"Maybe it's like a calling," Tim Foster says.
He's talking about a need to create and sell 100 handmade meditation pillows, a project he recently launched on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter with the intention of attracting more people to the Zen-like practice.
A business attorney, Foster says his life changed in "an incredible way" two years ago, when his wife and father-in-law suggested he pick up meditation. Since then, he's been on a sort of mission, trying to get as many folks as he can to try it.
"I think that people get a little bit fearful of it because they think it's tied to Buddhism or…Islam, Sufism or whatever religion is not theirs," he says, "and I just think of it as not being tied to anything. It's more like a lens through which to perceive, and not a religious thing."
By his suggestion, we we're walking down Canyon Road and its side streets ("I like to walk and talk," he explains). "You have to know I'm a big tangent person," he warns. Soon, it becomes obvious: After avoiding being struck by a car more than once, we sit down on a sleepy sidewalk to continue our confab.
"It's so incredible that it's like lights-on, lights-off," he says of meditation. "I would never go back; you couldn't pay me enough money to go back to the other side. So that's where the compulsion comes from, because I started telling my friends, 'You should do this, man, why aren't you doing this?'"
He describes his effort as "oil and water" and says his enthusiasm drew an expected result. "I don't think that's the first thing that made my friends think I was crazy," he jokes.
Wanting to steer away from proselytizing, he decided the pillow angle would be a good way of spreading the relaxing message.
"The first pillow I made was for myself, mostly because I didn't like the pillows that were out there," he recalls. "I just wanted something simpler—and this is also a weird tie-in that will maybe help you to understand it, or maybe it'll get more strange—but I really love sleep. I think it's amazing."
His wife purchased a buckwheat pillow for him, and Foster's life was again changed.
"I go back and forth on which changed my life more. I think meditation did," he says.
Inspired by the ancient concept of the golden ratio, and having secured the raw materials, he decided to marry his love for meditation to buckwheat and took to the online funding site, his trusty red Sailrite sewing machine by his side.
His intention was to raise $3,500 to materialize his lofty goal.
"I was kind of trying to figure out: how can I say, 'Do this'? Just try it. It could be amazing, maybe not, but just try it."
On Aug. 29, with 13 backers, the project came to its close. Having reached only $704 in pledges, it was unsuccessful.
"Sometimes I believe that the world is telling me, 'You can't in any way force things,'" he says. "Even if it's the softest attempt, it's still forced, and it just doesn't work."
Motivated by the confidence that selling a lone pillow on Etsy gave him, he's confident the movement he's interested in igniting will happen in due time.
"It will come, and it will be impossible for them to avoid it," he says. "It will be like a truck coming at them, and they'll just get hit. Not that it's gonna severely hurt them or change the world, but they'll not be able to get around it."
A light turned on in his head, if you will.
"Think Thomas Edison. If he had stopped after 10 different filament attempts—instead of, I think it was in the thousands—it wouldn't have happened, he wouldn't [have] gotten the light bulb," he says. "So, what if there is an answer? What if there is some way to turn on that light for people? If that's true, can you start to change the world a little bit? I don't know."
For information on ordering a pillow click here.