Matthew Sanford and Dr. Bruce Kramer, two unique figures in the fast-emerging subject of mind-body consciousness, will meet on stage at the University of St. Thomas on Tuesday, Oct. 29, for a rare discussion about living and dying in our bodies.
“Everything in its Place: Mind-Body Dialogues,” moderated by Cathy Wurzer of Minnesota Public Radio News' “Morning Edition,” will touch on a wide variety of topics on the mind-body relationship, including disability, health care, mental health, caregivers and faith.
The event begins at 7:30 p.m. in Woulfe Alumni Hall of the Anderson Student Center on the university’s St. Paul campus. The program, free and open to the public, is being recorded for later broadcast by Twin Cities Public Television.
The evening is being sponsored by an alliance of several diverse departments, schools and programs across St. Thomas and St. Catherine University.
St. Thomas sponsors are: University Lectures Committee; Active Minds; College of Arts and Sciences; Communication and Journalism; Counseling and Psychological Services; Department of Special Education and Gifted Education; Disability Resources; Family Studies; Graduate School of Professional Psychology; Health and Human Performance; Leadership, Policy and Administration; Organizational Leadership and Development; Philosophy; Program for Neuroscience; Psi Chi; Psychology Department; Teacher Education; Theology Department; and Wellness Center.
St. Catherine sponsors are the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health and Master of Arts in Holistic Health Studies.
Both Sanford and Kramer write blogs and speak publicly on the topic. Both use a wheelchair. Sanford has been a paralyzed from the chest down for the last 35 years. He is an award-winning author, health care innovator, yoga instructor and founder of the nonprofit Mind Body Solutions.
Kramer, former dean of the College of Education, Leadership and Counseling at St. Thomas, was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in late 2010. He launched his blog, Dis Ease Diary, shortly after. Commonly called “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” after the famed New York Yankees player, ALS is a neurodegenerative disease affecting nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain, characterized by progressive weakness. Life expectancy averages two to five years after diagnosis.
With more than 70 blog posts to date, Kramer writes in personal detail about his life with ALS, often on themes of love, priorities, faith and friends. Wurzer has featured him on “Morning Edition” in the series Bruce Kramer: Living with ALS.
Kramer knows Sanford from taking adaptive yoga lessons through Mind Body Solutions. (Both can be heard together on this Living with ALS segment.)
While Sanford is Kramer’s yoga instructor, both consider the other his teacher. When Kramer introduced Sanford to faculty known to have similar interests, the potential for collaboration prompted the group to continue meeting.
The Oct. 29 public dialogue is one such collaboration. It is intended to encourage discussion of yoga, meditation, mindfulness and other mind-body practices among students, faculty and staff.
Sanford, author of Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, founded Mind Body Solutions in 2002. The Minnetonka-based nonprofit helps people with physical disabilities become healthier, happier and more effective in meeting daily challenges.