One of the most wonderful teachings of contemplative practice is the directive to simply ‘begin again’. When we notice that we are stuck, we can begin again. When external distractions interrupt our intention to practice, we can begin again. When our reactivity once again overtakes our desire to be more responsive, it is again our choice to start over.
The opportunity to begin again happens in our day to day lives too. I experienced this on my recent trip to Spain with Peter Thompson, the Institute’s Managing Director, and Patricio Barriga, a member of the elite team of instructors at the Institute. We were invited to Spain to introduce the Institute’s Mindful Leadership work, and to support the release of my book, Finding the Space to Lead, in its Spanish translation.
Once again, I witnessed the newness of mindful leadership and the accompanying skepticism and questions. ‘Will busy professionals take time for this? Will it make business more ethical? What is the ROI? ‘ It took me back to those early days of teaching in the United States, more than a decade ago, when no one knew what mindful leadership training was, or its potential to transform individuals, organizations and our communities. Here, with the warm people of Spain, I felt the start of something – another new beginning. What would I notice? Could I let go of expectations and just be present for this unfolding?
One of the first things I noticed was a familiar response from the media as I answered their questions by sometimes asking them if they felt that they brought their best selves to work or to their families. As the interviews progressed, I could feel their curiosity growing and felt our connections deepen. As I have already seen in our work around the world when we speak about the quality of our lives, and the untapped potential we all have, the connections grow quickly. I could see the beginnings of the ripple effect.
Later, when I delivered the keynote address at the first Mindfulness and Mindful Leadership Congress in Spain, I noticed the depth of the silence and stillness as we practiced a leadership reflection together. It was a beautiful experience. Afterward, even though I speak very little Spanish and most of the attendees spoke very little English, a large group of people came up for me to sign their book. We smiled, we hugged and we connected. It was yet another reminder that we are so alike. Beginning again can be new or familiar, but it always has the potential to drop a pebble and create a ripple effect.
Today, as you bring your mindful leadership practice into the moments of your day, what is the pebble you will drop? Is there a need or opportunity for you to begin again? Where might the ripples travel?
Want to learn more about Mindful Leadership? Join Janice Marturano and the Institute for Mindful Leadership for a Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership© Workshop on October 20th, 2017 at the New York University sponsored by NYU’s Stern School of Business.
For more information and registration, click here.