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In Memoriam

Thich Nhat Hanh - In Memoriam

Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh was a world-renowned spiritual leader, author, poet, and peace activist. Among Buddhists he was widely considered second only to His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the scope of his global influence. The author of some 100 books—75 in English—he founded nine monasteries and dozens of affiliated practice centers, and inspired the creation of thousands of local mindfulness communities. Nhat Hanh is credited with popularizing mindfulness and “engaged Buddhism”—a term he coined—teachings that not only are central to contemporary Buddhist practice but have also penetrated the mainstream.

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Desmond Tutu - In Memoriam

Desmond Mpilo Tutu was a South African Anglican bishop and theologian, known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist. He was Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996, in both cases being the first black African to hold the position.

Tutu emerged as one of the most prominent opponents of South Africa’s apartheid system of racial segregation and white minority rule.  After apartheid’s fall, he was selected by Nelson Mandela to chair the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses committed by both pro- and anti-apartheid groups. Tutu also campaigned for gay rights and spoke out on a wide range of subjects, among them his opposition to the Iraq War and his criticism of South African presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma.  As a result of his activism he won several awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Joan Didion - In Memoriam

Acclaimed American writer Joan Didion, an essayist and novelist who rose to prominence in the 1960s, has died at age 87 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.

Didion was a leading figure of the New Journalism movement in the 1960s and ‘70s, and she began her career with articles in Life magazine and other publications, capturing the unrest of American life in the postwar era. During her prolific career, she published multiple volumes of essays, nonfiction books, memoirs, novels and screenplays.

She was known for her distinctive prose, and rose to fame with essay collections such as 1968’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem and 1979’s The White Album. Her memoir The Year of Magical Thinking won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2005. In 2013, former President Barack Obama awarded Didion the National Humanities Medal, calling her “one of our sharpest and most respected observers of American politics and culture.”

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bell hooks - In Memoriam

Author, professor and activist Gloria Jean Watkins, better known by her pen name bell hooks, published more than 30 books in her lifetime, covering topics including race, feminism, capitalism and intersectionality.

She adopted her maternal great-grandmother’s name as a pen name, since she so admired her, but used lowercase letters to distinguish herself from her family member. hooks’ first major work, Ain’t I a Woman? was published in 1981, and became widely recognised as an important feminist text. It was named one of the twenty most influential women’s books in the last 20 years by Publishers Weekly in 1992

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Robert Bly - In Memoriam

Robert Bly started out writing bucolic poems about rural Minnesota. He went on to shake up the complacent world of 1950s poetry, rail against war, bring international poets to Western readers and become a best-selling author helping men get in touch with their feelings.

In his heyday, Bly was known for making theater of poetry readings — reading poems twice, or three times, just because he loved their sound; reading other writers’ work; wearing a rubber fright mask or an embroidered vest on stage; reading to the background music of drums and sitars.

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Terry Patten - In Memoriam

Terry Patten was a philosopher, author, activist, social entrepreneur, and the author of A New Republic of the Heart: An Ethos for Revolutionaries. He was a leading voice for facing, examining, and healing our global crisis through the marriage of higher consciousness and activism. As creator and host of the webcast “Beyond Awakening,” he has explored the biggest questions of our time in over a hundred public conversations with some of the world’s most prominent and dynamic thought leaders.

A devotee of Adi Da for 15 years, in 1988 Terry founded Tools for Exploration (now Tools for Wellness), which first brought together in one place many of the emerging brain-mind machines, subtle energy tools, and other cutting-edge technologies for expanding awareness. Terry co-designed, co-produced, and co-authored numerous biofeedback tools, psycho-acoustic recordings, books, and articles on stress reduction, peak performance, and neurodevelopmental re-education.

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Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi - In Memoriam

Mihaly Robert Csikszentmihalyi was a Hungarian-American psychologist. He recognized and named the psychological concept of flow, a highly focused mental state conducive to productivity.

In his seminal work, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Csíkszentmihályi outlined his theory that people are happiest when they are in a state of flow—a state of concentration or complete absorption in the activity at hand and the situation. It is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove.

To achieve a flow state, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur as both skill level and challenge level must be matched and high; if skill and challenge are low and matched, then apathy results.

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Thomas Cleary - In Memoriam

Thomas Cleary was the twentieth century’s most prolific translator of Asian classics into English, translating and introducing over eighty works from Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit, Pali, Bengali, Arabic, and Old Irish.  He was a very private person, shunning the limelight and preferring to work quietly.  He did not play in one sandbox only—his works spanned Buddhism, Taoism, ancient Chinese classics, martial arts, Greek wisdom (translated from the Arabic), great works of Sufism and Islam, and more. His books have sold millions of copies, and his translations have in turn been translated into over twenty languages worldwide.  

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Anna Halprin - In Memoriam

Anna Halprin (born Hannah Dorothy Schuman) was an American choreographer and dancer. She helped redefine dance in postwar America and pioneered postmodern dance as an experimental art form.  She referred to herself as a breaker of the rules of modern dance.

In the 1950s she established the San Francisco Dancers’ Workshop to give artists a place to practice their art. Exploring the capabilities of her own body, she created a systematic way of moving using kinesthetic awareness.With her husband, landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, she developed the RSVP cycles, a creative methodology that includes the idea of scores. Her creations included Myths in the 1960s, which gave a score to the audience, making them performers as well, and the highly participatory Planetary Dance.

Influenced by her own battle with cancer and her healing journey, Halprin became known for her work with terminally ill patients as well as creative movement in nature.

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Lawrence Ferlinghetti - In Memoriam

Lawrence Ferlinghetti was an American poet, painter, social activist, and the co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers. He was the author of poetry, translations, fiction, theatre, art criticism, and film narration. Ferlinghetti was best known for his first collection of poems, A Coney Island of the Mind (1958), which has been translated into nine languages, with sales of more than one million copies. When Ferlinghetti turned 100 in March 2019, the city of San Francisco proclaimed his birthday, March 24, “Lawrence Ferlinghetti Day”.

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