Emily Pimpinella, Psy.D.

Clinical Psychologist




Blog

Blog

Supermoon, Super Experience

Posted on September 29, 2015 at 4:00 PM

On the night of September 27th, there was a Supermoon eclipse (also called a “Super Blood Moon” eclipse). This type of lunar eclipse is rather rare and won’t happen again until 2033 (take a look at NASA’s website for more information).


I was very excited to bear witness to this cosmic event. I parked myself out on my front lawn at 9:00PM, sat back, and reveled in the amazingness. Someone in a nearby house had their window open and they were listening to this epic sounding opera music, which was the perfect accompaniment to watching this event.


It may sound cliché, but I felt a shift in perspective regarding my worries and concerns when I was faced with the vast night sky and the progression of the eclipse. It reminded me of impermanence and how most things will eventually pass, like the moon passing through the earth’s shadow. When fostering self-care, it is important to find things, whatever they may be (i.e., nature, art, music, etc…) that help you take a step back and see a different perspective. It is also important to nurture the ability to be present in the moment. While watching the eclipse, I experienced moments of being present without thinking of the past or future. I shifted my attention to different sensory experiences: the minute changes in what I was seeing in the moon, the feeling of the grass under my hands, the wind on my face, and the sound of the music.


I admit that I did break from being present a few times in order to attempt to capture the moon with my camera. Alas, my camera is not high tech enough to get a clear picture. This (below) was the best I could get. If you want to view some really amazing photos, NASA has a Super Blood Moon Photo Contest page that is a must see.


 

Mindfulness via Avocado

Posted on September 21, 2015 at 1:35 PM


The other day, I was cutting an avocado that was exquisitely perfect in ripeness. The peel came right off in one piece with no effort. If you are familiar with the pain of trying to peel an unripe avocado, you may have a sense of how marvelous this was. I was literally dancing in my kitchen, much to the dismay of my cat, who was watching me warily from behind his food dish. You might be thinking, “Why were you so excited, Emily? It’s just an avocado.” But, it’s not just an avocado. It’s a little moment of happiness that I might have otherwise missed if I had been distracted by worries, my mental “to do” list, or a sad memory. When we feel depressed and anxious, it is strikingly easy to call up memories of negative experiences and to automatically focus on the negative in our daily lives. Positive occurrences may not even register on our radars. Self-care isn’t just about doing positive/pleasant things, it is also about noticing and being aware of the positive. To help build this awareness, proponents of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy often recommend keeping a daily record of pleasant events and the impact those events have on your thoughts and emotions. This can be a small step in becoming more mindful in your daily life and more holistic in your awareness.