A Place for Mindfulness Amid Grant Pressures?

I recently returned from the South Cluster National Service Conference in Nashville, where I was asked to create space for AmeriCorps and RSVP program leaders to really reflect upon, take stock of, and make concrete plans to improve AmeriCorps member and volunteer training, monitoring, and support practices.

This workshop style was brand new for us.  Rather than dive right into the content, I first led participants through a guided mindfulness and meditation session in which we learned one strategy for reducing feelings of stress and fear around grant application deadlines, performance measures, logic models, and federal auditors.

Here’s the initial feedback I received from the workshop:

– An AmeriCorps program director shared that she walked into the session with her chest clenching from anxiety that was created in earlier workshops around performance measurement, logic models, and background checks.  She shared that she walked out of our session with her body feeling relaxed and believing that she now had a clear game plan of what she needs to put her energy towards.

– The Mississippi commission will be leading its program directors through a modified version of this session.

– Representatives from two National Directs will be encouraging their leadership to walk through the grounding, analysis, and planning process we introduced.

It’s really amazing what can happen when we make an active decision to not sit on our fears and stressors, and instead remember why we do the work we do and then put those thoughts in the front of our minds.  Any associated hassles that come with the work can suddenly take up far less room in our bodies and brains.