community of hands touching a tree

Funders of Mindfulness & Spirituality Community Meeting

25 March 2021 • Virtual Gathering

Members of the Funders of Mindfulness & Spirituality, a Synergos Collaborative Community, gathered for a virtual community building meeting that included a Tao Tea Ceremony, led by community member Yanling Duan, small group conversations and updates on community projects.

The meeting began with a welcome from Melissa Durda, asking members to introduce themselves by answering the question: "Name one thing that gives you energy".

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Tao Tea Ceremonya cup of tea in nature
"Lower the ego. Follow the tea down to the feet. Balance the mind..."

Community member Yanling Duan brought us mediation, socialisation and transmissive energy into the connection field through the medium of tea.

Yanling Duan is a YINvestor, Leadership Mentor, Taosit Shamanic Practitioner, Founder of DAVOSBLOCKBASE, initiator of Planetary Supernode Network, and Chairperson of Davos SDG Convergence Association.


After centering ourselves with tea, the group moved into small group discussions to share and connect more deeply with each other, focusing on the prompts:

  • How do I take care of myself, as a leader, during this time?
  • What change are you working towards in your philanthropy in 2021? What are you most energized about?

Members returned from discussions and shared reflections on what struck them as they heard from others in their group. Members expressed appreciation for the community, how much they enjoyed the small group shares, and highlighted quotes that made them think or got them excited.

Melissa then gave updates on 4 emerging projects, born out of the Funders of Mindfulness and Spirituality Virtual Gathering in November 2020.

  • Julianne Lee was invited to share on work being done on the theme of Science and Spirituality. The 4th Annual Science & Spirituality Forum is being planned, in collaboration with the Fetzer Institute and John Templeton Foundation, on the topic of Human Flourishing: The Science of Hope & Optimism in Times of Adversity. Information on past forums can be found on the Krueger & Lee website. 
  • A mapping was done with members focusing on the theme of Mindfulness in Marginalized Communities. The mapping, which is now available in the private online community, shares on projects in which members are using different tools to work in this space.
  • Gretchen Steidle was introduced to the group as the host of an upcoming Cultivate the Soul podcast series, which caters to the members request to hear and share more stories from this community. This storytelling piece will be an extraordinary opportunity to explore and inspire the journey of others into this space.
  • An initial group of members met on building community structure and a common language. They shared ideas and concepts that they have previously created or utilized themselves, and some exciting work that is in the pipeline.

Esra Özsüer invited interested members to participate in a brain storming meeting she is organizing, to give input into a new project she is launching called Harmony. She is hoping to tap into the knowledge, expertise, creativity and networks of this community. Esra spoke on her foundation's initial mission, established in 2013, to provide emergency relief, supporting the healing process in traumatized refugee children. She has realized that traditional models meant to aid and support the mind, are no longer meeting our needs. Her aim is to create a more holistic approach, a healing method that recognizes the relationship between the mind, the body, the soul; using the heart as a gateway. This is intended to be an online teaching method/certification program for healthcare providers, NGO workers, leaders in the business world, social workers and psychologists.

Yanling Duan also offered an opportunity to members to engage with her in an investors circle, sharing a few words and concepts: ancient Egypt, sacred sites, systematic upgrade with technology based on peer-to-peer principles and shared wisdom in a very conscious container to discuss the next gen plug-in for a global team. This program is launching in May.

The meeting wrapped with an event reminder of the next Cultivate the Soul session: Art for Purpose & Social Change on April 6 and a final goodbye with gratitude shared from all the members.