The goal for the Mindfulness Residency Program is to embed a mindfulness practitioner deeply into the Colorado College campus. Sustained engagement with the Mindfulness Resident will allow for formal and informal opportunities to build relationships, test programs and methodologies for introducing mindfulness as a core value of the campus, as well as provide teaching opportunities and curricular collaborations.
Creativity & Innovation welcomes nominations for future Residents from CC faculty, staff, and students. Please email Jessica Hunter-Larsen at firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of your nominee(s) and a short description of how you might envision them engaging with our community.
Myra L. Jackson, January 15-March 16, 2021
During her residency, Myra will offer a Dynamic Half-Block course, collaborate with faculty to conduct activities within classes, and offer workshops for staff, students, and faculty.
Biography: Electrical engineer, organizational development professional and founding member of the Gaiafield Project, Myra Jackson holds the title of diplomat of the biosphere awarded by Stockholm Resilience Centre. Her primary work is focused on climate change, the planetary commons, culture of peace initiatives, and public policy affecting the wellness of people and planet. Linking local and global policymaking, she is senior advisor, Whole Earth Civics, Geoversiv Foundation. In her role as, UN representative in New York and Geneva, Jackson serves as the focal point on climate change for the Commons Cluster of NGOs and expert on the UN Harmony with Nature Knowledge Network. She facilitated Oprah Winfrey’s “Belief” series initiative as an official program of the United Nations hosted by the president of the 70th General Assembly in October 2015.
To introduce Myra to our community, Creativity & Innovation Paraprofessional SethWilson Gray interviewed her about her hopes and goals for her residency at Colorado College in 2021.
SethWilson Gray: Thank you so much for joining me today. I would like to start with hearing a little bit more about yourself, your personal and professional experience and how it’s brought you to today.
Myra Jackson: So, you know, I’ve had a few trips around the sun and it’s really important to preface this by saying that I’ve really learned how to listen very well to what was mine to do. And once I learned how to listen to what was mine to do, and to locate where my curiosity was rising, it uncovered an important aspect of who I am. And I have to say, while I found that early, I had to recover it after going through a whole process of education and becoming an engineer, which I spent some time doing. I have loved everything that I’ve tackled. I’ve worked in the real estate industry; that was the family business, and that business had a lot to do with land and development. And I love land! I liked looking at blueprints. I was geeky, anyway, as a kid. I studied honors physics in high school in a preparatory setting, and I was really big into music, too. My classical ear was very strong. While I loved sitting around Balboa Park in San Diego, singing bluegrass and Motown, I was also singing light opera all the time, and performing Edwardian Madrigals in costume. So, I mean, I had this wide range of exposure, but all that was just following the natural wonder and awe that was with me, all the time. Piano, violin – all those things. You know, it can’t be better when you’re a kid than to be able to follow all those things you’re curious about.
This Mindfulness Residency with Creativity & Innovation, I mean, could this have been a more perfect opportunity? I’ve been coming to Colorado College and teaching sustainability — who would’ve thought though that I would have a chance to come back to Colorado College as resident, to just be Myra.
There is no credential for being who you are. There is no more important time than now to be able to walk in the world whole, and be who you are. There is no more important time than now to show up and be present in a time when we’re seeing disruption of systems, just disruption all around us. It’s a time where creativity matters the most. I think that’s the opportunity I’m being given here at Colorado College in blocks 5 and 6, and I’m so excited about that because, I mean, that’s where I can show up, full-on! I don’t have to leave any part of myself outside the door – or maybe I do, but we’ll see, you know.
SethWilson: Can you tell us a little bit about the Dynamic Half-Block workshop that you’ll be teaching at CC in January?
Myra: Yeah, well, that gets into what I’ve also discovered, which is that we’re wired to be living through this time. I want get into that idea in the Half-Block workshop: that the innate part of our human experience can be turned on, we can access that part of ourselves to get us through these times. We’re on a changing planet, and there’s a lot of what we have intrinsically loaded within us that we can actually work with to help us move through this time in a way that makes sense, a way that we can catch our breath, and slow down time. Most of all, I want to help students learn something from this time that they can utilize for their entire lifetimes. So that’s what I want to be about during that Half Block. And it’s going be fun, because we’re going to partner with nature. And to partner with nature is to find our own connection to nature.
I think that nature is where we’re the most resilient, and where we’re the strongest. It is where we can breathe more deeply — we need to breathe more deeply! We need to find the ways in which we can show up as more human than ever. So, I love playing in that sandbox, and I have lots of tools and I’m going to trot them out during the Half-Block, because if I had my tools earlier in life, that would have been better. So I want to impart those and share those tools with students now. Every time I do this, I learn, I pick up new skills from others. So it’s a two-way street.
SethWilson: And what are some of your hopes and dreams for this Half-Block in terms of what the students will take with them afterwards?
Myra: I hope that they will have discovered a way to slow down their experiences, to catch their breath, and to tap into something that lives in them deeply, something that serves as a resource for their learning and for their explorations in life. Something that allows them to use their sentient intelligence to build community and to be friends with one another — because it’s the friendships between us, and our ability to create community, that is really the accelerator for anything that we’re about right now.
The other thing that comes out of the workshop is a way to access that power that lies within us to really dial in and focus. It’s a natural bio-hack, if you will, to tap into our own innate sensorium of capacities, then to apply those capacities to the life we’re living, or focus them toward an endeavor that we have, or toward a project, or even toward our studies. We can use our power everywhere.
SethWilson: What are some of your plans for your Block 5 and 6 residency? What are some of the energies that you’re going to be bringing to campus and to the students here?
Myra: One of the biggest challenges we have is like: how do we create connections if all of our learning is online. That is clearly a whole new challenge. Because so much of what I do really is tied to making the connections to nature, we have to figure out how to work with nature through this virtual medium. I think that this challenge is sparking my own creativity in a very interesting way. So, I’ve already been playing and dreaming with that and all, and I’m getting a lot out of it from doing it. I also hope that I’ll be able to visit many, many classrooms, and drop in, and who knows how those opportunities are going to open up.
Going into classes will depend on collaborations with faculty, but I hope to offer an array of exciting one-hour workshops or seminars that can easily come into a science class or an anthropology class, you name it. I hope these experiences will contribute to the learning experience for students, because so often when we are moving so fast to produce during a block, as you know, it’s nice to find a way to break up that energy so that everyone can catch their breath and grab onto some tools that will help them complete projects. So, I hope I can infuse that kind of opening into classes, help create that place where we can rise up and see the bigger picture and work creatively toward our learning experiences. I want to bring those experiences into classrooms, where students and faculty will gather. So I want to bring an infusion of energy, so we can see the opportunities that are before us more clearly.
Students are encouraged to register for Myra’s Dynamic Half-Block workshop:
Innate Mindfulness: Exploring our Inner Ecology for Thriving on a Changing Planet
January 18-22, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. MT each day
For more information about the class and to register, visit https://www.coloradocollege.edu/offices/careercenter/our-programs/non-credit-half-block.html
Barbara Bash 2019-2020
Our first Resident, Barbara Bash, is a calligrapher, illustrator, author and performance artist who has practiced Buddhism for over 30 years. She has written and illustrated many books on natural history for adults and children. She also teaches workshops in illustrated journaling, expressive brush calligraphy, and non-violent communication practices.
Barbara spent her childhood in Barrington, Illinois and studied dance and drawing in college before immersing herself in the study of calligraphy. This art form led her to a successful career as a graphic artist and teacher of book arts, first in the California Bay Area and then at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. During these years she collaborated with storytellers, dancers and musicians in performance. She also began to study the natural world through writing and illustrating books for children. The research for her books has taken her all over the world and opened her to the practice of illustrated journal keeping. True Nature was her first published journal. She now lives and works in the Hudson Valley of New York where she creates her books and does expressive calligraphic performance art. Her workshops have been presented in Buddhist centers and corporate settings, as well as prisons and mental health facilities, creating a space for everyone to make their mark in the world.