From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – Last week I had a great opportunity to take part in a leadership conference. Two days at six hours per day on Zoom, it was a different kind of conference experience, however, there were many good conversations and much learning.
Each day started with a mindfulness practice led by Michele Milan founder of The Centre for Mindful Leadership. And unbeknownst to Michele she was one of the first teachers in mindfulness I had back in 2015; I still hear her calm, reassuring and centring voice in my head each time I try to be mindful. Mindfulness is really just about cutting through the noise for a few moments to bring yourself back to a still centre.
I loved the practices that Michele offered both days. The first involved several minutes of breathing. Then Michele asked us to put out hands on our heart and feel it beating, feel our breath going in and out and think what it means to simply be – and what we can offer the world in this being.
The second day’s offering was similar, as most practices are, with breathing and centring, but this time the visual was a hurricane. Not very relaxing right? Michele urged us to think of the eye of the hurricane – that in the middle of all that swirling, noisy, raging storm there is a middle point where all is still and, if you look up, you can see the sky. She told us that in the storms, the noise, the haste, the stress, the sometimes chaos of life, we can for a few moments connect with our breath and heart and find the centre. Let the swirl keep whirling and just be still in the sunshine within.
Both days Michele said a similar thing to us as a group, “… and remember this is always available to you.” Since she did not immediately give us her cell phone number I have to reflect what she meant; I could pause, breathe and be still as often as I needed to be.
The eye experience is available to us at all times, in almost any crisis there is a way to pause and centre, to take a moment to let the problem move around and away us, while we just take two or three breaths – long enough to be still and look at the problem through a calm eye which is more able to see a path to solution or at least the next steps.
When I described my new hurricane mindfulness practice a friend quickly pointed out that there was no way out but to head back through the cyclone, that the eye of the hurricane is completely ensconced by the storm. I think that is part of the beauty of the analogy – get quiet, get in the middle, get centred and then put on my Xena warrior princess pants and confidently head right back into the wall of the storm. The quiet centre is always available, we just have to step back into it as many times as we need.
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