My Philosophy

From a physicist's perspective, everything is one. Through your mind, you create your world. Meditation trains the mind so one can wisely attend to all thoughts and feelings in a way that brings about loving and compassionate actions - free of burden and self blame.

Love quiets the mind and elevates the spirit to a purpose higher than your personal narrative. To heal shame or feelings of responsibility when tragedy happens, you must first quiet the narrative voices in your head. Remember your basic goodness and be a living example of the goodness of your dearly departed loved one.

Meditation in the face of grief is a medication the world should have access to. When a close loved one dies, you may feel unable to avoid the cascading thoughts, feelings, and actions. Some people would rather do anything other than be alone with their thoughts, and this is amplified with grief. To become aware of your own thoughts and feelings is a powerful shift in any phase of life.


"Healing" happens through coming to terms with the way things are, and befriending something like pain can be as easy as being aware of it. Through meditation on each moment, through noticing the breath, mindful meditation can alleviate suffering.

My Journey

My journey began at the age of 13 in the 1970's when my best friend was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and admitted to a psychiatric wing of a county hospital. My guides through this confusing (and heartbreaking) experience were the psychology books on my mother’s shelf and my compassion for my struggling friend. I would visit her daily and remember feeding her when she was in a catatonic state but was stopped by nurses. They suggested my compassionate action was making her worse. I knew the helping professionals were misguided in a ward where we could sometimes hear patients screaming in seclusion. With my compassion fully awakened, I felt compelled to aid in relieving the suffering of others. My best friend deserved better and all the patients struggling with mental illness deserved better. 

With a heart of compassion and a drive to serve others, I pursued a B.A. in psychology at NYU. From there I began work at psychiatric hospitals and eventually pursued a Master's degree in Social Work from Smith College. These were my foundations to becoming a psychotherapist.

 

My first job out of graduate school was as a clinical social worker at Columbine Psychiatric Hospital. I worked with patients suffering from Eating Disorders and Multiple Personality Disorders (now known as Dissociative Disorders). This experience introduced me to how the underpinnings of trauma hijack the mind and body of vulnerable people. From this experience my private practice specializing in trauma related disorders was born. In 1993, I became trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and found it to be one of the most effective treatments for resolving trauma and moving into positive resourcing.

2012 marked a pivotal year for me professionally and personally. Professionally I shifted away from private practice and began volunteering with hospice patients in Florida. Personally, my meditation practice strengthened when that year I suddenly lost my 20 year old son and father three months later. Every morning, sitting 20-30 minutes, with all that arose in me, I began to see things differently through all the turmoil. Through this practice, I learned how my ego causes suffering, how love and compassion heal, and how to find safety and meaning with each breath through the turbulent storm. I learned that when you lose a child, your consciousness becomes united with something bigger, something invisible, something full of love and light, and that staying mindful keeps us awake and aware of spiritual opportunities.

If you’ve had a devastating loss, you know how death marks a new time line. Since 2012, my journey has shifted from surviving the heartbreak of grief to thriving and finding new meaning through mindfulness practices. Meditation cultivates heart qualities like loving-kindness and compassion. Nathan's gentle kindness and humble wisdom guided me, and I’d like to share this eternal source of loving-kindness as a source to guide others.

It was during labor with my son that I realized my life would change forever. Seeing him born, I realized the true meaning of “falling in love.” It was that love which guided my parenting through the 20 years of his life. It is that love which guides us through grief and towards creating new meaning.

Like "God" is always with us, so are our children. 

 

Education and Professional Experience

Sounds True, Mindfulness Meditation Teaching Program 2017-2019

Under the guidance of Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield I underwent a two year training program on awareness and compassion-based practice.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Florida 2002 - Present

Licensed Clinical Social Worker: Colorado 1992 - 2018

Masters in Social Work, Smith College School For Social Work - 1989

B.A. Psychology & Urban Design, New York University - 1984

Contact Me

Mail: cathylewislcsw@gmail.com

Alt: nathanielmeditationcenter@gmail.com

Phone: (727) 223-2017 - Calls or texts welcome!

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© 2020 Cathy Lewis

Co-created with Hunter McNichols