Today, I’m feeling grateful. It’s 100 degrees in Hollywood and my apartment has no air conditioning, but I’m seated comfortably in a cool co-working space in Santa Monica. Climate control isn’t the only reason I’m grateful, though. A few years ago, when I conceived of my web-based training program merging mindfulness and music, I joined the ranks of online entrepreneurs.
Part of the draw of starting my program was a desire to more fully integrate meditation into my world. For years I had led a double life, disappearing for a week or two a few times a year, practicing on my own, or offering support privately. My close friends and the people I knew socially or professionally were not the same people I spent many silent hours of practice with. Although there were exceptions, I didn’t find myself hanging out with the people I practiced with, outside of retreats. I accepted this split, but in my heart of hearts, I longed for an everyday environment and community to support practice in life.
It’s amazing that the web offers the potential to design a business tailor made for your passion and talents, while providing a level of flexibility only virtual jobs can offer. But it has its challenges! One of the biggest for me has been the sense of isolation that can set in with hours and hours spent by yourself at home, in front of the computer. Thankfully, co-working spaces have started popping up to serve an increasing number of laptop entrepreneurs. So I started checking them out. I hoped to find something near where I live, but ended up feeling a bit like Goldilocks. For one reason or another, none of them was just right.
I had heard of Cross Campus because a friend mentioned a startup called Headspace, a company with a meditation app, had its offices there. As my workspace net widened and I started traveling farther and farther from home, the 40-minute drive to Santa Monica seemed more and more plausible. I also thought sharing real space with Headspace might inspire and motivate me.
Immediately on arriving, I liked the vibe. Blair, who greeted me, took time to learn about my program and started connecting the dots with other members he thought might find what I offer useful. None of the other places I checked out had shown that level of interest. I’ve even started leading 10-minute meditation breaks here, as a way to help people recharge their brain batteries.
It still boggles my mind to think that there's a meeting point for commerce and meditation. When I started practicing 18 years ago, no one around me had much understanding of what I was doing, or why. Sometimes I felt like a freak, especially when I donned my black Zen robes. My world was divided. But I knew the value of practice, so I kept it up. These days, everyone seems to know the value of practice!
Never could I have imagined what happened at Cross Campus just the other day. Simona, who runs communications, came up to me at 6 p.m. just as I was feeling a bit burned out, to ask if I felt like taking a silent walk. Together we walked through the streets of Santa Monica, side by side, each practicing meditation in her own way. We found our way up to a rooftop as the sun was setting, then made our way back. All in all it was 25 minutes out of our day. But those beautiful moments were deeply affirming. They represented a gratifying integration of my worlds.
Years ago, I could never have foreseen a workspace that appreciated and even encouraged practice. My experience has been heartening, to say the least. In fact, two people just walked up to my desk asking to take a meditation break. I’m truly in wonder!