Throughout April and May, the Thin Difference team focussed on mindfulness and self-awareness. We shared the thoughts, experiences, and challenges we face when trying to stay present in this busy world. By having the whole team write about one topic, we were able to highlight different perspectives, facilitate discussion and achieve one of Thin Difference’s goals of cross-generational collaboration and connection.
Through our team’s post we explored why self-awareness is critical for millennials’ success. We were challenged to take a mindful minute and to consider how distractions are stealing our joy. Jon reminded us how important observation is to a good leader and how we can hone that particular skill. And we faced the fact that silence can be scary.
Thoughts on Being Present and Staying Centered
To continue the conversation, we connected with several members of Thin Difference’s virtual community and asked them to share a few thoughts on how they stay present in the moment.
We asked them these questions, “Being present means different things to different people. In this world of connectedness and technology, what centers you and how do you keep centered? How do you encourage others to find their center?”
We’re thrilled with the insights they shared.
Kumud Ajmani, Founder and Host of
What is it that centers me? There are two distinct activities that come to mind.
The first activity that centers me is my practice of ‘morning meditation’. As soon as I wake up, I offer gratitude. I then immediately sit in ‘heart centered’ meditation for 30 to 45 minutes. This practice of heart-fulness is designed to take the focus away from the mind and center it on the heart. On the days that I happen to miss this activity in the morning, I try and do a ‘make up’ session during my lunch hour.
The second activity that centers me is the practice of ‘walking in nature’. The extensive park system and river reservation near my workplace provide a perfect setting and opportunity for me to experience nature in all her seasons. The combination of physical exercise, fresh air, flowing and still waters, plant and bird life, and many discoveries of serendipity have a wonderful ‘centering’ effect on the heart. The mind is refreshed in the process too.
I encourage others to find their center by taking stock of their heart on a daily basis, and walking in nature at any and every given opportunity. Be present to your own true self.
Joy Guthrie of Vizwerx Group
You realize: this could be the last time you see him. It could be the last time you hear his voice or look into his eyes. It could be the last time. Then, you realize. Any time could be the last time. How do you want to be remembered? How do you want him to remember you?
Heady questions. Can you treat every interaction as if it were the last time? Probably not. But, you can treat any action as though it matters. Because it does.
Julius Givens, Founder and CEO of The Explorer Program
Being centered means to focus — not worrying about tomorrow’s problems today. So, what centers me? People. In Chicago, I’ve been fortunate enough to surround myself with Chicago’s greatest and most talented minds. Folks who are committed to living their best life and moving this world forward – people who are Brave.
How is it they keep me centered? Because I focus on spending my time and energy amongst them. These are folks who give me new and enlightening perspectives. They make me think. They make me comfortable and uncomfortable. They tell me no and sometimes that I am crazy, but remain supportive none-the-less. They encourage me to be steadfast in my efforts ensuring I don’t compromise my integrity. They take their time; time being our most valuable resource, to ensure I live a healthy and good life.
That said my advice to others who want to find their center would be to spend time with people, good people, who are smarter, more experienced and talented than you.
Jeffrey Davis of Tracking Wonder
Being centered is a quality of being more responsive and creative than reactive and defensive.
Would that I could stay centered all day every day.
I generate and execute many ideas quickly – and for a living. All of us at Tracking Wonder Consultancy do. Because of that, we also could get thrown off-center quickly. My clients can, too. They’re building businesses, growing communities, gaining investor capital, authoring books while also managing teams and families.
We seem to get thrown off-center in these areas:
1) Purpose: We lose sight of why we prioritize one project over another or why we’re doing what we’re doing.
2) Stakes: When we’re under pressure to perform or for a campaign or project to go off successfully, it’s easy to get reactive.
Every morning before I touch the computer or planner, I check in for a few minutes and ask myself, “What are you X for?” The “X” might be “writing this book” or “consulting” or “growing this business” or “leading this team workshop” – whatever is foremost on my attention for that morning or day.
I listen. I remind myself in a word or phrase what the greater value, ideal, and purpose of the day’s actions & decisions are aligned with.
Another way I try to re-center during the day is to check in with the needs of the human being on the other side of any transaction, email exchange, or discussion. Doing so softens any reactive edge and helps me attune to the relationship and, again, the larger ideal we’re both aspiring toward.
Achim Nowak, C-Suite Coach, Author of The Moment: A Practical Guide to Creating a Mindful Life in a Distracted World
In its simplest form, “Coming to Center” means that I notice what is going on in my physical surroundings, and it means I stay conscious of what is going on within myself – my thoughts, my emotions, my body, my spirit. Here are four simple practices that help me return to center. My job is to honor these practices and remember them.
I experiment with technology-free chunks of time when I refrain from accessing social media distractions.
When my thoughts are racing, I redirect my attention to my immediate physical environment – the tree outside my window, the person sitting across from me, the painting on the wall.
I do periodic energy scans during my day. What am I thinking, what am I feeling, how’s my body doing, how’s my spirit? Based on what my scan reveals, I can choose to accept my present state or make an intentional adjustment.
I return to the basics – eyes closed, a few deep breaths, the serenity prayer.
Charry Morris of Plum Yoga Dallas
Technology might be the catalyst for a more broad reaching, global economy, and social network, but it is doing very little for “real” human connectedness.
First, let me define “connected”- a unifying of disparate thoughts and beliefs. A coming together in understanding and interest. A meeting of 2 hearts.
If anything, technology allows us to hide from interfacing in real time with real people. It allows us to send emojis rather than emoting and sharing the dirty laundry of our own spectrum of human emotions. It gives us the excuse to look and feel busy. All of which leads to a real sense of loneliness and separation.
So, what is this center that everyone talks about? It is an ever constant connection to the Divine. It is within us. It resides at the right side of the physical heart. It is the Spiritual Heart. Everyone has IT. No matter what religion you “practice”, no matter what faith you “follow”, no matter what or who you believe in, we all have a Divinely perfect, all-knowing, unchanging, Spiritual heart. In fact, ALL beings everywhere, have this- not just human erring beings.
To guide people toward their own center, or Spiritual heart- I encourage simple reflection and acts of kindness. I encourage laughter. I encourage face to face friendships. I encourage hugs. I encourage everyone, everywhere to go in search, for themselves, for their own heart’s calling.
Let’s keep the conversation going!
Tell us, what centers you and how do you stay present in the moment?