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Keynote speaker for first regional Mindfulness Festival is expert on happiness

An international authority on happiness, compassion and kindness will headline the region’s first Mindfulness Festival this month.

The Mindfulness Alliance – an Amherst-based nonprofit led by educational, business and wellness professionals – spearheads the festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Buffalo Grand Hotel, 120 Church St.

Featured festival speaker will be Sharon Salzberg, a New York Times best-selling author whose work includes “Lovingkindness,” “Real Happiness,” and “Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection.”

Salzberg leads nonsectarian meditations, but her first brush with the practice came when she encountered Buddhism in 1969, in an Asian philosophy course at the University at Buffalo. The course sparked an interest that took her to India for an independent study program.

Six years later, she, Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield established the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Mass., among the most prominent and active meditation centers in the Western world.

Phillip Haberstro, executive director the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo, welcomes the festival and its keynote speaker.

“Once again,” Haberstro said, “the city is in a forward-thinking mode for using the science of mindfulness in programs used in schools, our universities, workplaces and in areas of social justice.  It’s part of our goal in making the entire region a healthy community.”

The UpLift Buffalo Mindfulness Festival will feature mindfulness guides and experts from across the region. It will include a main Serenity Stage and a Learning Center that will show how mindfulness can be used in education, the workplace and health centers.

It also will include a Kid’s Corner, an interactive labyrinth, and more than 40 local vendors and food trucks.

“The purpose of the festival is to demystify mindfulness and illustrate its application in every aspect of daily life,” said Lisa Napora, executive director of the Mindfulness Alliance. “We want to support all the wonderful local mindfulness initiatives as well as build community.”

Tickets cost $10; free for children 10 and under. Scholarships are available.

To learn more and register, visit themindfulnessalliance.org/festival. Hotel parking costs $3.

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