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2020 Year-End Reflection
Maria Ramos-Chertok Maria Ramos-Chertok
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: San Francisco, CA
Thursday, December 31, 2020


 Well, 2020 is coming to an end. As I look back on this year, it’s filled with strategies for coping. I consider myself lucky to be healthy and have the luxury of working from home.  And within my small world here I, like many, have had bouts of anxiety, mild depression, boredom, sadness, and fear.  I’ve tried various things to help calm my mind and my soul:  walking, exercising, assembling puzzles, meditating, listening to podcasts, watching the Queen’s Gambit, signing up for Zoom events, donating to causes, creating a storytelling YouTube channel for kids, and writing a blog.  Of all these things, one instance stands out that I want to share.

Several weeks ago, as my mind was in a flurry of agitation and I wasn’t able to quiet it down, I decided to listen to a guided loving-kindness meditation (metta meditation) that my sister had sent me. I laid down on my rug and followed the steps of sending love, wellbeing, and peace to myself, then to someone I love, then to someone I’m neutral about, and finally to someone for whom it’s hard for me to send good wishes, ending with sending wishes of wellbeing to all in our universe. When I got to the part about someone neutral, I chose my mailman. This human who touches my life daily, but whom I never thank or think about. I brought his face to mind, I sent him love, wellbeing, and peace. It felt a bit odd, yet I followed the instructive prompts.

At the end of my experience, my mind did feel calmer, my soul had settled.  I was grateful for the teaching.  I continued on about my day.

A few days later as I was on my daily walk, I passed the mailman. I looked in his direction. For the first time ever, he smiled and waved at me. I was struck by the change in his demeanor. I smiled. I waved back. I was jittery with what I experienced as magic.  

Now we wave each time we see one another.

When I shared this story with my friend, a practicing Buddhist, she explained that the purpose of the mediation was to open my heart, implying that his sudden 180-degree change of demeanor was not the point. I was grateful for her wisdom while also holding onto my belief that by opening my heart I created the invisible conditions for him to receive my good wishes and respond in kind.  

I’m ending the year by enjoying the simple possibility that I tapped into another plane by doing that guided mediation. That’s where I want to live more and learn from in 2021. 

From my heart to yours, Happy New Year!

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Name: Maria Ramos-Chertok
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