Fern Dorresteyn and Michael Ciborski lived at Plum Village monastery in France for nine years, training in the meditative arts as monk and nun for seven. They were fortunate to live and work closely with Thich Nhat Hanh and the monastic community to organize, support, and offer meditation retreats around the world. They are both members of the Order of Interbeing as well as Dharma teachers in the Plum Village tradition.
In 2003, each of them departed Plum Village and, when they encountered each other, returned to lay life. Now they are married and have a son, Laurian, and two daughters, Seriena and Fiana.
In 2006, Fern and Michael founded a 501c3 not-for-profit organization called Mindful Living Initiative (MLI) in order to formally begin the work of building community and sharing practice with others. In 2009, MLI purchased 243 beautiful acres of forests and ponds in southwestern New Hampshire to be the home of MorningSun. In 2011, they were joined by Tim Ambrose Desmond and Annie Millar Desmond, whose experience directing nonprofits was a perfect compliment to Fern and Michael’s experience as monastics.
Tim Ambrose Desmond co-founded two non-profits, directed an intensive mental health treatment center for children and co-developed a two-year training program for psychotherapists. He currently works as a therapist in private practice and writes extensively on mental health.
After living and studying in many different Buddhist monasteries, he entered the Order of Interbeing in 2005 and is an apprentice Dharma Teacher in the Plum Village school. He began studying Permaculture while a visiting student at the Institute for Gandhian Studies in Wardha, India and has taught Permaculture and natural building in the US and Mexico. He also helped to organize several large global justice protests between 2002-2004 at meetings of the WTO and FTAA and was an organizer of the Occupy Wall St protests. He is the chair of the finance committee on the board of directors of Planting Justice, an Oakland-based food justice nonprofit. He has taught Nonviolent Communication and consensus process at intentional communities, mental health settings and other nonprofits.
Annie Millar Desmond directed the environmental education center, Slide Ranch in California, for seven years. During that time, she managed a staff of 7-10 environmental educators and expanded the programming for low-income families. She currently works as a management and program consultant to nonprofits.
Candace Licari (Candace’s write up is coming soon.)
Sara Ciborski (Sara’s write up is coming soon.)
Joaquin Carral and Aurora Leon (write up is coming soon.)
Jennifer Irion (write up is coming soon.)