Diffuse Stress, Increase Energy and Focus At Work: Mindfulness Meditation

Is your new work normal disruptive, and noisy? With the advent of instant messaging platforms, text messages, plus the social media channels that pull us in – it’s no wonder we struggle to stay focused at work. So, if this is your new work normal and you are nodding your head, this is the podcast for you to listen to.

This week on In Process: Conversations about Business in the 21st Century, hosts Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon of Trusted Counsel revisit a previously aired podcast (May, 2016). They were joined by Angela Buttimer and Dennis Buttimer, co-founders of the Atlanta Center for Mindfulness and Well-being to discuss adding a mindfulness practice into your daily routine to help you enhance your energy, focus and creativity. The couple works with companies, school programs and even hospitals and treatment centers to implement mindfulness and wellbeing practices through yoga and meditation. Everyone benefits from mindfulness practice – it’s not just for yogis anymore!

According to Angela and Dennis “mindfulness is coming back into the present moment over and over again in a spirit of non-judgment and acceptance. It’s really waking up to the present moment, and not just in meditation, but in everyday life, so it might be mindful eating, mindful walking, driving, listening, working, etc. It’s really that realization that the point of power is always in the present moment.”

During the course of the podcast you will learn about:

  • The difference between meditation and mindfulness
  • The different styles of meditation
  • Why leaders meditate?
  • Why mindfulness meditation benefits the workplace and saves businesses money
  • What research tells us about the effects of mindfulness on the brain and body

“The only thing you really need is yourself,” says Angela. “That’s the great thing—you don’t actually have to have any equipment. What we do encourage people to do is to create a habit. To do that, we suggest they find the same place and the same time each morning to practice, and that really sets the tone for the day.”

For more of an overview on mindfulness practice, as well as a short guided meditation from our guests, stream this episode of ‘In Process’ below. To download and hear more Conversations About Business in the 21st Century, subscribe to In Process on iTunes.

(This podcast originally aired in May, 2016)






Diffuse Stress, Increase Energy and Focus at Work: Mindfulness Meditation

(c) Trusted Counsel (Ashley) LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Speaker 1:           It’s time for In Process: Conversations about Business in the 21st Century with Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon presented by Trusted Counsel, a corporate and intellectual property law firm. For more information visit Trusted-Counsel.com and with In Process, here are Evelyn Ashley and John Monahon.

John:                  Hello and welcome to In Process: Conversations about Business in the 21st Century presented by Trusted Counsel, a corporate and intellectual property law firm. I’m John Monahon.

Evelyn:                And I’m Evelyn Ashley.

John:                   We are partners in Trusted Counsel. So, Evelyn, today we have two guests, Angela and Dennis Buttimer and they are here to discuss mindfulness and meditation with us.

Evelyn:                 I am, as you know, very, very, very excited about this podcast. It is a topical area that I have great interest in and have participated in and out of. I really do think that many of the things that we will talk about today are absolutely applicable to life, as well as the business.

John:                    I personally have never meditated, so this will be a learning experience for me. I will say I saw something the other day where Jerry Seinfeld said that he could have done his show for much longer had he done daily meditation. Now that he does it, he says he could have gone on for so much longer. I am interested in the benefits, if it’s something that they do on a daily basis.

Evelyn:                  I think that you can find that all kinds of great things come out of it. Creativity and just more open-mindedness and less judgmental reactions. So we will see.

John:                     Our guest today, as mentioned before, are Angela and Dennis Buttimer, founders for the Atlanta Center for Mindfulness and Well-Being. Together, they have worked empowering individuals, groups, and companies through mindfulness and yoga classes, and co-authored a book entitled CALM: Choosing to Live Mindfully. Both are Emory certified health coaches. Angela and Dennis combine approaches from Western psychotherapy with Eastern Philosophy allowing their clients to pursue optimum health as well as professional success. Angela and Dennis, welcome to the show.

Dennis:                 Thank you.

Angela:                 Thank you, John.

Dennis:                 Glad to be here.

Evelyn:                  Glad to have you.

John:                     First off, for those listening, this may be a new concept. Can you describe to us, or define what mindfulness is?

Dennis:                  Sure. It’s a fairly simple definition. Mindfulness is coming back into the present moment over and over again in a spirit of non-judgment and acceptance. It’s really waking up to the present moment, and not just in meditation, but in everyday life, so it might be mindful eating, mindful walking, driving, listening, working, etc. It’s really that realization that the point of power is always in the present moment. Meditation, mindfulness meditation helps us really get with that notion.

Evelyn:                  So, I’m really, as we kind of talked about before we actually started, I do really have an interest in this and have actually participated in guided meditations, have certainly do yoga meditation, a wide variety, and felt that it is enhanced the way that I approach many things in life. But I am particularly interested in how some people, when they are diagnosed with drastic medical illness, can suddenly become so tremendously focused, and amazingly creative, and produce huge amounts of fabulous work. David Bowie, for me, is a great example, just before he passed away. Talk to us a little bit about how can we actually bring that kind of energy and focus to our present lives. How do we do that?

Angela:                 That’s a great question, Evelyn and what we see, we work with cancer patients at Chapman Cancer Wellness at Piedmont Hospital, and what we’ve noticed is that when people have had a diagnosis, it’s such a wake-up call in life and they, too, begin to have a lot more energy and focus and creativity, especially as they bring mindfulness meditation into that process. So we see in our survivors at Chapman Cancer Wellness that they are able to take hold of the present moment, even more than people who have not reached that kind of pain level in their lives. Once people have stepped into the present moment, they are really able to tap into an inner wellspring of creativity. We know from the research in mindfulness, that practicing meditation on a regular basis helps people become more creative, helps people think outside the box, helps people have more energy, focus and attention. So I think all of that is in the mix.

Evelyn:                 Is it the process, from a research and examination perspective? Is it the, I am clearing my mind and therefore it…, going through that process allows me to be open to other things? What do you think that it is?

Angela:                 There’s a lot of interesting research. There is sort of this subjective research of ‘I’m clearing my mind’ but what we know is that pretty quickly, there are some profound neurophysiological changes in the mind-body. So the prefrontal cerebral cortex increases in size, the hippocampus, which is connected with memory increases in size, the activity of the amygdala, which is the fear center of the brain, decreases in activity, and the neurophysiology literally becomes re-wired in a matter of a few weeks.

Dennis:                 This makes it in all where you create a gap for your practice between stimulus and response. You actually become more responsive, skillfully responsive vs. overly reactive. These are actually due to specific, as Angela was saying, brain changes that take place that affect the body and how you are responding in everyday life.

Evelyn:                 And so how long? How long does it take for the brain to actually change?

Dennis:                 It’s pretty short, relatively. That we start to see changes in about four to eight weeks. If someone does just a little bit, Evelyn, each day, so, it may be too daunting for a person at first to sit down and do, okay, I’m going to do twenty minutes of meditation. But if they do just a little bit every day, the research points to- It’s better to do a lot of a little, then a little of a lot. Right? So in other words, it’s better to do five minutes, ten minutes every day and affect those changes in the brain then doing it twice a week, although for longer periods.

John:                    Since I’ve never done meditation, my knowledge of it is somewhat limited. What are you doing when you are meditating? I only have knowledge of what I have seen in the movies or the T.V. shows. How do you go about meditating?

Angela:                 There are different styles of meditation. Numerous, numerous styles of meditation. Today, we are really talking about mindfulness meditation but there are styles like absorption meditation where people are looking to become one with the All That Is, with the Great Mystery. With mindfulness meditation, we are really cultivating the witness. We are becoming the observer. First, of our breath because the breath is such a great anchor. We are becoming the observer of our body, through body scan meditation, and then we become the observer of our thoughts and emotions. So if you are just beginning, the instruction is first, just to find your breath and just observe the breath. Breathing in and breathing out, and then some thoughts will come through. Maybe you are making your grocery store list, and so we call this ‘monkey mind’ and you might do this a million times  during a five minute set. However, every time you come back to the breath, you say, Oh, I’m thinking, or Not now. You come back to the breath. That is meditation.

Dennis:                 ‘Cause John, I just want to add that a lot of times, people that are starting out, maybe like yourself, get intimidated by the idea of like when I stop and I close my eyes, I’m going to have all these thoughts and I’m supposed to just, what I’m going to sit there and go ‘ummmm’ all day or whatever.

John:                     Right.

Dennis:                  It’s not really that, and in fact, as Angela was describing, the coming back is the meditation. It’s not that your sitting there with a perfectly clear mind and you’re in this blissful state. We’ve cultivated this a long time. Angela’s been doing it for 30 years. I’ve been in it 40 years, so it’s a long time we have been doing this. We still have these kind of thoughts. The ‘monkey mind’, the chatter jumps around, then you just come back to the present moment, and pretty quickly, you catch on how to do that.

John:                     So the point is to come back to the present moment and clear your mind again of those thoughts.

Dennis:                  Yes.

Angela:                  Exactly, and before you know it, the gap between the thoughts grows bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, and you’re resting in the gap between the thoughts. That’s when your neurophysiology really begins to transform. That effects how we move through the world, how we have every conversation, how we do every business deal, how we are better leaders or employees. It effects everything.

Evelyn:                  We are here with Angela and Dennis Buttimer from the Atlanta Center for Mindfulness and Well-Being. Angela and Dennis, so when we broke, we were actually talking a little bit about what it’s like, describing the process itself. Talk to us a little bit about what skills … What are some skills and techniques one would need to have or potentially can utilize, to actually get a more consistent meditation practice?

Angela:                 Well, the only thing you really need is yourself. That’s the great thing, you don’t actually have to have any equipment, so using yourself and finding your breath. What we do encourage people to do, Evelyn, is to create a habit, and to do that, we suggest that they find the same place and the same time each morning to practice. That really sets the tone for the day. Then we suggest, beyond that, if they choose to, to create some type of ritual, like a meditation shawl, lighting a candle, perhaps sacred reading or inspiring reading can be helpful.

Evelyn:                  Interesting. So, talk to us a little bit about… We know that you do work with a number of companies and other organizations. When you go in, and are creating a program or rolling out a program, where does it start and where does it end?

Dennis:                 It’s a great question, Evelyn, and it’s interesting because we’ve seen some really powerful leaders in corporate, like with Aetna and Google, of course, and General Mills, United Health Group, and there’s many others where the leaders have found that they have better work-life balance, so  they are clearer in their thinking and then they realize, Oh, this could be beneficial to the workforce. When we go in, Angela and I, we try to do an assessment of what they need first. Then, to really try to get the culture to understand firsthand, first of all the basics, just like what John was asking about, what mindfulness actually is and what it isn’t, and to set up some kind of program where usually on a weekly basis where they can come together and begin to get some traction so that they are not just winging it. We found, too that sometimes there are organizations that want us to come and do a one-time thing which is fine but what can happen with that is that ‘a little learning is a dangerous thing’, so you teach them a little bit and then people…

Evelyn:                 …runs off and does whatever.

Dennis:                 Right, right, exactly.

Evelyn:                 …or nothing.

Dennis:                 Right.

John:                     And then they complain that it doesn’t work.

Angela:                 Exactly.

Dennis:                 Right, right. That’s right, that’s right.

John:                     You are doing it wrong.

Dennis:                 That’s right.

Angela:                 We find that each company has its own culture and as I was mentioning the assessment, they want different things, so the rollout looks very different but one of the key pieces we have found is the neuroscience is really essential to every one. Well why would we even implement this, and there is so much in the research, so I won’t belabor the point, but just a few high points. We know that mindfulness helps immune system functioning and reduces inflammation in the body, improves stress resilience, improves anxiety and depression symptoms, and all of those are affecting productivity, absenteeism, presenteeism, in the workplace. It can really help save businesses a lot of money by  incorporating mindfulness into their company culture.

Evelyn:                 What are some of the resistance experiences that you have had? I am sure that you go into a company, people are kind of questioning and, no, I can’t see really doing this. What have you experienced?

Dennis:                 One thing is that people are concerned about results, and rightly so. They have to understand that in our culture, things are instantaneous now and that things do take a little bit of discipline and a little bit of time, and some strategy. Sometimes, that can be results are wanted immediately. But there are other cultural things too, like Angela mentioned with other issues in our culture where people are concerned that you are bringing in some kind of religion, or some kind of spirituality that is going to conflict with the workplace, or are just going to have to reorganize the entire workforce. What we try to do when we come in is say things like, well you could just add  one minute of silence before a meeting, You could add a moment of quiet before the workday starts, you can have little areas where people can meditate at lunch. You can do some of these things. You are just using the raw material of the workplace that is already there.

Evelyn:                 One of the conflicts that I’ve personally experienced is the idea of, in business, we tend to be competitive, and fairly aggressive, and the concepts of mindfulness and meditation are kind of, observe, remove, non-judgmental, and in a lot of respects it seems that those are in conflict. How does one go about resolving these things?

Angela:                 That’s a great question, Evelyn. It certainly comes up but what we have seen in the research, in terms of mindfulness in corporate America, is that it actually increases productivity. You wouldn’t think so, but when people take these time-outs in the morning, re-center themselves, re-ground throughout the day, they actually become more creative, more productive, more energetic, better able to focus. In fact, there was an interview that we saw with Russell Simmons, the Hip-Hop mogul, and he too, was scared when he started his yoga and meditation practice, that he was going to lose all of his money and all of his creativity … Because he will walk out of a board meeting if it is time for his meditation or yoga practice. That’s how  committed he is. And he said, he has gained more creativity, more money, more energy, more friends, more connections since he has been practicing.

Dennis:                 And just to add this too, Evelyn. And going back to the resistances, people is organizations will think, No, then we will get everybody into too big of an alpha state, nobody will want to do things because everybody is like, peace and love, and this sort of thing. It’s not that, actually, at all. People think that they are going to lose their edge, right? But as Angela was indicating,  the calmer and clearer that you are, the better you work. The more productive you actually are and you can see what you need to do  more responsibly.

John:                     So, is meditation the only way you can achieve mindfulness?

Dennis:                 First of all, let’s think about meditation as a vehicle for mindfulness. It’s a technique or a practice that we use to cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness is a concept. Really, when we practice mindfulness, in a sense, we are meditating, and the reason I am saying that is we are training ourselves to come in to the present moment. So, not just in the act, the structure of meditation, because in the structure of meditation, you are practicing how you are going to be outside of meditation. So when you are outside of meditation, you are bringing that out into the world, as we say, off the mat, and so in that way, you are actually cultivating more of a meditative state as you move through your day. It is a necessary part of mindfulness because it is training the mind, and that is why we call it mindfulness training. So, in other words, we are not the problem  but our minds are the problems. We are training our minds to settle down and to become clearer.

Angela:                 And so John, there are many practices in mindfulness, that we can bring that meditative quality into mindful walking, mindful eating, mindful conversations, so we can take that mindfulness into anything that we are doing throughout the day, but the meditation is the seat of that mindfulness practice.

John:                     And so when you are being mindful, is that being in the moment? Does that mean necessarily focusing intently on what you are doing, or is it just not focusing on the other things that you are not doing?

Angela:                 Yes. Being fully present with whatever we are doing. So you say when you wash the dishes, wash the dishes. You may not be doing the dishes fervently, right? Now there is something called the Flow, which is connected to mindfulness, where you’re maybe in a creative project, or you are working on a business project, and that is an intense focus. And both would be considered mindfulness, with a light touch or with a passionate touch, either way.

Dennis:                 It sort of reminds me, if you watch any sports, how people say they are in the zone.

Angela:                 Right.

Dennis:                 Sometimes, and that seems to be very much … And you always talk to … When you hear the athletes describe it, they always say that they weren’t intensely trying, they are just sort of in the moment, and that is when they have had their best athletic –

John:                     [inaudible 00:19:56]

Angela:                 Right, because sometimes the mind can get in the way if we are thinking too much about what we are doing, then we become our worst enemy. When we let go and just let it flow through us, then we realize success.

Dennis:                 What we were saying at the beginning, too, about the point of power is always in the present moment, the mind tries to always have us in the future or the past. We are thinking about this, or like in sports, if a player, a football player is concerned about catching the ball, and oh my gosh, what are the implications if I don’t catch this, and will I lose my contract, my family will hate me and I deserve whatever is involved versus being in the present moment. Then you have skillfulness versus unskillfulness.

John:                     Right. I think that is how every choke job comes about. When I used to play tennis, “Don’t miss!” Of course, you ultimately miss. So, we have to take a quick break, but we will be back to speak more about mindfulness.

Evelyn:                 We are here with Angela and Dennis Buttimer from the Atlanta Center for Mindfulness and Well-Being. When we broke, we were talking a little bit about reactions and ways to address how one can actually be more mindful. Do you see an increase in interest and embracement of mindfulness training and techniques?

Angela:                 We do, actually we see it in the media quite a bit now. It has become quite mainstream, and in fact, what we see sometimes is that it has become a buzzword, and people use mindfulness incorrectly, which is kind of funny, that is how popular it has become.

Evelyn:                 Well, that’s what media is about.

Angela:                 We do see it, though. It’s in the military now. They are incorporating it with PTSD. We know that they are using it, certainly, in the hospitals, with cancer patients, heart patients, Alzheimer’s, the elderly with cognitive decline. We are finally getting it in our school systems, both public and private, for the children as early as five, as well as the teachers, who also really need it because they have a stressful job. We see stay-at-home mom groups building mindfulness groups. We see Oprah Winfrey talking about it on her Super Soul Sunday show.

Evelyn:                 So, do you see that because there’s been more research done on it to show that it has positive effects on the brain and the body, or is there something else?

Dennis:                 That has been the case, Evelyn, that over time there has been more and more research substantiating the effects of mindfulness on the brain and the body. What we saw…Angela and I do a lot of research and a lot of teaching and we read a lot of research. We were actually getting alerts on our phone about new journal articles that were coming out, and it got to be so exponential, that we had to turn it off.  That is how quickly things are happening. People are realizing that you have this cultural thing that, oh gosh, it is a neat idea and it would be pretty cool to meditate but then you have this hard science saying no, if you practice this regularly, you are going to have some changes take place.

Evelyn:                 I’m interested to ask too, do you believe that we are in kind of a country, a state of mind right now, where there is a lot of polarization, people do not actually speak their true minds of what they believe, so difficult conversations …Do you see that this can have a positive effect on our country, on civilization overall?

Angela:                 We definitely believe that it is going to have a positive effect, and we are so excited to see that the many venues and areas that it is taking hold. We certainly know that from some of the research in integrative medicine, that we are actually wired for collaboration. We are not wired for competition. In fact, Darwin’s Survival of Man only mentions survival of the fittest twice in that piece of literature, and mentions the word ‘love’ 93 times. That is never mentioned…

Evelyn:                 That is never anything they wanted to talk about.

Angela:                 Right. They shun it even with toddlers. That toddlers really want to help. In the research, they have seen that toddlers will go and help the researcher, if the researcher drops his pen, or can’t fit the round peg in the square hole. We are wired for compassion, and I think it will come along more organically than we may think.

John:                     Bringing this back to some of the business context, thinking about all of the things that you go through during a day, the stresses, the meetings, the emails. How does someone who wants to practice mindfulness, I guess, perform at their job while still not getting off track by the twenty pings that they hear from their email system while they are trying to do a task? How can you integrate this into your actual work environment, and process, and day?

Dennis:                 It really is training yourself a particular way. Angela mentioned our belief is that it is better to start in the morning as a foundation for the day, so if a person practices meditation before work, all the better, because what we found is that human nature is that as the day goes on, willpower drops. You think to yourself, well, I’m going to go to the gym at 6:00 tonight when I get off work but then about 3:00, well, maybe I can have some pizza and I’ll catch up two days from now.

John:                     It’s never happened to me.

Dennis:                 I know, I know, right. So as the day goes on, right? What we suggest is building in what we call sacred pauses. These would just be like two or three minute spaces in your day that you carve out where you just maybe close the door to your office or you step outside, or you even go to your car, and just have some moments really where you are quiet and you’re still and we teach people just to attend to their breath. Get off the cell phone just for these two or three minutes, and it will all be there when you get back type thing. Or maybe just do some mindful walking just for five minutes, just to break it up and then as you come back you are more apt to stay focused on each one of those tasks and not be  reacting to everything that is happening.

John:                     That was going to be my question. Sometimes, I’ve taken breaks, and my breaks are not sort of any pre-planned mindfulness or meditation. Sometimes I take breaks and I come back and I have incredible focus. Sometimes I take breaks and I don’t want to come back.

Dennis:                 Sure.

John:                     I don’t know if you’ve ever had that experience of meditation where somebody has meditated so much that they don’t know what … Does it kill any drive, or does it tend to sharpen rather then dull, in that sense?

Angela:                 Or bury.

John:                     Yeah, or bury.

Angela:                 That’s a great question, John, and I think we have all had that experience of taking a break and not wanting to come back to work whether we meditated or did something else. The truth is, that we are all really overstimulated and overextended. I think most of the time we actually have too much on our plate and so it doesn’t really matter if you meditated or took a walk, you may still not want to come back from that break. However, if you do take some time, just three minutes as Dennis was saying, to focus on the breath, to relax the body, to lean back, to lean away from the work. If you do have to come back to work, which most of us do, you will be sharpened. You will have better focus and you will approach it more responsible versus reactively.

John:                     Now, is meditation something that you have to be … Is this something, or mindfulness, sharpening your mindfulness or practicing meditation, is that something that you have to be actually alone in a space to do, or are there tricks that I can do in my car on my commute to help myself?

Dennis:                 The most immediate thing, it’s a great question John, and there really is a lot of ways we can answer this. maybe a simple way is, we come back to the breaths. Maybe you are driving down the road and you are stuck in the downtown connector, you can’t say I am going to pull over here,  I’m going to stop in the middle of traffic and I will do this meditation, however, you can attend to the breath. We go to the breath because that is the most immediate, direct thing  we can do about stress. So just by breathing in through your nose, filling up your stomach like a balloon, and then take it up to the chest, and then on the exhale, breathe out through your nose or your mouth, and just let your stomach muscles squeeze toward your spine, well, that’s yogic breathing. And as you do that just a few times, it will start to shift the way your body is feeling. That tells the mind, oh, things aren’t as crazy as I think they are. That tells the body a message so it creates this really positive cycle.

Evelyn:                 I think that’s so interesting because for years, years ago, when I was doing a lot of speeches, I would tend to be fairly nervous when I’d arrive at the location. I always found that if I could go off for 30 minutes and just breathe, that my presentation was always much better.

Dennis:                 Yes.

Evelyn:                 It just gave me a moment to get over where I was. Remember that all those people were just like me.

Angela:                 Yes, exactly.

Evelyn:                 And that whole visualization of seeing them in their underwear.

Dennis:                 It doesn’t hurt.

Angela:                 And you bring up an interesting point. Both of you do, whether you are in traffic or you are about to give a big presentation, when we first start meditating, we do need that quiet space in order to learn the technique but eventually you will be able to find that meditative space wherever you are. If you are in downtown Manhattan at a cafe outside, you will still be able to access that meditative place.

Evelyn:                 Tell me how you … We talked a little bit about sports. Do you see the need to exercise every day in order to reduce stress? Do you see that as mindfulness or is it just making your body kind of more tired? Do you see a conflict with that or is that part of it?

Dennis:                 Exercise is very important and we exercise daily ourselves, and it turns out exercise does, done correctly and all of this, does affect that left prefrontal cortex which are like the master executive functions of the brain. So that’s very positive. So exercise is a stand-alone idea or technique is really, really good. However, meditation is meditation, and exercise is exercise. It is mindful to exercise but it doesn’t replace meditation but it is a mindful activity.

Evelyn:                 So, we are going to take a break. When we come back, maybe you will help us, maybe do a little guided meditation or some other techniques.

John:                     Welcome back to In Process: Conversations about Business in the 21st Century. We are here with Angela and Dennis Buttimer speaking about mindfulness and meditation. So, Dennis, tell us what sort of got you in to the business, and what do you love most about what you do?

Dennis:                 That is a great question, and Angela and I feel very passionately about helping others and that is what our calling is, and our passion is to help and to help others in the healing process be it a physical type of healing that they are going through or with other kinds of more personal emotional, psychological issues. As counselors and coaches, we do a lot of work in this area. And we really like teaching, so go into corporate and we teach people and we see things start to shift in organizations where people become more productive. They start helping one another and collaborate more. Then in our private practice, we see that with individuals, where they learn how to meditate or they learn to do yoga. They learn some things about how to think about themselves in a more empowering way and we see them start to make changes that they actually didn’t envision that they could do. Then there’s things like cancer patients that we work with. Seen some amazing results with that where people really start practicing. It extends the quantity of their life but also the quality. And that’s what we’re most focused on with individuals and group is how to improve the quality of one’s life be it with an individual or with a group or organization.

Evelyn:                 And so generally you work with people, you finish kind of helping them work their way through and create a practice, and what happens then? Are you just done with them, or do you do kind of future re-work sessions?

Dennis:                 We encourage them that we are always available to them, that we are considered their mindfulness teachers, and so again, that’s our passion. It is our job to an extent but it is also our passion, and so being that it is our calling, we really want people to integrate this into the fabric of their everyday lives. We are available to people by email or phone beyond this, or individual sessions. A lot of time with organizations, Evelyn, we will follow up on a monthly basis or bi-monthly basis just to help people stay on track.

John:                     I’m interested in the corporate side. Did you approach someone, a company, to do that or did they approach you after seeing the benefits of what it could do for an individual. Was it an executive who said, ‘Hey, you all really need to come over here and teach our class.”?

Angela:                 It happens a lot of ways, John. Sometimes we reach out to companies that we think might be open to implementing mindfulness. A lot of times we have really built our business on word of mouth. So we tend to have people reaching out to us, either they have heard from someone else what has happened in their company or business, or from an individual, or they have seen it in the media. Again, it is so popular right now, that they have said oh, we really want to bring this into our company culture and see what can happen.  We know that happier employees are healthier, more productive employees, and that is what a lot of the leadership wants in their organizations.

Evelyn:                 Do you have some examples of really successful corporate undertakings?

Dennis:                 We have organizations that we have seen people that were really struggling organizationally with employees, in terms of absenteeism, for example. We brought in, particular, one of our mindfulness programs, and see that it really started to alter some. And for those people to see that there really is a connection between being present and enjoying the present moment wherever you are. Whether it is at work or at home or wherever because a lot of people are like, well, I hate my job and all of this. Then they see that, I actually can be calm and centered and focused during my work day and be productive too at the same time. When we see things like that, it really does excite us. Maybe morale issues we’ve seen shift.

Evelyn:                 Kind of gets you out of that mind of ‘If I can just get this over with, then I can get on with my life.’

Dennis:                 Right. This is the moment. This is your life.

Angela:                 Exactly. It’s like that old quote of living lives of quiet desperation, and we deserve to live a happy, healthy life.

Evelyn:                 Absolutely. Do you think you could take us through a little guided meditation? That we could experience it?

Angela:                 Sure. I’d be delighted to. So, let me just say for the people who are listening, we are all in high chairs so this will be a little hard for us but people who are listening: You want your both feet flat on the floor so that you feel grounded. And sitting up nice and tall, strong and graceful. Not too tight, not too loose. And then just close your eyes or avert them down to the floor. Just take a moment now to find your breath. And just noticing your breath as it enters and leaves your body. Breathing in and breathing out. Just following the in breath all the way through to the end of the in breath. And following your out breath all the way through to the end of the out breath. Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in. Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out. In. Out. And if your mind begins to wander, just gently come back to the breath each time, perhaps telling that thought, later or not now. Returning to the breath, breathing in and breathing out. And with each exhale, feel yourself letting go. Letting go of your morning. Letting go of your afternoon. And allowing yourself to enter into the pure land of the present moment. Right here, right now. And nothing else. And with each breath, allowing yourself to sink more deeply into spaciousness and stillness. Spaciousness and stillness. Breathing in and breathing out. Noticing how your body is feeling and allowing your body to relax. Releasing any tension from head to toe. Scanning the body beginning at the top of the head. Moving all the way down through the neck and the torso, hips, legs, and feet. Even relaxing the tiny muscle fibers in the fingers and the toes. Releasing and relaxing the body. Breathing in and breathing out. And allowing this time of stillness to nourish you. Nourishing your mind, heart, body, and spirit. Breathing in and breathing out. And taking in a nice, deep end breath and letting go with a long slow out breath. Wiggling your fingers and toes, and adjusting your head and body. And gently opening your eyes with soft eyes. Coming back into the room, nice and slow.

Evelyn:                 Thank you.

Angela:                 You’re welcome.

Evelyn:                  It was wonderful.

John:                    Angela, thank you for taking us through that meditation. That was fantastic. I actually started to lose track of time there, so …

Angela:                 Wonderful.

John:                    In fact, so much so that I think it’s pretty much time for us to wrap up the show. We really do appreciate you and Dennis being on the show.

Evelyn:                  Yes. Thank you so much.

John:                     Wonderful and enlightening.

Angela:                 Thank you for having us.

Dennis:                 Very much.

John:                     For more information about the Atlanta Center for Mindfulness and Well-Being, visit their website at ACMWB.com. We hope you enjoyed In Process today. If you have any questions on the topic, please reach out to info@Trusted-Counsel.com. If you are interested in learning more about us, please visit our website at Trusted-Counsel.com where you will also find a list of our past and upcoming shows. Thanks for joining us.

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