Jenny Taitz, Psy.D.
This morning I attended the funeral of a 2-year-old girl who died after a heroic battle with rare bone marrow failure disorder (Her family’s efforts and her charisma resulted in thousands of people enrolling in bone marrow registries---21 bone marrow matches arose from her data base!) I felt so overcome by sadness for baby Ayelet Galena’s family and inspired by their fortitude and faith. As I approached the service, I found myself immersed in visceral grief and existential worries.
And then I needed to be present with patients at work. The funeral was at 11 am and my first patient was scheduled for 12:30pm. I wondered how I might possibly prepare for the day. I decided I would try to begin my 1st day of the mindfulness challenge on the crowded New York City bus. Honestly, it was so tempting to contemplate the tragedy and review meaningful words spoken and replay the grace of her family. I’m sure I will continue to do both.
Yet it seemed like the best way to honor the courage embodied in the room and be most effective in the moment was to begin to breathe mindfully. Today on a crowded bus with tear and tissues I tried to find my breath. Of course I noticed tightness in my chest, and moments of judging and planning. Finding my breath on the bus proved so much more viable than jumping into sad thoughts or running from them. At times during mindfulness practices, I find myself engaging in permissive thoughts, “this is important, think away!” Today I realized surrendering into this moment is most important.