“That was really when it started for me, when I came out of the lab having done some exploration of Jon’s (Jon Kabat-Zinn) work and done some meditation. At that point if you can believe it, it was cassette tapes that Jon had been kind enough to give me. I came out of the lab a completely different person. I was actually having fun being a surgical resident. I was tired, you know I can’t say I didn’t have a bad day but I laughed with my colleagues. I had a great time. And I will share with you, Jill, that many many people, including my superiors and my residency director, noticed a huge change.” Antonia Stephen MD, Surgeon, Massachusetts General Hospital
In the last episode in this week’s series on meditation and mindfulness, Jill sits down with Dr Antonia Stephen to discuss how meditation and mindfulness can change your life. Dr. Stephen shares her story with us and I challenge you not to be inspired. Let us know if you adopt a meditation and mindfulness practice of your own and let us know how it goes. We love to hear from you!
Dr. Stephen is a surgeon and Surgical Director of Wellness at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. Antonia Stephen received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School, completed her general surgery residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, and her surgical fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic, before joining the surgical staff at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Division of Surgical Oncology, where she specializes in surgery of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands.
Books related to this episode:
"Meditation Is Not What You think: Mindfulness and Why It Is So Important" by Jon Kabat-Zinn
"Falling Awake: How to Practice Mindfulness in Everyday Life" by Jon Kabat-Zinn
"Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life" by Jon Kabat-Zinn
"Full Catastrophe Living (Revised Edition): Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness" by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Excerpts from the show:
“Why did you come to be interested in meditation and mindfulness as it relates to your work and life? Start back at the beginning. When did you first become interested in this?” -Jill Farmer
“Like many things, I had exposure to the concept of meditation and mindfulness really as a kid. I grew up next door to Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn who really is one of the modern fathers of mindfulness and who was instrumental in bringing mindfulness and meditation practices to western culture... I kind of knew it was there, I sort of knew what he did but not really. But I was aware of it and ...I would say that the moment that really grabbed me for the first time was when I was a teenager, and I happened to be a rower. I rowed in college. I was outside our house one day and Jon was leaving for the airport and I asked him where he was going and he said, ‘Well I’m going to work with the men’s U.S Olympic rowing team.’ Of course, that was fascinating to me because I had to assume that if the men’s Olympic rowing team was hiring Jon, paying him and flying him, I think at the time he was going out to California, that Jon was going to make them go faster and perform better. You know, make them win. That’s usually why Olympic rowing teams hire people, so that was interesting to me.”-Antonia Stephen MD
“For those of us who aren’t familiar as much with his work, can you give us just a little bit of a thumbnail about who he is and what he does?” -Jill Farmer
“Absolutely. He actually is a PhD. I think he was a graduate student or was working on his PhD at MIT and heard some lectures on mindfulness and meditation and was really fascinated with this. And what Jon did is look at this technique and he was interested in it and he started working initially with patients at UMASS Medical Center. Patients with medical issues such as hypertension and some mental