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April 20, 2022

Virtual Workshop: Nurturing Relational Sensemaking: An Ideas & Practices Fellowship Forum

Join the Garrison Institute Fellows for this virtual retreat via Zoom. on Wednesday April 20, 2022. 

Who am I in relationship to a culture, a civilization, and a species that no longer corresponds to the thriving of life?
How can music, art, and meditation facilitate unlikely friendships?
Can we end racism in one generation?
What is the dream of awareness?
What does the universe want to become?
How do we envision a more compassionate world?


Garrison Institute Fellows are thrilled to invite you to Nurture Relational Sensemaking through a series of public dialogues and practices at the edges of some of our most pressing questions, concerns, and dreams. Each session will be designed as a sacred space for exploration of current events, issues, challenges, successes, beauty, and mystery; a place where difference does not mean division and where fellowship values of interconnection, trust, curiosity, and love are embodied and expressed with openness, and mutual regard.

The Garrison Institute Fellowship was established to provide an opportunity for emerging leaders to deepen their understanding and teaching of the reality of interconnection through a combination of contemplative practices, scientific study, and generative action. Over the course of a year, the Fellows, along with guest teachers, have critically and playfully explored questions without clear answers. We approach these inquiries from the edges of psychology, public health, mindfulness, movement, social justice, performing arts, and architecture. Now the Fellows bring the spirit and fruits of these explorations into the public forum.

Each event will feature a different group of Fellows in an emerging unfolding. They may include meditation, conversation, sound, gentle movement, journaling, among other tools for collective practice. We will build a compassionate and loving container to allow for the possibility of wrestling with ideas, grieving, celebrating, healing, and building community.

For the last decade, Dr. Angel Acosta has worked to bridge the fields of leadership, social justice, and mindfulness. He holds a doctorate degree in curriculum and teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. Acosta has supported more than educational leaders and their students by facilitating leadership trainings, creating pathways to higher education, and designing dynamic learning experiences. His dissertation explored healing-centered education as a promising framework for educational leadership development. After participating in the Mind and Life Institute’s Academy for Contemplative Leadership, Acosta began consulting and developing learning experiences that weave leadership development with conversations about inequality and healing, to support educational leaders through contemplative and restorative practices. As a former trustee for the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, he participated as a speaker and discussant at the Asia Pacific Forum on Holistic Education in Kyoto, Japan. He continues to consult for organizations like the NYC Department of Education, UNICEF, Columbia University and others. Over the last couple of years, he has designed the Contemplating 400 Years of Inequality Experience–a contemplative journey to understand structural inequality. He’s a proud member of the 400 Years of Inequality Project, based at the New School.

Jennifer Bloom is a mother, poet, singer, scholar, and advisor to the Garrison Institute Fellowship. Jennifer loves to weave the intellectual and creative worlds together to inform one another. She considers her role to be that of meaning maker and sacred space holder, whether she is performing, facilitating a retreat, or writing. Jennifer has published two collections of poetry and an album of music and holds a B.A. in English from Yale University and a Master of Science in Health and Social Behavior from the Harvard School of Public Health. Her perspectives integrate continued studies through The Neuroleadership Institute, The Mindsight Institute, Prosocial World as well as Jewish, Yogic, and Earth-based wisdom traditions. Jennifer’s poetry explores questions that arise when making friends with paradox, allowing boundaries to blur, and testing the limits of our habits and beliefs. At times metaphysical, quarry, and emotionally raw, Jennifer explores what it means for her to be human and the moments that can transcend the ordinary. In her words: “I embrace curiosity and inquiry as I explore life, relationships, and myself. I write and sing to express and to open space for listeners to connect to their own story through mine. I share through performances and conversations, crafting settings to feel, to consider, to discover.” For more information, please visit https://www.jennifer-bloom.com/

Andrew Villamil completed his Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, from Pepperdine University. Currently, he is a PhD student in the Positive Developmental Psychology Program at the Claremont University Consortium. For over 10 years, Andrew has worked at the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, gaining experience in international research and organization/clinical programs. He believes there are always valuable opportunities to bridge basic research with translational applications. As a researcher, he has been involved in five research labs with some of the most influential researchers in the field of Psychology, including Drs. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Daniel J. Siegel, Saida Hesmati, Michelle Craaske, Alan Castel, and many other wonderful collaborators. Andrew seeks to understand mechanisms in well-being that contribute to the fundamental processes and changes that have, and continue to shape the landscape of future applications. Andrew leverages his experience in Positive Psychology Interventions (PPIs), Meditative practices, Technology, Neuroscience, Life Satisfaction, Flow, Cognitive Strategies, Interpersonal Neurobiology and Emotion Regulation; to explore the best methodologies and comprehensive designs that integrate subjective well-being (happiness) into every facet of our lives.

Barnaby Willett is an educator, contemplative, and systems thinker. He helped grow the nonprofit Peace in Schools to be a national leader in mindfulness education, most recently serving as Director of Innovation and Partnerships. He is one of the most experienced school-based mindfulness teachers in the United States. He also teaches on iBme’s teen retreats. Barnaby has collaborated with leaders in the health sciences, education, and politics to advance adolescent well-being through evidence-based research and practice. He has spoken at educational and contemplative conferences and has offered contemplative practice for adults through Presence Collective in Portland, Oregon. He is originally from the UK and is a student of Chinese tea, Islamic philosophy, Albert Murray, and the imaginal. Barnaby began contemplative practice in 1994 and has a BA in English from Pomona College.

Jackie Ivy is a design consultant with an extensive career in academic and commercial experiential design. She has applied her design thinking to physical spaces, branding and marketing campaigns, as well as leadership, education and non-profit systems-thinking. She encourages clients to design and create worlds that have yet to be fully achieved, staying true to the integrity of each project as well as inventing possibilities that have never been imagined. Previously in her career, Ms. Ivy was the Senior Director of Operations for Nike’s Global Retail Brand Design Studio; during this time the studio created Nike’s new Flagship properties in Shanghai, New York and Paris, as well as numerous new retail concepts for Nike in Los Angeles and Tokyo. She has also worked with rag & bone, iHeart Media, Soho House, the Buccini/Pollin Group, Urban Outfitters, the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation as well as the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice, Italy. Ms. Ivy received her Master of Environmental Design from the School of Architecture at Yale University, where she graduated with academic honors. She received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from University of Virginia, and double majored in American Studies through the English Department.

Kasey Hendriks Crown, MA, LMFT, is a psychotherapist, spiritualist, activist, wellness educator, and writer. Her work challenges old mental health paradigms and suggests instead that true well-being lies in our ability to balance scientific and spiritual perspectives. For more than a decade, she has served as a facilitator of the healing process for adult individuals, couples and groups, working to upend trauma, transform emotional injury, repair relationship and unlock vital wisdom to connect people with who they truly are. Kasey’s intuitive, compassionate, balanced and boundaried approach to healing has attracted the attention of some the countries most influential voices and leaders across various disciplines. She is frequently contacted to consult in individual, group and organizational crisis situations and to provide support and resources for those faced with sudden loss and grief. Kasey holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of San Diego and a master’s degree in spiritual and counseling psychology from the University of Santa Monica. She completed a multiyear advanced clinical training in relational studies, culturally competent trauma-informed care and harm reduction; and is currently completing training with the Multi-disciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies in psychedelic assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Kasey is a California licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice, clinical supervisor, consultant and trauma educator. She is founder of Kasey Crown Wellness, an education platform and consultancy that conducts custom mindfulness-based trauma healing workshops for small groups and organizations and is co-founder of WellSoul Workshops. Her work draws from the Interpersonal Neurobiology framework and is further influenced by various disciplines and theoretical orientations including psychodynamic psychotherapy; somatic psychology; internal family systems; relational gestalt; humanistic, cognitive and behavioral therapies; energy medicine and contemplative wisdom. She lives in southern California with her husband and three daughters.

Nichol Chase is a teacher, musician, and yogi for whom singing and movement is integral to life. Nichol’s yoga practice is informed by a vast and eclectic set of influences that blend invigorating flow with precise and insightful instruction and extensive study with a variety of innovative teachers. She is a faculty member and teacher trainer for The MazéMethod, where she has worked for several years, and is currently on the faculty for a teacher training partnership between Yoga International and the Mazé Method. Nichol’s artistic experience includes more than a decade of Royal Academy ballet training and specialization as an operatic Coloratura Soprano, earning the Bachelor of Music degree with a major in Vocal Performance from the University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music. Nichol’s study of yoga piqued an interest in Kirtan and Indian Classical music resulting in the addition of the harmonium to her repertoire for accompaniment to traditional chants in Sanskrit. She studies Northern Indian Classical Music, Mantra, and Kirtan with Sheela Bringi, and leads Kirtan and Sound Journey experiences.

Nico Cary is a writer, interdisciplinary artist, and mindfulness teacher. He received his BA from UC Berkeley’s Interdisciplinary Studies Field School, specializing in decolonial art practices. From writing and performing in a theater piece on water politics that featured at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans to developing an immersive multimedia piece for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Nico is truly a cross-platform artist. While engaged in a deeply fulfilling artistic career, Nico also proudly serves as a mindfulness facilitator for InsightLA. He is interested in the many different vocabularies of healing and the holding capacity of mindfulness, particularly as it relates to embodied activism and creative ecosystems.

Orlando Villarraga is a poet, musician, and visual artist. As an ally to the Teyuna indigenous tribes of Colombia, Orlando contributes as an interpreter and organizer to help bridge communication of ancient earth-based philosophy to the western world, as well as supporting the tribal communities in the process of living in a post-colonial society. A cofounder of The Resonance Experience, a group of innovators revealing the power of experiential sound in “refreshing” how we listen to the world, Orlando’s work includes guiding deep personal inquiries in the form of sound meditation. He has shared his experiences at NYU’s Love Class, The Interpersonal Neurobiology Conference, and the SAND conference. Orlando is happy and continues to learn from the universe as his university.

Dr. Sará Yafah King a UCLA-trained neuroscientist, political and learning scientist, education philosopher, critical theorist, social-entrepreneur, author, and public speaker. She is an internationally recognized thought-leader and co-creator of the scientific disciplinary field which merges our understanding of the relationship between mindfulness and social justice – having pioneered the first dissertation to explore the relationship between mindfulness, yoga, and embodied education as a liberatory, anti-oppression practice. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Neurology at OHSU (Oregon Health Science University) specializing in the study of the relationship between contemplative practices, complementary alternative medicine, community health and healing justice. Dr. King is also the executive director of “Peace in Schools” a transformative mindfulness non-profit, a dharma teacher with Presence Collective, and a member of Google’s Vitality Labs think tank. She is also the founder of a scientific consultancy, MindHeart Consulting, through which she offers up “The Science of Social Justice” framework for research and facilitation of which she is the inventor/creator. She has been able to promote trauma-informed cultural transformation using the Science of Social Justice from within Fortune 500 companies, global philanthropic agencies, and most recently, through her collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Dr. King has also been an avid student-practitioner of vinyasa yoga, as well as a student of Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism for 15+ years, having completed over 700 hours of training and certification, most notably through Spirit Rock in Marin, CA.

Selma Quist-Møller is a psychologist education from UC Berkeley, UCLA, Copenhagen University, and Lund University. She specializes in research within positive health psychology, post-traumatic growth, compassion, and mindfulness, and works through the interdisciplinary approach of Interpersonal Neurobiology. She focuses on bridging science and mindfulness practices to generate action that cultivates individual, collective, and planetary well-being, growth, health, and justice. Through this approach, she has been part of a research project teaching leaders at Google in a mindfulness-based leadership program for sustainability development. Additionally, she is passionate about making science accessible for everyone, which she does in various ways, including as a writer for UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and at Danish Center for Mindfulness. She was recently invited to share her research and practices within the Danish Parliament and for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Shelly Tygielski is a self-care activist and community organizer. Her work has been featured on CNN Heroes, in Forbes Magazine, CBS, ABC, NBC, The New York Times, Washington Post, and numerous other publications and media outlets. After spending almost 20 years immersed in Fortune 1000 organizations in corporate America, and the past decade as a high-ranking executive in publicly and privately held companies, Shelly turned to teaching modern-life mindfulness full time. Committed to the democratization of meditation, her emphasis is on bringing mindfulness to corporations, public schools, nonprofits, and social justice and political organizations. She honed this focus over ten years of volunteering as a community organizer on campaigns, in social justice organizations, and on behalf of underserved school districts. An area leader with the Democratic Party in Florida, in 2016 Shelly co-founded South Florida Women Rise Up—a group of 3,000 women whose mission is to inform, organize, and activate local women around central issues affecting the community and this country. She also leads close to 15,000 meditators in Broward County, Florida, in a weekly guided meditation practice (that was originally in-person on the shores of Hollywood Beach but is now online). Shelly is also the Founder of Pandemic of Love, a global, grass-roots volunteer-led mutual aid community that has directly matched over 1.2 million people since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for over $55 million in direct transactions. She is a trauma-informed mindfulness teacher, a certified Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute teacher, a community organizer, self-care activist and an author, with a forthcoming book, “Sit Down to Rise Up” due out in the Fall of 2021 from New World Publishing. Shelly also has an exclusive series of short-form mindfulness workshops available through audible.com. In June 2020, in partnership with Thrive Global and Walmart, Shelly is going on a 30-city “Summer of Love” tour across the United States, where she will visit some of the Pandemic of Love chapter communities.

From growing up with gunshot holes outside of his bedroom window, to sharing the stage with Marianne Williamson and Deepak Chopra, Justin Michael Williams knows well the power of healing to overcome. He is an author, transformational speaker, and top 20 recording artist who has been featured by The Wall Street Journal, Grammy.com, Yoga Journal, Billboard.com, The Root, and SXSW®. With his groundbreaking new book Stay Woke, and over a decade of teaching experience, Justin has become a pioneering voice for diversity and inclusion in wellness. More: www.justinmichaelwilliams.com

This virtual retreat will be conducted via Zoom on Wednesday April 20, 2022 . The virtual retreat link will be emailed to participants within twenty-four hours of your registration. Please email us at events@garrisoninstitute.org with questions.

Your support matters. Our vision for a more just, compassionate world has never felt more urgent. While we cannot share physical space together, we remain committed to a shared practice of social and spiritual care. We are thankful for the support to create a virtual sanctuary during this time. Your donations help to expand the Fellowship’s program offerings. If you feel called to support our work, we welcome your tax-deductible contribution towards our efforts. Please consider registering at the donor rate below.

Registration Options

1 - Participant
2 - Participant + Donation (Donation)