Interlude: The Coast of Galicia, performed by Geraldine O’Doherty on the album Invisible Stars: Choral Works of Ireland & Scotland

Did you receive many Christmas cards?  From distant family members, or perhaps some favorite charities?  One of the traditional card designs has Joy on the  front, embellishing a musical instrument. We associate the holiday season with Joy.  Meditation  can help bring more joy into your life,  as you learn to live more in the right-this-minute, less in the longed-for past, or the scary future. But there’s another dimension to our Saturday mornings that brings us Joy: Community.

Twice a week, I have a long solo commute to and from Redwood City, well over an hour each way. I find ways to entertain myself, but my schedule doesn’t allow me to listen to my favorite radio programs “live” any more. So, I took the plunge into the world of Podcasts, recordings of my favorite shows, played from my phone, at whatever time my commute may be.

Now, instead of having local commercials, podcast ads are often for other podcasts. And that’s how I discovered ”Pod Save America”, hosted by former staffers on the Obama campaigns. The language can be a little salty, but it’s generally positive conversation, about politics and elections, how to get out the vote, and how to talk politics to people who didn’t vote the way you did. (Answer: ask them about a topic, and why they believe what they do.  And listen.)

One show a few weeks back, during a panel with audience Q&A, a questioner asked, “Aren’t we just in a bubble here, talking amongst ourselves?” A female panelist replied, “Yes,we are, but this is also self-care.” She was right.  The community had had so much bad news, … a little self-care was needed.  Not a pity party, but a healing environment.

I think the best communities are like that.  We talk, we listen, we learn from each other. We encourage each other, and we enjoy each other’s company.  Being part of the community brings us joy.  Not Christmas card Joy, but an inner joy, like the joy of a plant finding roots in rich soil, with just the right amount of sunshine and rain.

I feel so blessed to be a part of this meditation community.  To be here with you on Saturdays truly brings me joy.  I hope that this group, and the other communities fortunate enough to count you as a member, bring you much joy in the months and years to come.

Happy New Year, and thank you for coming.


Delivered at Resurrection Catholic Church, Aptos, California, on January 6, 2018.