A ‘Private Community’ is Incomplete

Inclusive

By David Devlin

I was on my run this morning and I passed a sign that read “PRIVATE COMMUNITY” in bold white letters and below it read, “Residents and Invited Guests Only.” I thought about the sign for the next few minutes as I continued my run.

“How can a community be private? A private community is an incomplete community,” I thought. That seems to take away from the very meaning of community. I was curious to what the dictionary definition of ‘community’ was so I looked it up. There are many ways to define it, but one that I found interesting – and possibly contradictory to the idea of a private community – comes from Merriam-Webster. It states that a community is “a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society.” One thing I enjoy about this definition is its openness for interpretation.

What exactly does it mean by larger society? Does it mean the VVC community? Bank Street? The West End? Cincinnati? We could keep increasing size until eventually we’re looking at community on a global scale – which to me is a little difficult to fathom. However, it is important to remember that regardless of the size, one important thing that should be constant is ‘inclusivity.’

So, even though I don’t think the second part of the sign mentioning residents and invited guests was entirely wrong, I think it misses the opportunity for the fullness of community. It is important to look at ourselves and our communities and ask who the invited guests are in our lives, and if we could do a better job at extending the invitation to others who may often feel excluded.

After all, I believe that our shared humanity with our neighbors is a common enough characteristic which calls us to extend the invitation to our communities whether they be local or global.

 

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The Summons

By Ana Davila

The Summons

When I reflect on my first few weeks with my community and the St. Vincent de Paul society, I cannot help but listen and relate to the hymn, “The Summons”. Each line in this song is a question which seems to directly hit the points I am feeling in this phase of my experience with VVC.

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?– We all said “yes” to the unknown of being a VVC and living in the West End alongside our neighbors in need. Likewise, from a personal perspective, this “yes” was one of the hardest ones I have ever had to make so I imagine my community members have had similar experiences. However, although it was a difficult decision to make, I know God is calling me to be here for a reason and I feel honored to be given this experience through Him.

Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same? – Our living space is intentional and one that we pray to grow in and through. God is changing our hearts every second and every day of being here. I have never been to Cincinnati before and I committed myself to taking that leap of faith to do something I have never done before and to go somewhere that I have never been. I am ready to “never be the same”.

Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known? – As a community we are trying to embody the Vincentian message through every action we take. Personally, I am seeing God’s face in our neighbors in such a profound and beautiful way. I am also taken back by my community member’s generosity to this question; they are all wonderful examples of Christ to me.

Will you let my life be grown in you and you in me? – As I mentioned before, God is growing in each of us every day. However, I can personally say that I am feeling closer to God through my neighbors and co-workers, I am reassured that I am where God is calling me to be and I pray this closeness I am feeling only continues to get stronger.

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name? – I am a twin and prior to this experience Isabella and I had only ever been apart for a short period of time. By coming to Cincinnati, I was in a very real way leaving myself behind because I have always been my twin’s follower and always stepped back to allow her to take the lead. For the first time ever, I am challenged to be my own person and grow as an individual.

Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same? – My community members and I feel passionately about our neighbors and the overall social justice system. From my end, I am doing what I can to promote a sense of community and equality among myself and those who I am serving alongside. While I can say that I may never be the same again through this experience, I am also striving to make sure my neighbors feel the same way through their encounters with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare? -When I tell people I am a part of a yearlong service program, I often receive the response; “why would you want to do that?” or, “don’t you want to get your life started?” These questions make me feel like I am risking the hostile stare because I know some won’t approve or understand my choice/calling to be here. However, I am firm that my life will flourish through this experience.

Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me? – I am enchanted by this question and humbled by its simplicity and strength. Although it is a question that is difficult to grasp, I am tickled by the idea that God is working through me, my community members, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul as a whole to do His will and to be His hands and feet.

While I can keep going through the song, I feel that the first two verses of this hymn asks all the right questions in regard to how I am feeling about VVC, my experiences with community and SVDP so far. Likewise, these questions resonate with me through the way they keep me in-line with the ways I should be living the Vincentian mission this year and beyond. I am very blessed to be here and I am very hopeful for my future as an advocate and Vincentian.

Experiencing the VVC Community Living

By Sarah Ochieng

Community

 

August 27th, 2017 was my first official day as a VVC. To me, this day was the first day of testing whether I had made the right choice by accepting to do a year of service. One of the things VVC requires of us is to live in intentional community with one another. While some people might find this exciting, I anticipated intentional living to be my most challenging VVC experience. This is because I knew that most intentional communities require the community members to always be together and to constantly partake in communal activities.

As an introvert, I dreaded the thought of always being around people since I get mentally and physically exhausted after spending a lot of time socializing. Thus, I often need time alone to recharge my energy. In spite of this, I believed that intentional community was necessary for a great service experience.

Living in an intentional community make for a great service experience because, in addition to impacting self-growth, it brings about the feeling of togetherness, support, and positive interactions with people who share the same interests. These things are important when participating in a year of service because people often learn new things about themselves, their surroundings, and their neighbors. This form of learning enables the members to grow and experience new things, which in turn gives rise to change. It is this intentional community that helps you during the transition process as other members of the community are also experiencing their own periods of transition. Consequently, this makes intentional living beneficial.

Knowing the benefits of living in an intentional community did not deter me from worrying about how challenging it would be for me to practice this. Nevertheless, my positive nature empowered me to embrace the VVC experience in hope that all will be well. After living with other VVC members for one month, I am glad to say that I am enjoying living in an intentional community because we get to learn about, support and also celebrate each other as we socialize.

What makes my VVC community experience fun is that we strive to respect each other in everything that we do – including both respecting peoples’ alone time and our community time as well – and we also acknowledge that there are other equally important people in our lives beside the VVC experience such as family and friends that we also need to connect with.

Furthermore, I appreciate the fact that each VVC’s get their own private bedrooms. This is because it is important to have a private place to practice solitude that allows one to reboot their brain and unwind, especially since we all live and work together.

Nevertheless, knowing that “WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER” gives me hope that VVC will continue to give me good experiences. I am also assured that in the event that I have a rough day at work, I can go home and vent to people who understand my situation since we all have shared experiences and face similar struggles in service.

 

 

 

 

What Community Means to Me

community-group

By Phyllis Kyei Mensah

Community, a place where unity is created in diversity is born… A place where we are temporarily distanced from our loved ones so we can gain new ones; Where we were total strangers just the last minute but became comraderies in love and service the minute after; Where old dreams and ambitions will die to be reborn into new exploits and aspirations; where we stepped in to the unknown but will step out to long lasting friendship and surety; Where we learn to overcome our differences and our imperfections; Where imperfections are turned into strengths and strengths into achievements and service to those who need most…

Even though I have lived in one form of communal living or the other in educational settings, I have still lived a very independent life and haven’t had to answer to anyone about basic decisions concerning my life. In these periods, I have lived a simple life by spending as little as I could to save money. It has never been a result of a conscious philosophical questioning of consumerism. However, community living has given me a chance to have deeper thoughts about simple living and the impact of our everyday spending choices on other people and the environment.

It is one thing to share an accommodation with seven housemates but an entirely different thing to have to build consensus with these people on almost every aspect of your life in the course of the year, especially when we have all come from different places.

The most challenging aspect of living in this community for me has been the fact that I can no longer have the prerogative to decide on routine daily activities and exercises by myself. I now have to consider the impact of my lifestyle preferences and decisions on the other members of the community and I have had to confer with seven other people to make some of these decisions.

However, these have been great lessons for me and I have come to value and cherish this aspect of community living. I have learnt to listen to and respect the opinion of others on even the most mundane issues of life. I am now able to shed off the long-held position of being the ‘boss’ of my life for the new role of a being a ‘board member’ of my life in our shared community. I have also learnt to replace ‘self-interest’ with selflessness and communality, virtues that, I believe, are very important in life.

I have also come to appreciate the awesome stories, experiences, skills and talents that people have and continue to share with me. For most of these, I would never have had the opportunity to experience but for the community.

Game time has always been a great time and so far, I haven’t denied the community a chance to have a good laugh about my ineptitude at playing games. Hopefully, I get to improve but otherwise, who cares? We get to have a good laugh after-all.

I have also really enjoyed conversations in the kitchen and the dining rooms while savoring all the delicious cuisines cooked by community members.

Although the year is still young and we have much more to experience, I know that this community has begun on a very good note. It is my hope that as the year wears on; we continue to share in love, hope and faith rather than battle with conflicts and regrets.

… It is this community that I commit to for the next ten months; to uphold, respect and love everything that the community and its members stand for.

Meet the 2017-2018 Vincentian Volunteers of Cincinnati Cohort

First day at Work

David, Ana, Carmen, Mary Ellen, Sarah, Phyllis, Preeya, and Jack

 

Ana Davila is originally from Clifton Park, NY and joins VVC after her time at Niagara University (a Vincentian school), where she completed a major in Developmental Disabilities and a minor in Religious Studies. Ana spent a summer with Vincentian Lay Missionaries in Kenya working with the Daughters of Charity, and has also spent time at a St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen. Ana will spend her year serving with our Social Services department.

“By doing service and expressing my Vincentian spirituality I have learned that it is more than just helping those who are less fortunate than I; it is an expression of equality. It is about inclusion and by uniting us through that sense that God made us all equal; He doesn’t love me over the marginalized.”

 

Jack Delisio is a Cincinnati native who completed his undergraduate degree in History with minors in Latin and Greek from Xavier University. He traveled to multiple places during his time at Xavier to learn more about social justice and the issues people in poverty face. He also served as the Summer Service Intern at SVDP in the Ozanam Center during the summer of 2015. This year, Jack will help facilitate immersion and retreat programs through the Ozanam Center for Service Learning.

“Living simply means finding value not in superficial things but in lasting and meaningful experiences, moments, and relationships. On the flipside, living simply also means de-cluttering one’s life by removing those things which are superfluous, empty, and insignificant. Another important part of living simply is aligning your words and actions with your values.”

 

David Devlin comes to VVC from West Middlesex, PA. He completed his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Dayton. While at UD, he was actively involved with a service brotherhood and led various groups in music ministry. He was also involved in service experiences in Dayton. David will be serving in our Choice Food Pantry for his VVC year.

”I had an idea of what poverty was but I never imagined it happening so close to home. At the time I didn’t think too much of my experience at the soup kitchen but looking back I think it was a valuable experience to learn a little bit about poverty and serving those less fortunate than myself.”

 

Phyllis Kyei Mensah  is originally from Sunyani, Ghana. She completed her Master’s degree from Miami University (OH) in Political Science where she was involved in various research projects. She also earned an African Studies degree at Oxford University in the UK prior to coming to the US. She has been actively engaged in her church in Oxford, OH. Phyllis will be splitting her time between our Community Relations department and supporting our Winton Hills Outreach Center.

“As part of my faith, I am an ardent believer of the doctrine of expressing love to everybody we encounter during our lifetime. I therefore find meaning in being a blessing in my own small way to people I encounter.”

 

Carmen Lopez Agredano comes to VVC from Algeciras, Spain. She has a background in political science, and she completed her Master’s degree in Public Administration & NGO Administration from Granada University. She worked as an au pair in England, Ireland & France and did a year-of-service in Lithuania. She completed an internship for her Master’s degree in Paraguay. Carmen will support the work of the Conferences and provide much-needed translation for our direct services and pharmacy.

“The question “What is there to do?” really shocked and inspired me; it is a question that we all have to ask every single day.”

 

Sarah Ocheing  is originally from Nairobi, Kenya and comes to VVC through her time at Xavier University, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Political Science/ Theatre and Gender & Diversity studies major/minors. She held numerous leadership positions and received various awards during her time at Xavier, and she also completed a summer service internship with the Ohio Justice and Policy Center. Sarah will be working with the Getting Ahead program and providing some assistance to our Social Services department.

“Living simply means that we examine our daily lives, be conscious of our spending habits, and the way we spend our time. Instead of focusing on materialistic things and technology, living a simple life calls us to focus on the things that matter. These things are people, our relationships with others, our planet, and ourselves.”

 

Preeya Waite is from Cincinnati, OH, and she completed her undergraduate degree in Biology with a minor in Theology from Xavier University.  She was heavily involved at Xavier with the alternative breaks program and off-campus in area nonprofit organizations. She was also involved in biology research during her time at Xavier. You will find Preeya providing support to patients through the Charitable Pharmacy.

“By experiencing God’s unconditional love for me, I have been able to radiate that same love onto others in the community whom I encounter, and I do not know if I would be the same person if I did not have such a strong faith in God.  The Bible instructs us to love our neighbors and I take pride in attempting to live my life in the way that Jesus intended for us.” 

 

Mary Ellen Ostrowski, is originally from Eau Claire, WI, and she received her Biology degree from Benedictine College. She has just completed a year with VVC, serving in the Charitable Pharmacy. She will be joining us for a Fellowship year, a new leadership position with VVC in which she will be working with the VVC program rather than in a direct service capacity within one of the departments at SVDP.

“I have seen the benefits of community, especially in being able to process the work we do and the questions and issues we are wrestling with throughout the year. I think mission needs community to support it, and community needs mission to drive it forward. I don’t think you can have one without the other.”

A Day of Rest

By Mary Ellen Ostrowski

Over the course of this year, we have had many conversations about the concept and practice of voluntary simplicity. Composting, recycling, and being challenged to be aware of what I am buying and consuming have all become commonplace in my life. However, when I really look at my life and in what ways I struggle to live simply, most of the time the answer is in how I spend my time.

So much of my time is spent worrying about to-do lists, schedules, and how “productive” I am. I use my weekends to catch up on all the tasks I was unable to do during the course of the week. When I am not doing those things, I find myself spending my time ‘escaping’, particularly through the media. Whether it’s Netflix, Facebook, or Pinterest, there always seems to be an amusing video to watch, a friend to Facebook stalk, or a delicious (looking) recipe to try.

While these things can be fun, beneficial, and helpful (I’m looking at you Pinterest crock-pot recipes), I have come to find in my life that when I overindulge in these things (which can be often), I don’t find that I am able to enter into true, simple, life-giving rest. They add to the mental clutter in my life, and I usually don’t feel refreshed after spending so much time indulging in screen-time. Even when my justification for spending my time this way comes from wanting to relax after the busyness or stress of the day, I usually don’t actually feel a reprieve from the stress or refreshed from the bustle of the day after zoning out in front of yet another episode of “The Office.”

Recently, the VVCs and I were privileged to have the opportunity to spend time at a lake house, relaxing by the lake, kayaking, tubing, and entering into good conversation with good food and drink. When I looked back on this day, one of the things I was struck by was that I didn’t look at a screen of any kind the entire time we were there. Moreover, I didn’t even miss my phone or my computer, and I certainly didn’t need to ask for the WiFi password. We were in the sun all day, tubing behind a boat, and kayaking, so I figured I would be exhausted afterward (and I certainly was tired), but I also felt so content and joy-filled. For me, this was an experience of true rest and leisure, not of just filling my time with more tasks or the noise of the world.

bob's lake house.jpg

The past few months, I have been convicted of the importance of a true day of rest. In a world based on doing and going, it is so important to find time to step away from the busyness of life to enter into true leisure, to look for ways to connect with God, with friends, and with family. Whether it is hiking, boating, spending the day with a good book and a cup of fancy coffee, or spending the day cooking a nice meal with friends (if you don’t find that a chore), spending time in true rest is so important to recharge and to be able to look deeper into life. These things can also be catalysts for silence and contemplation, as well as building community. For me, I am trying to make Sunday about worship and making space for life-giving leisure, not about checking off more items from my to-do list or escaping into media.

As I finish up this year with VVC, one of the ideas I want to take with me beyond this year is not only practicing voluntary simplicity in how I choose to use my material goods, but also how I use my time and energy. I want to make sure I make time for silence, for building community, and for growing closer to God, and not just watching re-runs of “The Office.” Leaving time for life-giving leisure simplifies my life, my mind, and my heart.

Finding Peace Within Chaos

by Sarah Spech

Recently, Molly and I went to Smale Park to do yoga in the evening. For both of us, this was a huge step into the uncomfortable. For me, I had to not only begin practicing yoga again–but do it in public. Doing yoga in the park allows me to be both outside in the fresh air and sunshine, and also practice yoga, which heals my body, mind, and spirit. It’s the best of both worlds.

Even though it was my idea, I knew that the only reason I wasn’t turning around was that Molly was walking next to me with her mat into the park.

As she lead us through different poses, I struggled to pay attention to my breathing and my current self. The noises around me–kids yelling, dogs barking, feet running on concrete, bells chiming, cars passing–all called to me, vying for my attention. The world was literally moving around me, and it was my job to find the center within myself even through it all.

Focus, especially sustained focus, has been a barrier between me and many spiritual activities like meditation, yoga, and silent prayer.

I found in that park that I could more easily notice when I lost focus and draw myself back in. Rather than getting lost within my own head, I was being distracted by external stimuli. The physical separation between my mind and the distractions helped me to bring myself into myself.

It’s still a challenge to center within myself and focus on the present moment of simply being instead of the many responsibilities competing for my attention all day. But this practice has finally given me a space to exercise that ability.

It’s a moment of peace. It’s acknowledging the world but making time for myself within its chaos.

World Environment Day 2017

Photo: St. Vincent de Paul’s garden, in which staff and volunteers grow fresh produce to fill the shelves of the Choice Pantry.

By Maura Carpinello

It was Christmas during my year of service with Colorado Vincentian Volunteers.  I had traveled back East to visit my family for a few days.  I had a mid-morning snack then wandered around my mom’s kitchen for what seemed like minutes, trying to figure out where I should dispose of my banana peel.  (It was probably only 30-45 seconds, in reality.) I reluctantly tossed it into the trashcan, finally realizing there was no compost bin.

This very brief incident has remained in my brain for well over a decade now, a tangible reminder of the incredible power of habits – and the way in which such small acts can be truly transformational.  Not having access to a compost bin for my banana peel has become my often-used analogy for acknowledging the impact that small movements can make and impels me toward greater acts of change, even when I think it won’t make a difference.

I am a tree hugger.  I get laughed at when I walk to the printer twice to manually double-side anything I print. I carry things like banana peels and apple cores with me until I can get to a place where I can compost them. I also carry a reusable water bottle with me everywhere I go. I try to purchase mostly second-hand clothing and support companies with an honest and serious commitment to the environment. And my family prides itself on having only one bag of trash every week. All of these small things might not make a significant dent in the enormous environmental problem our planet currently faces, but it helps me to know that I use half as much paper than I otherwise would; I do my best to minimize what goes into the landfill; I rarely contribute to the 50 billion plastic bottles used in the US in a year (and when I do, they are most definitely recycled); and I’m making the trash collector’s life a little bit easier by not making him drag a heavy trash can to the dump truck.

And more importantly, for me, these small efforts are part of a bigger picture – an effort to live a more seamless way of life, where Care for Creation stretches well beyond people to encompass the Earth and all of God’s creatures.  Where people and things are treated with dignity and respect. Where people and things are not considered disposable. Where I recognize and act not only for my own benefit, but because I know and am aware of the ways in which my actions have a ripple effect.  Where I know that the ripple effect most negatively impacts my brothers and sisters experiencing poverty, in my own community and across the world.

“It is the poor and vulnerable who disproportionately suffer from the effects of climate change, such as hurricanes, floods, droughts, famines and water scarcities.  These climate change impacts threaten to foster more desperation and suffering in the world that could lead to more global instability and unrest. It is our moral duty…and in our national interest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and assist the poor and vulnerable among us to adapt.” (Archdiocese of Cincinnati Social Action Office)

Having spent my career walking alongside, encountering, and hoping to do some small thing to support people experiencing poverty, this reality truly grounds me in my convictions and efforts. Knowing that I can – and must – use my privilege in support of those who do not have that luxury challenges me to try harder and do more. People in the West End neighborhood in Cincinnati, who have no access to a grocery store in their neighborhood and few opportunities for education or employment around the corner from where they live, have an air quality level that is much lower than that in my own neighborhood within the city limits. Meanwhile, people in the Ocotillo community in El Salvador suffer from a lack of clean drinking water. No matter where we look, it is our neighbors most in need who suffer most from the effects of environmental degradation. It is unjust, and it is a call to action.

“Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.” (Pope Francis, Laudato Sí, 23)

We all have the great responsibility to share these realities and struggles, challenges and invitations to live better, more intentionally, more consciously. I have the gift of being able to do so with the Vincentian Volunteers of Cincinnati. As VVC welcomes a new community each summer, I slowly unveil my banana-peel-carrying oddities, hoping to reveal the depth of purpose, meaning, and intention of each of these seemingly silly acts and hoping to inspire them, too, to look more carefully and more intentionally at their own actions and habits and how they impact others along the way. Just as mentors and role models in my own life have shaped and challenged my way of life for the better, I hope that I can impart a piece of this gleaned wisdom so that our ripple can grow wider.

“Once we start to think about the kind of world we are leaving to future generations, we look at things differently; we realize that the world is a gift which we have freely received and must share with others. Since the world has been given to us, we can no longer view reality in a purely utilitarian way, in which efficiency and productivity are entirely geared to our individual benefit. Intergenerational solidarity is not optional, but rather a basic question of justice, since the world we have received also belongs to those who will follow us. (Pope Francis, Laudato Sí, 159)”

Growth Through VVC

By Molly Gibbons

Growth may stem from many different things.: The people I surround myself with, the way I pass time, the mistakes I make and what I do with the lessons I learn. All of these elements, and many more along the way, are the works of true growth. Living outside of my comfort zone has allowed me to uncover rhymes and reasons behind my way of being.

Living out my faith in action through VVC has created a solid platform for me to continue to build upon. Even the strengths that I had before the start of this journey have been sculpted into skills that I can use in both my professional and personal lives. I am not leaving this program an entirely new person, nor would I want to. I am leaving this program with a heightened awareness, true patience, and the deepest form of gratitude I have ever experienced.

I know I have grown because I am moving forward in a physical, spiritual, and mental sense. Using each encounter as a tool to evaluate and reflect on my way of being. Listening to not only the words of others, but most importantly, the words I choose to speak. Exploring questions and finding answers to what it is I stand for and how I present myself to the world. I have learned that these questions will never fully go away, because I am committed to living a life full of passion and purpose.

Continuously putting myself in situations and surrounding myself with individuals who will challenge me and offer me a sense of unity. Seeing the world through another lens, experiencing a different collection of people, not simply observing how another lives, but striving to understand who they are is done through empathy. My empathy has allowed me to go beyond observing how others live and strive to understand them on a personal level.

Understanding the importance to never judge or make an assumption about another person. I am not here to hate; I am here to heal. As much as the work I do can be frustrating and seemingly hopeless at times, when I ground myself into my role of healing, I respond with love. I am not responsible for solving the world’s problems, but I can use my gifts to raise the vibrations that carry us all.

 

Molly Gibbons is a Margate City, NJ native who brings good vibes to this year’s VVC cohort. She enjoys meditation, burning incense to soothe the soul, and has found that everything tends to fall in place when a person approaches life with an open heart.

Restlessness

By Molly Gibbons

Restlessness is a feeling I have gotten to know pretty well during my time here on earth. It’s the feeling that comes up when I have been in one place for awhile, one that appears during times of frustration or excitement, and one that interrupts my peace of mind if I don’t keep a close eye on it. I used to think that it was my responsibility to get rid of this feeling altogether. I am feeling restless? This must mean that something in my life is wrong. This must mean that I need to make a change–and fast! I would do anything to chase this feeling away. I have lived a pretty colorful life thus far, and that has all been intentionally arranged. Seeking out opportunities, meeting new people, and traveling to different places is how I have managed to “escape” this feeling of restlessness. But, sure enough, no matter what my situation may be, I have recognized that this feeling continues to pop up from time to time.

What does this mean? It means that restlessness is a part of life. The trick is not to run from the restlessness, but to accept the feeling. If I feel this restlessness come on, it doesn’t mean I need to immediately jump ship and switch gears completely. Letting myself know that restlessness is a part of life actually ends up subsiding a lot of this feeling altogether. Running away will simply cause this feeling to eventually follow me to my next venture. It is when one is able to sit in the restlessness and continue with their daily rituals that this restless feeling will pass.

One of the many discoveries I have made so far during my year with VVC is that I am capable of accepting this restlessness. Dedication to personal and group reflection has allowed me to understand that it is, in fact, a part of life and not something that I am alone in dealing with. Although I may not have control over many aspects to do with contributing to restless feelings, I always have control over all the thoughts that enter my head. A way I have learned to sit with this feeling is through being mindful in ways of staying present in the now and practicing meditation. Adopting meditation into my daily routine has created space in my mind and invited ease into my approach on all things I deal with.

Meditation comes in many different forms and is meant to be a practice! Beyond silent and still meditation, one can also practice through walking, music, reading, etc. I am thankful for my relationship with mindful behaviors and encourage others to explore a practice that feels right to them. The key to inviting a new practice into one’s life is to listen to your body. Just like anything else, being mindful about dealing with restlessness is something that will take time and dedication. From personal experience, I can say the time you spend on meditation will better serve you than the time you spend on feeling stuck in the hopeless cycle of “restlessness.”

 

Molly Gibbons is a Margate City, NJ native who brings good vibes to this year’s VVC cohort. She enjoys meditation, burning incense to soothe the soul, and has found that everything tends to fall in place when a person approaches life with an open heart.