In These Troubling Times, Even a 75th Birthday Bash Seems Tone Deaf

Meditation and mindfulness notables will gather for a healing evening on InsightLA founder Trudy Goodman's 75th birthday. Participants will include Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, Jon Kabat-Zinn and others.

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InsightLA, the Santa Monica-based meditation and teaching center, will honor its founding teacher, Trudy Goodman (pictured above, right, with Salzberg) on her 75th birthday, Tuesday, June 9, 2020. 

Honor her on Zoom, that is.  There won’t be a party. No cake nor candles. 

Instead, Goodman, joined by some of the country’s most renowned meditation teachers and authors, including her husband, Jack Kornfield, will offer teachings, guided meditations, reflections and strategies for coping with this fractured and difficult time.

“I was planning a big bash to celebrate this miracle and milestone birthday, but now, given this time of pandemic and protests, that feels out of place,” Goodman explained. “Instead of reminding people of my age, I want to remind them what InsightLA stands for: a safe and reliable refuge. I didn’t have a refuge when I came to Los Angeles, so I created one – and now it’s yours. It’s everybody’s.”

When she moved to LA 19 years ago to live near her aging mother, daughter and grandchildren, Goodman, who was working on her PhD in psychology and meditation, had no one to meditate with. InsightLA, originally a handful of friends-of-friends on a living room floor in Venice, sprung out of a growing need in the community for a place to practice mindfulness meditation, with a Buddhist bent (Vipassana) or a secular one.

Though InsightLA grew fairly quickly, Goodman realized its Santa Monica location, mirroring the demographic of the neighborhood, attracted mostly white students and meditators. She opened a branch in East Hollywood, and put together events and classes that would appeal to a more diverse clientele, or to people of any color who want to confront their inherent biases.

InsightLA now offers courses in both English and Spanish. Every Thursday, it hosts The People of Color Practice Group.  There is an Intro to Decolonizing Non-Violent Communication and one called Taking Refuge in Anti-Rascist Practices: A Course for White Folxs.

To turn her birthday party into a truly meaningful and healing evening, Goodman made it a benefit for InsightLA (though no one is turned away for lack of funds as with all InsightLA offerings) and invited luminaries of the meditation world to offer wisdom, understanding and support against the scourge of racism and the need for profound change. 

Guests include Jon Kabat-Zinn, author and professor emeritus at University of Massachusetts Medical School and creator of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction; sports psychology expert, George Mumford; Tara Brach, psychotherapist, author, meditation teacher and founder of/ Insight Meditation Community in Washington, D.C.; and Joseph Goldstein, one of America’s first Vipassana meditation teachers and co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society with Sharon Salzberg and Kornfield, who founded Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin County, CA. Others attendees include Anam Thubten and Chris Germer

“Trudy is a special combination of wisdom and compassion laced with a good dose of common sense,” said Salzberg, a renowned author and teacher. “She understands personal and societal suffering, peoples’ potential to grow and change, and the power of love.  I wanted to take part in this gathering to honor Trudy and, at the same time, offer the InsightLA community any healing words I can provide during this difficult time.”

“Trudy is a visionary and InsightLA is a pioneer in bringing heart wisdom, inner well-being and compassionate action to people and organizations across LA and beyond,” added Kornfield. “What Trudy and Insight LA offer us is some of the deep healing medicine critical for this troubled and painful time.”

The event will be held June 9, 2020 at 8:30 PM EST and 5:30 PM PST on Zoom.  You can register for the event here.

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