Building communities of Trust

Creating Cultures of Inclusion

Empowering people to discover their

Authentic Voice


Wellness Coaching

David Trachtenberg mindfulness in schools


& Educators



Storytelling &

Public Speaking

Dave Trachtenberg

“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it.


Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”

-Jacob Riis

  • Mindfulness Teacher

  • Circle Facilitator

  • Wellness Coach

  • Organizational Consultant

  • Restorative Justice Educator

  • Storyteller


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 two off-the-cushion practices: Relational Mindfulness (deep listening, authentic speaking, cultivating empathy) and Applied Mindfulness (how we can apply meditation to practical, every-day scenarios).   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 syndrome.  There were phases where constant feelings of worry and overwhelm took over my life, causing a mental-paralysis where I felt unable to function or accomplish basic tasks.  I remember an all-consuming sense of loneliness that overtook my life; I had low self-esteem, was plagued by doubt and self-judgment, dark thoughts flooded my mind, and I had no real sense of self-worth or agency.  

The Transformation - Learning mindfulness and other mind-body practices 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 and where my thoughts would go, instead of blindly reacting off them.  It opened up a world of experiencing how my  body sensations manifested my emotions, and how tuning into my somatic experience allowed me to feel grounded and centered amidst difficulty.  Relational mindfulness helped me listen more deeply, speak more authentically, and cultivate more empathy and kindness for other people. 


Most importantly, mindfulness allowed me to welcome and accept all parts of myself: my feelings, my thoughts, my experiences, my decisions, my body sensations.  It helped me feel whole.  I began to treat myself with more kindness and gentleness, and develop a fierce sense of self-love, and even 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 me to lean into and fully feel what arises within.  The empowerment came from a new clear-seeing and awareness that comes with meditation practice.  Within this space, it allowed me to make healthy, confident decisions to live life in harmony with my values, and to access an unshakable pillar of strength within when challenging life situations arise.


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

Marcus Aurelius

Non-Profit Leadership

Mindfulness in Schools

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.  He also helped with outreach, building relationships with mindfulness & youth organizations across the country.

During this 2013-18 period, Minds' team had:

  • Served over 18,000 students, educators, parents

  • Served over 40 schools in four school districts

  • Created a team of 35 mindfulness trainers

  • Designed mindfulness curricula for Teen & Elem

  • Partnered with Georgetown University to create Circle-Mindfulness programs for DC parents 

Peace of Mind -

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

  • Program Design & Facilitation - Co-created year-long "Virtual Mindfulness Community Circles" program for Peace of Mind educators 

  • Who is PoM? - Washington DC based nonprofit, creator of "Peace Program" integrating Mindfulness, Peace Education & Neuroscience for students and educators 

Mindful Schools -

  • Guiding Teacher & Mentor - Guiding cohorts of participants in MTCP Certification Program 

  • Program Design - Co-created new framework and revision for MTCP Program 

  • Who is Mindful Schools? - Globally recognized nonprofit having trained over 50,000 educators  

Mindfulness First -

  • Program Design & Facilitation - Co-created Advanced Training Series for Educators

  • Who is Mindfulness First? - Nonprofit providing Mindfulness & Social-Emotional Learning to educators and students in Flagstaff, Arizona 

Teaching & Facilitating

Current Facilitation


Dave is a certified Mindfulness Teacher, Circle Facilitator, and Restorative Justice Educator with over 20 years of experience in mindfulness and mind-body practices.  Dave currently teaches with:

  • American University:

    • School of Public Health - Mindfulness

    • University-wide - Restorative Justice

  • Peace of Mind - Virtual Mindfulness Circles

  • Millennium Forum - Mindful Educator Circles

  • Mindfulness First - Advanced Series Trainer

  • Schools - Montgomery County Public Schools

  • Organizations - Nonprofits & Corporations

  • Community - Wellness Centers & Yoga Studios

  • Virtual Facilitation - 5+ years of experience facilitating mindfulness via Zoom platform 

Guest-Speaking & Panels

  • Children's National Health 

  • Georgetown University Hospital 

  • Kojo Nnamdi Show (WAMU) 

  • iBme - Inward Bound Mindfulness Education

  • IMCW - Insight Meditation Community (Wash.) 

  • Mindful Schools 

  • The Peace Alliance

  • Washington DC Interfaith Leadership Summit 

Teaching Style


Dave is known for his warm, compassionate and engaging teaching style, quirky sense of humor, his core value of empathy, and creating spaces where people feel fully accepted.  He places strong emphasis on Applied Mindfulness and Relational Mindfulness in addition to formal practice, with Self-Compassion being a core part of all classes.


Dave's classes are taught in Circle Facilitation and grounded in Restorative Practices in order to create a welcoming and inclusive learning environment for all participants, and to hold space for the transformation that occurs when we listen deeply in community.

Coaching & Consulting

Creating Positive Change

Dave runs a private practice mentoring adults and youth as a Mindfulness & Wellness Coach, helping people connect with their innate wisdom and strength, and empowering others to live with greater peace, confidence, and well-being. 


All sessions include foundational teachings of Mindfulness, and draw from the mind-body practices of Guided Imagery, Positive Psychology, and Tai-Chi to help people create healthier lifestyles, and cultivate greater:


Acceptance  -  Courage  -  Joy

Kindness  -  Empathy  -  Self-Agency



Dave takes great joy in helping people share their stories.  The ancient art of storytelling is one of the most intimate and powerful vehicles we have for sharing collective wisdom, with the ability to build bridges across race, gender, age, country of origin, and religion.  The telling of a personal story embodies the humbleness of our human spirit: that we all have wisdom to offer, and that we have the ability to learn from every person we meet.  


It also serves as a practical and important skill to have for anyone in professional and social settings.  Learning the art of storytelling teaches us to be more intentional and thoughtful in how we communicate, allows us to discover our ability to empower and inspire others, and can help us improve our Public Speaking and Relationships. 


Dave coaches clients and groups through five core storytelling foundations of:

  • Discovering Your Voice

  • Creating Engagement

  • Storytelling Structure

  • Vocal Technique

  • Speaking with Authenticity


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  


"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

Meditation Training


Personal Practice

  • Meditation practice of 20 years

  • Tai-Chi & Qigong practice of 12 years 

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

Engaged Mindfulness Institute

  • Year-Long Certification (300 hrs)

  • Certified Mindfulness Teacher

  • Studied with - Fleet Maull, Jim Bastien

Mindful Schools

  • Year-Long Certification (300 hrs)

  • Certified Mindfulness Teacher

  • Studied with - Megan Cowen, Chris McKenna, Vinny Ferraro

MBSR - Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

  • Qualified MBSR Teacher (300 hrs)

  • MBSR in Mind-Body Medicine

  • MBSR Practice Teaching Intensive, Fundamentals

  • Studied with - Jon Kabat-Zinn, Saki Santorelli, Florence Meleo-Meyer, Bob Stahl


Mindfulness in Education - Certifications:

  • Heart-Mind Education

  • The Lineage Project

  • Mindfulness in Schools Project (.b)

Guided Imagery, Hypnosis, NLP

The Academy of Guided Imagery

  • Certified in Interactive Guided Imagery

National Guild of Hypnotists

  • Certified Hypnotist  (120 hrs)

National Federation of NLP

  • Certified NLP Practitioner  (80 hrs)


Tai Chi & Qigong

Master Xiao-Ling Liu – Wudang Longmen

Michael Ward – Cloud Hands Tai Chi

Charles Farrell - American Eagle Tai Chi

Other Meditation Traditions


Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati - Yogic Meditation

Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi - Kabbalah

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mindfulness in education
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Teachers & Inspirations

Meditation teachers who continue to influence and inspire my practice and teaching:

    Pema Chodron   -   Reginald Ray

    Jonathan Foust   -   Florence Meleo-Meyer

    Angel Kyodo-Williams   -   Thich Nhat Hanh 

    Bhante Gunaratana   -   La Sarmiento 

    Joan Halifax   -   S.N. Goenka

    Ram Dass   -   Ma Joya Sati Bhagavati  

    Mushim Ikeda   -   Larry Yang 

    Alan Watts   -   Trudy Mitchell-Gilkey

    Gangaji   -   Jon Kabat-Zinn

My other great wisdom teachers:

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.

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

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. 

Richard Berendzen - My Astronomy professor, who taught me that sacredness and wonder are a part of science, and that a person who has harmed another is capable of true change.

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

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 anger.

Basketball - For teaching my younger self that was so hurt, angry, and self-hating, that we can find inner peace at the peak volume of 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.