Compassion and Mindfulness at Camp This morning my alarm went off at 7:15, I rolled out of bed and went down stairs to put on a cup of coffee. Trying not to wake any of my other roommates I slipped on my shoes, grab my cup of coffee and a banana and head out to door. The drive to Durand beach from here is about 10-15 min. By the time I get to the park Judith’s car is already there. We both climb out of the cars and greet each other with big hugs.

2 months ago I met Judith for the first time. Jack and I had just moved home from our summer on the west coast and we were waiting to move in with old friends from camp. I was desperate to connect with others who practiced non violence. Hungry to learn more about how to bring these practices to camp and my own life. Jack found Judith Lardner’s website on Mindful communication. I was enchanted with the practices and thoughts that she illustrated on her website   I reached out in the hope that we could grab coffee and I could pick her brain about how non violence has contributed to her life and gather advice for myself. After meeting Judith that first time I felt I peaceful. I remember thinking that she could provide insight, understanding and empathy for me for years to come.


Judith and I have become walking partners. We walk together along Durand beach every Tuesday morning at 8am. These walks consistently ground me in self compassion and self empathy, and help me to see how I can spread that compassion and empathy to others I connect with and care about. We regularly share our desires, our pain, our joy and spend timelistening for each others needs and values.

Jack has now started asking for a Judith quote of the day when I come home. Here is one I shared with him from today, a paraphrased version.

“Everyone can know where they ideally want to end up, the paradigm they are aspiring to, and everyone knows where they don't want to be, often their current paradigm. Yet it is difficult is to be present and peaceful with the transition. However the transition from one paradigm to another is essential. There is where we learn, trainand understanding how to exist where we want to be.”

Judith recommended the book the blade and the chalice to me, we were discussing how to be most inclusive in the camp environment. We talked about the authoritative top down mentality, and the idea of partnership and power with. And therefore the transition and path between the two paradigms. I plan on reading the book and will update you when I understand more.

Here are some other resources Judith has shared with me. 

Maybe the quality that I value most in our relationship is the mutual respect and curiosity for each others passions and projects. Judith is always wondering how what I'm learning will contribute to Stomping Ground.

Here is the beginning of how we plan on implementing these new teaching into Stomping ground this summer. 

We are going to allow conflict to play a much larger role in learning and living together. There is so much value in being present and mindful of the conflict between people. Hiding or denying conflict often leads to feelings of anger, sadness, resentment, self consciousness and fear. We plan on experimenting with the power of restorative circles, hoping to find ways to have all parties in a conflict feel seen and heard. Camper to camper, camper to staff, staff to staff. We hope to empower the community with the circle tool to be on equal ground, facilitating each others conflicts and learning from the power that a whole community partnering in peace.

This summer we are excited to try these ideas at our new location outside of Binghamton New York, in Broome County.

How do you practice compassion and mindfulness in your family?