When I looked around the room, I had one of those “aha moments”. We were deep into a 3 day training at the very excellent META training center in Portland. Surrounded by a very skilled group of therapists, I looked around the room and wondered “why are these people really good at what they do?” Of course, there are skills related to therapeutic technique, but on a more foundational level, in order to be good therapist, coach, leader, counselor or other influencing role – what do they all have in common? Good communication skills. These skills are essential but are not in focus that much outside of specific professions. But what got me really excited is that the same skills used by the professional therapists, group leaders, coaches and counselors to pay attention, create connection, engage, and help others to communicate in a mindful way – can be learned by anyone.
This hit me like a bolt because I have studied interpersonal and group communications for years and for some reason, it never occurred to me to put mindfulness and communications together as a teachable, core skill to anyone interested and I can’t imagine anything more important.
Toward that end, on this site you will find direct and accessible practices that can help anyone become more become more mindful and present everyday. It doesn’t take much to have a big impact. When you are mindful and present, you see choices you did not see before. Having choices is the very essence of freedom. When you become mindful during a conversation, you can jump the conversation to a different level, easily and gracefully. It happens automatically. Important things you didn’t notice before, you now see. When you can see the person before you frantically waving their hands and sounding upset as they tell their story – instead of trying to solve their problem or instead of saying “that reminds me of …” , you say “that really upset you, huh?”. And they look at you and notice that you noticed how they are feeling. They notice that you see how they are now, in the moment. And they confirm it by saying “yeah, it did…” and a part of them feels safer with you. Now you’re connecting not to their story, but to the person you are talking to. This happens because you made yourself available to look, to be present. When you practice mindfulness in communications you notice so much more. And if you really listen and look non-judgmentally, you connect to something deeper, more powerful than their story. You connect to something essential and real that is at the core of us all. Speaking from this place in you transforms the moment and creates the possibility for real connection. This isn’t magic, but it can look and feel that way. You can learn to be mindful (or more mindful as the case may be). You can learn to improve you ability to communicate and connect. So that’s why I’m creating this place. To put out these ides and hope they help.
Please do write and let me know what you’d like to see or if the stuff here is helpful at all.