I used to say, “I do my best work when I’m feeling stressed.” Now I read that sentence aloud and think, “Really? Who says that?” To imply that one needs added pressure to function is like saying, “In order to get this project done, I’m going to need some additional hurdles.” I suppose this was my response to feeling stress, and anxiety; labelling it so it sounded like a productivity tool. In the last month, I’ve actually learned I don’t work best when I’m feeling stressed – I work best when I’m able to be present. But this shift came with practice and the results weren’t overnight.
Over the past month, the EDGE 3 team met with a Toronto-based Mindfulness Training teacher, Monica Maurin, to practice a series of mindful meditations. Before this, I had never really intentionally meditated. I had wanted to try it, but I felt I didn’t have the skill set or tools to know how to guide myself through it. I really had no idea how to quiet my mind and be ‘inside’ myself. Each Monday, for four weeks, we would meet to talk about, and practice, a series of different mindful meditations. In each of our meditations, we aimed to be present; bring our awareness into the now; take inventory of the thoughts and feelings that float into our mind, acknowledge them, let them pass and return our awareness to the present. It may sound simple, but when you don’t know what you’re doing or have difficulty knowing how to turn your awareness inward, having the right person guide you along is truly a gift.
This workshop was not about pan flutes, trying to relax ourselves to sleep, chanting, or spiritual awakening. Monica would remind us that mindfulness training is “meditating the mind awake.” Mindfulness practices teach us to work with our mind and body to reduce stress, improve focus, productivity and energy, while maintaining an inner core of greater strength, satisfaction and peace. Monica’s approach is focused, inclusive, and approachable; before she studied mindfulness and yoga, she had a successful career as a court reporter. I really appreciated her connection to the corporate world; it made me feel like she ‘gets it’ from both sides of the coin. Through her deep understanding of mindfulness, and ability to connect with her students and facilitate their practice, Monica provides the tools that can be woven into the fabric of our everyday lives to improve the quality of living.
After my experience with mindfulness training I truly feel I can bring an enhanced focus and balance to my everyday – less stress, more focus! It’s not as though I’ve meditated all my problems away, but I’ve learned how to be more present so that I can organize my thoughts, tackle what I need to, and continue to stay productive. This was also a terrific opportunity to strengthen the EDGE 3 team; every person has a different reason for mindfulness training but by doing it together, we’re putting another powerful tool in our belt to help us personally, shape our culture, and sharpen our approach with each other and our clients. We’re excited to identify opportunities to leverage Monica’s expertise and weave the mindfulness approach into our workshops so we can further both one-on-one AND team experiences. Can you imagine how your business would change if your people were more present, aware, and focused in their approach to work? What would that look like? How would things be different? It feels good just visualizing that, right?
I look forward to continuing my personal practice and striving to do my best work… in the present, and fully aware.