The foundations of my meditation practice

foundations - colorful building blocks


Many sources inform my practice.

Formal meditation study

Jacqueline Mandell (now Lama, Honorific Teacher) led the first weekend silent mindfulness retreat I attended at Grailville, in Cincinnati, Ohio,  introducing me to formal retreat practice. I attended many retreats she led. About the same time, I picked up Bhante  G.’s book, Mindfulness in Plain English. It gives simple instruction on mindfulness meditation practice. Reading that helped me make sense of what I was learning, and when I was introduced to Shinzen Young, it became even more clear.

Ed and I attended retreats offered by the Yellow Springs Dharma Center, where I studied with Marcia Rose and other teachers. Since there wasn’t a mindfulness group in central Ohio, with the help of several others, Ed and I began Mindfulness Meditation of Columbus, coordinating retreats with teachers including Bhante G., Lama Mandell, and others.

Writing practice

I also began to study writing practice, a Zen-influenced writing-as-meditation technique founded by bestselling author Natalie Goldberg, a student of Zen Master Katagiri Roshi. Natalie invited me to lead meditation at her retreats and writing practice for a private group at her zendo. I have taught writing practice, including sitting and walking meditation, for more than twenty years.


When, after two decades of meditation and writing practice, I began to run, I discovered Katherine and Danny Dreyer’s book ChiRunning on a library  end cap display. I took a ChiRunning workshop from local instructor Doug Dapo, and another piece of my practice “tool kit” came together. ChiRunning helped me refine my understanding of movement meditation.

Although mindful movement meditation is not my only practice, it might be where I learn the most. More importantly, it’s the meditation I’m most likely to do!

Teacher training

During the pandemic, I took the meditation leader training with Sage Institute for Creativity and Consciousness led by Sean Tetsudo Murphy, Sensei and received certification.

Mental health

I add to these conversations a mental health thread. Having lived with depression and anxiety from bipolar disorder for much of my life, well-being has to be in the mix. If I don’t attend to those symptoms, I cannot appreciate running or write well. I cannot be in a functional relationship  with Ed, our dog, my family, my friends, or my community. I cannot serve myself or others. Unless I manage my mental health symptoms, I won’t be here at all.

I have included more than twenty “Your Turn” exercises in the book Make Every Move a Meditation.

This excerpt is from Make Every Move a Meditation by Nita Sweeney which is available now through Amazon and Mango Media.