Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Straighten Up, Kate.

I -


this week's lesson in mindfulness.

I started a blog post a few days ago that is drastically different from what I sit down to write now [so much so that I trashed it and started over], and that fact is both surprising and encouraging. I relish being able to notice a change in my thoughts and behavior as a result of this practice. Over just a few days, astonishing.

A few minutes ago, I was a beaten, tired, even sullen, woman. I have had a terrible few days of travel and training, very taxing and difficult on my spirit. But I committed to this exercise, and while I'm tired, I still deserve to recap the last week's lesson and receive a new one.

So before I even read this week's lesson, I wanted to truly reflect on the past week's challenge, mindfulness of posture. Let me remind you, I teach body language. I'm tuned to the finery of communication we execute with our outward selves. I even worry about this in a non-mindful way, teaching my students to mind their body language, even if they are unaware of it, because it is so powerful and can change your attitude subconsciously in a snap. For instance, if you are in a classroom, and cold - say, or uncomfortable in your clothes, if you cross your arms, studies show you retain less of the message the professor is trying to give you. Just because you unconsciously close off, you're listening a little less to what they say.

This is huge. I never paid attention before to my posture in the way I have this week. Driving from New York to Philadelphia, I was tired and beaten from a tough day of training, and I found myself angry with the drive, and also - slumped over in the driver's seat. What we project on the outside has a profound effect on our inner mood. Just by straightening up, relaxing my shoulders and bringing awareness back to my outward self, I was brought back into the moment. Less worrying about my day, more driving.

This week, the book talks about the mindfulness of outward self - and posture - that allows us to communicate subtlely with the outside world. We say a lot before words ever leave our mouths, no one is more acutely aware of this than me (and my students. STARFISH!!) and have ultimate control if we can tune in to the broadcast we're in control of...

It brings me back to the fundamentals of the communication theory I teach. Albert Mehrabian was a psychologist who postulated that 55% of our communication was physical - body language, smells, faces, gestures.... 38% tone of voice, our intonation, inflection, accents, dialect, etc... and a WHOPPING 7% the words we say. Only 7% is up to our message, so we better pay attention to the other sections...

or else, be misunderstood. I talked for at least 8 hours today about something I've NEVER seen before because I didn't have time to prep. What does that mean? I was relying on the other 93% to get me through, all day long. And because I am mindful of its presence, my class [hopefully] knows what I said.

I can't express how profound this is for me. This is the first week that, given my admitted struggle with the challenge, I have learned something HUGE.

Starting tomorrow, the challenge is to - let me read that one, quick -

Oh shit.

"Gratitude at the end of the day"

At the end of the day, write five things that happened during the day that you are grateful for. At the end of the week, read it out loud to a friend, partner, or mindfulness companion.
So I'm starting tomorrow, honestly collecting a record of my gratitude. Awesome, I think.

Best of luck to you all. Message me if you want my number for mindfulness companionship. I think I need help expressing myself at the end of this week - FOR SURE!

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