The California Cure

The California Cure - Meditating on the Possibilities: Dr. Sue Smalley
By Samantha Dunn

Sue Smalley thought she was “doing everything right.” A UCLA professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, she had a successful career; a long, happy marriage; and wonderful children. She ate right. She exercised faithfully. Then she was diagnosed with cancer.
Lucky for her the melanoma was arrested in its very early stages, but that brush with mortality “was the tipping point that allowed me to take stock of my life,” she recalls.

Medical leave from work gave Smalley time to explore things she’d never done, like yoga, massage, meditation and the practice of really seeing the world as it was moment by moment—the “be here now” attitude otherwise called “mindfulness.” Doing this, Smalley experienced “unprecedented creativity and a profound sense of connectedness. I really felt changed.”