When One Door Closes

Nightclub doorman Carlos Alberto on his journey to becoming a meditation instructor.

Photograph by Joshua Simpson

In his early twenties, Carlos Alberto found financial stability in New York City’s vibrant club scene, producing events and working the doors. Along the way, a chance reading of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Being Peace led him down a path of inquiry that has had its own surges and slumps. Last year, Alberto, 47, decided it was time to commit to his long-nurtured “secret passion” for yoga and meditation. He completed a mindfulness teacher- training course and has embarked on a career as an instructor of meditation, teaching classes at MNDFL studio and to middle-school students in underserved communities.

What do you do?

I’ve been moonlighting for the past four years as a doorman for the rooftop lounge at the James Hotel in Soho. I’m the guy who decides whether you get into the club or not.

How does mindfulness help your work?

When I’m working a door, I put on a mask. You don’t see my smile. If you do, you’ll know I’m a nice guy. Then, if I say “no” you won’t accept it. My mask indicates that I’m not attached to whether this person gets in or not. It’s not “I don’t give a shit about you”—it’s more…

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