Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘Boston’

Boston’s First Responders

Gabriel —

My thoughts and prayers over the past week have been with the people of Boston.

As I’ve watched everything happening there, I’ve been completely awestruck by the first responders — the police, firefighters, and EMTs who ran toward danger without hesitation to help those in peril.

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Their courage and compassion is amazing to witness, and I’m grateful to live in a country where so many fine men and women commit their lives to protect and serve their fellow citizens.

After all they’ve done, I want them to know what it’s meant to Americans like me. So I’m writing these first responders a simple note to say thanks — and I’d like to invite you to join me.

Add your name to the note for Boston’s first responders here.

Whether you want to say thanks, share a story about how the past week’s events have affected you, or just let these public servants know that you’ve been thinking about them, I know they’d appreciate hearing from you.

We’ll collect every note we get and deliver them to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino so they can pass along your sentiments.

Join me, and say thanks to Boston’s first responders:

http://my.democrats.org/Boston

Thanks,

Debbie

Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Chair
Democratic National Committee

Comfort Dogs To Boston

Comfort Dogs Come to Boston in the Wake of Tragedy
By Danielle Sullivan on Babble.com. From Yahoo.
18 April 2013

Back in December, I wrote about dogs who are specially trained to assist in post-traumatic stress situations when they went to console the people of Newtown, Connecticut. Known as the Comfort Dogs for Lutheran Church Charities, the dogs are specially trained to interact with people in disaster situations. Now, they have arrived in Boston to comfort its devastated community.

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Tim Hetzner, president of Lutheran Church Charities, says the dogs will stay at least until Sunday.

The dogs will be stationed at First Lutheran Church, which is within a few blocks from the finish line where the bombings took place. Hetzner and his team also hope to visit over 100 victims still in hospitals, and says the dogs bring much needed therapy to the frightened and injured:

Related: 7 inspiring stories of dogs that saved their owners

“They bring a calming effect to people and help them process the various emotions that they go through in times like this. “People talk to the dogs – they’re like furry counselors. It’s a chance to help bring some relief to people that are shaken up because of the bombings.”

Read complete story at Yahoo.com
Follow Danielle on Babble

Monks, Meditation & Medicine

When Bob Stahl left his home town of Boston and went to college in Vermont, it was a class in religious studies and a quote from the Tao Te Ching that provided the context and words to what he innately knew as a child ever since his younger brother had died at the age of two. The quote said, “There is no need to look outside your window, for everything you need to know is inside you.” He began looking inside and found his way outside to California.

While attending graduate school in San Francisco, Mr. Stahl was invited to attend an Insight Mindfulness retreat. It was on that nine day retreat that Bob realized he had found his spiritual home. “It caused permanent neurological damage and I’ve never been the same, thank goodness,” Bob grins.

In 1980, one of Mr. Stahl’s professors invited him to travel to Burma to meet her meditation teacher Taungpulu Kaba-Aye Sayadaw. While in Burma Bob shaved his head, wore robes and took his bowl, with the other monks, to collect alms (daily food) in remote villages. After several months he returned to California and helped start a forest monastery in Boulder Creek called Taungpulu Kaba-Aye Monastery. “I lived, studied and worked at the monastery for the next nine years,” Bob recalls.

In 1989 Bob left the monastery and met Jan Landry, formerly a nurse and chaplain at Hospice of Santa Cruz County. They were married and had two sons. He also received a book from a friend called Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn that spoke about using meditation in a medical setting. “I couldn’t believe someone wrote a book like this,” Bob says excitedly. “I wrote Kabat-Zinn a letter and he invited me to come to the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. They showed me how their Stress Reduction Program worked, gave me their blessings and said to go start my own.”

Dr. Stahl became a counselor at the Cabrillo College Stroke Center in Aptos, California in 1990 and started teaching meditation. It was the first such program in the state. Within a few years, Dr. Stahl’s Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) was being utilized at hospitals throughout the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Area.

While visiting a weekly MBSR alumni support meeting, a woman who once had TMJ (a painful condition of the jaw) said, “When I brought my awareness from the class to my jaw and saw how often I was clenching and tightening it, I was able to relax and let go. My TMJ totally disappeared.” Another woman, who completed the class only six months ago, says, “MBSR was like a life preserver. It has reduced my back pain and anxiety, as well as my reaction to distress.”

The “letting go” of the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Program does not require one to become a passive observer, but rather to pay close attention to what IS happening at any given moment. Dr. Stahl quotes Victor Frankel, a psychiatrist and holocaust survivor, who once said, “Between the stimulus and the response there is a space and in that space lies our freedom.”

“We are often like sleepwalkers,” Bob states, “or on automatic pilot, reacting compulsively to our grasping and aversive natures. Insight Meditation helps us find another way to live.”

Mr. Stahl found another way to live as a monk and brought that awareness into his life as a husband, father and teacher. There are a lot of students and clients who are grateful that Dr. Stahl is no longer in his robes, begging for alms in a distant village, but is living here in The States taking one breath at a time.

Dr. Stahl and a colleague, Elisha Goldstein released A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (New Harbinger Publications) earlier this year.

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