Aspen Public Radio, April 14, 2016

The Habit of Attention

Make a Move to Inner Sustainability

Are you working for meaningful change in our world, dedicated to make our world better? Do you find yourself trying to make much needed change, perhaps against seemingly insurmountable odds? For 20 years, I worked in sustainable building, starting by wearing my tool belt on a jobsite, but always looking for the next way to make bigger impacts and more accelerated change. Eventually, the journey led me to travel widely, speak at a Congressional briefing and testify at national building code hearings. Part of what I learned in the process was not about sustainable building at all. It was that inner sustainability is the most important element of being able to do your outer work, no matter what it is.

Terry Tempest Williams, a well-known author, in a talk to college students, asked them to consider as they moved into their chosen careers not what they can do, but who are they becoming in the process. As we work for positive change, in whatever realm we find ourselves, it’s an essential consideration. Inner sustainability includes resilience, a deep sense of inner well-being, and the ability to make healthy choices. Some on the front lines of change are discovering that they can cultivate inner sustainability with the tools of mindfulness.

Mindfulness help us to reconnect our attention and intention, that alignment that often gets watered down or lost altogether over the long haul, even for those as committed to meaningful change as you or I. While we may start out with strong and clear intentions based on our values, there are many things that can derail us or distract us, and many reasons we may become distanced from them. Mindfulness can be described as a state of non-forgetfulness, as in not forgetting what is most meaningful to us and acting in alignment with that.

Genuine happiness, that inner flourishing that allows us to be resilient in our outer work, does not come from other people, activities or things. It comes from living a meaningful life – a life that is in alignment with your values, your deepest intentions and is beneficial to yourself, others and the world. When we practice mindfulness, we remember what is meaningful to us, what our values are, moment to moment, day to day. This is what allows us to show up in a way we feel good about then and later. It helps us to see that the outcomes of our work and efforts ultimately have less impact on us in the end than how we did our work, and whether we interacted with others and acted in and reacted to situations in a way that we can look back on and feel at peace with. It also allows us to grasp the unsustainability of chasing outcomes to the detriment of our own well-being and inner sustainability.

A meaningful life is lived with both attention and intention. If we don’t cultivate attention, good luck staying focused on our intention, remembering it, and calling it to mind, especially in the midst of a busy day or demanding challenges. Just as intention without action doesn’t get us far, having an intention, but not being able to attend to it, call it to mind, have the presence of mind to act on it also does not get us too far. That is why attention is the first of the four key areas of mindfulness, along with values, wisdom and an open heart. Mindfulness is much more than present moment awareness, as you may commonly hear as a description. It includes and enables the cultivation of concentration, wisdom and the ability to make healthy choices that nurture genuine happiness and a meaningful life.

Wanting to live more sustainably, and make the world a better place, we need to be our best selves and personally sustainable, with both mental and emotional balance, present in the moments of our lives and able to respond skillfully. Mindfulness is foundational to making the world a better place, by starting with yourself.

– Laura Bartels

Mindfulness in Recovery

The Vision of the Mindfulness in Recovery Program- April, 2016

We are very excited to launch our new Mindfulness in Recovery program!

This has been a vision of our co-founder, John Bruna, for many years and it has now come to fruition. Drawing upon his 31 years in recovery, experience as a substance abuse counselor, educator, Buddhist monastic, and mindfulness teacher, we have integrated the tools and resources of our mindfulness community with specific meditations and resources for people in recovery.

The mission of Mindfulness in Recovery is to provide our members with skills, activities, and support to cultivate mindfulness in their daily lives, empowering them to make healthy choices that are in alignment with their personal values and beliefs, so they can live meaningful lives in recovery.

Mindfulness in Recovery is an inclusive recovery support program, open to anyone with a sincere desire for recovery. Our goal is to provide daily mindfulness activities and support that enhance our members current 12 Step program and to provide mindfulness tools and resources for those not in 12 Step programs.

How it Works – The program is facilitated through the Mindful Life Community. Anyone can join. Just go to to sign up. Like all of the members of the Mindful Life Community, members receive daily emails with lessons, inspiration and activities to help them engage in the day with attention and intention. Members also have an additional section with meditations and resources specific to supporting their life in recovery.

We welcome and support members of all faiths, spiritual traditions, and those of no spiritual tradition. We do not promote any particular faith or belief system. It is our firm conviction that everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, or orientation, deserves to live a meaningful and happy life in recovery. It is our belief that this can be accomplished when people have the resources and tools to live the life they find meaningful – with attention and intention. A life that is in alignment with their own values and allows them to flourish.


John Bruna to Speak at Google, Facebook and BookExpo America – April, 2016

It is an honor for John to be now scheduled to speak about his upcoming book in a variety of venues. In May, John will be in Chicago for BookExpo America. After the book release this summer, the schedule includes a talk at Google and Facebook’s headquarters near San Francisco at the beginning of August. Public events in the Bay Area are also being scheduled. Later in August, he’ll attend the National Conference on Addiction Disorders in Denver with the publisher, Central Recovery Press. He’s also scheduled to speak at public libraries throughout Colorado in the fall with more locations coming. We’ll be sure to share dates as the details are finalized.

The book is described as a rich and multilayered guide that offers readers accessible wisdom and practical methods to cultivate deeper satisfaction in everyday experiences. In contrast to stimulus-driven pleasure, contentment comes from living a life of meaning that aligns with one’s values. The author identifies the common traps people fall into looking for happiness that actually create stress, worries, and fears, and offers authentic mindfulness-based solutions to counteract them.

If you missed the reviews we shared in in our last newsletter, here are a few.

“This text un-complicates and brings clarity to concepts that have been both overused and misused in popular literature. Simply written, and yet, profound. A practical and accessible guide to cultivating a healthy mind. John Bruna’s work is enduring and brilliant!” – Rebecca Willow, Ed.D., LPC, Associate Professor, Gannon University

“John Bruna’s kind, loving presence is infused in these pages where he shares many tools along with simply stated wisdom that guide us to a more meaningful life of contented happiness. From his years as a Buddhist Monk and in recovery John has gained the insight and clarity to offer deep wisdom in clear accessible language. He is a skilled communicator, committed in word and deed to helping others find the path to true freedom and transformational living. John is a natural storyteller and this book resonates with his big heart, authenticity, and humor.” – Peter Kuhn, Zen Buddhist Priest, Twelve-step Buddhist workshop, group, and retreat facilitator, writer and jazz musician

“What a welcome offering John Bruna provides us in his new book, The Wisdom of a Meaningful Life: The Essence of Mindfulness. Not only does Bruna recast traditional Buddhist teachings on mindfulness practice in a contemporary, and scientifically grounded new key, but he goes beyond the emphasis on meditation practice alone and adds his distinct and fresh perspective on the importance of ethical action. It is this skilled translation of mindfulness into right action that generates wellbeing, inner peace, and happiness. Most compellingly, Bruna illustrates his teaching with powerful examples from his own experience of transformation from addiction to freedom.” – Rev. David McCallum, S.J., Ed.D, Special Assistant to the President for Mission Integration, Le Moyne College