A Q&A with Sherwood Soley, IMS Growth Coordinator
Sherwood Soley just lately joined IMS as improvement coordinator, transferring to Barre, MA, from Philadelphia. To welcome him to IMS and to assist the sangha get to know Sherwood higher, IMS workers author Raquel Baetz interviewed him about his background, his work and meditation expertise, and what he enjoys doing when he’s not fundraising.
Inform us about your background, together with your expertise working in improvement.
I began in improvement with the Pittsburgh Opera about 20 years in the past and I beloved working inside the arts. From there, I went to Familylinks, a human companies group in Pittsburgh, the place I labored as a neighborhood integration supervisor. This position concerned connecting folks’s need to provide with the wants of the group.
I additionally labored in improvement on the School of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Mütter Museum, the place I organized a number of donor occasions. I beloved doing occasions there as a result of it’s a good looking architectural area crammed with fascinating collections that inform the historical past of medication.
From there, I switched gears a bit and started pursuing an curiosity in teaching for organizations. I used to be and am focused on how organizations carry a constituent in and the way they domesticate deeper relationships with these folks. That introduced me to non-public teaching and how we transfer deeper into our personal lives.
I’ve additionally taught yoga and meditation via Sheltered Yoga in Philadelphia. This is a corporation that brings the observe of mindfulness into shelters, transitional organizations, correctional services, and extra. I did a number of totally different work there along with instructing, together with serving to to construct the curriculum, fundraising, and organizational improvement.
What made you wish to work at IMS?
I’m right here as a result of I like mindfulness. I like what it has achieved for me. I like what the Dharma teaches, and I needed to proceed to develop my studying inside it. I wish to root myself within the Dharma in order that I’m extra grounded. And in order that I can use my background and expertise to share the Dharma with extra folks.
To be right here, to have the assist of this sangha, is wonderful. You may really feel the power and the stillness in all places right here, and it’s a relentless reminder to decelerate and take a breath.
I additionally needed to maneuver to a rural setting. I had been dwelling in cities for greater than 20 years and it was time for me to return to one thing slower with entry to extra nature, parks, and forests.
What are your work priorities at IMS?
Proper now, I’m specializing in our month-to-month giving program, Sustaining the Sangha, and the way we will develop it right into a wealthy, vibrant neighborhood. There are a number of advantages to month-to-month giving, and I would like individuals who give month-to-month to be acknowledged for the integral half they play in preserving IMS thriving. So, one among my main objectives is to nurture and develop this group of individuals.
Additionally, I’m our social media program and the way we will attain new audiences via it. As we’ve seen with IMS On-line, the urge for food for mindfulness, meditation, and the Dharma is there. So, I’m engaged on discovering that viewers and growing them to proceed to broaden entry to the observe and the teachings.
We’re additionally within the means of upgrading our improvement database to allow us to supply extra personalised data and communications with donors.
Inform us about your private meditation observe and what it means to you.
I began meditating 14 years in the past as a part of my yoga observe. It slowly grew from there into my very own observe at house.
I think about myself a religious mutt. I’ve studied with many alternative academics and many alternative types of mindfulness. My observe is about getting in contact with what’s transferring via me. I’m focused on uncovering what the story is that I’m telling myself or displaying to the world. Does it serve me? How can I stay a narrative that’s extra compassionate to the world and to myself? How can I be extra forgiving towards myself for being human and for making errors? I’ve by no means been on this actual second earlier than, so how can I’ve an expectation of being excellent when all I’ve is what’s unfolding proper right here and now?
My observe—whether or not it’s on the cushion or off—is about being with the perfection of every second, simply as it’s, with out the story or expectations or wanting or needing. It’s about studying to be type with myself and noticing my relationship to the unfolding of my life.
What else are you as much as?
Along with mindfulness, I like science fiction, and I’m engaged on a mission that mixes them. I’m at present calling it “Earth 2222.” It’s the story of what Earth could be like if everybody meditated. We’ve seen much more folks training meditation due to the pandemic. Colleges are implementing meditation, as are hospitals, police forces, correctional services, and so on. So, what if everybody began to meditate and it was commonplace? What does the world appear like 200 years sooner or later?
Somewhat than writing a dystopian story of warfare, battle, and wrestle, I wish to inform a brand new story during which society has begun to essentially shift, and we’re extra compassionate, loving, conscious, and aware of our decisions, actions, and our interconnectedness.
Lastly, I perceive that you’ve got a disco ball in your workplace. Is that this true?
I want it was! I hung a Swarovski crystal on a solar-powered spinner in my window, and when the sunshine hits it good, a rainbow of colours flies across the partitions. It’s like a disco ball. It occurs at 1 or 2 within the afternoon, so in case you’re round and it’s sunny, cease in and be bedazzled by it.