• joe@jhanderson.biz   
    (206) 351-5607   

  • At a mindfulness workshop that I led at a client site last week, one of the participants offered a beautiful and elegant practice for dropping out of our habitual obsession with thinking into a clearer and more present awareness.

    He really likes to drink Talking Rain sparkling water. Fortunately, in his office there are refrigerators stocked full of the stuff, so more than once a day he steps back from the intense stream of demands from business stakeholders and dev teams (he’s a product owner), and does a little ritual. (Full disclosure: I have elaborated on his description a little bit, but I trust it’s fully in the spirit of his practice.)

    1. Turn away from crazy email inbox and walk to kitchen.
    2. Take cold can of Talking Rain out of refrigerator.
    3. Get drinking glass (real glass) from shelf.
    4. Carry can and glass back to desk and set them down.
    5. Pop top of cold can.
    6. Listen to hiss of escaping carbonation.
    7. Pour contents of can into glass.
    8. Watch bubbles rise, and listen to fizzing sound.
    9. Watch bubbles settle and clear until surface of water is smooth and calm (though still fizzing just a bit!).
    10. Take cold, refreshing sip.
    11. Turn attention back to crazy email inbox.

    A few observations on this brilliant practice:

    1. Soft drinks are such an embedded part of tech workplace culture, and I love the idea of taking that iconic daily reality and turning it into a basis for clear awareness.
    2. The multisensory nature of the practice is wonderful: it stimulates kinesthetic, tactile, visual, auditory, and taste sensations – all of which are excellent vehicles from expanding awareness beyond the cognitive-analytical.
    3. It’s very wise to associate mindfulness practice with simple and necessary acts. Drinking water is not optional! And with practice it becomes clear that mindfulness is pretty essential too.
    4. Coke would probably work well too, but for obvious reasons might not be quite as effective in creating a sense of grounded calm. (But if you are a Coke drinker don’t let that my judgmental attitude stand in your way!)
    5. There is typically an abundance of drink cans in an office kitchen, lined up in neat rows and gleaming in the light. I think of this is a reminder that opportunities for mindfulness abound: we just have to pick them up and partake.
    6. Although it wasn’t mentioned when I first learned of this, I could imagine extending this practice into gratitude: for your organization which pays for the drinks, for the delivery person who (with great physical effort) wheels a hand truck full of drinks into your office once or twice a week and loads up the fridge, for the drink manufacturer and all the people who work there, for the sources of the miraculous water* and the equally miraculous bubbles.

    * I looked at the Talking Rain company website for information about the source of the water, but couldn’t find anything about that. Since the company is based in Preston, WA, in the Cascade foothills, I’m going with a nice visualization of the White River tumbling down from Mount Rainier.

    Join my Mindful Technology Delivery class, December 6, 2017 from 4-6pm in Pioneer Square. Learn more and register here.