Meditation Messenger

Open Mindfulness Meditation Community--Ann Arbor, Saline, and Ypsilanti

Social Justice--Book Suggestion

As many of us continue to think about social justice, some of us may have added novels to our reading list. One best-selling novel, The Vanishing Half, tells the story of identical light-skinned African American twins who vanish from their home town, with one choosing to identify as black and one passing as white. The novel quickly grabs your attention and plunges you into their very disparate worlds and the consequences of these choices. The author, Brit Bennet, has a local tie as she received her MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan.

Research backs up that fiction is one way to better understand others and increase empathy…see report of this study. Also see report of this study.

New Zoom Link and Website

As a reminder, we are now coordinating activities for the Tuesday morning sits (AKA Saline Open Meditation), the Thursday evening sits (AKA Ann Arbor Open Meditation), and the Friday morning sits (AKA Ypsilanti Open Meditation). The coordinating larger organization is called Open Mindfulness Meditation. This new coordination means joint planning of several activities, including a roll out of a new zoom link and a roll out of a new website! Looking forward to a common facebook page in the near future!

As of September 1, there will be a new Zoom link for all three OMM sits. Put this new zoom link into your calendar and try it out for the first time for the Tuesday, September 1 sit with Paulette!

Also check out the new website, at

Be sure to visit the various pages on the website, which include a calendar for OMM sits, resources such as books and applications to support your meditation practice, blogs and a newsletter function, and an easy way to donate to keep the program up (i.e. paying for the Zoom license or rent when we return to in-person sits).

The website is lovely—and was designed by Libby Robinson and Lindsey. A big thanks to them!

New & Upcoming Events

Paulette Grotrian was interviewed this week by Lisa Barry of WEMU on Art & Soul. You can click this link to listen!

In this interview, Paulette explains the several components of self-compassion. She explains that there is mindfulness, fully noticing the moment and its difficulties, acknowledging our common humanity (we are not alone in our difficulties, others face difficulties too), and learning to be kind to ourselves.

If you are curious about what you hear in this WEMU interview, Paulette will be teaching a short course on mindful self-compassion in a few weeks, over 6 Thursdays, September 10th to October 15th, 10:30AM-11:30 AM. A free introductory session is on Thursday September 3rd. You can learn more about this course and register here.

Libby Robinson and Pam Schweitzer will be leading an on-line MBSR class, starting with a free introductory session on Monday, September 21 from 6-8:00 pm. In the introductory session, participants will learn basic meditation concepts and be able to ask the teachers questions about the course. This MBSR course provides training in a number of formal and informal mindfulness practices and gives many opportunities for practice. The 8-week class will meet Mondays, 6-8:30 pm from September 28th-November 16, with a four hour on-line retreat on Saturday, November 7th. For more information about costs and registration, you can find out more here or email Libby Robinson at

Frank Anderson’s podcasts with Lisa Barry are available and updated regularly. The August 19th episode is on, “Why Is it So Difficult to Love Ourselves?” Check it out here.

Poetry Corner

The Sacraments by St. Francis of Assis

I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel,

about the sacraments.

He got so excited,

and ran into a hollow in his tree

And came back holding some acorns, an owl feather and a ribbon he had found

And I just smiled and said: “Yes, dear, you understand."

Everything imparts (His) Grace

Teacher Sketch

Libby Robinson

Libby grew up in the Congo (pre and post independence) with her very liberal missionary parents and four siblings. She was the valedictorian of the first graduating class of the American School of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, in a class of 4 students. She returned to the US to go to college . The last of her many, many degrees was a PhD in psychology and social work from the University of Michigan. Thereafter, Libby worked as a clinician, social work professor, and researcher, studying among other topics, the role of spirituality in recovery from alcoholism.

Libby retired in 2013 and lives with her husband and their cat, Hobbes. They enjoy watching the lakers on the Duluth Harbor cam. She loves to read, especially "trashy" historical romance novels. Libby has practiced mindful meditation for over 40 years, attending many retreats at the Insight Meditation Society, and is a qualified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher. She has taught MBSR to many health professionals as well as community residents. Libby co-founded the Thursday evening sit (AKA Ann Arbor Open Meditation) with Frank Anderson. How grateful we are that she continues to nurture the local meditation community through regular MBSR classes and leading our drop-in meditation sits!