Awakin Calls » Cierra McNamara
Cierra McNamara: Meditator, Inventor, Community-Builder and Entrepreneur
Oct 22, 2016: Building a Community Sanctuary for Stillness and Inner Wisdom
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Cierra McNamara is a meditator, inventor, and Denver-based entrepreneur. She believes that each person has within themselves a “reservoir of wisdom, creativity and resilience that is cultivated through moments of stillness and silence.” This belief has driven her to found a meditation center, develop an adjustable meditation seat, and share her love for inner strength, peace, and well-being with anyone who walks through her door. In 2011 Cierra founded the Mayu Sanctuary, a member-owned, -operated, and -supported community meditation center in one of Denver’s busiest neighborhoods. With the goal of bringing meditation into the lives of ordinary people, she created a quiet, peaceful environment to allow people to slow down and reconnect with See full.
Cierra McNamara is a meditator, inventor, and Denver-based entrepreneur. She believes that each person has within themselves a “reservoir of wisdom, creativity and resilience that is cultivated through moments of stillness and silence.” This belief has driven her to found a meditation center, develop an adjustable meditation seat, and share her love for inner strength, peace, and well-being with anyone who walks through her door.
In 2011 Cierra founded the Mayu Sanctuary, a member-owned, -operated, and -supported community meditation center in one of Denver’s busiest neighborhoods. With the goal of bringing meditation into the lives of ordinary people, she created a quiet, peaceful environment to allow people to slow down and reconnect with themselves. Mayu is unaffiliated with a religion, lineage or tradition and does not promote one teacher or type of meditation technique. Visitors to the center are welcome to practice formal prayer or meditation of their choice, or informal silent activities such as reading or journaling.
Cierra opens her door to meditators of all levels of experience to attend a class or simply drop in, and offers support and resources for those who struggle with anxiety, depression, anger, grief, and illness or pain. Visitors have grown alongside the Sanctuary, evolving from customers to members and advocates as the community has grown stronger and more supportive. Five years after its founding, Cierra shifted the Sanctuary from a traditional for-profit business model to a co-op.
Over the years, Cierra has developed a multi-faceted philosophy, which forms the foundation and direction for her work. For her, Mayu exists as a reprieve from the difficulties of daily life, to provide a peaceful environment for people to reconnect with their own inner resources, to promote the advancement of mind-body disciplines, to demonstrate that every moment in life is precious, to spotlight often overlooked beauty, to provide continual reassurance and support to those who seek a well-lived life, and to encourage well-being in all forms.
In addition to her work at the Mayu Sanctuary, Cierra has also spent the last six years developing the Mayu Seat with her husband, Sean. Dismayed with the lack of seating options for meditators who don't sit on the floor, Cierra and Sean took it upon themselves to design a high-quality, versatile seat that gives all the ergonomic advantages of traditional meditation cushions and benches. Because they understood the importance of creating a seat that could adapt to every individual's needs, they set out to make the chair as customizable as possible.
“Even in the midst of life’s most tumultuous moments, there exists in everyone an undisturbable place of clarity that arises with awareness in the present moment.” In the years to come, Cierra hopes that the Mayu Sanctuary will “continue to evolve, offering services and companionship to anyone on their inner journey.” Because she believes that contentment is a long-term endeavor that requires an on-going commitment, she will continue to provide both literal and figurative stillness to her community of member-owners.
Join us on October 22 to learn more about the tremendous work Cierra is doing and hear where her journey will take her next.
Five Questions for Cierra
What Makes You Come Alive?
Listening to people talk about their lives. When a person, particularly someone who isn't a close friend, trusts you enough to share a heart-felt or painful moment, that space of courage and intimacy is a kind of soul nourishment.
Pivotal turning point in your life?
The end of my first serious relationship. After living with a boyfriend for six years in my 20's I was blindsided by his announcement that we were finished. After the shock and despair subsided I moved 3000 miles away and started a new life. It was the first time I learned that a single event can be both devastating and invigorating at the same time. I've since relied on that lesson many times.
An Act of Kindness You'll Never Forget?
This was unforgettable because it was so confounding. In college I was an exchange student in Manila. To get around the city most of the international university students rode jeepneys (the local public transportation). One afternoon I was waiting by the side of the road for a jeepney with a few other university students along with a crowd of Manila residents. A very old woman stared at me, then approached me, and reached out her hand trying to give me something. She was speaking to me in Tagalog which I couldn't understand. I held out my hand hesitantly as she dropped a few coins into my palm. Her granddaughter translated, "She says you shouldn't be here. She says you should take a taxi." The coins she tried to give me were a few sentimos, while the price for a taxi was at least 40 pisos. My mind went offline. I had no idea how to respond. An old lady was trying to give me money when, by all appearances, she had very little herself. I knew she'd never ridden in a taxi, she had no idea how much they cost. She was adamant, why was she insisting that I not take a jeepney? Was my presence on the side of the road offensive? Would it be rude to give the coins back? In the most bewildering minute of my life I gave her back the coins, bumbled repeated apologies and tried to disappear into the group of students. To this day I don't know how to interpret that interaction, but it was presumably the most selfless gesture of altruism I've ever experienced.
One Thing On Your Bucket List?
Participating in a poetry slam. I'm entranced by the artists who do them. I should probably start with something less sublime like karaoke.
One-line Message for the World?
Be ruthless in your self-examination; compassion is always the final result.
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