The Lighter Side of Transformation

with Lisa Wessan, LICSW

9/11 Memorial in NYC: 10 Tips for the visit

 

This visit to the 9/11 Memorial required some serious planning, you cannot just walk in and expect to get in.  Since a few of you expressed interest in my visit last year, I’m sharing my notes for all to see, so my good research is not wasted!

1. Definitely book tix ahead online – then you will have no wait to get in.

2. We loved the 9/11 Memorial app, very useful inside the museum. Robert DeNiro narrates it! He was excellent. It’s free, and big MB, so download it before you go(took about 15 Minutes to download on my phone). Don’t waste time downloading it at the museum. 

3. We did the tour for outdoors, the Memorial aka The Void (their term). Our guide was terrific, learned a lot about those pools and the surrounding area. Lots of secret codes, roses, things happening that are curious. The guide breaks it down nicely. Suggestion: take the outdoor tour early in day before you enter museum. Once you go in, you cannot exit and return. (Too bad about that, we would like to have taken a break and returned later. )

4. Films: they show THE FIRST PITCH film only once a day at noon. Make sure you arrive in time to get in there, it was fascinating…we watched all three special films in main auditorium from 12-1:15. 

5. Don’t miss the REBIRTHING film, it plays all day in a different theater.

6. The museum café was pricey and not up to par IMHO, sorry I didn’t pack lunch. So definitely bring lunch, snacks, whatever you need for a 4-6 hour day.

7. And finally, it was NOT as emotional as I thought it would be – the upliftment comes from seeing ALL THE GOOD that people did to help each other…that made me ferklempt. The exquisite levels of giving and sacrifice were ASTOUNDING!   I learned so much, even though I was living and working in NYC when this happened.

8. Easy access from the 4/5 Express train to Fulton St, grateful for the NYC SUBWAYS! They are awesome!

9. After another marathon of walking, we went up to Chinatown for soothing foot massage. I have a great place at 107 Mott Street, clean, great value and they are awesome. You can just walk in, no reservation needed.

10. Lunch or Dinner suggestion: Right near the foot massage place, we had a delicious dinner at Little Shanghai, 144 Mulberry St. Yum. No reservations. 

The trauma of 9/11 still cannot be grasped – I realized after the 5 hours that it is just impossible to imagine what it’s like to run from an exploding building while chunks of furniture, restaurant trays, other debris and parts of airplane are falling out of the sky on your way… this horror was just off the charts. 

Yet there was SO MUCH BEAUTY in the recovery and “rebirth” process…which adds to the mystery of the need for contrast, paradox and tension in this Universe.  

 Triple OY! Loved it, lots of contrast, deeply moving, ultimately inspiring. Highly recommend! 

Onward and Upward,

Lisa Wessan

Source: Notes from my journal 10/01/18.

 

 

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I ran my first 5K race in Woodstock, Vermont!

My husband and I were planning a trip to Woodstock, VT, so I was looking to see what’s happening up there August 2-4, 2019…

When I saw that there was a 5K race Saturday morning, 9 am, I knew I would be there. Plus, the race took place at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park, so this was a no brainer for me.

8/3/19 was a perfect weather day for this race, at 65 degrees, no humidity, no bugs, yes, it was exhilarating! I felt light as a feather!

I’m going to run many more 5Ks as I get ready for the next level…so grateful💕

Other highlights of the weekend included visiting the alpacas…

I love these alpacas, such sweet faces!

 

Woodstock has many charming nooks and crannies. Favorite dinner: The Daily Catch. Sublime seafood! Favorite stores: the Unicorn, and Simon Pearce in Quechee, where you can see fascinating glass blowers at work on lower level of the store, plus upstairs there is a nice lunch spot next to a waterfall!)

After brunch, Gary assisted an elderly woman with her plants✨

All along the streets of Woodstock are gorgeous flowers!

Woodstock and Quechee are so warm and welcoming, I’ll be back🐾

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Summer travels…from New Lebanon, NY to North Adams, MA

My sister and I have enjoyed many wonderful forays into the Berkshires. This summer we visited North Adams and Williamstown, MA.  There are many buried treasures here, including  MassMoca, The Birdsong Gallery (for whimsical clothes), dinner at Grazie, and other fun spots…

Favorite piece at MassMoca by Kapoor.

Visiting dear friend Alex Fisher in New Lebanon, NY (next to Williamstown,MA).

Admiring Amy’s new eyeglasses💕


Loved to visit MASS MOCA!

Seen in New Lebanon NY during morning hike near Shaker Village and Museum.
Loved this tasty vegan burger, thanks Alex & David💕

So refreshing to visit friends and family in the Berkshires this past weekend💕

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“Free Fun Fridays” in Massachusetts

 

Gender Bending 1
I loved this exhibit on Gender Bending Fashion!

Gender Bending 2
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Gender Bending closes 8/25/19)

Heads up to local residents of the Commonwealth and all summer visitors…this is a great opportunity to visit sculpture parks, museums, presidential libraries and other cool places for free this summer…visit Free Fun Fridays to learn more (extends through August 30, 2019).

Bring your friends, families and favorite co-workers!

Enjoy,

Onward and Upward,

Lisa Wessan

PS – for DBT students, add to your Pleasant Events List!

 

 

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Summer Update: Outstanding Media, Accolades, Articles and New DBT Groups

CONTENTS 

I. Outstanding Media: Articles, Podcasts, and television/streaming offerings that are useful, inspiring, motivating and usually entertaining.

II. Accolades, Awards and Recent Articles.

III.  Upcoming DBT workshops in Westford, MA.

IV. Quotes I am pondering


I. Outstanding Media

we-all-have-secrets (2)

  • Listen to Keeping Secrets from TED Radio Hour in Podcasts. This is an engaging talk about secrets, how we keep them and use them. It asks us,  “How many closets we are in?” Oh what a good question!  Yes, coming out the closet is not just for the LGBTQ community, many more closets exist and there is a new freedom and happiness in getting out of our closets! A worthy task…
  • Edith Eva Eger, PhD, at 90 years of age just published her book, The Choice. This is an incredible story of how Edith and her sister Magda survived Auschwitz.  It took 45 years of therapy for her to start talking about her experience. She was recently on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah (Season 9, Episode 5. This should still be on your TV “On Demand.” Also available in podcast). Edith shared so much wisdom, insight and stories of nearly impossible resilience. So many pearls!  I love her deep levels of compassion and wisdom concerning recovery from trauma, which applies to all of us.  This was one of the best interviews I’ve ever seen on moving from trauma to transformation.

II.     Accolades, Awards and Articles –  Wessan in the News… March – June 2019


III.        Upcoming Summer and Fall Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Group (DBT)               in Westford, MA

dbt-skills

  • New Adult (18+) and Teen groups (14-17) starting July 17, 2019 and in the fall. Click HERE to learn more.
  • DBT MasterMind Group starting in August 2019, for advanced students and graduates of the one year program.

IV. Quotes I am pondering…

  • “The first Truth, probably, is that we are all connected, watching one another, even the trees.” Arthur Miller, Playwright, 1915-2005 (as heard on the HBO documentary, “Arthur Miller: Writer” 2018).

 

  • “God loves things by becoming them.” ~ Richard Rohr, Franciscan Monk, Author, Teacher.

 

Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2019. All rights reserved.
www.LisaWessan.com

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Culture Vulture Highlights and Good eats over July 4th Staycation

We decided not to travel this year and instead enjoyed the local culture and fare of our greater Boston area.

Overview for Friday 7/5/19 at the Museum of Science in Boston: We saw the new “Great Bear Rainforest” IMAX show (reviewed below), then visited the “Body Worlds and the Cycle of Life” exhibit featuring plastinated human bodies. These are real people who donated their bodies to science for this display! Learn more at http://www.mos.org

Yikes. It was difficult to process these deeply impacting visuals at times. There were embryos on display from 1-24 weeks, quite shocking to see up close. My husband kept saying, “This is so strange…” with a look of bewilderment and revulsion on his face. (He has a huge appetite for science fiction, fantasy and biological curiosity and can usually tolerate all sorts of shocking alien visuals).

Yes, this BodyWorlds exhibit  is an awesome visual presentation of  the human developmental process from week to week and of our health and aging process. 👍

We then saw the “Great Bear Rainforest” IMAX film, which had a lot of close ups of bears. At first, it was fun to watch them catching salmon and herring  (similar to what you see in Alaska).  But after a while it was repetitive and kind of slow, with not much happening. There were very few jaw dropping helicopter shots or amazing views. I love when IMAX films allow me to see vistas I normally can’t see on my own.   In sum, the rainforest of British Columbia, Canada, where this took place,  was NOT featured with great detail. 👎

We also stayed for the 7:30 PM Hayden Planetarium light show, The David Bowie Experience.  That was disappointing, too, on many levels. I love Bowie’s music, but the person who designed this one (every night there’s a different artist, sorry I did not get her name)  gave only a couple of beautiful fractal displays, and there were way too many long pans of a pseudo Earth just floating in space.  Lazy!  It’s supposed to be around 40 minutes (7:30 – 8:10 PM).  But this person had doors open late AT 7:30 PM,  gave a brief bio of her career, and then finally started  to roll at 7:40 PM, and ended at 8:10 PM!  This was just under 30 minutes, a bit of a rip off  IMHO. 👎

Good eats worthy of mention:

This Ahi Tuna Tartare at Seasons 52 (Burlington, MA) was extraordinary. It’s delicately seasoned with ginger, sesame and spices. The guacamole is punched up with wasabi! Oh yes, this appetizer is a home run! Good to share it, for it is very rich.  👍

Another sumptuous treat was had at Smokey Bones (Tyngsboro, MA).

Pros: These wings have no flour or breading, and are grilled in open wood fire stove. They are fabulous, and I appreciate having good leftovers.

Cons: On Weight Watchers (WW) Freestyle program, eight wings from SmokeyBones have 26 Smart Points! This is wildly surprising because they are not fried or breaded. I guess they are super high in fat?

Nevertheless, worth every point! I calculated the points into my day and used a few rollover points for the kickass Bloody Mary and roasted corn.

For those of you who don’t know WW, it’s not a diet. WW encourages you to eat savory meals and snacks. You just need to track everything, which is super easy with the WW app. (At this writing I’m down 40 lbs with WW.)

If you are interested in trying this amazing program for free, click HERE, where you can scroll down to the bottom of my post and receive a free one-month trial.  It’s worth giving WW a shake!

Over the holiday I also did one of my favorite hikes at Thanksgiving Forest (Chelmsford, MA). Seen here showing my appreciation for the exquisite beauty of the woods…

On Saturday, we had a delightful visit with friends who moved from New York City to Groton, MA, then to Nashua, NH, and now are living in Brookline, NH.  I’m always inspired by people who can pack it up and MOVE this way.  This downsizing agility is very impressive to me.

To cap off the weekend,  on Sunday evening we indulged in some deep tissue massage.

All in all, quite relaxing and rejuvenating. That’s my greater Boston Staycation!

💖Gratitude Hug to G-d💖 for all these magnificent blessings.

Onward and Upward,

Lisa Wessan

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Many kinds of freedom to celebrate on Independence Day

I am excited about my independence…

Lisa Wessan, Chelmsford, MA

Freedom from the bondage of Food, Fat and Fear!

Freedom from the Three Cs:  Complaining, Condemning and Criticizing of myself and others.

Freedom from needing approval from family, friends, colleagues, clients.

Freedom from depression, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and all negative thinking.

Freedom from FOMO!

Freedom from the stress of being Here but wanting to be There!

DBT Independent and need help

Freedom from all or nothing, black and white, dualistic thinking.  Dialectic thinking is a cure for recovering perfectionists, and a lot of OCD, obsessive compulsive, harsh thinking as well.

Freedom from Compare and Despair.

Freedom from jealousy, envy, lust, longing and cravings.

The only thing I do crave, however, is MORE FREEDOM!

I love feeling useful and peaceful, which is foundational for a life worth living. I also want to feel light and relaxed more of the time.

I want to feel “Serenity in the Storm,” as it is written:

“Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.”  (unknown author)

Is my life perfect today?  Hell no!  Far from it!  I need to change SO MANY THINGS – I will spare you the burden of listing my ongoing pain, aggravation, losses, frustrations and deep sadnesses – but the good news is that these things are not dominating my consciousness.

I am not a victim anymore. It is no longer possible. I am 100% accountable for my life.  I blame no one for my difficult situations and expect no one to save me.

Yes, it’s true, with the help of G-d, Wise Mind, Higher Power, and my Army of Angels, I am the one who I have been waiting for! This is totally a G-d Job…turning my defeats into victories, and my scars into stars.  I have finally become bulletproof to the bullies, harsh people, fear and rage around me and within me. As it is written:

“…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4: 11-13)

🌀With the deep healing powers embedded in psychospiritual treatments anything is possible! 🌀

Yes, I’m excited to share this today – my New Normal – after decades of battling with depression, eating disorders, severe mood swings and more.

If you are still struggling, please hear me when I say HAVE HOPE, things will get better if you don’t give up.

HOPE HOLD ON PAIN ENDS

Learn and practice your transformative behavioral and spiritual skills (DBT or whatever) knowing that you are making progress and that “This Too Shall Pass.”

If I can heal and be well, it can happen for anyone.  I am just another Bozo on the Bus, hastening slowly towards Wholeness and Oneness.

May you have a healthy, peaceful and relaxing fourth of July!

Never give up! 

Onward and Upward,

Lisa Wessan

 

Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2019. All rights reserved.

 

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DBT Skills Groups for Teens and Adults forming for July 2019 in Westford, MA

dbt-skills

Since the shocking suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain last June, people have been becoming more acutely aware of how vulnerable we all are to thoughts of self-harm.  Knowing that all the success, cash and prizes, fame and celebrity connections do not make a person happy can be mind bending for many people.

In my guild, we deal with self-harm and suicidal ideation regularly and know how catastrophic it can be for families and loved ones to process and cope with a loved ones’ tendency to self-harm.  Plus, we each have our own dark thoughts and need to learn to be able to observe, defrost and release those negative thoughts in order to function here at Earth School.

No one is exempt from this learning curve!  This is why I am confident that ultimately solution focused, evidence based Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills (DBT) and Mindfulness will be taught in all elementary schools as part of the required educational curriculum.  More than most cognitive restructuring methods, DBT has one of the highest rates of success (Linehan, 2016).

To that end…here are the new dates for Summer 2019 for my adolescent and adult DBT Skills Groups. (At this time, there is one spot is still open in the adult group, and  two spots are open in the adolescent group. The Open Enrollment Period ends August 14th, so if you or someone you know would like to join us, just contact me at your earliest convenience).

Adolescents (age 14-17, with rare exceptions): 

WEDNESDAYS, 4:15 – 5:45 PM
July 17, 24, 31
August 7, 14, 21, 28
September 4, 11, 18, 25
October 2, 16, 23

Adults: (age 18 +)

WEDNESDAYS,  7:30 – 9:00 PM
July 24, 31
August 7, 14, 21, 28
September 4, 11, 18, 25
October 2, 16, 23, 30

(we skip Yom Kippur)

If you are new to this work, here are some useful links:

  1. Five Steps to Enrolling in a DBT group.
  2. DBT Fees and Refund Policy
  3. Insurance and How to Use your Out of Network Benefits
  4. About DBT in general. What is dialectical thinking?
  5. Recent article on getting beyond binary and dualistic thinking.
  6. What do you cover in the Emotion Regulation and Mindfulness module?
  7. Main DBT Page at www.lisawessan.com
  8. Accolades and Testimonials for Lisa Wessan

(For learning DBT Skills from a remote location, or if you are compromised due to health issues, I also use video chat sessions  to share this work).

Let’s turn your defeats into victories, and your scars into stars…Yes, DBT can help you shift from being IMPOSSIBLE to I’M POSSIBLE!

Onward and Upward,

Lisa Wessan

 

 Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2019. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On Receiving Accolades at the State House in Boston

When I left my job at NBC as a Talk Show Producer, I knew that there was never going to be a time when fame, fortune, cash and prizes were going to make me happy.  Not that I was ever famous, or super wealthy.  But I had lived in that world, worked at 30 Rockefeller Plaza for over a decade amidst the affluence and glittery abundance of mid-town Manhattan.  Working in the Entertainment Division at NBC was being at celebrity central, especially working on the talk shows.

What I learned, after a while, is that these things cannot sustain deep joy and wonder.  Working in that world was not inspiring me, and I felt I was somehow skimming the surface of life. I knew at some point that I was going to move on…

Fast forward…Yes, moving from trauma to transformation is now the name of my game.  As it is for most of my peers,  we are mostly off the radar, not seeking the limelight and quite happy doing what we do in the privacy of our consulting rooms.

So imagine my surprise and delight when I learned I was going to be honored for my deep dive into psychospiritual matters!  This was quite the shockeroo…

Who would have guessed that working with clients through their mysterious process of defrosting grief, recovering from illness, loss, abuse and neglect, teaching skills on emotion regulation, mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, finding new purpose in life, and finally building new dreams would be honored?   Not me. 

Getting kudos for how we work through the muck of it all? Incredible! Clearly, there is no Red Carpet in therapy land!  (Perhaps one day, however, when my book is out there, it will become a best seller, and then a blockbuster film…that would be fun and quite the wild ride.  Being a bit conflicted about being on the big arena,  I will need to continue to choose “Courage over comfort,” as Brené Brown  says.  Book tours, screenings, interviews, all positive and negative.  “Courage over comfort” helps me to accept leaving my safe, small world and moving on!)

In the meantime, it’s wonderful to live in Massachusetts, one of the more enlightened states that takes the time to acknowledge our inner journey, and how important it is to use mental health resources when the going gets tough.  Massachusetts is great at de-stigmatizing mental health issues.  There is tremendous support here for everyone to get what they need and move on.  

The Big Day…

On March 6, 2019, there was a beautiful and moving ceremony at the State House in Boston to honor a few of us maverick social workers who are doing extraordinary things in our practice.

Several politicians gave speeches, Senator Ed Kennedy acknowledged us by name (see his Facebook post below)  and there were lots of hugs and cheers throughout the event.  In addition, our photos with brief bios were on display in the State House during National Social Work Month in March.  (So fun and unexpected!)

Each of us that were honored that day has taken our original graduate training and morphed into providers who are doing unexpected works.  We all went past graduate school and expanded into unpredictably useful areas  (Click HERE for the original press release.)

My unusual areas of work involve Walk and Talk Therapy,  Therapeutic Laughter Training and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  (You can learn more about these topics at my web site, www.lisawessan.com)

I appreciated Senator Ed Kennedy’s comments on Facebook and his ongoing support of our work (see below). It was a special day and fun to be with my magnificent peers.

Here are some photos from the day:

 

Thank you for sharing in the gratitude and excitement of this moment in my career!  It was certainly one of the highlights of my time here in Massachusetts.

Up Next?

The journey continues — and this is truly a shameless plug — I’m an organically wired promoter, and cannot help sharing good science tested information or personal anecdotal results from the Lisa Laboratory of Life!  So if you want to keep in touch, you can follow this blog, or send me a message at my web site to receive my periodic newsletter.

Stay tuned for more quality news as we journey together from Trauma to Transformation!

Onward and Upward,

Lisa Wessan

 

Copyright © by Lisa Wessan 2019. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Video: Learning to relax around food, with healthy weight loss (1 minute)

New video (1 minute) live from Chelmsford, MA. Click here:
Just reached 30 lb. milestone! 

#MirthMaven |

Tracking my food keeps me focused and mindful of what I am eating…

Giving a shout out to all who struggle with the 3Fs, Food, Fat and Fear!

Weight Watchers (WW), also known as Wellness Wins, is transforming my life.  The increased Mindfulness that comes from tracking my daily food  with the WW brilliant app has spread to all areas of my life (If I bite it, I write it!)

I am AMAZED by this process.

I feel calmer, more focused and energized. Best of all, I shed 30 pounds since January 26, 2019!  And yet the weight loss feels like a bonus…

It’s easier than ever to eat what you love AND lose weight. Join me for one month free by signing up with the link below:

https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/checkout/iaf/?iaftoken=20A6A0ED00

To your best life ever,

Lisa Wessan

 

 

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