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CA Conrad: Poetry, Ritual, and Creativity

Think about eco-poetics as not just a focus on degraded soil, air and water, but vibrational absence. When a species leaves the planet, they take everything with them. Their heartbeat, their flutter, their footfalls, their hooves. In the past 50 years, the planet has seen a 60% loss of all the wildlife. We've recently found out that we've lost 50% of the coral reefs in that time. Europe has lost 75% of its flying insects. I immediately started making rituals to create a place of extreme...


Nataraja Kallio & Ben Williams: Reining in the Wild Mind - Yoga Traditions and Studies

Kaṭha Upaniṣad is a sacred text from the Upaniṣad that describes yoga as a state of mind after the wild horses of the senses have been reined in. There is a metaphor of the body as a chariot, and horse-driven chariots were an important part of Hindu culture, so the metaphor resonated strongly in medieval India. Harnessing all of the mental energies–not letting your mind become your master, but becoming the master of your mind–is an important inner technology that many yoga traditions...


Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni: "One Drop of Love"

Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni on performing her wildly popular one-woman piece, "One Drop of Love," for the Naropa community as part of the Bayard and John Cobb Peace Lecture last Spring: "I have been doing this performance for 5 years, and have been in a lot of different communities–some certainly more receptive to the themes around race and racism and class and gender than others. Sometimes I think people feel uncomfortable with it, or maybe they're shy because of the stigma of being in a...


Zvi Ish-Shalom: Kedumah and Jewish Mysticism

Traditionally, Judaism is practiced by way of rituals. This includes actual ritualistic practices that involve ritual objects, but it also includes ritualistic prayer, as well as ritualistic forms of study, such as studying Torah in a certain way. My personal practice has shifted from one that is centered around ritual to one that is more about integrating the direct experience of presence, or of divinity, or of reality into everyday life. The rituals' original function was to facilitate...


"Santuario|Sanctuary" - Children, Immigration, and the Migration of the Monarch Butterfly

There should be free movement. There's something about the monarch butterflies having freedom of flight and freedom of mobility that many humans don't have. We found out that in Mexican folklore the monarch butterflies arrive in Mexico at the very beginning of November–right around the Day of the Dead. The day after the Day of the Dead is the Day of the Children, and the mythology is that the monarch butterflies are the spirits of dead children returning home to Mexico. There are...


Susan Skjei: Training Today's Mindful Leaders at the Authentic Leadership Center

Sometimes, especially in mid-career, we get a little stale. It’s nice to refresh by deeply and authentically getting in touch with what matters to us within our core purpose, within our values, and within why we're doing what we are doing. Part of the training that we provide is helping people who are already in leadership roles bring more of who they authentically are to their role. In the authentic leadership program, we emphasize three different competencies: presence, engagement, and...


J'Lyn Chapmann: An Exploration Between Text and Image

Sometimes we take for granted that text is an image–the letters are images–and there are some writers who are very conscious of that. When we're reading a book we take for granted that the text on the page is an image, and the focus of the book is what the text is communicating. Spend some time thinking about text as an image, like Rachel Blau DuPlessis's work. Rachel is a poet and a critic who also does collage poems. Poems that are made from collage, and they really emphasize text....


Dr. Itai Ivtzan: The Discovery of Meaning and Purpose

The disciplines of psychology and spirituality both offer us humans a gift. Psychology, being the mind-oriented discipline, seems to offer us a chance to envision ourselves within our surroundings. At the same time, spirituality invites us to move beyond the mind, and even beyond the definitions of a self. Most of us tend to focus on one or the other over our lives. But, in doing so, we often narrow our experience. When these two disciplines are married, however, we can achieve an...


Caitlin Winkley: Life Coaching: Blending the Spiritual with the Practical

Join us as we talk about blending the spiritual with the practical, busting some myths, and providing some tips on what it means to run a business from a spiritual vantage point. When it comes to the term "life coach," or any other spirituality-based profession, some of the myths are that you can use the law of attraction to just manifest clients or money into your life and into your business. While we believe that's really true, the elements that so often get left behind in your belief...


Stephanie Yuhas: Approaching Interspiritual Dimensions

Many people are unaware of the interspiritual dimensions of what we offer here at Naropa - the multiple dimensions that we have here. And the fact that a lot of what we've been researching and studying in the last few years is how millennials and Gen Z in particular approach spirituality. This term talked a lot about: "spiritual but not religious," is only the tip of the iceberg - it actually becomes detrimental to look at it that way. If we broaden it out, we find it’s really about...


Olivia Meikle: Gender and Women's Studies at Naropa

It's our mission to grow more awareness of women's issues, women's voices, women's history, women's studies worldwide. We're still so far behind in knowing what we should know about the history of women in the world and their contributions, as well as the lived experiences of women, and the way it informs everything about the way our country operates, the way the world runs now. One can't really teach a gender studies class effectively any way but contemplatively. All of the best practices...


Deborah Bowman: Naropa's Transpersonal Therapy Program

The work of Carl Jung and of Stanislav Grof - as well as many others - have been under an umbrella of "transpersonal psychology," a field that was developed in the '50s as an extension of humanistic psychology. Abraham Maslow first developed humanistic psychology - a framework around many other professionals who were developing that branch of psychology, such as Fritz Perls and Carl Rogers, but Maslow defined the field. However, when Maslow studied individuals who were exceptional, he...


Chris Cole: Bipolar Order

There is more to bipolar than just pathology. People are familiar with bipolar as a disorder that used to be called manic-depressive disorder, or maniac depression. Bipolar Order is a declaration of that, and a necessary bridge for people meeting the criteria for bipolar disorder, and particularly bipolar disorder in remission, to be empowered. Chris Cole is trying to activate and inspire people to be empowered, be bold, and be bipolar strong. Listen to Cole's podcast - Waking Up Bipolar -...


Candace Walworth & Cynthia Drake: Interdisciplinarity–The Bricolage of a Naropa Education

"I think of bricolage as an approach to interdisciplinary inquiry and to meaning-making. It comes from a French word meaning to tinker, and it's sometimes associated with improvisation, and sometimes associated with "do-it-yourself." I don't like that term as much because it's missing the collaborative aspect of interdisciplinary studies. Think about Levy Strauss observing craftspeople, noticing how they use materials left over from one project and creating something new. It's a sense of...


Paul Bassis: The Arise Movement

"Da Vinci said "...motion is life." What better way to move than to some music cranking and to lift the spirit? There is something coded in our DNA - something really ancient about our need to be tribal, our need as humans to come together with other humans, and music calls us all. Music is that beat, that rhythm that we feel in our hearts when our hearts are beating together in that same groove. There's something going on there that we all long for. Something that we need that we don't...


Barbara Catbagan: Creating Resilient Teachers for a Crazy World

How does teaching with a contemplative focus help teachers in a crazy world? When we have practiced how to love ourselves enough to stand in our own business, then we can be more empathetic to the context from which our students come. If I'm in a class with 27 students and one of them is having a particularly hard day or hard week–or life–then it makes it possible for me to resource my patience and my sense of humor, if that's called on to help that student remain focused. To help that...


Empowering Underserved Communities: Holistic Life Foundation

The Holistic Life Foundation is a Baltimore-based 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization committed to nurturing the wellness of children and adults in underserved communities. Through a comprehensive approach which helps children develop their inner lives through yoga, mindfulness, and self-care HLF demonstrates a deep commitment to learning, community, and stewardship of the environment. HLF is also committed to developing high-quality evidence-based programs and curriculum to improve community...


Elaine Yuen: Engaging Our World with Contemplative Practice

How do we blend contemplative practice with service in the world? How can we extend ourselves, offer ourselves to that world in an authentic way? One where we're not burning out at the same time? How can we support people both at the peak of tragedy, getting over the most difficult parts, as well as the lasting repercussions? We meet people there, with them, where they are, with an open heart, acknowledging with them moment by moment by moment. I feel that's where our contemplative practices...


Joey Marti: Healing Emotional Trauma Naturally with TiPi

T.I.P.I., the French acronym for “Technique d’Identification des Peurs Inconscientes,” or "Technique for the Sensory Identification of Unconscious Fears" in English, resets our emotional response to trauma naturally, using the body’s sensory memory to reconnect with the trauma's origin. Joey Marti discusses TiPi and how he uses it, and how Naropa's MA programs in transpersonal psychology helped him. A Colorado transplant who moved here to attend Naropa, Joey received his Bachelor’s Degree in...


Mark Miller: Contemplative Approaches to Music and Improv

Improvisation is a wonderful contemplative practice–a mindfulness practice–a discipline that has to do with paying attention in a very precise way to what's going on in the present moment. It's about showing up–being open to whatever is happening musically, to whatever my colleagues are playing, or to the environment of the room–the acoustics, the audience, that sort of thing–and really drawing inspiration from that. Paying attention to all of that requires one hundred percent concentration....