…as she worked on her peace walk, it slowed her body, slowed her mind, she became intentional with her breath and more aware of her surroundings.Dr. Moira Hanna
I’m Dr. Moira and I’m a college professor, instructor, coach, and passionate mentor to health coaches around the world, but I haven’t always been that confident and committed to my coaching career. I wasn’t sure if I could make it work or even what the best approach was to success and fulfillment. I decided to step up and step into my dream of guiding health coaches on their journey from Hesitant Health Coach to Committed Health Coach. With a unique approach to coach growth, the Health Coach Catalyst program creates a strong hexagonal effect. The Coaching Hive podcast is your glimpse into the concepts, ideas, and approaches that underscore the Hexagonal Effect while giving you the opportunity to implement tools and tips along the way. Are you ready to dive into today’s podcast? Then let’s go and remember that this podcast is family friendly so go ahead and play it through your speakers!
Welcome to Episode 12 of the Coaching Hive Podcast!
Over the last several weeks we have really dug into the concept of mindset and mindfulness. For our family and our business, the first part of 2021 has been busy and challenging. It has been our regular practice of mindfulness that has allowed us to persevere and take a time out when needed.
Today we are going to explore practicing mindfulness and I’ve even incorporated time for you to practice mindfulness. A time to pause from your busy schedule and sit in the silence.
As a coach, business owner, or just human being, you likely know how easy it is to get into a go-go-go mode. We often hear ourselves saying, “my schedule is packed” or “my calendar is full,” but continue to add things to that packed schedule or full calendar. We form this habit of saying “yes” instead of saying “maybe” or “not right now”.
What I have discovered in practicing mindfulness is that I slow down, I’m more present, and almost by default more willing to say maybe or even no. I want to protect my ability to be fully present in each activity without worrying over the next thing on my schedule or what still needs to get done. I am by no means perfect at this, just ask my husband, but the days when I make mindfulness practice a priority, I am more engaged in the moment.
Being engaged in the moment also, happily, makes engaging with clients and quieting the inner noise when coaching much easier. It is easier to offer empathy and compassion. It is easier to step into the client’s shoes and see their perspective. It is also easier to protect ourselves from taking on the client’s emotions as our own. This allows us to be better coaches.
Now, I did not start with a formal mindfulness practice years ago, and if we are honest, I’m still not as regular about practicing mindfulness as I would like, but instead I started with something a little simpler.
A licensed social worker once explained to me the power of a peace walk. “Peace” as in p-e-a-c-e, peace. I was still in grad school, was constantly busy, was stressed, but I slowed down enough to listen to what she had to say. I was intrigued. Peace sounded nice right about then. So, what is a peace walk? She explained to me that she would go outside, or anywhere that she could walk and with one step breathe in. On the next step she would breathe out the word “peace”. She would whisper on her breath out. This served to do many things. She became aware of her pace. In order to breathe in with one step and out with the next, you have to slow down. By slowing down, she was slowing her whole body. By speaking the word peace, she was giving her body and brain a big hint. She was saying “I am at peace”. Our words have power and by speaking “peace” she was telling her body that this was important. To listen.
So, as she worked on her peace walk, it slowed her body, slowed her mind, she became intentional with her breath and more aware of her surroundings. This is a form of mindfulness that I still practice today. I often alter it a bit so that each breath in takes a few steps and each breath out takes a few steps, but it still serves to slow me and re-center my thinking. I am more alert, aware, and in-the-moment. This is even something you could do at your desk or in the car. Simply breathe in and when you breathe out speak “peace”.
Have you ever tried something similar? This technique got me through grad school and my early career. I could be found walking outside in a slow and purposeful way just to calm my body and mind. It was, and continues to be, a lovely technique in my toolbox. As a bit of a side note, it also works for children because it doesn’t draw attention. The child is simply walking, and the “peace” can be whispered very quietly or even not at all but thought with intention internally. It gives them a few precious seconds before responding.
If you are ready for something more, I invite you to use the next segment of this podcast to practice some mindfulness meditation. Now, if you are driving or doing something else that requires your attention, this part of the podcast is something that you will want to come back to later. But if you are ready to calm your body and mind, go ahead and find a comfortable place. Sit comfortably, there are no strict rules here and if you feel comfortable, allow your eyes to drift closed.
…… Begin noticing your body as you settle into your seat, wiggle a little to get just a tad more comfortable and as your body settles begin to notice the sounds around you.
…… What sounds do you hear? As you notice the sounds let them pass through you. Just stay in the moment and begin to focus on your breath. Each breath comes in and out as you allow your mind to calm and your body to still.
…… Your breath is coming slowly and evenly, the sounds are passing through you, and you are noticing the silence. If you notice that your mind begins to wander away from silence, simply acknowledge the thoughts and allow them to pass on by. Each time thoughts pop up, simply notice them, acknowledge them, and allow them to keep moving. There is no judgment, simply awareness and acceptance.
…… Breathing in and out, allowing your body, mind, and soul to slow and be at peace. Take a few minutes here to simply breathe and be.
… (5 minutes of silence/creek sounds) …
… As we prepare to finish our mindfulness meditation slowly become aware of the sounds you hear once more. Notice how they may have changed. Notice what you are now hearing. As you take another breath in, notice how it feels. With your next breath in begin to notice your body beginning at your toes and going the whole way to the top of your head. Take a few more breaths in and out and when you are ready, open your eyes slowly and quietly. Take in your surroundings with a gentle and calm look. As you feel ready, begin to move around continuing to breathe in and out
… (30 seconds of creek sounds) …
Thank you for taking this mindfulness journey today. This is something that you can come back to time and time again. Some people find it helpful to schedule time at the beginning and end of their day to simply sit in the silence. Others choose a specific time of day or whenever life feels hectic.
The more you practice mindfulness, the easier it will become. This intentional practice of mindfulness meditation will also allow you to be more mindful in your everyday interactions.
Thank you so much for spending time with me today to sit in the silence, or in this case the sounds of our creek. If you already have an established mindfulness meditation practice what are your favorite tips for making this a meaningful habit?
As you begin to incorporate mindfulness meditation into your schedule or continue incorporating mindfulness meditation into your schedule, what are the benefits you notice? You may find that the benefits change over time. Some days you may find that sitting in the silence comes with ease and other days you are constantly acknowledging your thoughts as they pop up. This is normal. It is part of the process and I encourage you to continue practicing.
I hope this podcast inspires you to begin a practical of mindfulness, re-explore your practice of mindfulness, or simply re-commit yourself to mindfulness in the everyday. As you sit in the silence this week, I’ll be thinking of you and cheering you on. I encourage you to keep in touch with your progress and I’ll see you back here next week for another episode of the Coaching Hive podcast.
~ Dr. Moira
… (30 seconds of creek sounds) …