IF I GET ANOTHER WORKSHOP ON MINDFULLNESS, I’LL SCREAM


“Let’s see you do that while you’re driving,” I said as the last presenter was attempting to guide a group of us cynics through a relaxation response.

“Yes,” she said. “Driving is a stressor in our society. We spend a good deal of time in our cars, but I wouldn’t recommend closing our eyes and imagining we are lying on the beach rather than the Massey tunnel. It might cause an accident. “

“She thinks I’m serious,” I thought.

I think that the relevance of mindfulness and meditation and going to ‘that special place’ is getting out of hand. I would wager that I have suffered through about 40 or 50 lectures on the topic in one form or another. I even used it myself as a group therapy for angry teenagers in an anger management program that I ran that culminated into combining stretching exercises with guided imagery and the relaxation response. (You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a group of 10 tattooed teens sentenced by the court to lay spread-eagled on the floor breathing through their abdomens and totally buying into the concept(s)).

Speaking of abdomens, mindfulness has also entered the realm of fitness. Generally, there are two types of choreographed fitness classes: freestyle and patterned choreography. Freestyle classes have little patterning. One’s mind is free to wander. I actually wrote an entire play while taking one of these. These classes tend to last forever.

Patterned classes have more complex choreography, and participants need to really concentrate on and coordinate their movements to avoid crashing into other participants. The concentration is so intense that an hour of cardio seems like a quarter of an hour.

I think that she was preaching to the choir last Tuesday in a retreat geared at teambuilding. I’m waiting to hear a lecture on mindlessness myself.

That was Tuesday. On Wednesday, in beautiful downtown Port Coquitlam it rained pitchforks and axe handles. Water, both from the ground and a newly formed hole in the roof turned our suite of offices into an aquarium. A stray sockeye salmon escaped from the nearby Coquitlam River and mistook the carpeting on my floor for a spawning bed. A few of us went home to retrieve our shop vacs that we bought for our own domestic disasters and fired them up in the offices. My co-workers were swinging mops emptying buckets. There was even one person using a snow shovel to pump out the door.

In the middle of the crisis, I told the manager that this was an excellent follow-up example of team building. “And team engagement,” he agreed. “There is no sign of mindfulness.”

The rain stopped and the water subsided. He bought us all pizza.

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .
He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.

He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”

He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

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