In less than a week I'll be joining hundreds of people from all over the world, meditating each day for a whole month, and raising money to help build water infrastructure in Rwanda.
Would you like to join me?
I've created a team, and I'd love for you to be part of it. You can sign up here right away, or read on for more information.
Mindful in May is a one month mindfulness meditation campaign starting on May 1st that challenges people to develop more awareness, appreciation and clarity in everyday life, while at the same time contributing to a significant global cause.
Mindfulness, the capacity to meet our experience with awareness and wisdom, is something that can be learned through meditation and by tuning in to our senses and learning to be aware of what we are doing, as we are doing it.
Although meditation looks like a whole lot of nothing, being mindful is a very challenging task in such a distractable world and the benefits aren’t necessarily instant. So I thought it would be powerful to connect the idea of practising for one’s own benefit, with the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of others less fortunate.
How does Mindful in May help to change the world?
Meditation is sometimes considered to be a very internal, self focused practice when in fact my learning has revealed it to be a very generous practice. It helps us get past our own self focused thinking and worries, better focus our attention and return to a more content, clear and compassionate state. The natural ripple effect is more creativity and a greater tendency to extend ourselves to others.
In the developed world most of us have our material and survival needs met, but it’s our minds that cause so much of our suffering. In the developing world it’s something as basic as water, which causes so much suffering for people. So Mindful in May addresses both of these issues by offering people a way to learn how to train the attention, strengthen awareness and become masters rather than slaves of our minds, whilst helping to improve the lives of thousands of people living in the world without access to clean, safe drinking water.
Accessing clean water is not something we usually think of as a luxury, but for 1 in 6 people on the planet it is a daily struggle.
I witnessed the issues related to water in the developing world when I travelled to West Africa many years ago. The poverty there had a huge impact on me and I was left feeling it would be so meaningful to help in some way. I remember watching in disbelief as women walked barefoot along cliffs for miles balancing litres of water on their heads, only to do it all again the next day.
Contaminated water is one of the leading cause of disease and death in the developing world and it wasn't uncommon to see posters pinned up on public walls with photos of children who had died from various water borne diseases. It really connected me to the reality of the statistics you read, that can so easily brush over you.
Meditation for me is really about developing a capacity to see more clearly in life. It has helped me develop more self awareness and from there I've become clearer about my life's purpose. To me that is so important, because we are here for such a relatively short time, and time moves so fast these days.
Whether it's facing a stressful work situation, communicating more effectively in my relationships, dealing with conflict less reactively and having more self-compassion: these are just a few ways it has enhanced my life.
The thing about meditation is that you really have to practice it to discover the benefits for yourself.
There were many years where I read about meditation but avoided sitting still. I’ve got a lot of energy and I love creating and doing, so meditation isn’t something that is easy for me to do, but that’s exactly why I feel I need it, to create some balance, support me in slowing down and help me refocus my attention that can often get quite scattered.
What suggestions do you have for others wanting to introduce mindfulness into their lives?
I think the key to bringing more mindfulness into everyday life is not setting goals that are too demanding. We've all got enough to do lists, so you don't want meditation to feel like a burden.
I really like Stanford psychologist BJ Fogg's work around habit formation: the idea that to develop a habit, we need to choose something really small and achievable to begin with- for example, just do ten minutes of meditation a day. If that feels unachievable try and just be present to your breath for one minute of your day.
I've found it surprising how even taking a few conscious breaths in the middle of a non-stop day, can be so effective in helping me re-focus and relax.
So how does Mindful in May work?
Register as an individual or join a team.
Then donate money to the cause and/or invite your friends and family to sponsor you.
From the 1st of May, you will start receiving a meditation program delivered daily to your inbox, including:
- Weekly guided audio meditation downloads
- Daily instruction and guidance through different meditations hurdles
- Accessible cutting edge scientific research to help motivate your practice
- Daily inspiration through curated videos, quotes and article links
- Access to interviews with leading experts in the field
- Opportunities to partake in community events (although predominantly in australia at this stage)
- Invitations to host your own Mindful in May events and connect with other like minded people in your community
Thank you Elise! I'm looking forward to this.
Would you like to join me?
I've created a team, and I'd love you to be part of it.
You can register here (click on 'join this team').
It costs $10 to register which covers the cost of running the campaign.
If you want to make a difference, you can donate whatever amount you feel to bring clean water to Rwanda. To have an even bigger impact, invite your friends & family to support your challenge.
Or if you'd like to support this wonderful cause, but don't want to take part in the challenge, you can sponsor me here (click on 'donate to this cause').
Hope to meditate with you soon,