Saratoga Stress Reduction Program

Selma Nemer, Pierre Zimmerman and I have been teaching 8 week courses in mindfulness meditation since 2005. With over 2,000 graduates we are heartened to see what powerful remedies are stillness and compassion in this ever busy, stressful world.  We teach mindful eating, walking, sitting meditation, gentle yoga and embodied awareness practices as ways to slow down, wake up and participate meaningfully in life as it is.   Many of our graduates say the program has helped considerably with chronic pain, anxiety and sleep disturbances as well as navigating life's stressors with grace.  At least 4 cycles of the course offered per year. We participate with some insurance plans directly and some medical flex plans will allow students to submit documentation of the course for reimbursement.    

www.saratogastressreduction.com

or contact Mary at (518) 581-3180 x 300

From Our 50th Anniversary Retreat, January 2018

Years of meditating and we have now taught 50 cycles of the Saratoga Stress Reduction Program since 2005.  All that and I am pretty much the same Caroline:  quick to anger, quick to laugh, easily burdened, easily enchanted.  What’s different is how I think about love. Practice love.    

I knew I had a busy, racing, judging mind – it only took about 30 seconds of meditation to recognize that – but I didn’t appreciate until I had been meditating and teaching for a while how much this whirling dervish of a critical mind was distancing me from love.  How closed off and far away I often felt even though my care and interest ran deep and the people and issues I was invested in were inches away. Or how avalanched in my own pain I could be and not be able to lovingly attend to myself.   Perhaps you know what I am talking about: this way of staying busy, striving to do well, fearing loss and judging the hell out of everyone and myself in the presence of pain feels like a solitary, loveless prison.  How it feels like a wall around the heart.       

Meditation and sitting with all of you has begun to chip away at this wall.  Life changes and pain too have begun to wear away this brittle barrier.  Teachers of mine have used words like porousness, receptivity, and openness to describe the resulting experience.  Yes. All of these words feel true.  And love.  I use the word love. When the boundaries between heart, mind and body, between you and me, between me and the world beyond soften there is love.  This isn’t an idealistic, romantic love. It’s a quiet, open-eyed, muscular, tender and patient attention that can handle the truth of how things are, who people are, who I am and all that I feel in any given moment.  This is what I now call love. This is what I am rooting for.  That there can be this kind of love in the presence of joy, hate, pain, fear is no longer an ideal.  Deeper and deeper I fall—or rise as Pierre likes to say -- in this kind of love with the planet and the human race—myself included.  On Tuesday nights during class and after retreats like this I am abundantly full of this love.  This is what has changed most about me and this is why I continue to practice and teach.  

3 Thank Yous

Thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences when you took this class.  I saw myself more clearly in your reflection and deeply appreciate your presence.  Times when I wanted to let meditation fall to the bottom of my priority list you kept me going. Times when my heart was so broken open these classes kept me awake.  Thank you for coming today as a living breathing affirmation of this honorable, difficult, loving path.

Thank you to my beloved wife and partner who has covered the home front for me on literally hundreds of Tuesday nights and over 50 Sundays.  That we open the day sitting together is so very beautiful and full of love.       

Thank you to Selma and Pierre. Our ever-evolving partnership has grown us for sure. It is a gift to be in relationship with people who are willing to move towards difficulty.  We stumble all the time, don’t we?  And we have gotten so much better at loving each other in the stumbles and loving this program through its many incarnations.  Thank you. I adore you.     

Sex, Breath & Body Workshop

Caroline Russell Smith, Patricia Swander Farrell and Amy Rosen

Learn about the physiology of sexual arousal and inhibition so you can maximize what turns you on and minimize what shuts you down. Identify tools to help you uncover and claim sexual desire individually as well as in relationship. Experience a deeper way to connect to your innermost self through breath and movement-based relaxation.

Saturday, December 2, 2017 1-4 pm at One Big Roof in Saratoga Springs, NY

$75 per person/ $85 at the door

Contact Patricia at psflcsw@gmail.com to register