University of Virginia - Virginia State University - Radford University - George Mason - UMBC - Contemplative Sciences Center
Virginia Tech - Invent the Future
Contemplative Practices for the 21st Century University  - March 10-12, 2016 - The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center - Blacksburg, Virginia
Preconference Workshops

Preconference workshops do not require registration for the full conference.

The Art of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

Alan Forrest, Professor, Radford University
Angela Cardenos, Adjunct Instructor, Radford University

The Inn at Virginia Tech
March 10, 2016, 2:00-5:00 pm
Register Online

Mindfulness practice is an experiential mode of learning and self-inquiry. It is the intentional attending to what is happening in the present moment without judgment or reactivity. It offers a simple, gentle, and effective way to slow down and engage in present moment awareness. Studies show that mindfulness can foster greater empathy and communication skills, improve focus and attention, reduce stress, promote emotional balance, a deeper sense of compassion, and enhance creativity and an overall sense of well being.

Living a mindful life creates the opportunity to live with compassion and to be grateful for our lives with whatever is occurring. Mindfulness offers both support and challenge. With practice mindfulness becomes a way of life that is joyful, spontaneous, invigorated and engaged.

The purpose of the workshop is to introduce and examine the core principles of mindfulness and how these skills can be in integrated into everyday life. This workshop is a very interactive, collaborative learning experience that provides participants with the opening to explore accessible mindfulness practices.

photo Alan Forrest, Ed.D. is a Professor in the Department of Counselor Education at Radford University. Alan is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who has extensive clinical experience in the areas of individual, couples, family, and group counseling. He has facilitated training seminars, workshops, and retreats in the areas of loss, grief and bereavement; chemical dependency and family therapy; couples communication skill training; men's issues in counseling; and mindfulness/meditation practices in counseling. In addition to his personal mindfulness meditation practice, Alan has led, and co-led, mindfulness retreats for college and graduate students, medical students, human service and mental health professionals, educators, young adults and others. He is actively involved in infusing mindfulness into both his counseling practice and into the college classroom. He is interested in mindfulness pedagogy and facilitates weekly mindfulness practice groups at Radford University for faculty and staff. Alan has been a consultant and trainer for various mental health centers, school districts, hospices, businesses, and organizations. Alan is affiliated with a private practice, Life in Balance: Counseling & Wellness Center in Christiansburg, VA.

photo Angela Cardenas, M.S., is a resident mental health counselor and mindfulness teacher at Life in Balance Counseling & Wellness Center in Christiansburg, VA. She is an adjunct instructor at Radford University in the Department of Counselor Education. Angela has co-facilitated introducing mindfulness to the undergraduate community through the "Introduction to the Concepts, Process, and Practice of Mindfulness" course. Additionally, she has facilitated mindfulness-based counseling groups for nursing students and daylong retreats for undergraduate and graduate students. Angela has her own mindfulness and yoga practice and has a passion for sharing these practices with others.

The Art of the Brush
Chinese Calligraphy as a Contemplative and Healing Practice

Marlow Brooks, Naropa University, Boulder, CO

March 10, 2016; 1:30 - 4:30 pm
Perspective Gallery, Squires Student Center, Virginia Tech
Register Online

example of art

You do not need to be an artist to practice Chinese Calligraphy. Even a beginner can create a piece of art that is fresh, vital, and energetic. For centuries, the practice of writing Chinese characters with a brush and ink has been considered the highest art form of China and Japan and also an aesthetic, spiritual, and contemplative practice that enhances the well-being of both body and mind. In this workshop we will learn to synchronize body and mind by working with brush and ink to discover a new spaciousness of being. The workshop will include a short history of Chinese writing, instruction in handling the brush, writing characters, and energy exercises to help us relax, focus, and delight in our work. Each participant will leave with her or his own unique creation on rice paper.

For artists and non-artists. Beginners are welcome.

Marlow's work can be viewed at:

Perspective Gallery Spring Exhibit
Ordinary Insights
Artwork by Sue Hammond West, Marlow Brooks and Robert Spellman
March 4 - May 14, 201

photo Marlow Brooks is a calligrapher, painter, and Five Element acupuncturist and healer. After establishing herself as a painter, she began her studies of Asian calligraphy in 1981. She teaches at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, and conducts private classes in calligraphy and healing. Marlow’s calligraphy has traveled since 2003 to international exhibitions in China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Europe, and New York City. She received an outstanding award for calligraphy in Shanghai. She is a featured artist in the documentary Chinese Calligraphy in 5000 Years, which aired on CCTV throughout China, Hong Kong, and Singapore. She recently published a book of her poems and paintings, The Way Through, available on her website:

Contact: Prof Douglas K Lindner -


Continuing and Professional Education @ Virginia Tech