Susan Gillis Chapman

Nourishing Our Roots,

                               Bending With The Wind

Welcome to my website. I’m in the process of updating everything, so thank you for your patience. This year I’m embarking on a new initiative which I’ll introduce gradually as I slowly edit the pages. 

Dedicated To Creating A Culture Of Kindness

Love is bigger than Fear

In 2022 we are feeling the weight of isolation over the past two years. I’ve completed my year-long retreat in recovery from cancer treatment and the work on my new book is continuing. I’ve shifted my focus to the topic of fear. Fear comes in many forms and it’s critical right now that we know how to respond to this challenging emotion.

I’m working on a project that brings the buddhist teachings on the bardo to the crises we face in our everyday life. Stay tuned. Below are some excerpts from my work so far.


Being in a bardo

The word bardo is a Buddhist term often used for the after-death experience. But it also describes the gap triggered by any unexpected crisis. The shock of illness, death, or any kind of loss can be the most brutal of interruptions. Your life’s timeline no longer makes sense.  You feel vulnerable and alone. But we’re not truly alone. We’ve just dropped out of everyday life into a new dimension, a bardo-world that appears as if out of nowhere. For example, my elderly mother had a fall one night and ended up in long term care, never setting foot in her home again. Suddenly all her reference points were gone, the little things and routines that gave her life meaning. Another vivid example of a bardo is happening as I write this. Friends living in wild-fire zones are packing grab bags for an emergency evacuation. When life pulls the ground out from under your feet, how do you decide what to take and what to leave behind?

A bardo is an emotional free-fall. We’ve moved into a strange new neighbourhood, or we just lost our job. It’s the morning after a painful fight with our lover. It feels like a sink hole has opened with our past on one side and our future on the other. We are refugees from the life we thought we had. Like refugees, we need to know where to find support, shelter, and nourishment.  


I’m happy to announce that I will be signing a contract with Shambhala Publications for my new book project. The working title is:

Nourishing The Roots, Bending With The Wind

A contemplative guide for meeting difficult times 

with mindfulness, compassion, and courage.



Some notes:  

GREEN ZONE : Awake Fear 

A bardo breakthrough happens when we join fear with love

Practice of the Cradle of kindness; stop torturing yourself, sympathy

  • we need to receive love before we can let go and give it away. 
  • Fuelling up, nourishing our roots. 
  • Note that under fear is sadness.
  • Grief opens to love. 

Letting go into groundlessness

Asking unanswerable questions/ listening space

Sitting still / sympathy

Reality check/ validation and encouragement

Green Zone: Retreat/ listening space

Mindfulness: positive interruptions– affection for your world 

Impermanence- body/ beauty, senses

Inter-being- heart/ gratitude

Wisdom, agelessness, Open questions/ mid-wife

Life review/ collecting pearl


RED ZONE: Frozen Fear

The realms of suffering : Hope and fear

Red light: pause, feel, embrace

See-saw/ equanimity

Heartlessness/ mercy


YELLOW ZONE: Background Anxiety/ Core Fears

Identity crisis/ rebirth

Still face/ restorative dialogue

Grief/ sadness

Rebirth– a new normal, wounded healer





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Karuna Training in Contemplative Psychology