Earlier today I had a conversation with Stephen, one of my team members, about incorporating mindfulness practice into our team meetings. After attending a retreat/training where the topic came up, he approached me about the potential for using such techniques with our team. I’ve had grand intentions of doing just that ever since I returned from my Omega workshop, but all of my day-to-day responsibilities have gotten in the way.
Now that I know someone else is on board, I’m again motivated to look for ways to intentionally incorporate mindfulness into our work. Stop number one on this journey: negativity in our workspace. When we get busy, it’s easy to get negative, too–to forget about all of the great parts of our jobs and to cease treating each individual student with the time, patience, and care they deserve. It’s easy to become robotic, to see them as numbers as we process them through–questions answered, classes mapped, pat on the head and you’re on your way until next semester. We do the same to each other–making demands, lacking patience, and snapping at each other instead of holding real conversations.
Busy times of year also bring a sense of overwhelm. People are stretched thin, so it doesn’t take much to set them off. I’m certainly guilty of this–last week I took a particular situation far more personally than was warranted. Looking back, I understand my defensiveness as a reaction to feeling overworked and unappreciated. Asking anyone to add even a simple task to their already-full plates is dicey at best (and could turn downright perilous). E-mails that would be mildly irritating during calmer times of the year become reason for shared dramatic overreaction.
What we forget, I think, is that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Stephen and I had a few minutes to start thinking of activities and practices that would be easy to introduce to the team while also being non-threatening to the skeptics in the crowd. Centering, mindfulness meditation, mindful communication, loving kindness meditation. They all could easily make an impact on the work our team does. Next step? Mindfully contemplating what will be most effective (followed closely by mindful creation of an introduction to the practice).
Slowly. The pathway is slowly unfolding. Funny how it always does when I slow down and allow it to show me the way.