The Lighter Side of Transformation

with Lisa Wessan, LICSW

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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Is this true? Young Love vs. Old Love…

sign-patience-loading-

Young love is about wanting to be happy. Old love is about wanting someone else to be happy.

~ Mary Pipher, Psychologist

When I first saw this quote in The Boston Sunday Globe (11/18/07 in “A love supreme finds space in dementia”), I thought it was beautiful.  But now I’m wondering if it is referring to a codependent love?  Do we naturally sacrifice our own happiness for others? Is it a true exchange? Does wanting others to be happy make us happy as well? Will that be a quiet, joyful feeling, or an ecstatic white light flight into the heights of happiness? Or sometimes one, then the other, plus all the levels in between?

I am also reminded of a sermon I heard a while back, when the pastor asked, “Can there be love without sacrifice?”   I was percolating on that for a while, and realized that true love is refined in the kilm of sacrifice. That is where it truly gets to shine and become complete. The crucible of marriage has taught me this and I trust it is for the good…but sometimes I do wonder. This is truly a dialectical debate, dealing with the pain in the name of love.

As the poet Rainer Maria Rilke once said, “For one human being to love another, that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.”

Thoughts?

I’m Curious.  Can we have deep love without sacrifice?

Onward and Upward,

Lisa Wessan

 

 

 

 

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Moving towards wholeness, and lightness of being…

25 lbs 04.25.19

 

Yesterday morning I attended my wonderful Weight Watchers meeting (WW) and was delighted to learn that I have shed another two pounds, bringing my total weight released to 25.8 lbs since I joined WW (01/26/19).

I shed some tears on the scale, and my WW coach, Nancy, gave me a huge hug.  We are all in this together.   Nancy’s weekly inspiration, tips, mindfulness and commitment are totally uplifting and contagious in a good way.

What is exciting is that I KNOW I CAN DO THIS all the way to my goal weight.  I need to shed 25 lbs several more times to get where I want to be, but it will happen.

I have never felt so confident and grateful for a food program. This I can do!  Plus, I feel no guilt or shame when I do have the occasional indulgence, for I have enough “rollover points” to eat whatever I want, as long as I plan for it.

If you are excited about the possibility of also shedding your unwanted pounds, come join me in this journey towards wholeness, with more joy, energy and good health coming your way…WW is the sanest and most relaxing food plan I have ever followed.

To that end, I invite you to use this link to get your first month free to sweeten your starting days,  WW FREE MONTH  (I’ll be getting a free month too, so thank you for joining with me, it’s a Win/Win for all of us!)

Onward and Upward,

Lisa Wessan

Before and After 25 lb milestone

From a private moment of deep despair (Winter, 2018), to feeling the joy at the New York Botanical Garden,  04.21.19. It’s amazing what 25 lbs. can do!

 

 

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

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For Pi Day…Exodus 3:14 brings it home!

pi-day

Exodus 3:14 – Mysterious coincidence or deeper meaning?  Exodus 3 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  Moses double checks, “Who is this Unidentified Caller?  When my clan asks me, who can I say is leading us out of Egypt?”  G-d responds, “I AM THAT I AM.”  This is a core teaching, instructing us that we come from this phenomenon of Oneness, and remain connected to IT, without ever being able to fully comprehend IT.

Plus, when we, as tiny creators, want to manifest things in our lives, we can use the I AM code to transform ourselves and our surroundings.  For example, each day, with the help of  the mysterious energy of the Universe, aka G-d, Source Energy, Higher Power, Angels, whatever works for you:

  • I AM becoming slim and healthy.
  • I AM becoming more prosperous and generous.
  • I AM decluttering my library, desk and file drawers.
  • I AM supporting positive causes that will restore balance and sanity to the world.

Yes, we can “I AM”  ourselves to shift and  transform in the direction we seek to move. There is an art to applying the I AM code to our lives.  Stay tuned to the flow of this learning around you.

In Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), we talk about the “Cope Ahead skill.”  This is the process of visualizing the preferred outcome.   So instead of having anticipatory anxiety along with possibly crippling catastrophic thinking,  we visualize a positive turn of events and pivot away from those anxious thoughts.

We learn to let it go and lighten up a bit. One could say, “I AM  X-Y-Z  and yadda yadda yadda.”   We keep DBT clear of any religious thinking to make it available to all traditions.  It’s important that atheists, agnostics and all kinds of believers can mingle safely and comfortably here and not feel shamed or left out.

Ironically, the “I AM” code is helpful even if you do not have a spiritual prelude when using it.  (From my experience, however, what I’ve observed over the years is that people who have a conscious connection to the Universe in any way grow faster and have more accelerated success in their cognitive restructuring process.)

On a lighter note…here are some Pi Jokes…

Why should you never talk to pi? Because he’ll just go on forever.

What was Sir Isaac Newton’s favorite dessert? Apple pi.

The mathematician says, “Pi r squared.” The baker replies, “No, pies are round. Cakes are square.”

What do you get when you take green cheese and divide its circumference by its diameter? Moon pi.

How many pastry chefs does it take to make a pie? 3.14.

The worst thing about getting hit in the face with pi is that it never ends.

What is 1.57? Half a pi.

What do you get when you cut a jack o’lantern by its diameter? Pumpkin pi.

3.14 percent of sailors are PI-rates!

[Source for Pi Jokes:  Newsweek – https://www.newsweek.com/pi-day-2019-jokes-celebration-1361317 ]

Enjoy your Pi Day!

Onward and Upward,

Lisa Wessan

 

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

 

 

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What do we cover in the Mindfulness and Emotion Regulation DBT Modules?

I’m excited to announce that we are hastening slowly to transform the world from the inner to outer, one DBT student at a time…

Up next: we will be exploring Mindfulness & Emotion Regulation skills.

For all groups (Adults, Teens, Mastermind Groups) we need a minimum of six and maximum of 10 students to make it work.  (Low/Slow enrollment just delays the start date until we reach six, usually within a week or two of the posted target date.)

Four leaf DBT

The Emotion Regulation module has four sections:

  • Understanding and Naming Emotions
  • Changing Emotional Responses
  • Reducing Vulnerability to Emotion Mind
  • Managing Extremely Difficult Emotions

 

DBT Mindfulness

The Mindfulness material includes:

  • Learning to be a good observer
  • Being non-judgmental
  • Staying in the present
  • Practicing being effective
  • Accessing Wise Mind (aka higher self, higher consciousness)
  • Understanding Reality Acceptance and detaching from negative or critical thoughts.

As DBT founder Dr. Marsha Linehan says, “It is difficult to manage your emotions when you do not understand how emotions work. Knowledge is power.”

  • We learn to cope better with social anxiety issues, negative thinking and get out of the Blame Game.
  • We learn to abstain from the “Compare and Despair” syndrome.
  • We practice  “Face it, trace it and erase it” as we work the DBT Skills and grow stronger and wiser with effective emotional regulation and expression.
  • We learn to access “Wise Mind” and regain our center, remain calm. As it is written, “Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.”  We learn to take a stand for our peace, and become bulletproof to bullies, nastiness and others’ negative remarks.
  • We learn to practice Radical Acceptance, as needed, and problem solve when possible. We are no longer victims.

If this sounds good to you, please get in touch with me to start  your enrollment process. 

For exact dates, fees, insurance,  FAQs,  location, DBT videos and more details, please visit www.lisawessan.com or call 978.710.8039.

Onward and Upward,

Lisa Wessan

 

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

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My new beginning…first 10 lbs. off!

I feel grateful and liberated! | 14 FEB 2019 | Amazing! |

My years of trying to practice “Moderation Management” with my food have sadly failed.  But thanks to my sister’s polite perseverance, I signed up with the new Weight Watchers (WW) program on 26 JAN 2019 to try one more thing…and I am amazed at how well it is working!  I’m so excited that I’ve shed 10 lbs, and feel very motivated to keep this up, one day at a time, one pound at a time, until I am back in my healthiest body.

Years ago, when I was a young teenager, I went to WW to shed more than a few pounds.  It was a very negative experience for me at the time. I was fat-shamed, humiliated and often experienced physical and verbal abuse at home for gaining weight. In sum, when my sister told me how much she was enjoying it, I shuddered with PTSD and said, “Never.  I will never go back there!”

Being someone who steadfastly remains open minded and skeptical (truly dialectic), I was eventually persuaded to give WW another chance. So this is just a quick note to share my enthusiasm, hope and joy for this first 10 lbs.  It’s fun that WW has dozens of incentives built into their program.  These charms pictured above that are given for weight loss are sweet. But there are even more incentives with the WW new app.

The WW app makes it super easy to develop an advanced mindfulness of what we are eating. We can track all of our food intake,  scan the Universal Product Code (UPC) of nearly every packaged food out there, track exercise and make it meaningful with lots of rewards along the way.

Plus, scanning the UPC is a powerful education and exercise in mindfulness concerning food.  For example, knowing that one granola has 9 points for 1/3 cup, and another granola has 4 points, helps me make a more loving choice when I think of having some granola as part of my breakfast.

I also enjoy the live WW meetings. The topics are relevant, well thought out and are enriched with useful collateral graphics and discussions.  I usually attend two meetings a week, and get weighed once a week.  I look forward to attending. The WW meetings are inspiring, uplifting and often full of laughter and some tears.

I feel liberated –  I can eat any food in the world and still shed weight – as long as I stay within my daily points structure.  It’s subtle, it’s simple and it’s even fun to work this gig.

If you are interested in trying WW, use my invitation link below to sign up and we’ll both get a free month added to our plans. I can’t wait to be on the WW journey with you!

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

To your best life ever,

Lisa Wessan

 

 

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

 

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