The yoga mat teaches you something about yourself every time you get on it. We can use these lessons toward any personal journey we undertake. In the case of addiction and recovery, the mat is an excellent place to challenge the addict brain. It reveals our knee-jerk reactions to discomfort and our over-indulgent behaviors toward pleasure. Like a mirror, the mat shows us our strengths and weaknesses not just in our physicality but also in our character. The lesson does not stop with a casual glance at our short-comings. Oh no! At this point, we have only taken out our notebooks and pencils.
Clients and parents tell us how things are going 1.5 years after graduating
At Second Nature we have been conducting research to evaluate our programs for more than six years, and we recently completed an 18-month follow-up. While we use sophisticated standardized and validated questionnaires to measure change in functioning; for this 18-month follow up, we also wanted to hear from clients in a more simple and personal way.
The practice of loving kindness is most often associated with the Theraveda Buddhist tradition. This meditation practice, referred to as Metta, can be found in the Pali Cannon that dates back 2,500 years and is the traditional scriptures for Theraveda Buddhism. Although this practice has roots in Buddhist discipline, its practice has spread to the mainstream. Compassion meditations are often used with the 12 Step program, have been highly studied in the Western sciences particularly neuroscience and psychology, and being taught in our schools!
Walking into school, when I was seven years old,
My mind was blank and innocent, ready to fit the mold.
Tabula rasa, blank slate, my life waiting to unfold.
And when I sat down, this, this was what I was told:
Research indicates that adopted adolescents are at higher risk in areas including school achievement and problems, substance use, psychological well-being, physical health, fighting, and lying to parents.While adoptees account for 2% of the child population in the US. (US Census, 2000), they account for roughly 18% of Second Nature’s recent outcome study sample. This difference in percentage calls attention to this population and the need to better understand their treatment needs and investigate how wilderness treatment addresses these needs.
The benefits of meditation and mindfulness practices are vast and becoming increasingly publicized in our culture. Today, that mattered very little. What I witnessed today stood out against all the years I’ve been teaching meditation and mindfulness practices.
Does the question ever come up: “is my lil’ girl too delicate or fragile for the woods?” Great question! Girls (and women) in our society are often portrayed as weak, defenseless, helpless, and above all, vulnerable! In a recent Second Nature blog post Sabrina Hadeed explored the vulnerability and strength of young women (Girls Daring Greatly: Elements of vulnerability and strength in a therapeutic wilderness setting). I believe that her post opens an extremely important conversation about the value and power of a wilderness experience in the lives of young women. I propose to continue this discussion forward as we examine how society’s beliefs are crippling and marginalizing young women, and the role that wilderness can play in restoring dignity and identity. I invite YOU to join in this conversation.
Nearly two decades ago when I was looking for a job, a mentor suggested I apply at a wilderness therapy program. I left several introductory phone calls with the clinical director to inquire about a potential job opening, but my attempts went unanswered. So I decided to make the three-hour drive to their base camp office in Loa, Utah. I arrived with my resume in hand, a flannel-lined sleeping bag in my duffel, and the confidence that I was right for the position.
“Don’t ask the world what it wants from you, ask yourself what makes you come to life. Because what the world really needs are more people who have come to life.”