10 June

Meditation Class, The Mansion. Deeper And Deeper. A Shift In My Work There

by Jon Katz

I’m proud of my meditation class. They have come so far and shown tremendous personal growth.  A year ago, most of them slept through my talks and meditations. Today, they all closed their eyes, went inward, and felt calm and insight.

We talked, laughed, sat in silence, practiced our breathing, and meditated for eight minutes. They wanted more.

One of the most memorable moments was when Susan, who had been skeptical, finally closed her eyes and took a deep look within. The transformation was striking, as she appeared more serene and at peace than I had ever seen her. Maria, on the other hand, shared a beautiful poem by Mary Oliver. I, too, contributed by reading from Thich Nhat Hanh’s insightful book ‘Your  True Home’ and   his essay ‘Appreciating Simple Joys ‘.

We both love being there. We talked about finding joy.

We have to teach ourselves and our children how to appreciate the simple joys available,” Hanh wrote. He suggested they not be digital or require electric or battery power. It was a significant class for me.

It’s been a long day since everyone ran out of the room or went to sleep at the Mansion of Meditation.

My work at the Mansion is shifting, at least in my head. Nothing really has changed, yet change is in the air and is always inevitable.


Susan, the skeptic in the meditation class, is paying close attention now.

There is a new management, and after many months, I am still waiting to see one of them, meet one of them, or talk to them.  I am still waiting to learn of their plans and where I might or might not fit in.

I love the residents I work with and will stay with them and help them as long as possible; the Mansion work has been a central part of my life and meaning for nearly a decade.  I’m not going anywhere unless I’m asked to leave.

I have much to do and focus on – the refugee kids, Sue Silverstein’s art program,  the food pantry, life, work, farm, blog, and photography.  And flowers, of course, I’m into it deeply now.

I feel healthy and strong, and I owe the Army of Good so much for the support the Mansion residents have received from them. I have plenty of good to do at the Mansion and elsewhere.


Art and Zinnia, above. They are good friends now.

I’m urging the people I work with to re-establish wish lists, as we used to do on the Mansion, which has been so successful at the food pantry. That is primarily how we raised funds for art and other supplies.

Wish lists work. People can buy what they want as often as they wish, and the money goes straight to those who need it.

I will continue asking for Mansion support to come to my Mansion fund when specific needs arise, like Sharon’s plea for her digital pad after the first one wore out or for the shoes, toiletries, pajamas, and clothes some residents need but can’t afford.

The aides I first worked with let me know right away when someone needed help, but I don’t hear much of that now.

Most of the aides I have worked with and many residents are gone. I am very attached to those who remain, especially the students in my meditation group. The activity aids need to learn how to construct and navigate the Amazon Wish Lists, a significant contribution we made to non-profit fundraising.

Of course, I will continue my meditation class, and starting next week, I’ll begin making regular visits to the Memory Care Unit with Zinnia. We can be helpful there, and I love doing therapy work with the residents.

I’m still the go-to guy for clothes, toiletries, and used iPads.

The Mansion was and is one of the great experiences of my life, and I am not suggesting that it is over. I am just what the future holds for me or anyone else.

I still love it and have just as much to do but in different ways. I’ll make sure to keep you posted. Thanks again for your fantastic support. I’ll still need it.

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