On Saturday Sept. 7, I was celebrating many things.
Exactly three months prior I had given up drinking alcohol. I had recently quit my corporate job, so I could focus all of my time and energy on being healthy, happy and fearless, and helping others to be the same. Also, my parents were in town visiting Seattle for the first time.
To honor this special moment of my life, I decided to organize a meditation event in downtown Seattle. The idea came from a group called Wake Up London, a community of people practicing the living art of mindfulness inspired by the teachings of Zen master, author, poet and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh. They organize meditation events throughout London where people appear, sit and meditate in public spaces.
A group of us met in Westlake Park in downtown Seattle to meditate, and for me to honor this special moment of my life as I embark on a new journey of peace, health and happiness.
Others joining us are also walking the path of dharma in various forms. Tai Hubbert, a friend of my sister, helped me organize the event. She is a gorgeous spirit and shamanic healer who teaches Yoga, meditation, and who has bright blue piercing eyes. Her two friends also joined us: Steve – a gentle spirit excited to share the meditation with as many people as possible, and Kenneth, another who quit his daily alcohol and nicotine habits in the quest for clarity and happiness.
A few others joined us who walked by and saw a group meditating, even though they didn’t know about the event. They wanted to join in peaceful sitting to cultivate moments of peace.
As we settled next to the large water fountain in the square we listened to the sounds of another group praising Jesus and singing Hallelujah. As my friend mentioned, Christianity is just another spoke of the same wheel. The wheel of peace, acceptance, understanding, hope, joy that we are spinning. The wheel of love.
I sat on my folded up gray yoga mat in the middle of a city that has offered me so many blessings, and so much love. I closed my eyes and let the sounds of the city wash over me while I inhaled and exhaled, watching my breath, cultivating awareness of my body and my mind. I was so grateful for the people meditating with me. Our shared energy and love emanated out into the city.
The 20 minutes went by so quickly. I opened my eyes to see my dad sitting near me, still deep in meditation, a very calm expression on his face. My mom had to nudge him to open his eyes.
So many Buddhist teachings were going through my head – awareness of the present moment, joy in each breath, paying attention to the world around me. And the most important teaching for me: humbled and grateful for this beautiful life given to me by my parents. I love you, mom and dad.