We are basically clueless when it comes to the ripple effects of our work. Have you ever had that experience of something tiny or random turning out to be more meaningful than you ever could have expected?
Last spring I ordered a bunch of medicinal herbs to pass out as gifts for coaching clients and retreat participants. I have a love affair with a particular herb named Tulsi, or Holy Basil, and ordered a flat of seedlings from an organic garden store.
Gifts and takeaways are central to my teaching and coaching work. Most of us are starved for a little sweetness and sensory input. But as I shared these seedlings I put it in the “fun but not that impactful” category in my mind. I figured some people would enjoy cooking with them or making an herbal tea.
A year passes…
Then last week I had the chance to catch up with a dad in our neighborhood who also happens to be an urban farmer. He was standing in my kitchen picking up some essential oils for his very pregnant wife and puts in my hand a bag of Tulsi blossoms as a gift.
That’s Tulsi, I shout and breathe it in.
Connecting the dots we realize that Tulsi first got on his radar screen last year after his wife brought home a seedling from one of my retreats. He is a veteran and after researching the herb decided to grow it both because it is a specialty basil (thus commanding a better price) but also to support friends and colleagues in their healing process around PTSD and other combat-related trauma. (Tulsi calms the nervous system and has many other stress-reducing benefits.)
Now their whole front yard is blooming with Tulsi!
Cultivating open awareness (which I’ll share more how to do below) helps us to be humble in the face of our own lives and to remember that there is always so much more than what we can see. It is also a reminder that we are not the best judge of our work impact or performance.
Consider how many gifts might have unfurled into the world because of your work, even the small acts. Many of the ways you have touched others or impacted our collective life you will likely never know about.
How might you hold your work differently today if you considered it through this broader lens?
Its been such an honor to journey with you this summer. And I hope you can take a moment to celebrate any new growth which has opened up in your life as a result: perhaps you added a new practice to your repertoire, or claimed a regular time to read the weekly challenges and to breathe in a busy day.
I celebrate it all! And trust that any step you took toward cultivating presence in regular life and work may yet light up our world in ways we can’t anticipate (and indeed may never even know about!)
Wishing you a warm, slow August full of rest and renewal,
PS Today I’m opening up the Summer of Meditation Support Materials as a Self-Study Course for a 25% discount. Read on for details… and register today!
Meditation: Open Awareness (15 minutes in AM) + 15 minutes in PM of a walking meditation or reflecting with gratitude on your day.
Real World Mindfulness Practice: Open Awareness
This practice can either be done as part of your regular meditation time and/or as a mini-mindfulness break in a busy day.
How to Cultivate Open Awareness
Open awareness is simply the capacity to zoom out from a tight perspective (only interested in how this next interaction or moment is going to affect me) and instead to allow in a broader experience of reality.
Sound is a great teacher here. So often we we fretfully grip onto an illusion of control. Sit quietly and notice the sounds in your environment. Perhaps you hear the air conditioner, a car going by, birds or colleagues or other people in your environment. Notice how quickly the mind wants to label the vibrations and identify some as pleasurable and others as jarring or annoying. Simply be with this habit and see if you can observe the the sound vibrations as sensations which come, pass through, and recede. All without you influencing them in any way. You can practice this as well with body sensations, feelings, and thoughts. Notice as they appear and dissolve in the openness of your mind. And when you feel ready, you can draw your practice to a close and see what it is like to bring the sense of open awareness to the rest of your day.
The Commitment. Now it is Your Turn.
Ready to keep going with a daily or almost daily practice? Great! Overwhelmed but think you could try an moment of Open Awareness? Yes!
I do encourage you to get clear, even if only to yourself, about your commitment for the week– specificity is powerful. Write it on a sticky note. Tell a friend. Leave it for me as a comment below.
Feel like you missed the Summer of Meditation Challenge?
Now that the live Summer of Meditation Support Circle has come to a close, I’m offering the material as a self-study course (at a 25% discount.)
What does this mean?
Once your payment is received (through the secure electronic payment options) you will receive an email with details for the private Summer of Meditation Support Circle Course Page where you will have immediate access to the 8 guided meditations and 8 audio lessons on the themes or “pillars of happiness at work.”
Then you just get to hop on it- tasting what interests you, skipping around, starting with your favorite meditation. Maybe you want some support dealing with the inner critic, or finding balance between work and life, or are ready to integrate tapping (acupressure) as a stress-reliever. Whatever your goals you can enjoy the material at your own pace. Lessons + meditations are posted as mp3 files so you can listen directly on your phone or computer, as well as download and save to your media library. Plus there are two really fun bonuses, including a conversation on disentangling from work with Reiki Master Teacher Paula Orozco.
Summer is still with us—it is a great time to get centered and try out some new practices. Read all the details and Register today!