Why we’re organizing a mindfulness retreat even though we don't meditate

In January, we’re organizing, with mindfulness experts, a retreat on the benefits of mindfulness for startup people. 

If you’d have told us that a few years back, we’d probably have laughed and told you we were no new wave hippies.

We’re still not. To be honest, we don’t meditate, barely do yoga, and still haven’t figured out what “being in the moment” means.

But here’s the truth: even since we started reading, talking and thinking about mindfulness, our lives have gone better.

We’ve talked to a lot of people who meditate, do yoga and all that goes with it, and are living a much more peaceful, deep and happy life. People like Salesforce's Marc Benioff, LeWeb cofounder Loic Le Meur and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner  are pretty vocal about it.  

Photo via mediation app Headspace

Photo via mediation app Headspace

Mindfulness is being aware of the moment, of thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, and accepting our thoughts and feelings without judging them.

It helps build the inner resources we need to deal with the challenges of the outside world, to handle distraction, manage stress and anxiety, and improve our sleep, explains Rohan Gunatillake, founder of the buddhify meditation app.

At work this translate into “a more powerful and sustained focus, a greater awareness of one’s team members and shareholders, and a deeper effectiveness that arises from knowing how to work with difficulty and uncertainty,” says Reboot.io, Jerry Colonna's coaching company.

Meditating is probably the best way to develop mindfulness, but if you can’t do it or don’t see the benefits of traditional meditating-eyes-closed-legs-crossed, it’s ok; there are many more ways you can get some of the benefits of mindfulness.

Last year I attended a meet-up at SXSW called "Mindfulness at Work" lead by Yesware’s CEO Matthew Bellows

People in the crowd didn’t necessarily meditate. For most of them, being mindful meant changing the ways they do mundane things and tweaking their lives with small easy-to-implement actions.

Those actions could be as simple as taking a conscious breath when walking through a door, stretching a bit when walking to the next meeting, focusing on one task at a time, taking breaks from work or running. Bellows listed 33 mindfulness hacks.

Not everybody is cut out for or wants to be a meditation expert but everybody should care about mindfulness. 

Learning about mindfulness helps us paying attention to the way we lead our lives, questioning the way we see things, assessing the efficiency of our routines, and tweaking them.

If you want 2016 to be less stressful, more productive and happier, join us March 17 to 20 for a 3-day retreat on the Moroccan shores. We’ll have activities for both for experienced and novice folks, we'll be talking about and experimenting with mindfulness but also easier tricks to make our lives better.

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