Like the moment when one discovers that the world is not flat, I had a moment that has forever changed how I see a practice that I hold so dearly and close to me.
The moment was earlier this year, and I was sitting in a chair at a conference, listening attentively to a speaker on stage share her life’s work. The speaker was Tita Angangco and her story was one of impacting social justice using mindfulness.
Tita is a breathing, talking, walking, smiling and laughing role model for mindful leadership. Listening to her share the harsh realities that many in society endure and how mindfulness practices are being developed and offered as an act of service, I realized that I’ve only seen one side of this coin that I’ve held onto so tightly in my hand over the past several years.
My passion for mindfulness was sparked several years ago from a curiosity to understand myself and the world around me. I’ve been fortunate, like many of my friends, to have the resources (time, safety, connections and financial) to devote energy towards introspection.
Many are not so lucky. Fundamental needs of safety, security, connection, and for some, food and shelter, are where all energy is devoted. Reflecting, I realized that my experience with mindfulness has been only from a place of privilege and luxury. Not from a place without.
This is why I’m inspired by the work that an organization that Tita has helped create, The Centre for Mindfulness Studies. A social justice organization that brings mindfulness practices to underserved, underrepresented and marginalized populations in the greater Toronto area is a novel idea that Tita and others have made a reality. Acting outside of the traditional health care system, their innovative approach to teach the teachers and brings resources that build mental resilience where it may be needed most is working.
Tita is the spark that caught my attention and the organization’s approach to serve the community using mindfulness is why I’m committed to helping them (and want you to as well).