Mindfulness and Grief: Paving the Way

In the early 1990s, I sought refuge in a Tao meditation center near San Francisco’s Central Park, hoping to find solace and tools to navigate the challenges that plagued my amateur golf career. Little did I know that this pursuit of mindfulness would extend far beyond the realm of sports, becoming an essential guide as I journeyed through the subsequent chapters of my life, especially in the face of grief. Mindfulness, with its inward focus, could easily have led me astray, detached from the world’s realities, solely dedicated to honoring Buddha under the Bodhi tree. However, my experience with mindfulness was quite the opposite, revealing its potential to enrich both my internal awareness and external responses to the world around me.

As mindfulness gained mainstream popularity, championed by prominent figures like Oprah Winfrey, meditation coaches, monks, and neuroscientists, debates emerged about its impact on activism and social responsibility. Some argue that mindfulness, with its emphasis on personal happiness and inner peace, may excuse individuals from actively engaging in the challenges and responsibilities of the real world. However, my own journey into mindfulness revealed a different truth. Mindfulness became a transformative force, empowering me to respond responsibly both to my inner thoughts and emotions and to the external world’s complexities. It served as a catalyst to be proactive and engaged rather than detached and passive.

The essence of mindfulness lies in finding harmony between our inner and outer worlds. It enables us to settle the turbulence of our thoughts, gain clarity, and cultivate a heightened awareness of our surroundings. Yet, its power extends beyond personal contentment; it calls us to recognize and address our social responsibilities within a collective consciousness. Mindfulness must drive us towards actively participating in shaping a co-operative and responsible society, not merely celebrating self-centered freedoms.

While the mindfulness movement has made efforts to depoliticize stress and emphasize individual well-being, we must remember that genuine happiness also stems from being mindful in a socially responsible way. To effect change in our political climate, education system, and society, we must integrate mindfulness into our lives as a powerful tool and conscious driver that moves us to be the change we wish to see in the world.


Mindfulness and grief have intertwined in my journey, revealing that mindfulness can serve as a profound resource for navigating life’s challenges, including the depths of grief. It encourages a deep connection between our internal and external worlds, inspiring us to not only find inner peace but also to engage actively and responsibly in society. Let us embrace mindfulness as a transformative force that empowers us to be mindful activists and contribute meaningfully to the world around us. Through mindfulness, we can truly be the change we desire, paving the way for a brighter and more compassionate future.



Embark on a profound journey of resilience and spiritual growth with Dena M. Derenale-Betti, a mother who bravely navigated the depths of grief after the tragic accident that took the life of her 14-year-old daughter. Her incredible story unfolds as she transcends the pain and devastation of loss, transforming her understanding of life’s purpose. Through the intimate and powerful blogs on hersmile.org, you will discover the unyielding power that resides within us all. Dena’s roles as a mother of three daughters, wife, friend, community leader, and business owner reflect her dedication to building loving connections and contributing to the world around her. A graduate of the University of San Francisco, where she played on the school’s inaugural golf team, Dena is passionate about personal growth and believes that love can conquer all. As you immerse yourself in her captivating journey, remember to find your own strength and cherish the power that love holds in shaping our lives. Experience the transformative wisdom of her book, “You Are Stronger Than You Know, My Daughter Told Me So,” available on Amazon today!


We are a nonprofit founded in honor of Jenna Betti, funding programs to empower and inspire people to thrive despite adversity.


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