Last week I had an amazing experience! As part of our new executive leadership development experience, our Chief Health Officer and Vice President for Integrated Health Services, Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP, joined us to open the event. Included in his remarks were a ‘micropause’, a term introduced by our colleagues in Canada, where all ~120 executives stood up, rolled their shoulders, stretched their necks and arms and just moved around for 30 seconds. What an energizing way for him to open everyone to his messages. He ended with a gratitude pause, inviting everyone to take a few slow, quiet breaths and reflect on something they are grateful for, and then, if inspired to do so, share it with someone near them. I got goosebumps somewhere in the middle when he spoke about the value of mindfulness and engaged everyone in a moment of focusing on our breath in silence. The energy in the auditorium was inspiring. I had to pinch myself that this was actually happening: Mindfulness for our executives. What a powerful way of inviting transformation into our lives individually and collectively.
My colleague, Melanie Lowenberg, who has worked for both our Integrated Health Services Organization previously, and now our Management and Leadership Development organization, has been a bridge helping us integrate health and wellness into our management and leadership programs and experiences. Together we are partnering to leverage the many, many opportunities we have to co-create across our health and leadership teams. She bought me a delightful little book: The Mindfulness Coloring Book by Emma Farrorons. So today I tried for the first time intentionally practicing mindfulness through coloring. What a wonderful addition to my toolbox of practices. I was surprised what I discovered in the 10 minutes I spent alone:
- I find comfort in patterns.
- I have a desire to fill in between the lines, to leave no space inside unfilled.
- Noticing, I challenged myself to experiment with leaving space unfilled, which I found liberating.
- I worked with what I had: a pencil and black, blue and green pens; I observed how I wanted something more colorful, some purples, reds, oranges, pinks and invited myself to be content with ‘what is’.
- I noticed how I turned the book to fill in the spaces and how my perspective changed as the angle of the book shifted.
- I felt empowered to leave the image unfinished, to let go of my desire for completeness.
Hmmm…I never would have guessed I would find such discovery in those quiet moments alone focused on coloring in a flower! The more I open to a variety of ways to experience mindfulness, the more enriched I am. The more I open to where we can experience and share mindfulness, the greater the variety of places where it flows in.
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