(VMBN discount) 8-month Advanced Online Certification in Mindful Communication (“Green Zone Leader” program)


Green Zone Institute is proud to announce the third year of our advanced online training. This intensive weekly seminar aims to train “Green Zone Leaders” to take Susan Gillis Chapman’s models out into the world. In this course, Green Zone Institute Executive Director and Senior Teacher Gregory Heffron will train a close cohort of participants to develop the skills to facilitate others as well as uncovering genuine transformative insight within their own experience.

Special Discount: $1995 $1795.50 (with further discounts as low as $1346.63)

Two Payment Options:

25% for Full Paymentpaying the full amount allows a 25% discount.
30% Deposit
pay a 30% deposit  + 10% e-billed payments every month



I feel like I learned more in the Green Zone Leader course than I did in my Masters program in Counseling. And my counseling program cost me $100,000.

~ L.V., Therapist

NOTE: Karuna Graduate discount applicable to those who have completed the two-year basic cycle

Green Zone Institute is proud to announce the third year of our advanced certification in Mindful Communication. This unique online experience allows those with a basic background to go much further into these important teachings. This course aims to train “Green Zone Leaders” to take Susan Gillis Chapman’s models out into a world which is very much in need of a ‘social safety net’ — the web of connection we create by training to return to the ‘Green Light’ of innate openness, clarity and sensitivity. In this course, Green Zone Institute Director and Senior Teacher Greg Heffron will train a close cohort of participants to develop the skills to facilitate others as well as uncovering genuine transformative insight within their own experience.

As anyone knows who might consider this course, the aim of Mindful Communication is an approach to our world which accepts all experiences—pleasurable, painful, surprising, or soothing—as a chance to reconnect with our “basically good” human nature. We live in a world which needs this, and this course gives you an opportunity to be part of this revolutionary approach. With a skill set that makes its way into your Body, Heart and Mind, this course will develop participants to become “change agents” in any moment, from the personal, to the communal, to the political.

I can highly recommend this course. 8 months seem to be a long time to commit for, but time passed quickly and there is a lot of interesting material to deepen ones understanding. Due to the meetings on a weekly basis the subject of communication has been constantly present, even on a very subtle level.”
~  Christine, Green Zone Leader, Austria


FOR VMBN MEMBERS ONLY: having read The Five Keys to Mindful Communication

Schedule and Time Commitment

90 minute lectures will be on Thursdays in North America (9am PST/12pm EST) and Europe (6pm CET). This course will require 5-10hrs of student time per week (including lectures and green zones), depending on the participant’s interest and participation in exercises, meditations and other activities.

Online weekly 90min group “Green Zone” participation will also be a requirement. The schedule of Green Zones will be determined by the Green Zones themselves. The number of time options for Green Zones will be determined by the number of overall students in the course and their schedules.


weekly 90min sessions at
9am PST Thursdays, Oct 29 2020 – June 17th 2021
a once a week 90min “green zone” small group meeting (day/time to be determined by the group)

No class December 24 and 31.


The course will take place using the free Zoom software. This strong and stable software allows users to video chat live across different technologies and devices without a lot of hassle or stress. Using your own internet service (or even telephone when necessary), it offers a unique level of intimacy and interactivity in an online course environment.

About the Instructor

Gregory Heffron MFA
Executive Director
Senior Teacher

Greg Heffron directs Green Zone Institute. He was the first certified teacher of Mindful Communication authorized by Susan Gillis Chapman. He has been teaching Mindful Communication workshops since 2009, and has been a mindfulness meditation teacher since 2005. In 2005, he apprenticed with senior Mudra Space Awareness teacher Craig Smith, and became authorized to teach this unique mind-body meditation technique — included in nearly every workshop. In 2007, Greg co-taught with Smith to fourth year students in the Dance Division at the Julliard School in New York. Greg teaches Mindful Communication and Mudra Space Awareness primarily in North America and Europe. In 2003 Greg graduated with an MFA in Nonfiction Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. He coaches individuals, teaches workshops, and consults with businesses and organizations like Shambhala Mountain CenterDechen Choling Buddhist Retreat Center and others.

Sample Clip from a Lecture

Missing Lectures and Green Zones

We understand that due to travel and life complications, students might miss as much as 50% of the lectures and Green Zones. (All will be video recorded to view at a later time.) To certify one as a Green Zone Leader, we ask for participants to attend 50% or more of scheduled events.


Special 10% discount for KARUNA graduates lowers the cost from US$1995 to US$1795.50 (but maximum discounts below can bring the price down to $1346.63)

Two Payment Options

Full Amountpaying 100% allows a further 25% discount.
30% Deposit
pay a 30% deposit  + 10% e-billed payments every month

Certification Requirements

Participation in the course does not guarantee certification to lead Green Zone Groups (Tier 2 certification). While our basic trainings don’t demand strong participation, our Green Zone Leader program aims to cultivate real leaders. If attendance isn’t sufficient, the student may be asked to return the following year for further certification. Also, the course leader Greg Heffron will offer quizzes and feedback throughout the course, including suggestions about Green Zone facilitation (each student will get two chances to facilitate their group). Feedback will be aimed at helping develop stronger skills — including one-on-one sessions if it’s helpful. If a student isn’t demonstrating sufficient understanding of the approach, certification may be delayed and further training suggested.

Alejandra Navarrete, 2019-2020 graduate of the Green Zone Leader course. Alejandra is a Psychologist, with a master in Human Resources and Organizational Development.

Cultural Makeup & Size Limit

In 2018, due to the makeup of the course, with students from 8 different countries, we were able to have two separate small groups speaking in their native languages. While this isn’t guaranteed, and depends on the makeup of the students, we will try to do this as much as possible.

Special Presentations

As possible, the course will include special presentations from guest speaker, including Susan Gillis Chapman and others.

The Course

Mindful Communication workshop at Dechen Choling Retreat Center, Central France.

  • weekly 90min live session: recorded for those who cannot attend live, includes meditation, lecture, exercises and Q&A
  • new/unpublished manuscript: Susan Chapman and Greg Heffron’s new manuscript “The Mindful Heart” as textbook
  • live green zone groups: (1X per week) to work with the material in our daily lives, both to deeper our experience, and also to understand/study the dynamics of running groups
  • certification: if a student successfully completes the 8 month course, they are a ‘Tier2 — Green Zone Leader’, meaning that you can facilitate a green zone group.
  • components: solitary, group and partner exercises, journaling, quizzes (including one-on-one with teachers), readings, nature activities, creative/art assignments, forum discussions, mudra space awareness.

The Models

The Three Lights, The Natural Communication System, The Cycles of Mindless-Heart and Heartless-Mind, The Mandala of the Five Yellow Lights, The Mindful-Heartful Cycles, The Four Stages of Heartlessess and their Interruptions, The Four Stages of Contempt and their Interruptions, The Four Seasons of Relationship, The Four Yellow Light Disappointments, The Four Red Light Misconceptions, The Four Stages of Ruthlessness and their Interruptions, The Four Stages of Exclusion and their Interruptions… And More…

Lecture Topics

Month 1 -The Three Lights

  • week 1 – “The Green Light”
    • Basic Goodness
    • The Green Light and challenges
    • The Green Light and Self-Trust
    • The Green Light and Genuine Pleasure
    • Going Beyond Hesitation (Doubt)
  • week 2 – “The Red Light”
    • The Mechanisms of Shutting Down
    • The Creation of Duality
    • Meeting the Brick Wall (“Stop When the Light is Red”)
  • week 3 – “The Yellow Light”
    • Liminal States (“between this and that”)
    • The Raw Energy of Anxiety
    • The Roots of Self-Attack

    Susan Gillis Chapman Guest Lecture  –
    2018 Green Zone Leader program

  • week 4 – “The Three Light System”
    • The Three Lights Within Ourselves, Moment-by-Moment
    • The Three Lights With Another, Moment-by-Moment
    • Systems Theory & the Play of the Three Lights in Communities

Month 2 – Mindful Presence (Solitude vs. Shutting Down)

  • week 1 – Mindfulness and Awareness
    • Mindfulness – the “directionality” of mind
    • Awareness – Growing Out of Stability
    • The Union of Mindfulness and Awareness
    • Non duality in Mindful Presence
  • week 2 – Awareness of Awake Body 
    • What Do We Know That’s Not From the Body?
    • “Psychosomatic body”
    •  Going Beyond Hesitation with the Body
  • week 3 – Awareness of Tender Heart
    • Emotional Imprint vs. Living Emotion
    • The Green/Yellow/Red Lights of Naming Our Emotions
    • The “Sixth Sense” of our Emotional Faculties
  • week 4 – Awareness of Open Mind
    • Genuine Curiosity
    • Basic Logic and Open Mind
    • Observing Our Mental Contents
    • Holding an Open Mind

Month 3 – Mindful Listening (Encouragement vs. Mindless Contempt)

  • week 1 – Genuinely Worthy
    • The “Pure Gold” of Basic Goodness
    • The Practice of “Totality”
    • Living Hospitality (inviting in everyone/everything)
  • week 2 – The Four Stages of Exaggeration
    • Dualistic concepts of worth
    • The See Saw Pattern
    • The Four Stages of Contempt
  • week 3 – Leadership and Guidance
    • Lids and Flowers (cultivating inherent worth in others and ourselves)
    • Recognizing innate qualities as Basic Goodness
  • week 4 – The Antidotes to The Four Stages of Contempt


Month 4 – Mindful Speech (Mirroring vs. Heartless Mind)

  • week 1 – Truth as Medicine
    • Accuracy as kindness
    • Being Willing to Be a Fool
    • Proper Boundaries (the camera lens approach)
  • week 2 – The Four Stages of Heartlessness 
    • Complaint/Silencing
    • Divisiveness
    • Blame
    • Retaliation
  • week 3 – Neither Exaggerating Nor Suppressing
    • Beyond the Truth – identifying added projections
    • Solidifying the Object of Projections
    • Suppressing the Truth – Hesitating With Our Insights
    • Changing Truth in the Present Moment
  • week 4 – The Antidotes to The Four Stages of Heartlessness
    • Awake Body as antidote for Complaint/Silencing
    • Tender Heart as antidote for Divisiveness
    • Open Mind as antidote for Blaming
    • An Awake Attitude Towards “Peace & Reconciliation” (antidote to Retaliation)




Month 5 – Mindful Relationship (Unconditional Friendliness vs. Mindless Heart)

  • week 1 – Unconditional Warmth and Celebrating Difference
    • The Living “Mirage” of Relationship
    • Relationship and Discernment
    • Becoming a “Connoisseur” of Connection
  • week 2 – The Four Stages of Mindless Heart
    • Emotional hunger
    • Disconnect
    • Freezing an Object of Joy
    • Giving Power Away
  • week 3 – The Power Lines of Relationship
    • Feeling connection vs. manufacturing connection
    • Feeling Closeness Includes Feeling Distance
    • The Living Paradox of Closeness
    • Boundaries vs. Barriers
  • week 4 – The Antidotes to the Four Stages of Mindless Heart

Month 6 – The Four Seasons of Relationship

  • week 1 – Green Light – The Four Seasons of Relationship
    • Winter (solitude)
    • Spring (joy)
    • Summer (intimacy)
    • Fall (pain)
  • week 2 – Red Light – The Four Seasons
    • Conditional Love (Romanticism)
    • Conditional Joy (Fantasy of Endless Pleasure)
    • Conditional Intimacy (Fantasy of Endless Togetherness)
    • Conditional Compassion (“Let Me Fix Your Pain”)
  • week 3 – Yellow Light – The Four Seasons and Their Disappointment
    • Love Includes Loss
    • Joy and Impermanence
    • The Limits of Intimacy/Sharing
    • Boundaries Prevent Harm
  • week 4 – Following The Seasons in Everyday Life
    • The Turning of ‘the Wheel of Relationship’
    • Feeling the Natural Flow
    • “The Floating World”

Month 7 – Mindful Responses (Responsiveness vs. Ruthlessness)

  • week 1 – Surfing the Wave of Coincidence in Nowness
    • Panoramic Awareness and Opportunity
    • Intuition and Responsiveness
  • week 2 – The Four Seasons of Ruthlessness
    • complaint
    • divisiveness
    • strategizing
    • domination
  • week 3 – Transcending Hesitation
    • Hesitation as Self Deception
    • Activating Compassion
    • Going Beyond Hesitation Means Going Beyond Talking
  • week 4 – The Antidotes to the Four Seasons of Ruthlessness

Month 8 – Relational Meditation in Green Zones

  • week 1 – Personal Green Zones
    • Wholesome/Wakeful Activities
    • ‘Tuning’ the Activity with Mindfulness
  • week 2 – Green Zone Structures
    • Talking Circles
    • Focus on Individual Stories (Yellow Light Narratives)
    • Personal Autobiographies
    • Creative Structures
  • week 3 – Facilitating the Group
    • Dealing with Crosstalk
    • Personality Conflicts
    • Outside Relationships/Problems
    • Going Beyond Conventional ‘Relating’ (Beyond the ‘Personal’)
  • week 4 – Leadership and Responsibility
    • Ethical Guidelines for Green Zone Facilitators
    • If Someone is Struggling (Small Village Approach)
    • If Someone is Causing Harm/Asking Someone to Exit the Green Zone

Additional information

Payment Options

Pay in Full, 50% Deposit plus monthly payments