a certain continuity, are also kept relatively light.
Many young people praised living by the "rule of three,"
which they said allowed them to put their attention wherever they wanted
it to be, allowing them to always be heard and never to be bored.
Others, however added that there
was also a sense of loss. Dr. Turkle believes that we have found ways
around those conversations in which empathy and intimacy flourish,
conversations in which, potentially, "we learn who we are."
Turkle's thesis is that there is an "essential connection between
solitude and conversation." She goes further suggesting that, "Some of
the most crucial conversations you will ever have will be with
She believes that re-learning
"unitasking" (including the art of conversation) will increase
performance and decrease stress. She is not asking us to give up our
devices, but to "carve out spaces...that are device-free, sacred spaces
for the paired virtues of conversation and solitude."
My own relationship with the digital world is something I
have been trying to come to terms with for quite a while now. As a
teacher of MBSR, the digital world makes a great deal of things I
consider good so much more possible. People can find and reach me. I can
write this newsletter and share what I've learned with you. But, I also
know all too well the seductive downside of this part of my life.
thought about how in behavioral studies with rats intermittent
re-inforcement is the most difficult type to extinguish. If you give a
rat a food pellet intermittently
(not every time), it will keep hitting the lever over and over again
hoping for a pellet. Because we receive an especially important or pleasurable
text or email every so often, we can become like rodents, returning to
hit those keys or those screens over and over again.
computer is upstairs near the bedroom and where I meditate is
down-stairs. I literally have had to make it a distinct intention, which
I regularly need to renew, to get up from my bed in the morning and go
straight down to my meditation cushions without stopping at the
Dr. Turkle also remarks on research that reveals that young
people are losing their capacity for empathy. Here she mentions the
"seven minute rule." A college student told her that she "shied away
from conversation (other than on her phone) because it demanded that one
live by the rigors of the
"seven minute rule" in which it takes at least seven minutes to see how a
conversation is going to unfold. The student said that she "often
doesn't have the patience to wait for anything near that kind of time
before going to her phone."
Howard Gardner and Katie Davis have named this generation the "app
generation," and claim that it "tends toward impatience, expecting the
world to respond like an app." Turkle says that this way of living
contributes to "friendships becoming things to manage; you have a lot of
them and you come to them with tools" (in order to manage them like one
would an "algorithm"). Furthermore, Turkle believes that "one start
toward reclaiming conversation is to reclaim solitude... which when
constructively cultivated, creates some potentially optimal conditions
for finding ourselves." Also, she believes this can be a corrective
through which we may discover that "some of the most crucial
conversations you will ever have will be with yourself."
Professor Turkle's article has made me re-examine my own life
and how the seduction of the occasional "highs" and subsequent
"busyness" of the digital world has at times seduced me away from my
relationship with myself as well as with some of my closest friends. In
particular, one of my dearest friends and I have had a rich, lifelong
correspondence. We wrote wonderful letters throughout our formative
years. I particularly treasured those exchanges when she lived abroad
and I kept all of her letters throughout the years. In later times,
although we lived further from each other and our lives became busier
with family and career obligations, we then managed to make phone
appointments with each other in which we protected our time and space
well enough to have long and very meaningful conversations.
it has taken me
all of sixty years
that water is the finest drink
and bread the most delicious food
and that art is worthless
unless it plants
a measure of splendor
in people's hearts.
Taha Muhammed Ali
Excerpt from "Twigs", found in
New and collected poems,
Translated by Peter Cole,
and Gabriel Levin)
Start close in,
don't take the second step or the third,
start with the first
you don't want to take.
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
way of starting
Excerpt from River Flow - New and Selected Poems
The Living Moment
There is a stillness at dawn
asking for me
I hear the note not played
I see the line not written
I understand the word not spoken
I am in stillness
I am the Living Moment
Turkle's article helped me realize that in more recent years, even this
friend and I, who both resisted the digital age, began having less
frequent phone conversations and more frequent email "checkings-in." I
am very grateful that we still keep in touch, but often it has become a
Sunday night quick digital note just to let each other know we're
thinking of each other and sending our love. (And we're not even of the
on this today, I'm thinking of another close friend who many years ago
lived through a painful break-up of a marriage and went to live in an
ashram in India. After a number of months there, she wrote me a
beautiful letter in which she said she had come to the realization that
"fear of loneliness had really been fear of her own emptiness." Once she
had had the courage to sit with her feelings and not run away from
them, she found that she was not empty after all...and that each moment
was filled with richness.
me, personally, taking the time to sit in mindful meditation each
morning continues to help me reconnect with the nature of my own mind
and conditioning, and thus to connect more authentically with myself.
That nourishing foray into solitude is a fuel that refreshes and helps
me reconnect with the nature of my own mind and conditioning. Through
letting the busy thoughts and feelings flutter down to their appropriate
places, it helps me connect more authentically with myself and live
more creatively for the rest of the day.
becoming centered enough to see both what I turn away from as well as
to what I am drawn, I feel like I am cultivating greater freedom through
the capacity to make choices where I may not have seen them before. In
this way, I feel I am nourishing a more flexible and vital relationship
with myself and the people who mean the most to me in my world.
Again, the article by Sherry Turkle may be found by clicking here.
Diane Handlin, Ph.D.
NJ Lic. #3306, NY Lic. #015840
|Diane Handlin, Ph.D.|
|Jim Handlin, Ed.D.|
to the value of the course, I would note that the group workshop
designed to work through Jon Kabat-Zinn's curriculum is very effective.
The workshop / course added a great deal of depth and opened my mind to
a different way of looking at things and fostered exploration. When
mindfullly present, time seems to expand for me. I relax, freed from
thinking about the next place I have to be or the next thing I have to
do ... I have discovered that if I hold off, I usually do not act along
the lines of my first reaction. I've realized that I almost always have
time not to act immediately. I've also rediscovered my happy me, what I
remember from soooo long ago ..., and that is really
wonderful." - Jane Dobson, Corporate
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Although Dr. Handlin is a licensed psychologist and has a separate psychology practice, please note that this is an educational course
and not psychotherapy. In addition, information contained in this
document is informational and not to be construed as medical advice. If
you suspect you have medical issues, please pursue appropriate
treatment. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a separate educational course
for those interested in developing mind-body connections. MBSR is a
non-psychological service offered apart from Dr. Handlin's psychology
practice and is not meant to substitute for personal or professional
psychological advice which must be received from a licensed mental
NJ Lic. #3306, NY Lic. #015840
| |Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Center of New Jersey™
328 Amboy Ave, Metuchen NJ 08840
Tel: 732-549-9100, www.mindfulnessnj.com