Diane’s Internship update

This is my last semester and it is going really fast! I am taking on more clients. Because I was given a stipend to work mostly with the Spanish speaking population, I have not worked with individual English speaking clients yet. I asked for some English speakers this semester because I want to broaden my experience in my internship. I will be offering therapy to two English speaking children, and two teenage girls.

In addition to these clients, I am preparing a body image group in English and in Spanish, and a parenting group in Spanish. On top of all the work at my internship, I am starting to work on my Master’s paper topic. So far, the topic on my paper is about how one recognizes, accesses and develops the therapist’s and clients’ intuition in the fast-paced/goal-oriented environment of Mental Health agencies. I believe the contemplative education offered at Naropa University helps students slow down in the speedy society we are living in. It is easy to be pushed in all directions when our environment is fast paced and goal oriented if we are not grounded. Contemplative education helps therapists become more in sync with client’s need. Slowing down helps us access our intuition which allows therapy to be guided by our most reliable knowledge, our inner wisdom.

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Hello everyone it is week IV into the semester, and as promised from the chair of Interdisciplinary Studies we are hitting the ground running. I have nine weeks to finish my thesis!

I have just started the slow and painful process of transcribing my interviews with five amazing women. They have all been so generous with their time, and I am struck by the stories of their lives. It was extremely important for me to find women from very different cultural and spiritual/religious backgrounds so that I could capture the global action that is being done.

Anita Khaldy is an Arab/Asian women who is a mission statement all on her own. She emailed me this morning and included this amazing poem and I wanted to share it with all of you, so that you get an idea of the deep spiritual life that she leads. And it is because of this spirit that she acts against oppression.

This is her poem on faith and love

The Disciple

And the disciple asked –
“Master !”

‘What is hope, life and happiness?”

And the Master replied,
“Hope is the capacity of the human spirit to see beyond darkness,
To soar above thunder storms.
Patiently to await..a bud’s full blossom.”
“Life is a wondrous dream.
All powered and energized..
By the all consuming emotions of ‘Love’
Which lies steering..
At the base of every heart
Love is love .Loved..
For love’s sake alone.
For no ulterior reason,
And no wanting in return.
‘Love’ is an uninterrupted symphony.
Whose notes ring of ‘Joy’ uncompared.
“Happiness is the realm of the Mystic.Sage.Philosopher.
It’s a stage of ‘Divine Realization’ that
Life is to be loved and lived in peace.
Hope, Life, Love and Happiness are
The touch stone of the unstuck music of the soul.

And the Disciple asked,
“Who can possess these gifts?”

The Master kept silent for a while..
Then said,
“Son..the one who has found –
Love and Devotion for God.
Seeking spirit and love with every element of his being.
The one who loves God
and loves others in relation to God.
The one who love is purely- Out Going.
Is yielding,. Long suffering, is self-sacrificing..
In his handiwork and affections for mankind.
He has found Hope, Life, Love and Happiness.

And the Disciple said –

“Give me this nectar of life.

And the Master replied

“Go and discover it
In the innocent smile of a new born child.
Go find it in the sacred verses of scripture..

It’s in the vibrating pulse of the universe. Known to Saints…who
Quietened their souls and listened.

It’s in the dances and rituals of the past and today. In the twinkle of the
Young dancer’s eyes. As she gives herself completely to the tempo. The beats

It’s in the magnificent symbols of Gods and Goddesses. All etched in
Stone. Reminding us that life is fleeting…and spirit alone. Eternal.
It’s in the stories and myths of our fold. It’s in our quiet confessions
And our deepest aspirations.

Go find it in your self.


New student guest blogger

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to introduce a new student guest blogger: Sherry Gobaleza.  Sherry’s featured on the latest Annual Fund postcard (which drops in the mail tomorrow).  She’s in the BA Interdisciplinary Studies program and she’s an active volunteer at BeadforLife.


Internship update

I have been very busy lately! We finished the Madres group. We start the group again in January, and we will focus on values. There is always a cultural component in this group because all the members are Latinas. My co-facilitator is from Colombia. The clients are normally from Mexico so it is a pretty interesting cultural mix.

I finish my training in SFBT this Wednesday, and I am going on vacation to Puerto Rico. Taking a break is also very important. Therapy is demanding and overwhelming. Self-care is essential.

I have additional clients: a new family and a new adult. I have noticed that one of the most prevailing themes that come up for woman in therapy is self image. I am considering creating a group to discuss self image issues. In the Contemplative Psychotherapy program we talk a lot about Maitri or loving kindness. Having compassion for oneself and others is one of the most important things for healing.

Society often pressures women with messages that we are not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not good enough. If my clients have the opportunity to experience that they are intrinsically good, this will allow them to see themselves in a new, more open and friendly way.

The group experience would consist of a series of mindfulness exercises so they can be in touch with their bodies. I am curious and excited to see what comes up for them. Our bodies are an expression of our wisdom. Having a direct experience with our bodies helps us relate to our experiences in a courageous way. Making contact with our bodies can also trigger a lot of anxiety. I have to be aware of this and create a safe environment for my clients. I’m going to work on the curriculum for this group on my break.



This is my internship semester, and it has been going well. Now I am co-facilitating a group called MADRES or “Mothers.” This group is for Latinas who are struggling with the demands of being mothers, especially in this country were they are minorities. We bring cultural aspects of Mexico so they can think of how they are using the traditions of their culture to empower themselves. My role is to bring a mindfulness exercise to the group. I enjoy the fact that we are teaching them very concrete parenting skills, but also mindfulness exercises so they can develop awareness on their behaviors as mothers.

I am also taking a Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) training and having six individual clients. I am planning to write a paper on how to use evidence based practice like SFBT without compromising my contemplative approach to therapy. By meditating and maintaining an open mind when I am in session is one of the ways I feel I am accomplishing this goal.


my favorite spot on campus

Hi, Everyone!

During my first year at Naropa I had a Community class. My community group planted a Moongold Apricot Tree. It’s located next to a bunch of trash barrels on the Paramita campus. Our tree is not in a very pretty place, but I like to visit it regularly because it means a lot to me.

We needed to offer something to the community, so we thought that planting a tree was a good way to help the environment. It is also a symbol of fruition – we see the tree grow as our class keeps growing and evolving as well.

There is a Sungold apricot tree in the other side of the fence. Both will connect as they grow and cross-pollinate. We thought both trees were a symbol of connection between the outside community (Moongold outside the fence) and Naropa community (Sungold inside the fence). They are also a symbol of the merging of opposites, moon and sun, feminine and masculine, yin and yang.



Welcome to the Naropa University Annual Fund blog!

My name is Jim. I work in the Advancement Office at Naropa University. I’ll be posting here from time to time, but the real star this semester is our guest blogger, Diane Melendez.

Diane is a student in the MA Contemplative Psychotherapy program. She’s the smiling face on those post cards we sent out. She also has a featured interview in the upcoming issue of Naropa Magazine.

Hope you enjoy reading her posts.