Life Coach. Writer.

Embark

No Texts, Please, We’re Meditating

March 29, 2016

If you are either a resident or visitor in New York City, you won’t have to searchmeditation, NYC very hard to find one of the growing number of centers, classes and public spaces where you can drop in to meditate. In my latest piece for The New York Times, I explore the who, the why, the how, the when, and the where…

When a photo of a wall covered in lush green foliage showed up on Grace Clarke’s Instagram feed, she felt an immediate urge to track it down. Stressed out and headed to a meeting at Madewell, where she works as a social media copy editor, Ms. Clarke clicked on the geotag and discovered that the wall’s location was on East 8th Street in Manhattan at a meditation studio called MNDFL, which opened in November 2015.

The next morning, Ms. Clarke, 29, went to the studio and spent 30 minutes in a meditation class led by Lodro Rinzler, one of MNDFL’s founders. Since that day last December, Ms. Clarke has attended classes nearly every other day, often going early in the morning before work. “Having a place with a stripped-down aesthetic and a menu of classes makes it feel very approachable and promotes a sense of calm amidst the craziness,” she said. “It’s a time-efficient way to quiet my mind so I can think more thoughtfully in life and work.”

To read the entire article, click here.

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Back at College (for the Afternoon)

October 25, 2015

The other day I went back to college. As a student. For 90 minutes. It was the quintessential autumn day. The kind where the leaves have just begun to turn color, some gently unhinging from their branches and wavering in the air before they hit the dirt below. Or in my case, before they hit

the bricks that make up Locust Walk, the pedestrian pathway that cuts through the heart of Penn’s campus.

On the invitation of my daughter, now a sophomore at my alma mater, I arrived on campus—not just as a courier schlepping a winter coat, some homemade chicken soup and several necessities from Trader Joe’s, but primarily to attend a lecture in Emily’s class, Intro to Positive Psychology.

With a tendency to cut my timing close, I purposely gave myself an extra hour before meeting Emily so I could wallow in the beauty of the day, and the memories of my own walks down Locust Walk—nearly 30 years ago. I texted Emily to let her know where I was sitting–on the grass to the left of the iconic Button sculpture that sits in front of the main library–steps away from the hovering statue of Ben Franklin. Read More→

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Our Civil Rights Journey to the Deep South

June 8, 2015

5503faba27ec8ab46d365ff2ab859292c76c27d0Last year in my son’s eighth grade social studies class, they discussed the civil rights era but according to him, they were short on time and (as he explained) “kind of rushed through it.”

So when the movie Selma came out last December, depicting the events that led 600 civil rights marchers to cross the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama in 1965, it seemed a ripe opportunity to add to the lesson. Simon and I watched the film together, and it was just a few weeks later when I announced we’d be taking a special trip together — a three-day journey to the deep South to learn more about civil rights.

“A what kind of trip?” Simon asked when I first broke the news we’d be going.

“A civil rights journey,” I answered with extra enthusiasm. “It’ll be really interesting and fun!”

I knew that an education-filled bus trip was hardly the top vacation choice for your average teenager. But I also knew that this type of opportunity — a trip geared toward kids his age, and already including two of his close friends — doesn’t come around every day.

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Mindful in Morocco

March 2, 2015

IMG_7826It’s hard not to be mindful of your surroundings in Morocco—the North African country that seems to emanate a wondrous overload of the senses. The sights, smells, tastes and sounds can be overpowering and beautiful, startling and thought-provoking.

In a country where the terrain ranges from snow-capped Atlas mountains and the vast Sahara desert to the serpentine streets of Fez’s medina IMG_5655(old city) and the nearly 1,000 miles of Atlantic coastline, your senses are frequently on high alert. As they well should be.

On a recent trip to Morocco, our group had the good fortune to trek amidst the natural beauty of Mount Toubkal, feel the warm golden sand of the desert dunes, smell the aromas of animal skins at a tannery, and savor the flavors of many a sumptuous tagine. Thanks to the help of travel outfitter Quivertree, who helped us plan our trip and provided us with our amazing guide, Lahcen, our journey was filled with a varied exploration of Morocco’s fascinating offerings—heavy on adventure and a good dose of culture.

Here are a some of our trip’s highlights:

Marrakech

The 11th century Place Jemaa el-Fna is straight out of the movies—a large plaza filled with musicians, Read More→

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Escapades in Aspen

August 6, 2014

When my daughter, Emily, announced she had one week off of work this summer when all kid activities are cancelled due to an annual sailing race, my mind immediately started working. “What will you do?” I asked casually.

“Annabel and I are thinking of going away somewhere”, she answered, referring to a friend she met three years earlier on a summer community service trip to Costa Rica.

Emily is leaving for college this fall. Knowing that this could be an ideal opportunity to spend quality time with her, I blurted out, “Would you and Annabel want to go away with me and Dad? Somewhere we could do some high adventure?”

I held my breath, and within seconds she said, “Yaaaa!” She texted Annabel who responded in kind. And that is how I lured my 18-year-old daughter to come away with us. Yes, we’d be sharing her with a friend, though it seemed the ideal strategy for getting her to travel with us and we happen to be very

fond of Annabel.

To make the package as attractive as possible, challenging outdoor activities would be key. Planning a trip for 5 days and 4 nights, Read More→

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