Alison Restak LCSW, MT-BC
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Board Certified Music Therapist
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teacher
"You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf."
Jon Kabat- Zinn
Mindfulness and Meditation
Groups and workshops covering a range of topics to help you incorporate mindfulness into your daily life and in the workplace:
MBSR Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
Guided Meditations (please inquire)
Introduction to Mindfulness
For more information or to schedule a workshop presentation or guided meditation session:
What is mindfulness? Why be mindful?
Mindfulness is really just a fancy term for living in the present moment and connecting with your life. It’s not a technique—it’s a way of being. Mindfulness doesn’t take any particular effort—only the intention to pay attention in the present moment, without judgment. The truth is that we are only alive in this moment, and it is only now that we can engage with the world, communicate, and make decisions that guide the course of our lives.
Do I need to “practice” mindfulness?
Mindfulness is awareness and our natural way of being, but we do need to remind ourselves to return to this state of non-judgmental attention. By engaging in mindfulness practices (sitting meditation, yoga, etc) it becomes easier to recognize when the mind has moved into unhelpful thinking states (ruminative thoughts, fantasies about the past or future, fearful states), and then return to the present: the feeling of the breath, temperature of the air, all that is real right now. Through embracing the actuality of the mind, body, heart, and present relationship with the world, we find new freedom to make “real-time” choices that align with our highest goals and aspirations.
Why would I want to be mindful of the moment during times of difficulty?
People often ask why it would be helpful to be mindful if the present moment experience feels difficult or painful. Though it is true that mindfulness puts us in touch with difficult sensations or emotions that may be present, there is space and opportunity to relate to them differently; to practice not identifying with them ("I am an angry person") and instead witness them coming and going with curiosity ("this is what anger feels like right now"). By simply attending to the present experience, we can open up to whatever is happening, have compassion for ourselves instead of judgment, and relate to discomfort with a healing presence. Then we can proceed and make skillful choices moment to moment, no matter how difficult the experience may be.
How can formal meditation (i.e. “sitting on the cushion”) help me to be more mindful in daily life?
Just as the flower blooms when the soil and conditions are right, formal meditation practice facilitates the cultivation of effortless awareness (i.e., mindfulness) in daily life. Thus, a regular meditation routine can be established to expand this capacity for awareness. Formal meditation practices include sitting, standing, walking and lying down. Each has a place at different times. For example, if you are feeling especially tired or low energy, it might be helpful to meditate while standing or walking, as opposed to sitting or lying down.
Groups and Workshops
Mindfulness Meditation Recordings
Full Catastrophe Living, Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness
Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life
Mindfulness for Beginners
When Things Fall Apart
Start Where You Are
The Places That Scare You
A Heart As Wide As The World
Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation, a 28-Day Program
The Trauma of Everyday Life
Going on Being
Thoughts Without a Thinker
Insight Meditation – The Practice of Freedom
Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening