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A Note from Jen: A “Whole” Approach to 2020

A Note from Jen: A “Whole” Approach to 2020

I invite you to join me in this moment.

 

Right here.

Right now.

Breathing in and breathing out.

Breathing in and breathing out.

One more breath.

In and out. 

 

And, Hello! Welcome to February!  

 

2020 is the year of whole living at Mind Body Align. It’s an entire year of exploration and non-judgemental examination into each area of our lives. We will focus on different topics through our Coffee Talks, podcasts, blogs, and social community. Our intention is that each month’s focus will offer you the possibility of standing confidently in your best life.  Some of us may dive deep and others may hover near the surface, and it’s all ok. If you attended our most recent Coffee Talk I’m guessing that you have already put some thought into the topic of wholeness and what it means to you. If the concept is new, I invite you to read Annamarie’s blog post to begin your journey. 

What does a “whole life” look like? Creating a life that is whole and fulfilling does not mean perfection. It is not tied to euphoric happiness. It is an underlying feeling of contentment and acceptance. Mindfulness is an awareness and acceptance of what is. 

In going through the exercise of examining the whole of your world, there is no expectation or implied striving for balance.  Personally, I have never found my life to be in balance. This used to create a lot of mental suffering, guilt, and self-recrimination. Practicing mindfulness has alleviated these feelings and my hope is that you will find transformation through mindfulness as well. 

 

Take the first step.

 

January’s 10,000 Step Challenge may have been that first step for you.  We had an amazing amount of engagement in the community. It has been fabulous to see people moving, connecting, encouraging each other, and forming new friendships through this challenge. I can’t wait to announce the grand prizes and meet everyone in person at our meetup at Phoenix Brewery on Thursday, February 6th between 5:30 & 7:00. P.S. Keep your eye out for some great content and ideas to keep the momentum from the group going!

Perhaps this year you need to focus energy on professional development. LunchWISE Wednesday kicked off the new year in January with the topic of Imposter Syndrome. It really seemed to resonate; I am still receiving emails and comments. We hear you and our planning team is reaching new heights to bring you inspired, relevant topics. Our February LW is featuring Holly Troupe, owner of The Boot Life.  Holly is going to talk to us about diversifying and succeeding in your market. If you have been looking for new ways to expand your business or side hustle you will want to check this event out! 

I also invite you to check out the events highlighted below, listen to the Second Sip podcast with life coach, Chris Stoner (it’s EPIC), and then meet up with us at the next Coffee Talk featuring accomplished leadership and executive coach, Cindy Biggs as we begin diving into perfectionism and what it means to be perfectly imperfect.

 

Have a wonderful month!

 

Jen

 

Disappointment Revealed

Disappointment Revealed

Recently I gave a 30 minute talk entitled, “I’m not stressed, I’m relaxationally challenged”, to a large group of associates from the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library.  As I’m organizing my talk and creating the power point, I am becoming increasingly more aware of the fact that I am actually extremely stressed.

Ok, so fast forward to the day of my talk with the Library associates.  By this time, I have fully acknowledged that I am a stress monster, and I am planning to use my experiences as talking points during my presentation.  And then…that morning, I found it necessary to make the very difficult decision to pull out of reconstruction of a gorgeous facility that would house the new company I was building.

At the moment of my talk, 11:30 am, I was the antithesis of calm.

I was so stressed, I must have been undulating; parts of my body visibly rolling from head to toe, toe to head, like a shock wave, an earthquake, or the graph of an EKG. (I feel that actually, the EKG graph; my body convulsing with every beat of my heart.)

So, I’m halfway through my talk and approaching the point when I take a deep dive into the teaching about mindfulness, and out of the blue, appearing in my head, is a story about a leading mindfulness teacher.  (on a side note…this story is from my memory and is likely not exactly what happened, so please don’t judge me if bits of it have been embellished or altered)

This teacher, who had given hundreds of talks and presentations on mindfulness, was giving a talk to a packed room of academics, when his mind went blank.  There was absolutely nothing in his head; he couldn’t remember why he was there, or about what he was speaking.

He remained completely silent.

He was silent on stage, with his eyes closed, and in front of the microphone for many minutes.  So many minutes, that the crowd began to fidget and cough; I imagine they were uncomfortable and confused.

Finally, at just the point the host was going to save this teacher from further embarrassment, the teacher speaks, saying just one word – “Scared”.  This one word followed by a long pause – “confused”, pause, and “embarrassed”.

At this point, the room begins to feel charged with an indescribable energy, (think goosebumps) as the crowd is beginning to realize what the teacher is demonstrating.  Then the teacher continues to speak in single words, listing the emotion he is feeling in that moment. Eventually he lands on words like “calm”, and “comfortable”, and with full mental clarity finally returning, the teacher began his talk.

Following the talk, the attendees expressed their gratitude to the teacher for demonstrating, in a very vulnerable way, the practice of mindfulness; being present in this moment, with a deep awareness of what’s happening (physical sensations, emotions, thoughts, and intuitions), and with acceptance or no judgment.  In that moment he truly had a lapse in memory, and instead of laughing it off, or covering it up, he allowed that lapse to be an impactful teaching tool for those who were lucky enough to share that place in time with him.

So, I told the story about the mindfulness teacher to my room full of librarians, basically as I transcribed here.  Following, I offered the attendees my mindfulness practice in that moment.  I stood up straight, balanced my weight on my feet, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. My first word was “sadness”, and as the tears slid down my cheeks, “anger”, followed by “frustration”, and “hopelessness”.

I have to admit, I was pretty surprised, and yet, I accepted that this was how it was to be in that moment.  I then offered the attendees the opportunity to note their own evolving emotions on a piece of paper.

My one regret is that I didn’t ask them to share.

In that moment, for me, disappointment revealed itself as sadness, anger, frustration, and hopelessness.  Disappointment, for me in  the moment I am writing these words, is felt as – “empty”, “numb”, and “resigned”.

And…now on the day of publishing, a full 13 days later, my feelings have evolved.  I no longer sense disappointment, only gratitude and excitement. The vision for Mind Body Align was never about the space; it was about the collaboration.  It was about investing energy in the community and it’s people in order to create a woven community of support and wisdom shared.  Watch out – Mind Body Align has great plans and I hope you will join us!

For more information visit us at the Women’s Business Expo at the Renaissance Theater, October 14th, 11:00 – 2:00.