June 30, 2017

A guided meditation for nonprofit professionals

Finding solutions to development challenges can be brutal, exhausting, soul-crushing, and at times, thankless work. This guided meditation by NonprofitAF might just be the answer to maintaining our sanity as we continue fighting the good fight.

4 min read

Find a comfortable position, whether sitting on your favorite donated chair, lying down on a cushy donated sofa, or huddled up in the fetal position beside a milk crate filled with 300 copies of your gala program booklets that you refused to recycle for some reason.

Let’s take several deep breaths. With each breath, feel your body relax and your worries drifting away.

Breathe in…and out…your 1,700 unread emails are gone.

In…and out…the 175 items on your to-do list have faded away.

Breathe in…and slowly exhale…F that annual event.

Now imagine you are at your office, but it’s better.

Breathe in. And exhale.

Your office is clean. The sink has no dishes in it. Look at your reflection on the spotless microwave. You see a radiant, restful face staring back. Your left eye no longer has an involuntary twitch. You don’t look like someone on the verge of stabbing the next person who says you look tired. Because you don’t. You don’t look tired at all. The wrinkles and grey hair actually make you look distinguished and regal.

Breathe in and out.

There’s a new chair. Someone bought you an ergonomic chair. And an adjustable desk that can convert to sitting or standing. And it’s completely organized. Your desk is completely clutter-free and not a coffee-stained dumpster fire of chaos and broken promises. On your desk you have dual-monitors. And next to it is a printer that works. It prints double-sided and perfectly every time.

Your computer screen starts glowing. Look at your email inbox. You have only 12 emails. Three of them are from board members confirming their attendance at your next event. The rest are from community members thanking you for being awesome.

You see a door. You slowly open it. You are on a beach. That’s right, your office is on a beautiful white-sand beach next to the ocean. Feel the cool soft sand beneath your toes. Hear the waves. You are serene. You are relaxed. Nothing is on fire. Your hair is great.


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Turn your gaze to the sea. It is emerald green and tranquil. Breathe in deeply. Breathe out. Wait. Look closer. The ocean is green because it’s a giant sea of cash. Enough cash to fund your organization’s work forever.

A seagull flies by, squawking cheerfully. Listen closer. The seagull seems to be saying something. “Unrestricted, squawk…” says the seagull, “Unrestricted. And you are so smart, and people really like you, squawk.”

Breathe in the scent of the sea of unrestricted funds. You are relaxed AF. You can implement everything in your strategic plan and serve everyone who needs help. And all the staff at your organization get a raise and professional development funds. See their happy faces. They are smiling. Except the incompetent people; they get fired.

A butterfly flutters past your ear, whispering, “You are brilliant and people really like you.”

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“As you can imagine,” continues the unicorn, “there are no nonprofits here. Nonprofits are not needed. Community members take care of one another. No one is left out; everyone belongs. Because the world is perfect and we are not needed, all of us can pursue our hobbies, creating art and music, and snuggling. Some of us make craft beer for the monthly community potlucks and 90’s-Hip-Hop-themed Karaoke parties. Plus, the wifi here is amazing, so we can watch all our favorite shows all day.”

Suddenly, a giant high-definition TV appeared on a wall. “What show would you like to watch?” asks the unicorn, “Firefly? Arrested Development? Here, your favorite shows were never cancelled, and the Walking Dead’s Season 7 is actually good.” You look around the village and feel a single tear trickling down your face.

“We love you,” says Equity the unicorn, its eyes tearing up too, “you are so amazing and talented and good-looking and humble and witty and so stylish–”

“And you have impeccable dental hygiene,” says a bunny that hops by.

“But you are needed in your world,” says the unicorn.

You don’t want to leave this world. You hug Equity tight.

“Go on, get out of here,” says the unicorn, pushing you away. Equity starts picking up rocks and throwing them at you. “Get out! Forget all those nice things I said about you! No one wants you here! I don’t need you!”

“Yeah, beat it!” says the bunny, “and floss more often.” But you know the unicorn and bunny are only being mean to make it easier for you to leave. You start to walk away.

“Wait,” says Equity, “come back. We do need you. But your world needs you more. I’ll take you back to your home.”

Breathe in the sights and sounds of the Land of Sustainability as you hop on to the unicorn.  See the laughing children and smiling elders and assorted woodland creatures wave at you as you take off into the sky.

You fly over the green ocean of cash and the white sand. Equity drops you off at your office. When I count to three, you will wake up feeling refreshed and alert and ready for the week.




Wake up.

You are sooooooo relaxed and refreshed. Now go tackle your five billion emails and to-do items.

This was originally published on NonprofitAF. You can view the article here.

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Nonprofit work is stressful. But it is fun, and there’s tons of humour to mine from it. Nonprofitaf explores what it is like to work in nonprofit, including fundraising, working with donors, special events, community engagement, donor cultivation, program implementation, outcomes and metrics, who should staff the board, when staff are bored, bored board, board-staff relations, and unicorns.