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mindfulness

Go barefoot:  8 Tips for more mindful living

Go barefoot:  8 Tips for more mindful living

by Moyra Mackie on April 4, 2018

I always worry when HR departments seize on a fashionable idea as the panacea that may not cure all ills but will certainly tick this year’s boxes.

Andy Puddicombe, the co-founder of a terrific mindfulness app called Headspace, wrote a great article on LinkedIn criticising the vogue for “Mindfulness at Work,” given that this slightly misses the point of mindfulness.  As Andy says:

“Mindfulness simply means to be present, undistracted, no matter where we are or what we are doing at the time.”

Or like being barefoot, instead of wearing our comfiest footwear

Going barefoot – especially outside – brings instant awareness of our relationship to our surroundings.  It uses more muscles and strengthens our ankles but it also makes us think just a little bit more about where we are treading.

Mindfulness is a practice that you never perfect

There are many ways to become more mindful; more focused, attentive and present.  One of the best ways to build this ability in an increasingly distracting world is through meditation.  There is a ton of evidence emerging to show the wide-range of physical and emotional benefits of regular mindfulness-meditation.

It’s not a quick fix

Indeed it’s not a fix at all, because we can never say we’ve mastered mindfulness.

If you want to know how to get started with mindfulness-meditation, this is a great little video.  Instead of repeating those tips, I’d like to focus on eight simple things that I think really help to introduce more mindful moments into our everyday lives.

Although there is science to back many of them up, I’ve chosen them because they work for me.

#1 Stop those TV dinners

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Leadership and lying down to photograph elephants

Leadership and lying down to photograph elephants

by Moyra Mackie on April 1, 2016

It’s a beautiful spring day in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe.  We’ve just got back from our early morning safari drive. We began in the barely-light crisp cold, swaddled in fleece and thick woollen blankets.  We return under clear blue skies, our faces upturned to the emerging heat of the sun, our hearts full of the raw beauty of the landscape and animals we’ve encountered.

With the smell of lunch in the air and the sound of the crickets starting up in the bush we spot a dozen or more elephants making their way in a graceful line to the waterhole, fifty or so metres away.  The professional photographers in the group, grab lenses and tripods to capture the playful babies and the protective mothers gathering at the water’s edge.

I’ve come armed with only a smartphone, which I’m realising is not at all equipped for long distances.

There are many ways of seeing the same thing

So I lie on the wooden decking, near the fire pit.  I tune out the other guests who are amused by my photographic technique.

As I am in Africa to research my leadership retreat, Campfire Conversations, capturing the fire and the seats around it is also important to me. It’s not a perfect image – I miss the fact that a tree branch cuts through the herd and the camera can’t pick out the individuality of each elephant.

Yet we have a choice as to how we see things

From where I’m lying I can get a sense of perspective about how close the animals are to us; I can show the relationship between them and us.

I would never have become aware of this – never thrown myself down on the floor – if it had not been for my friend, and professional photographer, Rebecca Fennell.  Before leaving for Zimbabwe, Bex had given me a crash course in how to get great pictures with a smartphone.  One of the biggest lessons she passed on to me was:

“Most people just point their camera at the subject, they don’t think about how they should best relate to what they’re photographing.  Get down level with your subject.  Think about angles and light and what you want to show with that image.”

She showed me how different the bottles and glasses on the table in front of us looked, if taken from a more thoughtful height, paying attention to where the natural light was.

Photography is the art of paying attention

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Mindfulness:  powerful coaching for the mind?

Mindfulness: powerful coaching for the mind?

by Moyra Mackie on February 27, 2016

This week my much beloved, but aging, Mini Cooper helped me to find a moment of true quiet and stillness by letting me down.

As I left my car to be repaired, I dreaded what I felt was a long walk into town.  I was conscious of my laptop weighing heavily in my bag, alongside a feeling of uncertainty about spending a day working out of a coffee shop, unsure of how long or how expensive my wait would turn out to be.

I had so much to do, I hadn’t time to slow down

I resigned myself to a walk along a busy road, when I noticed that I could take a short cut along the canal.  This was a bit better.

As I turned onto the canal tow path and headed away from the road I realised that even though I’d lived in this town for more than twenty years, I’d never walked along this stretch before.

I began to notice what a nice day it was

Crisply cold in the shade and unexpectedly warm in the puddles of sunlight. I was all by myself.  I began to enjoy the sight of the tiny gardens of the cottages that backed onto the canal.  A strong contrast to the blue metal industrial buildings on the other side.

The further I walked, the quieter it became, the less I noticed the weight of my laptop

Then I saw a tiny wooden bridge that led from the canal, over a stretch of water and onto a little lane that would take me into town.  Thanks to a sign put up by the town council, I discovered that the water was “an artificial lake” that covered an area that used to be a thriving watercress field in Victorian times.  Watercress was grown and transported all over England using canal transport or the newly built railway.

Still thinking about this – and how much the town had changed – I stepped onto the bridge.  And stopped.

What I could see was beautiful.  read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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What gifts are you mindlessly throwing away?

What gifts are you mindlessly throwing away?

by Moyra Mackie on October 17, 2015

When I left work at 7pm on Friday night, it was already dark. Outside, it seemed that everybody’s weekend had begun except mine.

I’d been in a team meeting all day and had spent the last hour frantically trying to catch up on important mails that had arrived during the day.  I was in the middle of negotiating a large contract and I felt overwhelmed and frustrated by the paperwork and the process.

My mind was everywhere except in the present

I got into my car, with my mind racing, half wishing the weekend away so that I could get back to untangling the bureaucratic threads.

At least I didn’t have to cook dinner when I got home, as my husband had ordered a takeaway for me to pick up on the way home.  I stopped first to buy a bottle of wine to go with it.

As I reached the check out, my head was still full of work

I scarcely noticed the cashier until the card machine failed to work.  Three or four attempts by the young woman to reset the machine failed and I stood waiting, aware of a growing queue behind me.

Eventually she asked her colleague, who pointed out that she had missed a basic step in allowing card payments.  She blushed and apologised.   In that moment I was conscious of feeling angry at the large supermarket chain for throwing young workers in front of customers without adequate training.

But just as quickly another thought entered my head. read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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How to make filing inspiring

How to make filing inspiring

by Moyra Mackie on May 24, 2014

I hate filing and I love TED Talks.

So in an effort to motivate myself to keep up with all the necessary admin involved in running a business, I make sure I listen to a TED talk whilst wrestling with paperwork.

Sometimes it doesn’t work.  Because sometimes the talks are so compelling that I have to watch as well as listen.

I’m far from on my own. The TED website estimates that they receive 17 page views a second.

This is TED’s mission:

“TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.

We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world. On TED.com, we’re building a clearing house of free knowledge from the world’s most inspired thinkers — and a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.”

My 100 inspirational minutes

So this week I thought I would post my all time favourite top 5 TED Talks and see what you think. In total, they add up to 100 minutes of inspiring and thought-provoking ideas.

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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Rebecca  arrived at our first coaching session apologizing that she had a headache and sore neck and shoulders.

Ninety minutes later her headache had lifted and the pain had gone. She left my office elated and incredulous.

I know what you’re thinking.

How did that happen?

For those cynics in the room, who may not be that charitable, please keep reading.

But the answer to the question above is: we had a trustful coaching session and then we ended with seven minutes of mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?

mindfulness, coaching, Moyra Mackie

How can “paying attention on purpose” ease physical pain?

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Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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The Power of Living in the Now

The Power of Living in the Now

by Guest contributor Richard Smith on September 27, 2013

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” ~ John Lennon

Where do you spend your time?

Is it dwelling on the past and recalled experiences? Is it anticipating future events and how they might be influenced?

Or do you prefer the present – experiencing each moment with full contact and a raised awareness?
read more…

Guest contributor Richard Smith

Richard Smith is a leader in the environmental industry, consulting with the University of Hertfordshire. His role includes consulting, management training and executive coaching. He is a believer in development and learning, especially in relational settings. The day we stop learning is our last on Earth, until then we never know the limits of how much we can grow.

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If Yoda can take a vacation, so can you. So can I.

If Yoda can take a vacation, so can you. So can I.

by Moyra Mackie on August 3, 2013

“Switching off.  Getting away from it all. Having a holiday. Taking a vacation.”

However you phrase it, it’s that time of year again.

Daily there are articles about Americans not taking all their vacation time, and just as many asserting what the dangers of not letting go of the office might mean.

As a small company owner, I’ve found myself justifying my constant connections with work, wherever I am in the world, as necessary to the survival of my business.

I’ve developed a habit that comforts me that I’m indispensable

Until my indispensability was challenged by infrastructure.  Or rather the lack of it.
read more…

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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