Hello PPMA members and friends
The month of March welcomes the wonderful season of spring and here is a beautiful and thought provoking piece written by our very own Leatham Green. We hope that you find it inspiring.
“Spring has sprung. It’s arrival heralds blooming plants, longer warmer days, rebirth and renewed energy. While many of us are happy to say goodbye to the darkness and cold of the long winter, let’s not rush through this wonderous transition time. Instead, I invite you to slow down a little, and appreciate the coming of Spring in all its glory. Here are four mindful ways to savour Spring:
1) Let it RAIN. As you emerge from winter hibernation, you may suddenly find yourself overwhelmed with spring “to-dos”—spring cleaning, bringing out the t-shirts and shorts, thinking of the Easter break, getting out in the fresh air more often. When your brain starts running through your to-do list, try to foster mindful self-compassion, and give yourself space to breathe using the RAIN technique.
The acronym RAIN, first coined about 20 years ago by Michele McDonald, is an easy-to-remember tool for practicing mindfulness. It has four steps:
- Recognize what is going on
- Allow the experience to be there, just as it is
- Investigate with kindness
- Natural awareness, which comes from not identifying with the experience.
Take your time and explore RAIN as a stand-alone tool whenever challenging feelings arise. Focus with your in breath and release with your out breath.
2. Make the sounds of Spring your muse. Birds chirping, walking the dog, people playing in the park etc, spring is full of new noises—but rather than trying to tune them all out, spend some time fully embracing all the signs of new life that you can hear. You can practice mindfulness even without peace and quiet! Take a few moments ( no more than a minute required!) to stop – breathe – and listen.
3. Appreciate your plate. Bowls of soup and cups of tea may have kept your body warm all winter, but the return of Spring means many of your favourite fruits and vegetables begin to come back in season: fresh greens, lovely berries, sweet peas. By practicing mindful eating, you can slow down and appreciate all that fresh produce.
Every meal time slow down and take a moment to savour what’s on your plate – where it has come from – the effort to grow and produce your food – the time taken to prepare and cook the meal.
Eat slowly – enjoy the experience – rejoice in what you have to eat.
4. Live your day with a kind heart
Before you leave for work, pause for a moment – it only takes moments! – to set your motivation for the day ahead.
“I’m going to work today not simply to earn a living but to benefit others and make their day as positive and amazing as possible. May everyone who comes into contact with me be well and happy.”
Put your kind heart into the work you do and feel a genuine connection with the people who will meet you and experience the results of your hard work.
Generate a kind heart toward your colleagues by reminding yourself:
“Today, I will try to be friendly and cooperative with the people I work with creating a pleasant working environment.”
When you go into your work place and say “Good morning” to everyone and greet them with a smile as you look into their eyes. This will make a big difference in your working relationships. In addition, others will meet a happy person first thing in the morning instead of a grumpy soul who may become more demanding as the day goes on – what is not to like about that! Great stuff if you already do that!!
Throughout the day, remember that you don’t want to harm anybody, that you want to ensure they are well and happy.
To remind yourself of this intention, you may want to use a frequent event as a trigger to call you back to your motivation. For example, every time you stop at a red traffic light, instead of being irritated and thinking, “Why is this light on red so long? I’m late for work!” think, “Today, I want to have a kind heart toward others.” In this way, the red light becomes an opportunity to remember the kind heart.
My trigger to remember the kind heart is my dog Luca (a whippet) – he wakes me every morning with a kiss on the nose – comes to find me like clockwork, every hour, wherever I am in the house to say hello and have personal contact – and is always delighted for the small things in life we may take for granted like being fed, walkies, a hug and just being with each other (he trots around the house howling with delight after each of these events and even more when he says hello on my return home!!) . Luca’s presence makes me familiar with the kind heart I wish to extend to those around me and helps me to treat others with patience, love and understanding.
So, say goodbye to the dark days of Winter with a kind heart as we welcome in the light of Spring and most of all love being alive – love what you do – love being with family and friends and tell those around you that you love them – this small act with big impact costs nothing, and results in people feeling great – let me know how you get on!”
PPMA Interim Executive Director and Founder of Mindful HR