I begin with an admission. On reading the title of Dr. Richard Strozzi-Heckler’s latest article “The Commodification of Mindfulness” (link below) I had to dive for the dictionary.
verb com·mod·i·fy \kə-ˈmä-də-ˌfī\: to treat (something that cannot be owned or that everyone has a right to) like a product that can be bought and sold” Merriam-Webster
Got it! I agree with Richard, mindfulness seems to be everywhere at the moment and is certainly something I pay attention to myself and in my work with clients. I particularly like his comment “Reading between the lines the message is: do this so you won’t be distracted by stress so you can get on with your life, which misses the point of how do you generate stress, what are the personal and systemic elements that produce stress?” Reminds me of someone I worked with many years ago whose first contact let me know they were available for an initial conversation on the phone while driving to and from work, either 7:00 to 7:30 AM or 7:00 to 7:30 PM. Certainly got my attention. The thrust of their question was, you guessed it, how to create more work-life balance. And you can probably also imagine where we began.
His questions are so salient: “how do you generate stress? what are the personal and systemic elements that produce stress?” As a practitioner working from a holistic and systemic perspective, I’m keen to find out how my clients generate stress. There is often a mix of visible and invisible factors at work. Being already committed to a twelve-hour work day may be an easy-to-see stressor; continuing business calls on the drive to and fro was an invisible stressor. Gradually, over time, using this half-hour to listen to music or the radio or books on tape became a stress-reliever.
(Couldn’t resist adding the most recent *mainstream* article: http://www.feelguide.com/2014/11/19/harvard-unveils-mri-study-proving-me…)