September

I was thrilled to see this image for September in my calendar from Nikki McClure. I love everything about it: LIBERATE, all the books… Perfectly aligned for me with the time now. September marks my official return to the library world. I’m so happy to be back in the library where I belong. Most of the work I do in the world is related to helping people find the resources they need. It’s beautiful to see it illustrated in this way, LIBERATE. Finding freedom, finding a way out of no way, finding inspiration, finding tools and information, finding what’s needed, finding resource.

September from Nikki McClure's 2021 calendar. Image description: black and white image of books stacked floor to ceiling against yellow backdrop with a person in the distant center gazing at them, standing on yellow ground.
September from Nikki McClure‘s 2021 calendar
Image description: black and white image of books stacked floor to ceiling
against yellow backdrop with a person in the distant center gazing at them, standing on yellow ground.

I was talking with friends yesterday about the differences between doing our soul work/heartwork/living our dharma: being on the path, being in alignment– it’s called many different things– and doing what we have to do to survive. The differences between what that heartwork is and what we do to survive as physical beings living within a system of Capitalism.

My life’s work, my heart’s work isn’t always what I do to help pay the bills, to put food on the table. I think for a long time I thought that it had to be. Like if I was truly living my truth, committed to my spiritual path I would only do work that matched that ideal. Like if I was doing anything other than teaching yoga and meditation and writing poems it was defeat/failure/sell out. Why did I think that? Where did that idea come from?

Meaningful work

Right livelihood doesn’t mean having to extract enough payment for my own survival from the things that I love. That takes the joy out, infects love with some desperation and anxiety for me. It seemed cool to make a living doing the things I love and value, why wouldn’t I want that? More power to folks who make enough money doing the things they love to survive and thrive. It doesn’t always happen though. I think it may actually be quite rare.

What happened for me with poetry years ago (why I never wanted to teach, why I dropped out of the scene a bit) has recently happened again with dharma and mindfulness practices. They are vital to me, essential for my own thriving and liberation AND I cannot have them coupled with my physical survival. I can’t have my ability to eat and pay bills and care for my family dependent on whether people want to read my poems, buy my books or sign up for my classes.

It’s possible that I suck at marketing or I haven’t tried hard enough– that may be true. Also, I prefer not to. I don’t want to have to hustle in the marketplace to share tools for liberation. What I am doing right now is feeling immense gratitude that another path opened up for me. I get to fall back on another of my loves: libraries. I’m grateful to have options. I know not everyone does. I appreciate how lucky I am to have many loves.

Love

Anybody who knows me knows how I love me some libraries. They have been essential to my own survival and liberation in a way that’s not so different from dharma. In fact, there’s a lot of crossover the way I see it. I was comparing insight dialogue with informational interviews and they’re not all that different: pause, relax, open, attune to emergence, listen deeply, speak the truth… Helping people identify the questions beneath the question, what they’re really asking, what the need is. (Not so different from Nonviolent Communication either, come to think of it.) The adventure of setting out on a path of discovery, of finding out for yourself what’s needed, what’s true. (Ehipassiko, see for yourself.)

Worldly concerns

It’s been ten years since I was last a librarian: librarian as role, task, job, identity. I was one of the librarians at Occupy Wall Street and it felt important and transformative. As much as I tried to stay off the radar, I did get some attention for it and just like the Buddha taught, I was tossed by the worldly winds: where some people praised me, invited me to speak at their conferences and gave me awards, others blamed me, attacked me, sent me hate mail and stalked me. While some people loved the People’s Library and were inspired by it, some took offense. Whether it was objectively true or not I felt low-key blacklisted in the library world because of my participation. I didn’t/couldn’t get another library job until just now: ten years later.

The air outside is getting a little bit cooler, it’s chilly at night. NYC public school starts tomorrow. September finds me digging out my cardigans, adjusting my glasses and totally giddy about the opportunity to be back in the library again helping people find what they need. Whether folks are looking for liberation, looking to transform oppressive systems or just looking for the bathrooms, I’m happy to help and grateful for the opportunity.

Fall MBSR offerings

Beginning next month, Fall offerings are available. I’m offering two cycles of the 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course online.

Thursday evenings: September 9th through October 28th 6-8:30 pm EST
Friday afternoons: September 10th through October 29th 12-2:30 pm EST

The practice day for both sections will be on Sunday October 17th 9am -5pm.

What is MBSR? Originally used with patients experiencing chronic pain, MBSR has been of enormous benefit to people in addressing everything from routine daily stress to stress experienced as overwhelming. The majority of people who complete the 8-week program have reported a range of positive results from increased coping ability and decreased pain levels to greater energy and more joy.

MBSR online with Betsy Fagin Sept 9- Oct 28, 2021.

Through a variety of formal and informal mindfulness practices, participants will learn to bring awareness to thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations to cultivate the resources necessary to move through stress and reactivity with greater presence and ease. Creating opportunities for space and flexibility in order to respond to life more fully.

MBSR online with Betsy Fagin Sept 10- Oct 29, 2021.

I’ll give more detailed information about MBSR’s history and an overview of the course in the free orientation sessions. There’s also more information available here. Attendance at an orientation session for these Fall offerings is required to participate in the course. Orientations will take place Thursday September 2nd 6-8:30 pm EST and Friday September 3rd 12:2:30 pm EST.

Pricing

There are many things to consider in establishing a pricing scale. I value the course highly and have seen the benefits of the practice in my own life and in the lives of many others. For that reason, I want to make it available to as many people as possible. I also value my own time, training and have life costs that need to be met. Balancing these considerations, I’m currently offering tiered pricing for the 8-week course on par with other offerings in NYC. Fees (including materials and all-day retreat) are $600 – $500 – $400.

Paying at the supporting side of the scale subsidizes those who may not otherwise have access to the course. Please reach out if the regular pricing tiers are not accessible to you right now. I offer at least one free space per course, based on need.

To register for the course or attend the free orientation session, contact me at double.earth.mindfulness@gmail.com.

registration open

Registration is now open for the winter cycle of MBSR I’ll be offering with Jon Aaron through Mindful Leader.

From February 19, 2021 – April 9, 2021
8 Fridays from 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm (EST)
Practice Day: Sunday, March 21, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Free Orientation: Friday, February 12, 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm
(required if you intend to register for the class)

Tuition: $723 – $297 includes materials and Practice Day
There are a limited number of partial scholarships

Registration is now open on the Mindful Leader website.

MBSR winter cycle

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction online with Betsy Fagin & Jon Aaron February 19 - April 9, 2021

I’ll be co-facilitating a cycle of MBSR with Jon Aaron soon. Offered online through Mindful Leader on Fridays 12-2:30 pm (EST) from February 19th through April 9th, 2021. The orientation session (required to participate in the course) will be Friday February 12th. The all-day practice session will be Sunday March 21st. Registration details available soon.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): 7/29/20

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
Free Orientation: Wednesday July 29, 2020 | 6:30 – 9:00 pm EST
(required if you intend to register for the class)
Course Sessions: Wednesdays, August 5 – September 23, 2020 | 6:30 – 9:00 pm EST
Practice Day: Saturday, September 12, 2020 | 9:30 am – 5:00 pm EST

What is MBSR?
Originally developed for people with chronic pain, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)’s applications have been thoroughly researched and are well regarded. Benefits have been reported from people dealing not only with serious illness, but also the day-to-day pressures and anxieties of modern life. Research over the past 35 years indicates that a majority of people who complete the course report a range of benefits including:

-a greater ability to cope more effectively with short and long term stressful situations
-an increased ability to relax
-lasting decreases in physical and psychological pain
-a greater energy and enthusiasm for life.

description: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction online with Betsy Fagin. Orientation: July 29 6:30-9 pm EST Classes: August 5-September 23 Wednesdays 6:30-9pm EST All day Practice: Saturday, September 12

What To Expect:
This course is not group therapy and it is not a healing circle. It is not offered as an alternative to traditional medical and psychological treatments, but as a complement to these approaches.

MBSR is a guided, experiential investigation into our relationships with stress and the habits of our minds. MBSR uses meditation, yoga, and inquiry to support people in relating differently to the stresses in their lives. We will practice paying attention to what arises in daily practice and together we will explore our challenges and how we meet them through self-reflection and group discussion.

Participants are supported by recorded guided meditations and are expected to practice 45 minutes of formal meditation daily in addition to various informal practices. The course will be held online on the Zoom platform. To participate fully, a stable internet connection, a computer, tablet, or recent smartphone and space to participate in mindful movement exercises are required. We will be engaging in all the practices included in the in-person course.

Tuition: Sliding scale $350/$250/$150
Includes materials and practice day.
Course fees have been adjusted. Please pay at the highest level you are able to support the participation of others with greater financial need.

Free Orientation Session:
Wednesday July 29, 2020 6:30 – 9:00 pm
Zoom link will be sent upon receipt of registration.

Attendance is required at the orientation session. If this is not possible, arrange to speak with me before the first class. Register for the orientation session or the entire course below. Please feel free to reach out with any questions to double.earth.mindfulness@gmail.com.

stress reduction

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction online with Betsy Fagin April 9th-June 4th, 7-9:30 pm EST. Details & registration: http://betsyfagin.com

Here we are. I hope everyone is feeling as safe and cared for as possible in these unprecedented times. Amid all the uncertainty and emotional extremes, I want to offer some of the practices that have been supportive to me, hoping they may be useful for others as well.

To that end, I’ll be offering the traditional 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program online beginning next month. Who couldn’t use a little stress reduction right now? The virtual course will run on the Zoom platform on Thursdays from 7 – 9:30 pm from April 16th to June 4st with an all-day practice session on Sunday May 24th.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

Free Orientation: Thursday April 9 | 7:00 – 9:30 pm
(Required if you intend to register for the class. If you can’t attend the orientation, please arrange to speak with me before the first class.)

Course Sessions: Thursdays, April 16 – June 4, 2020 | 7:00 – 9:30 pm
Practice Day: Sunday, May 24, 2020 | 9:30am – 5:00pm

What is MBSR?

MBSR uses meditation, mindful movement and inquiry as a way of supporting people to relate differently to stresses in their lives. Originally developed for people with chronic pain, it has expanded to benefit people dealing with a range of challenges from serious illness to the day-to-day pressures of modern life. Research over the past 35 years indicates that a majority of people who complete the course report a greater ability to cope more effectively with short and long term stressful situations; an increased ability to relax; lasting decreases in physical and psychological pain; and, most importantly, a greater energy and enthusiasm for life. More info on MBSR here.

What to Expect

This course is not group therapy. It is not a healing circle. It is not offered as an alternative to traditional medical and psychological treatments, but as a complement to these approaches. MBSR is a guided, experiential investigation into our relationships with stress and the habits of our minds. MBSR uses meditation, yoga, and inquiry to support people in relating differently to the stresses in their lives. We will practice paying attention to what arises through daily practice and together we will explore the challenges that arise and how we meet them through through self-reflection and group discussion.

Participants are supported by recorded guided meditations in developing their practice. All are expected to practice 30-45 minutes of formal meditation daily as well as various informal practices. The course will be held online on the Zoom platform. To participate fully, a stable internet connection, a computer, tablet, or recent smartphone and space to participate in mindful movement exercises are required. We will be engaging in all the practices included in the in-person course.

Tuition: $350-$250
Includes materials and practice day.
Course fees have been adjusted to reflect the current economic hardships many are facing.

Space is limited. Registration ends March 31, 2020.

boundaries: new date

NYC Transformative Justice Hub How to Communicate Your Boundaries Postponed to 4/11

The NYC Transformative Justice Hub’s upcoming event, How to Communicate Your Boundaries has been postponed to April 11th. It will be held at 60 Washington Square South NYU Kimmel Center Room 802 from 12-2pm, wheelchair accessible. Details are available on the NYCTJ Hub website.

communicate boundaries

How to communicate your BOUNDARIES NYC Transformative Justice Hub Saturday March 28th 12-2 pm
How to communicate your BOUNDARIES NYC Transformative Justice Hub Saturday March 28th 12-2 pm

On Saturday March 28th, the NYC Transformative Justice Hub will be offering a workshop on How to Communicate Your Boundaries from 12-2 pm. I’m excited to be holding space again with friends to support the event: meditation & mindful movement will be on offer as well as supportive teas and space to chill, process or whatever is most needed.

Learn how to effectively communicate boundaries. More information about the workshop is here. From the NYCTJhub website: “This political education workshop will offer space to reflect on our habits and practice boundary-setting with peers. Participants will be invited to engage in reflective and interactive activities and bring examples or experiences from their own lives into the space. You can RSVP here. If there are not tickets available and you are from New York or are BIPOC, please contact our Hub Coordinator at nyctjhub@gmail.com.”

I’m posting this toward the beginning of the month, right now lots of events and gatherings are being cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19. Change is happening rapidly, so please check in with the TJ hub website closer to the time for the most current event information.

meditation in an emergency

While I was off meditating in the California hills, the good folks at The Poetry Project put together a feature of some of the writing that was produced in our Meditation in an emergency workshop this Fall.

New work from Janae Brux, Anna Gurton-Wachter, E.C. Kane, Peter Bogart Johnson, Susana Malo, Ryan Nowlin, Victoria Ordway and Serge Rodriguez is now online at https://www.poetryproject.org/publications/work-from-meditations-in-an-emergency/.

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to share some writing & meditation practices with this group. It’s wonderful to see some of what grew out of our time together. Join us next week for a free reading from workshop participants: Thursday December 12th at 8pm. The Poetry Project is located at 131 E. 10th St. NYC. Facebook event details here.

Accessibility: St. Mark’s Church is wheelchair accessible. Please call The Poetry Project at 212-674-0910 in advance of events to arrange accessibility. Please note on Fridays between 8-9:30pm the wheelchair accessible all gender bathrooms on the ground floor are unavailable because another arts project has performances in the sanctuary. There are All-Gender bathrooms on the second floor of the church. To access Parish Hall, attendees must pass through the main sanctuary and a corridor. There are 2 sets of double doors and two single doors to go through. The smallest of these doors at the end of the corridor is 28.5 inches wide. The Poetry Project will arrange for an ASL interpreter for any event with one week’s advance notice.

New Yorkers’ busy schedules

Our writing & meditation class at The Poetry Project, meditation in an emergency, continues apace. We made lots of little books last week. Above is an image from one of my own. I’m so grateful to get to offer what I love with/for others who share my interests. Writing and book making for me are gateways into flow states. There was so much wonderful energy and focus in the room, I didn’t want to disrupt it by documenting for social media. Participants will be sharing some of their own work at an upcoming reading at the Project in December.