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Thought for Today

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

Source: Thought for Today

Genie shared this quote from Thich Nhat Hanh about what our mindfulness means for others. When we do not offer our undivided attention to other, it diminishes who they are.

However, a risk is we diminish mindfulness and it becomes a clichéd word that loses its full meaning. Occasionally, I read articles that suggest mindfulness is a “business tool” that we turn off and on as a calculated choice. When someone is truly mindful, they attempt to be present in every moment, realizing that is not humanly possible.

When I am present to the other, it means I give my attention as an unconditional gift with no advance calculation. Mindfulness is not a business calculation. When we are mindful, we attend to each word, not seeking to answer, but to hear what the other says to us.


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

16 responses »

  1. Wonderful message my brother, and you do that with all you share!

  2. To have some actually listen to someone with their full attention is a rare and precious act. I keep practicing this daily and hope to get better at it each day. The world would be a much more peaceful place if everyone learned to listen carefully to what others are saying.

    Thanks for sharing so many meaningful pieces of guidance for a better world.

  3. The word ‘genuine’ springs to mind, Ivon.

  4. Yvon, stay away from Genie, she is not what she appears to be.
    You have been warned.

  5. Deborah the Closet Monster

    I’ve read and been uncomfortable with those same business articles.

  6. This matches well with my intentions this evening. I am going to my brother’s for a family get-together. He has a huge family now including grandchildren and I will be by myself. Usually I fade into the background, unnoticed, but I decided the other day to make more of an effort and really get to know one of my nephew’s girlfriends. Well, it’s a start!

  7. Mindfulness a business tool? That sounds ridiculous to me. My experience working for corporations is that management could care less about what the employees say or suggest. And sometimes, they don’t even listen to their customers.

    • There is a body of work around the concept of mindful leadership. In the Art of Power, Thich Nhat Hanh writes it is possible to have a business that is mindful in nature.

      Leadership styles like servant-leadership (Greenleaf), multicultural (Bordas), spiritual (Fry), and quantum (Zohar) critique the current business models as being exploitative and manipulative (managing), so I would agree with you.

      Even in education and health care, industries that should lend themselves to different ways of leading, we see the same coercive, command-and-control, top-down models we have used for what seems to be time immemorial.


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