While at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, one of the most powerful events I got to participate in was the mindfulness week program. At that time in 2017 I was the president of Graduate Students of All Nations, a group I founded to represent the needs of International Graduate students and support us by giving us an opportunity to share our perspectives and needs in ways that were not met by the International Students’ Association or the Graduate Student Association.

During one of these mindfulness events, I asked international students and scholars whom I had met over the years to share their most powerful stories. They ranged from being tear gassed and illegally crossing borders to escape war, to being introduced to deodorant by the person you would eventually marry and all the horrors and happiness in between.

It can be hard to make that first step toward mindfulness. but it is a door that once open is difficult to shut. We all want to be at peace with ourselves and the world around us. for many of us we believe we can close the world off and tighten up our bubble.

In fact, that is the most dangerous illusion there is. in fact, we have to open up and offer peace to those around us. listen to what your neighbor is going through. If we each helped our neighbors find peace, we would all be surrounded by it.

Be well. Be you. Be safe.