Sometimes abundance comes from just doing what you love and being wholeheartedly open. This is the lesson I learned last year after an unexpected encounter led to a generous donation to my meditation center.
Living in northern New Mexico is an enchanting lifestyle that requires acceptance and patience. This culturally and economically diverse area of the country attracts all sorts of people for its natural beauty as well as historic and cultural richness. One of the many benefits of living in this sparsely-populated area is our closeness to nature and the outdoors which translates into many opportunities for exercise outside. During the pandemic, this has been especially welcomed as the concept of “staying at home” extended into nature. Daily walks, jogs, bike rides or swims provided much-needed physical activity. During the summer months, swimming in an outdoor pool is my main daily exercise; soaking in sunshine as I move mindfully through water.
Last summer, the outdoor pool opened in June with restricted access to lap swimming only. I was grateful to get back in the crisp and energizing water to exercise. Many regular lap swimmers met at the pool and though social distancing was enforced, we were able to enjoy friendly conversations and mutual support. One such encounter was particularly gratifying.
I met a couple visitors to our area who had decided to spend a month enjoying the enchantment of New Mexico. That month ended up being the entire summer as the pandemic intensified. Every morning we would say hello at the pool and we began having conversations that covered many interesting topics — a great way to balance physical and intellectual activity. At that time, I was looking towards retiring as a full time classroom teacher with the dream of starting an education-based meditation center called Mindful Frontiers. As my retirement date came closer and the business plan for my center more concrete, I shared my passion with these fellow swimmers. My dream for several years has been to teach mindfulness to elementary-aged children and their families. The vision is to welcome a mindful future — one child, family, educator — one present moment at a time. My dreams were openly listened to my these kindred swimmers as I opened up and shared my passion with them.
Eventually, I was asked what I needed to really get my meditation center off the ground and of course financial backing was my answer. After all, I had plenty of time, energy and passion already. I felt so comfortable in our conversations that it seemed safe to be vulnerable about my dreams and aspirations.
As the summer came to a close an early cold snap shut down the pool a few days earlier than planned. Everyone bid each other a good end of summer and year ahead until we could meet up again in and around the pool. My new friends went back home after exchanging email addresses.
A month or so later, I received an email from one of the friends, asking how my business plans were going and with an offer of a donation. Within a few weeks, a gift arrived that provided the startup funds I needed to get Mindful Frontiers off the ground. I believe this gift was made possible by a willingness to be vulnerable, openly sharing my passion for mindfulness and believing in the vision of the endeavor.
Without this unexpected donation, Mindful Frontiers would have had a much slower start. I will forever be grateful for the auspicious encounter at the swimming pool that fueled a friendship framed by kindness and support. Because of allowing myself to be vulnerable and open, abundance was attracted into the open space of the heart.