Teach your children well Written by Kristin Moshonas

I dropped my youngest baby off at school today (he is 11). Day 1 in a new school, mask on, social restrictions in place.

This would be the first time in school without his brother.  He wanted to take the bus, find his groove, his independence, and a renewed sense of normal. I admire his spirit.  Until recently a city kid, a school bus is novel. This country school set in a quiet tree-lined valley is a 180-degree switch from what otherwise would have been a standard and familiar NYC September, but nothing is really ordinary about this time in which we are living.  A time when we must sometimes make restricting judgment calls for the safety of our families, while at the same time reassuring our kids and ourselves that everything will be alright, that our ‘normal’ will surely return. A mix of anticipation and reservation, he would not cooperate with my parental need to take his picture. He would not remove the mask. He did allow me to kiss him goodbye -- in the car -- and walked through the door.    My mother’s heart longed to see him walk out with a big smile and a new friend when I picked him up. The mask covered his mouth, but I could tell there were neither.  He wanted to go home.  His day had been distant by design, and lonely. I felt his distress disguised as disinterest. I cried on the inside but offered ice cream and a hug while moving on to the topic of resilience. We can foster these qualities in our children from a very early age. If nothing, this time offers many teaching moments with fewer distractions. 

I know he’ll survive because I know the magic that is within him, the fires that have been fed, and the foundation from which he has blossomed. I know that I, too, will thrive again.

My lesson through all of this is consistent: support them with love, support yourself with love, let go when needed, attach less, allow all to feel and be as they must on their own particular journey.  It is because I practice this that I believe most of us will be OK.

He was quiet when I picked him up, did not want to spend time with the few friends that we do have here. My instinct is to smile, be friendly, make it better.   He needs his space to adjust to a school that is foreign -- together, yet isolated, with a mask on. It is hard.  

We will reset as often as needed. We will get through these uncertain, even, threatening times. Our circles are smaller, but the love felt more profoundly. If we pay attention, we will keep learning about ourselves.  

I am both a teacher and student of meditation, a parent, a partner, a yoga therapist, a daughter, a sister, a seeker, a friend.  It is within the scope of my place on any of these fronts to help assuage fear, encourage breath, and point to nature for space and alternative open-hearted perspectives; to continually challenge and remind myself of the tenets I teach. 

Do I cry sometimes?   Yes. 

Do I argue with my partner?  Of course

Do I lose patience with my children?  Guilty

Am I tired of cleaning?  Beyond

Is a range of emotion human and healthy?  Absolutely

All of this is human. I try to be kind and forgiving with myself and others.  I am self-reflective; apologize often. I see all as living and learning moments. This is what I teach my children. Stability comes from within. The more I cultivate it, the greater the likelihood is that I can effectively pass it along and have a positive impact on my circles.

My practice keeps me sane, grounded, open to all possibility, and confident that what is good, right and free for most will prevail.  I intuitively know that it is one of my roles in this life to share it, and that my children will indeed be OK.

Return to breath.  

Return to love.  

Seek source within yourself.   

Moment by moment.  

All will be OK.

Kristin Is a BeStill teacher and NYC Program Director for Kula for Karma, be.still’s corporate social impact partner.

Monthly Highlights

Diversity Awareness Month Guided Meditations with Chet Gold and Kimani Divine be.still is hosting twice-weekly 15-minute guided meditations exclusively for Steve Madden employees, focus on diversity and inclusion by exploring the idea that we are all, in truth, reflections of one another.

Customized Wellness Webinars We are happy to announce that we are now offering Wellness Webinars with curated experts—for internal and/or client meetings—with topics ranging from resilience and stress to food and exercise. We kicked off this new program with Ralph Lauren and are looking forward to partnering with your organization.

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Many people are suffering right now. Job loss, grief, family and community turmoil. While we are all in different boats…different levels of privilege, different socioeconomic circumstances, different options…we are all in the same storm and the pandemic is affecting everyone. I am aware that the trials facing our health care providers are not fully unique, or even the worst faced in our society. They are, however, difficult, and the people facing them: doctors, nurses, physician assistants, have had to learn how to adapt and deal with stress in unique ways to survive long before the COVID pandemic. What can we learn from those that are adapting successfully?

Exercise is the number one coping mechanism for health care providers. Yoga, group cycling, Crossfit, weightlifting, running and name it, and you’ll find healthcare people doing it! Apart from the clear health benefits to exercise, clinicians use exercise to balance their moods, reduce stress, and improve focus and endurance. Providing medical care can be a strenuous, exhausting task and clinicians need to be at their best. Because scheduling is tight, clinicians build in structure to ensure they can exercise as often as they want. Structure beat motivation every time.

Health care providers remember the mission. It is one of the joys of practicing medicine that the mission, your reason for showing up, for doing well and for staying engaged, is right in front of you every time you go to work. Our communities, our patients and their families ARE the mission and connecting with them, seeing our impact on their lives and knowing that giving our best makes a difference supports us as well. A thank you from a patient, or the look of relief in a family member’s eye, can fuel an entire shift. Most of us go into medicine, train long hours to learn the skills, and defer free time and financial stability for a decade for that mission, and it continues to sustain us.

Finally, the most successful clinicians at fostering a sense of professional well-being find time to reflect. They write, podcast or journal about their experiences to put them in context and process them. They meditate and calm their bodies and minds. They find peace and meaning in their faith communities, in nature, and in the moments (seconds sometimes) between caring for sick and dying patients. If you scratch a physician, you will find a philosopher, because facing tangible evidence of the mortality that awaits us all forces reflection or despair.

So, what can we learn from these resiliency pros?

1. Structure beats motivation. Build in time for your priorities.

2. Remember the “Why”. When things get tough, that’s what will keep you going.

3. Reflect and learn from your experiences.

Finally, remember that our health care workers around the world are laying it all on the line for our families and communities. Please be patient with them, say thank you, and remember that they are human beings doing their best in a flawed system.

Written by Stefanie Simmons, MD FACEP, Vice President of Patient and Clinician Engagement at Envision Physician Services


Have you lost your mind? Sometimes I feel I’ve lost mine. Especially in these times.

Globally, we human beings have experienced hateful racist crimes, law enforcement atrocities, pandemic sickness, and social isolation, loss of jobs and financial stability, bizarre weather patterns, and political outrage. And that’s just outside the home. Inside our cozy nests, we may experience cabin fever, social media fatigue, extended work hours, and futile arguments over whose turn it is to do the dishes. This auspicious year of 2020 so far has turned out to be quite the test for one’s endurance and resilience. But in hindsight, 2020 may prove to be the most awakening year of our lives, if we find the mind we’ve lost and practice mindfulness.

What have you learned so far? How has making the shift of running around to being still opened your eyes to what’s important to you? And what have you found is indeed important to you? Sure, a mani-pedi wouldn’t suck right about now, but will that really fulfil your heart’s deepest desire? How have cooking together and eating more meals with your family (or with friends on Zoom) enhanced the quality of your connections? Have you taken the time to appreciate the little things, like birds singing us awake in the morning or a quiet cup of coffee you brewed yourself? What closets have you finally cleared out because you have what no money can buy -- more time at home. And have you noticed that you have more than enough jeans and lip liner and cotton swabs, perhaps enough to donate half of it and still have more than you could ever need? What new hobbies have you taken on? The New York Times crossword puzzle, or paint by numbers, or even meditation?

Meditation is the antidote to every distraction in the universe. It’s a mental and physical time out, a chance for the mind and body to rest, recover, and reset, so that when you open your eyes you see more clearly. Think of it as wiper fluid for your brain. Each of us has this built-in mechanism to restore our nervous system to calm, balance, and ease. Just put your meat in a seat and slow down the breath. Simple, right? Right. But not always easy. We tell ourselves we are just too busy. Or we feel our brain is wildly active, what Buddhists call ‘monkey mind.” Clients tell me, “I just can’t meditate. I can’t shut my brain off,” and I tell them that if they are able to shut their brain off they need to check their pulse to see if they are alive. It’s not about having no thoughts, it’s about slowing down the thoughts. And I should know, because I was one of those people who swore they couldn’t sit for more than one minute. And now, after 20 years of dedicated daily practice, I’m up to 20 minutes on most days.

There are several ways to meditate, either by repeating a mantra (a word or words to focus your attention on) to yourself, or by noticing thoughts and letting them go, or by following the breath or by imagining yourself in a peaceful place in nature. There are many paths to follow to one destination: peace and quiet in our home called the self.

Self-care is not selfish. It is the one thing we have the most control over. And most caregivers would agree, we have to take care of ourselves before we can truly take care of another. So would I like a mani-pedi and a blowout? You bet. Deep-tissue massage? Bring it. Facial? F-yeah. One might even argue that I need a little makeover in the not too distant future. Until then, meditation beautifies from within. We get to take a few minutes each day to brush off the brain, detoxify the blood and organs with deep breathing, connect with the wizard in my heart, and listen like my life depends on it. She whispers, “You don’t need a bag of caramel corn. You don’t need that new cellulite cream. You don’t need him to tell you he loves you. All you need is already within you, I am your breath of life, and I am with you where ever you go.”

Not that I’m going anywhere any time soon. So I’ll take a seat in every room in the house and make it my place of meditation. I’ll go to the Maldives in my mind. Perhaps you’ll meet me there.

Jennifer Graf, LCSW

© be.still  2020 | 

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Hawthorne, New Jersey