Mindful Expat Episode 27: Creativity & Other Sources of Resilience for Latino Immigrants & Others Living Abroad (With Guest: Carmen Roman, Ph.D.)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Dr. Carmen Roman!

Dr. Roman is a licensed psychologist in the state of California. She is originally from Mexico and practiced as a psychologist there for a number of years before moving to the United States in 2007.

Dr. Roman is bilingual in English and Spanish and offers bilingual and bicultural psychotherapy to her clients in the San José region of California, where she lives. She also has a specialty in creative expression and art therapies.

Dr. Roman also has her own podcast, called Emotions in Harmony, which is a bilingual podcast (in English and in Spanish) and which focuses on topics related to emotional wellbeing – so very relevant to things we talk about here on this podcast too, and I highly recommend you check it out!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• About Dr. Roman’s experience of moving to the United States from Mexico and her journey of becoming a licensed psychologist in the US, specializing in working with Latinos living abroad and navigating this intercultural space.
• Some of the particular stressors that Latino immigrants to the United States face as well as some of the factors and mindsets that may positively impact their immigration experience.
• About the importance of creativity in helping all people (but perhaps especially those living abroad) come back to their core sense of self, develop a new sense of identity, and find community abroad. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 26: Bonne Rentrée! Turning Over a New Leaf This Fall

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• I’ll introduce you to the concept of the “rentrée” in France (basically back-to-school but for adults and kids alike!).
• We’ll discuss how this time of year can be an opportunity to take stock of what we have accomplished and learned in the past year and set our intentions for the year to come.
• I will provide you with some tips for how to begin to build habits in the service of your goals so that you can continue to make progress throughout the year on the things that are most important to you.  Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 24: The Source of Your Joy

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• I’ll share with you some updates about the podcast and invite you to take a short survey I’ve designed to help me know what you’d like to hear more about in Season 2 of the podcast.
• We’ll discuss a quote from Thich Nhat Hahn that says, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
• I’ll share with you some fascinating research that shows that this quote is literally true, and we’ll also discuss some ways you can work to subtly shift your perspective to feel more joy in your life. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 14: Self-Compassion, the Two Arrows, & Learning to Surf

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• How you can create a pause between your initial experience of an emotion and your reaction to it, and how doing so will allow you to cultivate more self-compassion and feel less out of control in your life.
• About the differences between pain and suffering — and how our responses to our own internal experiences determine the extent to which we suffer.
• The Buddhist metaphor of the two arrows, which illustrates this difference between pain and suffering.
• How all of this might apply to the experience of struggling with adaptation to a new country/culture. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 12: Expat & Intercultural Relationships: Growing Together Through the Challenges

What you’ll learn in this episode:

• Some different contexts that expat or intercultural couples find themselves in and how these contexts can present unique challenges for relationships.
• Some of the most common challenges I see in expat and intercultural relationships (including some of my own experiences!).
• How open, non-defensive communication can help couples learn and grow together through the challenges rather than let them damage their relationships. Read More


Turning Over a New Leaf in the New Year

It’s that time of year again!

The time when people start to talk about their New Year’s resolutions.

The beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to reflect back on the year we’ve had, what we’ve accomplished and learned, and what our priorities and goals are for the year ahead.

At the same time, many of us go about setting these goals and priorities in way that feels harsh and critical — and also tends to set us up for failure.

So what can we do to start off this new year on the right track? Read More


Self-Care 101: Setting Healthy Boundaries

I’ve been thinking a lot about boundaries lately: why they’re important — and yet why so many of us struggle with setting them.

I was talking to a friend in the US a few weeks ago. She was telling me how overworked she is and how she doesn’t have time for some of the things that are really important to her — spending time with her family, traveling, working on some creative projects, taking time to just relax and enjoy life. Even some parts of her work — the parts she finds most meaningful and satisfying.

The problem? Emails. Requests. Invitations to give workshops and presentations, to sit on committees, to write book chapters. Read More


Bird Poop & the Power of Perspective

pigeonA True Story…

There I was, standing at the corner just across the street from my apartment, waiting for the light to change… when PLOP.

Right on my forehead and across the lens of my glasses.

Bird poop. On my face.

My first, reaction was just to be startled, since it seemed to come out of nowhere. However, as soon as I realized what had happened and it began sliding down my forehead, I felt my mood begin to slide in the same direction. Read More


The Legend of the Two Wolves

wolfThere’s an old Cherokee legend about two wolves that goes like this:

An old man was talking to his grandson about life.

He told the young boy, “A battle is going on inside of me. It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf represents all that is bad — fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other wolf represents all that is good — joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, and compassion.”

The old man then turned to the boy and said, “The same fight is going on inside of you, and inside of every person on this great earth.”

The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he turned to his grandfather and asked, “But which wolf will win?”

And the old man replied, “The one you feed.”

Read More


Mindfulness Abroad

womanYou may have noticed that I’ve written a fair number of blog posts on the subject of mindfulness so far.

And if you’re an expat or international student following this blog, you may be wondering what mindfulness has to do with your experience of living abroad.

Good question!

While the practice of mindfulness can be helpful for almost anyone, those of us living outside our comfort zone for a period of time may find it especially helpful for a number of reasons. We’ll talk about just 3 of these reasons today. Read More