That’s the best word to describe the experience at the RNC and DNC. Add to that “intense, unexpected, unpredictable, grueling, gratifying and satisfying” and you get a taste of what it was like to go from Tampa FL helping to setup and staff The Huffington Post-sponsored Oasis, hop to Charlotte NC for a respite over Labor Day Weekend with MindfulVOTES Ambassador Ruth King as a gracious host, then onward to The Oasis site for the DNC.
The truth of the matter is that our own mindfulness practices were a critical support in being able to navigate the many different currents, activities, personalities, agendas and moods of the two convention spaces. Arianna Huffington clearly had a vision for creating a unique experience alongside the conventions, and that was accomplished in spades. Both the interiors and exteriors of the spaces used for the Oases were transformed into living invitations to relax, eat, hydrate, and find your way to a yoga mat, meditation cushion, sleep pod, or just pass out on a comfy couch lulled by the pounding of the Charlotte downpour.
Huffington Post/Oasis Highlights:
No doubt the entire orchestration was held together by the many gracious volunteers, recruited and organized by Off The Mat, Into The World, our allies and the team behind our sister campaign, YogaVotes. We are especially grateful for the grace & grit of the powerful women behind YogaVotes: Kerri Kelly (Director), Jocelyn Corbett (Campaign Director), Seane Corn (co-founder), Suzanne Sterling (co-founder) Here are some highlights:
- OTM co-founder Seane Corn interviewed angel Kyodo williams about coming to The Oasis and MindfulVOTES (video link coming)
- Arianna Huffington and OTM’s Seane Corn & Kerri Kelly discuss the mission of The Oasis at RNC
- angel Kyodo williams talks about volunteering for The Oasis
- MindfulVOTES anchor team member Karen “Muki” Villanueva talks about volunteering for The Oasis
- Meet the experts of The Oasis at the RNC
MindfulVOTES Team Highlights & Accomplishments:
We also had the pleasure of having MV Ambassador Sharon Salzberg teach basic meditation at the DNC. On the second day she taught, Congressman Tim Ryan, author of A Mindful Nation: How A Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit, joined in. The OH Congressman, who “presents us with an inspiring and hopeful view of our country’s future,” agreed to be an MV Ambassador, too. More highlights:
- YogaVotes Director Kerri Kelly and MindfulVOTES’ angel Kyodo williams tag-teamed meditation & yoga at the DNC Oasis
- MV Media Steward Zochi Alonzo Young brought Mu-i Tai Chi, a simple, accessible 10-step practice we learned from Norma Wong and take everywhere we go.
- Karen “Muki” Villanueva taught meditation one-on-one and in smal groups to otherwise tentative beginners.
- chandra thuy tran led a rockin’ social justice-rooted fearlessYOGA Warrior Flow attended by beginners as well as experienced yoga teacher and the feedback was awesome!
- We distributed MindfulVOTES postcards, learning more about how to tell story.
- and more
Off Our Mats & Cushions, Into…Play:
All work and no play makes for dull practitioners. We enjoyed several non-work wins, too:
- We snagged credentials to the DNC and got to see Michelle Obama’s speech. angel furiously tweeted commentary on her & Bill Clinton’s messages.
- angel Kyodo williams got to share words of admiration and a photo-op with Sandra Fluke.
- We were fed (and over-fed!) by LYFE Kitchen, which supplied endless meals to both convention’s Oasis-goers.
- The MV Team cut loose for a bit of party time after watching Bill Clinton’s speech, hosted by moderate think tank Third Way. Big thanks to the whip smart Nancy Hale.
A lot of Uptime and a Little Downtime:
We returned to our practice home at the Center for Transformative Change to early morning practice on Friday and a daylong of practice on Saturday. As luck would have it, two team members needed to take some downtime, hence our full report back was slightly delayed. But, they’re both on the mend and we’re gearing up for the big push towards election day. Will you pledge? Will you lead? Will you partner? If not now, then when?
angel Kyodo williams
and the MindfulVOTES anchor team
Karen “Muki” Villanueva
chandra thuy tran
Alonzo Zochi Young
- Pledge to VOTE: The easiest thing you can do is take the pledge. Pledging commits you to and intention and builds the energy of action.
- Become a LEADER: Go beyond the “click” and lead others to vote mindfully. One out of every 15 people is a mindfulness practitioner in the US. Organize and facilitate a conversation circle, bring partners on board and recruit more leaders. Actions big and small add up. Together we CAN have an impact.
- Be a PARTNER: Your organization, institution or group is where communities come together. Leverage your networks to inspire, engage & transform how politics are done in America.
- REGISTER to Vote: Find out if you are registered properly and on time.
- DONATE to MindfulVOTES: Big impact calls for bold investment. We’re just getting started and we need your support to expand our reach and connect as many people as possible.