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Archive for May, 2011

Meditation, my employer, me, and ABC News

As I have mentioned before, I started a meditation group at my work place.  (See the January 12 entry.)  Over the past year+, the group has grown, gaining members, momentum, and attention.  That attention increased quite dramatically over the past few weeks; the long-story-short is that a reporter for ABC News with Diane Sawyer was writing a story about meditation in the workplace, and through a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend he (the reporter) heard about our meditation group.  The reporter sent an email to my employer, asking for more information and an opportunity to film; and after a flurry of emails and meetings, the reporter (along with his producer, a camera man, and a sound woman) came to my employer, and filmed me facilitating a 25-minute meditation session for a group of over 50 people.  After the meditation session, the reporter then conducted a 15-minute one-on-one interview with me, which was also filmed.  Holy crap.

To say I was “nervous” for this experience would be the understatement of the year.  My job is as a Corporate Trainer – which means I basically write, teach, and speak for a living.  Over the course of more than a decade doing this work, I’ve delivered multi-day-long training classes to rooms full of people about rather technical topics, and I’ve been able to remain calm and collected.  Further, as a frequent facilitator of the meditation group at work, I’ve had the opportunity to lead meditation sessions for groups of colleagues ranging in size from 10 people, to 70 people, to over 140 people, and I’ve been genuinely peaceful in each of those settings as well.  But to conduct a meditation session on camera, as a formal representative for my employer, and then give a one-on-one interview to a reporter from a national media outlet…. It was all certainly a big test of equanimity.

But it was all so good.  Yes, I was a nervous wreck.  (I slept like crap the night before, and barely ate anything all day, my stomach was in such knots.)  But I was also deeply, fiercely supported by people all around me – from my family, to my friends, to a vast array of colleagues at work…. And, I was gifted with an amazing opportunity to help open the possibility of meditation to who-knows-how-many people – and that, that, is profound.  And interestingly, once I actually started the meditation session, the anxiety fell away, and calm really did enter me – it felt like home.  Wow.

I don’t know when the broadcast will air, and I don’t know how much (or little) exposure the company, the meditation session, or I as an individual will have in the final cut.  But I do know that this was an experience of a lifetime, and one that I absolutely could not have predicted, expected, planned for, even manufactured.  It just shows me that when actions are performed with good intentions, clear thoughts, and strong courage, some pretty amazing results can occur.  And that knowledge is the gift I want to take with me from this experience.  I hope I ‘remember’ to act from that space of skillful intention, wise thought, and appropriate fearlessness more often than not.

Stef

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