Program Details

Silent Transformations: Ecological Destruction as Spiritual Practice

with Adam Lobel & Michelle King & Fitzhugh Shaw
April 27 / 9:00 AM - April 27 / 4:00 PM


Our workshop is one part spiritual support amidst extreme ecological destruction and one part cultivating the fearless inner being, imagination, and relationships to heal our local region. Healing our being, healing our communities, and healing our living region are one gesture. In our spring session and we will attune to the season: budding and possibility. We will then gather again seasonally-- summer, autumn, winter. Each session is open to all and you need not attend previous gatherings. All are warmly welcome.


loving what we are losing

Budding. Possibility. Sensuality. Small, potent actions.

After resting into the reality of the ecological and climate crisis, what wants to emerge from us, out of our growing gratitude? What is the difference between a fresh sprout and habitual repetition of patterns? How is our impact on the ecosystem connected with emergence vs. habitual, reactive patterns? We will spend time alone outside and allow the spring season to be one of our teachers. We will learn from traditional agricultural practices for the spring and what they can tell us about natural systems and their disruption. We will explore the theme of loving what we are losing in this context.

Join us for a daylong workshop in cultivating a spiritual practice attuned to the reality of ecological destruction and to learn more about ecological activism in the Pittsburgh region.

Hosted by Michelle King, Adam Lobel, and Fitzhugh Shaw

Featuring: Vital organs: composition for being with grief and despair living on the earth in this time. 

This ritualized sound practice will conclude our day together. Through the use of raw clay instruments and vocal expressions we will explore an embodied and experiential avenue into the energy of pain and joy involved in confronting the reality of the current climate castrophy and ecological devastation we are living through. This piece is a collaborative effort growing out of relationships and the current art practice of Kalen Tenderness Tierney, an ancient queer future survivalist witch.

For lunch: Please bring  your own lunch and a blanket to sit outside for a picnic. If it is preferred, you are welcome to go out to lunch in the surrounding area. 

To register:  Please use the yellow registration button at bottom of page.

Suggested donation:  -, or pay what you can.  No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Questions?  Please contact Sarah.

Michelle King, Learning Instigator. Love Activist. Transformer.

Michelle King is a learner first and foremost and as well as an instigator of learning. Professionally, she is a middle school teacher and has taught over 22 years in public schools in Western Pennsylvania. She learned and honed her craft in Mt. Lebanon with a fantastic crew of educators and students for over 16 years. In her quest to instigate courageous conversations about learning and children, she has ventured to The Environmental Charter School and their principles (Catalyst. Character. Collaboration. Commitment.)  She co-taught Cultural Literacy, an integrated social sciences and English/Language Arts course. She is constantly seeking to create dynamic learning experiences and opportunities that inspire wonder, discovery, contradictions, frustrations, and joy. In making connections locally and globally, Michelle pushes the envelope and boundaries of where learning should occur for all students. Her current interests are in game based learning, design, restorative justice, equity, social justice, and teacher empowerment. Through her partnerships with the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, Green Building Alliance, SocialVR, Carnegie Science Center FAB Lab, Girl Up, CREATE Lab, Carnegie Museum of Art, the Remake Learning ecosystem, ThinkZone Games and other provocateurs; Michelle is helping to create equitable, empathetic, learning experiences for all Pittburghers.

Michelle’s Current Conundrums:  How might we create empathetic institutions that remind us of our humanity?  How might we re-design for equity and social justice in and out of school learning? How might we design learning institutions to build connections? How might we allow those connections help us re-see the worlds we inhabit?  How might we embrace silence in our lives?

Acharya Adam Lobel 

Adam Lobel, PhD, Harvard University, is a scholar of philosophy and religion and a longtime meditation teacher (Acharya) in the Shambhala tradition. His research focuses on the Great Perfection (Dzogchen) tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, modern phenomenology, and inoperative studies (Heidegger, Foucault, Agamben). He is a Greenfaith fellow, has taught alongside Joanna Macy and others in the Ecosattva Training, and is active in ecological and social justice movements. Adam teaches a critical style of contemplative training that seeks to avoid being enclosed by neoliberal mindfulness while still disclosing effortless awareness. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife and two sons.

Fitzhugh Shaw

Fitzhugh Shaw is a senior student, meditation instructor, and teacher at Shambhala Pittsburgh. He studies food justice and the political economy of modern agriculture, along with community organizing. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his wife and daughter.

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