Keith Mitchell, an NFL linebacker-turned-yogi, will present a meditation program Monday, Aug. 20, noon-1 p.m., in the Nott Memorial.
The event kicks off the Schenectady Peace Project’s Peace Week.
The native Texan will share his story of tragedy, triumph and transformation through a discussion and meditation session designed to promote mindfulness as a path to healing and peace.
The event is free to the campus community and the public. Some meditation pillows and chairs will be available, but participants are encouraged to bring their own comfortable seating.
Mitchell played for the New Orleans Saints, the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars beginning in the late 1990s. In 2003, at 29, he suffered a career-ending spinal cord injury after colliding with another player. He regained his ability to walk through rehab and embracing meditation, yoga and mindfulness. He now teaches these practices to military veterans, athletes, families and individuals throughout the country.
Schenectady Peace Project Peace Week, Aug. 20-27, is a chapter of the Global Peaceful Cities Project, begun in Albany several years ago.
In addition to Monday’s program, Union will host meditations for peace Tuesday, Aug. 21, through Friday, Aug. 24, and Monday, Aug. 27, at noon in the Strauss Unity Lounge (Room 305) in Reamer Campus Center. They, too, are free and open to the public.
“Not only will Mitchell be speaking and leading us in meditation in the Nott, but he also will appear at City Hall and Jerry Burrell Park,” said Karen Radley, assistant manager of the Union Bookstore and one of the organizers of Mitchell’s visit. Radley participated in an Omega Institute workshop with Mitchell three years ago and always envisioned bringing him to Union to speak.
Mitchell’s campus visit is sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Eppler-Wolff Counseling Center.
Radley also credits Global Peaceful Cities Project founder Bethany Gonyea and local yoga devotees Mary Clare O’Connor and Mati Michele Grieco-Hackett for their work with the peace initiative, which includes a research component.
In all, more than 40 free programs are scheduled throughout Schenectady and environs during Peace Week.
Radley noted that individuals, whether based in Schenectady or not, also may meditate from home through PeacefulCities.org.
“Our goal is to have 1,000 people meditating for 15 minutes every day during the week so we can anchor the mind with the heart to invoke good feelings,” she said. “The goal is to show that meditation creates change.”