It was the summer of 2009 when I started my coach training class; the instructor started the session with a guided meditation. The purpose was to be ready and present for the session. However, as someone from the high-paced, left-brained, hardcore technology field, I could not appreciate it much. Noticing my breathing and the body parts seemed totally nonintellectual! Then, to make things even worse, she asked us to imagine forming a circle with our ancestors and dance with them – I totally checked out and waited impatiently till she came back to reality!
Later, as a coach and a workshop facilitator, I have now learned to appreciate the value of mind-body connection a little more. Learning from my initial reaction, I have adopted a much simpler version of it, though. Sometimes as simple as 3-4 focused, slow breathing helps my clients be calmer and more present. For example, the other day, my client Steven, a mid-level manager in a high-tech company, reported, “The mind-body connection has helped me be more effective in stressful situations, at work and even at home with my 3-year old”. Steven is a very goal-oriented, hyperactive, high-achieving individual like most of you.
In case you are raising your eyebrows in disbelief and thinking, “oh yeah, not for me,” I totally get that. However, if your life challenges are at least the same or more than my 10-year-old, you may want to pay attention to this part.
Last week my 10-year-old missed a few days of school. The pending homework made her a little overwhelmed; none of the math assignments seemed comprehensible. Finally, quite frustrated and irritated, she came to me for help. The frustration was contagious. I almost jumped into “solving” the problem in my usual way… luckily, an idea stopped me in the middle. Maybe we could use some focused deep breathing this time.
You can imagine how a 10-year-old would respond to my request – she resisted. I calmed myself down with a few deep breathes then hugged her firmly. I gently invited her to leave the worries for a moment and only focus on the breathing process. I felt she was calming down, and then all of a sudden, she started weeping. Very unusual of me – I remained calm; I let her weep as I compassionately wrapped her around with my arms. And it was over within another minute or two. She washed her face and finished the rest of the homework smoothly.
Only a few focused breathing turned the cranky situation into a graceful positive experience for both of us! Now I know that the mind-body connection can be a great optimizer no matter how big or small the situation is. If a 10-year-old can do it, so can you!
Book: Search Inside Yourself, written by a former Google Engineer!
This article was first published in January 2014. The then 10-year-old is now a confident young woman heading for college across the country. The featured image is from pixabay.com.