Kathleen Murdock shares her passion for wellbeing

“It’s not about finding love in the world, it’s about giving yourself love. If I love me, I can feel better about everything.” So says Kathleen Murdock, Dana Hall’s Consultant for Community Wellbeing and former Dean of Students.

For the last 14 years, Ms. Murdock has invested herself in the Dana Hall community. She is recognized in this community by her tall stature, dark hair, and occasionally intimidating reputation, which she has gotten from her years as the Dean of Students. In the 2012-2013 year, Ms. Murdock took a sabbatical leave to discover more about her passion, which is the practice of wellbeing.  She is back this year in a consultant role, working with the Health and Wellness Committee and specifically looking at the Twenty-First Century Athenas study, which she worked on during her sabbatical.

From a young age, Ms. Murdock has always been a very “spiritual” person. She believes that “life is about experience. Life is about experiencing all the things that are offered to you and dealing with the bad and the good things that are handed to you.”

She was born in New York and lived in the suburbs during her childhood. Her father worked as an international financier, and her mother is a “remarkable woman” who is her role model. Mrs. Murdock’s mother was a stay-at-home mom and took care of her eight children, Kathleen being the seventh out of the eight. When she was 10 years old, her family hosted two foster children from Puerto Rico. Ms. Murdock’s older sister was a social worker, and her future foster siblings came in to the agency with nowhere to go. They were invited to come have dinner with Kathleen’s family and ended up staying with them for the next two years until their family was reunited again. This act of selflessness is what makes them “incredible parents. Instead of saying we have too many children already, they offered them a home.” Ms. Murdock’s two foster siblings now live in New York and she still keeps in touch with them after all these years.

Ms. Murdock favorite part of the Dean Of Students position was “working and interacting with high school girls; I just love them.” But, after devoting over a decade of her life to the role, it was a “nice change” for her to do something different and meaningful in her life. Her sabbatical last year provided her with an opportunity to research the many facets of a person’s well-being while also doing a lot of self-reflection. Having meditated more seriously for the last six years, she practiced what she was preaching about wellbeing and took to heart the message to take care of herself. As she says, “There are only a few things that are super important in life and that is family, caring for ourselves and loving other people.” She believes that when you take care of yourself, you are more able to help and love others as well as accomplishing things more fully.

This year Ms. Murdock works only part time at Dana, and her days here consist of working with and coaching students and parents. She writes a blog entry every Wednesday for issues that parents might be dealing with. Before her work day begins, she always has a few minutes of quiet time to get her mindset in the right frame.

Her job this year is a one-year position, and she will be leaving Dana Hall next year. Outside of Dana Hall, her job consists of conferences, coaching, and writing. So where does she see herself in a couple of years? “I don’t know,” she replies. “When I slowed down at first, uncertainty made me nervous, but the more I meditated, I developed a much deeper trust that thing are going to unfold the way that they are meant to unfold.” The message that she wants to give out during her lifetime is the one of wellbeing and service. She says, “People are just perfect just the way they are” and believes that it is shame that some people don’t take that to heart.

Even though Ms. Murdock loves her work, she also has other passions that she keeps herself busy with. “I love nature,” she says. Every day Ms. Murdock either runs or walks with her dog in the morning and afternoon, which is another form of meditation for her.  Her “happy place” is her home in Cape Cod. There she can relax and focus on her writing and research as well as take nice strolls around town. Ms. Murdock has a 26-year-old daughter whom she loves dearly and is “fabulous” in her eyes. Her daughter lives only half an hour away from her so they are always able to keep in touch, Even though Ms. Murdock is from New York, she loves Boston even more, preferring the smaller yet exciting city. She came to Boston when she first attended college here and has fallen in love with the city.

Perhaps most important of all is Ms. Murdock’s devotion to the enjoyment of her life. Discovering meditation has allowed her to enjoy her life and work more. “Wellbeing is about experiencing all that life is,” she says with a smile.

Photo credit: Stephen Murdock.

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