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March 2010
Healing Matters
In This Issue
Making Deposits into Your Love Account
Clinician in the Spotlight
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Foot Indulgence for Spring  
Pamper your feet with a refreshing lemon, lime or peppermint, stress reducing foot scrub and relaxing foot massage!  
Fee: $25 
 offer expires  March 15, 2010

Couples Massage Seminar
Bring your husband, wife, sister or a
good friend to
learn the art in giving a great Massage!
March 13, 2010
(10am -12noon)
Fee: $100/couple.
Space is limited!!!
Accepting 5
couples only!
A deposit of $50 is
required to reserve space.
For more information
or to secure your space, call 301.712.9015x1016 

Finishing Touches Massage Center 


In each issue of Healing Matters, we plan on sharing information related to body, mind, and spirit and the importance of each of these in living a healthy fulfilling life.

We hope you enjoy this publication, and we welcome feedback on possible future topics that would
 be helpful for you.
How to Get Started with a Meditation Practice
The rewards of a daily meditation practice are numerous and can be life changing. Scientific research findings into the benefits of meditation demonstrate that a daily meditation practice can lower blood pressure, increase one's sense of well being, increase ability to focus, relieve anxiety and stress, and promote the body's natural healing processes. Increasingly, psychotherapists recommend meditation to help clients with self-understanding, getting to know their inner emotional states, and learning to recognize and manage mood changes.

The science is encouraging, and articles and web sites touting the benefits of meditation appear everywhere. Yet, the idea of sitting quietly for even 15-20 minutes a day runs counter to our culture of busyness-where multitasking is a given. So we resist and justify that it is too hard. It can seem daunting to figure out how to meditate on one's own. I would like to expose some myths about meditation and offer some simple steps to help you get started on a practice of your own. Once you get started, you will be on an amazing journey of inner growth that can help guide you to live a more balanced and healthful life.

Myths about meditation.
Meditation is a religion. Some people express concern that to meditate you must have certain religious beliefs or become part of a religious system. This is not true. Meditation is the exploration of your inner world. It is about your direct experience of consciousness. Religions may apply meaning to the meditative experience, but it is a personal choice if you resonate with that religion.

Meditation is about stopping thoughts. Meditation is about observing all that is happening in our bodies and minds. It is not about stopping anything. It is learning to be accepting of our mental activity and noticing that we can watch our thoughts without getting caught up in them.
Meditation means going into some trance-like, spaced-out state. When we learn to meditate, we will experience many different feelings and emotions as we settle into being quiet with ourselves. Our minds are used to being very busy, thinking externally-not looking inward. When we take our attention away from the thoughts and look inward we can reach a quiet, still place within. The sense of stillness is alert and awake and can put us in touch with our natural energy and creative flow.

Meditation is hard. Like any new activity, when we start to meditate there can be resistance to making it a daily habit. Meditation is a natural process-once we set aside all of our concepts and fears-it is simple. We are reacquainting our selves with who we already are. We are discovering our consciousness that is aware of all our activity-mental, emotional and physical. One meditation can allow you to experience that sense of inner knowing, perhaps peace (if only for a second) that you will instantly recognize as the truest part of who you are.

How to get started with a meditation practice
Be kind and compassionate to yourself. Know that you are giving yourself a great gift-the gift of getting to know yourself more deeply and of connecting with consciousness. This is a powerful place that can be transformative in your life. Allow any feelings and thoughts that come. You may feel emotions, think all kinds of thoughts, your body may want to itch, twitch, and move. It is OK. Start to put more attention on the one that feels, senses, and thinks all of these things. Notice that the sensations all come and go. You as consciousness remain as the witness, as the awareness.

Take a seat. Set aside 15-20 minutes each day for your practice. First thing in the morning is a great time or mid-day or early evening-whatever works for you. Have a space for you to use for meditation. Most importantly, find a chair or cushion that will allow you to sit comfortably with your feet on the floor and your back straight. Support your back, if needed. Allow your hands to lay comfortable in your lap. Close your eyes. You can use quiet music for the background, if you wish. 

Breathe. Relax your body and mind by taking a few deep breaths. Breathe through your nose and into your belly-in and out--for three breaths. Focus your attention on the breath as you breathe in and out. You may feel like stretching your body a little and relaxing more deeply into your chair. 

Concentrate. It is helpful to focus the mind to help it settle down. The nature of the mind is to think and at first, it may be difficult to quiet the mind and have it feel relaxing. That is perfectly normal. To help the mind focus, you may want to continue to notice your breath gently going in and out of your nostrils as you sit. Some find it useful to light a candle and to gaze at the candle when meditating. Others, may find it useful to repeat a word or affirmation that has meaning for them. 

Be curious and accepting. You may notice that you get frustrated, annoyed, scared of all of the thoughts. There are so many distractions! Again, with compassion and curiosity notice where the mind has taken you and gently bring your attention back to the breath or object or sound you are focusing on. In the beginning, you may feel that your mind and body are taking you on a wild ride. That is normal. You may fall asleep. Also normal. Keep accepting what is and do not judge yourself. With each moment, you are improving your awareness of your inner world. That is the beginning of meditation. You may notice some moments when you are completely present-where your attention is aware of itself and a sense of well-being, peace, spaciousness may be felt. This may also seem to come and go. Let it be so.
Ending the meditation. When you feel the meditation is over, gently bring feeling back into the hands and feet, stretching them and other parts of the body and then slowly opening your eyes to come back to the room. Be grateful to yourself for taking this time for self-discovery.
Get support. You may want to purchase a meditation CD to follow a guided meditation. There are many to choose from-Jon Kabat-Zinn, Eckhart Tolle, Andrew Weil, and thing in the morning is a great time or mid-day or early evening-whatever works for you. Have a space for you to use for meditation. Most importantly, find a chair or cushion that will allow you to sit comfortably with your feet on the floor and your back straight. Support your back, if needed. Allow your hands to lay comfortable in your lap. Close your eyes. You can use quiet music for the background, if you wish.
"To meet everything and everyone through stillness instead of mental noise is the greatest gift you can offer to the universe. I call it stillness, but it is a jewel with many facets: that stillness is also joy, and it is love." -Eckhart Tolle from The Power of Now
Pam McDonald, LCSW-C                301-712-9015,m Ext 1022
Pam offers a weekly mid-day meditation group every Thursday from 12-1 p.m. You are welcome to join us at any time.

 Balancing Life Wellness Series

Mid-day Meditation Workshop

 Held Every Thursday from 12:00 - 1:00 pm
This new workshop is designed to teach meditation and other relaxation techniques to anyone interested in incorporating  meditation into their daily lives.  No experience necessary!
On your lunch break?  It is best to eat after meditating.  Bring your lunch and you can eat during the discussion period from 12:40 - 1:00
To register or for more information, please call Pam McDonald at  301-712-9015, Ext 1022 or e-mail at pmmcdonald1@verizon.net
Clinician in the Spotlight
Elise Abromson, PsyD 
       Elise Abromson, Psy.D., began offering therapy for children, adolescents, teens, parents, and families at the Healing Circles Wellness Center  when it first opened in May 2008. She is experienced in working with children who have behavior, attention, and school difficulties, anxiety, depression,  those needing social skills improvement, and issues related to divorce. She brings to Healing Circles a passion for working with children and teens by providing them with a voice and teaching them the skills necessary to navigate successfully through difficult times in their lives. Dr. Elise also recognizes the importance of involving parents and teachers when needed to help implement these skills at home and in school.
     Dr. Elise's ability to easily relate to children and teens assists with building a strong therapeutic relationship. When working with children and teens, Dr. Elise works to improve self-esteem and self-confidence. Her approach empowers children, teens, and parents to implement changes in their, leading greater happiness both individually and as a family. Dr. Elise utilizes cognitive-behavioral techniques in her treatment to help children and families reach their goals. She understands that each child and family is different; therefore, each intervention is created to meet the unique needs of the individual.
     Dr. Elise received her undergraduate degree in Biobehavioral Health at the Pennsylvania State University and her Doctorate in Psychology at the American School of Professional Psychology (Argosy University), Washington, D.C. campus.  She was trained at such well known institutions as Kennedy Krieger, Children's National Medical Center, Children's Hospital of Dayton, Ohio, and the Inova Kellar Attention and Learning Disorders Center. Dr. Elise has worked in hospital settings, and private practice, and has done psychoeducational evaluations in addition to therapy.
     For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Elise, call (301) 712-9015 ext.1018 or go to www.doctorelise.com. She can also be reached by e-mail at
Live well,

The Clinicians at
Healing Circles Wellness Center