When the newest cadre of students at The Grooming Project were slated for Soft Skills development, I was asked to bring mindfulness training to the group.

We started the session with the mindfulness activities Moment to Arrive, Head/Heart/Gut check-in, and SBNRR (Siberian Northern Railroad AKA Stop, Breathe, Notice, Reflect, Respond). When these are done at the start of work or throughout the day, they bring presence and non-reactivity to the moment and/or potentially challenging situation.

One of the longest activities was mindful listening. The participants saw the impact of not being listened to as well as being listened to. It was noticed that we most often pay attention to the conversation in our heads instead  of the person speaking.

One person noticed the profound affect on her life that not being listened to had. Another person said it was “wonderful” being heard.

The group saw that having a client (or loved one) be heard is a gift, and a perfect way to build positive professional and personal relationships.

I asked each person to write down the impact the workshop had on them. Some of their responses are below.

“My feelings have changed as far as sometimes it is so important, very important, to be heard, as well as listen, and just caring about other people’s voices.” ~ Valerie C.

“I now know that I need to be listened to just as the next person needs me to listen – relationship-wise!!” ~ Keyla

“I now feel reflective of situations in my personal life where people have been frustrated by me not listening when I felt like I was but looked distracted (I call myself a multitasker). I also better understand myself and my gut response to these situations is to walk away or shut down with that person and it does not help the situation.” ~not indicated

“I feel like I could walk into any situation good or bad and tell myself I got this and can handle the situation in an appropriate way.” ~Kayla S.

“I can handle stressful situation better. I feel like I was heard and understood. I feel like I can deal with customers better.” ~Megan