“Happy Friday, Yogis. Settle into your body and begin letting go. As you deepen your breath, choose a focus for your practice – something that would really matter if you had more of it in your life.”
Mindfulness is an intentional state of active, open attention in the present moment. Mindful breathing is a reliable way to calm our nerves. Not only can mindfulness literally change the brain, it also reduces stress and can invite more of what really matters into our lives.Mindfulness is an intentional state of open attention in the present. Click To Tweet
One of my favorite ways to practice mindfulness is Candlelight Yoga on Friday nights. I go as often as a can because of how I feel during the class and how I function afterward.
The big payoff of Candlelight Yoga is the tuning of the nervous system to a calmer frequency.
The nervous system governs everything in our bodies, from the tiniest nerve cells in our toes to the intricate workings of our brains. The autonomic nervous system is a miraculous communication network that allows for most of our bodily functions to run on autopilot.
Organizations also rely on their nervous systems to communicate and operate. Many organizations, and therefore the people in them, are totally stressed out. You can feel it when you walk in the door. Often the entire system is demonstrating the fight or flight response in reaction to market conditions, taxpayer angst, funding shortages or toxic cultures.
What might happen if you and your organization practiced mindfulness?
In addition to being a mindfulness practitioner, I’m also a leadership and organization development consultant.
I’ve collaborated with leaders around the world to engage stakeholders in determining their collective future. In this work, we develop mindfulness practices for individuals as well as mindfulness practices for the organization itself.
Organizational Mindfulness and Appreciative Inquiry (AI) Training in Madagascar
Photo credit: Christine Whitney Sanchez
So how do we collectively create the future we want?
To map the journey to the future, always start in the present.To map the journey to the future, always start in the present. Click To Tweet
Choose a focus. Ask what already exists – what really matters to the success of this organization and what do we want more of? To answer that question, begin tuning the organizational nervous system to a calmer vibration.
At Claremont Lincoln University, mindfulness is defined as focused awareness in the present moment and cultivation of compassion in self and others.
Imagine what happens when we use our work together to not only generate success for the organization but to also cultivate compassion in self and others. When we engage in mindful organizational conversations, we listen more deeply and tap collective wisdom.
Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a strength-based practice for tuning the organizational nervous system, cultivating compassion and tapping collective wisdom. AI begins by focusing on the present, inquiring into what’s already working and illuminating resident strengths and assets that must be preserved. This helps people relax about taking the journey into the future.
Then AI asks what the world is calling for that this organization is uniquely able to provide and what the organization itself wants more of. This data pours into a shared vision – a positive image that acts like a magnet for the desired future. Much like yoga poses align the body, AI collectively designs an infrastructure to align with and support the vision.
And finally, Appreciative Inquiry generates commitments to the practices and actions that will develop a mindful organization and bring the vision to life.
Do you work in a nervous system?
Consider practicing mindfulness as individuals and as an organization. Then enjoy the calmer frequency as you manifest what really matters.
Photo credit: © Bahtiar Maulana | Dreamstime.com