Welcome to my website. I hope this will become a gathering place for sharing the back-stories and teachings that have shaped my work and my path of mindfulness and compassion.
My book on mindful communication reflects the value I place on the power of our conversations to bring out the best in each other. If we could put down our phones and say hello to a stranger on an elevator or a train, we’re contributing to a grassroots culture of kindness in this world.
My most recent book, Which Way Is Up? will be available in 2024, from Shambhala Publications. I like the title because it’s an open question, and the book describes my personal cancer journey as a ‘rubber meets the road’ challenge for my 49 years of practicing Buddhist meditation. I hope it will benefit anyone who has or is experiencing the shock of unexpected life changes. It’s about the transformative power of embracing the fear of sickness, old age and death with lovingkindness and compassion.
“Anyone who seeks meaningful, effective connections with others personally and professionally will find much to practice and reflect upon in this book.”
“This is an invaluable resource for anyone who longs for connection with others. Susan Chapman’s simple explanations and engaging stories provide us with practical tools that let us recognize our shared humanity, moving us from a ‘me-first’ approach to a ‘we-first’ one.”—Karen Kissel Wegela, author of The Courage to Be Present and What Really Helps
“The Five Keys to Mindful Communication” is a strongly recommended read, not to be overlooked.”
“In a clear and at times humorous style this encouraging book gives our heart the green light to open. Susan Chapman presents accessible practices from Buddhism and the best in psychology to help this happen.”—David Richo, author of Coming Home to Who You Are
“Given the lack of conversations in a culture fast becoming more and more obsessed with texting and emails, this is a very timely book which paves the way for a more hopeful future”
Susan explains the difference between trustworthy open emotions (“The Green Light”) and untrustworthy closed emotions (“The Red Light”)
Five star review: “The ideas in this book will open the door for tremendous self-healing even before they are applied to communication with others. Change begins with the conversations we have with ourselves. This book begins there and then shows us how to apply what we’ve learned to every other aspect of our lives.”
Which Way is Up?
My new book uses teachings about the bardo, which is traditionally understood to be the gap between death and rebirth and applies them to those times in our life when what feels normal is suddenly interrupted. This is the focus of Which Way Is Up? and my teaching these days.
Here’s a window into that approach:
The darkest times in our life can be the most transformational. Using my own cancer journey as an example, I’m exploring how to apply the Buddhist teachings on the ‘bardo’–the gaps in our normal life–to discover what it means to truly live our life to the fullest.
“According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead a bardo is a period of great transition and uncertainty. Change is an inevitable part of life, but often when it comes to the big change like a divorce, a career change, the death of a parent or a pandemic we often freeze or panic. Time spent in a bardo cuts to the core of who we are and tests our resolve to stay present in the midst of what feels like chaos. However, if we have trained in the practice of mindfulness it is possible to meet uncertainty with openness and navigate our way through the bardo to a place that reflects our highest aspirations rather than our fears.”