Meet Diana Winston, and read an excerpt from “The Little Book of Being”

Diana Winston has been practicing meditation since 1989 and spent a year in Burma as a Buddhist nun. She began teaching mindfulness in 1993 and has taught in hospitals, universities, corporate offices, nonprofits, and schools in the United States, Asia, and online. She developed the evidence-based Mindful Awareness Practices (MAPS) curriculum and the Training in Mindfulness Facilitation for mindfulness teachers to use and share worldwide.

Diana first taught at UCLA in 2005 and now serves as the director of Mindfulness Education at the Semel Institute’s Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC). She coauthored, with Dr. Susan Smalley, Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness. Below, she discusses natural awareness, digital distractions, and finding quiet moments amidst busyness.

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Susan Kaiser Greenland
Meet Kerry Madden-Lunsford, and read an excerpt from her new children’s book, “Ernestine’s Milky Way”

Kerry Madden-Lunsford is the author eight books. Her newest picture book, Ernestine’s Milky Way, (Schwartz & Wade/Penguin Random House). She wrote The Smoky Mountain Trilogy for children, which includes Gentle’s Holler, Louisiana’s Song and Jessie’s Mountain, (Viking/Penguin) Her first novel, Offsides, (William Morrow) was a New York Public Library Pick for the Teen Age. Her book, Up Close Harper Lee, (Viking/Penguin) made Booklist’s Ten Top Biographies of 2009 for Youth. Her first picture book, Nothing Fancy About Kathryn and Charlie, (Mockingbird Publishers) was illustrated by her daughter, Lucy Lunsford. Kerry is a regular contributor to the LA Times OpEd Page. She directs the Creative Writing Program at UAB and teaches in the Antioch MFA Program in Los Angeles. The mother of three adult children, she divides her time between Birmingham and Los Angeles.

In this interview with Marlena Trafas, Kerry discusses Ernestine’s Milky Way, a story based on the childhood of her dear friend, Ernestine Edwards Upchurch.

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Susan Kaiser Greenland
Meet Mallika Chopra, and read an excerpt and practice from her new book for tweens “Just Breathe”

Chopra is a mom, entrepreneur, author, and public speaker who has shared her ideas of mindfulness and intent through books, articles, and speeches. She is the founder and CEO of Intentblog.com where she blogs about her journey towards a meaningful, joyous, and balanced lifestyle. Her previous book, Living With Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace, and Joy allowed Chopra to connect with others on a grand scale through speaking engagements, mediations, and publications.

In this interview, she discusses learning meditation from her father, the legacy of mindful practice, and the physical imagery of personal intent.

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Susan Kaiser Greenland
Meet Seth Greenland, and read an excerpt from "The Hazards of Good Fortune"

"You have to understand, Jay, we're living in a different time." Tackman took a sip of his tomato juice and grew thoughtful. "No one cares about the tragedies of kings. Those days are gone. Now, it's all about who’s the most aggrieved, who can whine the loudest. Heaven forbid someone like you has a complaint. It's not allowed. No one is interested in your story anymore. It's the Time of the Victim, and you are in no shape or form a victim. You know what else you're not? A protagonist. You, old chum, are the villain in this tale. Our job is to make you the protagonist." 

     Jay knew this, but to hear it spoken aloud was unnerving. - (from The Hazards of Good Fortune by Seth Greenland)

Seth Greenland is an American novelist, whose work includes The Bones (2005), Shining City (2008), The Angry Buddhist (2011), I Regret Everything (2015), and most recently, The Hazards of Good Fortune (2018), excerpted above. Greenland is also a playwright and screenwriter, whose play, Jungle Rot, won the Kennedy Center/American Express Fund for New American Plays Award and the American Theater Critics Association Award and was anthologized in Best American Plays.

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Susan Kaiser Greenland
Meet Oren Jay Sofer, and read an excerpt from his new book “Say What You Mean: A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication”

Oren Jay Sofer is an author and teacher focused on mindfulness, meditation, and Nonviolent Communication. He’s been practicing meditation in the Theravada Buddhist Tradition since 1997 while earning a degree in Comparative Religion from Columbia University. He spent two and a half years living in Ajahn Chah Thai Forest monasteries as an Anagarika (renunciate). 

Sofer is a founder and Guiding Teacher of the online meditation course, Next Step Dharma, and is the co-founder of Mindful Healthcare. His new book, Say What You Mean - A Mindful Approach to Nonviolent Communication, covers diverse subjects such as: digital communication, meaningful small talk, and the intersection of politics and mindfulness. 

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Susan Kaiser Greenland
Meet Linda Graham, Author of “Bouncing Back” and read an excerpt of her new book “Resilience”

Linda’s remarkable energy, enthusiasm and clinical expertise shows up in everything she says and does and her new book is no exception. With humor and intelligence, she masterfully weaves neuroscience, psychology, and contemplative teachings together to create a wise and immensely practical set of tools for everyday people to meet adversity with wisdom and compassion. 

Linda is a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in stress and trauma impact, anxiety management, depression, and mindfulness. She helps her clients shift their perspectives on life’s regrettable moments, so they can learn, move forward, and thrive. Her new book, Resilience: Powerful Practices for Bouncing Back from Disappointment, Difficulty, and Even Disaster acts as a guide for surviving the mental ups and downs of modern life.

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Susan Kaiser Greenland
Meet Abby Wills, and learn about Shanti Generation, Guiding Teens to Bring Mindfulness to Life

Abby Wills co-founded Shanti Generation in 2009 to provide greater access to yoga and mindful practices to children and young teens. At the time, there were many resources for young children and families to explore mindfulness, but very few for older children and teens. She wanted her students to have resources to continue their practices beyond the classroom. She also needed an organization to support more immersive practice experiences off campus. Shanti Generations’s Youth Peacemakers Program now brings teens ages 14-16 together for 15 months to practice yoga, mindfulness, compassionate communication and conscious social activism.

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Susan Kaiser Greenland
Meet Dan Siegel, and read an excerpt from his latest book, "Aware"

Dan has gently, yet tirelessly, insisted that contemplative practice be viewed as a powerful vehicle for developing healthy attuned connections – not just with other people but also with ourselves. In book after book, keynote after keynote, and workshop after workshop, Dan’s taken this message to the streets – not just to the mainstream audiences of countless parents, clinicians and educators who rightfully adore him, but also to meditation centers where the connection between mindfulness and relationships hasn’t always been prioritized and is sometimes missed entirely.

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Susan Kaiser Greenland
Meet Gina Biegel, Author of "Be Mindful & Stress Less"

Mindfulness is about being present and aware of your life as it is unfolding moment by moment, whether those moments are awful, wonderful, or neutral. When you are mindful, you become more aware of and in tune with both your physical and mental health and your needs, and whether your self-care gas tank is full or empty. Mindfulness helps you know just how well you are doing from moment to moment with taking care of yourself. Every morning you can assess how you are feeling, what your mood is, and what your needs are, and then make adjustments to get to the balance point of what feels best to you in terms of engaging in self-care. 

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Susan Kaiser Greenland
Meet Mark Bertin, and read an excerpt from his book "How Children Thrive"

Mark’s Bertin's new book How Children Thrive is a smart, readable, and immensely valuable guide to the development of executive skills.  It’s exactly the type of book I was looking for when my children were growing up. I'm delighted to post an excerpt as this month's shout-out along with a Q & A where Mark talks to Aviva DeKornfeld about how he came to mindfulness, moving out of autopilot, and stumbling blocks parents who are new to mindfulness generally face.

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Meet Chris Willard, Author, Psychologist, Educator, and Thought Leader

The recent launch of the International Mindfulness Teachers Association (full disclosure, I'm on the advisory board) has sparked both conversation and controversy over how best to certify teachers and professionalize the mindfulness field. In a guest post, Chris Willard offers seven ethical guidelines for teaching mindfulness to children and families. Chris talks with Aviva DeKornfeld about what moved him to write this piece in May’s shout-out.

The ethical guidelines and Q & A together are a long read. Still, I encourage you to invest the time and carefully consider this argument for best standards from one of the field's thought leaders. 

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Meet Leah Weiss, and read an excerpt from her book “How We Work: Live Your Purpose, Reclaim Your Sanity, and Embrace the Daily Grind”

Emotions may seem like a liability much of the time, especially at work, but in fact, our emotions are an asset: they contain information and wisdom that can help us interpret and address when something is not right, in the workplace and elsewhere—if we are paying attention. When we pay attention to our bodies, we can catch emotional information as it heads upstream, before it hijacks our whole system. Once again, we’re flipping the dialogue. This is an extension of the idea of knowing something in your gut—and in fact, recent research has offered evidence that feelings can “begin” in the gut. Indeed, our referring to the gut as our “second brain” comes from the fact that it has more than two hundred million neurons and contains three-quarters of the body’s immune cells. Interviewed by Aviva DeKornfield

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Susan Kaiser Greenland
Meet Suzi Tortora, Dance Movement Therapist and Infancy Mental Health and Development Specialist

If you take a class with Dr. Suzi Tortora, you might find yourself crawling around on the floor, wiggling around in mirror with your infant, or dancing around with your eyes closed,  engrossed in your bodily experience. No matter what you do, the goal is to find yourself more in tune with your body and the way you communicate without even knowing you’re doing it.

Suzi Tortora is a board certified dance movement therapist and expert in early childhood development, and a Laban Nonverbal Movement Analyst. She has a private dance movement psychotherapy practice with two locations, one in New York City and one in Cold Spring-on-the-Hudson, New York. She also teaches courses and lectures on dance therapy and movement analysis. Profile by Ellie Duke.

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Susan Kaiser Greenland
Meet B. Alan Wallace, Tibetan Buddhist teacher and read an excerpt from “The Attention Revolution"

B. Alan Wallace is president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies. He trained for many years as a monk in Buddhist monasteries in India and Switzerland. He has taught Buddhist theory and practice in Europe and America since 1976 and has served as interpreter for numerous Tibetan scholars and contemplatives, including H. H. the Dalai Lama.  He has edited, translated, authored, and contributed to more than forty books on Tibetan Buddhism, medicine, language, and culture, and the interface between science and religion. He talks to Ellie Duke about Buddhism, the difference between Buddhism and secular mindfulness, and attention.

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Meet Sunny Wight, Founder and Executive Director of Mindfulness First

Before October 2013, Mindfulness First Founder and executive director Sunny Wight felt that a crucial component of child development was absent from the curriculum of central Arizona elementary schools: the concept of mindful awareness and social-emotional learning. Luckily, that month was the turning point — by the end of the year, the nonprofit Mindfulness First had kicked off its campaign of shifting the area’s educational standards toward an approach that favors the “whole child,” shaping kids to be more well-rounded, emotionally mature, and self-aware. Almost four years later, by the summer of 2017, Mindfulness First has achieved far-reaching, well-documented success in the Balsz school district of Phoenix, and this is just the beginning of a promising future, not only for the organization but also for students across Arizona.

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Meet Daniel Rechtschaffen, Author, Mindfulness Teacher, and Founder of the Online Program Mindful Education

When he is not busy traversing the country and hopping the globe to teach, Daniel is known for putting together the Mindfulness in Education Conference and Teacher Training at the Omega Institute each year, as well as for founding and directing the Mindful Education program. Designed for educators to expand their skill sets with understanding, mindfulness, and social-emotional learning, the Mindful Education system boasts a host of big names in its faculty and an innovative approach to teacher training. In addition to all this, Daniel released a documentary film a few months ago that captures his past experiences mentoring and collaborating with young students. Fortunately for us, Daniel kindly paused it all for a moment to provide his thoughts and observations on the mindfulness field.  Interviewed by AJ Urquidi

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Meet Theo Koffler, Founder of Mindfulness Without Borders

Before founding Mindfulness Without Borders, Theo Koffler was a successful young entrepreneur in the healthcare field for 20 years. After being diagnosed with LUPUS she was forced to leave her career to restore her health. After years of personal healing work, her second career has been spent developing programs focused on mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and mental health. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Mindfulness Without Borders is active in 15 countries around the world and operates youth programs, professional development programs, and online courses.

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Meet Sharon Salzberg, and read an excerpt from "Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection"

Sharon Salzberg is a teacher of Buddhist meditation practices and author of ten books, including the New York Times bestseller Real Happiness. She is the founder, with Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the co-founder with Joseph Goldstein of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies and the Forest Refuge meditation retreat center.Sharon’s most recent book is entitled Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection.  Sharon speaks here about “real love,” followed by a short excerpt from the book.

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Susan Kaiser Greenland
Meet Sumi Loundon Kim, and read an excerpt from "Sitting Together"

When my own two children (now ages 9 and 11) became preschoolers, I had a deep desire to instill the same values and spiritual skills that had so fortunately been shared with me. I feel that learning a spiritual language of any kind is key to articulating a meaningful and purposeful life and that the sooner one can learn that, the more fluent, creative, and playful one can be. From my own experience, I knew that spiritual growth needs the soil of community. As such, I started a local meditation group for families here in North Carolina, which in time became a fully-fledged parent and child program called the Buddhist Families of Durham (not very Buddhist, in fact — more of a Buddhist-inflected mindfulness program).

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