Happy Birthday, Meditate Together
By Mo Edjlali
It's hard to imagine it's been over a year since this pandemic started and the world felt like it got flipped upside down. It's in these moments of great challenge that sometimes something emerges that might not have before. For us here at Mindful Leader the aftermath of the pandemic was jarring and shocking. As we scrambled to change plans for the year and adjust to the impact there was this inner call to help support those in need. With limited resources and a small team, at Mindful Leader, we thought... what in the world can we do?
If we felt called to serve then most likely a good portion of our community would feel the same way. What if as a community we united to all contribute a little and have a big impact? With that thought in mind, our Meditate Together experiment started. At first, Meditate Together was only a handful of sessions a day supported by our Certified Workplace Mindfulness Facilitators who were eager to help the foundation of Meditate Together forming. Within a few weeks, we extended our call for volunteers and with the incredible support of over a hundred volunteers we could host sessions twenty-four hours a day.
There have been lots of challenges and lots of learning in this past year. The community continues to develop and grow in beautiful ways.
We asked some of our longtime volunteers to share what their experience has been of Meditate Together. Here’s what two of them - Lisa and Alfreda - have to say about their time as volunteers:
“I know the importance of creating time to connect to oneself. The reason I signed up to be a facilitator for Meditate Together, is for community, presence and accountability. However, what I gained was something even more important, intentionality.
Intentionality is the thread that I discovered to be my WHY. I LOVE setting an intention everyday in my meditation practice. I begin my week every Monday around gratitude and close my week every Friday with the intention of celebration. My meditation practice did not always align with the daily intention. However, the intention setting by Mindful Leader allowed me to try on a new perspective, explore a different lens, and become curious about what was coming up for me in the community shares.
I am one year into this commitment. Last March, I had no idea we were entering a lockdown for over a year. There were seasons to my facilitation. Every four months we were asked to recommit. Saying YES felt like second nature after I heard the impact the session had on the group. The shares were about how this magical space, filled with people from all over the world, created connection, inspired ideas and carved out self-care. And with each YES came a new season to the journey, new facilitators, new participants, new month and new characteristics of the lockdown.
I am so thankful for this community of meditators. I love my daily commitment to carve out time for myself and the structure it creates around accountability. I am INSPIRED and GRATEFUL for this community every day.” - Lisa
“I have enormous gratitude for the opportunity to support Meditate Together over this past year. I have learned so much from my wonderful 7AM team of facilitators and the participants. It has been a joy to see so many people join from so many different walks of life day after day to create this beautiful community.
With all of the many crises over the past year, from Covid-19 to social unrest, and racial injustice, I feel incredibly fortunate to have had this community to come back to--supporting me in unexpected ways, not only through mindfulness practice but in social connection.
A metaphor that comes to mind is something called interstitial space – the space between words. In the silence, we somehow moved from being strangers to family–bonding in the space between words. I heard someone say recently that ‘community is the medicine,’ and I certainly think this has been my experience with Meditate Together.” - Alfreda
Spring is beginning again for us in the US. With it comes hope for life returning to normal with an increasing number of people vaccinated. As we enter this time of renewed hope and return to somewhat more normality, the power of meditating together in community continues to be supportive. If you have not had a chance to experience the indescribable magic of selfless service and connection, try Meditate Together.
We invite you to celebrate Meditate Together’s first birthday with us. A first birthday is a wonderful milestone, but we hope to see you at sessions for years to come!