The start of another year -- a great time to check on the state of your mindful leadership practice! At the Institute we talk about three key practices we employ to develop our focus, clarity, creativity, and compassion. These practices are meditation, reflections, and purposeful pauses.
For many people, establishing a regular, consistent meditation practice is key in training the mind to incline towards being present rather than operating on auto-pilot. Building up this familiarity with what it feels like to be clearly aware of experience encourages more moments of spontaneous mindfulness to occur during the day. We're more likely to remember to take that "purposeful pause" when fixing a cup of coffee or opening our email program. And, perhaps more importantly, to notice when our heart rate is skyrocketing as a feeling of overwhelm comes upon us when we look at our over-booked calendar or to-do list. Then instead of reacting from a place of fear or dislike, we can take a step back and bring all our capabilities and creativity to the challenge at hand.
So perhaps you already "know" all this, but either haven't managed to establish a meditation practice, or have found you somehow misplaced it in the busyness of the holiday season. Here are some tips that may help you follow through on your intention to nurture mindful leadership:
- Set realistic goals for your meditation practice. Ten minutes twice a day, for example.
- Be clear and specific about when you will practice. Write it down in your calendar or to-do list.
- Notice thoughts that may come up such as, "I'm too frazzled to meditate," "I'm too tired to meditate," "If only it were quieter here, I could meditate." Treat those thoughts with kindness and respect, but recognize they're just thoughts -- not necessarily something you need to believe.
- Read a book that will inspire and revitalize your practice.
- Identify one or two daily activities that you will use as purposeful pauses -- opportunities to be fully aware of what you are doing and feeling. Again, be specific, picture in your mind where you are when doing this activity; this will help prime the mind to "wake up" at that moment.
Have a wonderful 2015!