The CDP Team
The CDP is a creation of many hands and hearts. It was first conceived in 2016 by Aimee Eckhardt, and since then, our circle of teachers has grown to include David Spound, Tina Gibson, David Fredrickson, Dennis Johnson, Ruth Williamson, Mara Elwood, Siri Chandler, Tracy Ochester, and Dawn MacDonald, each of whom brings to their teaching practice a unique depth of wisdom, experience, and full-heartedness. The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion leadership have been steadfast guides and supporters of the CDP, and our community of practitioners have been active and valued co-creators in what is offered here. We proceed with a deep measure of gratitude for all.
“There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life.” -Tara Brach
CDP Team Teacher
Pran Buri, Thailand
Siri Chandler is a dual Thai-American national living in Pranburi, Thailand, where she facilitates mindfulness and compassion retreats, courses, and workshops in-person and online. She is a certified teacher of MSC, with teacher training in MBSR, Cultivating Emotional Balance (CEB), Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) and a variety of other MBI’s.
As an enthusiastic life-long learner, she devotes her time to continuously deepen her own practice. The CDP, which she first attended as a participant in 2019, has been essential in supporting her to do this. It offered her the space and time to reflect, reconnect with what is most meaningful, and be more continuously awake to moments, with kindness and compassion. She is grateful and humbled to be part of the growing CDP community.
In Thai, the word understand is ‘khaw-jai’ and the translation means to go into the heart. The word sums up, for Siri, the opportunity CDP offers; to deepen our understanding of the mind-heart and to slowly and gently allow the knowing, compassion and wisdom to trickle in.
Siri is especially drawn to bringing mindfulness into daily life in a practical way. Living by the beach with her husband (a New Zealand engineer/inventor) and her little sister (a delightful cook and baker with Down syndrome), she brings the practice into what she enjoys most: kiteboarding, hiking, yoga, and walking her dogs on the beach.
“May there be such a oneness between us that when one weeps the other tastes salt.” – Gibran
CDP Creator and Team Teacher
Durango, Colorado, USA
Voraciously curious about the shared human experience across cultures and circumstances, I have spent much of my personal life exploring themes of belonging and connectedness, resilience, and self-determination. My mindfulness practice has illuminated my way, and it was the rigors of parenthood (and wise counsel by caring mentors) that ultimately prompted me to add a dedicated self-compassion practice into the mix.
Following my first MSC course, I recognized that I was at the beginning of a much longer journey. Hearing the same need for continued practice echoed among many colleagues and peers, I conceived the Community for Deepening Practice (CDP). With the support and guidance of the CMSC senior training team, the CDP was born.
I aspire to offer warmth and creativity in my teaching, which is rooted in my deep respect for that which is shared by all I encounter: a heartfelt desire to be loved exactly as we are. My work and wellbeing are supported my personal practice, my family, my co-teachers, my creative pursuits, the stunning land near where I live in Colorado, U.S.A., and of course the losses that bring me into deeper intimacy with my own precious mortality.
“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” – James Baldwin
CDP Team Teacher, Psychotherapist, Activist, and Author
San Francisco, CA, USA
I come to MSC honestly, having lived and known suffering. I spent my career working with children and families who had experienced serious and complex trauma. My volunteer life was dedicated to those who were infected and affected by the devastation of HIV/AIDS. And along the way, I often forgot or refused to include myself in the circle of compassion, seeing those needs as a weakness or distraction to my work. As a result, I suffered burnout and health consequences. Thankfully, I found my way to MSC, and discovered this balm and resource for life’s challenges. Much gratitude for all the conditions and teachers that have been and are my guiding light.
I am humbled and honored to be part of the CDP teaching team, knowing that my teaching is the product of my practice, of being a student, of learning from you. I look forward to the ways my heart will be expanded by our showing up. May we rest in love together as we begin again and again. Isn’t it a relief that MSC is not a self-help program or spiritual path that requires rose-colored glasses but rather is a practical practice of something much more honest—just as I am—messy and with a beating and loving heart? In this awareness, I know I am not alone but rather I am in the good company of all of us.
I’m a long-time resident of San Francisco, lover of nature, music, good friends, dogs and good food. I see the world through the lens of a retired psychotherapist, seeker, writer, kitchen elf, and the squishy heart of a MSC student and teacher. DavidAFredrickson.com
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there” – Rumi
CDP Team Teacher, MSC Teacher Trainer
Myponga Beach, Australia
I teach Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) and it keeps teaching me. How wonderful it is to truly say I teach MSC for a living – this is in no way relating to $, it is in every-way relating to my aspiration to keep learning what it means for me to be compassionately human. I am continually learning and growing in my understanding of personal MSC practice, curious at any given moment what this may look and feel like. A key to keeping me curious and inspired is community – often called sangha. I feel so delighted to be part of this Community for Deepening Practice. Practicing MSC calls me to ongoing self-reflection and humility. Connection, for me, is the key to such humility. Desmond Tutu uses an African word to describe this: Ubuntu as ‘the essence of being human. It speaks of the fact that my humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours. I am human because I belong. It speaks about wholeness, it speaks about compassion.’
The practice of self-reflection requires receptive listening — compassionate listening both to myself — but also to others along the way. It invites me time and time again to trust love.
Prior to teaching mindfulness and then MSC I had a background of working within health and education with diverse populations in the roles of Kinesiologist, Health Care Worker, Rehabilitation Counsellor, Health Educator and Emergency Paramedic.
These days I spend a lot of time practicing with my four Zen masters: my young grandchildren. Some of my favourite places are in the bush, the beach and my garden. I am also fortunate to teach regular MSC programs, a MSC mentor and teacher trainer. AdelaideMindfulness.com
Dr. Steve Hickman
CDP Team Teacher, MSC Teacher Training Co-Developer, Oregon, USA
Dr. Steven Hickman is the Chief Operating Officer of the Global Compassion Coalition and former Executive Director of the non-profit Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. He is a Clinical Psychologist and Retired Associate Clinical Professor in the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, as well as the Founding Director of the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness. Steve co-developed the Mindful Self-Compassion Teacher Training program and has participated in the training of over 1500 MSC teachers around the world. Steve has co-taught the 8-week and intensive MSC program many times around the globe and is also a Certified teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and trains teachers of that program. He is married and has three young adult children, affording him ample opportunity to practice what he teaches!
“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Dalí
CDP Team Teacher
Dennis teaches various mindfulness-based course formats. He supports people in learning to accept their present-moment experience with greater equanimity, to meet themselves with more kindness in times of suffering, and to take in more of the good in life. Dennis has an academic background in Tibetan and Buddhist Studies and has previously worked as a librarian, translator, editor and interpreter. Since 2012, he has pursued additional training in various mindfulness-based, psychosocial and psychotherapeutic interventions. He has completed a clinical research internship at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre and has worked as a sociotherapeutic attendant with people in extreme states of mind at Windhorse Integral Mental Health. Dennis first encountered the soothing and encouraging quality of self-compassion at an MSC Intensive in 2015 and has since continued exploring the landscapes of the heart through further practice, study and teaching, including the MSC Teacher Training, the MSC Community for Deepening Practice and the Somatic Self-Compassion Training.
“When we see each other through eyes of wonder, all barriers, all differences disappear. We are alive. We are joined. We are everything.” – Richard Wagamese, Embers
CDP Team Teacher, MSC Teacher Trainer, MBSR Trainer, and CCT Teacher
Dawn MacDonald, MSW, RSW is deeply honoured to be journeying with others through the process of deepening practice. She has been fascinated with wonder her whole life. Introduced to meditation as a child, Dawn has dedicated herself to learning and teaching contemporary, accessible, expressions of wisdom and love, which catalyse healing and open us to our deeper sense of purpose always with the hope of a more just and equitable world. She piloted MSC in its earliest iterations and was part of the first cohort of teachers and trainers. She has been a MBSR trainer for the Center for Mindfulness at UMASS, UCSD, and Brown University and is a Certified Compassion Cultivation teacher. Recently retired from a varied career in healthcare from the front lines to the executive suite, Dawn both teaches and studies in the faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba where she is pursuing a PhD with a focus on mindfulness and compassion in reconciliation. She and her Anam Cara, Michael McIntyre (a fellow MSC teacher) founded the Mindfulness & Well Being Consultancy, Inc . They live in Manitoba, Canada surrounded by the love of their six adult children, 4 grandchildren and June, aka, Princess Fluffycoat Big Paws, a golden retriever cross.
“You, me, alive, here, now – how rare. Love.”
– Sensei Sokaku Kathie Fischer
Tracy Ochester PsyD
CDP Team Teacher, MBCT Mentor, MBRP and yoga teacher
My journey into mindfulness and self-compassion started with a desire to better serve psychotherapy clients, yet it’s through my own practice (especially in community) that I’ve come to understand the profound implications for personal and collective wellbeing. I’m a certified MBCT teacher and mentor, trained MBRP and yoga teacher, MSC teacher in training, Heart-Mind Coordinator for the Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness, and a psychologist in private practice living and working in Kansas City, Missouri.
I’ve also completed Compassion Cultivation (CCT) and Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Training as well as trainings in social and ecological justice, trauma informed yoga, and embodied activism. I co-teach “Dying into Life: A Yearlong Experiment in Renewal, Self-Compassion, and Courage” through the CDP and “Cultivating a Multicultural Lens in the Compassion Classroom: Live Online Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging” course through the CMSC.
Some of my favorite experiences include enjoying the companionable silence that naturally emerges among loved ones, floating in the water under a blue sky on a hot sunny day, and learning through listening, reading, writing, and teaching. I’m enlivened by the mystery and grateful for the opportunity to explore the human experience together in community.
David Spound, M.Ed
CDP Team Teacher and MSC Teacher Trainer
David is a certified teacher and teacher trainer of both Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
After studying with teachers from a wide range of meditative and contemplative traditions, he began teaching full-time in 2005, first with MBSR and then adding MSC in 2014. In his hometown of Northampton, MA, David offers these courses to the public and also privately to organizations and individuals.
With the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, David leads MSC Teacher Training courses and is a member of the Professional Training Committee that oversees MSC teacher training programs and policies worldwide. David mentors applicants for MSC Teacher Certification and co-leads Silent Meditation Retreats. He greatly enjoys co-leading groups of the 8-month online Community for Deepening Practice (CDP), a program that is independent of, though affiliated with, the CMSC.
From 2006 through 2013, David was a staff member of the UMass Center for Mindfulness (founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn) where he taught MBSR and managed the “Oasis” MBSR Teacher Training and Certification Program. On behalf of the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness, he continues to train teachers of MBSR.
About my experience with Community for Deepening Practice:
“I love co-leading CDP groups. Each one unfolds in the most unexpected and beautiful ways as people discover new possibilities for truly becoming more present and kind in their own lives. The exercises, practices and sharing that happen within these groups teach us so much about how we can be more aware, gentle, and loving with ourselves. It is lovely to witness people supporting each other and learning from each other; it is especially inspiring to see them connect with their own inner agency, strength, and resiliency. I am incredibly fortunate to be part of the CDP family, and especially to be working with my fellow CDP teachers.”
The blessing of less, the solace of what is…
CDP Team Teacher
Bend, Oregon, USA
Quieting my mind to become familiar with my thought and emotional landscape…and greeting what I find with kindness and self-love, is a core practice for me. Sharing this discovery in circle, exploring our stories and teaching each other, is a precious gift. It’s like a long climb up a mountain path or a snuggle in my dog’s scruff—practices that bring me fully into life.
I am a trained teacher of Mindfulness and Self Compassion and lead a regular Tuesday group called the Circle of Practice for MSC graduates. I also lead retreats and workshops in MSC, and teach the leadership curricula of Dr. Brené Brown. I work with individual and organizational clients, often utilizing the lens of the Enneagram as a trained facilitator. And I infuse my spiritual practice with service, as a chaplain-in-training with the Upaya Zen Institute.
Thank you for considering deepening your own practice as a participant in CDP. This is how we change our world. It is an honor to share these conversations together.