About Barbara Becker

Sharon FINAL bb photoMy day job

For over twenty years, I’ve been working with change makers across the globe on human rights, women’s health, education and economic empowerment.  I’ve worked with some amazing activists, from people you’ve heard of like Gloria Steinem and Peter Gabriel, to prisoners of conscience who don’t get the recognition they deserve.

I founded and run EqualShot, which provides strategic communications direction to nonprofit organizations and foundations around the world.  For many years I have also taught communications and social change at Columbia University.

On parenting

I have two sons. My husband and I agree with Jon Kabat-Zinn, who says having children is like having your own live-in Zen masters.  I try to listen to them carefully and help them grow confidently, with kindness toward others.  Parenting also requires examining traits I would sometimes rather not notice about myself.

What I mean by “everyday mindfulness”

Everyday mindfulness is about figuring out how to ground myself and bring attentiveness to even the smallest moments of day-to-day life.  Without it, I’d be sunk.  I find opportunities for mindfulness in meditation and walking the labyrinth near the river by our apartment in Manhattan.  I derive a lot of meaning from Buddhist teachings, but mindfulness isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor.  Thankfully there are literally dozens of ways to practice it.  I became so interested in the ways that people find meaning in their lives that I went back to school and became an ordained interfaith minister, surprising even myself.

Being a traveler vs a tourist

I studied anthropology in college, and nothing is more interesting to me than how people around the world make sense of their lives.  Tourists aim to check destinations off bucket lists, but travelers try to gain a deeper understanding.  I’m striving for this conscious traveler mentality even though I can’t deny that there are many, many places I long to see!

I’ve visited (often for work) the Middle East, South and Central America, Africa, Asia and Europe.  I also enjoy stay-cations and exploring the national parks at home in the US.  My favorite city is Varanasi, India, the oldest continuously inhabited place on the planet. My kids are part of the international peace camp CISV, and we’ve hosted young travelers in our hometown of New York City.

My interest in “end-of-life”

Death was never a taboo topic in my home growing up.  My parents were both medical professionals who worked with patients in critical need.  We lived next to a cemetery, and I watched countless people come to visit loved ones they lost.  When my grandmothers were dying, my parents tenderly cared for them in our home.  I understood from many angles that life was meant to be fulfilling, here and now, and that the end of life could be just as sacred as birth.

I’m now a hospice volunteer, providing compassionate care to the sick and terminally ill and to create a supportive, nurturing environment for both caregivers and patients.

Why I blog

I began blogging in 2010 when I started Year to Live, based on a workshop I was taking in which we considered how we would live our lives if we knew we had just one year left.  My earliest childhood friend had breast cancer and was living out her last real year at the time.  Needless to say,  those 365 days affected me profoundly.  I was especially moved by the community that developed around that blog — young people who wanted to carpe diem, people who were entering new phases of life and wondering what it all meant, people who were dying themselves.  We really took care of one another.

Please join me!

I hope you, too, will find meaning in the conversations on this blog, All Beings Everywhere.  I’m so glad our paths have connected.   Sign up by email or on the All Beings Everywhere Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter page so I can learn about you too!

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