What would it be like if I could accept life–accept this moment–exactly as it is? Tara Brach
We are not leaders in isolation. The line between professional and personal is blurry. My mindful practice at work is the same as my mindful practice at home. The practice is all of me- not just part of me.
My personal mindful journey spans 30+ years. It has been a process born out of pain and disruption, which I now see as a gift. Having experiences that are on a spectrum from disruptive and unsettling to joy and elation are instructive in the mindful journey. It is an opportunity to become self-aware and make conscious choices about the amount of focus you give to a feeling. It is a way to examine your emotional heart to see if it is filling with energy and good sensations or if it is depleting and debilitating. Being mindful gives you the understanding to observe the experience but not to be victim to it. You have a choice. As you start to be aware, attentive and conscious about what is happening, you then have a choice about how you react. This choice is being mindful.
My current journey has offered a chance to practice mindfulness at a new level. As most of us know, families and personal relationships can often be complicated. And most families are dysfunctional at some level. Our emotional hearts can be filled with love and at times, battered or depressed. All of this is part of our human experience. Mindfulness allows us to avoid succumbing to the heartbreak and anger while experiencing gratitude for the happiness and contentment we also experience.
My mother was diagnosed with two diseases at the young age of 71. One is Alzheimer’s Disease, which most of us have heard of or we know someone who has this dementia. The other is less known – Lewy Body Dementia which you may recall contributed to the death of comedian Robin Williams.
Most people would say they would not want either experience for themselves or anyone they love. For me, this situation has been a gift. It has been an intimate experience that has strengthened my relationship and love for my mom (or as I affectionally call her, Momala).
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