My Luckyday.


Luckyday Mindfulness 3Luckyday Mindfulness 4

This past week I had the good fortune of making a mindfulness and stress management presentation to 75 incoming Ole Miss freshmen.  These students are our incoming Luckyday Scholars for this academic year and were participating in their orientation retreat out at Camp Lake Stephens.  I am grateful to my colleague, Patrick Perry, for inviting me each year to be part of their orientation.   

The Luckyday Success Program at The University of Mississippi is about scholarships, but it’s so much more than that.  As a Luckyday Scholar, you will get the support you need to be successful in college. 

 The Luckyday Success Program is a scholarship that assists students during the critical transition from high school to college.  This program helps you develop study and life skills, including time management, communication, critical thinking, leadership and problem solving.  Building a strong foundation during the first year is the key to a successful college career.


Frank Rogers Day and the Luckyday Foundation

Frank R. Day, former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Trustmark National Bank, had a heart for young people and a desire to help them succeed. Until his death in 1999, Day provided scholarships anonymously through the Luckyday Foundation for eight Bailey Magnet School students. His goal was to provide deserving high school students who otherwise had little chance for a college education with the opportunity to continue their education at a major university such as The University of Mississippi. Day, a native of Aberdeen, was an alumnus of The University of Mississippi and the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University.

In addition to serving as chairman of the board and CEO of Trustmark National Bank, Day committed himself to helping young Mississippians achieve their educational goals. In 1978, he established the Luckyday Foundation to do just that. Although Day died in 1999, his vision lives on through his foundation, which continues to support deserving Mississippi students. “The Essence of Survival” was Day’s favorite metaphor for life.

Erosion of Negative Space Sanctity (Loss of Impulse Control)




     It appears to me that in our social-media saturated culture, we are losing the sanctity of negative space, or the security and freedom to be silent .  . .  . to say nothing about someone or something. When communicating on social media, particularly Facebook, it seems as though there is an uneasy sense of urgency to say something, say anything about certain people or events . . . one must at least “like” what someone else has posted as soon as possible. Otherwise there is this low-grade anxiety crawling around in our over-stimulated, nervous minds whispering to us that if we don’t say or “like” something, then in our silent, negative space there is an assumed disagreement or an “unlike” of what is being said by others about this someone or something. For example, if everyone is posting or “liking” posts about Robin Williams’ death, does my silence mean to some Facebook friends that I must not care, or even worse, maybe I am having some dreadful silent thought or opinion about Robin Williams that I am keeping from everyone. 


     Maybe we are losing our impulse control, our natural braking system, in the time-crunching, nervously twitching reality of Facebook world.  It certainly seems that way as irrational postings regularly flash across our multiple screens, that are clearly indicative of a mob-like rush to judgment without reason or fact-checking research.  The evolved, rational mind of the pre-frontal cortex is being overridden and shut down by the wiggling, worrisome amygdala or reptilian brain, that sends us all into fight or flight mode as we scroll and scroll and scroll. At some point, more often sooner than later, this bothersome itch has to be scratched.

The concept of impulsivity has many different aspects and definitions, but in general it covers a wide range of actions that are poorly conceived, prematurely expressed, unduly risky, or inappropriate to the situation and that often result in undesirable outcomes, or more simply put, a tendency to act prematurely and without foresight.

     In art and music, negative space has always been a positive thing.  It is a place for the eye, ear and mind to rest in a composition.  It is considered good design to balance the two. The Japanese have a word (Ma) for this sacred interval, which they believe gives shape to the whole. In the multiple variations of our cyber world, maybe we are squeezing this sanctified space out of existence. Even as I write this, there is some discomfort, something unsettling about this prospect, because this impulsive Facebook thing is now seemingly in my bloodstream. Maybe it would be wise for us to pause and reintroduce ourselves to a belief in the goodness of negative space . . . to silence . . . to the beauty of no response, no reaction, no “liking” or “unliking.”  I think I’ll give it a try.

P.S. Text me if you are worried that I don’t like you in my silence.  

Letting go.


Some mornings when I sit in meditation, my mind is filled with more swirling thoughts than usual.  Some are ruminations on the past, some are projections into the future.  Either way, I simply try to first note what they are and then let go, let go, let go and return to my breath.  Many times I have to do this over and over and over, but that is why it is called practice.  

Lovingkindness Meditation Group


I will be leading another Lovingkindness Meditation group this fall at the University Counseling Center on campus.  This will be a continuation of the group that previously sat together on Wednesdays at 5:30 PM.  For the new semester, we will have a change of day and time, since I will be teaching on Wednesday evenings.  Stay tuned.  In the meantime .  . . 

May you be safe, protected and free from all harm.

May you be happy and content.

May you be healthy and whole in your mind, body, and spirit.

May you be peaceful and at ease with yourself and the world around you.

May you be joyfully awakened unto wisdom and insight.

May you be free from fear, insecurity and self-doubt.

May your path be wide and clear.  

New Mindful Eating Opportunity at Ole Miss


Contact: James Jankowski
Location Manager

Located downstairs in Paul B. Johnson Commons, Freshii provides fresh and nutritious meal choices that energize people on the go.  Freshii offers a menu of salads, burritos, wraps, rice bowls, yogurts, breakfast and soups made with high-quality, fresh ingredients.  It has all the elements of fast casual (high-quality food, that’s quick and convenient) with the added focus on health and wellness.  

Music to float by.


Much of the ambient, ethereal music that I listen to these days for meditative purposes is minimalist and spare.  When I listen to these sounds, it can be as if I am floating gently in a clear, still stream.  In this meditative space, there can be an expansiveness that makes way for my awareness and insight to sharpen.  I don’t always get there, but when I do, it is certainly pleasant.  I want to explore further the use of ambient music in a therapeutic setting.

I have created some enjoyable playlists from artists such as Philip Wilkerson, Deuter, Anugama, Rudy Adrian and Stars of the Lid.

The Way of Mindful Education Training, July 20 -25, 2014


Another beneficial training at the Omega Institute that I recently experienced.  The training was led by Daniel Rechtschaffen, and was based upon his new book, The Way of Mindful Education – Cultivating Well-Being in Teachers and Students.  Daniel is a gifted teacher and has the contagious spirit of a sprite. I love the peaceful spirit of Omega and I am always invigorated by the collegiality of being present with others who want to explore some of the same interests that I have.

Fortunately we spent a good bit of  IMG_1716 time enhancing and deepening our own mindfulness practices, with the strong belief that the embodiment and holding of the practice by the teacher is the best way to cultivate a mindful classroom.  I loved practicing Qigong together as a means of connecting with my own breath and body, but also as a communal exercise with others. I hope to explore Qigong further and bring the benefits of this lovely movement exercise into my teaching and counseling.

Horizons Second Summer

I have now finished my second summer of “playing” mindfulness with the children involved in the Horizons program at Ole Miss.  Again, it was so rewarding and further enhanced my awareness of the great need to introduce mindfulness and contemplative practices into the classroom for our children at this age.  I am grateful for the training that I received from the Mindful Schools Program ( and from Daniel Rechtschaffen and his remarkable program at The Mindful Education Institute. (  Daniel’s new book, The Way of Mindful Education – Cultivating Well-Being in Teachers and Students, is an excellent resource.