There is a little known fact out there that I want to share. There is indeed, a difference, between empathy and compassion. Why am I writing about this? Because recently, I realized that I had slipped back into an empathic state and stayed there longer than I should have, resulting in fatigue and sadness. Empathy is required for us as humans to connect. IT is a basic concept that we use everyday to respond to hurting loved ones or distraught friends. Empathy is feeling the suffering of another being. When one is empathic, they not only feel another being’s suffering, but their body responds to it as if the threat is truly in their own body, eliciting a sense of fight/flight or danger based response. This is important to have in order to keep ourselves and others safe…..but at a certain point it may burn us out. Moving to a compassionate state is in contrast, very healthy for the body, our emotions and our brain. Compassion is ability to see another suffering, not be afraid of it and be responsive to it. We can not fix, save, or rescue someone from their suffering but rather support it.

Where empathy says:
“I feel your suffering”

Compassion says:
“I see your suffering”

Studies are showing consistently that compasssionate states bring us lower levels of depression, lower anxiety and higher levels of connection. A very different brain reaction from empathy. We need empathy, but only as a vehicle to bring us to compassion. As I write this, I’m actively doing my work to move back into a state of deep caring and compassion, but as an individual in my own body, with my own nervous system and my own brain, not that of another. How can this help you connect differently in your relationships?


The Minds in Motion team is excited to announce the addition of Dr. Phaedra Fegley to our practice to enhance the healing experience. Dr. Fegley will be working with the therapists at Minds in Motion as an adjunct to the healing process. Dr. Fegley is a board certified Family Practice Physician that is also certified in Functional Medicine. Our team has practiced and treated the body and mind as a whole system for the past several years. We recognize that the mind body connection is real. When we are faced with physical challenges/illnesses our emotional health can be affected. Consequently, when we are faced with emotional challenges our physiology can change, often resulting in illness. We believe, in many cases, we need to address the whole body and mind to move towards health and illicit lasting change. Functional medicine addresses the underlying issues that may be compromising mental health. Our goal at Minds in Motion is to find the most effective treatment, conventional or alternative, that addresses the symptoms of the individual patient. We strive to find the underlying causes, teach you to move through them and heal. Our goal is to empower you to know when things are moving towards misalignment in the future, thus enabling you to intervene with tools you have learned to stay present and healthy. Dr. Fegley will work with patients as a medical consultant using an in depth interview of 1/½ hours, functional medicine principles and lab testing to facilitate a patient’s path back to wholeness and health. Dr. Fegley is not considered your primary care physician and requires that you have your own physician for primary care needs. Patients working with Dr. Fegley need to be a current client of Minds in Motion with the philosophy of utilizing a team approach…you, your therapist, and/or nurse practitioner and a medical consult.


Angela Melzer / Meditation / January 19, 2018


You see mindfulness everywhere, the newspapers, 60 Minutes, and medical schools.  And yes, even a law school or two has prescribed to the idea that mindfulness is the best way to cultivate good lawyers.  The company, Google, has a mindfulness professional titled: “Sr. Manager, Well Being and High Performance Learning”. Oprah Winfrey jumped on the mindfulness bandwagon and has done some spectacular 21 day mindfulness challenges with Deepak Chopra. And the list goes on and on……

So what is mindfulness and what are the components that aren’t so sexy about practicing it?  I’m a licensed clinical social worker who has a background in occupational therapy. I practice mindfulness based counseling and coaching, and have been meditating daily since 2007.  Yes, that means I’m a new meditator.  It’s kind of like living in a ski town (which I do – Steamboat Springs, Colorado).  Nobody is a local unless you homesteaded the land and birthed your first child in a chuck wagon.


The definition of mindfulness is to kindly participate in your present moment with acceptance.  This is different from being present.  You can be present and still judge the situation, the people in it or your own actions or thoughts.  THIS IS NOT MINDFULNESS.    You must be present to be mindful, but you don’t need to be mindful to be present.  This is hard work and requires you to be aware of your thoughts.

There is a difference between mindfulness and meditation.  We use meditation in a formal practice to become more aware of our thoughts, beliefs and actions.  Mindfulness is a result of the work we do in our meditation.  We usually can’t have one without the other.

You will hear people say, “I can’t meditate, my brain is too busy”- that’s right! Meditating can and will be hard because most of us do have busy brains.  The unsexy part about meditation is that the brain is really busy and it can feel impossible when you start, and you will have an occasional busy brain for the rest of your meditating life.  It’s okay that it’s hard; every time you meditate you are in the process of changing your brain and calming down your sympathetic nervous system.

Meditation doesn’t have to look like happy young yoga people sitting on rocks by the ocean in black pants and a colorful tight tank top.  For some of my clients, it’s idling in their cars in front of the house before coming inside to the chaos.  For other clients, it’s lying down in bed because of back pain or other illnesses.  And yet again, it can be sitting and feeling like a war in our heads because of a busy day.  Let meditation be something that works for you.

Let yourself relax around some of the misconceptions and try it on for a while.  Mindfulness is not always sexy but it is a game changer, a life-long commitment and worth every bit of struggle and effort. Through mindfulness we gain peace, contentment and kindness in our lives and in the lives of those we love.

Copyright by Minds in Motion 2018. All rights reserved.