In November 2014, Lynn Sipher and Julie Woodward were partners in a creative visioning exercise called “What is Possible?” Lynn, reflecting for moment to identify her vision of what is possible, found herself answering the question with the words: "Mindful City." Lynn and Julie discussed this inspiration to clarify how the idea of mindful city might, indeed, be possible. As ideas for creating local opportunities for mindfulness emerged, Lynn and Julie agreed to pursue the idea, and asked other mindfulness teachers to join them to turn this possibility into a reality.
Our team met in December 2014 where we agreed on first steps: 1) to create secular spaces in our community where individuals would have opportunities to meditate in various neighborhoods, businesses and central locations on different days of the week and 2) to connect with other like-minded organizations to strengthen opportunities for engagement in this practice.
As our first community connection, Mindful City contacted Marianne James, the Executive Director of The Ark, who agreed to open that space for a weekly meditation session. Experienced instructors from the Ann Arbor Center for Mindfulness, all trained in teaching secular meditation, volunteered to lead these sessions free of charge and open to the public. Being in Tune - Mindfulness Meditation at The Ark has met weekly since June 2015 and to date draws an average of 25 new and experienced meditators per session.
Mindful City maintains a strong affiliation with The Ann Arbor Center for Mindfulness and the Michigan Collaborative for Mindfulness in Education, whose organizations provide trained instructors in mindfulness. We support the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ) regarding the Charter for Compassion, as passed by Ann Arbor City Council in September 2015. We believe that mindfulness practice supports compassion, and provides a foundation for creating a compassionate community.