Easing Caregiving Stress With Mindful Self-Compassion

July 31st, 2015

B. Bartja Wachtel spoke to a packed crowd of caregivers at DSHS’s Giving Care, Taking Care conference. They were there to hear about what some call techniques, skills, or methods  for easing on-the-job stress, but Bartja calls them, “ways of being in the moments of suffering.” Wachtel, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Mental Health Professional, and Child Mental Health Specialist, and Mindful Self-Compassion Trained Teacher led the group through sometimes moving and deeply effective meditations that can be practiced in moments of difficult feelings or in-the-moment caregiving stress.

Mindfulness Self-Compassion (MSC) practices can be brief or more involved.  Do it in 3 minutes or devote your lunch break. To begin, simply settle into a comfortable position. You may have time to do a 2 minute body scan (a check in on you and where you are in the moment) or perhaps you can manage only a few deep slow breaths into the present moment. Put your hand over your heart to bring affection into your awareness if you like then continue. On a difficult day, maybe you can find 7 minutes for a  Self-Compassionate Break?  If not, Dr. Kristin Neff, researcher, co-developer of  MSC curriculum and narrator of the Self-Compassionate Break audio,  says, this can be used in the heat of the moment. It’s a portable, powerful and flexible tool for managing the stress of difficult emotions.

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Pinky’s Passion Hosts Sixth Annual Walk For the Future This Weekend

July 24th, 2015

Pat “Pinky” Erickson first learned she had Parkinson’s at the age of 45. Because the disease often moves slowly she was able to and did, initially, hide her illness until her husband urged her to reconsider. Pat decided that if she lived openly she would make it mean something by devoting herself to the support of Parkinson’s research. Since then, through fashion show fundraisers, an annual holiday party and the annual Walk For The Future, Pinky’s Passion, her 501 C3 organization, has donated $168,000 to Parkinson’s organizations.

pinkyfashionpinky fashion 2Erickson raised $12,000 at her first fundraiser in 2007 and gave all the money to the Michael J Fox Foundation. The theme of that event, vintage fashions, has been easy to replicate on mother’s day, weddings, or birthdays and it’s suited to a small or large audience. “… her fashion shows are a hoot, with all the hats, shoes and accessories from each era,” Shari Cassara, a registered nurse and community relations representative for Overlake Terrace Assisted Living and Memory Care, told the Redmond Reporter in advance of a 2008 fashion fundraiser.  Pinky, a vintage clothing collector, features clothes from the late 1800’s up to 1970. She maintained a blog until 2011 where you’ll read about her fashion shows and life with Parkinson’s.


pinky walkThis Sunday, July 26, you can join the 6th annual Walk For The Future and help Pinky’s Passion reach their milestone of $200,000! It’s time to give the boot to Parkinson’s disease…the event website reads.  Walk toward a future without Parkinson’s disease.

The walk convenes at Shoreline Stadium, 18560 1st Ave NE Shoreline, WA 98155.   Bring out your pink and enjoy music, lunch, kid’s events, and laughter.  Walk Starts at 10 a.m. Can’t make the day and time but want to donate to Pinky’s Passion? Need more information?


Redmond Derby Days Run Benefits Pancreatic Cancer Research

July 9th, 2015

Redmond’s popular summer festival, Derby Days, July 10 and 11, features parades, a carnival, music and an exciting 5K run supporting Pancreatic Cancer Research. Have fun and make a difference this weekend!

startline5kDerby Days expanded over its 75 year history to include the 5K Derby Dash. This USATF certified course attracts so many participants that organizers are capping the entries at 1,000. Sponsored by the City of Redmond and the Dr. John K. McCormick Foundation, the dash donates all proceeds to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PCAN). In turn, PCAN donates 85% of funds to programs that provide patient support, promote research, increase public awareness, and advocate for finding cures.john d mc

Dr John K McCormick’s son, Johnny, organizes the run in memory of his father, a long time Redmond resident, who died of Pancreatic Cancer at the age of 56. Pancreatic Cancer diagnoses are often shocking because patients get few signals that something is seriously wrong until the cancer is advanced.  Only 7% survive past 5 years. Dr. McCormick died almost one year after discovering his illness in a routine medical appointment.


Johnny and friends at the Derby Dash

Dr. McCormick practiced sports medicine in Redmond. He and wife, Ann, raised four children. He was a golfer, runner, and student of everything according to the Foundation. “I like running, so did Dad,” Johnny told me. “Neither of us were competitive runners. We’re just competitive guys who like to run.”  Do you like to run? Consider the Derby Dash this weekend or take a minute to donate to PCAN! Your time and generosity touches the lives of survivors and offers hope to cancer patients still waiting for useful diagnostics and breakthrough treatments.

All Present Song Circle Starting Up January 28 2016

July 3rd, 2015

all present adMost artists know that a performance is authentic when they can stay in the moment.  Athletes too understand that power when they talk about “staying within oneself.”  It’s that quality of presence in the moment that gives Elena Louise Richmond’s song circle for Early Stage Memory Loss, All Present, its name and moving impact. “All Present is just that. It’s just for now,” writes Richmond in her blog, All Present Almost Past. “It’s not for a performance later; it’s not to record and listen to. It’s just for that hour and a half when we sing and we can’t stop smiling at each other.”

all present, circle

Members of the Song Circle

All Present  meets 8 weeks a quarter at Greenwood Senior Center under the auspices of OK Chorale director Elena Louise Richmond and her assistant/copy editor, Susan, Susan’s husband, Mike, and “the other Susan!” Read the rest of this entry »

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