Beginner’s Mind

Wow! It’s time to hang up the wall calendar for a new year! Where did the last one go? My new calendar’s a beauty and a real shift from last year’s chilly emperor penguins — page after page of idyllic tropical locales, with sunswept beaches and crystalline water. I have an active fantasy vacation life.

There’s something so refreshing about a year’s worth of clean, empty pages. Those little blank squares have no idea what’s coming, and neither do I. So perhaps the best way to approach the new year is with a beginner’s mind. Remember how easy it was as a child? In the post-holiday blur, with the last present unwrapped and the tree dragged off to the curb, kids tend to forget about anticipation and get back to living in the moment. We adults like to try to control what happens, but maybe we shouldn’t work so hard at it. Have you noticed that when communicating your intentions to the universe, sometimes a little nudge redirects your life as effectively as a shove?

WLT experienced some dramatic redirection in ’05. Long-time readers may remember the shifts that started three years ago when we joined forces with the Dragonfly Media chain. Now our four-city holistic lifestyle magazines have a new owner, a company called Conscious Enlightenment. The new group is grounded in yoga and meditation, and we’re working together to determine our editorial course. In any event, we’re excited at the breath of fresh air and looking forward to a long-promised redesign in the next few months, so stay tuned.
The City of Angels is experiencing beginner’s mind with our new mayor, who is off to a commendable start. I had my first opportunity to hear him in person at the City of Justice Awards Dinner hosted by Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), and while he was dynamic, the highlight of my evening was a chat with a genial gent who introduced himself as Chip Murray. It wasn’t until his rousing address as the Keynote Speaker that I had any inkling he was Dr. Cecil Murray, the pastor who built the First A.M.E. Church from a congregation of 300 to 17,000. The reverend has enough wattage to light up the city!

The evening was an eye-opener in another way. Die-hard progressives like me tend to think it’s our votes swaying California elections, but in fact the downfall of the governor’s initiatives can be much attributed to the determination and dedication of the working class, who organized in monumental numbers to make their message heard.

LAANE helped them hit the streets, man phone banks and get out the vote. I was heartened to see the power of a unified community.

We may, at long last, see our collective national mind opening as well. With a majority of the country hoping to give peace a chance, the Senate has agreed not to challenge a proposed Democratic-led filibuster of the Patriot Act. Hopefully, by the time you read this, we will be well on our way to repealing — or at least rewriting — this incursion on our freedom.

In another bit of good news, Diebold, manufacturer of error-sensitive electronic voting machines that helped determine the outcome of the last two presidential elections, was hit with a double whammy: They failed a hack test in Florida, prompting a reported vow by the Elections Director of Leon County never to allow Diebold’s machines to be used in another election; and a securities fraud suit was filed against them the same day. If we use accurate voting machines, we may find that exit polls correspond with vote tallies once again.

If not, I suggest we go back to hand counting. We won’t get our answers the same day, but is that important? We may have dashes between birthday and death day on our tombstones, but that doesn’t mean we have to dash through all those years in the middle.

Happy New Year! We are grateful for your continued partnership and look forward to an exciting year as part of the larger “conscious community.”

From my heart,
Abigail Lewis

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