Celebrating 6 Months of Meditate Together!
By Mo Edjlali and Meditate Together Volunteer Facilitators
It’s hard with all the chaos, injustice, death, and suffering we are collectively witnessing to celebrate much... and, more then ever, we need to celebrate the things that inspire us and remind us of our vast potential for compassion towards one another.
About 6 months ago as the gravity and impact of COVID-19 hit, I thought to myself: What can I do? What can Mindful Leader do? Then I thought to myself... I’m not alone. I’m not the only one who wants to help. There is a major limit on what I can do, but what if we can unite the Mindful Leader community. This incredible group of caring folks who are leading a shift in consciousness. If we can help coordinate this community there is no limit to what we can do.
So we started a little experiment called Meditate Together with a shoestring budget, in the midst of a pandemic and major upheaval, all while trying to figure out how our organization would continue in this new environment… and with our kids running around the house like wild animals fending for themselves.
I trusted that one way or another we would learn a great deal from attempting this and that it might inspire folks to take a more community-based and collective approach. I was skeptical if we would last more then a few weeks and as we approached the end of our run the feedback and push to keep going was amazing. So we did, and here we are, now 6 months later, to see this little experiment becoming a vibrate community. One that has been nurtured through kindness, care, collaboration, and united to provide an elementary level of free global mental well-being care for all.
So with great pleasure, I’m happy to say:
“Happy 6 month birthday, Meditate Together!”
And a special shout out to Ashley, on our team who helped shepherd this, the Mindful Leader team, all the volunteers who have helped us get here, and all the participants who have shown up to share some space and meditate together in this insane time.
We asked volunteer facilitators to help share some of their thoughts. You can see them below. Has Meditate Together touched your life? Please share your thoughts in the comments below and join us in celebrating Meditate Together's 6 month birthday!
Almost 6 months have gone by and I am so grateful for the ongoing learning which started in these Zoom rooms. I couldn’t have anticipated the extent to which these strangers would transform my life. While my friends and colleagues were suffering from isolation and boredom, I was being challenged to be 100% present for the sake of others. I experimented letting go of myself. It was never about me. It was about being there for others. I had to give my time, and definitely received back much more than what I had given. I experimented with neither having control over technology, nor whom I would meet. Never knew what would come out of these interactions. I only had control over my own emotions (if I can dare say so), and these, always set the pace to what came after. These encounters apart from opening my heart, provided peace and a place for people to “be”.
The George Floyd episode was a definite threshold. People came in thriving for a pause. Emotions were stirred up, the sense of unity, and the planet crying. Compassion and pain were all over the place. The unheard voices were making themselves heard, and a room with no faces and no voices had given place to emotions, opinions and sorrow. People were very sensitive, each person with their own perspective, and suddenly what would have been news on TV was a real experience recently integrated into my own soul. In silence, I cried and mourned together with them. I grew. I expanded my worldview. I wished for a fairer world, I wondered if others would also change. I learned that even though I was empathic, the fact that I had been shaped by systems of privilege and oppression revealed that I still had to cover miles ahead of me. Gosh, how much these people have taught me!
I joined Meditate Together six months ago as a volunteer facilitator because I knew I and many others would need an oasis and a safe space during the pandemic, and I wanted to feel useful in a time when many of my own projects and plans were stopped in their tracks. As a long-time mindfulness meditation practitioner, I've learned how it can help me feel grounded in the midst of difficulty, uncertainty, fear and sadness, and I had a strong feeling that if more of us could do this together we'd feel less alone and more connected. I've gotten so much out of the experience of being a volunteer facilitator. My responsibility to show up for our session on the regular has kept me meditating more regularly and it's become an anchor in my day. The two volunteer teams I've been working with since April have become colleagues and co-curators of our safe space, and that's been rich and meaningful for me. Being present with whoever shows up in our session, from all over the world, does make me feel useful and connected, and I'm constantly moved by the energy of the group and the commitment to connectivity and compassion we experience together. It fosters hope for our collective future and reminds me that we are better together.
Happy Birthday Meditate Together!! I kept applying to be a facilitator and I was beyond thrilled when I was invited as a volunteer to facilitate a session; especially during the summer and time of Covid in which I had to be home to take care of my family, it gave me a sense of connection with so many people, and it provided me with the opportunity to serve others. I have also learned so much from my team members and helped me personally to keep my sanity and keep up with my own meditation practice.
When I decided to volunteer for Meditate Together, my initial goal was to participate in order to add this experience to my certification renewal application. Little did I know how volunteering each day would make my life more positive and fulfilling. Being part of this community has really opened my eyes and heart to the importance of human contact. I have met people all over the world and formed lasting friendships with several volunteers. I am humbled, thankful and proud of this life-changing experience!
What an amazing experience being a facilitator for Meditate Together has been. Honestly I didn’t know what to expect; and being a meditation instructor it was a different technique that I offer to my students. The fifteen minutes of silence has proven to be so valuable in self assessing of how I’m truly feeling. It has taught me to be more still; and to be present for each person that shares; and to listen and acknowledge without speaking. The people in the group have become a new family It is fascinating to see different parts of the county on zoom. It feels like home. What a gift to be able to share this with the world... person by person, breath by breath. A true healing natural antidote to the daily stresses that one might face. Thank you.
I am so grateful to be connected with Mindful Leader. I have always believed in being of service to others and so I have enjoyed volunteering my time as a facilitator. I love every opportunity I get to cultivate and share mindfulness. It has been quite sweet and sometimes inspiring to hear from people all over the world in sharing their reflections. The gratitude for these sessions is exponential.
I have loved every minute of facilitating Meditate Together sessions with Mindful Leader. What a wonderful opportunity to give back during a time of great need in the world and Mindful Leader really stepped up. The participants who came to my time slot from around the world became somewhat of a family and truly revelled in the space that was created. But even more importantly they bonded with the community who kept showing up day to day. They leaned on each other, shared from their heart, opened up to deepening their practice, but mostly allowed the presence to fill their souls with resilience and adaptability through a difficult time in the world. Thank you for the opportunity to serve for it was truly a wonderful gift to be a part of this journey.