Living Well offers solace

Words of inclusion echoed through the Davis Center’s Burak Lounge the morning of Jan. 20  at the Pre-Inauguration Loving Kindness Meditation.

The ceremony was hosted by Engage Mindfulness, a Living Well program. Coordinator Lindsay Foreman reached out to students, faculty and Burlington residents to build courage and compassion after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

“This practice that we’re doing is a way to position our hearts and to work toward justice,” Foreman said.

Many people attending the practice said they felt anxious or apprehensive about what was to come in the next four years.

“I’m afraid for two generations of civil rights and social fabric being torn apart, and what that means to have to try to put that all back together again,” said Marsha Camp, a member of the student accessibility office.

Jennifer Archambault, the marketing coordinator for Living Well, said she hoped a rejection of violence and racism was conveyed during the practice.

During the meditation, each volunteer read a phrase that followed the format of “May ___ be safe and cared for. May ___ live in peace with ease and dignity.”

This was then followed by the sound of a bell so people could contemplate their feelings about each new identity filled in the blank.

This 30-minute practice helped people feel united, according to graduate student Hannah Holbrook, who said she was “more centered” after the event.

“I’m feeling happy and grateful to have this community here at the school and be in this group doing the meditation together,” Holbrook said.

During the event, Foreman said even those who are causing harm are connected to us.

“We’re focusing on cultivating love,” she said, “and not just in the place that it’s easy.”

The practice was supposed to cultivate love toward all beings on earth with no exceptions, Foreman said.

The theme of unity resonated with senior James Biddle, an attendee and meditative facilitator of Engage Mindfulness. Biddle said he felt optimistic after seeing people join together during this time.

“I hope [this practice] brings a sense that you aren’t alone and that we’re all experiencing similar feelings,” he said, “that there is a way to find inner strength and foster inner peace in times when things feel turbulent.”