“At MOMENT we believe mediation is a tool for our mental wellbeing and our mental health. We also see mediation as a social responsibility.”
This is Anita. Co-founder of MOMENT Meditation, Anita is positive, inspiring, connecting force in this city. Yesterday afternoon I walked into her Gastown House of Meditation and was greeted with the warmth of a hug and cup tea. She showed me around her beautiful space and we chatted about her journey to today, how MOMENT was birthed, and our collective social responsibilities… so you know, we kept it light 😉
Driving home from my visit with Anita I was listening to “On the Coast” with Stephen Quinn. His guest, Chris Erickson a political scientist at UBC with a background in philosophy, were chatting about the recent terror attack in Las Vegas. Stephen asked what can we do in light of these kind of events and Chris suggested, among other things, to take ten minutes out of their day to just breath. We are inundated with horrible news. Every. GD. Day. (*expletives my own!) I couldn’t help but think this serendipitous. To have left a beautiful conversation with Anita in her Meditation House, to hear this interview and encouragement to use meditation to help process the insanity of today.
Meditation and mindfulness are scientifically and anecdotally proven to help folks deal with mental health issues. Anita shared with me her story of how meditation has helped with her own experience with depression. How a clinical approach to meditation is both research based and evidence backed. Meditation inspired Anita. She fell in love with it and wanted to share this love with everyone! So she did. Anita, in 2014 hosted her first pop-up mediation event. She was teaching yoga as her gig, but her true love and passion and what she kept coming back to, was meditation. Her second pop-up event in an air-stream trailer would be the one to ignite her career and birth MOMENT.
“What I’ve recognized after being in the wellness/ fitness/ health industry for 8+ years is that it is an immense privilege to be able to work on oneself- to have our other Maslow’s hierarchy of needs satisfied that we can look towards self-actualization. Yet with so much at our fingertips, we are less happier than ever before. There are so many books that tell us to look inwards, develop ourselves, in order to achieve happiness. The sense I’ve started to get from that is we’ve all become a little… self absorbed (unintentionally of course). I recently read The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu and they described that happiness is felt when we extend a hand to help others. When we are in service of others selflessly, and when we lift others up- that is the easiest way to feel happy.
And there is scientific backing with this! Our “Happy” class at MOMENT describes how thinking thoughts of goodwill for others, empathizing with others, increases the happiness circuit inside of our minds. AKA- it works.
When I say that meditation is a social responsibility, I am saying that it is a tool to help us understand how we show up in the world- for ourselves, and for others. We become more aware of our thoughts, our actions, and in some cases- our inaction. ” Anita Cheung – from our conversation.
Our conversation transitioned into Vancouver, this beautiful place we call home and it’s in-affordability. Anita told me that originally, MOMENT was priced to be on par with other meditation studios they knew of in cities like Los Angeles and New York but altered this so that Vancouverites don’t have to choose between meditation and fitness. They wanted to create a community that was more accessible.
MOMENT is a member’s club. To avoid the transactional feeling of a “studio”, meditators are encouraged to become members are welcome to attend any of the classes, whenever they’d like. It’s a home, a community, a support, and a safe place for your practice.
I asked Anita what she loves about Vancouver. I love asking this question. The answer is usually something to do with mountains and oceans but Anita’s face lit up as she told me of her love for her community, the amazing connections she has with other like-minded, entrepreneurial folk, and how it’s supportive and “ripe with collaborations.” Plus family. After spending a year away in Melbourne, Anita recognized the deep value of being near to your loved ones.
Rooted in the practise of mindfulness, Anita is an inspiration and a rad human of Vancouver! You can find her on social media and learn more about MOMENT here. Her website also offers a wealth of information including this reading list and a journal full of articles, interviews, and insights.