The Wisdom of Staying With Discomfort – Naropa Alumnx, Nora Ahmed-Kamal

I never wanted to live in the US, especially not in a small town like Boulder. Being mixed-race from Denmark and Comoros, I was drawn to dynamic and diverse spaces.  And then, Naropa found me. A small liberal university that made space for emotional process in a contemplative setting — who would have known an institution like this existed? 

Today, I am a somatic therapist serving predominantly marginalized populations, including immigrants, people of color, bilingual, and trans clients. In addition, I am also Adjunct Faculty at Naropa, as well as an anti-oppression facilitator. I love having the ability to hold multiple hats, and in all my work, I integrate a strong passion to challenge power, privilege, and oppression. 

At Naropa, I learned the wisdom of staying with discomfort, as well as many practices to support me in my ability to do this – not only with myself but also with others. This growth happened for me in connections with my fellow peers, teachers, and community members.  

Everyone at Naropa has a unique story about their journey in arriving at this contemplative space. As an international student, it is particularly frightening to take the leap on multiple levels, including financially, culturally, emotionally, and in terms of language.

These challenges pushed me to look into my edges and expand my community. I see this growth as a contemplative practice.

For example, as a visa holder, I was not able to legally work outside of Naropa. I, therefore, took every possible opportunity, and worked in every department, from Admissions, the Student Counseling Center, and International Student Services. And now I am privileged to be able to teach at Naropa and continue expanding my contemplative skills.  

Not only has Naropa given me a professional career that I could not have dreamed of, but Naropa has also introduced me to my spouse, who today is also a fellow contemplative social justice therapist.  If it weren’t for the scholarships, graduate assistantship, and work-study positions I received, as well as the unconditional support from the previous Vice President of Student Affairs, Cheryl Barbour, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

For all of this, I am forever grateful to Naropa.

– Nora Ahmed-Kamal, Naropa Alumnx

It is not an exaggeration to say that Naropa’s strength, growth, and commitment to mindfulness, compassion, sustainability, and justice is—and always has been—reliant on broad support from private donations. Naropa’s various student scholarship funds such as the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship and the Naropa Student Scholarship Fund, continue to open the doors to a life-changing Naropa education.

The incredible kindness of Naropa’s donors bolsters our commitment to serving as diverse a student body as possible who have difficulty paying for a private education. As applications and enrollment increase, your generosity ensures our success and continued ability to positively respond to the many gifted and enthusiastic students who require financial support in order to study and create at Naropa. Your contribution helps ensure Naropa’s continued place as a leader in contemplative education and a hub of creativity, innovation, artistic expression, and social engagement.




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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

Based on the current weather forecast, the Healing with the Ancestors Talk & Breeze of Simplicity program scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday will be held as planned.

Staff that do not work remotely or are scheduled to work on campus, can work remotely. Staff that routinely work remotely are expected to continue to do so.

As a reminder, notifications will be sent by e-mail and the LiveSafe app.  

Regardless of Naropa University’s decision, if you ever believe the weather conditions are unsafe, please contact your supervisor and professors.  Naropa University trusts you to make thoughtful and wise decisions based on the conditions and situation in which you find yourself in.