we’ve trained thousands of participants across North America and Europe


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I feel like huge negative patterns have been lifted from my life.
E.B. - Mindfulness Coach
Susan Gillis Chapman

Susan Gillis Chapman

Green Zone Institute: training in mindfulness and communication for individuals, couples, families, businesses and organizations

All communication is a conversation. Our unique mindfulness-based training approach brings out our best — allowing us to be clear, compassionategenuine and effective. Our courses and retreats are based on The Five Keys to Mindful Communication by author and mindfulness teacher Susan Gillis Chapman.

Free Online Video

1hr Introduction to Mindful Communication
In this 3min excerpt from this video teaching, Susan Gillis Chapman explains how even in an ongoing relationship, our natural affection for others has to appreciate the flow of coming together and coming apart. To see the free video click here.


Featured Upcoming Programs

You can see our full program list here.

Our Programs

Click for a unique guided meditation on our “Natural Communication System”

Green Zone Institute programs utilize mindfulness meditation and the techniques of Contemplative Psychology and the Contemplative Arts. Mindful Communication goes beyond communication skill building. While learning new skills is important, if we don’t identify and relate to the emotional states we inhabit during challenging communication, following “correct” rules or patterns will still produce harmful and ineffective results. In contrast, if we learn to recognize and take advantage of our natural open state of mind (‘The Green Light’), communication can be genuine, fresh and lively. This allows for creative and unexpected solutions with connection and precision, honesty and care.

Senior Instructor Greg Heffron interviewed by Lydia Greyheart for the radio show Love, Sex and Everything Between

Greg describes the natural state of open communication, and how by suppressing our innate mindfulness, we end up closing down. 

Greg Heffron: What is Mindful Communication?

Greg Heffron explains the Traffic Light metaphor

for more video samples, click here.

Susan Chapman: Open & Closed Communication

Susan Gillis Chapman explains the difference between true empathy and suppressing our intelligence

for audio interviews and samples, click here



Click to hear interviews with Susan Gillis Chapman and Greg Heffron (and others) about The Five Keys to Mindful Communication and the different programs we offer.



Learn about The Three Lights in Susan Gillis Chapman’s article in the Shambhala Sun’s Mindful Living.



Download the Mindful Communication poster.

Core Principles of Mindful Heart Training

In the present moment, communication is always in a state of being open, closed or in-between. The simple metaphor is a traffic light: green is open, red is closed and yellow/orange is in-between. In each of these states, different approaches are helpful or unhelpful. What is helpful in one can be harmful in another. Mindfulness is the key to stay oriented in each new situation.

These five basic methods for approaching communication remind us how to respond in a genuine and effective manner in any moment of communication. Far from a ‘magic solution,’ these are core skills anyone can learn.

Two common strategies for avoiding one’s own sensitivity are to create distance by suppressing empathy (Heartless Mind), or to create a false-intimacy by suppressing the awareness of our differences (Mindless Heart). These strategies create cycles of drama that fit together like a lock and key, disconnecting us. The Mindful Heart method helps us let go of these patterns and return to our natural, open state.

A desire to flee from our experience of pain can produce artificial and unnecessary conflict. In each part of this four-step process, we have an opportunity to opt out and choose to reconnect with the Green Light of genuine communication.

All communication comes through our basic faculties. As living human beings, we are born with a Natural Communication System of our senses (“Awake Body”), our emotional sensitivity (“Tender Heart”) and our mental awareness (“Open Mind”). While this system can’t magically solve all our problems, it is reliable, realistic and trustworthy — but only if we learn to tune into the signals it’s sending us.

The Mindful Heart method is simple enough to be taught to children, yet captures the complexity of life’s most challenging situations. Join our Programs to find out more.

Susan Gillis Chapman and Greg Heffron teach at the Center for Mindfulness (Amsterdam)

Susan Gillis Chapman and Greg Heffron teach at the Center for Mindfulness (Amsterdam)