In the quiet following the holiday hoopla, it is tempting to make a mental list of what we feel we should have accomplished in the previous year and a fresh list of what we will (or won’t) do in the next. Some commit to losing weight, some to eating healthier, some to traveling more and some to working less. In my experience, it’s easy to start off strong and a bit more difficult to maintain once the New Year’s momentum fades and winter settles in.
I feel so fortunate to start this new year as Business Manager at the Institute for Mindful Leadership. I began my journey into mindful leadership in 2008, participating in a Cultivating Leadership Presence retreat taught by Janice Marturano. The work of the Institute has honed my leadership skills as a nonprofit executive and I became what might be termed a “frequent flyer” at Institute workshops. I admit to falling prey to the seasonal wish list, making my practice a “New Year’s” resolution, taking what I can do and turning it into a must do and then finding myself challenged to check it off the list of what I- leader, mother, friend and human- need to get done.
Recently, I shared with Janice that I have been struggling with my practice. I have been unable to quiet my mind, to relax into an extended meditation. I have resorted to reading more books on mindfulness, watching videos, and rearranging my schedule to try to make it work. Janice was compassionate and steady in her response, reminding me gently that the ability to practice was not an intellectual or calendar exercise, and that the re-start was as close as taking the next five minutes to sit or walk and simply observe the mind. Take a breath and begin again.
Following our exchange, I took a walk. I am fortunate (again!) to live in an expanse of forest bordered by a rocky beach. It is only January but the afternoon light lingered just a bit longer-spring is coming. The shore was littered with shells that welcomed my footprints as I paused in mountain pose. I closed my eyes and took a breath. My mind wandered. I began again. Finding a rhythm, I expanded my focus to the slap of waves against the sand. Over and again the ocean sends her waves to shore and pulls them back, a constant ebb and flow of water. The ocean has its own way of breathing. No resolutions or excuses required. With every wave, with each turn of the tide, it simply and naturally begins again.
New Year’s is a date on the calendar. We will grow and change, and most will achieve an equal measure of successes and failures. This is leadership. This is Life. Mindful leadership invites us to live it one breath, one moment at a time and when called for, make it a new year on any day, celebrating the opportunity to begin our practice once more.
Interested in learning mindful leadership? Join us February 1st, 8th, 15th & 22nd, 2017 for our renowned online course Finding the Space to Lead
Finding the Space to Lead- Online Course
February 1st, 8th, 15th & 22nd 2017 | 7 to 8:30pm Eastern Time
Begin your leadership journey with this immersive online course on the foundations of mindful leadership.
Using the award-winning book “Finding the Space to Lead” as a guide, participants will learn the fundamentals of mindful leadership, including mindful communication, how to cultivate focus, see past our own filters, manage stress and be more innovative and effective leaders.More Info