Sharon Salzberg’s Street Loving Kindness

Sharon and her gang of creative, amazing, wise and compassionate friends have been making videos about how to practice compassion wherever you go. I just LOVE them.


And they make me feel so inspired to make some of my own featuring Chicago places. Lord knows I feel every day like I need more practice in loving kindness too living here. I confess that at first I was like, WOW, those videos of hers are so awesome and also a little jealous or something because I had JUST BEEN THINKING OF MAKING THE EXACT SAME THING! Augh! And so for a time I did nothing.

But I realized after sitting with it all for a while, that there’s no way two creative people will do the exact same thing at all anyway and that even more importantly, I believe we need as many reminders to practice loving kindness as possible. So, stay tuned. I’m making some videos on how to practice “On the Fly” here in the Windy City.


I’m also offering two new classes that will support your own loving kindness toward your own fine self as well as the rest of the world.

One is a Gentle Tai Chi class, made for all body types and abilities. We’ll meet every Saturday from 3:30-4:40 starting on 11/4. You can sign up via Eventbrite or via Chase QuickPay. (calm chicago at gmail dot com) or email me and we’ll figure out what works best for you! Cash is cool too!

The other thing is Second Sunday Meditation which I co-host with Matt Johnson in our shared space, where he teaches ving tsun kung fu and I do all the things I do, like photography, tai chi, coaching, and all kinds of things which are always growing and evolving. Check out the next one where our theme will be gratitude.

Till then, may all be happy, strong, healthy and at ease.


Lots of love to you, Hillary



Mindful Metta Mondays @Heartwood

Mindful Metta Mondays

img_1145Start Your Week Alive, Empowered
and Connected


Mindful Metta Mondays
The Heartwood Center in Evanston

with Hillary Johnson

Registration is now open. Sign up to reserve your spot.

This summer the course will run each month for four weeks on Monday nights

June 6, 13, 20, 27, 2016, 7pm-8pm

July 11, 18, 25, August 1, 2016, 7pm-8pm

August 15, 22, 29, September 5, 2016, 7pm-8pm


1818 Dempster Street, Evanston, IL 60202

4-week course $72 ($18/class) or $20 Drop in


When we cultivate our natural capacity for opening the heart and allowing it to blossom, we get closer to the best versions of ourselves. Metta or loving kindness is a powerful transformative practice that deepens recognition of our profound interconnection with all living things, allowing us to experience this sense of connection, even with the difficult people in our lives. Insights are sharpened and equanimity is accessed when we integrated Mindfulness Meditation and Metta with Contemplative Writing, This course will help you develop and deepen your:

  • Concentration
  • Connection
  • Courage/Fearlessness
  • Authentic Happiness
  • Discernment


Metta helps us awaken our hearts into a sense of spacious freedom, allowing us to bring greater loving kindness into everyday life, work and love. As we gain greater clarity and insight into our own hearts and minds by bringing attention to how we think, speak and act, we can open to a whole new, more discerning and caring way for engaging with ourselves and others.

As you develop your practice, you’ll see the fruits of greater loving kindness everywhere. This ongoing/repeatable class will help you sustain your practice and nurture the qualities of loving kindness with direction instruction, guided meditation and contemplative writing. There will also be plenty of opportunities for conversation and communal support for your practice.


The more you practice, the greater the gifts. You will:

  1. Feel your stress and tension dissolve.
  2. Loosen the grip of tightening fear in the heart  and feel it turn into open and spacious caring.
  3. Experience a sense of ongoing renewal, peace, and confidence arising from your own loving kindness practices

It’s not surprising that many people consider calming the mind through meditation as first step to a more peaceful, less stress-filled life. Yet, compassion and loving kindness have the power of water, a gentle force for courage allied with wisdom. Enjoy the peace of offering the gift of your compassion for others as we hold them quietly in our hearts.


Through cultivating empathy and understanding we expand our capacities for resolving conflicts and strengthen and multiply our possibilities for creatively easing suffering in the world and in our own hearts.

This course is for both new and experienced meditators. Bring a notebook and your favorite writing implement. You may bring a meditation cushion or bench if you like, but we also provide everything you need to be comfortable.

4-week course $72 ($18/class) or $20 Drop in

Email Hillary with any questions


Register by calling Hillary at  312-714-4563 (Please leave a message if no answer)


Use this link to register now.

Thank you. I look forward to practicing with you soon.

With Metta, Hillary


Mindful Metta Mondays In Evanston

So excited, humbled, honored to announce that I’ll be teaching at this amazing place, The Heartwood Center, in Evanston.

Mindful Metta Mondays start Monday June 6th, 7-8pm at the Heartwood Center!
Four-week sessions in June, July and August. $72 for the month or $20 drop in. Registration will open in the next day or so. Each session will integrate meditation and writing to help us cultivate Metta or loving kindness for ourselves and each other.

Loving kindness 


Happify and Sharon Salzberg video

I don’t need to say much about this video. It’s short, very charming and offers a wise teaching that can benefit all of us. Sharon Salzberg is a wonderful teacher. Enjoy!  

Compassion is a Gateway to Happiness

Sylvia Boorstein has a wonderful book titled, “Happiness is an Inside Job.”

In it she offers all kinds of wonderful teachings on happiness.  These are some compassion chants or prayers, (call them what you like,) which we send not so much to beseech any specific outer power (if you grew up in a tradition which seemed to offer up a demanding and hard to access God, this might relieve you of that layer of resistance) but really we send them to our own inner-most hearts. Feel free to apply them however you like, in whatever ways feel most comfortable to you. 

The first set comes from Sharon Salzberg via Sylvia:

May I be free of enmity and danger.

May I have mental happiness.

May I have physical happiness.

May I have ease of well-being.


The second set, Sylvia made up on her own (which you too may wish to do at some point) to attend to her own specific needs:

May if feel contented and safe.

May I feel protected and pleased.

May my physical body support me with strength.

May my life unfold smoothly with ease.


Try spending about 15 minutes each day with these. For now, just sit and read them aloud in whatever volume you wish. This is a practice in effortfulness. Just do your best to stay with them even when you attention wanders or feels tired. Sylvia suggests that we say the words expecting to feel a bit different in our mind and heart. Feel them echo through the body and mind.

Try first the I version of these. Later you may also move on to “you” bringing to mind those dear to you. Later you may expand this in ever widening circles to those you know less well, to those you feel sort of neutral about (perhaps a grocery clerk,  the mail carrier, anyone) Then you may move on to include someone you feel has harmed you. (I’d avoid starting with anyone very traumatic. We can start small and build up from there!) And finally, include all beings in your wishes of compassion.

Finally, don’t evaluate your experience. There’s no tight or wrong here! Impossible to “do” compassion wrong! And to quote, Sylvia directly, “And remember, it’s not the phrases that make a difference. It’s your resolve, your own intention to have your mind rest in its own goodness that makes the difference. You are reminding your mind, diligently, to care – which is what it does naturally.”

Please feel free to share these practices with friends and family. Let’s spread this compassion stuff everywhere! We have a free  meditation class each 2nd Saturday of the month to help support your practice.

Make today amazing dear ones,