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When I was a Language Arts teacher, I would walk my students through a series of practices on identifying their surroundings and writing down the details.
Photo by Diver, Wikipediawan, Creative Commons – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License https://www.flickr.com/photos/95541402@N07
You could try it right now. Take a moment and pause to consider the following:
What are you seeing? Look up, down, around, and behind you. Are you seeing the glare of sunlight from a nearby window? Or maybe it’s the stained surface of a tabletop. Could it be a yellow painted wall holding a framed photo?
What are hearing? Stop and simply listen. Maybe you hear the buzz of a heating or air system from nearby vents. Or do you recognize the distant hum of passing traffic?
What do you smell? Are you surrounded by the scent of brewed coffee or mix of aromas coming from a busy kitchen? Or maybe you smell the mustiness of old books.
What are you touching? Your body is full of nerves. Can you feel the fabric of the shirt you’re wearing resting on your shoulders? Or how about the press of your shoes against your toes? Are you holding the smooth ridges of a pen in hand?
What are you tasting? Maybe it’s the sweetness of gum or the caramel flavorings of your favorite soda? Or it could be the aftertaste of your most recent snack.
What are sensing emotionally? Are you anxious, excited, worried? Do you have a sense of confidence or angst for the day ahead? Or maybe you’re tired from a short night of sleep, or hungry for your next meal?
It is easy to step into your day with a list of to-do’s and fail to see what is right around you or even what is happening inside your own brain. Sometimes it takes real effort to pause and reflect on your surroundings. But being mindful is important, not just in writing, but in leadership. Continue reading