Place of Peace 7.jpg

Building communities of trust

Creating cultures of inclusion

Empowering people to discover their
authentic voice

 
 
Background - Light blue professional.jpg

Bio

Dave Trachtenberg is a mindfulness teacher, circle-facilitator, restorative justice educator, and organizational consultant with over 20 years of experience with mindfulness & wellness practices. 

 

He has dedicated his life to creating inclusive communities, and integrating mindfulness with community building to create spaces where people can share, learn and grow together.  Dave is an advocate for racial, gender, LGBTQ & immigrant equity, and consults with organizations to design inclusive systems and practices that create cultures where people feel valued and empower diverse perspectives. 

 

Dave is passionate about storytelling’s power to inspire and give hope.  He is honored to mentor others as a storytelling coach, and help people discover their authentic voice and storytelling skills to best engage and inspire listeners. 

WHAT I DO

I create safe spaces for people to share authentically, and begin a journey of self-discovery and living with greater ease, through mindfulness practice. 

Classes and Coaching sessions blend traditional

  • Formal Mindfulness practice with emphasis on

  • Relational Mindfulness - deep listening, mindful speech, cultivating empathy)

  • Applied Mindfulness (mindful pausing, bringing mindful awareness to every-day moments).   and

I help empower people to...

  • Find their inner-strength

  • Access their innate-wisdom

  • Fully accept themselves

  • Make healthier choices 

  • Communicate with presence

  • Navigate difficult emotions (stress, overwhelm, anger, sadness, fear, self-judgment)

 

My Story

I teach mindfulness because it helped me transform my life.

The Struggle - When I was younger, I struggled deeply with depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, ADHD, and Tourette's.  There were phases where constant feelings of overwhelm took over my life, causing a paralysis where I felt barely able to function.  I remember being flooded by an all-consuming sense of loneliness, low self-esteem, self-judgment dark thoughts, and having no sense of self-worth or agency.

  

The Transformation - Learning mindfulness and tai chi had a lasting impact on my life.  It taught me to find a place within that was peaceful and steady.  It allowed me to observe my mind, instead of blindly reacting to it.  It opened up a new world of how I experience my body, and how tuning into body awareness allowed me to feel grounded amidst difficulty.  Relational mindfulness helped me listen better, speak more authentically, and cultivate more empathy and compassion for other people.  

 

Mindfulness allowed me to welcome and accept all parts of myself: my feelings, thoughts, experiences, decisions, and body sensations.  It helped me feel whole.  I began to treat myself with more kindness, and developed a fierce sense of self-love and gratitude for the hurdles I had overcome.  For the first time in my life, I felt a sense of peace and empowerment, two emotions that used to be completely foreign to me.  The peace came from learning to let things be that I had no control over, and allowing myself to fully feel my emotions.  The empowerment came from a new clear-seeing and awareness that meditation cultivates.  With time, it allowed me to make healthy, confident decisions, to live a life in harmony with my values, and to access an unshakable strength within when challenging moments arise.

 

"You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength."

Marcus Aurelius

Mindfulness in Education: Nonprofit leadership

Minds Incorporated - For five years, Dave had the honor of serving as Program Director, Co-Lead Trainer and Curriculum Designer for Minds, a nonprofit bringing mindfulness and SEL programs to Washington DC area schools. During 2013-18, Minds' team:

  • Served over 18,000 students, educators, parents

  • Served over 40 schools in four school districts

  • Created a team of 35 mindfulness trainers

  • Designed curricula for Educators, Teens, K-5th

Peace of Mind - https://teachpeaceofmind.org/ - PoM's innovative program integrates: Mindfulness, Peace Education, Neuroscience, Social Justice for students and educators.  Dave serves as:

  • Advisory Board Member - Consultation on mindfulness facilitation & building partnerships 

  • Program Designer - Co-creator of year-long "Virtual Mindfulness Community Circles" training 

  • Facilitator - Co-Facilitator of year-long VCC's 

Mindful Schools - https://www.mindfulschools.org/

  • Program Design - Co-created revision of Mindfulness Teacher Certification Program 

  • Guiding Teacher - Guided cohorts of educators in Mindfulness Teacher Certification Program

Mindfulness First - https://www.mindfulnessfirst.org/

  • Program Design - Co-created "Teaching Mindfulness II" Training Series for educators

  • Guiding Teacher - Facilitator and mentor for cohorts of educators in mindfulness program

Millennium Forum https://www.millenniumforum.org/

Mindfulness, community, and flourishing for educators

  • Facilitation - Year-Long mindfulness-circle guide

Organizations:
Facilitation & Consulting

American University

  • Mindfulness Schools of Public Health, Education

    • Course Design - Created 15-week course integrating mindfulness & community building

    • Facilitation 15-week​ courses for students of public health, psychology, education 

  • Restorative Justice & Inclusion - Facilitator/Trainer 

    • Circle Facilitation 

    • Restorative Dialog & Practices 

    • Restoring racial harm

 

Schools (K-12) - Mindfulness, Restorative Justice 

  • District of Columbia Public Schools (DC) 

  • Fairfax County Public Schools (VA) 

  • Montgomery County Public Schools (MD)

  • Washington DC Public Charter Schools:

    • Educare, EL Haynes, KIPP, Shining Stars

Community Wellness & Social Justice - Org Development

  • ECIN - Early Childhood Innovation Network 

  • EYEJ - Empowering Youth, Exploring Justice 

  • Community Classes - DC Rec Centers, Local Studios

Manufacturers & Tech - Org Development, Mindfulness

  • Associated Builders & Contractors (DC)

  • CollabraLink (VA)

  • Henkel (Belgium) 

  • Port of Antwerp (Belgium) 

  • Swagelok (Cleveland)

Guest-Speaking & Panels - Mindfulness

  • Children's National Hospital

  • Kojo Nnamdi Show (WAMU) 

  • iBme - Inward Bound Mindfulness Education

  • IMCW - Insight Meditation Community of Wash DC

  • The Peace Alliance

  • Washington DC Interfaith Leadership Summit 

 
Background - Navy middle 1.jpg

EDUCATION

M.S. Positive Organization Development   

Case Western Reserve University

Weatherhead School of Management 

  • Organization Development & Change

  • Executive Leadership Coaching

  • Positive Psychology

Graduate Certificate (in progress)

Restorative Justice in Education

Eastern Mennonite University

  • Restorative Justice

  • Circle Facilitation

  • Peace Education

B.A. History

American University

  • African History

  • Middle-Eastern History

  • U.S. Cultural History  

Meditation
Training

Mindfulness

Personal Practice

  • Meditation - 20 years

  • Tai-Chi & Qigong - 12 years 

  • Silent Retreats - Bhavana Society, IMCW, MBSR, Southern Dharma, Engaged Mindfulness

Engaged Mindfulness Institute

  • Year-Long Certification Program (300 hrs)

  • Teachers - Fleet Maull, Jim Bastien

Mindful Schools

  • Year-Long Certification Program (300 hrs)

  • Teachers - Meg Cowen, C. McKenna, Vinny Ferraro

MBSR - Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

  • Qualified MBSR Teacher (300 hrs)

  • Teachers - Kabat-Zinn, Santorelli, Meleo-Meyer, Stahl

 

Mindfulness in Education - Certifications:

  • Heart-Mind Education

  • The Lineage Project

  • Mindfulness in Schools Project (.b)

Guided Imagery, Hypnosis, NLP

Academy of Guided Imagery - Certified Practitioner

National Guild of Hypnotists - Certified Hypnotist

National Federation of NLP - Certified NLP Practitioner

 

Tai Chi & Qigong

Master Xiao-Ling Liu – Wudang Longmen

Michael Ward – Cloud Hands Tai Chi

Charles "Fran" Farrell - American Eagle Tai Chi

Inclusive Leadership 
Coaching & Facilitation Training

Cross-Cultural Dialog

  • Soliya - Advanced Facilitation Training  

Restorative Justice & Circle Facilitation

  • Art of Hosting - Facilitating Collective Wisdom 

  • EMU - Ram Bhagat - Facilitating Circle Processes

  • EMU - Judy Mullet - Peacebuilding & Conflict Trans.

  • Kay Pranis - Circle Process & Peacemaking Circles

  • School Talk DC - Restorative Circles & Dialog 

Inclusive Leadership Practices

  • Appreciative Inquiry - Semester-long courses with David Cooperrider & Ronald Fry (Case Western) 

  • Emotionally Intelligent Leadership - Semester-long courses with Richard Boyatzis (Case Western) 

  • Inclusive Leadership - Semester-long courses with Diana Bilimoria (Case Western) 

  • Leadership Coaching - Semester-long courses with Richard Boyatzis & Melvin Smith (Case Western) 

  • Life Coaching - Life Coach Institute of Orange County - Certified Coach (Suzanne Rosetti) 

 

 

"The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers."

Thich Nhat Hanh

Teachers & Inspirations

Wisdom Teachers from my Youth

 

My Parents & Family - For raising me to be curious, to ask questions, to always stand up for others (especially when they don't have a voice), for teaching me to trust myself, and for teaching me kindness and generosity.

Sifu Fran Farrell - For showing me the true spirit of martial arts: that warriors train to embody peace to self, peace to others, and to act with heart, mind, and courage.  Never violence. 

Sam Holt - My 9th grade history teacher, who taught me the strength to be vulnerable in front of others, the courage to be myself, and the importance of creating safe spaces for teens. 

Caleen Jennings - My African American Arts professor, who taught me that our cultural differences can be celebrated, and that a sense of community and an honoring of our hearts belong in every classroom.

Steve Smith - My 8th grade history teacher, who taught me that the best teachers are the ones who challenge students, and think outside the box in order to best touch the lives of others.

Mayer Selekman - My Rabbi, who taught me that kindness and gentleness have no limits, to always ask questions, and how to speak with grace, intelligence, and conviction.

Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi - For teaching me that spirituality has no bounds, that humor can be found in everything, and that the wisest parts of ourselves know how to connect to the wisdom in others. 

Richard Berendzen - My Astronomy professor, who taught me that sacredness and wonder belong in science, that humbleness matters, and that people who have harmed others are capable of change.

Meditation teachers who continue to

inspire my practice and teaching:

            Pema Chodron   -   Thich Nhat Hanh 

            Jonathan Foust   -   Florence Meleo-Meyer

            Angel Kyodo-Williams   -   Bhante Gunaratana

            Jon Kabat-Zinn   -   La Sarmiento 

            Marisela Gomez   -   S.N. Goenka   

            Alan Watts   -   Trudy Mitchell-Gilkey 

            Mushim Ikeda   -   Larry Yang  

            Ram Dass   -   Ma Joya Sati Bhagavati  

 

My other great wisdom teachers:

James Baldwin & Ralph Ellison - Who continue to teach me what it means to explore the depths of injustices that other cultures face, and the importance of fully feeling and embracing our anger.

Lloyd Alexander - For being the first storyteller who touched my heart, and made me want to read.  For teaching me that we can learn from everyone, and to remember that there is a purity amidst life's sorrows.

Richard Pryor - For embodying what it means to be an artist, for teaching me that sadness can always wear a smile, and that joy is tinged with loss.  For showing me a path through art to balance my dualities. 

Allen Iverson - For showing me how to create and express with unbridled joy, to trust my intuition, and to find the grit and tenacity to keep getting back up.

Kobe Bryant - For teaching me discipline and work ethic.  For showing me what it means to put your head down and work without excuses. That mind is illusion.

Basketball - For teaching my younger self that was so hurt, angry, and self-loathing that we can find peace at the very peak of our most challenging emotions.

Tai-Chi - For teaching me to how to let go.  For showing me what it means to feel empowered in my body, and to befriend my body's innate wisdom.

Music - For being the art that helped me find joy when there was none.  For helping me process endless emotions.  For tuning me into my true nature.