July 19, 2017 :: PAM TARLOW
SOME INSIGHTS FROM THIS SESSION:
- Discretionary periods at work can function as a mindfulness bell.
- Dealing with the bad robot during decision-making.
- Dividing behavior change into manageable steps. (Hint - Step #1: Re-establish mindfulness!).
Pam Tarlow has been a pharmacist since 1981 and for the last two decades has specialized in integrative medicine pharmacy. She describes integrative medicine as "using whatever therapies are most effective for a particular condition, whether it’s pharmaceuticals, over-the-counters, diet, wellness therapies, herbal supplements, lifestyle changes, or some combination of these."
Though Pam had already been a practicing pharmacist for quite a while, she had just begun learning about natural medicine when her own acupuncturist, David Crow, recommended meditation in addition to his treatment.
David was a student of Shinzen’s at the time. He felt that his needles and herbs weren’t working well enough and suggested they would work better if I learned to meditate. I was desperate and willing, and I trusted him even though it was a whole different kind of medicine. My first meditation experience with Shinzen was a 10-day residential retreat at La Casa de Maria, which surprisingly calmed my nervous system in a way David had hoped for. I felt some results right away.
Of course, those first results dissipated quickly, but I kept meditating on and off until I established a daily practice.
Some of you may already know Pam from Shinzen’s VSI retreats in California. She has led mindful eating guided meditations during meal breaks.
Mindful eating is a very important practice to me. I didn’t grow up with a helpful religious or any spiritual practice – mostly angry and confusing attitudes at home. In my early twenties, I was desperate and joined a spiritually based food program, many years before I started meditating. One of the strong suggestions is regular prayer and meditation, so I knew I would eventually have to deal with that.
I noticed at my first retreat that compulsive overeating relaxed, and that there were times that I wasn’t even efforting much. When cravings came up, I had something to do with them instead of just hating myself…or giving in, or starving myself. I would start to think about food especially during the 4:30-6 pm sit. My default reaction is one of harshness and fighting with myself for having "problems" food, but the practice gave me some tools. People like the guided meditations and there is a strong sense of group support, too. It was and continues to be very healing and reinforcing for us.
As previously mentioned, Pam now emphasizes natural and integrated medicine in her career, and she credits, in part, her meditation practice.
Meditation helped me to deal with the confusion that happened as I opened up to different healing paradigms. I relied on Shinzen talking about Don’t Know Mind and how confusion can be reframed as an opportunity instead of a problem. I can’t see medical treatments as only one way or another way any more. Quite literally, meditation has opened me to the possibility of a middle way.
PAM IS A TEA AFICIONADO (MATCHA, TAIWANESE, MEDICINAL, OTHERS).
SHE ENJOYS VISITING CHURCHES AND LIBRARIES AND OTHER HOLY PLACES.
SANTA BARBARA, CA MAKES PAM'S HEART SING.