Season of sweetness and reflection

This season brings the Jewish New Year, and I want to wish all – those who celebrate it, and those who are learning about it – Shanah Tovah (happy new year)!

Part of the New Year’s tradition invites us to eat apples dipped in honey in hopes of a sweet new year. It is a time of reflection, both reviewing the past year, and looking forward to aspirations for the coming year.

In this spirit, I would like to take a moment to name and honor the CMA partners, both past and present. We are deeply grateful for their contributions which have been instrumental in moving the CMA’s work forward.

First and foremost, we want to thank the Krieger Fund for their continuing support of this transformative work. Their vision and partnership has been instrumental in bringing mindfulness alive throughout Baltimore.

Within the CMA, there have been changes as staff lives have changed and danced in new directions.

Andrea Wenger, who has been an integral part of the CMA since January of 2014, has relocated to Maine, where she is redefining her life and expanding her work as a sound healer.

Märta Vigerstad worked with us for a full year, and is now pursuing her graduate degree in Social Work at the University of Maryland full time. She brings her insight and compassion to under-resourced communities in her internships.

Jessica Haas, who supported the CMA with her focus on research and evaluation, is now working on her dissertation.

Bryne Lewis is using her organizational and fundraising skills as Campaign Coordinator to benefit United Way of Columbia and Montour Counties in Pennsylvania.

And we welcome Lisa Bardack to the CMA as our new administrative assistant. Lisa teaches Sacred Circle Dance and has a strong background in working with nonprofits throughout Baltimore.

Thank you, one and all, for your active participation in the life and work of the CMA!

In our SHINE workshop last week at PACT’s Therapeutic Nursery for families who are homeless, we shared a simple practice which is fun for young and old.

It is called “I spy gratitude.” Looking around the small, ordinary room which held our group, we each pointed out one feature, and named why we were grateful for it. Someone mentioned the chairs, without which we’d be uncomfortable as we spoke and listened to one another. Another person was grateful for the thermostat, which kept the small closed room cool for us. A third person noticed the one object which was hung on a wall – a small painting – and expressed gratitude for its vibrant color.

We were strengthening our “gratitude muscles” by practicing this simple awareness practice. What before was simply a nondescript room with ordinary features became a source of appreciation for us all.

How can you bring more sweetness into your life by using this practice? … and to whom might you teach it?

To what breath can do,

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