The Power of Love and Compassion in Difficult Times with Mirabai Bush

Leading With Integrity When Culture Wars Come to Town with Dr. James Whitfield

A New Earth is Rising with Dr. David Robinson-Morris

Belonging is Everything! with Mr. Ed Porter

November 2021:  On the Possibility of Radical Communion: Building Bridges, Centering Belonging and Shifting the Frame
A workshop with Mr. Ed Porter and Dr. Brooke Lavelle.

Touching Earth with Dr. Melanie Harris 

Alone With My Memories with Dr. Michelle Chatman

September 2020: Pandemic As Portal: Loving the Earth and Each Other in a Time of Crises

Dr. Brooke Lavelle, founder of the Courage of Care Coalition offered this two-day online retreat for social, racial, and environmental activists to help us connect and support each other’s work.

Cultural Compassion and Radical Love with Dr. Lenwood Hayman 

February 2020:  Moving in Radical Love as a Public Health Initiative
Dr. Lenwood Hayman led this workshop focused on learning to move equitably as a network of interdependent beings toward the goal of optimal public health.

March 2020:  Conversation & Book Signing
In partnership with five other local organizations, the Center planned to host author Mirabai Starr for a conversation with Center Director Vaishali Mamgain. This sold-out event was postponed and, unfortunately, later cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Art of Seeing with Rev. Gola Wolf Richards

Peeling Away the Masks with Dr. Monika Son

September 2019:
  Leaning Into Our Discomfort and Withdrawing Our Commitment from Oppressive Spaces
Dr. Monika Son invited participants in this workshop to commit to antiracism work in a way that transcends mere cognition and addresses the entire “body” of oppression. 

Fierce Compassion with Dr. Kamilah Majied

October 2018: Workshops with Dr. Kamilah Majied 
Following her public talk, Dr. Majied offered two workshops,  “The Inner Social Justice Movement” and “Who are we and where do we belong? Exploring geographic and social location with integrity”.

September 2018: Compassion Retreat
A one-day workshop for the Food Studies program

Uncovering a Wellspring of Compassion with Dr. John Makransky

May 2018: Compassion in Health Care 
Two-day workshop at Maine Medical Center with Dr. John Makransky

The Courage of Compassion with Dr. Brooke D. Lavelle

April 2018: Visioning a Center for Compassion
Two-day workshop with Dr. Brooke D. Lavelle

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Center for Compassion sponsored 7 online sessions of Nonviolent Communication training with instructor Rebecca J. Stephans. 

Each 5-week course was an experiential exploration that illuminates obstacles to compassionate communications, and offers specific exercises and skill building practices to cultivate connection even in the face of conflict or disagreement.  Sessions focus especially on transforming blame and judgment into curiosity, observation, and open-hearted listening.  The practices are set on the foundation of Marshall Rosenberg’s development of Nonviolent Communication, along with meditation practices that help participants learn how to ground themselves when they are adversely stimulated. 

Introductory Series:
February 2022 – Graduate Students
November 2021 – Graduate Students
September 2021 – Faculty and Staff
November 2020 – Graduate Students
August 2020 – Faculty and Staff

Intermediate Series:
March 2022 – Graduate Students, Faculty, and Staff
February 2021 – Graduate Students and Staff

Prior to the pandemic, in the fall of 2019, the Center sponsored a biweekly, semester-long Nonviolent Communication training series for faculty and staff; this in-person practice group was also facilitated by Rebecca J. Stephans.

Wabanaki REACH’s Map Exercise program provided a visual and textual survey of the impacts of colonization on Wabanaki people and encouraged a deep, personal engagement with this history. This follow-up group, led by USM staff Erika Arthur and Katie Tomer, offered practices to process/integrate this learning in an embodied way and to encourage a fully engaged process to shift USM campus/community culture around Wabanaki/Indigenous student and staff presence at USM and beyond.

Participants became familiar with a set of embodied practices to help facilitate integration of difficult truths (re the history and present realities of colonization) and to build their capacity to act with compassion and resilience to undo the harms of colonization (with particular attention paid to how non-Wabanaki/non-Indigenous folks can do this work). Participants also became more aware of how the impacts of colonization show up personally and institutionally at USM and what a decolonization process might look like in the USM community and Maine at large. The group explored decolonization’s relationship with USM’s 10th Institutional Goal of equity and justice, and how supporting indigenous students and communities is central to the achievement of that goal.

The Bertha Crosley Ball Center for Compassion sponsored a virtual circle for USM staff and faculty to sit in community and witness all that was unfolding for us personally and societally. These groups were facilitated in a manner similar to the Common Read groups. 

The group met for 1.5-hour, weekly sessions for four weeks beginning Wednesday, July 1, 2020 from 4:30 to 6:00pm., and used Ani Pema Chödrön’s book When Things Fall Apart as a guide. This Circle was facilitated by Erik Eisele, a former mountain guide and journalist who now works in the nonprofit sector building relationships and connections.

Learning Outcomes:

1) Learning to sit with uncertainty 
2) Learning to be present to our experience 
3) Deep listening
4) Building community

The Center for Compassion, in partnership with the Center for Collaboration & Development, sponsored a two-part workshop with Professors Richard Bilodeau and Vaishali Mamgain. The presenters shared their research and introduced practices that engender empathy and enhance creativity and learning.  

These techniques, many of which evoke playfulness and a lightness of being, are an invitation to look afresh at our own disciplines and pedagogy. A “beginner’s mind” may be invaluable in rebuilding our learning communities as we grapple with the world’s problems and celebrate our achievements.  

Participants worked in dyads/triads to create contracts on how to implement these practices in a class they currently teach or are developing. Many of these techniques and practices can help us reduce our stress while offering the neuro-reset necessary to do our most optimal thinking.

Following the first Anti-Racism Institute Summer Intensive, Drs. Vaishali Mamgain and Rebecca Nisetich led this biweekly practice group of University staff/faculty and members of the community during the 2019-2020 academic year.  The group read Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be An Antiracist and Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility to inform their practice, focusing on how to use an antiracist framework to better understand their lives and how to bring these concepts to bear in their work at USM and in the community. 

This ongoing group for USM faculty and staff met biweekly throughout the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 academic years to focus on love and compassion training in the context of doing anti-racism work.  The group read Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be An Anti-Racist while working through an online Compassion Cultivation Training module developed by Courage of Care.

April 2022: Self-Care and Radical Communion: Walking Each Other Home
Center Director Dr. Vaishali Mamgain spoke at the Honors College at the University of Maine as a John M. Rezendes Visiting Scholar in Ethics.

October 2021: Cultivating Fierce Compassion: Leaning Into the Edges
Center Director Dr. Vaishali Mamgain led a workshop on navigating the tensions in our lives with practices rooted in compassion at the Center for Faith and Spirituality at Saint Joseph’s College (ME).

July 2021:  Courage of Care Summer Intensive
Center Director Dr. Vaishali Mamgain joined Kai Horton, Miko Brown, and others as faculty for the weeklong Courage of Care Summer Intensive.

June – August 2021:  Embodied Equity, Justice, and Leadership Institute
Center Director Dr. Vaishali Mamgain was one of the facilitators for this two-day workshop for organizational leaders and team members committed to transformative change, as well as for the weekly follow-up sessions throughout July.

April – July 2021:  Balancing Hope and Fear: an Ecological Justice course
This three-month, contemplative-based, anti-oppressive course (offered in two 6-week sections) was designed by a global team of collaborators to help resource folks engaged in climate change work.

April 2021:  Reclaiming Resilience and Community: a Workshop for BIPOC
Center Director Dr. Vaishali Mamgain co-facilitated this workshop from the Courage of Care Coalition. 

April 2021:  Balancing Hope and Fear: Resourcing Concerned Citizens for Sustainable Environmental Justice Work
Dr. Brooke Lavelle, founder of the Courage of Care Coalition, and Center Director Dr. Vaishali Mamgain presented this webinar from the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education.

March 2021:  What is Ours to Do to Bring Change?
Center Director Dr. Vaishali Mamgain spoke during the online Sunday Services at Unity of Greater Portland.

March 2021:  The Cognitive Reset: Become a Better Thinker to be a Better Leader
USM Professor Richard Bilodeau and Center Director Dr. Vaishali Mamgain presented this workshop at the Hussey Leadership Institute.

November 2020:  Mirabai Starr Retreat
The Center partnered with five other local organizations to host a one-day Zoom retreat with author Mirabai Starr. This event was originally scheduled for March 2020 but was postponed and held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

June – August 2020:  Witnessing Circles
Dr. Vaishali Mamgain hosted a series of online witnessing circles for the Southern Maine Agency on Aging where participants were invited to sit in community and witness all that was unfolding for them personally and for everyone societally. 

November 2019:  Jubilant in the Journey Towards Justice: Contemplation and Joy in Resistance
Dr. Kamilah Majied and Center Director Dr. Vaishali Mamgain led this workshop, focused on giving people the resources necessary to sustain social movement and find joy in our camaraderie and shared vision, during the National Women’s Studies Association annual conference.

November 2019:  Engaging With Our Feelings About Climate Disruption: Loss, Anger, Injustice
Dr. Vaishali Mamgain and Dr. David Glassberg led this workshop at the Annual Conference of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education.  The session highlighted how communities of color are at the frontlines and how countries in the (less developed) global South are disproportionately bearing the brunt of climate change.

October 2019:  The Immigration Debate and The Compassionate Stance: Lessons from Contemplative Neuroscience
Dr. Vaishali Mamgain led this workshop during Beyond Borders: a Conference on Migration and Integration.

August 2019:  A Dialogue on Self-Compassion and Interdependence  
Dr. Kamilah Majied and Dr. Vaishali Mamgain presented this webinar for the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. 

August 2019:  Spirituality in the Age of Surveillance
Center Director Dr. Vaishali Mamgain spoke during the Sunday services at the First Parish of Portland Unitarian Universalist church.

February 2019: What Role Does Kindness Play In Our Lives?
Maine Calling program on Maine Public Radio (panel discussion with Dr. Vaishali Mamgain, Sara Ewing-Merrill, Penthea Burns, and Kimberly Post, hosted by Jennifer Rooks)

February 2019: PechaKucha Night – Radical Compassion
Center Director Dr. Vaishali Mamgain hosted this community event at Portland House of Music.

November 2018: What Does It Mean To Be Compassionate?
Maine Calling program on Maine Public Radio (panel discussion with Dr. Vaishali Mamgain, Rev. Kenneth Lewis, Amy Wood, and Jennifer McDoor, hosted by Jennifer Rooks)