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 nonintellectual! Then, to make things even worse, she asked us to imagine forming a circle with our ancestors and dancing with them – I checked out and waited impatiently until she returned 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”. Like most of you, Steven is a very goal-oriented, hyperactive, high-achieving individual.
If you are raising your eyebrows in disbelief and thinking, “Oh yeah, not for me,” I 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.
Last week my 10-year-old missed a few days of school. The pending homework overwhelmed her; 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 my usual way… luckily, an idea stopped me. 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 down with a few deep breaths and 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 cry 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.