Seven Seconds to Mindfulness

 In Team building

Seeing our late mother’s best friend, Evelyn, was always a wonderful, positive experience for my sister. Evelyn and her family lived in the same state as my sister, and for her, seeing Evelyn was the next best thing to seeing our beloved Mom. For me, however, the sight of Evelyn usually hit me right in the heart and felt as though I was seeing a ghost—something that was there, but not there.

About 10 years ago, I traveled to Las Vegas (from my home in Colorado) to briefly connect with my sister and with Evelyn—in her mid-seventies by then—who was there with some of her adult kids for some fun and a little gambling. Upon seeing Evelyn in the hotel lobby, I got the usual whack of painful memories. But then she stood up and hugged me. It was the longest hug I have ever received. It was almost like she was hugging me as my mother would have, and she did not let go as most people do. She held on. Most hugs—especially the greeting kind—last about one second—maybe two. Evelyn’s hug was a good seven or eight seconds long. I am not exaggerating when I say that her hug healed me. When I think about the hug—even now—I feel warm and wonderful inside.

After I attended a class on corporate mindfulness, my intent was to bring back some good nuggets for my busy executive coaching clients as well as some for me. What I came away with was a keen awareness that it is the little mindful moments that count, much more than the extreme strategies, such as setting up a meditation shrine which I will likely never use or visiting an ashram which will never, ever happen. Mindfulness can be a 77-year-old woman—with 11 children of her own, and 40+ grandkids—taking a fraction of a moment to offer a wordless hug for her late best friend’s adult daughter.

Evelyn passed away a year or so ago, and I know her huge family misses her terribly. For me, her impulse years ago to take an undistracted moment to give me that hug is a legacy worth mentioning. Remembering it makes me more mindful in my hugs and human connection. I hope it will do so for you.

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