January 1, 2022 will mark the fourth “official” anniversary of the Midwest Alliance for Mindfulness (MAM), Kansas City’s premier secular mindfulness and meditation center (see year 1 post here, year 2 post here, and year 3 post here). Though we were gathering unofficially for several years before, we became a business entity in 2018 and we’ve been learning and evolving ever since.
In year one we were inhabiting our newly acquired dedicated practice space. In year two, we coordinated our efforts more intentionally on engaged mindfulness. In year three, we adapted to the global COVID-19 pandemic. This past year, we were adjusting to the continuing-pandemic reality of hybrid online/on-site classes. Here’s a summary of some of the other ways we continued to adapt over the last year:
- We held our first residential retreat (the pandemic thwarted our plans last year).
- As of this date, in 2021 we’ve led about 350 classes, workshops, and events for about 200 people.
- We donated about $5,000 and offered pro bono services to various philanthropic causes and services in the Kansas City metro.
- Welcomed one new teacher and said goodbye to others.
- Welcomed our community back into the Peace Pod and refined our hybrid (simultaneously online and on-site) offerings.
- Created a land acknowledgement and examined our commitment to Mother Earth and indigenous peoples.
- Designed a mindfulness training program for mental health professionals.
- Created a library of On Demand offerings.
- Touched in with the Mindful Kansas City initiative.
- Assisted a KU researcher in designing study of a loving-kindness meditation intervention and its impact on secondary traumatic stress among child welfare professionals
- Completed mindfulness meditation and compassion cultivation projects allowing participants to measure the impact of a month of consistent daily practice on their attitudes and wellbeing.
We recently held our planning meeting for 2022 and have another great residential retreat in the works as well as many innovative classes, seminars and workshops exploring mindful creativity, conscious living and dying, and opportunities for deepening practice and wisdom. We’re gearing up to welcome our 2022 cohort of aspiring teachers into our 200-Hour Mindfulness Teacher Training certificate program. And as always, our trained and experienced mindfulness teachers are ready and available for speaking events and trainings in and around the community.
There’s a reason we’re so passionate about mindfulness. We see it as so much more than just “paying attention” or a “feel good” practice (though it often does help us feel more present, calmer, more content, appreciative and even joyful). We see mindfulness as a way of being that counteracts the root causes of the most urgent problems facing our world today. Mindfulness can be transformational, but we can’t do it alone. We need the strength and support of our kind and welcoming community, for whom we are ever grateful. We look forward to seeing more and more of you in the practice room as together we inspire a revolution from the inside out.
Teach me what I cannot learn alone.
Let us share what we know, and what
we cannot fathom. Speak to me of
mysteries, and let us never lie
to one another.
May our fierce and tender longing
fuel the fire in our souls. When we
stand side by side, let us dare to focus
our desire on the truth. May we be
reminders, each for the other, that
the path of transformation passes
through the flames.
To take one step is courageous;
to stay on the path day after day,
choosing the unknown, and facing
yet another fear, that is nothing
short of grace.
– Danna Faulds, Sangha