Do you practice meditation or have you ever tried meditating?
I started a number of years ago and have found it to be very helpful for my mental health and overall happiness. One of the key concepts of meditation is to practice what is called “beginners mind,” or, seeing the world as a child does, free of assumptions and expectations, open to a world of possibilities.
As we begin 2021, I wanted to share this article, one of my favorites from last year:
2020 forced all of us to start new habits, like wearing a mask and working from home, as well as increase the frequency of previous habits like washing our hands and shopping online. 2020 also made us reconsider our past, especially the history of racism in the United States.
My family and I live just a few blocks from the Robert E. Lee statue, the epicenter of the George Floyd protests in Richmond, Virginia, pictured above at left. The New York Times named the statue, in its current state, full of graffiti, at the top of its “25 Most Influential Works of American Protest Art Since World War II.” Also pictured above (at center) is a sign I photographed in someone’s yard that captures the zeitgeist: R.I.P. Business as Usual 1492-2020. And so, a new chapter begins in 2021.
We know that 2021 will bring a new president of the United States. And that the current one belittled immigrants, which fueled my desire to work on a project for the City of Richmond’s Office of Multicultural Affairs: Portraits of Immigrant Voices. Check out the gallery of portraits, by artist Alfonso Perez, accompanied by the personal histories that I wrote at RVAStrong.org/portraits. I learned a tremendous amount from the immigrants in my community, namely their appreciation for our democracy and freedom and well as the gratitude that they feel for the U.S. Read more about it in my blog post: Stories of Gratitude.
In conclusion, may you begin 2021 with a beginner’s mind, open to a world of new possibilities, free of last year’s assumptions and expectations. And while travel is limited and discouraged during COVID-19, remember this quote from French novelist and essayist Marcel Proust: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
Wishing you and your loved ones a healthy and happy 2021!