We live in a busy world. As we go through life, there seems to have the need to rush to accomplish necessary tasks. However, we find ourselves missing out on what we are doing, or how we are feeling? In our harried world, we begin to feel disconnected with the present moment. Dr. Honey Carandang, has received intensive training from the Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh in 2009 and 2013 and from Jon Kabat Zinn on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program in the University of Massachusetts. She was also in Boston and attended the teachings of the Dalai Lama in 2015. She has continually shared her practice, teaching mindfulness to various groups on the gifts of the mindfulness practice. Dra. Carandang and her team feel honored to have learned from the different participants series of talk/workshops on Mindfulness.
After a successful talk last August 25, Dr. Honey was invited by Hijo International Trading Singapore Pte. Ltd., in Davao, to give the same talk on “Mindfulness at Work” as part of their strategic planning activity. It was well received by the executives present and unanimously said that they felt enlightened by what Dra. Honey shared. The discussion became engaging because they were able to reflect on how the practice of mindfulness can really help them in their work as well as in their personal lives. Among the thought provoking questions brought up were: a)“is it ok to accept that it is difficult to be kind?”; b) It has always been a dilemma for me, but what do you do when there is limited data coming in and you have to give an answer right away to what is being asked because you simply cannot postpone it?”; Another comment given by one of the participants was also very real for them: “One can do all the breathing in the world, but it is hard to do because a lot of things are being asked to be done at the same time.”
Nonetheless, the group felt awed by how simple the concept of mindfulness was for them, but how profound the effect could be. They were very thankful that their head, Ms. Rosanna Fores, put in a few hours of the talk into their strategic retreat. They said that it was a timely reminder that in the midst of achieving the vision and the business targets of their group, the call to “just breath,” was a great, simple and pure reminder. One of the participants even said that the afternoon was “life-changing for me, that I really have to be mindful to be sustainably effective.”
Overall, all of them found that “being mindful and being kind” is what they will consciously practice. On a lighter note, one of them said, “I have a new song that I need to memorize, The Breathing Song!”
October 1 was another day for the series of Mindfulness talks Dr. Carandang gave. This time, it was together with Maria Isabel Garcia, curator of Mind Museum. Dr. Carandang shared her expertise on the practice of mindfulness to 100 public school teachers, present that Monday morning, in Ayala Museum. Joining these teachers, were 1000 other teachers across the country, via live webinar. The questions were sent in and the teachers were in the same mind that it is quite difficult to be mindful with the workload given to them. Another question that popped in was: “how do we make negative stress into positive stress?”
Dr. Carandang challenged them by asking them their own creative ways of practicing mindfulness. Her points were well received and the teachers themselves were able to find a creative way of being mindful. They knew that using imagery was their way of releasing the stress. One participant shared, “shout in the mountain.”
“When do we do this?”, is a question that is always asked by the audience. Ms. Garcia, points out that this should not be a question but an exercise for all of us. She simply says, “Make time for it.”
To cap the series, Dr. Carandang and her team, gave a workshop on families. The talk, entitled: Mindful Together: Nurturing Seeds of Peace in the Family, brought families together. It was a very fruitful experience for everyone. After Dr. Carandang’s plenary talk, the families were divided into small groups consisting of adults, adolescents. The children had their own day of mindfulness activities. It was in the small groups that each of the groups were able to share their reflections or feelings about how the talk made an impression on them. The afternoon was spent with their own families, either doing art together, or just simply engaging in a dialogue.
It seemed that everyone felt the positive response from each member and were all enlightened. One adolescent shared that he had fun in his small group. In fact, as feedback, his parents said that this young boy became more affectionate towards his parents. The children cannot help but ask when the next session will be. Still another participant said that “I was actually expecting to attend a lecture… but what I got was so much more.”
Over the course of these series, it was hoped that the participants would get the heart of the matter, and indeed they have. What has taken root in one act of grace is the seed of mindfulness in each one.
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment.
(Thich Nhat Hanh)