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living with awareness and compassion

Be Kind to Your Body
Cyndi Lee on gentle yoga

stop, wait, Go
The traffic light technique for better communication

Mind over Money
Jon Kabat-Zinn Answers Your Questions The Mindful Brain
What neuroscience tells us

See through your financial hangups

Do More with Less Stress Mindful Classrooms

Mindfulness in Everyday Life

work • health • home • relationships







Stop, Wait, Go Susan Chapman suggests a path to better communication


3 practiceS to Shift Your relationShip With time Awareness techniques from Marc Lesser to do more with less stress
c ove r ph oto © S e an Ju St i c e / D i g i ta l v i Si on / g e t t y i m ag e S

findinG the Space to lead Mindfulness helps leaders decide without overreacting, says Janice Marturano

3 Welcome to mindful 5 mindful noW Wisdom 2.0 Mindful Brain Emotional Intelligence Inner City Teachers iPhone App 9 fAQs Jon Kabat-Zinn answers your questions 36 RevieWs Urban Pantry: Tips & Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen, by Amy Pennington. Reviewed by Sharon Hunt Books on the Mind by Barry Boyce

mind and BodY: WhY can’t theY JuSt Get alonG? Yoga teacher Cyndi Lee shows us how to loosen up

lettinG ourSelveS heal Saki Santorelli explores the soft spots that are the key to self-healing

mind over moneY Kristi Nelson on getting past our hangups about dollars and cents

mouthfulS of mindfulneSS How to eat healthy, enjoy it, and satisfy your appetite, by Jan Chozen Bays

look Who’S practicinG mindfulneSS People whose lives are enriched by mindfulness

ed BroWn’S luSciouS lentil Soup

the once and future me Kelly McGonigal





Welcome to Mindful
Barry CaMpBeLL BoyCe , Editor JeSSiCa voN HaNdorf , Art Director JaMeS GiMiaN , Publisher MeLviN MCLeod , Editor-in-Chief eriC L. roSS , Advertising roBiN JoHNStoN , Distribution editoriaL & CeNtraL BuSiNeSS offiCe

1660 Hollis St., Suite 701, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 1V7 Canada Tel: (902) 422-8404, Fax: (902) 423-2701 U. S. O FFI C E : 1426 Pearl St., Suite 420, Boulder, CO 80302-5340 Email: To see, hear, and read more, go to
The news-you-can-use website devoted exclusively to mindfulness and awareness practices for mind and body. Published by the Shambhala Sun Foundation, an independent, nonprofit corporation.

Share Mindful with OtherS
if your group, organization, or business would like free copies of this one-time special publication to share with members, colleagues, students, clients, or customers, please contact or call 1-877-422-8404, ext 16

ike many teenagers, i was scared and confused at 17—and deathly afraid to admit to anyone just how much. So when the opportunity to practice mindfulness meditation arose, i was highly motivated. it was not easy at first. i was quite restless, but eventually i got the hang of it. and it helped me—in college, in my career as a writer and journalist, in my family life, and in so many other ways. mindfulness and related practices that help us to synchronize our minds and bodies—and that also generate awareness and compassion— have meant so much to me that i’ve always looked for ways to share their benefits with others. now, almost 40 years since i first meditated, a mindfulness revolution has started and is reaching a full head of steam. So, being editor of this special publication—Mindful: Living with Awareness and Compassion—and its companion website,, fulfills a lifelong aspiration. in Mindful and, we’ll be sharing with you the beneficial effects of many different kinds of mind and body practices. mindfulness meditation is prominent among them, so most of the pieces in this magazine are about how adding a dose of mindfulness can enhance your joy and appreciation of everyday life—and help you to deal with some of life’s toughest challenges when they arise. each of the writers, teachers, and trainers in Mindful provides their own unique viewpoint on how mindfulness and awareness practice can help us. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the pioneering founder of mindfulness-Based Stress reduction, offers pithy, insightful answers to questions submitted by people trying to integrate mindfulness into their lives. Kristi nelson helps us use mindfulness to understand why we spend and save the way we do. Susan chapman offers an easy-to-remember technique to spark attention in difficult communication situations. entrepreneur marc lesser teaches us three awareness practices to help us use our time more wisely, and business executive Janice marturano offers advice on how we can lead better by letting space infiltrate our calendars. psychologist Kelly mcgonigal has a good laugh about her desire to craft the perfect “future-me.” these are just a few of the riches to be found in this special free issue of Mindful, and on the web at We’re also going to tell you—on our website and in future issues of Mindful—how mindfulness is making inroads in schools, hospitals, offices, campuses, and even firehouses and police stations. We’ll offer you lots of companionship and a place to share your own journey with others. the practices and techniques you will learn about in our pages are for everybody. no religion, belief, or political inclination is required. there’s no need to sign on anyone’s dotted line. everyone is born with mindfulness, awareness, and compassion. ultimately, these are not practices we do. they express who we really are as human beings. please join us in celebrating that magnificent fact of life.
— B a r r y B o yc e , e D i t o r






mindful now

Wisdom 2.0
started in garages and dorm rooms where geeks pulled all-nighters fueled by junk food and caffeine. now a group of techies from Silicon valley wants to foster a new kind of tech culture, one inspired by mindfulness. in February, for the third time in ten months, industry professionals from firms such as google, twitter, Facebook, and eBay will gather with meditation teachers and neuroscientists to explore ways of bringing wisdom into the tech world. the inaugural Wisdom 2.0 Summit was held last may, when 500 tech-savvy professionals and entrepreneurs met at the computer history museum in mountain view, california. “exploring living with awareness, Wisdom, and compassion in the technology age” offered three days of teachings, discussions, and practices for people who want to be wired and tuned in but still grounded and mindful. it was followed by
t h e i n t e r n e t r e vo l u t i o n
ph otoS courteS y oF W W W. W iS D om 2 S um m m a n D ro S S hill

a similar gathering in Boulder, colorado, in early november. the 2011 Wisdom 2.0 conference will be held February 25-27 in mountain view and feature mindfulness teachers Jon Kabat-Zinn and Jack Kornfield, as well as Wisdom 2.0 creator Soren gordhammer. participant natalie villalobos says these conferences are about creating a working atmosphere where “technology and wisdom go hand in hand.”

t h e Da l a i l a m a

is donating money to support scientific research into “healthy qualities of mind like kindness and compassion.” the Dalai lama’s personal trust has given $50,000 to the center for investigating healthy minds at the university of Wisconsin-madison, directed by professor of psychology and psychiatry richie Davidson. the center uses state-ofthe-art tools from neuroscience and biology to observe how the brain and body changes when we express positive emotions. recent research at the center continues to support the idea that the brain and its functions are plastic (adaptable and changeable) throughout life.

the center for investigating healthy minds is america’s leading lab studying the effects of meditation on the brain. Davidson says that studying people who do systematic mental training like meditation helps neuroscientists learn more about what the human mind is capable of. one of the things the laboratory is studying is how mindfulness can increase the brain’s powers of attention and its ability to respond more flexibly to stressful events.

ph oto © i S to c K ph oto.c o m / luc ato





Business Leaders Benefit From Emotional Intelligence
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A Lifeline for Inner City Teachers
m i n D F u l n e S S has become a lifeline for some stressed-out inner city teachers. in a federally funded two-year study of mindfulness and emotion-skills training for K-12 teachers, the care program is teaching mindfulness techniques to two groups of pennsylvania teachers—one in the affluent community of State college and the other in the much poorer city of harrisburg. preliminary findings indicate the inner city teachers are deriving the most benefit. according to Dr. tish Jennings of the garrison institute, which developed care (cultivating awareness and resilience in education), “Both groups have clearly benefited from the mindfulness and emotion training, but for harrisburg teachers it’s already become a lifeline, an essential skill, that may be keeping them in their jobs.” While nearly half of all teachers quit during their first five years, Jennings notes that attrition rates in poorer urban areas are another 50 percent higher.

there’S a Strong

connection between the ability to lead and emotional intelligence. that’s the conclusion of a new study by professor Stephane cote of the rotman School of management in toronto, published in Leadership Quarterly. the findings are drawn from two studies of business students who were each given an emotional ability test before completing a group project. When the project was over, participants rated the best leaders. there was a strong correlation between those ranked as good leaders and those who scored high on the emotional ability scale. “traditionally, we’ve assumed that leaders have high iQs, are gregarious, and have dominant personalities,” cote says. But his study indicates that “being able to process other people’s emotions” may be just as important. aspiring leaders, cote

nuTS ABouT MeDiTATion
mr. peanut keeps a meditation cushion stashed in his closet? When some savvy software developers at the national peanut Board developed the “peanuts: energy for the good life” iphone app, they decided to augment food preparation suggestions with a five-minute mindfulness exercise. the free app encourages you to take healthy breaks in your day for activities like snacking on peanuts, making peanut shrimp chowder or peanut pumpkin muffins—and meditating. Stephan Bodian, author of Meditation for Dummies, created the mindfulness exercise.
W h o K n e W t h at

suggests, would do well to foster the abilities that make up emotional intelligence. according to author Daniel goleman, who coined the term in his bestseller of the same name, emotional intelligence means the ability to perceive, use, understand, and regulate emotions. the rotman School of management teaches emotional intelligence as a fourth-year elective course and in its mBa program. courses based on ei are offered in many corporate settings. google started teaching an eibased course, Search inside yourself, at its headquarters in 2007. this year Siy is being offered at google campuses around the world.

ph oto © i S to c K ph oto. c o m / S h i ro no S ov



more mindful every day at has the latest information on bringing mindfulness, awareness, and compassion into your life, updated every day with fresh stories and news. offers mindfulness-based approaches to all the important issues of life today, from health, emotional wellbeing, relationships, and family life, to work, creativity, activism, and the science that’s proving the benefits. You’ll find blogs, commentary, audio, video, social networking, and much more. Make friends and share your journey with fellow mindfulness practitioners. We’d love to hear what you think of Mindful. Tell us at




A Way of Being
Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of MindfulnessBased Stress reduction, answers your questions about mindfulness in daily life.
➤ My partner is very stressed out from his work and also has some annoying habits (computer gambling, for one). When I mention mindfulness, he says, “Yeah, yeah. I will,” but he never has. I don’t want to proselytize, but I think it would help our relationship.
proselytizing would be mistake number one. When you get into something like mindfulness, you may suddenly feel that those closest to you should also practice, but this is very delicate and dangerous territory. it’s always better to practice yourself and embody mindfulness in your life, and let that speak to those around you. in this case, his “annoying habits” may be much more than that. they may in fact signal serious addictions, in which case, sooner or later they inevitably lead to habitual patterns of behavior that are not healthy for anybody involved. trying to use mindfulness to fix things is not a wise way to sort out a relationship—don’t let mindfulness become a dime-store solution to your challenging problems. mindfulness is not about fixing anything, but about seeing things as they actually are and then being in wise relationship to them, even if it is difficult or painful. While “fixing” is not an option in such a situation, healing is, perhaps, through bringing wisdom and compassion to them without trying to force an outcome that you are attached to. you can never change another person. they have to be willing to go through their own process of change. i would suggest not trying to convince your partner of anything. Just trust in your own commitment to the practice, and hold your partner and yourself in awareness with as much loving-kindness as you can, with no goal or agenda other than that.

➤ Mindfulness has completely changed how I work. I am less stressed out, I work smarter, and my blood pressure has gone down! How can I encourage mindfulness around my workplace?
the best way is to embody mindfulness in your workplace yourself and then trust your instincts. it’s not necessarily a good idea to take on the responsibility of teaching others yourself, or advising them. it’s fine with a friend here or there to share your enthusiasm and even try out a little practice together, but particularly in the workplace, it could become messy and backfire. Do you want to be seen as the mindfulness proselytizer in your place of work? i’d suggest inviting somebody well versed in mindfulness practice to give a talk on mindfulness in the workplace and in everyday life, and include a short guided meditation for those who are interested. these talks may stimulate further interest which could take various forms, including perhaps an early morning sitting and discussion group.

➤ I just completed an MBSR course. What should I do next?
practice! if you’ve taken mBSr, you’ve accumulated eight weeks of momentum. Keep nurturing that momentum because it can peter out, and then mindfulness just becomes a sweet memory or a nice idea. you need to figure out how long and how frequently, based on your life circumstances, and be flexible. one thing you can do to support practice is reading books about mBSr and books by people with strong practice experience. But read judiciously. reading doesn’t replace mindfulness practice. it complements it. the mindful

ph oto B y l i Za m at t h eWS

idea that you have to do a lot of reading to get yourself inspired before you practice is a myth. another support can be to find a meditation group near you and go and sit with them at times when they have public meditation practice. eventually, when you feel ready, find a place like the insight meditation Society and do a meditation retreat. that kind of immersion will make a big difference. But the real meditation practice is your life. it’s not about 45 minutes each day and the job is done. it’s about letting the practice spill over into every waking moment of your life—cultivating a kind of love affair with the present moment without making it a big chore. it doesn’t take any energy to remember you’re breathing, seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, touching. Sensing your body and your connection with nature, with your colleagues at work, with your family members, with your own heart—that is what builds the foundation of mindfulness that supports your formal practice. you’re no longer practicing a technique. it becomes a way of being.

happening. all sorts of challenging situations and insights will come into your awareness. it’s a very rich and fruitful time. When you’re putting the children to bed or getting them up in the morning, those are fabulous times to really be present, to not be in a hurry to get on with your life, because this is your life, every moment of it. it’s high quality practice to just watch your own reactivity and short-temperedness at times, perhaps around bedtime or waking kids up in the morning —and to do it with tremendous kindness and compassion toward yourself. you couldn’t pay a person enough money to teach you those lessons, and your children are going to give them to you for free whether you want them to or not. you might also take a few moments at times to really “take in” your children as they are and notice whatever feelings arise. this itself is a radical act of love.

➤ I have three children (two, five, and seven). I started practicing mindfulness before they were born, but I don’t do it much now. I was thinking of picking it back up again. Do you have any advice?
if you find yourself thinking of picking it up, trust that impulse and start practicing. of course, with all you’ve got going on, the question is, “When?” the answer to that is two-fold. you have opportunities for formal practice, and for cultivating mindfulness “informally” throughout the day—mindful parenting, mindfulness with your family, etc. in terms of formal practice, everyone arrives at a routine based on their own situation. When we had small children in the house, i used to wake up long before they would so i could practice. Sometimes it worked out, sometimes it didn’t. that said, you’re not likely to have all that much time for formal practice. the real practice, when you have a two-year-old, a five-year-old, and a seven-yearold is being with them fully. mindfulness deepens just by consistently being in relationship to them and to yourself with awareness, no matter what is happening. it’s interesting, for instance, to watch how quickly a child’s emotions can shift. it’s also helpful to observe how much you might want to force a situation to be different, because you don’t like what’s

➤ My four-year-old won’t listen. I often get short with him right before I leave for work and I sit at work all day feeling awful—but I still need my child to listen, to prevent him from doing harmful things, like projecting himself out of his high chair.
of course, we want to insure the safety of our children more than anything else. But often our fears get the better of us in just these kinds of situations. We’ve all done something like this many times. a fear in the form of a thought (“my child will hurt himself ”) arises. you are short with him because of it. then you feel awful later, when you think about it. then you rationalize it by saying, “But i have to prevent him from hurting himself.” the lack of awareness of your own fear and the thought behind it usually triggers a reaction and limits your ability to see that you have a lot of options in that moment. one possibility would be to change the conditions by gently taking him out of his high chair, rather than trying to teach him a lesson he may not be ready to learn in that moment. after all, he is only four. there are many creative possibilities in such situations, but only you can come up with them, based on your willingness to be more aware in the present moment. awareness is always the key. this episode is already motivating you to look more deeply at what happened and come to some understanding that may inform how you will see and respond to whatever the next challenge of the moment will be. that’s the beauty of this practice.




in CommuniCation




n National Geographic many years ago there was a photo of a polar bear and a dog playing together. a dog named churchill was tied up to a stake in the ice. his owner spotted a starving bear, just out of hibernation, through the window of his cabin. he watched in horror as the bear approached his dog. Feeling powerless to protect his pet from certain death, he grabbed his camera and snapped pictures of the scene unfolding before his eyes. But to his amazement, what he witnessed was how churchill saved his own life.


The hardest part of communicating well is knowing when to speak, when to be quiet, and when to wait and see. Communication trainer Susan Chapman shows us how mindfulness can help.
as the bear lumbered towards him, churchill crouched down and wagged his tail. in spite of his ravenous hunger, the bear responded to the signal and switched from predator to playmate. one of the photos shows churchill and the bear embraced in an affectionate hug as they tumbled and rolled around the ice. then the huge polar bear turned and ambled away. over the next few days, the bear returned to the site several times to play with his new friend. these photos came into my life at the right moment. i was preparing to teach a series of workshops on mindful communication, where students would learn practical skills in bringing awareness, insight, compassion,

SuSan Chapman is a marriage and family therapist who presents training programs applying mindfulness principles to conversations, relationships, and communities. She is the author of a forthcoming book on mindful communication from Shambhala Publications.


and choice to their communications. in preparation, i was paying close attention to my own interactions, especially with the difficult people in my life.

traffiC LiGHtS
Bringing awareness to the way we communicate with others has both practical and profound applications. During an important business meeting, or in the middle of a painful argument with our partner, we can train ourselves to recognize when the channel of communication has shut down. We can train ourselves to remain silent instead of blurting out something we’ll later regret. We can notice when we’re over-reacting and take a time-out. We begin practicing mindful communication by simply paying attention to how we open up when we feel emotionally safe, and how we shut down when we feel afraid. Just noticing these patterns without judging them starts to cultivate mindfulness in our communications. noticing how we open and close puts us in greater control of our conversations. in my mindful communication workshops, the metaphor we use is the changing traffic light. We imagine that when the channel of communication

froM predator to pLayMate
When i first saw the National Geographic photos, i was observing the defensive strategies i used with the hungry bears in my life. Would robert, the bully coworker coming down the hallway, turn into a teddy bear if i adjusted the signals i was sending? not likely. But i decided to give tail wagging a try anyway. in some ways, robert fit the image of a starving polar bear, as he stalked the office commanding attention and emotionally devouring the rest of us with his crude jokes and predictable opinions. normally, when he walked into the room i cringed and put on my mask, which only locked the two of us into another episode of our predator–prey relationship. But when i realized i could arouse a feeling of friendliness rather than cower,

Practicing Mindful coMMunication
i felt a wave of confidence. over the folRed Light YeLLow Light gReen Light lowing days and weeks, i discovered that i could notice when you’ve become Pay attention to the limbo When your state of mind defensive and closed off. Be between open and closed. is open, feel free to explore interrupt my defensive careful. communicating in relax with the uncertainty. your connection with others. reactions to robert by this zone can lead to difficult Pause, reflect, linger there, Share. learn. change. bringing up the mental and painful reactions. and let possibilities emerge. Expand. image of churchill and the polar bear. this interruption in my defensiveness allowed me to relax for a moment. closes down, the light has turned red. When commuas robert came more into focus for me, positive nication feels open again, we say the light has turned details about him started to emerge. i appreciated the green. When communication feels in-between, or on fact that he was always on time for work, even though his eyes looked tired and swollen, as if he’d been up too the verge of closing down, we say the light has turned yellow. the changing traffic light imagery helps us to late the night before. i noticed that he had good taste identify our various states of communication, and to in clothes and that his shirts were always clean and recognize the consequences of each. ironed. gradually, i formed a more respectful image of robert and my fear of him lessened significantly. mindful

i m ag e S © i S to c Kph oto.c om / g ra Fi SS i m o / natS m i t h 1

tHe red LiGHt: defeNSive reaCtioNS

We’re born with sensitive receptors

tion patterns helps us realize the value of openness. generally, we associate open people as trustworthy, When i let robert intimidate me, my red light came as in touch with themselves and others. But openness on. i became defensive and closed down. When we also has the magic ingredient that enables us to fall in react to fear by shutting down the channel of comlove, to feel empathy and courage. When we’re open, munication, we’ve put up a defensive barrier dividing we let go of our opinions and enter a larger mind, us from the world. We justify our defensiveness by which gives us the power to trust our instincts, like holding on to unexamined opinions about how right churchill trusted his instincts to wag his tail. we are. We tell ourselves that relationships are not When we’re open, we don’t see our individual that important. We undervalue other people and put needs opposing the needs of others. We experience a we-first state of mind, because we appreciate that our personal survival depends on the well-being of our relationships. We express this connectedness to othin our body, heart, and mind that keep us tuned into ers through open comthe flow of energy and life going on around us and within us. munication patterns. open communication tunes us in to whatever is going on our self-interest first. in short, our values shift to mein the present moment, whether comfortable or not. first. closed communication patterns are controlling openness is heartfelt, willing to share the joy and and mistrustful. others become static objects only pain of others. Because we’re not blocked by our own important to us if they meet our needs. opinions, our conversations with others explore new to make matters worse, when we’re closed and worlds of experience. We learn, change, and expand. defensive, we feel emotionally hungry. We look to others to rescue us from aloneness. We might try to tHe yeLLow LiGHt: iN-BetweeN manipulate and control them to get what we need. Because these strategies never really work, we inevita- When my defensive reactions to robert became so painful that i began to be curious about them, my yelbly become disappointed with people. We suffer, and low light came on. in practicing mindful communicawe cause others to suffer. We’re all born with sensitive receptors in our body, tion, eventually we ask ourselves: What exactly causes me to switch from open to closed and then open again? heart, and mind that keep us tuned into the flow of We begin to discover the state of mind that exists inenergy and life going on around us and within us. between open and closed—symbolized by the yellow this natural communication system feeds us inforlight. in-between is a place we normally don’t want to mation all the time. When we close down and beenter. We find ourselves there when the ground falls come defensive—for a few minutes, a few days, a few out from beneath our feet, when we feel surprised, months, or even a lifetime—we’re cutting ourselves embarrassed, disappointed—on the verge of shutting off not only from others, but also from our natural down. We might feel a sudden loss of trust, an unexability to communicate. mindful communication pected flash of self-consciousness. learning to hold trains us to notice when we’ve stopped using our insteady and be curious at this juncture is critical to the nate communication wisdom—the red light. practice of mindful conversation. horseback riding instructors call it “holding your seat.” tHe GreeN LiGHt: opeNNeSS a yellow-light transition can appear any time. We When i could open up and reconnect with my own can switch from closed to open via the yellow light, resources, and to robert as a playmate, my green if we’re willing to enter into curiosity, or accepting light came on. paying attention to our communicathat we don’t know the answer. For instance, one day,



during an argument with my husband, i stormed out the door and was halfway around the block when, out of nowhere, i asked myself: Why am i doing this? i didn’t know the answer and despite my pain, i was curious. Suddenly, i was outside the defensive security of my red light, open to any and all possibilities. the in-between state of mind is a critical time for bringing peace into our homes and workplaces. Small acts of kindness that are either shared or withheld when the yellow light is flashing can make or break a relationship. once we’re in the red zone, it’s too late to engage in acts of kindness—we’re too mistrustful. i’ve seen this over and again working with couples—they reach a critical point when they can save their relationship by switching from me-first to we-first thinking. they can think about their children, pets, or anything that brings a larger picture to mind. acts of kindness at this point shift them into a temporary mood of gratitude. Feeling gratitude makes them more interested in moving forward. the yellow light points to those miraculous moments when we can open up, wag our tails, and play. We break the spell of our own personal agendas and awaken to genuine relationship. Such abrupt shifts seem to come out of nowhere in the middle of our most egocrunching experiences—such as admitting that we’ve made a mistake. When i think back to the early years and the arguments i’d have with my husband, i realize that the timeline of our 21-year marriage has been a series of turning points. at these turning points the path of our relationship could have led toward heaven or hell. our happiness is the result of thousands of small flashes of the yellow light, where we were able to transform disappointments and arguments into opportunities for unmasking, intimacy, and joy.

1 2 3

in time management

praCtiCeS to shift your relationship with time
by marC LeSSer

Arrive eArly
For the next seven days, see if you can be early for scheduled appointments. notice how this impacts your state of mind. Do meetings feel more spacious? Do you feel more relaxed and better prepared? Do you feel that more is actually accomplished? Sub-rule to practice 1: if you are late, relax. Just be late. Don’t punish yourself.

Focus on strengths
We often waste time focusing on what isn’t working, which spills over into time required to deal with bruised feelings. if you’re looking for what isn’t working, you may notice a lot, but you’ll limit what you can learn and use. look for strengths, in yourself and others, as a conscious practice, and you will find how much more energy—and time—you have to accomplish things. notice your state of mind during this practice. What supports you in this practice, and what gets in the way?

tAke A breAk For A breAkthrough
take a few minutes each day to step out of conventional clock time. taking this break may lead to a breakthrough, since many of our best ideas arise when we let our minds relax and wander. By relaxing our focus, we can be open to creative impulses, surprising questions, and, at times, robust answers. each day, for the next seven days, spend ten minutes on not focusing. Just let your mind wander; get up, move to a different space. Be aware of your breath, your body, your walking; notice your surroundings as though seeing things through fresh eyes. Bring a heightened sense of awareness to sensations of sight, sound, smell, and touch.

marC LeSSer is cEo of ZBa associates, an executive coaching and consulting company. He is a developer and instructor for the Search inside Yourself program at google and author of Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less.



in health

Letting Ourselves Heal
Saki Santorelli, director of the stress reduction program at the university of Massachusetts Medical School, says that healing begins when we uncover our vulnerable places.


ph oto © Jac K h ol li n g SWo rt h / c or B i S

n the interdependent domains of personal health and the health care professions, mindfulness—our capacity to pay attention, moment to moment, on purpose—is an immediately accessible ally. For those in pain as well as those serving to alleviate it, such careful attentiveness is one of the most vital elements of the healing process. on a daily basis, health practitioners find themselves face-to-face with the “bandaged place,” the place where a wound lies behind a protective covering. this tends to arrive in the guise of another person’s pain. yet so often it seems as if all of those whom we call patients have concealed and brought with them, into our unknowing presence, an empty mirror. then, when we glimpse “their” torn and wounded places, we behold, quite unexpectedly, reflections of ourselves. likewise, when as patients we are confronted with illness, with the unexpected, and on the receiving end of powerful suggestions from health practitioners about our future, it is easy to turn away from ourselves, losing all sense of direction, no longer trusting our innate wisdom and navigational sensitivities. But if, in these moments, we learn to stop and be present, we have a chance to learn a lot. in these moments, no matter what our role, so much seems to be at stake, so much of our identity ripe for loss, uncertainty, or displacement. and so we often turn quietly away. this is our

Saki F. SantoreLLi, Ed.d, Ma, is associate professor of medicine, executive director of the center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health care, and Society, and director of the Stress reduction Program at the university of Massachusetts Medical School. He is the author of Heal Thy Self: Lessons on Mindfulness in Medicine (three rivers Press).





Mindfulness isn’t about focused thinking, introspection, selfanalysis, or mental gymnastics. It’s simply about bringing full attention—not thinking—to whatever occurs.
common habit. it is understandable, because none of us wishes to be hurt. yet because this tendency is so pervasive, our intention, our continually renewing vow to practice being present to the full range of our unfolding lives, is an enormous resource. my own experience suggests that the willingness to stop and be present leads to seeing and relating to circumstances and events with more clarity and directness. out of this directness seems to emerge deeper understanding or insight into the life unfolding within and before us. Such insight allows us the possibility of choosing the responses most called for by the situation, rather than those reactively driven by fear, habit, or longstanding training. By virtue of being human, each one of us is on intimate terms with not being present. Because of this, our intimacy with this felt absence is a powerful ally. this is the terrain of mindfulness practice. each time we awaken to no longer being present to ourselves or to another person, it is, paradoxically, a moment of presence. if we are willing to see the whole of our lives as practice, our awareness of the moments when we are not present, coupled with our intention to awaken, brings us into the present. given our penchant for absence, opportunities for practicing presence are abundant. trouble), sitting upright yet at ease, placing your feet firmly on the floor, allowing the knees and feet to be about hip-width apart. Find a comfortable place for your hands, resting them in your lap. try folding them together or turning the palms up or down. if you are on the floor, placing a cushion or two under your buttocks can be helpful. this will encourage your pelvis to tilt forward and your knees to touch the floor, thereby providing a strong, stable base of support. again, find a comfortable place for your hands. now you’ve taken your seat. allow yourself to simply be with the feeling of sitting upright, solid, dignified, without pretense… settling into your seat, becoming aware of the flow of your breathing, sensing the rhythm of inhalation and exhalation, the feel of the breath coming into and leaving the body. Become aware of the rise and fall of the belly or the feeling of the breath at the tip of the nostrils or the sense of the whole breath coming in and going out. rather than thinking about the breath, allow yourself to feel the breath—the actual physical sensations of breathing—as the breath comes in and goes out. there’s no place to get to, nothing to change. Simply be aware of the breath in the body, coming and going, in and out. each time you notice that the mind has wandered away from the awareness of breathing, gently and firmly return to the feeling of breathing, to the tide of inhalation or exhalation. this wandering away might happen fifty times in the next five minutes. this is normal. Still, each time you notice that the mind has wandered, gently and firmly return to the feel of the breath. no need to scold yourself, no need to hold on to whatever enters the mind. Breathing. riding the waves of inhalation and exhalation. Just this breath…and this breath… and this breath. Simply dwelling in the flow of the breath. coming home, returning, through the awareness of the breath, to your wholeness, your completeness. right here, right now. try working with this practice for five to thirty minutes several times during the next week. if you’d like, try gradually increasing the length of time you devote to “formal” mindfulness practice.

MeditatioN oN tHe awareNeSS of BreatHiNG
meditation practice requires a disciplined, sustained effort. yet at heart, mindfulness meditation is about care, about a willingness to come up close to our discomfort and pain without judgment, striving, manipulation, or pretense. this gentle, open, nonjudgmental approach is both merciful and relentless, asking of us more than we might ever have expected. to practice in such a way, awareness of the breath is an effective, ever-available means for cultivating presence. Find a comfortable place to sit down. Sitting on the floor or in a straight-backed chair is fine. if you are in a chair, see whether you can ease off the back of the chair and support yourself (unless you have back


praCtiCe BaLaNCiNG tHe Heart-MiNd
Sometimes people confuse mind in the word mindfulness as having to do with thinking about or confining attention to cognition, imagining that we are being asked to engage in some form of introspection, discursive self-analysis, or mental gymnastics. Simply put, mindfulness is bringing a fullness of attention to whatever is occurring, and attention is not the same as thinking. the Sufi teacher hazrat inayat Khan said, “the mind is the surface of the heart, the heart the depth of the mind.” indeed, the language of many contemplative traditions suggests that the words for “mind” and “heart” are not different. likewise, the artist and calligrapher Kazuaki tanahashi describes the Japanese character for mindfulness as being composed of two interactive figures. one represents mind and the other, heart. heart and mind are not imagined as separate. From this perspective tanahashi translates mindfulness as “bringing the heart-mind to this moment.” Whether giving or receiving care, maintaining this heart-mind balance is not easy. all too often we ride the extremes—either we become lost in sympathy and the suffering of another or we find ourselves coolly observing, at a distance, aloof and uninvolved. the qualities of the quiet mind are spaciousness and clarity, the source of our capacity for discerning wisdom. the open heart is tender, warm, and flowing. together, these attributes allow us to feel deeply and to act wisely. even when acting means doing nothing. perhaps compassion, in the fullest sense, is the delicate balancing of a quiet mind and an open heart. there is abundant opportunity in the healing relationship for the cultivation of such a quality of presence. But what does “a quiet mind and an open heart” mean? What does this actually feel like? even though i cannot know how this feels to you, my sense is that we have all tasted this way of being. it is elusive, yet it is not something we have to get; rather, it is something to be revealed. Something we can cultivate through paying attention. Something to be alert to, both in its presence and in its absence.

Befriending Self
mindfulness is an act of hospitality. a way of learning to treat ourselves with kindness and care that slowly begins to percolate into the deepest recesses of our being while gradually offering us the possibility of relating to others in the same manner. Working with whatever is present is enough. there is no need to condemn ourselves for not feeling loving or kind. rather, the process simply asks us to entertain the possibility of offering hospitality to ourselves no matter what we are feeling or thinking. this has nothing to do with denial or selfjustification for unkind or undesirable actions, but it has everything to do with self-compassion when facing the rough, shadowy, difficult, or uncooked aspects of our lives. this week try taking some time to explore the possibility of sitting with yourself as if you were your own best friend. Dwelling in the awareness of the breath, allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go, experiment with the possibility of embracing yourself as you would embrace another person who is dear to you and needs to be held. if you like, try silently repeating a phase on your own behalf. you might offer yourself one or more of the following: May I be safe. May I be free from suffering. May I be peaceful. Find the words that are right for you in this moment of your life. this may feel awkward, foreign, or lacking in authenticity. none of these feelings need be denied. nevertheless, if this act of intrapsychic hospitality appeals to you, give yourself the room to work with this practice as a way of caring for yourself. Such a way of working with ourselves is not meant to foster egocentricity or selfishness. it is just asking us to step back into the circle of caring and include ourselves. mindful

i m ag e © i S to c K ph oto.c o m / ni B B 13

in eating

of Mindfulness
Whether you overeat, undereat, or just feel conflicted about how you eat, mindfulness practice, says physician Jan Chozen Bays, can help you rediscover a healthy and joyful relationship with food.

indful eating is not directed by charts, tables, pyramids, or scales. it is not dictated by an expert. it is directed by your own inner experiences, moment by moment. your experience is unique. therefore you are the expert. in the process of learning to eat mindfully, we replace self-criticism with self-nurturing, anxiety with curiosity, and shame with respect for your own inner wisdom. let’s take a typical experience. on the way home from work Sally thinks with dread about the talk she needs to work on for a big




Jan Chozen bayS is a pediatrician, mother, wife, and longtime meditation teacher. She is the author of Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (Shambhala Publications).

conference. Before starting to work on the speech, however, she decides to relax and watch a few minutes of tv. She sits down with a bag of chips. at first she eats only a few, but as the show gets more dramatic, she eats faster and faster. When the show ends she looks down and realizes she’s eaten the entire bag. She scolds herself for wasting time and for eating junk food. “too much salt and fat! no dinner for you!” engrossed in the drama on the screen, covering up her anxiety about procrastinating, she ignored what was happening in her mind, heart, mouth, and stomach. She ate unconsciously. She ate to go unconscious. She goes to bed unnourished in body or heart and with her mind still anxious about the talk. the next time this happens she decides to eat chips but to try eating them mindfully. First she checks in with her mind. She finds her mind is worried about an article she promised to write. her mind says she needs to get started on it tonight. She checks in with

her heart and finds she is feeling a little lonely because her husband is out of town. She checks in with her stomach and body and discovers she is both hungry and tired. She needs some nurturing. the only one at home to do it is herself.

ph otoS © i S to c Kph oto.c o m / J oa n e K / l lo r e t

tHrowiNG a SMaLL party
She decides to treat herself to a small chip party. (remember, mindful eating gives us permission to play with our food.) She takes twenty chips out of the bag and arranges them on a plate. She looks at their color and shape. She eats one chip, savoring its flavor. She pauses, then eats another. there is no judgment, no right or wrong. She is simply seeing the shades of tan and brown on each curved surface, tasting the tang of salt, hearing the crunch of each bite, feeling the crisp texture melt into softness. She ponders how these chips arrived on her plate, aware of the sun, the mindful

soil, the rain, the potato farmer, the workers at the chip factory, the delivery truck driver, the grocer who stocked the shelves and sold them to her. With little pauses between each chip, it takes ten minutes for the chip party. When she finishes, she checks in with her body to find out if any part of it is still hungry. She finds her mouth and cells are thirsty, so she gets a drink of orange juice. her body is also saying it needs some protein and something green, so she makes a cheese omelet and a spinach salad. after eating she checks in again with her mind, body, and heart. the heart and body feel nourished but the mind is still tired. She decides to go to bed and work on the talk first thing in the morning, when the mind and body will be rested. She is still feeling lonely, although less so within the awareness of all the beings whose life energy brought her the chips, eggs, cheese, and greens. She decides to call her husband to say good night. She goes to bed with body, mind, and heart at ease and sleeps soundly. mindful eating is a way to rediscover one of the most pleasurable things we do as human beings. it also is a path to uncovering many wonderful activities going on right under our noses and within our own bodies. mindful eating has the unexpected benefit of helping us tap into our body’s natural wisdom and our heart’s natural capacity for openness and gratitude. We ask ourselves questions like: Am I hungry? Where do I feel hunger? What part of me is hungry? What do I really crave? What am I tasting just now? these are very simple questions, but we seldom pose them.

in this third bite. i sit down, get to work, and wait a few minutes. then i take a fourth bite, fully focused on the smells, tastes, and touch sensations in my mouth. Delicious, again! i discover, all over again (i’m a slow

Ask yourself: What am I tasting right now?
learner) that the only way to keep that “first bite” experience, to honor the gift my friend gave me, is to eat slowly, with long pauses between bites. if i do anything else while i’m eating—if i talk, walk, write, or even think—the flavor diminishes or disappears. the life is drained from my beautiful tart. i could be eating the cardboard box. here’s the humorous part. i stopped tasting the lemon tart because i was thinking. about what? mindful eating! Discovering that, i grin. to be a human being is both pitiful and funny. Why can’t i think, walk, and be aware of the taste of the tart at the same time? i can’t do all these at once because the mind has two distinct functions, thinking and awareness. When the thinking is turned up, the awareness is turned down. When the thinking function is going full throttle, we can eat an entire meal, an entire cake, an entire carton of ice cream, and not taste more than a bite or two. When we don’t taste, we can end up stuffed to the gills but feeling completely unsatisfied. this is because the mind and mouth weren’t present, weren’t tasting or enjoying, as we ate. the stomach became full but the mind and mouth were unfulfilled and continued calling for us to eat. if we don’t feel satisfied, we’ll begin to look around for something more or something different to eat. everyone has had the experience of roaming the kitchen, opening cupboards and doors, looking vainly for something, anything, to satisfy. the only thing that will cure this, a fundamental kind of hunger, is to sit down and be, even for a few minutes, wholly present. if we eat and stay connected with our experience and with the people who grew and cooked the food, who served the food, and who eat alongside us, we will feel most satisfied, even with a meager meal. this is the gift of mindful eating, to restore our sense of satisfaction no matter what we are or are not eating.

MiNdfuLNeSS iS tHe BeSt fLavoriNG
as i write this i am eating a lemon tart that a friend gave to me. after writing for a few hours i’m ready to reward myself with a tart. the first bite is delicious. creamy, sweet-sour, melting. When i take the second bite, i think about what to write next. the flavor in my mouth decreases. i take another bite and get up to sharpen a pencil. as i walk, i notice i am chewing, but there is almost no lemon flavor



in Cooking

LenTiL Soup wiTh CuMin, CoriAnDer AnD LeMon
i made this soup at a cooking class once, along with pimento pizza and pear crisp. Several students thought it was the best part of the dinner. lentils are like that—ordinary yet winsome. See what you think. the instructions also give you the option of sautéing the vegetables or simply adding them directly to the soup. you can make the soup especially appealing if you grind the seasonings freshly (in a spice grinder or coffee mill), and use a good lemon (organic, if possible, or from your yard). this is also a fine soup for getting to know the ingredients by tasting carefully before and after adding each one: tasting the lentils, then lentils with vegetables and garlic, then with cumin, with coriander, with lemon, and finally with parsley.


Slow down in the kitchen, says renowned chef and meditator edward espe Brown.
Finding out how to cook or how to work with others is something that comes with doing it, feeling your way along. and the more you master your craft, the more you know that the way is to keep finding out the way, not by just doing what you are already good at, but by going off into the darkness. my teacher, Suzuki roshi, once emphasized this point during a week of intensive meditation. “Zen,” he said, “is to feel your way along in the dark, not knowing what you will meet, not already knowing what to do. most of us don’t like going so slowly, and we would like to think it is possible to figure everything out ahead of time, but if you go too fast or are not careful enough, you will bump into things. So just feel your way along in the dark, slowly and carefully,” and he gestured with his hand out in front of him, feeling this way and that in the empty air. “When you do things with this spirit, you don’t know what the results will be, but because you carefully feel your way along, the results will be okay. you can trust what will happen.”
edward eSpe brown is author of The Tassajara Bread Book, Tassajara Cooking, The Complete Tassajara Cookbook: Recipes, Techniques, and Reflections from the Famed Zen Kitchen, and Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings.

your way along

SerVeS 4 to 6 peopLe 1 cup lentils 8 cups water 1 bay leaf 1 medium yellow onion, diced 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional) 2 cloves of garlic, minced 2 stalks of celery, diced 2 carrots 1 teaspoon cumin seed, freshly ground 2 teaspoons coriander seed, freshly ground peel of ½ lemon Salt (optional) a few sprigs flat-leaved parsley, minced for garnish
Sort through the lentils for stones or other debris. place in a large pot, add water and bay leaf and bring to boil. reduce heat and simmer 30 to 45 minutes, until the lentils are soft. the lentils could also be pressure cooked. once they are soft, see what they taste like. if you want the soup to be ready soon, sauté the onion in the olive oil for several minutes, until it is translucent. then add the garlic, celery, and carrot. Sauté a couple more minutes, then add a bit of water. cover, reduce the heat and cook until tender. add to the cooked lentils. Season with the cumin, coriander, and lemon peel. Salt may be needed. For a more leisurely soup, do not sauté; simply add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, cumin, and coriander to the lentils after they are tender. continue cooking 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. add the lemon peel. Before serving, check the seasoning and garnish with the parsley. mindful

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in leaderShip

finding the space

to Lead

Mindfulness helps leaders see, hear, and think with greater clarity, according to Janice Marturano, who teaches mindfulness to leaders in corporate settings.

JaniCe L. marturano is vice president, public responsibility, and deputy general counsel for general Mills, and director of leadership education, center for Mindfulness.


t really worked!” announced one of the corporate leaders as she arrived early for a mindful leadership practice session. Susan (as we’ll call her) was visibly happy and excited, an unusual response for 4:00 p.m. on a workday. When i asked her what was up, she told me she had just come from a meeting where a major change in corporate direction was announced that would result in months spent reworking something that was well underway. normally such an event would have made Susan so upset she would need to be, in her own words, “scraped off the ceiling.” But this time, she said, she drew on the mindfulness training she had been practicing over the past several weeks and discovered she had the capacity to respond in a different, more skillful way. First, she recognized the arising of a familiar form of reactivity, and then, in a momentary pause, noticed the possibility of meeting the situation differently. as i listened to Susan, i was struck by the sense that her joy reflected a much deeper discovery: that a spaciousness and freedom from reactive, auto-pilot leadership can be accessed by cultivating mindfulness. leaders remember something fundamental about being a human being as they recognize that there is a way to meet each moment of their lives without reactivity, judging, and storytelling. these are not only unnecessary but also cloud their ability to see clearly what is actually there and respond with

greater wisdom. in these times, can leaders afford to do otherwise? the mindful leadership curricula we have been presenting combine some of the latest neuroscience discoveries with established mental disciplines drawn from the meditative tradition. mindful leadership training is not about relaxation. it offers the intensive mental discipline training of mindfulness meditation in a context that recognizes the unprecedented challenges and opportunities facing leaders today. it invites leaders to explore for themselves the possibility of bringing all of their mind’s capacities to each moment of their lives. mindfulness training teaches leaders to rely not just on analytical resources and strengths, but to intentionally cultivate and strengthen the mind’s capacity to be fully present. in so doing, leaders begin to see and hear and think with greater clarity, and perhaps to expand the repertoire of possibilities and responses in their lives. the journey to develop the mindful leadership curricula began in 2005 during a discussion among colleagues at the university of massachusetts’ center for mindfulness. We were talking about how, despite the increasing spread of mindfulness throughout many aspects of society, a comprehensive methodology to bring mindfulness to organizations seemed notably absent. although there had been many attempts, none had the sustained impact i sensed might be possible. mindful

ph oto ©t i m Dav i S / c or B i S


leader becomes the experimenter and collects his or her own data. Some of the data is familiar; some is newly discovered and holds the promise of more deeply understanding ourselves and bringing our true and complete self to leadership. over the last twenty years as a leader in for-profit and non-profit organizations, i have noticed a few common qualities among the most influential leaders: pursuit of excellence, open curiosity, integrity, and respect and caring for others. my experience with mindful leadership further reinforces this observation. leaders who attend mindful leadership retreats are often taking a leap of faith into an area they know little about, and yet their inquisitive nature encourages them to explore mindfulness just as they would any other new territory. the retreats are intense, yet the leaders are willing to work hard to meet that intensity. in fact, the physical and mental challenge of mindful leadership training aligns with their belief in pursuing excellence. rather than being a hurdle, it keeps leaders in the game. the training also draws out their integrity and caring for others when they take a pause from the constant busyness that can infect us all and begin to reflect on what really is at the core of their authentic leadership. they notice the potential to lead with greater clarity, with more transparency, and with less storytelling about the future and the past. When i speak with leaders about attending the retreats, i am frequently asked, “What do you know about the impact of this training on leaders?” to answer this question, we started collecting qualitative responses at the first retreat. this group was made up of leaders from general mills, where i work, and i knew firsthand that they had access to some of the best leadership training available. i was pleasantly surprised, then, when the most commonly used word among all of the feedback responses Cultivating Leadership presence through Mindfulness Mindful Leadership@work was “transformative.” A 4 ½-day retreat, 80 respondents A 7-week course, 40+ respondents to take our research on impacts further, we • Please rate how much change, if any, has occurred for you • I am able to be fully attentive to a conversation. wondered if there would in the following attitudes and behaviors as a result of your Pre-course: 26%, Post-course: 77% be value in asking about participation in mindfulness (retreat and practice). specific leadership qual• I am able to make time on most days to prioritize my work. ities, such as strategic Percent reporting positive change: Pre-course: 17%, Post- course: 54% thinking, decision mak93% Taking time to reflect…space for discovery/innovation ing, listening deeply, 89% Enhanced listening…to self and others • I am able to notice when my attention has been pulled increasing productivity, 88% Exhibiting patience…with self and others away and redirect it to the present. and decreasing reac80% Making better decisions…clarity Pre-course: 23%, Post-course: 67% tivity. So in 2009, we undertook two studies. Since leaders were not cultivating leadership Presence through Mindfulness and Mindful leadership@Work are © 2010 Janice l. Marturano.

it seemed clear that the way to have the greatest impact on any organization was to bring mindfulness training to its leaders. But offering mindfulness-Based Stress reduction to leaders was not the solution. the classic mBSr format focuses on stress, and many leaders simply would not invest the time needed to experience and understand the potential of mindfulness training if the benefit were merely stress reduction. mindful leadership training would need to explore benefits far beyond stress reduction. the journey would not be about bringing mindfulness training to leaders; it would be about cultivating leadership presence. ideally, the mindful leadership program would bring together the mental training of mindfulness meditation with an understanding—from the inside out—of the challenges, complexities, opportunities, and responsibilities of today’s leaders. there was no road map to follow in developing this new approach, and it would depend on ongoing dialogue with the participants. a daunting challenge, but thankfully one that i began with an extraordinary partner: Saki Santorelli, executive director of the university of massachusetts center for mindfulness. together, we began this journey with a pilot group of thirteen leaders and a newly developed curriculum entitled cultivating leadership presence through mindfulness. Four years and more than 350 graduates later, a unique exploration of mindful leadership has emerged. this exploration takes place in a laboratory that can take the form of a multi-day residential retreat or a series of consecutive weekly classes. each

how Leaders responded to Mindfulness Training



A Mindful Calendar
nce leaders understand and practice the basics of formal mindfulness meditation, we invite them to take the training into everyday life through informal practices. Some of the richest explorations of mindfulness come from simply paying attention to the daily calendar. in this practice, leaders are asked to notice the sensations in their body as they review a single calendar page from their schedules. almost instantly, when leaders pause long enough, they notice that their chest or stomach has tightened or their neck has tensed up. they begin to become curious about those messages from the body. they begin to question the status quo. For many of us, a calendar of meeting after meeting seems inevitable. We have to do it! But is the schedule that’s been laid down for us— often by a variety of other people—carved in stone? Do we believe that if someone thinks we are needed in a meeting, we can’t turn it down? after all, we are leaders, so we must be needed, right? With a pause that opens us to the present—that allows us to notice how the body is meeting the beginning of the day—we can become more reflective


about our choices. What is the best use of our time? how many meetings do we attend even when others on our team are in attendance? Do we attend because we work in a culture where everyone needs to know everything? Do we live in an environment that is so competitive that there is a sense that constant visibility is necessary to ensure advancement? how many meetings are a complete waste of time? in a global economy with increasingly scarce resources, is this how leaders should be meeting the day? calendar practice also raises questions about cultivating space for the teams we lead to grow, about the barriers to innovation that arise from a simple lack of space in the day, and about the allure of reacting to situations simply to get something off the to-do list. these and many other discoveries all begin with the simple act of intentionally pausing to practice mindfulness for a few moments. in that small opening, the possibility emerges of meeting the day with more openness and flexibility in our chest, stomach, and neck, and a corresponding spaciousness of mind that allows us to lead ourselves and others more effectively through the chaos and complexity of our day. — Janice marturano mindful


in body so interested in whether the training would help them handle stress, we didn’t do typical mindfulness research, which measures biological and psychological indicators of stress. What we wanted to know was whether the training would affect how well they would lead, and to our delight the answers were consistently strong, as the sample data in the box shows. We also did a pre- and post-course survey of midlevel managers who participated in a seven-week, two-hour-per-week, mindful leadership@Work course. all 19 categories we looked at showed statistically significant positive change. in addition, we’ve noticed interest in the program going viral: colleagues of leaders who have participated in the programs routinely tell others about the changes they have noticed in the leaders who have taken part, and of course the leaders themselves speak about their experiences. one of our key assumptions in this work has been that if leaders embody mindful leadership, the impact on their organizations would be significant whether or not their teams were trained in mindfulness. if, for example, they use the calendar exercise on the preceding page, what kind of ripple effect does that have? What if the leader begins to question the volume of meetings, perhaps delegating more, or being more intentional about leaving space in the day for connecting with colleagues and direct reports? What is the impact on the organization and the community if a leader routinely has enough space in their day to ask if there are better ways to do things—ones that are more productive, more profitable, more compassionate, more socially responsible? the work that began with the four-and-half-day cultivating leadership presence through mindfulness retreat has unfolded to include many other offerings under the mindful leadership umbrella, including a seven-week course for all levels of an organization, an annual mindful leaders alumni retreat, a mindfulness meditations for leaders cD and a wide variety of weekly, bi-monthly, and internet meditation practice supports. all of these emerged in response to leaders asking for something more to support their exploration. leaders lead, so once they were touched by mindful leadership, they had plenty of ideas about where else mindfulness might be brought into their organizations. So, the mindful leadership work has spread quickly to leaders from more than 30 organizations, because leaders tell other leaders about their experiences—particularly when they help them find better ways to lead in the face of change and uncertainty.

Mind and
the most important part of any body discipline, says well-known yoga teacher Cyndi Lee, is noticing how our mind and body affect each other.
ince he was wearing such a charming smile, i wasn’t particularly alarmed when a strange guy on the street grabbed my arm and said, “you don’t remember me, do you?” turns out he was wrong about that. i remembered axel very well. it took me only a second to recognize this open-faced, snappily dressed man as the young tough guy who used to attend my morning yoga classes ten years ago. Back then axel didn’t look so friendly. along with a shaved head and many tats, his numerous piercings gave off an aggressive vibe that seemed to say, “Don’t even think of bothering me.” he kept to himself but he also kept coming back to yoga class. he paid good attention and was energetic and determined in class—maybe too determined. he reminded me of a hard-boiled egg, all his youthful energy and heat turned inward and covered with a thin but unyielding shell. So i was surprised the day he raised his hand to ask a question. We’d been working on exercises to open the shoulders and chest muscles in preparation for doing a big backbend, one that was not available to axel yet. all the students went quiet. he asked, “is the reason i can’t do a backbend because my heart is closed?”


Cyndi Lee is one of america’s leading teachers at the intersection of yoga and meditation. She is the founder of oM yoga center in new York city and teaches retreats and workshops internationally.




why can’t they just get along?
mat with each downward dog pose; noticing my thoughts without judgment in each detoxifying deeptwist; softening into a stretch rather than straining. as i stroke my mom’s hair and spoon-feed her tiny bites of applesauce, i realize these delicate moments are what i’ve been practicing for over all those years. axel’s question was like a crack in the eggshell, letting out a little bit of his natural goodness. as the teacher, it was my job to mirror that back to him. “axel, your heart isn’t closed. it’s just that the muscles of your chest and shoulders are tight, and that’s no big deal. We can easily work on that.” a lot of what we normally think, say, and do is habitual, so it may seem ironic that when we practice yoga we also engage in repetitive activity. We do sun salutations day in and day out, but what makes it yoga as opposed to unconscious habit is awareness. this is the most important part of the practice. yoga is not just about the doing; it’s also how we are doing what we are doing that makes it yoga. Drip, drip, drip, the practice eventually balances our mind and body and we find that we have changed in a good way, become more functional and connected to ourself and others. axel didn’t have a lot of time to chat. he’s busy these days with his wife and new baby. he mostly practices yoga at home since his business has taken off. as he walked away with a little wave, the sun reflected off his beautiful bald egghead.

axel tended to put too much effort in to his physical yoga practice. unless he was hammering away— grabbing for his toes in forward bends, pounding the wall in handstand kicks, squeezing everything in standing balances—he literally couldn’t feel anything. many of us have the same habit, pushing and pulling as hard as we can. this creates a response loop that causes us to lose the ability to be sensitive to the subtle unfolding of our mind and body. But when axel asked that question it was obvious to everyone but him that he had changed. his consistent yoga practice had begun eroding his aggressive attitude in the same way that rain wears down rock. the sharp edges soften and the stone hollows, becoming a cup that receives water and turns it into refreshment. the only problem was that even though axel was softening inside, his habitual way of relating to himself as a tough guy hadn’t changed. Just as my parents didn’t treat me like an adult until i was about 45-years-old, we don’t always notice as we, or our loved ones, evolve, soften, harden, expand, and contract. as i write this, i am sitting at the bedside of my sick, elderly mother. at 85, she has changed a lot. her mind is too loose and she can’t hold thoughts and words together very well. as i hold her soft, little hands, bruised from so many ivs, but still sporting girly pink nail polish, i am grateful for my yoga practice. i’ve trained myself to move mindfully—sensitively feeling the texture of my yoga

ph oto © tom a S roDrig ueZ / corBiS



kriSti neLSon is a trainer and consultant with the center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health care, and Society and the Soul of Money institute. She is currently writing a workbook on values-aligned fundraising.



in money

Kristi Nelson shows us how awareness of our innermost thoughts about money can ease tension and bring more creativity to our financial affairs

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oney is a loaded subject. no matter where we currently sit on the continuum of “enough,” our relationship to money is often burdensome. and for those of us committed to living mindfully, it is no less so. mindfulness helps us cultivate qualities of attention so that we can more fully greet and be available for what unfolds in our lives. and yet, when we come face to face with pivotal financial moments—a depleted checkbook, an investment decision, asking for a loan, coveting something we cannot afford, or riding the stock market rollercoaster—mindful attitudes we embody so seamlessly in other moments can disappear. at these times, we can be prone to unconscious emotions and behaviors that lead to suffering. Fortunately, to the same degree that money is an area of our lives fraught with challenges or neglect, it’s also a pathway that can lead us to greater insight, agency, and ease. in the 25 years i have guided organizations and individuals toward a more fulfilling and effective relationship to money, i have learned that despite the vast differences between us, we have much in common in terms of why we struggle with money, and how we can experience greater peace about it. here is a three-part practice you can use to improve your relationship with money.



➤ look inside
each of us has a unique money story we carry around and express to the world in countless ways. these stories—our money baggage—can become the unexamined default settings that control our financial lives. Becoming mindful about money means, first, deconstructing the sources of the stories we tell ourselves. We cannot transcend what we cannot see. consider the role of these influences: • Your “InherItance” We are products of our ancestors and immediate families, as well as our cultural and class backgrounds. messages, maxims, and myths about money are overtly and subtly conveyed to us. are there stories and messages you heard repeatedly growing up? What were you told is “true” about money? how much was “enough” in your family? What attitudes about money or class did you inherit? What were you taught about people from other classes? how might you still be paying allegiance to this history? • Your DrIven Self We all have early beliefs about money that we unwittingly adopted. these beliefs can drive our behavior, filtering what we are able to see. a scarcity mentality keeps us from noticing sufficiency in our lives. Feelings of insatiability make us vulnerable to intoxicating dreams and promises of abundance. Deprivation can result in closeted forms of gluttony. how have desire and aversion played out in your relationship with money? have you mistaken some of your drivers as your identity? • Your hIDDen Self What are you hiding in relation to money? What judgment do you fear? Wealthy people often hide their riches, just as those who struggle with money hide their debt. When we hide what is true, we become “class impostors.” how, in both small and large ways, might you misrepresent the truth about money in your life? how does this keep you from having authentic relationships? our money stories are powerful; they can either keep us arrested in illusion or direct us to insight. let these unconscious places percolate up to your awareness. once you understand the factors influencing you, you can begin to act with greater discernment.

Wonder gently. We all sometimes mistake our story for who we are. Stories are meant to be convincing.

➤ look outside
our internal conditions create vulnerabilities that Western societies have set themselves up to “solve.” it’s hard not to be susceptible to the myriad financial remedies and prescriptions that bombard us from the outside. But these “solutions” can narrowly define us and reinforce the status quo rather than encourage us to question the assumptions behind them. • Your PlanS traditional money mavens counsel us to set ambitious goals, create elaborate budgets, and develop long-term financial plans. their guidance is heavily weighted toward trading away the present moment to prepare for—and protect against—an unknown future, and is based in assumptions: We must all want to be wealthy, retire early, and have lots of luxuries…with no taxes. to be mature means having a long list of goals focused on “more.” ends trump means. Security is measured as purely financial. even some of the most “enlightened” advice owes its roots to these assumptions. • Your SPenDIng in our culture, few habits are as deeply ingrained as the desire to acquire, and few delights rival having scored a bargain, indulged successfully, or invested wisely. our identities and pleasures become inextricably linked with where we put our money and what this says about us. We develop tastes that need to be expressed and fulfilled, and we reveal our unique fingerprint to the world through the choices we make, including our investments. even yoga, meditation, and simplicity have been commercialized. We need to stay very mindful; consumerism is a favored domain of mindlessness. • Your earnIng We are not what we earn. Just because we can charge $100 per hour doesn’t mean we should, and just because it might be difficult for us to charge $100 an hour doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. if asked by a prospective employer for our required salary range, where do we place the bottom? Doesn’t a range imply a ceiling? Do you have a ceiling of “enough?” money

has become falsely bound up with success, worth, and entitlement. From this entangled place, we can rarely think clearly about what we truly need and value. it takes very focused work to untangle the places where our thinking and behavior related to money have become convoluted. We may know, intellectually, that security is not “material,” that we are not what we own, and that our lives are not equal to what we earn. But this conditioning goes deep and is reinforced almost everywhere. We are under the weight of tremendous social pressures about money, and getting free requires an equally tremendous commitment.

advances what matters to you. how do your values show up in your income? how don’t they? Do you hold onto money out of fear? Do you give away more than you can truly afford? Do you have more than you need? less than you need? notice. honestly. ultimately, the antidote to being susceptible to the pull of our internal stories and the lure of society’s money messages may rest in unequivocally knowing what we stand for, and aspiring to embody that in every single financial decision we make. as cheri huber, author of Transform Your Life: A Year of Awareness Practice, says, “how you do anything is how you do everything.” everything is a chance at freedom. • Your choIce prominently display some of your values: Write them on your checkbook, computer screen, wallet, and credit cards. remind yourself what you stand for. try bringing balance to your checkbook every month. Be generous—give something meaningful away. Start a sufficiency conversation every day. express gratitude for all the ways you are rich. Be transparent with a friend. nourish community. express compassion by making a thoughtful donation. What else can you do to start a mindful money movement in your life?

➤ look At the Whole Picture
time, energy, and love are forms of currency, as is money. What we do with these precious resources tells the hard truth about who we are and what matters to us. We claim and re-claim ourselves in the allocation of our currencies. our clear intentions can form a touchstone for our financial freedom, just as the breath moving in and out of our bodies can be the touchstone for mindfulness practice. • Your valueS much as our bodies align around the spine, our financial lives need to align with the template of our values. We must consistently explore, define, and check our values. What do you truly stand for? What principles and beliefs do you want to express with your life? What commitments do you want to advance? how much is your enough point? What difference do you want to make? What is the real cost of more/less than enough to your life, relationships, and the world? articulating our core values is not an idle exercise. it is powerful and humbling, and plants us on the cushion of self-responsibility and accountability. the work of our values is to be alive—how we do and don’t bring our values to life is our work. • Your MoneY choose to look very clearly at how money comes into your life and where it goes. the raw truth of our money trail tells an important story. Details matter. hold every allocation against your values template and examine the degree to which it contradicts or

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if we commit to a mindful relationship to money as a portal to learning, we can befriend what we have been ignoring, release myths we’ve been harboring, and live more fully the life we want—and the world needs. allowing money to be front and center in our attention, we can take a deep breath each time we face a pivotal financial moment, and explore new possibilities for having money illustrate what we truly want to embody in our lives. mindful

Look who’s practicing
Mindfulness and awareness

mindfulness lessens the anxiety that can paralyze my life and has, with professional help, enabled me to give up antidepressant medication after 20 years. Linda York, wellness program developer

mindfulness has broadened the way i look at life’s circumstances. it’s given me a larger container in which to handle the discomforts of my chronic illness. i avoid creating stories that steal the moment and undermine life’s happiness. Cynthia Taberner, homelessness case worker

mindfulness is a journey that helps me cope with the unique stressors of police work and being in the military reserves. it has great application for first responders who suffer from compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. it offers age-old coping mechanisms that we are just beginning to understand scientifically. Richard Goerling, police officer and Coast Guard reservist

mindfulness affects how i walk from my car to the classroom, how i greet each student as they enter the room, the methods i use when offering Bach’s great music. mindfulness reminds me why i love being a teacher. Jane Corbin, music teacher, public high school

if i dash around until the last second, i often feel scattered and self-centered when i arrive at my classroom. if i give myself breathing space between preparing for the school day and entering my classroom, i’m much more generous and calm. Nicole Pitman, teacher


in our nine-week class, we explored the potential to stay present and embrace mindfulness as a way to powerfully experience the birth of our children and to enter parenting. of ten couples, nine have continued as a parenting group over the past four years. Koichi Naruishi and Lisa Griffin, parents

Walking down the street now, i’ll stop and notice flowers on a tree. in the shower, i’ll pause and notice the water on my body and how my mind wants to plan instead of experience. i judge less and embrace more. Harriet Stein, trainer at a global health care organization

mindfulness smoothes out the side effects of my cancer therapies (depression, stress, anxiety, body pain, etc.). it allows me to do rather than react. Erik Marrero, retiree and yoga teacher

i’ve become friendlier with my own thoughts and more aware of my own bodily sensations and mental processes. While i still struggle with previous traumas and future expectations, i’m more aware that i float between yesterdays and tomorrows. Chaz Southard, psychotherapy student

instead of being a person whose thoughts have her, i am now a person who is having thoughts. i am watching myself have thoughts and they can’t blindside me. they can be examined and either rejected or accepted. Jennifer Cheyne, mother and college student

to share your mindfulness experiences: write to profiles@ and we’ll send you a short questionnaire.

mindfulness enabled me to put full attention into complex challenges and remain positive throughout a long, hard year as the only civilian development advisor inside our military headquarters in iraq. Robert Birkenes, foreign service officer, USAID mindful



Small is Bountiful
urban pantry
Tips & Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen By Amy Pennington Skipstone, 2010; 176 pp., $19.95 (paper)

reviewed by Sharon Hunt

n my thirties, i ate out more often than i ate at home. i justified this because i worked sixty-hour weeks at a corporate job, where going to lunch was a given, as was returning with something for dinner at my desk. eating out was not only a necessity, but it was also my reward for working all the time. During one particularly busy work week—from monday morning to Saturday night—i didn’t wash any dishes. my kitchen sink held one teaspoon, two juice glasses, and three coffee mugs. When i decided to change my life, i moved to another city and took up work in the world of food. i worked in a great restaurant and its winter cooking school, quickly falling in love with the food culture i’d become a part of. the chefs’ passion for great food became my passion too. although i was never going to become a professional chef, i knew i would devote a lot of my life to getting back in touch with real food and its importance for the health of individuals and communities. my kitchen, once packed with processed meals requiring just the opening of a microwave oven, began filling with seasonal fruits and vegetables and local cheeses and meats, all of which required care and gratitude in the preparation. now i cook every day and bake a few times a week. the


serenity i feel in the kitchen can’t be duplicated. preparing food has become a meditation practice, clearing my mind of everything but the task at hand. this same meditative quality permeates amy pennington’s new book, Urban Pantry: Tips & Recipes for a Thrifty, Sustainable & Seasonal Kitchen. it is clear pennington loves food. in addition to being a food writer, she is also a gardener. her business (gogo green garden) plants and tends gardens for people living in cities, and her website ( matches gardeners with gardening space. her book’s dedication lets you know how she feels about food: “may you be playful in life, confident in the kitchen, and surrounded by friends and good food, always.” her confidence in the kitchen comes, in part, from a wellstocked pantry. as she writes in the first chapter, “if i were to be snowed in for weeks on end, i would not go hungry. in fact, i’d be eating pretty well (and so would my neighbors).” Such generosity in sharing food is a trait of food lovers, whether chefs in high-end restaurants or volunteers in local food kitchens. people need to share food; they nourish themselves when they nourish others. pennington’s devotion to sharing and growing a food community is detailed in many ways in the book. For example, she started a “canning society” with her friends that gathers weekly to preserve in-season produce for the coming winter. the Stockpilers, as they call themselves, remind me of the women’s auxiliary groups associated with churches. Both my grandmothers belonged to one of those. having raised families during the Depression, they understood how important it was to the health of a community to gather, cook, and share the food they produced. the book’s subtitle contains three words that have come to mean a lot in my food education: thrifty, sustainable, and seasonal. pennington provides solid tips for each of these. Some are familiar, but worth reading again, such as buying whole food items in bulk to save money, while buying smaller amounts to ensure the food doesn’t go bad and have to be thrown out. She also gives a great tip to cut down on food waste, asking readers “to be mindful of little food scraps that are sometimes left behind and easily disposed of as waste. ask yourself, ‘Will i be able to use this in the future?’ before throwing it out. more often than not, the answer will be yes.” pennington sets out a good staples list that includes flours, sugars, oils, vegetables, and herbs. throughout Urban Pantry there are other helpful lists, like the one for spices that ensures you have a formidable range of flavor combinations at your fingertips. the first recipe in the book is “Whole grain Bread,” a fitting beginning since bread is the foundation of most food cultures.

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a nice mixture of vegetarian and meat-based dishes follows, none of them requiring great expense or too many ingredients. pennington understands that the best cooking is often created with a few items. her cooking instructions are easy to follow and preparation times are short, an important consideration for those who insist they can’t fit cooking into their busy lives. many recipes can be used in various ways, from garnishes to side dishes to main courses. my favorites include cucumber Quick pickles, Spiced Kibbe (a middle eastern meat-based dish), vegetable Scrap Stock, and tomato and cinnamon chickpeas. each recipe has a pantry note to help you store the ingredients to elicit their maximum flavor, and additional tips to ensure that the dish turns out the best it can. the fact that there aren’t many photos is a plus, as far as i’m concerned: you’re not pitting yourself against a glossy and perfect-looking finished dish. cooking is best when it isn’t a competition. one of the best parts of this excellent book, and an appropriate conclusion to pennington’s food-sharing philosophy, is the last chapter. about pantry gardens, she writes: Small kitchen gardens are an incomparable extension to a well-stocked pantry… equally important are the sheer economics involved in growing food at home. a cluster of fresh herbs may cost three to five dollars at the grocery store… one plant start costs about the same… Seed swapping is truly the best deal of all. Sharing a packet of seeds among friends allows you to split the cost and sort through others’ seed stocks for inspiration. this is so familiar to me, having grown up with a father who planted a vegetable garden every spring, and spent the summer and fall months cooking, canning, and sharing the tomatoes, zucchinis, potatoes, beet, carrots, and green peas that thrived in his care. he also gathered seeds for the following year and shared them with other urban gardeners. Urban Pantry is a small book. it fits nicely in your hands for reading, unlike some food tomes being published today. it won’t intimidate you and it doesn’t require a science degree to understand. it’s about the food many of us remember from growing up. and now that the vital connection between healthy food and healthy communities is becoming more and more clear, this book about simple, everyday food has arrived right on time.
Sharon hunt is a freelance writer living in St. John’s, newfoundland. Her passion for great, and simple, food was rekindled while working at the Stratford chefs School in Stratford, ontario.

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Books on the Mind
By Barry Boyce
ith each passing publishing season more and more books worth reading are coming out about mindfulness, awareness, and compassion. here’s a sampling of some i’ve added to my shelf in the past year. Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness (Da capo), by Susan l. Smalley and Diana Winston, seamlessly combines easy-to-read reports on scientific research with firstperson accounts and practice instructions. it’s a lively read that led me to stop and reflect many times. the last two chapters, where Smalley and Winston focus more on awareness, are particularly helpful. awareness is not just attention. it is deep insight into how we are as human beings, why we do what we do, and how we can creatively change that. mindfulness practice, they tell us, can lead us to a deep awareness of ourselves and our surroundings from which wisdom and compassion emerge naturally—and our actions speak for themselves. many future choices are shaped by our early experiences in school, and teachers know only too well that the classroom can be a dumping ground for negativity suppressed at home. Deborah Schoeberlein spent twenty years teaching in grades five through twelve. her Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone who Teaches Anything (Wisdom) makes a helpful contribution to a growing body of literature and curricula on how to bring mind and body practices, including cultivating kindness, into school systems. it’s replete with techniques teachers can use to help students enjoy being at school, learn better, and get along well with others, and ways that teachers can ground themselves amid the chaos and tension of the classroom. in The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate (Free press), Susan Kaiser greenland offers dozens of practices that help small children appreciate their natural attentiveness and awareness. trying to introduce any kind of mind–body awareness practice to children can quickly degenerate into a controlling, “sit down and be quiet” approach. and children just love that! instead, greenland’s exercises are child-friendly and fun, such as rocking a stuffed animal to sleep with your breathing or stretching like a starfish. they invite youngsters to notice mindfulness, rather than teaching them how to do it right. in Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life (penguin press), Winifred gallagher explores the differences between bottomup attending, responding to immediate stimuli that literally “grab our attention,” and top-down attending, organizing the mindful


world in finely honed frameworks that tell us what to see. She reports on richie Davidson’s work on the power of meditators to alter brain function and richard nisbett’s studies of how culture alters perception, and also visits a Jon Kabat-Zinn mindfulness program. A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook (new harbinger), by Bob Stahl and elisha goldstein, provides graded, guided instruction and inquiry supplemented with audio instructions. it grew out of work Stahl and goldstein did on providing stress-reduction training through distance learning. users of the workbook are encouraged to engage in the readings and practices according to a timeline and to connect with others doing the same through the website. the authors see the workbook as a “technology” that goes beyond the traditional book: readers are regarded as users and students who can become part of a loose community organized through the website and social networking tools like Facebook. the book reaches out to people who are, in Stahl’s words, in “pain, stress, and difficulty, as i have been.” rather than a static read, it’s a guidebook for a journey. the words “mindful” or “mindfulness” appear more than fifty times in the pages of Consumed: Rethinking Business in the Era of Mindful Spending (palgrave macmillan), but no mention is made of meditation or stress-reduction. andrew Benett and ann o’reilly use these terms in the same way as harvard psychologist ellen J. langer (author of Mindfulness) does: to refer to the opposite of non-thinking, automatic behavior. in this case, the


authors argue that in the wake of the great recession, there is a movement away from mindless excess and consumption, and toward “mindful being” instead of mindless buying. in cautioning business leaders to think more about helping consumers make better choices than tricking them into mindless buying, it echoes points being made by many mindfulness meditation advocates, such as Daniel goleman and Stephanie Kaza. While mindful consumption needn’t be tied to meditation, it certainly couldn’t hurt. Daniel J. Siegel’s Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation (Bantam) explores how we can be aware of our mental processes but not controlled by them. the first third of the book discusses the working of the brain, with Siegel’s theoretical views woven in (such as the “triangle” of mind, body, and relationships that determines our wellbeing). although he suggests this section may be skimmed or skipped, i found it one of the most lucid treatments of the workings of the brain i’ve read. in the rest of the book, Siegel uses personal stories to illustrate ways we lose “mindsight”— through various styles of attachment, for example. throughout, he celebrates not just the power of the brain—an organ— but the power of the mind—a wondrous process—to see itself and to see through itself. recently, evolutionary scientists and psychologists have taken a much greater interest in exploring cooperation, empathy, compassion, and altruism as highly adaptive traits. in Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, Dacher Keltner introduces us to Darwin’s work on human emotion and what Keltner calls “survival of the kindest.” he shares the disheartening news of rapid declines in social well-being (e.g., the proportion of americans who trust their fellow citizens has dropped 15 percentage points in 15 years). in this very thoughtful book, Keltner shows us how the self-seeking homo economicus is a myth we must shatter for our own well-being. Jeremy rifkin’s The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis (tarcher) tells a convincing story of how empathy—“the mental process by which one person enters into another’s being and comes to know how they feel and think”—will (actually must) become the hallmark trait of the next phase of human evolution. rifkin celebrates the discovery of mirror neurons—which fire both when you have an experience yourself and when you see someone else have the same experience. this innate ability to empathize is a key to how we can interrelate to create a prosperous world together. By suppressing it, rifkin says, we threaten to bring our planet to extinction. mindful


The Once and Future Me
meditation and yoga teacher Kelly Mcgonigal discovers how the future we imagine never arrives, but now is not so bad after all.
he receptionist gave my fiancé a funny look. “are you sure she took the pills?” apparently, most sedated patients don’t jump up and dance when Shakira’s “hips Don’t lie” comes on the office radio. my fiancé assured her that, yes, i had taken the sedative my dentist had promised would help me ignore, perhaps even sleep through, the violent separation of my wisdom teeth from my body. in truth, i had taken only half of one pill—just enough to release my inner Shakira, but not enough to render me unconscious. i had been waiting a long time to have this done, and i wanted to be awake for it. Don’t get me wrong: i’m no masochist, and i’m definitely not fearless. Why do you think those wisdom teeth were still in my jaw fourteen years after dentists started telling me they should come out? “the longer you wait,” they all said, “the worse it will be.” this was a bargain i was willing to strike. the teeth could come out one day, in the future, when future-me would be the one going through it. Future-me would be better equipped to handle the anxiety, pain, and swelling. Future-me could face the possibility of infections, permanent nerve damage, and phantom wisdom tooth syndrome. (here’s some hard-earned wisdom for you: do not under any circumstance google “wisdom tooth horror stories” the night before the procedure.) yes, future-me was definitely the right person to have the surgery. as i’ve always told myself, future-me is so much more courageous than plain old me. and also taller and better organized. this is why future-me gets a lot of assignments: the taxes, the diet, the laundry. Future-me is a very busy person, and it’s tough to fit it all in her schedule. But she’s so much more prepared for the challenges of life. or so i thought—until i got introduced to an even better version of myself. you can call her present-me. i met present-me in the basement of a hospital during the first class of an eight-week course in mindfulness. the teacher sat us in a circle and told us to close our eyes. he told us to feel the body, watch the breath. When our minds wandered, he taught us how to bring our attention back, again and again, to the present moment. hello, present-me. how are you doing? the more i sat with present-me, the more i started to question the part of me that kept putting things off. “Don’t do it now,” the voice would say. “you’ll be so much stronger, so much smarter, and have so much more energy later.” But this voice,


who spoke so highly of future-me, had remarkably little faith in present-me. and she didn’t seem to have a whole lot of enthusiasm for anything other than shopping, sleeping, and making lists of things that future-me should do. i started to see this voice for the scared trickster she was. the magic time known as not-now was never going to arrive—and neither was future-me. that realization is how i eventually landed in the dentist’s chair, telling myself, “you can do this. this is just like sitting meditation.” present-me coached my mind through the whole surgery. Feel the long needle slide into the gum behind your last molar. Follow the burning sensation of lidocaine as it spreads through your jaw. Stay present with the discomfort as it turns into numbness. now feel your breath. “you won’t feel pain exactly, just a lot of pressure,” the dentist told me as the pulling began. So i watched the sensations: this is what pressure feels like. this is what a lot of pressure feels like. this is what an insane amount of pressure feels like. i even listened to the sound of bone cracking as he broke the most stubborn tooth into pieces. Feel your breath. Feel your feet. Feel your hands. Feel your face. oh, right, you can’t feel your face. Feel your breath. the whole experience was an exercise in not freaking out—one that mindfulness practice had prepared me well for. i have since had many other opportunities to practice staying present when my mind would rather freak out. to my delight, present-me has been up to the challenge, even without the assistance of 0.125 mg of triazolam. present-me has been a good friend on turbulent flights, when my imagination threatens me with visions of the plane falling out of the sky. present-me has been a voice of reason at going-out-of-business sales, when my primitive brain tries to convince me that hoarding discounted merchandise will give me some kind of survival advantage. even in some bona fide emergencies, present-me has remembered to stay present. it turns out she’s a lot better under pressure than that voice in my head would have predicted. as for future-me, we still haven’t met. i hear she’s a heck of a gal, but it’s oK if she never arrives. i’ve discovered that presentme, when i trust her, is exactly the right person for now.
keLLy mCGoniGaL, Phd, is the author of Yoga for Pain Relief and teaches psychology, yoga, and meditation at Stanford university.


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Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind B. Alan Wallace, Ph.D. | foreword by Daniel Goleman 9780861712762 | 224 pages | $16.95
eBook ISBN 9780861719907

“Pushes us to draw upon ancient wisdom and think beyond orthodox solutions.”—Howard Zinn

“No matter where we find ourselves, this book offers practical steps for taking us to the next level.” —Daniel Goleman


WISDOM publications

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