mindfulness meditation

Living and Working Mindfully…The Case for Compassion

In a recent Harvard Business Review article on stress, the authors mentioned 2 key strategies that help leaders effectively manage stress: tipping point awareness-recognizing when you are exhibiting behaviors indicating you are nearing your threshold of overwhelm, and stress shifting through intentional breathing. More and more we hear evidence of how intentionally pausing to breathe, can be a powerful anecdote to stress. What’s more, mindful breathing can help restrain us when we are about to interrupt someone or blast a colleague or employee with negative criticism.

As a teacher of Mindfulness Meditation, I recommend this to all my executive coaching and personal counseling clients because stress is everywhere, and the breath is always with us to slow the runaway nervous system and our quick tongue.

“She did me wrong”, “He attacked me in that meeting”! When clients feel wronged, whether at home or at work, I listen with compassion and invite them to be compassionate with themselves. After the grief and hurt is calmed, I invite the person to release the hurt, because resentment only hurts the one holding on to the anger. Thus, forgiveness and letting go clears the way for effective problem solving so one can plan the best approach to an honest conversation with the other party. Let’s face it, we humans aren’t always at our best and our communication often goes awry. Misunderstandings, the silent treatment or thinly veiled alliances that pit one group again the other ensue. Resentment, hurts and grudges impede team work and sabotage success. As Judith Glaser in her book: Conversational Intelligence (2014, Bibliomotion, Inc.) says, people get stuck in positional conversations or the Tell Sell Yell syndrome, and innovative solutions cannot occur. So, yes, at work, too, in the most sophisticated organizations I recommend Mindfulness, compassion, forgiveness and letting go. After all, its only then, with a clearer mind that can we think clearly, created trusting connections get back to business.

Blind Spots and Building Blocks to Listening

Often, we hear and don’t listen. Or, we listen and think we know what the other person thinks but we don’t. In fact, according to Sandford research study 9 out of 10 conversations miss the mark. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/speech-acts/. Why is this? One of the reasons is because we use words and phrases that the other person understands and uses in a very different way or degree. Take Harry, a friend a of mine who was unemployed although he was looking diligently for over 3 months. I asked this soft-spoken man how he felt about the job search process and he said he was “depressed.” (I had used the word “depressed” for minor setbacks like when I gained a few pounds!) So, I did what Judith Glaser calls “double clicking” I asked him to share with me what “depressed” felt like for him. He said he felt “like he was climbing a mountain with a piano on his back!” This brought tears to my eyes because I now understood what he was really trying to say.

In personal or business conversation we may think we know what someone means when we may not. Using “double clicking” or reflective listening gives the listener a chance to state what we heard and then, invites the speaker to say more so we really hear the accurate; deeper meanings of their comment. I have found that when people take the time to do this, understanding really opens people feel heard and co -created solutions can be generated.

Upcoming Events

Sept 27, 2018 6 pm Corner Bakery, King of Prussia
Marjorie  presents “ Insights on Type and Mindfulness” at the  Philadelphia Area MBTI meetup for trainers, coaches and practitioners

Oct 24, 2018 Mindfulness Based Support Group
6-7:15 for 6 Wednesdays
Personal Touch Physical Therapy
790 E. Market St, Suite 290
West Chester, PA 19382

Oct 30, 2018 11-12:30
Leadership: The Importance of Presence
Novak Francella LLC, a Bala Cynwyd CPA Firm

Oct 30, 2018 11-12:30

Leadership: The Importance of Presence

Novak Francella LLC , a Bala Cynwyd CPA Firm

Mindfulness Meditation Group Starts April 11, 2018

Starting Wednesday April 11, 2018

mindfulness

Mindfulness Meditation Group


6 Weeks ($200) includes CD “Come to the Quiet”

Register & pay by April 4 to get a $20 discount!


Location: 937 Prichard Avenue, West Chester, PA 19382
Time: 7:30 – 8:45 PM
To register email Marjorie@ascendconsulting.net or call (610) 696-4443

Unsure what “Mindfulness” is:  read my blog “Mindfulness is the Secret to Success!” for more information and see what all the hype is about! 

Mindfulness Meditation Group Starts 1/23/18

Starting January 23, 2018
6 Weeks ($180) includes CD “Come to the Quiet”
Location: 937 Prichard Avenue, West Chester, PA 19382
Time: 7:00 – 8:15 PM
To register email Marjorie@ascendconsulting.net or call (610) 696-4443

Unsure what “Mindfulness” is:  read my blog “Mindfulness is the Secret to Success!” for more information and see what all the hype is about! 

Mindfulness Meditation and Type: Discussion and Practice For DVAPT 11/11/17

Welcome to this relaxed and interactive program on Mindfulness Meditation and its usefulness in working with Type. You will learn the background, science, and principles that are foundational to Mindfulness Meditation. Information will be interspersed with practice exercises to help integrate the learning. We will discuss together how Mindfulness may be applied in our work with Type in counseling, coaching or team facilitation. 

Date: November 11, 2017

Time: 9 AM – 12:30 PM

Location: Mainline Counseling and Wellness Office
600 Haverford Road, Suite # 201, Haverford, PA 19041

Free parking and accessible by SEPTA.

Please RSVP to: Johanna Levitt – jlcounselingtime@aol.com 

Mindfulness is the Secret to Success!

“Mindfulness is the Secret to Success”

By: Marjorie R. Johnson, LCSW, PCC, President of Ascend Consulting, Inc.

“How do you stay present in the midst of your busy day?” asked a client, who is a successful executive. Through coaching, the client began to recognize the importance of staying present during day to day interactions. Acknowledging the need to listen instead of speak and ask instead of tell was the first hurdle. Now, the client wanted strategies.  Staying mindful requires discipline in order to listen with openness, instead of being in your head, thinking up a response. Recent findings in neuroscience show that when we don’t fully listen, when we focus on telling, the other person will tend to become defensive and shut down. (see, Conversational Intelligence, by Judith Glasser) This neurological response is not in our conscious mind, but occurs at a hormonal, biological level. The reaction is based on a primitive fight, flight, freeze or appease response system deep in the brain. None of those behaviors are the response we want.

How did I finally answer my client’s question? I told them, keeping a present mindset is challenging! For me, and many of my clients, mindfulness is both the path and the practice that again and again, helps guide us back to the present moment all day long. As an executive coach and therapist, I see Mindfulness as the organizing force that helps us to establish high emotional intelligence, to be resilient in the face of stress and to lead and communicate effectively. Practicing mindfulness meditation is not some panacea- ask anyone who knows me! But, it is a simple method I use to calm down, be open and become more aware of my thoughts, emotions, choices and surroundings. A great benefit; Mindfulness helps us to manage common problems like anxiety, insomnia and ADHD.

So, where to begin? Start small! Allow yourself 10 minutes a day to simply be still, in a quiet place if possible, and focus your attention on your breath. A simple pattern to use is the 4-7-8 Breathing Pattern taught by Dr. Andrew Weill. Inhale for the count of 4, through the nostrils, hold the breath for the count of 7 and exhale slowly out rounded lips for a count of 8. The counting keeps other thoughts at bay and helps us stay focused. The body’s natural relaxation response begins to settle in after 3-4 rounds. What a nice, calm respite from the day! Then, simply try to keep your attention on the breath wherever you feel it in the body.  Focus on the rise and fall of the chest or the belly. Even try focusing on the sensation of air flowing in and out of the body.

Your mind might wander. That’s ok! The mind is constantly thinking. Just the fact that you become aware of your mind wandering means you are aware, or mindful. Keep returning to the breath again and again as you sit for 10 minutes. Practice makes better, not perfect. As you expand your daily mindfulness to 15 , or even 20 minutes, a change is noticeable. You will begin to become aware as your mind wanders when simply speaking with someone, in a meeting or even leading a meeting.  You will start to listen better, improving your relationships. All of these steps will allow the process of becoming present in the middle of your busy day.

The next Mindfulness Meditation group begins on January 17, 2017 at 7:30pm. I welcome you to join me and we can practice being more mindful together!