Margo Adair was a pioneer, mentor, and respected elder in exploring the edges of consciousness and spirit, and their intersections with social justice. For over 40 years, she worked at the forefront of struggles to engage white people in undoing oppression and confronting white privilege—and generally helped many individuals and institutions take a stand for racial justice. She was a strong ally of people of color, and a mentor of many young people as they sought ways to enter into the river of struggle.
She was the developer of Applied Meditation, a synthesis of visualization, intuition and mindfulness that is a very useful way to learn to meditate, to focus energy for solving issues in everyday life, and to open the imagination for developing positive visions for the future. She taught the principles of Applied Meditation for intuitive problem-solving at trainings, lectures, and workshops across the U.S. For twenty-five years, she maintained a private practice working with individuals, conducting meditations for households, couples and organizations, and leading weekly support groups. Her approach to visualization is used by neurolinguistic programmers, therapists, and other healing professionals worldwide.
Her earlier books, Working Inside Out and the companion volume Meditations on Everything Under the Sun, as well as her newest book (co-authored with William Aal), Practical Meditations for Busy Souls, outline the techniques of Applied Meditation as extremely beneficial ways to awaken imaginative and intuitive capacities. Her work enables people to trust their own intelligence and discover their own answers to the problems they face. She worked in hundreds of settings, including hospitals, conferences, grief groups, healing centers, corporations; AIDS support agencies, college campuses, jails, youth organizations, labor unions, women’s centers and neighborhood groups. She had a genius for designing meditations that address the specific concerns people raise, providing them with an opportunity to utilize their own inner resources for improving their lives.
Since the 1970’s, Margo had been exploring the subjective side of politics and developing ways to address issues of power, enabling people to place their own experiences in larger cultural and historical contexts. She wrote prolifically on these topics, including two pamphlets co-authored with Sharon Howell: The Subjective Side of Politics and Breaking Old Patterns, Weaving New Ties. These pamphlets have been widely reprinted and have influenced the development of workshops across the country concerning issues of race, class and gender. Her ideas have been instrumental in the development of the Inter-Group Dialogue movement on college campuses, helping thousands of young people grapple with issues of diversity. Her work has also been used extensively in the movement against domestic violence and for trainings in corporate and nonprofit worlds.
Together with her partner, William Aal, Margo founded Tools for Change, an organization that promotes healing, leadership development, and sustainable democracy. The programs—based in collective reflection—open the imagination, inspire dialogue, deepen relationships, and empower people’s work. Using an innovative mix of Applied Meditation and organizational development methods, Tools for Change continues to facilitate community and organization retreats, strategic planning processes and visioning sessions in which groups use their imaginations, intuition and analytical skills to create new directions. Tools for Change is sponsoring a national grassroots network of Circles using Applied Meditation, where people can develop the support, strategies and courage needed to effectively take action on their values on the personal, community and work levels.