Soft

tired blooms

Soft

you can peak
into her heart.
you might even see
the light
like a halo
emanating around her.
there’s kindness
in her actions
and hope
in her words.
her softness
is the heart
of all good things.

When I dare to go to that soft place of my heart, I find conviction and courage. From this tender place inside of me, clarity, confidence, and strength burst forth. At work I’ve been leading from this place, and I credit my softness for the best of my professional accomplishments. It’s also the place from which I always choose to take the stage that I might truly speak to and give of myself to others.

I had the opportunity last week to present at The Conference Board’s Mindfulness Seminar on Insights for Developing and Implementing a Successful Corporate Mindfulness Program. I was there to tell the story of Mindfulness@IBM and the grassroots nature of our movement. (We now have an online community of practice with over 4,300 members and 53 groups practicing together in 24 countries! All possible through the energy of volunteers – truly by IBMers for IBMers.) As the initial catalyst for our movement, I’ve been intentional about inviting a variety of mindfulness approaches and a divergence of practices, as well as curiosity and experimentation – in the spirit of our company’s deep commitment to diversity and inclusion. (That said, my sense is we are on the cusp of some great convergence and global enterprise strategic alignment.)

The seminar was such a great opportunity to share and learn. It was special to be part of a meeting that was run in a mindful way, with practices interwoven through the program to support and deepen our discovery and learning. Even more special was the sense that we were co-creating, that our beliefs and actions can create a more human workplace.

My session was on the morning of the 2nd day. I chose to read a poem as a mindfulness practice opener. Definitely something a soft person would do, right? 🙂  I chose to read Creating Our World, which felt so fitting. Words, and how they are used and combined, have a special energy. They can be powerful and profound, especially when intentionally selected. The poem certainly grounded me, and I think set the stage for a fully engaging session.

 

* I took this photo of tired blooms of a clemetis plant in my backyard. For contrast, here is the same plant in full bloom.

Backyard Purple.JPG

This Precious Moment

Guzelcamli Turkey.JPG

This Precious Moment

I look into your eyes;
a deep well invites me in.

I listen to your words;
their syllables envelop me.

I touch your presence;
a palpable energy showers me in light.

Illuminated, you leave me curious.

What awakens your spirit?
What makes your heart sing?
What do you love more than anything?

Here. Now. Together.
We live in this breathing, precious moment.

One of the gifts of my job is that I meet amazing people. Truly amazing people.

One of them is Katiuscia Barretta. We met through the Mindfulness@IBM community that I started in 2015. She was instrumental in growing our community and creating awareness of the value of mindfulness in the workplace. She wrote a series of blogs about the neuroscience of mindfulness and made connections with the qualities of working in agile ways and applying design thinking. We led four different 6-8 week mindfulness series during 2015 and 2016, and we are at it again right now.

Part of Kat’s approach is to close each week’s session with a short inspirational reading, usually a poem. She introduced me to some wonderful poetry (such as There’s a Hole in my Sidewalk). And, she invited me to share my own poetry. One week we came up short and I was inspired to write something.

This poem was inspired by practicing mindfulness with Kat and my colleagues at work.

 

* I took this photo from Dilek National Park in Guzelcamli, Turkey (which has a view toward Samos, Greece).

Truth’s Whisper

Fenore County Clare IrelandTruth’s Whisper

My truth
speaks quietly.
It whispers.
Sometimes
it is hard to hear.
In silent moments
of stillness,
I feel its breath
upon me.
Its voice is clear:
Be who you are
completely.

This poem is about what happens when I make time to just be, to just sit still with myself, to just let whatever comes up be what’s needed.

These quiet times with myself are not always magical. In fact, they can be downright difficult. I’m sometimes challenged by my thoughts running around like a kid on a sugar high, and just can’t shut them off. I’m sometimes overwhelmed with all that my life seems to demand of me. I’m sometimes gripped by fear of something, be it failure or success, knowing or not knowing, having or not having.

By coming back to the quiet space, time and time again, I’m sometimes gifted with the truth. A partial reinforcement effect that invites me to return with some consistency. Sometimes it speaks loudly and unquestioningly – but mostly it whispers. Mostly it entices me to listen more deeply. I’m invited to not only hear the words in my head but also to feel my experience.

As a runner, I know what it feels like to challenge my body, but to listen to it share secrets  about what’s happening when I’m sitting quietly, that’s a skill I’m still building. Yoga helps. Guided mindfulness practices help.

This is the title poem of the first chapter of And Then Opens Possibility. The chapter is a collection of 10 poems about the way possibility opens when we are vulnerable enough to be seen and courageous enough to live in integrity. I first posted a version of it on my Mostly My Heart Sings blog, which you’ll find here.

* I took the photograph at the beach in Fenore, County Clare, Ireland in 2016.