America is beginning to enjoy the warmth of Spring. Mitra Manesh, meditation teacher with MARC UCLA, encourages us to align ourselves with the energetic influence of the seasons. In her meditation podcast, An Invitation to Spring, she invites us to shed the hibernation and energy saving of Winter and embrace the new beginnings and new life of Spring. With Spring we begin to hear the urgent cries of new-born baby birds as their parents frantically search for food; we see buds appearing and flowers emerging and opening as captured by the Moving Art of Louie Schwartzberg; we start to smell the aroma from new blossoms; and feel the vibrancy of new life as the warmth of lengthening days and light engender new beginnings on our sensory palate.
Attuning with nature is both energising and healing. As we absorb the light and energy of Spring, we can begin to envisage new beginnings for ourselves. Mitra encourages us at the outset of her meditation to take several deep breaths to breathe in the energy that surrounds us and to begin to imagine a new beginning.
Throughout her guided meditation podcast, Mitra employs intentional imagination. The focus of our imagination initially is drawn to our internal reality, not the emergent world around us. Mitra encourages us to begin to progressively imagine comfort in a part of our body, calmness in our mind and contentment in our heart. As we engender these feelings through intentional imagination, we can feel an infusion of energy and begin to imagine new beginnings in our life – whether that be overcoming addiction, breaking free of negative self-stories, opening to love, clearing clutter from our lives, bringing creativity to our work or any other endeavour that opens up a new world of possibilities. Mitra suggests that we capture the essence of our envisaged new beginning by making a wish.
The energy of new beginnings
Napoleon Hill reminds us that “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve”. The power of imagining a better future is brought home to us by the work of Nancy McGirr, former wartime photographer, who used her imagination and talents to envisage and create a better future for children in Guatemala who survived by scavenging for recyclable materials in the dump. To realise her vision, Nancy established a not-for-profit organisation now called Fotokids. Her mission is “to help small groups of Central American young people from the poorest of barrios develop useful, employable skills as a means to self-exploration, expression, and discovery.”
Nancy’s photography project has helped young children and their families emerge from the depths of poverty to improve their lives and financial situation. Children involved in the project(s) learn photographic skills, creative writing and how to use computers. The initial six children helped by the project through the generous support of Konica Japan has grown to more than a thousand children and 500 families. Nancy realised very early on through a photographic project undertaken as an employee of Reuters that she needed to do more than just observe the plight of these children, she had to take compassionate action.
Nancy has been able to align her core skills, developed over many years and photographic assignments in multiple countries, to her life purpose and bring hope and joy to impoverished children. Her success is attested to by the many products the children’s photography generates such as cards, prints, Christmas ornaments and books, including the award-winning book, Out of the Dump Writings and Photographs by Children from Guatemala. Profits from the book and photographic products go towards the children’s education, welfare, and the photography project itself. The quality of the photographs is attested to by the exhibitions that have appeared around the world in places like Tokyo, Paris, California, London, and Amsterdam.
Nancy has demonstrated the power of imagination and envisaging a new beginning for herself and others. She left the security of a well-paid job with international travel and fame to work in the obscurity and insecurity of a freelance photographer in Guatemala. She has been able to capture her dream and the dreams of the children involved through a new publication, To Capture Dreams, that shares the experiences and output of 20 years of Fotokids.
As we grow in mindfulness through our meditations and the inspiration of people like Nancy McGirr, we can gain the insight, courage, and creativity to discover and pursue our own life purpose that will bring happiness and fulfilment as we align our core skills with needs beyond ourselves. If we let the energy of the seasons into our lives through nature meditation, we can begin this lifetime journey that will bring connection to others and every living thing.
By Ron Passfield – Copyright (Creative Commons license, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives)
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