Saturday, September 17, 2011

'Raisin' my level of mindfulness.

I am on a training programme -  being developed - being stretched and loving it. I am acquiring the skills to become a business coach and as well as being exposed to new information and modern thinking around positive psychology, there is the practical element around the honing of listening and questioning skills.
We have also been exposed to a number of activities and exercises to encourage 'mindfulness'. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience as it is happening.  In practice sessions we have breathed in such a way as to pay special attention as to where that breath is going - even to the point of imagining the colour of it. We have relaxed our body one part at a time - starting at our toes and working our way up to our scalp - yes I have learned that you can contract and relax your scalp! We have conjured up in our minds scenes of great beauty, places we didn't want to leave and we have mentally immersed ourselves into cool streams and freshly mown grass. All of this has been enlightening and truly enjoyable - raising awareness of ourselves and our world. And that is how I found myself this morning sat in Central having a conversation with a raisin!
We had to study our raisin, touch our raisin, smell our raisin, taste our raisin and listen to our raisin! I tried very hard to be mindful but all I could think about are some of the conversations that I would have with my raisin and other fruits.
  • Would there be a bitter argument with a lemon?
  • Sour grapes?
  • A crisp conversation with a Golden Delicious?
  • Contemplation with a 'navel' orange?
  • Talking with a plum in my mouth?
  • Celebrate by going bananas?
  • Say pretty please with a cherry on top?
  • Be a perfect pear?
  • Let it be known who is the apple of my eye?
  • Get passionate with a grenadilla?
  • Ask the fruit of the palm tree for a date?
  • Dig up some juicey gossip?
All of this is very corny - is that a vegetable or a cereal? I tried very hard to be mindful with my raisin but  the sweet temptation of jumping into the fruit bowl was just too good to resist!
Seriously though I shall practice being mindful every day and will be 'raisin' my 'currant' levels of mindfulness at every opportunity.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I was sent an email last week that was so full of wisdom that I went back to read it over and over and I am still pondering on it . That happens sometimes - the universe directs something to you that you really need to see or hear. I thought that I would share it with you.

It reminded me to be brave and brought back a memory of a time I briefly worked for a company who had a security guard who was absent from work. I was instructed to discipline him and take off the days pay from his salary. He was an quiet man who was not in the habit of staying away. When I spoke to him I found out that his 9 year old daughter had been raped by a neighbour and he had spent the time trying to get help for her and for his distraught wife. I reported this to my boss who told replied impatiently ,"I don't care - he wasn't here and we cant pay him!" When I protested and asked  to make an exception under the circumstances on compassionate grounds, he went on to say that if we pay him then everyone will come and claim their child has been raped! I was astounded and I decided my self that there was no way that my values would allow me to deduct money from this poor guy.
A couple of weeks later I was found out and hauled over the coals for 'going against company policy' and 'insubordination' but I didn't care. The moment I found out that my boss was capable of such inhumanity - I decided to leave, and within three months I had another job.When I handed my resignation in, I took in the Company's pompous mission statement off the wall - it said something like, "we value our employees and  we know our success is because of them." I told the MD he was not qualified to put it back on the wall - that it was dishonest to do so!
I felt very brave that day and knew that I had done the right thing - it felt so good! I spoke the truth and yes my voice wobbled - but I got the words out. That company no longer exists - I wonder why???