A native of Los Angeles turned Madisonian by way of Spain and Washington, D.C., Dr. Donal MacCoon is a misfit who helps other misfits redefine and live a resilient, healthy, meaningful and vibrant life using the ancient contemplative practice of mindfulness, modern neuroscience, integrative mind-body healing, community, and environmental and resiliency knowledge.
Growing up in Los Angeles, a rich, white boy, Donal knows the privilege that luck can provide, the ignorance it can foster, and the subtle and not-so-subtle ways that it is maintained.
He also knows firsthand how quickly that privilege can disappear. It could disappear at birth or at any point during our lives. It can disappear (or never exist) because of our sexuality, color, color hair, weight, marital status, health, IQ, gender…the list is infinite.
In his case, the fragility of privilege became clear as the parent of a three-year old who endured more than three years of cancer treatment (and is now a healthy 16 year old), the son of a family that imploded, and the husband of a woman who experienced years of chronic and disabling pain.
This 13-year journey from privilege to outcast has made it obvious that our culture pathologizes misfits – people who through their genetics or experiences do not conform to our white, male, dominated culture – for the very gifts and understandings needed for a culture and world that desperately needs to evolve.
Our culture would have us believe that a maltreated person either makes a good lap dog or has to be put down. But, history, science, and our own experience, suggests there is a third way. And thriving individually and as a planet depends on it.
Combining his work in grass-roots politics, 14 years living in a cohousing community, 23 years of scientific experience and publication, and 19 years of clinical work with hundreds of patients, led to the development of an integrative wisdom framework and process to manifest personal, relationship, cultural/political, and planetary evolution.
We have strayed from a healthy way of relating to ourselves, each other, and the planet. We are applying industrial knowledge to complex reality. But wisdom – what happens when we use all the data available to us to see reality – is the tool we need for complexity. In other words, our unique set of data – body, emotions/heart/intuition, mind – are needed. We misfits are needed. It isn’t just about you. It’s about us. It’s not just about us humans. It’s about all of us on the planet, and it’s about the planet itself.
Dr. Donal has led a team in the development and testing of the Health Enhancement Program, a healing program proven effective in several NIH, multi-million dollar randomized clinical trials. He has published numerous scientific articles and worked with Dr. Richard Davidson (a Times Magazine 100-Most-Influential Person who has worked with the Dalai Lama on brain imaging of monks and mindfulness practitioners), Dr. Joseph Newman (world expert on psychopaths), and Dr. Lyn Abramson (world expert on hopelessness depression).
Dr. Donal MacCoon’s work has been featured in the Shambhala Sun and the Yoga Journal.
He has authored the site, One Planet Thriving, and founded a sustainable well-being group that became the precursor to his current work.
Dr. Donal has given numerous talks nationally.
He has performed original music nationally and internationally, in clubs and scientific meetings. He has recorded two albums of original music. Like mindfulness, music can be a pathway to opening the heart, a precursor to our own wisdom.
Several individual sessions provide the foundation for participation in an online community that furthers all of this work while sticking it to the man.
Can you make the decision now to throw off the mainstream story and grow your beautiful (mis)fitness into the contribution we all need to thrive?