Ship Building: mindfulness in education network

If you want to build a ship, then don’t drum up men to gather wood, give orders and divide the work. Rather, teach them to yearn for the far and endless sea.   Antoine de Saint-Exupery

bryn mawr mien ~d nelson

bryn mawr mien ~d nelson

The teacher inside bows to you,
teachers, whether  in classrooms, on the web
or elsewhere, for gifting now thriving students
your guidance on mindful living every day.

Below are words from my friend & dharma teacher, Richard Brady about the mindfulness in education network (MIEN). Followed by the talks given during this year’s annual conference in March, which I produced.



Ship Building: Although we didn’t appreciate it at the time, when Lyn Fine, Jerry Braza, and I founded the Mindfulness in Education Network in the fall of 2001, we had commenced building a ship.  Thich Nhat Hanh had just offered retreats on the East and West Coast to which he’d extended a special invitation to educators.  During both retreats educators met in interest groups to learn how others were employing mindfulness in their teaching.  This was a rare opportunity.  Mindfulness was not on the cover of national magazines.  Organizations that taught mindfulness to educators did not exist.  Most of the educators knew no other educators who shared their interest in mindfulness.  They wanted to stay in touch after they returned home.

On October 18th a listserv with 78 participants went on line.  MiEN member Nacho Cordova soon offered to create and manage a website.  In 2006 Amy Saltzman, the founder of MiEN’s sister organization, the Association for Mindfulness in Education, invited Irene McHenry, Rob Wall, and me to come west to present at AME’s first conference in San Francisco.  Before we left for home, Amy suggested MiEN offer a similar conference on the East Coast.  After retiring in 2007, I had the time, with support from Irene, Rob, and Amy to organize that first MiEN first conference.  It was held at Sidwell Friends School in February of 2008.  Eight more conferences have followed.

walking meditation brynmawrmien

walking meditation brynmawrmien

MiEN reached out to invite people with many different mindfulness backgrounds, working in many forms of education all over the world, to join our listserv and attend our conferences.  The conferences expanded from a one-day symposium to three-day events with a full-day opening workshop, a keynote talk, the symposium, and a closing day of mindfulness.  With MiEN’s growth came the need for a governance structure.  In 2010 a steering committee was established, and in 2012 MiEN incorporated as a nonprofit with a Board of Directors and bylaws approved by the participants on the listserv.  Today more than 1,600 people participate on MiEN’s listserv.  Thousands have visited MiEN’s listserv,, many to view the videos of the speakers at our annual conferences.  At the end of 2014 I happily passed on MiEN’s Presidential role to my friend Katie Byrnes.

For its first four years MiEN’s Board, with members in the Pacific Northwest, the Middle Atlantic States, and New England, held its meetings by teleconference.  Last week, on the first day of our conference at Bryn Mawr College, we held our first Board Retreat.  With some of us meeting each other for the first time, our Webmaster and eight of our nine Board members celebrated the opportunity to gather and share our energy and visions for the future.  After lunch, when our ninth Board member joined us via Skype, I had an almost mystical sense that the ship we’d been building for the last fifteen years was under full sail.

Mindfulness: Foundation for Teaching and Learning Ninth Annual Conference
March 4 – 6, 2016 Bryn Mawr College

Keynote Address – A Relational Mindfulness Pedagogy ~ Sam Himelstein

Dynamic Mindfulness for Excellence and Equity in Education ~ Bidyut Bose

Adolescents and Mindfulness: Why it Matters ~ Trish Broderick

Complexities of De-constructing Hierarchical Teaching Spaces in Higher Education ~ Rose Sackey-Milligan

May our descendants grow up in a happy, mindful society
of which they have co-created! 🙂