Mindfulness-Dialogue Applications

Mindfulness-Dialogue has been used and tested in multiple setting and local community applications throughout the past thirty years.

Health Care / Public Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“I’m very pleased and honored to express my enthusiasm for and interest in this new initiative focusing on building mindfulness dialogue skills to enhance cross sector understanding and action. Your work is just what we need at this critical time in our nation as the COVID pandemic rages across the nation and around the world. My enthusiasm for this work stems from collaboration with Danny Martin during a time when I served as a Center Director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and as an Assistant Surgeon General in the US Public Health Service. Through a series of skill building workshops, Danny educated public health leaders from across the US in dialogue competency which then translated into action at the local level to promote and protect community health. As a result, public health leaders were introduced to new ways of relating to the health needs of diverse communities. With his unique skills, Danny opened our eyes and warmed our hearts in ways that continue to enrich our commitment to serving the health of the public.

Ed Baker
Formerly, Assistance Surgeon General
Public Health Service
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, GA

There is not a time in my life or professional career when Mindfulness-Dialogue is more necessary.   We have all lost, or sometimes are afraid to even attempt to establish, critical connections to each other out of fear.  I have many onetime close friends who I struggle to even understand and differences seem so strident that I just avoid engaging.  Once we avoided talking about politics, today we avoid talking.

Danny Martin and I spent a number of years at the American Heart Association working with our staff and volunteers on authentic engagement around authentic issues and I remain grounded in that process.  Today, I still open every staff meeting with a mindfulness dialogue focused on listening, sharing real life stories whether joyful or painful and being individually and collectively present at the most critical time in the history of our organization.  

We must take this opportunity to become “we” again and it must be a nationwide movement if it is to be successful.”

Michael L. Weamer
Formerly, CEO of the American Heart Association
Currently. President & CEO Marfan Foundation
New York, NY

American Heart Association

Greenwich Psychotherapy & Associates

“I have had the good fortune and great honor to work with Dr. Danny Martin over the past 25 years. He is well known and respected in his field. With a quiet and compelling charisma his depth of knowledge and commitment to the work he does is palpable. Mindfulness Dialogue is a model he named and has been shaping for many years, in a range of contexts and across cultures. Danny has guided us at Greenwich Psychotherapy & Associates over the past 5 years by teaching us skills and strengthening our Mindfulness practices and building the foundation for integrating Mindfulness Dialogue into our clinical and community work. Not surprisingly, Mindfulness Dialogue has also enriched and deepened our communication with each other among the team. The benefits of this work will impact everyone we communicate with. In our clinical work however, this model beautifully captures the skills we are seeking to strengthen with patients. In Mindfulness Dialogue, the development a mindfulness practice sets the frame for the three stages to this model: connecting, exploring and discovering. This model has become so central in our work as therapists; that it is perhaps the dawning of a new therapeutic method: Mindfulness Dialogue Therapy (MDT).”

Orla Cashman, PhD, LCSW
Greenwich Psychotherapy & Associates
Founder and Owner
Greenwich, CT

Maternal Addiction Treatment, Education & Research (MATER)

Diane is a principal creator of Mindfulness Dialogue for Life which she and Danny have implemented at MATER with leadership and staff who serve pregnant women with substance use disorders. Their work with Mindfulness-Dialogue has fundamentally transformed the quality of patient care and work life for all. A recent article in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment (December 01, 2020) describes the impact: 

“COVID-19 led to abrupt changes to the MATER treatment environment and increased stress for staff who abruptly had to work from home. In response to the pandemic, MATER adapted its existing Mindfulness Dialogue for Life (MDfL) program to a virtual platform. MDfL created a safe space for staff to share their struggles during the pandemic and provided a place to focus on emotional well-being, self-care, and self-compassion. It also enhanced mindful communication, which may be particularly useful during the COVID-19 crisis because of the continually evolving landscape and uncertainty related to the response to the pandemic.”

Diane Abatemarco, PhD.
Director, Maternal Addiction Treatment, Education and Research Program (MATER)
Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Pediatrics, Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia, PA

Shelby County Health Department
Memphis Tennessee

“As a public health nurse and leader, Mindfulness-Dialogue has transformed me as well as my practice. Working together to create healthy, thriving communities for all necessitates that we engage, authentically with each other – connecting, exploring and discovering to heal, hope and rediscover our collective possibilities as a nation.I began my journey with Danny Martin nearly two decades ago when there were efforts underway across the U.S. to create a healthier nation – one community at a time.

Our journey began in Nashville, Tennessee where our local health department received technical assistance through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Technical assistance designed to build our local capacity to engage, fully, with partners to address historic health inequities and build a healthy Nashville. The experience profoundly changed how our team worked with each other, worked with partner organizations and worked with community residents. Our workplace became more caring, compassionate and inclusive.  The experiences fundamentally changed how we engaged with each other. Over time, Dialogue, became our culture.  A culture that continues today. 

My journey with Danny continued to Wilmington, Delaware and Nemours Health and Prevention Services where I led Nemours Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) Award to improve health outcomes for children with asthma post Affordable Care Act.  Once again, I called upon Danny to work with our team to develop Dialogue skills and, more importantly, but to inspire team members to be agents of change during a time of accelerated change. Again, as a leader, I witnessed a transformation as team members explored to develop mutual understanding and generate new possibilities. 

Historically, public health has been rooted in social justice and served as an agent of change. Mindfulness-Dialogue is a way of being that can lead to A New American WE.”

Alisa R. Haushalter, DNP, RN, PHNA-BC
Director, Shelby County Health Department
Memphis, TN

Environment

Creative Conversations Around Sustainable Solutions (CC@SS)

Creative Conversations Around Sustainable Solutions was established to educate, connect and inspire environmental thought leaders by way of guided conversations. Our vision for our gathering went beyond the average panel discussion, as we wanted a deeper context for the big topics we were intending to explore. In essence, we wanted our conversations to co-create a regenerative community of life. There was no better model to help us establish the framework for Creative Conversations than the facilitation of Mindfulness-Dialagoue by Danny Martin. 

Danny Martin’s skillful capacity to weave the thread of interconnectedness through our diverse topics such as food, agriculture, health, finance and business allowed for insights and ideas to emerge, with out being forced.  The process is creative, comfortable, balanced and effectively creates the appropriate forum to address the challenges we face as a society today.

We know there is a glaring need for more collaboration, communication, understanding, and alliances between the many efforts that are focused, in different ways, on a sustainability – but we are often unaware of one another. We also know that the capacity to collaborate requires more than good intention: it takes an understanding of what it truly means to collaborate and practicing the skills required to do so. Mindfulness-Dialogue allows for a contemplative approach to the topic at hand, each other and ourselves. We recognize that the success the of Creative Conversations is due, in large part, to the Mindfulness-Dialogue model.”

Ali Ghiorse and Rachel Khanna
Co-founders of Creative Conversations Around Sustainable Solutions (CC@SS)
Greenwich, CT 

Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue at Iona College

“Danny Martin is a founding Convener of the Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue at Iona College. The goal of The Forum is to help re-set the Human-Earth relationship under the guiding wisdom of the teachings of Thomas Berry.  This will require a commitment to deep dialogue at all levels to address our growing global predicament.  Danny has been essential to formulating the mission of the Berry Forum, calling on his own spiritual grounding in the natural world first explored in his native Ireland, later nurtured and challenged in his ministries on the African continent and burnished further by his engagement in formulating the Earth Charter in complex negotiations in the conference halls of the United Nations. Mindfulness-Dialogue will be vital in helping us generate the wisdom we need for the tasks ahead.  I am delighted to offer words of encouragement for this new enterprise.

Br. Kevin Cawley, Ph.D.
Executive Director of the Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue at Iona College,
New Rochelle, NY

Interfaith Environmental Network,
United Nations Environmental Programme

“I was privileged to chair the interfaith environmental network of the United Nations Environmental Programme, which in the later 1980s sponsored a worldwide “Environmental Sabbath”, and in the year 2,000 published Earth and Faith, a book for reflection and action, which initiated ecological dialogue among religious faiths. In his role as advisor, Danny Martin had a key role in developing the process of dialogue among the participants. The process that led to these developments was an example of Mindfulness Dialogue, as representatives of the world’s religious traditions shared their deep and spiritual concern for the Earth as God’s Creation. The Environmental Sabbath and Earth and Faith likewise initiated such Dialogue among the world’s religions, and were among the seeds from which there has grown a widening and deepening concern for ecological spirituality and justice.

Rev. Dr. Franklin E. Vilas
Formerly, Chair of Interfaith Environmental Network of the United Nations
Environmental Program.
New York, NY

Bedford 2030

In 2007, Danny Martin invited the Town of Bedford, NY to talk about the urgency of Climate Change. A series of community conversations culminated in a gathering at the local village library of concerned members of the community, representing residents, schools, businesses, houses of worship and local government – all wanting to help, but feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the issue and not knowing how to begin to work together.  The Mindfulness Dialogue approach helped us discover that when we use conversation as the basis for understanding each other, and really listen to one another, we can create a way forward. This conversation led to a Town Board appointed Climate Action panel that produced a Climate Action plan and led to the formation of Bedford 2020 (now Bedford 2030), an organization dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing Climate Change through grassroots community effort.  Today, Bedford 2030 and the Town of Bedford are leaders in Westchester County and New York State, receiving recognition and awards for our Climate Action efforts. Mindfulness Dialogue provided us with the essential foundation of authentic engagement of our community to address the pressing issue of Climate Change.” 

Mary Beth Kass
CoFounder, Bedford 2020
Bedford, NY

SoundWaters

“I have been involved in many start-up organizations mostly as a professional consultant. Start-ups have unique challenges in that there are no set policies, there is no history, and there are many diverging views on how to best grow the organization. Most start-ups do not succeed for many reasons not the least of which is the inability for founding board members to resolve differences and work together for the better good of the organization.In the case of SoundWaters I was not a consultant but directly involved in the formation of the organization as was Danny Martin. In the early years there were significant differences amongst the board members regarding the future and direction of SoundWaters. What Danny was able to do was to bring people with diverging views together to listen and understand each other. Personally, I learned that it was extremely important to, at a minimum, understand why people think or feel differently than I do. This might not lead to agreement but I now believe it is impossible to reach a meaningful way forward without understanding why someone may have differing opinions than yours. By going through this process with Danny we were able to find a path forward. Without his talent and expertise there is no doubt that SoundWaters would not exist as a successful organization today. And for that I will be forever grateful.”

Len Miller
Founder and Chairman, SoundWaters
Stamford, CT

SolarNation

SolarNation’s vision is to activate every person in every community to personally and directly engage in the project of combating catastrophic climate change by acting at the local level. Our mission is to ignite a national net-zero movement that supports and accelerates the efforts of local communities to eliminate their carbon footprints.  Mindfulness-Dialogue is foundational, helping individuals and groups come together across differences to accomplish meaningful work.

Our method is founded on the premise that individuals and communities will enthusiastically embrace the aspirational goal of addressing climate change when they are empowered to co-create meaningful and plausible ways to do so that fit into their lives. For example, a community might decide to create a local community solar project, to provide cheaper, carbon-free energy to low-income members. Later, what begins as an attempt to save a little money on utility bills while doing the “right thing” for the planet, can subsequently grow into a venture to engage more neighbors, the broader business community, educators, students and local government leaders to collaborate in creating additional ways to provide a just and sustainable energy future for the local area. 

Ultimately, SolarNation targets the denial, despair and sense of powerlessness that many feel at the prospect of catastrophic climate change by guiding community-driven efforts to organize and finance community solar and other net-zero energy activities. SolarNation’s approach minimizes technical barriers while maximizing participants’ emotional connection to the work. This changes people’s relationship to climate change, from isolated victims to collective victors. The resultant transformation of climate-change consciousness puts communities on hopeful pathways to take further action to grow the movement and ensure a healthy future for the planet.”

Carlos Monteagudo
SolarNation, Founder and Executive Director
Forest Hills, NY

Social Justice

Prison Ministries

Growing up under five years of Nazi German occupation in faraway Denmark, I know in my heart and bones the darkness of heartless, terror-based dictatorship. I also know of the relentless yearning for freedom and democracy that is the hallmark of the American way and soul. It is this that we need to preserve, protect and expand at all cost. As a bonafide American citizen since 1990, a longtime participant in the Mindfulness-Dialogue process in a number of settings, a minister of the Presbyterian Church USA, and the UN representative of the International Prison Chaplains Association (IPCA,) I fully endorse and support the Mindfulness-Dialogue approach and ideals of “ A New American We.

Hans Hallundbaek
D-MinDirector Interfaith Prison Partnership, UN Rep. for International Prison Chaplains Association, IPCA. & CURE International
Washington, DC

SEED Impact

SEED Impact builds the performance of nonprofit organizations to lead, evaluate and scale social impact.

Achieving High Performance Requires
Equal Attention to: People, Product, Process and Possibilities to expand and maximize impact.

SEED Impact’s theory of change links
organizational sustainability and shared leadership
across 14 themes to the following capacities:

PEOPLE
A team’s ability to embody their values in everything they do; to utilize the unique talents of each contributor; to function with clarity of roles and accountability for responsibilities; to activate and retain volunteers; to engage the wisdom, wealth, and work of their board and advisors; to establish win-win partnerships, and excite others to connect with their cause.

PRODUCT
A team’s ability to offer products in response to changing market factors; to infuse their specific signature into everything they do; to monetize their offerings and generate earned revenues; to produce clear and compelling messages and marketing; to report back the social return on investments to donors and funders, and to use technology for all it’s worth. 
 
PROCESS
A teams ability to sustain a life-giving culture for creativity, collaboration, mutual trust and supportive learning; to engage in cycles of reflection, visioning, budgeting, planning and story-sharing; to stay on track to meet their goals; to evaluate and make visible their performance;  to function as effective ambassadors attracting resources, and to creatively consider new revenue streams.
 
POSSIBILITIES
A team’s ability to articulate a compelling long-term vision for success; to imagine what more is possible with new partners, technologies, and approaches; to develop the teamwork and infrastructure needed to realize their big dreams, and to draw inspiration from other models and fields.”

Carlos Monteagudo and Melinda Lackey

SEED, CoFounders
New York, NY

Education

California State University at Monterey Bay

“With the founding of a new California State University at Monterey Bay in 1995, several leaders in health and social services came together with an idea for a unique program for the new campus.  As in many parts of the country there were programs in the public and non-profit sector that addressed the challenges of poverty, school failure, poor health and community decline, but these programs too often went about their work separately. A new center was proposed for integrating them: a ‘collaborative health and human service’ institute that would join community leaders and faculty in addressing community issues, and a program that would stretch across in the health, education, social services, criminal justice and community development sectors.  Students could participate in cross-sector field initiatives, and faculty could gain insight from their experiences and those of local agency leaders. For the inauguration of this center Danny Martin was invited to give an opening address where he introduced the concept of dialogue as a fundamental tool for the critical work that the graduates of the new center would be undertaking.  For the past 25 years hundreds of students have graduated from the popular program, and many have carried the Mindfulness-Dialogue themes of authentic communication and creative collaboration into their careers in the local public and non-profit sectors.”

Robert J. Melton, M.D., M.Ph.
Director (ret) 
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Monterey County, CA

Greenwich Academy

“People are hungry for connection in today’s world.  An experience like Mindfulness Dialogue transforms individuals, groups of people, and organizations to move toward one another in ways that are creative, life giving and meaningful.  At our school, Danny Martin and his MD created a space where faculty and staff could slow down, feel centered, and be present to their inner selves.  Mindfulness allows us in small groups to embrace the calm, grounding experience of the breath, to go inward, and listen to our experience(s).  The Dialogue aspect of the practice invites us to not only express our thoughts and ideas, and to listen to others’, but to also explore and discover common themes that connect us.  For some, this looked like tears during a MD meeting, where teachers felt moved and would share from an authentic place. From there, the group felt inspired to implement new skills and insights we were learning into our classrooms.  We became more present and less reactive, and modeled a different, more peaceful way of “being” in relationship to our young people, their parents, and our colleagues.  My hope is that MD is practiced in every arena of life – the personal and the professional – as it has the potential to bring groups, institutions, government and even humanity, closer together.

Charlanne Zepf Bauerlein, LCSW
Greenwich Academy,
Upper School Counselor
Greenwich, CT

NY Schools Superintendent

“Mindfulness Dialogue brought new insight and possibility to my work as an educator, and to those with whom I collaborate. Studying individually with Danny Martin opened up new depths of listening – and being heard. Collaborating with Danny built new foundations for board and staff development, and fostered more authentic engagement (the heart of teaching) and collaborative leadership. To the extent that more of us employ these dialogue skills in our daily interactions, we can better understand and appreciate one another. What could be more important in these difficult times?

John A. Chambers
Superintendent of Schools, (ret.)
New York

RE-IMAGINING RELIGION

Talmadge Community Church, Darien CT

“I met Danny Martin more than 25 years ago, and together we worked on new ways to docross-cultural work with sensitivity, humility and a spirit of collaboration.  That relationship has altered the course of my life on more than one occasion – first with my 20+ years of work in East Africa, and more recently in my role as a Senior Minister.

The United States is marked by pronounced extremism and ideological division.  On the surface, it presents as bipartisan politics, but, on a deeper level, it is the inability to relate as fellow travelers, to establish common ground, or discover a shared vision.  We seem to have forgotten that we are ONE people, and lack the skill to remember this truth.  Mindfulness Dialogue is a brilliant and well-conceived way to help us address this.

More than 2 years ago, I invited Danny Martin to bring Mindfulness Dialogue to our community of faith.  While we are generally a well-educated and progressive community, we face the challenges of any organization AND struggle to be fully engaged/responsive to the world.  Mindfulness Dialogue has been a game changer.  It has allowed us to understand on a more profound level our complicity in racism, our disconnect from poor white America, our relative indifference to environmental degradation and climate change, and so much more. Mindfulness Dialogue is a powerful way to rediscover our interrelatedness.”

Carter Via
Senior Minister,
Talmadge Community Church,
Darien, CT

Culture

The Leatherman’s Loop

THE POWER OF THE LOOP IN COVID TIMES

“The Leatherman’s Loop is much more than a Race. For many of us it’s a fun gathering, a time for connecting with nature, even a spiritual experience. Most of all, it’s a reminder of how related we all are. That’s why we miss it so much, especially in these pandemic times that have disrupted our relationships when we need them more than ever.

Some of us are finding ways to address this loss with mini-Loop experiences – smaller groups and partial Loops – as follow:.

  • We could connect before we start with a moment of silence and the Loop Blessing.
  • We could invite each other to explore our interconnectedness (with each other and with nature) with a little more intention (and attention) as we run together
  • And afterwards, we could discover through our exchanges little things we could do to bring our country back together as the united states that we are.

Over time, as we build confidence in this little Loop Ritual we could expand our group to include people who are different in all the wonderful ways we are different: race, gender, politics, economics… In this way we would deepen our unity and contribute to the bigger effort to bring our country (and ultimately our world) back together so that we can face our common challenges with the creativity and energy we generate when we bring our differences together.”

Danny Martin
Spiritual Advisor
Leatherman’s Loop