When I was asked to present a seminar at the More than Mindfulness Conference organized by Rainbow School and Institute, I was thrilled especially since I have a deep passion for mindfulness and its ability to help us road map our way to being the compassionate beings that we are. However, after the thrill wore off, I felt a certain nervousness set in, “what was I going to present?” This question plagued me for several nights. My angst soared when I saw the awesome mix of workshops being presented. What could I offer? it seemed everything was being offered already.
One day after meditating on it, and reflecting on some conversations I had recently had with others, I realized that my presentation could cover the lack of compassion and mindfulness training in diversity and inclusion workshops. I remember being trained in one of the country’s best nationwide programs as an inclusion, diversity and social justice trainer – I loved it but in my whole intense week of training I rarely heard the word compassion mentioned. This fact had somewhat unsettled me – I knew it was impossible for a bird to fly with one wing, so how could we only educate the left side of the brain, when it is the very side of the brain that created the problem in the first place….all linear and logical as it is. With these thoughts I suddenly felt like I had something to offer and after that I began to obsessively read articles on the brain, mindfulness, compassion, and diversity I found some good stuff and went down a serious rabbit hole on a good few occasions.
Then one day I realized I had read so much material that I now had no idea how to condense everything I had learned from the pile of papers sitting on my bed and on my computer screen. My husband said, you better create a power point to keep you on track – he being the awesome obsessive project manager that he is. After battling with him saying I wanted to free flow, I begrudgingly succumbed to his wisdom.
It didn’t help thatwWhen I checked the workshop signup sheet my workshop was the first one that had filled up! “Oh my God, oh my God!” I went running to my husband, “what am I going to do?” “Your going to do the workshop, of course,” he replied matter of fact , like duh.
Then it was time to present. I was sweating like crazy, but I had a good excuse it was a hot day. I set the room up nervously, so very grateful for the acquaintance I had bumped into the other day. I created a centering alter calmly trying to lay down the ancient artifacts which spoke to the spirit of mindfulness. I had a bowl of water, a bell a few other items. Myself and my acquaintance did a short centering prayer between us at the mindfulness alter. Then the room began to fill up. I remember it was too late to be nervous. So I took a good mindful breath and got on with it. I was thankful as water came to my rescue, once again. This time as a small white bowl filled with this rescuing elixir of life. I used that small bowl as a teaching lesson throughout the whole workshop. The bowl was form, the water was essence; the water was compassion, the bowl was the exterior around it; The water was a mirror into that called us to look deeper into our own hearts. Judging from the participants response to my little bowl of water and the numerous exercises and research articles I presented to them, the workshop was a resounding success – not my words but the words of the organizers and participants. I feel blessed that the whole thing was story boarded and memorialized for an eternity……Oh and how can I forget my little tangerine man who helped me to teach the lesson, you cannot just talk about compassion you have to taste it, and this is what mindfulness helps us to do. Thank you Rainbow for choosing this workshop to storyboard.