What to Expect When You’re Expecting

The sun is shining, birds are chirping, the rain clouds have passed and revealed the clear blue sky to my neck of the woods (yes I actually do live in a forest).  And just as all the blossoms are reminding me of new growth, and emerging, I’m aware that one year from now, spring 2020, I’m expecting a new arrival myself.

No, I’m not pregnant again, at least not with a human baby.  But you could say I’m pregnant with possibility.  What possibility, you ask?  A bouncing baby BOOK!  Yes, that’s right.  My first book is coming out spring 2020 and I’m so excited to share it with all of you.

I’ve been researching for my book for the last six years, writing my book for the last two, was joined by a great publisher ten months ago, and I just submitted the final manuscript today! (That was a lot of gestating). And in a short eleven months, we can all have a copy in our hands!

The book is about stress, Anxiety, and overwhelm (which I know a thing or two about, and not just theoretically).  It’s about how stress and anxiety are notjust in our heads but in our bodies too.  Overwhelm, and its friends, are a felt experience before they are thoughts (and during and after too).  As these challenges begin in the body so do they resolve in the body.

The Mind-Body Stress Reset: Somatic Practices to Reduce Overwhelm and Increase Well-Beingwill guide readers toward the relief and true ease they need and want.  It will take you on a journey from extreme stress and trauma, to resilience, strength, and your capacity to recover.  I can hardly wait until its arrival next spring!

More about the book coming soon.  And please, help spread the word!

Tools For Resilience – Orienting and Sensing

Your Body Is Your Brain

Your body is your brain. When it comes to feeling safe and well, it’s not all in your head. And if you don’t feel safe and well, you can’t think clearly about much of anything. So basically, your body is your brain. We could also say your body is your #1 brain, and that heavy organ in your skull is your #2 brain.

The primitive brain primarily speaks one language, reports somatic expert Peter Levine, and that is the language of sensation. This means, all those fancy thoughts and ideas do not have much effect on the primitive brain.

Why does this matter? It matters because our primitive brain is responsible for assessing our safety and wellbeing. If we don’t feel safe, our primitive brain assumes there is a threat in the vicinity, and a cascade of reactions occur in our body that keeps us from thinking about much of anything else.

First, the body organizes itself to identify the threat: our muscles stiffen (sore necks or backs anyone, this may be related to chronic ‘startling’ in the body). Then, our fight/flight system gets revved up and ready for action, shutting down non-essentials like digestion and elimination (tension in the gut, loose stool? constipation? These can relate to an overactive stress response). Next, we scan about looking for threat (In this state our mind is fully engaged in ‘identifying’ threats, whether they are actually there or not. With defensive orienting, seek and ye shall find, is an accurate description).

When this ‘all systems go’ reaction is happening, we move into a tunnel vision that seeks to find what it is looking for, damn it! and protect ourselves from it. This mentality results in many misidentifications of threat as well as misplaced self-protection reactions (angry outbursts, defensiveness, hopelessness, collapse, anxiety, depression).

In this hyper-agitated state, our primitive brain may hear the rustle of the bushes outside our house, feel the alarm, see the postman, and although Jack, the mail-carrier has only ever been kind, he suddenly becomes an enemy. We can also feel overwhelmed by our circumstances, lost in our ideas about things, and become unable to see other options or solutions. Sometimes we identify ‘an adversary’ or ‘a pursuant’ within our own elaborate imagination, the new supervisor at work, our best friend, our child’s teacher, the weather…

So what can we do about it? How can we use our body-brain to help us from falling into the rabbit hole? We cannot talk ourselves out of it, […]

Mindfulness Talk – Audio – The Garden in Our Mind

This is a talk I gave ‘for parents’, however we all parent someone, especially ourselves…and maybe some children too (or a partner, parent, friend) :-).

Listen here: Rebekkah Mindfulness Talk – The Garden in Our Mind

Pretend Perfection

I am reminded regularly that when I try to “pretend perfection” I become anxious, unhappy, and stressed. In times like these, if I search inwardly, I can feel the strain that inauthenticity causes.  However, I wonder, is being authentic just laying it all out there?

Author and researcher Brene Brown draws a distinction between being authentic and “oversharing.” She talks about how we sometimes attempt to “hot wire” a connection by over-exposing our vulnerabilities and points out that this is not real vulnerability. When I “hot wire,” it is usually an attempt to cover-up the tenderness that I feel with true vulnerability.

Why do we try to fake it?


I think we try to fake it because false (and fast) connection feels somewhat related to the real thing. But the quick option is not the prize we actually seek. In the case of over sharing, a surge of cortisol (stress hormone) is substituted for the dopamine (happiness hormone) that can accompany a true connection. For most of us who experience stress, cortisol is easy to achieve; dopamine is harder to earn, but oh so worth it. This bait and switch reminds me of trying to satisfy a craving for good dark chocolate with Hershey’s; they might have some overlaps, but they are not the same.


I have certainly found myself in the painful throws of exposing too much too soon, in an attempt to “be authentic,” only to find myself in the land of self-deprecation that borders self-mockery.

It has taken me a long time even to be able to see these habits, and then begin to slowly change them. (Usually) I am not long in the stage of unconscious incompetence anymore, wherein, I hot wired and over shared, and I didn’t even know. My only evidence was the shame hangover the next day.

Mindfulness brings conscious incompetence, a painful yet essential stage. With consciousness all the moments where you say too much or exaggerate your faults to share the laugh, are now seen with the clear light of awareness. But with consciousness, the pain caused by making yourself the butt of the joke is also seen, which can support change.

Slowly developed conscious competence is a welcome guest. It takes effort and self-reminding, but with mindful awareness, authentic connections are made, and true sharing occurs that respects who you are and where you’ve been.

At last to unconscious competence, where because of previous efforts (mindfulness practice & somatic integration) you don’t have to track each part of an interaction or event […]

Body Intelligence


Is Loneliness Bad for your Health?

Studies show that loneliness can lead to survival reactions such as feeling we need to fight to save ourselves or need to flee from danger, often called fight/flight stress reactivity. Emotional pain triggers the same response in our brain as does physical pain. Having a major accident that results in broken bones can register as just as traumatic to the brain as a broken heart. Evolutionarily speaking, humans need other humans to be safe. The tribe kept an eye out for predators and worked together to get food and shelter. It turns out that our bodies’ chemistry changes when we experience loneliness, leading to increased stress hormones connected to anxiety, insomnia, and reduced immune system functioning. These hormonal changes can also decrease our motivation and our desire to engage with others. Whether you’re an introvert and get fueled up from a quiet conversation over tea, or an extrovert who thrives in crowded rooms, your health depends on you making contact, or getting ‘out there’ from time to time.

What can help your health today? Make a date with someone you enjoy or carve out meaningful time with your family. It never hurts to strike up a conversation with a kind stranger at the coffee shop; positive social engagement with relative strangers still has a positive effect on feelings of connection and well-being.

What if your work schedule is too full or home demands are too great? What if you don’t have friends close by? Call a good friend, the phone works for connection too, even a quick text can help our biochemistry shift toward ease. Also, studies from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley show that online classes and sessions can boost happiness and be part of one’s social support system. Consider joining an online class with me this spring, or begin individual sessions.

Classes begin online April 21st,  in Berkeley April 1st, and Mill Valley April 19th. I’d be glad to be part of your wellness support network. In addition to the social support, the mindfulness skills you’ll develop through our time together will also boost your happiness and well-being.

Serotonin (the well-being brain chemical)

Do you or someone you know struggle with anxiety or depression?

If your brain is low on Serotonin (the well-being brain chemical), depression and anxiety can easily take hold of you.

Are there any alternatives or aids to medications? Can you enhance your bodies ability to create serotonin while on medication, or live happily without medication? Yes!

These three easy additions to your self-care can greatly increase your happiness.
1. Social support (hang out with a friend this week)
2. Moderate exercise (not too intense, or it lowers serotonin)
3. Eat ‘kosher’ style sometimes (separate meat and dairy into separate meals, and eat some whole grain and vegetable meals without any animal protein in them) **this helps your body metabolize the available serotonin

Read more to understand why:

Increase Serotonin Without Pharmaceuticals


Find Your Sweet Spot

How we respond to life’s stress is a huge indicator of our happiness. Notice the indicator is not, having no stress, but how you deal with the stress you have (and the future stress you will have, because that’s how life goes).

Stress Ball

Some of us tend to be over responders, we can rev our internal engines too high. We might tend toward reactivity, moving to attack or defend in the face of small and large stressors alike. Sometimes, something as small as a typo in an email we just sent can set off a fairly large stress reaction. Other times, running a little late to drop off the kids, or meet a friend, can trigger a reactive chain of mental and physical events that leads to ongoing stress. Sometimes stress reactions can pile up and, as the saying goes, there might be a straw or two that breaks the camel’s back.

Others of us might tend to be under responders, we can rev our internal engines too low. We might tend toward non-responsiveness, or not really noticing much of what is going on inside of us and around us. We can loose details and find ourselves in the same jam over and over without understanding what is contributing to it. Perhaps we don’t register the stream of comments from our supervisor, and feel blind sided when we are given a critical review. Or perhaps we just feel out of it, or isolated, or checked out. This can also lead to stress, a kind of stress that is lurking below the surface and might unexpectedly explode when it is least expected (or wanted).

Mindfulness helps us find our sweet spot, our center, or balance point between over responding and under responding. In our sweet spot, we handle the stress rather than moving into combat (over responding) or collapse (under responding). Mindfulness not only helps us navigate toward our sweet spot but it also helps us understand more about our current set point. Maybe you already know where you are on the continuum of responding and could use a little help getting closer to center, or maybe you need to start with the question, “How do I respond to stress? Do I tend toward over or under responding?”

Mindfulness support helps with just these questions and challenges. Let’s get started right away, your health is worth it. In our phone or Skype sessions you’ll be able to determine your current set point and develop a plan […]

Bridge from inner landscape to outer landscape – video link




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