Mindful Mason Moments

mindfulness meditation
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” – Jack Kornfield
Take a well-being break on weekdays at noon for Mindful Mason Moments mindfulness sessions. Mindful Mason Moments gives you an opportunity to take midday breaks in ways that can deepen your mindful awareness and overall well-being. Facilitators hold space for you to slow down and reconnect with yourself, so you can move through your day with more awareness, more connection, and more ease. By taking good care of yourself, you can contribute more to your friends, families, colleagues, and community members. These daily opportunities give you the extra push to build an actual break into your day that is focused on self-care.
From September 2021 to November 2021, we will present Mindful Mason Moments sessions via Zoom from 12 noon to 12:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and 12 noon to 12:20 p.m. on Fridays. Join online here: go.gmu.edu/MindfulMason
We will also offer in-person sessions as follows:
  • Fairfax campus: Tuesdays (Research Hall, Room 301) and Thursdays (Johnson Center, Meeting Room C) from 12 noon to 12:30 p.m.
  • SciTech campus: Tuesdays and Thursdays (Colgan Hall, Room 202) from 12 noon to 12:30 p.m.
  • Arlington campus: Mondays (Van Metre Hall, Room 476) from 12 noon to 12:30 p.m.
Research shows that practicing mindfulness meditation can lead to many significant well-being benefits. Those benefits include:

  • Less stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression
  • More resilience, concentration, and peace
  • Improved physical health
  • Greater academic success and job satisfaction

These drop-in sessions are meant to encourage and guide you. They will not give you a full introduction to mindfulness practices or meditation. They will not cover any particular curriculum from start to finish. However, a benefit is that if you miss a session, you can jump right into the next one. This drop-in approach does require flexibility on your part to experience different practices from one session to the next. Sessions may include meditation, gentle movement, sound, silence, or breath work.

Facilitator Bios

Claudia Borke

Claudia is an Academic Advisor for Mason’s Department of Bioengineering. Her interest in the mind/body connection started in her teenage years and has continued ever since. While studying abroad in Russia she received training in Transcendental Meditation and then continued to incorporate different mind-body techniques into her daily life to help with stress reduction and health management. Her daily routine includes meditation, exercise combined with healthy nutrition. She received her Positive Leadership Certificate from GMU, is a certified Reiki Master Practitioner and received her certification as a Student Coach this year by InsideTrack. 

Her meditations begin with relaxation exercises and a brief guidance focused on breathing and intention setting. Claudia believes that through meditation we find inner strength, balance and increase our empathy for others. It is one of the most underrated exercises for every age and it is free. 

Stacy Borzi’s bio is coming soon.

Katie ClareKatie is Associate Director for Resilience Programs at Mason. She oversees the Resilience Badge and also collaborates with the Mason Chooses Kindness initiative. Through graduate school, marriage, and parenthood, Katie has leaned on mindfulness and meditation to remain focused and to engage her body and mind awareness. She developed a silent meditation practice through Don Gallehr’s informal training. Her practices benefitted from formal training with Tara Brach, Anand Mehrotra, Karen Maezen Miller, Mark Thurston, and Mary Elizabeth Lynch. She has attended the Summer Institute for Educators with the Greater Good Science Center, the Summer Session on Contemplative Practices with the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, and Mindfulness Fundamentals through Mindful Schools. Trained as a Mental Health First Aid facilitator through the National Council for Behavioral Health, she brings self-care and mindfulness into the mental health conversation. Her Mindful Mason Moments sessions often include guided meditation and breath work, and will make use of Mason’s Arcadia installation for spring 2021.

Sharon Doetsch-Kidder

Sharon Doetsch-Kidder, Ph.D., is a Term Assistant Professor in the English department and Assistant Pathways Program Coordinator for INTO Mason. In addition to training in several forms of meditation, she practices Shinshin Toitsu Aikido and is an Assistant Ki Lecturer with the International Ki Society. She has a special interest in tailoring mindfulness training to different communities and has taught children, parents, early childhood educators, and incarcerated teenagers, as well as students, faculty, and staff in higher education. Her current research is investigating the interconnection of diversity, inclusion, and well-being work through Healing Justice activism.

Michael Galvin

Michael is Associate Director, Regional Campuses, University Life at Mason. He also collaborates with the Mason Chooses Kindness initiative. His practice began with Transcendental Meditation training at age 16 (1973). It has evolved with influences from Nichiren, Jodu Shinshu, and most recently Vajrayana (Tibetan) schools of Buddhism. He began facilitating mindfulness practices at Mason and elsewhere in 2010 and continues his own studies in Shamatha, Vipassana, and Deity Yoga practices under the supervision of Drikung Kagyu Lama Khenpo Samdup Rinpoche. He also trains with The Buddhist Geeks sangha, and the gold standard two-year Mindfulness Meditation Teaching Certification Program under Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield. Michael is an Associate Director for Regional Campuses with University Life, stationed at the SciTech Campus. He begins each practice with a light guided embodiment meditation, brief mindfulness meditation instructions for newcomers as needed, and 25 minutes of silent sitting. Outside of Mindful Mason Moments, Michael facilitates Metta practices, basic and advanced mindfulness meditation, and social meditation theory and practice sessions on Zoom.

Aditi GoelAditi is pursuing her undergraduate degree at Mason and expects to graduate in 2022. She began exploring mindfulness in 2016 and has continued her journey with the Meditation Museum in Virginia. During her first two years at Mason, she was a member of the Well-Being LLC where she was inspired to explore diverse practices to support her well-being. Her experience led her to found the student organization, Dare 2 Be Wise, which aims to expand the awareness of mental health and encourages Mason students to live a more positive life. In her meditations, she incorporates elements from different kinds of meditations like loving-kindness, body-scan, focused breathing, and raja yoga. Her favorite quote is “The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts, it’s to stop letting your thoughts control you.”

Dena Jensen

Dena Jensen teaches Introduction and Intermediate Yoga to students at George Mason University. She believes that yoga is an effective tool for quieting the mind in preparation for stillness. Dena was introduced to contemplative practices as a young adult when she stumbled upon the book Wherever You Go, There You Are by John Kabat-Zinn in an airport bookstore. Her meditation practices are mindfulness based and informed by the teachings of the great Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanhn, and contemporary mindfulness teachers such as Tara Brach, Sharon Salzberg, John Kabat-Zinn, Joseph Goldstein, and Jack Cornfield. Her meditations include gentle movements, focused breath techniques, and mindfulness practices.

Julia MorelliJulia is President of the George Mason University Instructional Foundation, Inc. Her passion for the internal arts began many years ago after training with the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, and taking yoga and qigong classes through Peaceable Dragon. She incorporates practices learned through Health Advantage Yoga (RYT 200), the Strozzi Institute/Embodied Leadership, and the Institute for Zen Leadership. She considers it an honor to work with those who seek to develop and enhance the physical, emotional, and spiritual condition. Julia’s sessions focus on conscious breathing and gentle movements to improve flexibility, decrease stress, cultivate chi/ki/qi (universal energy), and enhance somatic (body) awareness. Her understanding of the importance and power of self-awareness and compassion deepened through the work done with her horse, Dahnaan, who had been abused and became one of her greatest teachers.

Millie RiveraMiliagros (Millie) Rivera, Ph.D., is the Director of Faculty Diversity, Inclusion, and Well-Being, Office of Faculty Affairs, at Mason. She also collaborates with the Mason Chooses Kindness initiative and the Rx Racial Healing Circles program. At the National University of Singapore, where Millie was the founding chair of the Department of Communications and New Media (CNM), she ran a four-year mindfulness program that supported over 1,000 students and staff, which earned her the NUS Wellness Ambassador Award. Millie is the co-editor (with Rentia du Plessis) of the 2020 book Pathways Across Cultures: Intercultural Communication in South Africa, where she advocates for the use of mindfulness in intercultural communication encounters.

Shernita Rochelle-Parker’s bio is coming soon.

Sophie Rondeau

Sophie Rondeau (she/her/hers) is Assessment and E-Resources Program Analyst with VIVA, Virginia’s academic library consortium. She began formal contemplative practices in yoga in 2004 and became a Certified Introductory I Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Several years later, Sophie became increasingly interested in sitting meditation practice and began attending 7-day silent meditation retreats at Springwater Center. From 2016-2018, she offered weekly mindfulness meditation sessions to the campus community at Virginia Wesleyan University. In addition to facilitating Mason Mindful Moments, Sophie co-facilitates a weekly Integral Meditation group in Richmond, Virginia. 

Melissa SchreibsteinMelissa Schreibstein, Director of Well-Being Programs at Mason’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, is a leader, educator, and connector who teaches others to create the conditions for individual and organizational thriving. Melissa is known for bringing compassion, deep listening, and natural positivity to her work. Her introduction to mindfulness occurred some 10 years ago when she was working with Wounded Warriors as a Performance Expert for the U.S. Army. While she has not undergone any formal meditation training, she believes deeply that developing mindfulness can support personal and professional transformation, and she incorporates mindfulness for focus, performance, stress management, and relaxation into her work as a teacher and an executive coach.

Mark Thurston

Mark Thurston is a term associate professor for the School of Integrative Studies at Mason.  He is faculty director for the undergraduate minor in Well-Being, and he teaches several courses about mindfulness, resilience, self-care, and positive psychology, including INTS 355 “Mindfulness, Meaning and Well-Being” and INTS 456 “Self-Care and Well-Being for Helping Professionals.” Mark has had his own meditation practice for nearly 50 years, and he has taught classes and workshops about meditation methods in cities across the country.

Participant Testimonials

Here’s what some participants have to say about Mindful Mason Moments sessions:

“I have loved coming to these sessions, especially the mindful movement ones. It is super helpful for grounding as it is a perfect combination of connecting with silence as well as connecting with the body.”

“These are the go-to sessions throughout the semester. Awesome community, unique, distinct practices by wonderful facilitators! It’s always just what I needed at that time. It’s super refreshing and is a good change of space from the regular tasks.”

“Mindful Mason Moments allows me the time and space to take a pause and re-center myself in the middle of everything. I’m especially grateful for these opportunities now, when all the work-home boundaries are blurred.” 

“I started attending because I was (and still am) going through some stressful times at home and thought that learning to meditate could only help.  It did.  That is a big reason why I continue to come back.  But another reason that is just as big for why I keep attending is the friends I have made and the warmth and care that I get from them.”

“My mind moves a mile a minute and slowing down is not something I do easily. Having a structure and space to help me practice mindfulness has been helpful and something I want to do more often. I am grateful for this program that helps me to become more present and mindful.”

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