Mindfully P.L.A.C.E.

Mindfully P.L.A.C.E.

1. Pause

The moment you notice you are triggered, take a moment to pause and breathe. For example, the minute someone says something that upsets you and you notice your energy change, take a breath.

2. Label Your Emotions

Name what you’re feeling. Is it anger, frustration, sadness, grief? Identifying how we feel can help us process our emotions.

3. Ask Yourself: Why?

Asking yourself these questions: “Why was I triggered? What actually triggered me?” can help bring awareness to what’s under the surface. For example, it might not be what the person said that upset you but rather that it reminded you of a different memory or perhaps you are simply more sensitive today than yesterday.

4. Choose A Mindful Response

Here is where the difference is made! Consider the information about the situation over the emotion. What’s important to share about your experience? How can you communicate in a way that is connective and reparative versus harmful and unproductive? How can the way you communicate serve the best for all involved?

5. Empower Yourself

Empower yourself to move closer towards your values and goals by responding from this calmer place. Notice how pausing impacts your body and your nervous system. Notice how responding versus reacting impacts your relationships and how you feel about yourself!

From Community Forward SF

Reacting vs. Responding

Reacting vs. Responding

With so many triggering events happening in our world right now, most of us are likely having a pretty difficult time emotionally. I wanted to take this moment to explore how we can express those emotions using mindfulness. 

Many of you might be wondering what the difference is between Reacting and Responding

Reacting happens when there is an event (or stimulus) → our internal alarm bells sound (or our Fight/Flight Reaction) → and we have external, physical or emotional activation. 

Here, we usually have a short-sighted, sometimes aggressive or out-of-control impulse. Maybe we yell, we curse, we freeze, run away or even want to physically fight someone. (This is the reason it’s called the Fight/Flight Reaction!)

Responding happens when there is an event (or stimulus) → our internal alarm bells sound (or our Fight/Flight Reaction) → and we are able to utilize our mindfulness skills to pause and breathe before → speaking or acting.

Here, we are able to use mindfulness to get beyond the emotion and into the information. Responding often produces a calm, value-centered, and connected solution. 

It’s important to acknowledge that this is a skill that requires repeated practice. And that’s okay! It’s impossible to always Respond to stressful events or triggers. Our bodies have natural Reactions when we feel threatened or hurt. It is the goal of mindfulness to move towards interacting with ourselves, others and the world from a more peaceful place. 

From Community Forward SF
7 Ways of Finding the Flow.

7 Ways of Finding the Flow.

Sometimes it’s called being “in the zone.” Or a “flow state.” But by any name, career experts say this mental state of operation is the latest buzzword and mental tool to emerge after a year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to positive psychology, a flow state is when you are performing a task completely immersed and with fully energized focus. It helps people complete difficult projects and reduces work-related stress, something that 83% of the US workforce say they suffer. “In flow, time is forgotten, new discoveries are made, you push beyond your perceived capabilities, and a calm confidence emerges as you feel you can conquer hard things,” says Nancy Von Horn, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance. We found seven ways to try to achieve it.

Find your passion.

Passion is to flow what coffee is to your mornings. Experts say it’s hard to find flow where there is no passion or some level of interest in your work. “You don’t get into the flow—flow gets into you,” says Sean Carney, a Korn Ferry Advance career coach. When you engage in activities that you’re interested in and bring you joy, flow will find its way to you, he says.

Putting yourself in situations you can benefit from and experimenting with various roles until you stumble upon one that excites you is the way to go, says Tom McMullen, a senior client partner at Korn Ferry and leader of the firm’s North American Total Rewards expertise group.

Prep your physical space.

Setting up your work environment is one of the easiest ways to bring yourself one step closer to flow. For instance, a place full of distractions, clutter, and noise can hinder you from getting in the zone, says Carney. Trying to multitask, going on social media, and any interruptions hinder you from establishing flow, he says. So find a quiet place or use noise-canceling headphones, clean out your workspace, and put away your smartphone, says Von Horn. “Eliminate all distractions, or your concentration will be interrupted,” she says.

Clear your mind.

While finding flow, your mental space is just as important as your physical surroundings. People usually have mental “jams” when there’s too much going on, says Deborah Brown, a managing principal at Korn Ferry. Try not to overwhelm yourself by taking on too many projects at once, multitasking, or overcommitting to people, she says. Brown also says it’s important to practice self-care or listen to calming podcasts or music, because flow doesn’t materialize when you’re burnt out, anxious, exhausted, or hungry.

Get moving.

Endorphins are directly correlated to flow. It is necessary to take care of your physical health and keep your body moving. “Our physical health can prime us for flow,” says Carney. Incorporating some form of exercise, in addition to resting and eating well, will keep you active and increase your likelihood of finding flow, he says. If you’re feeling sluggish and restless, going for a quick run or walk, doing some jumping jacks, or stretching into a few yoga poses can tremendously help in increasing your focus and energy, says Von Horn.

Try “time blocking.”

Flow cannot be found in small pockets of time during the day. You can’t achieve flow in 10 minutes between your Zoom meetings, says Von Horn—you need to chalk out at least 30 minutes to an hour depending on your goals and projects. Hence, planning ahead and blocking out a few hours every day or a few days a week is a good start. Von Horn says to try the Pomodoro technique or set a 20-minute timer to focus only on one task.

Challenge yourself.

Set clear, challenging, and attainable goals. You need some tension or stretch goals to achieve flow—not something too easy monotonous, says Von Horn. For his part, McMullen says to keep pushing yourself and beware of getting into a state of passiveness. For instance, the best athletes are always raising the bar, he says. “LeBron James has won several NBA championships, but for whatever reason, he’s still not satisfied, and he’s always pushing himself, his teammates, and his coaches to do better.”

Add play.

We’ve all heard the phrase “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” The same applies to flow. Integrate non-work-related activities that you enjoy into your day, as they will lift your spirits and put you in a positive headspace that is conducive to flow, says Val Olson, a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance. The activities can be anything, from watching funny videos to playing with your pet to listening to music, she says. 

By Nancy Von Horn

Seeing the Bigger Picture.

Seeing the Bigger Picture.

We have created imaginary boundaries, sectioning ourselves into countries and states, forgetting that in reality we are all living together.

We have created imaginary boundaries, sectioning ourselves into countries and states, forgetting that in reality we are all living together.

Seeing an image of the planet Earth taken from space inspires awe in many of us, since we can clearly see the connectedness of all of us who live upon this planet. We have created imaginary boundaries, sectioning ourselves into countries and states, forgetting that in reality we are all living together, breathing the same air, drinking from the same water, eating food grown from the same earth.

We share everything on this planet, whether we are conscious of it or not, with other people, and those people are our brothers and sisters. Keeping a photograph or painting of the planet Earth in a prominent place in our homes can be a positive way to remember our interconnectedness. 

Meditating on the fact that any sense of separation we have from one another is truly an illusion, we will naturally begin to make more conscious choices in our daily lives. The simple act of preparing food, or determining how to dispose of our refuse, can be done with the consciousness that whatever we do will affect all our brothers and sisters, no matter how far away they live, as well as the planet herself.

When we foster this kind of awareness in ourselves out of a feeling of awe, it becomes easier to be conscious than to fall back into old habits of thinking of ourselves as separate. 

When we contemplate the earth in her wholeness, we attune ourselves to the truth of the bigger picture, which is the Earth, and all of us, every one of us, living on her body. We are connected to one another in the most intimate way, because we literally share our living space. As more people become aware of the reality of our interdependency, things will shift in a positive direction, and much of the discord that we see now will give way to a more cooperative, loving conscious.

This is happening already, so as our consciousness grows, we can join with the many other minds working to live in the spirit of togetherness
By Madisyn Taylor
What We Don’t Want to Do.

What We Don’t Want to Do.

Doing things we don’t want to do, or that scare us, creates flow in our lives and allows us to grow.
Most of us have had the experience of tackling some dreaded task only to come out the other side feeling invigorated, filled with a new sense of confidence and strength. The funny thing is, most of the time when we do them, we come out on the other side changed and often wondering what we were so worried about or why it took us so long. We may even begin to look for other tasks we’ve been avoiding so that we can feel that same heady mix of excitement and completion. 

Whether we avoid something because it scares us or bores us, or because we think it will force a change we’re not ready for, putting it off only creates obstacles for us. On the other hand, facing the task at hand, no matter how onerous, creates flow in our lives and allows us to grow. The relief is palpable when we stand on the other side knowing that we did something even though it was hard or we didn’t want to do it.

On the other hand, when we cling to our comfort zone, never addressing the things we don’t want to face, we cut ourselves off from flow and growth. 

We all have at least one thing in our life that never seems to get done. Bringing that task to the top of the list and promising ourselves that we will do it as soon as possible is an act that could liberate a tremendous amount of energy in our lives.

Whatever it is, we can allow ourselves to be fueled by the promise of the feelings of exhilaration and confidence that will be the natural result of doing it. 
The Kaleidoscope of Life

The Kaleidoscope of Life

When we only associate with like-minded people, there often isn’t any room to grow because new ideas aren’t being introduced.
We tend to gravitate toward people who are the most like us, at least in the ways that make us feel comfortable. But life has its way of bringing us into contact with people who challenge us with their differences. It may be an obvious difference reflected in their outward appearance or an invisible but powerful philosophical stance, but even in our closest circle of friends and family, there are those that confront us with their different ways of experiencing and expressing life.

We can choose to resist, but we can also choose to learn from them and appreciate that they too have a place in the kaleidoscope of life. 

As much as we may say that we want peace and quiet and a life without struggle, the truth is that human beings are, at this time, thriving in a world of dualities and challenges. It is how we choose to approach these hurdles that determine if we sail over them, confirming our agility, or trip and end up face down in the dust. And each of us absolutely will and must stumble, and then get up, brush the dust off and carry on.

This is how we learn and grow, developing depth of character and shades of understanding. In a world of dualities, we have trouble defining ourselves without something opposite, and can’t discover who we are. Without challenge, there is nothing to do and nothing to discover. That leaves us either in a state of non-being or the state of pure spirit, but as humans, we are spiritual beings experiencing the physical world in all of its startling contrast and beauty. 

No matter how spiritual we are, our lives will have challenges.  We will always run into people that are different than we are, but the true challenge may be in finding ways to be at peace with this process. Rather than give in to the fight or flight response that comes from our animal nature, we can find new ways to evolve together into higher more beautiful expressions of ourselves, realizing, embracing and celebrating the beauty of diversity and the strength it offers for the future.
The Greater Cause.

The Greater Cause.

Working towards the greater good.

With all that takes place in our lives, it can sometimes be easy to overlook the fact that we’re part of something greater than ourselves — a collective consciousness, the Universe, a greater cause. Because of our tendency to forget this, we might make decisions in our lives that don’t reflect that responsibility that comes with this belonging. All too often, we focus just on the short-term, tangible gain to ourselves without worrying about its consequences. Other times, we may discard the greater cause because it seems like “hard work.” The challenge is to expand our minds so that we transcend the distinction between self and others, so we are aware of how our choices and actions can impact a greater cause.  

When you serve the greater cause you also serve your greater good. There is nothing that you cannot do for your highest good that will not benefit the good of all. For example, saying no to a relationship that isn’t right for you not only benefits you but serves the greater good of the other person that you are honoring with your honesty. Saying yes to your dream job not only fulfills you but also serves the people that will benefit from your enthusiasm and productivity. 

When you know you are serving a greater cause, there is little room for fear and doubt. You know that what you do will benefit others, so there is no way the universe is not going to support your efforts — even if sometimes it may not look that way. Serving the greater cause allows you to live from the space of your greatness.

When you know that what you do can serve a greater cause, you are aware of your power and ability to influence and create change in this world.

Got change?

Based on text by Madisyn Taylor.
Focusing Energy.

Focusing Energy.

Focusing attention to produce change.
As modern life makes a wealth of information and opportunities available to us, we may find ourselves torn between a wide variety of interests and projects. Our excitement may entice us to try all of them at once, but doing so only diffuses our energy, leaving us unable to fully experience any of them. Like an electrical socket with too many things plugged into it, we may be in danger of overheating and burning out. But if we can choose one thing at a time to focus all of our attention upon, we can make the most of our life-force energy, engaging ourselves fully in the moment so that it can nurture us in return. 

Our attention can be pulled in many directions, not only in our own lives, but by advertising, media, and the hustle and bustle of our surroundings. But when we take the time to listen to our inner guidance and focus our thoughts on the goals that resonate the most strongly within us, the rest of the world will fade away. This may mean focusing the spotlight of our attention upon developing one aspect of our work, one course of study, or one hobby to pursue in our free time, but it doesn’t mean that we have to stay focused on only one thing forever. We may never know which of our interests is best suited to our abilities and heart’s desires unless we give it a proper chance. By being fully present with all that we are and all that we have, we can experience each choice fully and make the most fulfilling choices for our energetic investments.

Because we are multi-faceted beings, we are perpetually involved in many aspects of life in every moment. Our work in the world is necessary to attend to our physical needs, and our relationships are important for our emotional needs, but when we engage our spirit as well, we can choose the area that will nurture body, mind and soul.

Staying focused allows us move with the rhythmic flow of the universe and harmonize all aspects of our being into a balanced whole.


By Madisyn Taylor
Completion.

Completion.

The period of completion, rather than being just an act of finality, is also one of transition.
Life is a collage of beginnings and endings that run together like still-wet paint.
Yet before we can begin any new phase in life, we must sometimes first achieve closure to the current stage we are in. That’s because many of life’s experiences call for closure. Often, we cannot see the significance of an event or importance of a lesson until we have reached closure. Or, we may have completed a certain phase in life or path of learning and want to honor that ending. It is this sense of completion that frees us to open the door to new beginnings.

Closure serves to tie up or sever loose ends, quiets the mind even when questions have been left unanswered, signifies the end of an experience, and acknowledges that a change has taken place. 

The period of completion, rather than being just an act of finality, is also one of transition. When we seek closure, what we really want is an understanding of what has happened and an opportunity to derive what lessons we can from an experience. Without closure, there is no resolution and we are left to grieve, relive old memories to the point of frustration, or remain forever connected to people from our past. A sense of completion regarding a situation may also result when we accept that we have done our best. If you can’t officially achieve closure with someone, you can create completion by participating in a closure ritual. Write a farewell letter to that person and then burn your note during a ceremony. This ritual allows you to consciously honor and appreciate what has taken place between you and release the experience so you can move forward.   

Closure can help you let go of feelings of anger or uncertainty regarding your past even as you honor your experience — whether good or bad — as a necessary step on your life’s path. Closure allows you to emotionally lay to rest issues and feelings that may be weighing down your spirit.

When you create closure, you affirm that you have done what was needed, are wiser because of your experience, and are ready for whatever life wants to bring you next. 

Text by Madisyn Taylor
Home is where the Heart is.

Home is where the Heart is.

A turtle carries its home on its back, as humans we carry our home in our heart.

The word “home” has a wide variety of connotations. To some, home is merely a place where basic needs are addressed. To others, home is the foundation from which they draw their strength and tranquility. Still, others view home as a place inexorably linked to family. Yet all these definitions of home imply somewhere we can be ourselves and are totally accepted. There, we feel safe enough to let down our guard, peaceful enough to really relax, and loved enough to want to return day after day. However, these qualities need not be linked to a single space or any space at all.

Home is where the heart is and can be the locale you live in, a community you once lived in, or the country where you plan to live someday. Or home can be a feeling you carry inside yourself, wherever you are. 

The process of evolution can require you to undergo transformations that uproot you. Moving from place to place can seem to literally divide you from the foundations you have come to depend on. Since your home is so intimately tied to the memories that define you, you may feel that you are losing a vital part of yourself when you leave behind your previous house, city, state, or country. And as it may take some time before you fashion new memories, you may feel homeless even after settling into your new abode. To carry your home with you, you need only become your own foundation. Doing so is merely a matter of staying grounded and centered, and recognizing that the pleasures you enjoyed in one place will still touch your heart in another if you allow them.

Your home can be any space or state of being that fulfills you, provided you are at peace with yourself and your surroundings. A person can feel like home to you, as can seasons and activities. If you feel disconnected from what you once thought of as home, your detachment may be a signal that you are ready to move one. Simply put, you will know you have found your home when both your physical environment and energetic surroundings are in harmony with the individual you are within. 

Text by Madisyn Taylor