A flurry of emails flew back and forth last March as we debated whether to hold our ZL3 program at the Spring Green Dojo as planned. With the guidance of several physicians and a CDC insider, we went ahead with our program. It was the last in-person training we were able to run. While no one from our program got sick, the reality of the virus set in a week later and life changed for all of us.
Within two days of lockdown, our IZL Board Chair, Rebecca Ryan, launched online meditation (Zazen) twice a day to keep our community together and training. That effort has grown into a full-fledged Virtual Dojo under the leadership of Heather Scobie Roshi, hosting Zen training every 12 hours along with numerous webinars and more intensive training opportunities.
Within two weeks, we re-imagined our entire IZL curriculum to work across a virtual platform. We slashed our prices and offered scholarships to those who needed them. We pulled together resources for people in healthcare to boost their resilience. As we moved into the unrest of the summer and the cry of “I can’t breathe” that shook a nation, we launched a webinar series to look more deeply at how we could resonate a better world and be a force for anti-racism and healing our society and planet. All of this has been possible only through generosity: the generosity of time from so many teachers and other volunteers and your generous financial support that has allowed us to survive a difficult year.
We have more work to do. When we look at the fragile state of our democracy, the divisions that have sliced us apart, our broken response to coronavirus, or the fear running rampant in those who either feel lost or feel they’ve lost, we see the growing need for Zen Leaders in every segment of society. These are leaders who can be one-with-others, serve the whole picture, settle fear and heal alienation. Zen Leaders are working to heal individuals, systems and communities even now and, with your support, we are well-positioned to develop more of them.
Since writing Resonate, I’ve been even more attuned to the importance of getting energy to add up for desired change. I’m committed to bringing these principles to others in a new online course next year, and also living into those principles with how we get IZL’s efforts to add up. In the coming year, we hope to:
It is your support that will make all of this possible. In this COVID-crazy year, our program revenues are far below normal, while the needs and opportunities are greater than ever. Your donation closes this gap. Please be part of the generous cycle that helps us add up to what the world needs us to be.
CEO, Institute for Zen Leadership