I design and guide meditation and personal growth practices for a range of needs and contexts. I do this on my own, and – more fun – with collaborators around North America. Here’s a list of some current projects and partners.
The Consciousness Explorers Club
“Being Human Takes Practice”
I founded the nonprofit Consciousness Explorers Club in 2011. We are now a very large community of “meditators, celebrators and activators” headquartered in Toronto, with CEC-inspired local groups around the world, and – these days – all our offerings are online. Here is a cool animation about the CEC made for our 10th Anniversary.
Every month my friends and I curate, invent and share both contemplative and interactive social practices for our community. What kinds of practices? The CEC vault has many examples; some of my practices can be found here. Our emphasis is always on exploration, play, and practical life-application. Our most passionate belief is every culture, tradition and practice has something to teach us about being human. For this reason, we also emphasize humanistic, literary and artistic approaches. Right now, we are in the process of reinventing the CEC as a global resource for grass-roots community practice. To support our progress, click here.
“Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics”
Dan Harris and I became friends a few years ago, before his book, 10% Happier, became a mammoth bestseller. That book helped make meditation accessible to a huge number of people, and now his excellent app – which combines smart video explainers with guided meditation practices – is doing the same. I’ve recorded many meditations for them. I appreciate their applied focus: meditations for the world we live in. A few of these can be found on my website, here. Dan, Carlye and I published a fun intro to meditation book, called Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics. I love working with these guys and especially like how they share a chunk of their revenue with the nonprofit Insight Meditation Society.
“Sleep More. Stress Less. Live Better.”
Calm, the meditation app, asked me to create a course for their 4 million subscribers. It was the ultimate challenge: what are the most helpful meditation practices and ideas that I can usefully communicate in thirty 10-minute segments? The course that emerged – “How to Meditate” – was fun to write and record and has received positive reviews. I now write Calm’s “Daily Trip” meditations – short practices that attempt to communicate the exploratory joy and pleasure and richness of meditation, but also, in an honest way, some of the challenges. Everyone at Calm has been terrific to work with – they give me carte blanche to write what I want, and are always supportive of my weird ideas.
Inward Bound Mindfulness Education
“Mindfulness Retreats for Teens”
I staffed my first Inward Bound mindfulness retreat outside Toronto in 2016. For almost 30 years, Inward Bound have offered programming that “guides teens and young adults in developing self-awareness, compassion, and ethical decision making, and empowers them to apply these skills in improving their lives and communities.” I was surprised at how moving I found my experience there. The teens learn to trust their own instincts, to risk the vulnerability that comes with opening up. And then they try to sneak off and smoke weed in the forest. But they can’t hide from us – oh no – we know their devilish ways. Plus we have dogs.
Shinzen Young’s Home Practice Program
“Taking the mist out of mysticism”
I have a lot of gratitude for Shinzen Young. I’d been practicing meditation for a number of years before we met, but it hadn’t quite clicked: neither the worldview(s) of Buddhism – which seemed laden with jargon and competing assumptions – nor its techniques – which seemed either too vague, or too religiously sure of themselves. Shinzen was the first Buddhist teacher to accurately capture the complex experience of mindfulness meditation for me, and his command of different techniques and approaches showed me new ways in. He changed my life and hugely influenced how I teach. Now I lead the occasional 4-hour session on Shinzen’s monthly Home Practice Program. These cost only $20, and can be done via Skype or phone, right in your living room. The program features many other excellent facilitators, and Shinzen himself leads sessions most months. Highly recommended, especially for nerds.
Earth Love Go
“Where Earth Activism Meets Spiritual Practice”
For a bunch of years now, at the amazing off-grid Lama Foundation eco-mystery school in the mountains of northern New Mexico, I’ve been collaborating on a curriculum to help environment and climate-focused professors and activists integrate contemplative and arts-based practices into their work. The idea is to help deepen their own resilience, and to inspire new ideas and efforts. With the environmental politics professor Paul Wapner, multimedia artist Nicole Salimbene, deep ecologist David Abram, Zen priest and climate scientist Kritee Kanko and others. For more information about this program, check out our website, here.
“A Mindfulness Program for Kids”
Kidevolve, a kid’s mindfulness program, was founded by communications guru and mom Kirsten Chase. Kirsten has developed a series of “Creative Mind Journeys” for the same broad age group. The idea is to make fun and imaginative stories that double as guided meditation (ish) practices. Each story addresses a different challenge or opportunity, and helps listeners with a different underlying psycho-social-emotional skill. That way the kids can become big-hearted mental ninjas, and eventually fix the world we screwed up. Writing and performing these stories has been wildly fulfilling for me, probably because my maturity level is still down in the pre-teens somewhere. If you want, you can find a quiet space with your kids and listen to a few of them here.