Donald Altman

For Life on Purpose Episode #50, my guest is psychotherapist, award-winning writer, former Buddhist monk, and teacher Donald Altman.

Donald joined me for a excellent conversation about his new book Clearing Emotional Clutter: Mindfulness Practices for Letting Go of What’s Blocking Your Fulfillment and Transformation (New World Library). In the book, he offers readers easy-to-use daily practices designed to dissolve emotional clutter, whether it is old emotional wreckage from their childhood or new emotional clutter that they take on every day.

“The purpose of Clearing Emotional Clutter is to help you heal and move on from pains, insults, traumas, toxic stressors, and emotional clutter from the past and the present — without blaming, shaming, or punishing yourself,” says Altman. “I like to think of it as a mindful lifestyle reboot — a way of clearing out the old, habitual methods of living and thinking that keep us stuck in emotional clutter to the point that we can’t imagine a way out.”

About Donald Altman:

Clearing Emotional ClutterDonald Altman, M.A. LPC, is a psychotherapist, award-winning writer, former Buddhist monk, and teacher. He served as adjunct professor at Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling, and is an adjunct faculty member of the Interpersonal Neurobiology program at Portland State University.

A prolific writer whose career spans more than twenty-five years, Donald has authored several pioneering books on mindfulness, beginning with his 1998 Art of the Inner Meal. His book The Mindfulness Toolbox is the winner of two 2015 Ben Franklin National Gold Awards as the best book in two categories–Mind-Body-Spirit and Psychology.

Another book, The Mindfulness Code, was named as “One of the Best Spiritual Books of 2010.” He has also authored Living Kindness, Meal by Meal, The Joy Compass, and a personal guide to developing a mindfulness practice, A Course in Mindfulness.

Two new books include 101 Mindful Ways to Build Resilience (Jan. 2016) and Clearing Emotional Clutter (March 2016).

In addition to his books, Donald was a staff writer for an EMMY-Award winning children’s television (The Magic Door, CBS Chicago), won an American Medical Writer’s Association Award, co-created the first interactive comic strip on America Online, and has had articles appear in New Age Journal, The Los Angeles Times, and Independent Business Magazine, among others.

He has served the professional community by serving as on the Board of Directors and as Vice-President of The Center for Mindful Eating (TCME.Org). Currently, Donald is an advisory board member for TCME. Donald works extensively with mindful meditation in his own life, as well as offering these tools to others through his books and classes.

He teaches mindfulness and spiritual values around the country. He is dedicated to bringing these ancient practices in tune with modern living and to invite wellness into our stress-filled lives. Donald is also a member of the Burma Buddhist Association. An avid motorcyclist, he enjoys riding his motorcycle along the beautiful Oregon coast.

To learn more about Donald and his work, visit:

About Mindfulness:

Ancient mindfulness illustrates how mindfulness integrates the values of simplicity, contemplation, cooperation, sharing, altruism, respect, and sustainability with the environment.

Much of mindfulness teaches us how to be in the present moment. Imagine–with mindfulness you walk when you walk, eat when you eat, you pause when you pause, you worry when you worry. In other words, it teaches us to feel the inherent wholeness and fullness of life and being as is it right here and now.

Mindfulness isn’t an escape route or a means of avoidance, but a means of experiencing and accepting the full richness of all the polarities that life offers–such as sadness and joy.

By directly confronting even those difficult thoughts and emotions we can learn to constructively experience them rather simply acting in a habitual or conditioned and automatic way, without awareness–ways that often produce unnecessary pain and suffering. In this sense, gives you the strength and skill necessary to accept this moment for what it is so you can have the courage to to show up for your life. So simple a thing, mindfulness–yet so essential to full presence of heart and mind.

On Living Kindness:

Taken a step further, mindfulness embodies the 10 values of living kindness–which are known as the paramis (Sanskrit) or “perfections” in Buddhist practice. In truth, these are universal principles for creating a more compassionate, sane, and kind world.

These empowering principles encourage us to share our gifts with others. Through the gentle and kind application of generosity, effort, patience, simplicity and concentration, wisdom, ethics, truthfulness, resoluteness, equanimity, and loving-kindness, each of us can light a lamp of awakening and lead a life that matters–at work, at home, at play.