In my two years of finding community at EBMC it has been many things to me: a place of self-discovery; a center of healing; and a training ground for sharing my practices with the world.
The first time I came to the Alphabet Sangha at EBMC, I was experiencing a lot of suffering and confusion. I was unemployed and on the cusp of coming to terms with my identity as a trans woman. The Alphabet Sangha provided a supportive environment to quietly explore my identity and observe other queer and trans people form community and practice self-care with support from each other. EBMC’s commitment to gift economics insured that I was able to consistently access the space even though money was tight. The open doors and welcoming environment I found at EBMC provided a stabilizing influence during a time of extreme vulnerability. I know it does the same for many others.
Inspired by the Alphabet Sangha, I wanted to share the gift of mindfulness with my broader community. Through the Practice in Transformative Action 3 (PiTA3) mindfulness for social change agents training program led by Mushim Ikeda, I have achieved that goal. In PiTA, I developed a strong foundation of mindfulness, healed from depression, and learned how to lead others in the practices that improved my own life.
Since doing the program, I have used the program’s teachings to lead others in mindfulness meditation. For six months, I led a trans feminine meditation group where participants shared that walking meditation allowed them to feel embodiment in new and exciting ways. Today, I am leading a regular small mindfulness group at my work at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, where people have told me that rhythmic meditation was the first time they felt like mindfulness was accessible to them. Through PiTA I committed to sharing and adapting healing practices to diverse audiences.
Throughout life, and especially the next four years, we will face uncertainty and challenges. I choose to be a monthly sustainer donating $35 a month to help insure that EBMC can continue to be a source of resilience for all of our vulnerable communities, and I hope others will join me. For people who are new to meditation, experiencing major upheaval in their lives, looking to deepen their practice, or stepping into spiritual leadership, EBMC is there for all of us, and I feel so deeply grateful.