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Susan Smalley, Ph.D.
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Dr. Smalley, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA, conducted seminal studies on the genetics of attention deficit hyperactivity disorders and autism. In 2004, she founded the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA ( to bring mindfulness practices to the general public through research and education. She continues to advise and teach at MARC while devoting time to writing and working to promote a kinder more equitable world through philanthropic efforts.

Her book, Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness, with co-author Diana Winston is widely praised for its elegant yet easy to read integration of scientific knowledge and first person experiences of mindfulness (Da Capo publishing, 2009)

She is married to Kevin Wall and they have three grown children, Patrick, Timmy, and Kelly.

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Entries by Susan Smalley, Ph.D.

Getting Enlightened About Prostitution

(5) Comments | Posted April 2, 2015 | 2:54 PM

2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the movie Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. It was a movie I loved at the time because I really knew so little about prostitution -- "the life" that Julia's character was a part of. Then, I had no opinion about prostitution,...

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The Power to Change the World

(0) Comments | Posted May 24, 2014 | 6:28 PM

I just left a manicure salon owned and operated by a team of Vietnamese women. About 35 work there at any one time and I watched them interacting throughout my time there. While rotations determine who is painting nails, doing neck massages or performing other beauty maintenance procedures, those not...

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Why Self-Correction Is Important

(1) Comments | Posted December 21, 2013 | 6:58 PM

I saw Twelve Years a Slave yesterday, noting how painful it is to see our inhumanity so evident and widespread. I say "our" because it is in each of us -- that propensity to think and feel superior or "better than" another. Slavery is an extreme example of that sort...

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Why Mindfulness Matters

(0) Comments | Posted July 11, 2013 | 1:08 PM

If someone asked me 13 years ago, if 'mindfulness matters' I would have said a resounding no, and then rolled my eyes at them for their 'new age' thinking. That was a time when I felt rational thought was the only means of understanding the nature of reality and applied...

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I miss my mother

(1) Comments | Posted July 9, 2013 | 9:46 PM

My friend's mother died just the other day in her 90s. My mother died relatively young, at 76 of lung cancer, although she never smoked a day of her life. She was just beginning a new phase of life at the time, one without my father with whom she had...

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Vote for the Infinite Game Player

(1) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 9:34 AM

As you enter the voting booth on Tuesday, vote for the future of our country - the one we leave to our children and their children's children. Vote long term.

James Carse once wrote about life as a game of play and in that game, there being two kinds...

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Help Women Learn to Read: Vote for Cell Ed

(1) Comments | Posted October 30, 2012 | 2:38 PM

Over a year ago, I learned a startling fact: there are over 796 million adults in the world that cannot read and two out of three of them are women.

It gave me great pause to wonder what it's like not to be able to read as...

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Creating Attunement in Relationships: A Daily Walk Together

(2) Comments | Posted June 8, 2012 | 2:25 PM

My husband and I take a walk every morning to get a Starbucks and talk. After 40 years of friendship, our walks are part of the glue to our relationship. They start our days with a moment together sharing a dream, a plan, a memory, or an experience in conversation....

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How Often Do You Make a Moral Compromise?

(2) Comments | Posted May 25, 2012 | 1:26 PM

The other day I took a personality quiz and one of the questions was, "Do you compromise on moral issues?" (often, occasionally, rarely, never). It gave me pause to think about "moral compromise" and where that fits into my day-to-day life. I checked "rarely" and went about the day, but...

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Words Are Like Living Organisms

(5) Comments | Posted March 14, 2012 | 8:00 AM

A few days ago, I went to meet a business consultant in NYC. He sent me an email to meet him at a backdoor entrance of a well-known company so we could enter before it opened to the public. I easily found the front entrance, but behind it there was...

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Willful Ignorance: Penn State, Don't Ask - Don't Tell, and Others

(4) Comments | Posted November 30, 2011 | 1:34 PM

According to James Carse, Professor Emeritus at NYU, there are three kinds of ignorance: ordinary ignorance, willful ignorance, and higher ignorance. The first is the very essence of learning -- you move from unknowing to knowing -- like learning history, science, facts and trivia. The second type, willful...

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The Memory Challenge

(41) Comments | Posted October 13, 2011 | 6:51 PM

The other night I discovered a new game for the 'over 50' crowd. I was at a dinner party and a group of us were chatting about who knows what when suddenly I was trying to remember the name of the actor who starred in a 1970s (or '80s) television...

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Being Idle As a Sign of Success

(26) Comments | Posted October 12, 2011 | 7:54 PM

A friend and I were discussing what it means to have success the other day and she was telling me how difficult it is to demonstrate success in her profession, a clinical psychologist. I had thought about that myself a while back when I realized that success to a mental...

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What to Do When Spiritual Complacency Sets In

(5) Comments | Posted October 3, 2011 | 8:39 AM

I found myself saying words the other day that shocked me. "I'm not seeking right now" were in response to a friend's questioning me about my interest (or lack thereof) in meeting her friend, a South American shaman who guides people in self-investigation.

That line, "I'm not seeking right...

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True Blood and True Life

(4) Comments | Posted September 26, 2011 | 11:30 AM

I just spent the week with Sookie Stackhouse in Bon Temps, Louisiana. I had never seen an episode of True Blood until six days ago when I watched episode 1 season 1 on HBO GO on my iPad. Yesterday, I left Sookie screaming in the finale of Season...

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The Changing Face of Parenting

(1) Comments | Posted August 1, 2011 | 10:48 AM

My days of 'hands-on' parenting (the parenting that takes place between infancy and
21 years of age or so) are over. Our youngest of three kids just turned 21 leaving my husband and I in a new 'phase' of life. The all consuming enterprise of hands-on
parenting changes...

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How Our Beliefs Shape Our Actions in the World

(25) Comments | Posted March 2, 2011 | 8:04 AM

The other day a friend told me a peculiar phenomenon: take your birthyear (e.g., 1955=55) and add it to your age (you will be this year, eg. 56); they will always add up to 111. My friends tried it and it was true. I knew the math behind it was...

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Make Mistakes: Life Has a Way of Righting Itself

(7) Comments | Posted December 27, 2010 | 9:39 AM

Our three children are now in their 20s and exploring the diverse roads of life. By that I mean they are making decisions about whether to go to graduate school, what jobs to seek, and what career trajectories they might pursue. It is a time of decision-making, but unlike decisions...

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Christmas: It Is Love, Actually

(3) Comments | Posted December 24, 2010 | 3:23 PM

With the holidays approaching, many of us travel to be among our families, distant in physical proximity so often today. As we do, it may be worthwhile to ponder the foundation of family.

A family is much like a building. A building of strength has a foundation strong enough to...

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Mind Body Medicine: Can What You Think and Feel Affect Your Physical Health?

(20) Comments | Posted October 27, 2010 | 8:33 AM

How you think and feel emotionally can contribute to your physical health and well-being -- it's just that simple. The list of scientific studies demonstrating that point comes from diverse fields of study including medicine, neuroscience, immunology, genetics, psychiatry and psychology.

Integrative medicine is fast becoming the examplar of...

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