I first started my meditation practice, such as it is, when we lived in CA. JP and I attended a weekly group meditation and that was when I dipped my toe in. I haven’t gotten much beyond my foot in the past 20 years. JP, on the other hand, has advanced far beyond my still very rudimentary meditation practice.
My most recent foray into a more regular practice started at the beginning of the pandemic. Thanks to Maria Shriver, I found the free 30-day series on Sounds True: Mindfulness Daily: Create a Life-Changing Meditation Practice in Less than 15 Minutes a Day by Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach. I have done the course a number of times and frequently find myself repeating my favorite practice, Loving Kindness.
I am still a total neophyte, but the practice more or less consists of finding a quiet space and repeating phrases like:
- May I be well
- May I be safe
- My I live with joy and ease
- May I be at peace
The first step is offering loving kindness to ourselves, then to extend it to others (beginning with people you know), and finally to all living beings. I have found this practice very helpful when I am down on myself (or am particularly anxious) or when I am challenged by someone (either personally or professionally). Offering others loving kindness seems like a way to wish them well and to (hopefully) soften any negative feelings on my part.
This brings me to the people of Ukraine.
I was interested to find out that Ukrainians form the largest group of European-born residents in Washington state. From 2000-2019, the Ukrainian population in our state grew by 69% while the Russian population increased by 22% (U.S. Census Bureau/Seattle Times).
My husband had an opportunity to get to know a number of immigrants from Ukraine when he fished for pink salmon last fall. The fish eggs from female salmon are considered a Ukrainian delicacy and my husband was quick to offer eggs from the female fish he caught. The fish eggs became a great cross cultural connector!
With the Russian invasion, this seems like a good time to offer Loving Kindness to the people of Ukraine. With many practical ways to help, such as donating to the International Committee of the Red Cross, etc., offering them Loving Kindness can seem like a very small drop in a very vast bucket! I would argue that a drop is better than nothing.
Imagine all the people living life in peace.John Lennon, 1971
P.S. The Ukraine sketch in the lower right hand corner of today’s collage is by Charlie Mackesy. If you don’t have his book or follow him on Instagram, you are missing out! 😊