Reflecting on Reflections

Dear students,

I wanted to send a note to thank you all for a wonderful semester. I enjoyed teaching you and hope you left this class a bit wiser, and maybe calmer, with a handful of tools for making ethical decisions. mindless-2I read each of your Mindfulness Reflections and, without exception, they were well-written and wise. Each of you shared bits of wisdom many of which I will take with me from “respond rather than react” and “happiness is a skill;” along with reminders of the serenity prayer, to breathe in calm, to never forget your obligation to yourself. There were also warnings by the skeptics and comments on how the “weirdest assignment” ever helped you “rule your mind.” Last, but not least, there were the inspiring images, two of which I have used here.Mindless 1.pngFor all of this and our engaging discussions, I am sincerely grateful.

Dr. Grow


The Right Thing To Do

Book MCIn the 4th edition of Advertising Creative we expanded our survival guide offering practical advice for multicultural creatives breaking into the business as well as tips for millennials, the next generation of advertising professionals. Why? Because is was the right thing to do – and the smart thing to do.


Here’s what some influential industry folks have to say about your latest edition.
“From ideating to execution Advertising Creative is the ultimate guide to walk you through the critical steps of a 21st century campaign.” Laura Agostini, Chief Talent Officer, J. Walter Thompson, New York

Book MillAdvertising Creative “helps us understand the complexities of an industry that needs culturally relevant, simple and human ideas.” Leila El-Kayem, Founder & Creative Director, The Adventures Of, Berlin

“A new standard for integrated marketing in the digital age.” James Kulp, Vice President, Account Director, Wunderman West, Los Angeles

“An engaging text about today’s hyper-empowered consumer that offers a roadmap for survival for advertising, public relations and digital professionals.” Thomas Gensemer, Chief Strategy Officer, Burson-Marsteller, New York.

Pick up a copy and help us celebrate!


Too Many

Thinking of too many dead Black men and too many American cities in crisis, the words of Baltimore Orioles COO John Angelos ring true for me.

” … my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.”

I wonder, what is the media’s role in keeping this broader – and essential – narrative in the margins?

May we heal as one.


Mindfulness Shared

A student from last semester sent me a note after returning from a two-week service trip to South Africa. Prior to my class he had no knowledge of mindfulness. He described how on this trip he practiced mindfulness, intertwining it with his normal day-to-day activities. “I noticed myself also utilizing mindfulness in a new culture. I wanted to share that with you because the things you are teaching are making an impact on students’ lives’ – not only in Milwaukee, but across the globe.” He also sent a link to an article in Time about Nine Ways to Practice Mindfulness and succeed professionally. Thought I’d share it.

  • Forgive and forget

Don’t get sucked into drama. Let it go and move on to important things.

  • Breathe before you blast

When angry breathe before you respond to anyone, in any way.

  • Stop judging

Mistakes help us all learn. Harping brings you and others down.

  • Follow your heart

Choose your work with intention. When it doesn’t fit move on.

  • Still your mind daily

Carve out time each morning to still your mind. Make it a habit.

  • Salute your enemies

Bow to the divine within your enemies. You may have fewer of them.

  • Take victory in stride

Don’t get attached to your success, you’ll be less able to cope with defeat.

  • Sleep more

It’s the best form of mediation.

  • Enjoy the journey

Life is short. Enjoy what you do and you’ll do it better.



Guest Post by: Becca Rowe, Marquette University student

“When you have one foot in the future and the other in the past, you piss on the present.” –Dan Harris, 10% Happier.

Graphic, I agree, but insightful. If you look beyond the shocking visual Harris has so graciously put in our heads, you will get a sense of how you’re doing life completely wrong.

RoweWe wander through life mindlessly – looking far into the future, while simultaneously rooting ourselves in the past. It is nearly impossible for us to live in the present. Not that reflection has no value, nor forward thinking a bad thing, but simply that we overlook our present. Our thoughts blind us from living through our present selves. We don’t notice the sensation of cool air hitting our skin as we step out of the shower because we are already thinking four steps ahead in our routine. We don’t see the myriad of vibrant colors in the cityscape, but you can bet that we will hyper-focus on where we are going, whom we are seeing and what we will be saying. Harris argues to be present is to be mindful, and here’s how he, and now I, figured that out.

Life is hard. It is messy and stressful and busy and intense and difficult and…well you surely get the gist. Life is not easy and nor do I believe it was intended to be. We are handed obstacles that challenge our minds to overcome, but more often than not we succumb to. In the case of Dan Harris it was battles with drug addiction, fame and anxiety that clouded his mind.

Harris’ troubling journey of skeptical self-discovery provides me inspiration. Not because his wit and cynicism speak to my soul, but because Harris’ path seems all too real. A self-help book on mindfulness will not tell you that being mindful is hard. It certainly will not tell you that your hunt for ‘happiness’ will leave you unsatisfied, but Harris does. His intent, I believe, is not to discourage us, but rather to challenge us to realistically see our world for what we can.

Through mindfulness we grasp reality—real reality, not the false realities we create in our heads, but what life is like right here and now. Clear minds produce pure thoughts. Pure thoughts come from feelings. Feelings are sensations of the mind and body’s interconnectedness. Our mental clarity relies on our mindfulness, and what are we doing for our person if we cannot experience our present lives? My answer is that we are doing ourselves a grave injustice.

I am victim of a clouded and mindless life. My battles with depression, anxiety, stress and learning disabilities compiled with increasing financial and personal responsibility flood my head with confusion. I struggle with resonating in the past to planning my life years from now in a continuous cycle of unproductivity. Self admittedly this process has numbed my feelings. I was trapped in self-destructive cycles, which I only realized when I was on the brink of giving up everything. But then I was told to breathe. Not just an average breath, but a full and focused breath. I was told to feel my stomach rising and falling. I was told to not think, but feel and that’s when it hit me. Like a literal burden had been lifted from my shoulders, I sank into the chair. I rose feeling calm and focused, unlike I had ever felt before. And that is how I started my journey of mindfulness.

Harris writes it best when he says, “meditation is not about feeling a certain way. It’s about feeling the way you feel.” And feeling what you feel is a beautiful thing.