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Mindful : June 2019
The “Sand Tribe,” in reality, represents anything but tribalism: Shelly Tygielski’s meditation sessions on the beach welcome all people, and they’re free of cost. Simple suggestions written on cards, above, are handed out before the g uided practice to provide a focal point and inspiration for each meditator. Recently we met near the Marine Environmental Education Center, where we raised money for a sea-turtle rescue project. We meditated among the sea turtles, which was really cool. About 300 people showed up, and we raised a fair amount of money. I usually give a talk and do a guided meditation on a chosen topic. The talk during the sea turtle event was about the environment, how it’s important to protect it, to commit to a small action, because small actions done consis- tently over time make a big impact. We end with a bell ringing or a “Namaste,” and a song, something like Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” After- wards I stay around and people come up and share an experience they’ve had. Sometimes people are crying and just want a hug. How do people at your beach sessions respond? The beautiful thing about the beach and the thing I love most about our community is that there is no typi- cal person. Sitting in front of me last time were two African-American women who are a lesbian couple, and they were sitting next to a white guy who is tattooed head to toe, wears T-shirts with rainbows and unicorns, and rides a motorcycle. Nearby was a group of older women from a Jewish community in South Florida, all originally Long Islanders. Behind them was a person I knew from cor- porate America. I remember one woman who was very outgoing, and when I asked what had brought her here, she said, “My parents are older and very ill, and I’m their caretaker. It’s been really hard. I lost my husband a few years ago, and today is my birthday.” She said she had hesitated, that she wasn’t sure she should come, that she had tried it before and her mind never quieted. I said to her, “ You’re totally in the right place. Your thoughts are never going to disappear. You are just going to learn to coexist with your thoughts.” She was crying at the end and thanked me profusely, and she → June 2019 mindful 39