Denise Kunda-Palyadenise_headshot_002

Co-initiator of Mindful Kindness

Growing up in an era boasting an abundance of good music and hairspray, Denise found her way to destiny’s door the only way possible: by following her heart. Wildlife Enthusiast and Foreign-fusion Culinary Queen are two titles she carries proudly amidst a plethora of other life passions. While food and fun are important to her, however, Denise always makes time to support the three things she finds most vital to a fulfilling life: Peace, Tolerance, and Awareness.
When she was younger she remembers a time when prejudice and war seemed to be around every corner. It was then that she learned of her unconditional love for the world, found her message, and the voice to deliver it. The message was this — she wanted all people, everywhere, to know that they were loved and that they could embrace their differences. She especially wanted to reach out to those who tended towards passing judgment upon cultural diversity, to greet them with open arms and a pure heart, so they might know the love she wished they would one day feel. Denise believes education is the road to a world that embraces togetherness without regard to race, politics, or other elements of our beautifully diverse planet. She hopes to see Mindful Kindness develop to make the world a safer, more loving place. Denise’s vision of future generations is one where our children reach out fearlessly to each other in benevolence with open minds and the open arms she’s been waiting with her entire life.

kathy_headshots_003Kathy Kunda-Palya

Co-initiator of Mindful Kindness

Though she technically came into this world by way of California, Kathy is as close to being a New Mexico native as a person gets without actually being born there. Reminiscing the summers of her youth, she still brims with the nostalgia of horseback riding, slalom skiing, and bikini-clad sunny afternoons. She knew it was only a short matter of time before she returned to lay roots in the place she had always most deeply connected with.
Now well-established in New Mexico, surrounded by the people and places that feel quintessentially her, she is empowered to bring her life’s dream to fruition. To say that Kathy is passionate about something…anything, is an understatement of gargantuan proportions. Kathy’s passion in life is passion itself. Her genuine nature calls her to help others discover their truest, most compelling desires and actively help carve a path to them. She strongly believes in sincerity, honesty and the power of the truest self.
“In this world you can truly be…in any capacity…anyone or anything you want to be.” This is her message to all people, from all walks of life.
Though you’d never know it now, she hasn’t always been in a situation that facilitated this breadth of perspective. Growing up she’d overcome a heartbreaking amount of discrimination, censure, and cruelty as a young lesbian who had affirmed and proclaimed that part of her identity at the age of eighteen. Fortunately, seeing everything as an opportunity to create change and growth, is one of Kathy’s most notable attributes. She met these challenges head on, sacrificing none of the love in her heart, sometimes patiently helping to bring understanding to those who criticized her. She emerged from that chapter of her life, self-affirmed with more strength of character than ever. She uses that strength today to empower others to accept themselves, embrace others, and chase their dreams.
She would like the world to live and act from kindness, instead of fear…to speak from the heart and not from hate. Her dream for Mindful Kindness is for everyone around the world to “have a heart”.
If everyone represents their kindness openly, the fear in the world from which hate and judgement are born will melt away.Tolerance, and Awareness.

kym_headshot_004Kym Young

Featured Artist at Mindful Kindness

Kym’s story is a tale that grew like a beautifully gnarled tree, its roots dug deep in cultural influence and it’s branches reaching far out to the four corners of the country. Each twist of the trunk or turn of a branch represented an experience that helped sculpt her character and her art into what they are today.
Growing up in a military family, Kym traveled frequently. She naturally developed the spirit of a wanderer. Every summer, however, was spent in New Mexico learning to identify artistically with her Indian roots and getting in touch with her Laguna Pueblo family history. Much like Kathy, she felt a strong, innate connection to the land. She soon learned that this bond was woven with the very history of the pueblo people and it came with deep feeling of belonging and purpose.
“I’ve found that The Laguna Pueblo people”, she stated “are all, each and every one of them, intrinsically artistic. So much history is spoken through our pottery. We feel that we are the tools that help shape the gifts that the earth gave us into cultural treasures.” She feels passionately about the preservation of the Pueblo people’s history and culture through artistic expression.
When discussing the tragedy of the Laguna Pueblo’s diminishing influence she commented, “There is just such a wealth of artistic knowledge and lore. Our religious activities also keep our culture alive and thriving.”
Kym’s broad spectrum of mediums allow her to tell the story of the Pueblo people through her work. She was chosen as one of five students out of three hundred thousand to receive a full ride scholarship to the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
Lapidary, pottery, clay painting and sterling silver jewelry are just a few of the hand crafts she’s devoted herself to over the years. Combining pottery with her jewelry practices lead to a unique line of work from which the MKM Necklace was conceived.
Kym met our Co-initiators Denise and Kathy, through Marj Baxter, a mutual friend. This was at precisely the time Mindful Kindness, in its infancy, was searching for a meaningful piece to represent its message. Also at this time, Kym was searching for more avenues to gain exposure for her work and bring about awareness of the endangerment of the Laguna Pueblo culture. The minute Marj heard the description of the MK Movement she felt a deep fateful calling, that beckoned her to facilitate a connection between Kym and our Co-initiators. She knew that Kym was exactly the artist they sought and that Mindful Kindness was in Kym’s future. As if fate itself had built a bridge between them, they connected effortlessly and embarked on the journey of collaboration that resulted in the state of the movement today. Like the MKM necklace itself, this was accomplished organically…by hand and from the heart.

20160909_114150_1473446724442Katherine Moxley

Web Content Writer

Katie, as we call her, hails from Southern California where you can be anything you want to and the weather never disappoints. Born and raised in the cultural melting pot of L.A. she discovered a passion for travel at a young age. Come twenty one years old you wouldn’t find her spending more than a year in any time zone straight through to the ripe old age of thirty.
Alongside collecting as many new experiences as she’s able, she’s passionate about creative writing and just about any ol’ artistic thing she can get her hands on. Learning about all the aspects of foreign cultures (present or past), meeting new people, and sharing her adventures with anyone who will come along are some of her favorite past times. When she was first introduced to the concept of the Mindful Kindness Movement she could already tell it was something she wanted to get involved with. Perpetuating kindness in the world? Um. Yes, please. Who doesn’t want to get behind that?!
You see, from sailing instructor to trapeze artist, flight attendant to special events entertainer, Katie had done and seen a lot… on three separate continents in ten different countries. She told herself that she’d had more than her fair share of wanderlust and gave herculean efforts to settling down and laying roots. But her roots just wouldn’t lay. The wind would blow and she’d find herself transported to a environment with new people, fresh learning opportunities and deliciously complex foreign perspectives. Or in the cases she didn’t “blow away” she’d find herself truly unhappy, under-challenged and stagnant feeling.
Enter Kathy at Mindful Kindness… and her talent of helping people to peg their passions and get straight to them. Mindful Kindness became a vehicle to a long awaited dream. It lead her to a creativity based career with ample opportunity to grow, explore, adventure and the best part? No zip code. Katie has embarked on her next colorful journey and she can’t wait to see who is coming with her. The next chapter is for all of us to create…