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Mindful : December 2018
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Tony Stulz is the founder and director of the Center for Mindful Living in Paxton, Pennsylvania, and author of Free Your Mind. Mindful: How did you get into mindfulness? Nana Visitor: I actually started meditation when I was five years old. When things would get weird at my house—it was a very chaotic fami- ly—I’d go into the closet and I’d send my mind somewhere else. That’s how I thought of it: sending my mind up. And I found comfort from that. So I would do that regularly when I was in trouble or when I wanted to escape what was happening. But real mind- fulness started about five years ago, as a way to deal with issues that had arisen in my life. And these issues were related to the assault you had experienced almost 20 years earlier? After that experience, I went back to work on DS9, so I never, ever dealt with it. Never. And the doctors just gave me medication, of course. They did the best they knew how to do, but it was the worst. The medications just made everything so much worse. But I just muscled through, focus- ing on my career and my children. It was whenever I moved back to New York City, six years ago, that every- thing seemed to come to a head. I had become an empty nester, and I felt like all my personal relationships and career were shutting down. I was Actor NANA VISITOR, 61, has been in “the biz” her whole life. Her aunt was the actor and dancer Cyd Charisse; her father, Robert Tucker, was an esteemed choreographer; and she was married to fellow actor Alexander Siddig. She is well known for her roles playing Major Kira Nerys in the long-running television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9) and on Broadway as Roxie Hart in the musical Chicago. Behind the scenes, however, Nana strug- gled for years from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stemming from a brutal attack in 1994, when, while driving home from the film set, she was abducted at gunpoint by two men and sexually assaulted. Mindful spoke with the veteran actor and mother of two about her journey through show business, using mindfulness to heal emotional wounds, and her desire to share this practice with her fellow actors. really tired of being on all the medica- tions and felt suicidal. That’s when I turned to a psychologist who special- ized in PTSD. It was the psychologist who introduced me to the practice of mindfulness. When I started my mindfulness practice, I was able to get off all the medications, and I haven’t taken any since. I went off the medications cold turkey, which is a bad way to do that, and went through a horrible physical reaction. But it was the mindfulness practice that gave me the ability to do so. Now, if I have the start of an anxiety attack, which almost never happens, I immediately know how to ground myself. Even just mind- fully walking will get me out of it. It’s 56 mindful December 2018