As I prepared for the holidays this year, I found myself wondering how it was possible another year had passed.
For our family, the year included many joyous occasions and celebrations, but just as many moments of chaos and quibbles. The kids are coming into their own, which comes with bursts of pride coupled with a bits of uncertainty and every so often a desire to pack everyone up and travel the world together without phones or schedules.
I’m so happy to continue to grow and refine the Lifeyum brand in the midst of my most important job, CEO of the O’Brien clan. We’ve given back to amazing organizations and empowered people to transform themselves and their corners of the world.
BUT the world is ever-changing and tumultuous of late, moreso than ever it seems. I confess to feeling a sense of sadness and despair that has at times been all-consuming. Rather than wring my hands and crawl under the table to hide, though, I turned to the practices I teach — and some incredible people taking action — to spur me on.
There are so many wonderful souls doing exceptional work, both in the U.S. and overseas, but here are a few I thought you should know about:
Africa Yoga Project: This organization raises money to send accepted teachers to areas most in need of mindfulness, those torn apart by war, death and violence. More than 300 yoga classes are offered each week in 80 locations: the Shine Center and in prisons, schools, special need centers, HIV/AIDS support groups, deaf schools and rural villages. More than 200 young Kenyans have been trained and employed as yoga teachers.
Unity House: Serving the New York Capital region by “making life better” for families in need, this organization offers a wide array of services to those living in poverty. From providing shelter to families suffering from domestic abuse or illness, to supporting children with special needs or developmental delays stay in school, Unity House is an incredible group of people.
Unbound: Helps families living in poverty provide for their children’s needs; 93% of funding goes to the recipients themselves and donors have a chance to communicate directly with the communities they are serving. Our family has sponsored Faith in Kenya and Daniel in Guatemala for the last four years.
Together Rising: 100% of donated funds go to the White Helmets, a group of civilian volunteers on the ground in Aleppo saving lives and providing hope to a population of people who feel abandoned by the rest of the world. The most recent fundraising efforts went to a fully equipped ambulance to transport victims and provide much needed care to survivors (many of whom were women and children).
My new year’s wish to you is for CALM. Not just some of the time, or in fleeting moments, but as a way of being. My friends at Calm (my favorite meditation app) have been generous enough to offer you, the Lifeyum community, 20% off their annual subscription. That’s less than 13 cents a day in support of sanity. #nobrainer
As always, I love to hear from you and am here for you!
With bliss and blessings for a wholehearted year,
P.S. Our 2017 Lifeyum motto is mindfulness in motion. I’ll be kicking things off in a major way next month in Stratton, VT. If you are committed to a year of peace, purpose and empowered pleasure you need to be there. Room block ends December 31, and the last day to register is Jan 12…so let’s talk soon if you’re interested. xo