by clicking the "Next" arrow.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Mindful : December 2015
On the day in 1976 when Mylène Huynh left her home in Vietnam, the nine- year-old girl was clad in a swimsuit, armed with a beach float, and primed for a weekend getaway with her parents and siblings on an island near their coastal home. The boat ride, however, turned into a harrowing six-night voyage to the Philippines—a stealthily planned escape that brought them, months later, to the United States—and a new life. In college, Huynh studied psychology and religion and began to practice meditation. Today, she is a retired colonel in the US Air Force and a physician who practices integrative medicine—acupuncture, in particu- lar—at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Her passion for nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness is both personal and professional. She and her husband live in Virginia, with their three sons, ages 12, 17, and 22. Tell us about your meditation practice. Years ago, I meditated by just sitting. I realize now that meditation is about being, about constantly living in awareness. When I walk from the parking garage to work, I try to be present, looking at the sky, the clouds, noticing something new—the beautiful faces of people or the color of a leaf. When you are aware, every day is new and precious. And I do sit, twice a day—for five or 10 minutes before I get to work and for 10 or 15 minutes after dinner, with my family. Have your husband and sons embraced meditating as a family? When the older boys became teen- agers, my husband and I made it a priority. We sit in the living room, where it’s comfortable. My 12-year- old lies down sometimes. It’s tough- est for him to be still, but lately he’s able to lie there and not fidget. The older two love it. My middle son tells me that when he feels stressed he meditates. Meditation has helped me just be. Things happen, but I choose how I respond. I don’t get rattled or have outbursts of anger. I want my chil- dren to be resilient in that way—to recognize that they have within themselves the skills to manage life’s ups and downs. How do you bring mindfulness to work? I try to build habits of presence into my day. When the phone rings, I take a deep breath before I answer. Before I go into an exam room, I take a deep breath as I turn the doorknob. During acupuncture, every needle I put in, I’m mindful of its intention. There are always points of friction—patients are waiting, nurses are frustrated, I’m behind in my documentation—but I have cues to remind myself, “I’m here, I’m here.” If it’s not a good day, if I feel tense, I don’t judge it. I used to think, “I can’t believe this. I’ve been med- itating, how can I not be present?” Now, I just smile and say, “OK, here goes my mind, wandering again.” What about your patients? The key to true healing is not neces- sarily more medicine or more proce- dures, but the changes people make in their lives. I had a patient, in his early 30s, who had severe, debilitating pain on his right side. He was in a wheel- chair and so depressed. Over several months, we incorporated meditation, acupuncture, and biofeedback. Then one day, he said, “ You know, doc, I rec- ognize that the pain is there, but I am not suffering anymore.” To move from sickness to health, a patient has to come to an awareness that the ability to heal lies within, that sometimes ill- ness is a wake-up call for change. I feel so blessed to be part of that process. Who inspires you? My parents started in the United States with nothing. It was an amazing sacrifice, coming here. Imagine being in your mid-30s and beginning again. My dad, who had been a physician in the South Vietnamese Army, had to learn a new language and then take his medical licensing exams in English a year after we arrived. He studied all the time—his bedroom walls were cov- ered with index cards—and at night he worked as a janitor at K-Mart. It still brings me to tears thinking about their sacrifices. It is so humble, so humble. In a sense, I am not afraid: I know I can start again from anywhere. ● Start Again from Anywhere By Victoria Dawson Photograph by Blake Farrington “Years ago, I meditated by just sitting. I realize now that meditation is about constantly living in awareness.” 28 mindful December 2015 meet the meditator