Running Past Park Benches

If we don’t have physical models to show us how to slow down, then we need physical spaces. We need meditation rooms and quiet spaces, indoor and outdoor sanctuaries where there is only one rule and one expectation…to be quiet.

“Melinda Easterling ratifies the hunt for peace in the 21st century.”

I was thrilled to write for Ebenezer Chapel in support of their quest to create an underground quiet and meditative space for visitors to Raleigh, North Carolina for centuries to come. Check out their web site and my blog on why we should all support public quiet spaces (repost below).

Running Past Park Benches

Why do we need quiet spaces? Why not just plop down on a park bench, close our eyes at our desk at work or sit on a chair at home and meditate? Why? Because no one else is doing that. We (those of us who live in the West) don’t live in a culture that says chill, take it easy, slow down. We live in a hyper world. We run passed park benches. We rush to the finish line at work…a finish line that always evades us because there’s another and another. We push ourselves and our partners and our kids at home…

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Aspects of Health: What Has Changed?

When I studied wellness in school (in the 1980s/90s), these were the aspects of health:

Spritual + Social + Physical + Mental + Emotional

Now, we’ve expanded them to include a few more:

Spiritual + Social + Physical + Mental+ Emotional + Intellectual + Environmental + Occupational

I’ll simplify:

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My 365-Day Campaign of Thank Yous

Watching Shonda Rhimes on TED rekindled my dormant desire to write thank-you cards more often. So, I’m kickstarting my 365 days of thank-you-note writing. Here’s my first installment, a public thank you to the Thrift Shop man:

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Are Employers Responsible for Employee Health?

Should employees be held responsible for their employees’ health? Some say yes. Should we go so far as to include Employee Health as a line item on the annual report? Possibly.

Of course employers should support worker well-being. But should companies be held accountable for those employees who choose to smoke, booze it up (after hours, of course) or refuse to exercise or meditate. Now, that’s a slippery slope.

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“Humbug” You Say?

Your tinsel doesn’t twinkle. Your snow doesn’t glisten. Your santa doesn’t jingle. Humbug is your go-to quip.

Hark, there’s hope!

If your annual Scrooge is workin’ for you, then keep it up! But if you want to feel better, here’s how:

Wake up, sip your cocoa and head out the door with jingle bells in tow. Today is a new day. And “Thank You” is your new phrase. Memorize it. Stick it in your pocket. Pull it out at every hint of Grinch squirt.

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Meditation Is Not One-Size-Fits-All

Meditation is not one-size-fits-all. If a quiet-your-mind approach doesn’t work, try a mantra-based session, where you repeat a word (e.g., “calm”) or group of words (e.g., “I am calm”) of your choice for several minutes. If a mantra doesn’t resonate, try just listening to nature sounds and focusing on your breath. Do a little research on the different types of meditation.

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The Influence Design Has on Well-Being

As I walked through the halls of High Point Market last week and NeoCon in June, I remembered what a profound effect design can have on our well-being. Our work as designers, architects and contractors can make a huge impact in commercial and residential design. From the type of lighting we choose to the way we situate our structures on a plot of land.

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Open Letter: Dear CEOs,

I’m reposting my open letter to CEOs because I want the word out. We as managers, as directors, as presidents, as chiefs, we as leaders of all types have a responsibility to not only do right by our customers but also, and possibly more importantly, to do right by our employees. Employee well-being and customer satisfaction are inextricably linked. Happy employees, happy company, happy customers. Please pass this on and embrace it yourself, as we’re all leaders in one form or another…


Dear CEOs,

If it’s true that actively disengaged workers are costing the US $550 billion (Gallup) in economic activity annually and stress is costing American businesses $300 billion per year (World Health Organization), doesn’t it follow that even if we make slight improvements in employees’ lives, the net savings or contributions to economic activity could be in the hundreds of millions, if not in the billions?

How do we do this? There’s no pill…no single solution; however, small steps add up to big changes. One small step is tweaking how we view our employees. Whole beings who have whole lives walk through the office doors each morning with whole stuff going on…stuff from home, stuff from yesterday at work…emotional stuff, mental stuff, physical stuff, spiritual stuff, social stuff (some add environmental). How can you, as a CEO, address each of these facets of health in each of your employees?

You cannot. What can you do?

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Mental Health: We’re All Affected

As we work to lift the mental health stigma, we’re missing the boat. The conversation should be: What can we do to promote a mentally healthy environment for ourselves and others every day?

Mental health is a spectrum; don’t delude yourself, we’re all on it. It ranges from “normal” emotions to “abnormal” emotions…from happy and perky at one end to suicidal thoughts at the other. And most of us aren’t hovering around happy and perky.

We don’t realize how much our daily emotional and mental health affects us. How we feel affects every single thing in our worlds. Just take a snapshot of any scenario from yesterday. What happened? What were your feelings around the event? How did you react? How did you feel physically based on what you thought and did in response? If it was a negative exchange at work, for example, maybe you got a knot in your stomach and couldn’t concentrate on your project for 45 minutes after the encounter.

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