Miami Mindfulness October 2020 Newsletter

lotus flower

Dear Friends,

The lotus flower has many petals that surround the center in multiple concentric layers. As the petals open, more petals unfold until the lotus is in full bloom and all layers are revealed. This process is seen as a metaphor for progress made in gradual stages toward ultimately reaching peace and wholeness.

Called padma, the lotus flower grows naturally in ponds starting out rooted deep in mud and scum. To blossom, it must make its way through murky water until it finally breaks the surface. In time the lotus emerges and blooms fully in the sun, radiant and whole.

As this next wave of virus begins to crest, I would like to share with you some free practices, teachings, guides, informative articles, and offerings that remind us to practice mindfulness meditation daily as if our life depended on it. Because it does.

In a conversation with Jon Kabat-Zinn shortly after his 13-week Covid-19 Pandemic Mitigation Retreat, hosted free worldwide by Wisdom 2.0, he emphasized to me what we and the world need now is more clarity and inclusivity.

Perhaps we can take time everyday to cultivate a mindful garden of clarity & inclusivity.

To access JKZ’s wonderful free daily 1-hour retreat sessions on YouTube, click on the recordings link on the Map of Love:

~Valerie York-Zimmerman

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Miami Mindfulness Spring 2020 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

While life is changing and we are separated physically because of this pandemic, perhaps we are becoming even more connected than before. One way of looking at this global pandemic is as a bell calling for us to awaken. Crisis has a way of shining light on what is wounded and broken in our lives and mindfulness teaches us “to remember.” So let us look more closely at what the light is revealing to us now as we shelter at home. Let us remember the truth of our history and learn to walk a more skillful path. Choices like skillful understanding, skillful thinking, skillful speech, skillful action, skillful livelihood, and skillful effort can support and heal us during this time of disease in the body and dis-ease in the mind and heart. It can help us to remember to be more mindful.

May we and all sentient beings be well, safe, free from suffering, and filled with lovingkindness.

~Valerie York-Zimmerman

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Mental Illness and Addiction are Public Health Problems (Not Crimes) Afflicting the Privileged and Underprivileged Alike

“Mental Illnesss is NOT a Crime”

“Mental illnesses are treated successfully at the same rates as diabetes. With treatment, even acute cases can be ameliorated. Treatment works; recovery is real… If you do it right, it actually saves money. It improves public safety. It gives people their lives back.” — Judge Steven Leifman


Mindful Community-Based Programs and Mental Health

“Every locality, of course, has behavioral health programs. Some have outstanding programs. But what makes Miami different says Dan Abreu of Policy Research Associates, a think tank focused on behavioral and mental health issues, is that “they are really moving toward having a continuum of services. In short, the county is trying to build a comprehensive system.”
~ Governing Magazine – The States and Localities

Miami has long had a more acute problem than most. About 9 % of Miami residents suffer from mental illness — approximately 3x higher than the national average. It also has a large homeless population, most of whom have mental health issues and substance abuse problems. Yet Miami has emerged as a national model for how to develop strategies to combat the criminalization of mental illness.


The Inner Landscape of Beauty (On Being)

No conversation we’ve ever done has been more beloved than this one. The Irish poet, theologian, and philosopher insisted on beauty as a human calling. He had a very Celtic, lifelong fascination with the inner landscape of our lives and with what he called “the invisible world” that is constantly intertwining what we can know and see. This was one of the last interviews he gave before his unexpected death in 2008. But John O’Donohue’s voice and writings continue to bring ancient mystical wisdom to modern confusions and longings.