Mindful Construction – pre-frontal cortex ramblings

photo (2)I caught up with Anne Parker last week over a morning tea and stroll around the grounds of the Apple Store Cafe in Scorton where we discussed mindfulness in construction as a key to unlock many of the current  issues facing construction, including sustainability and technology. We started to scratch out possible format, content and venue for a Mindful Construction Conference in the new year, but more on that over the coming weeks.

Anne delivered a Be2talks talk at our event back in September following which I asked her for a few thoughts on mindfulness:

Ramblings from My Pre Frontal Cortex – Anne Parker

The hills had never looked so green, the motorway signs had never looked such a Mediterranean blue, the mid summer sunset wrote lyrics all of its own.

Had I just taken some playful hallucinogenic drugs?  No of course not – I had just left a CIOB AGM! Yes, I had just given a talk on ‘Mindfulness in Construction and Engineering’ at this professional forum and it had given me the most amazing experience and affirmation.  Let me explain.

‘Mindfulness’ is a way of living, a way of managing the mind and the body that has origins in Eastern Traditions and has been steadily tested, researched and validated by Western Science.  What do you know about your brain and your body?  Have you learnt about it so that you can maximise the quality of your daily life?  Can you maximise the power of your brain to optimise your performance at work?  Do you understand the range of processes within your mind and body that influence your ability to innovate, tolerate change and work collaboratively with others?  Perhaps you thought that this was at the level of skill or talent without going any further into anatomy or physiology.

This is a hugely exciting time as sciences converge.  The fusion of ideas is generating new insights and models but more interestingly means that new language, metaphors, images or styles import and export ideas and practices from one arena into another.

I had found that it was my mission to bring Mindfulness into certain industries without any pictures of rainbows or women sitting on beaches in yoga postures.  With no reference to ‘Gods and Goddesses Within’ or to Yin and Yang I had found a set of idioms with which I was bringing this stuff into industries with possibly a very low tolerance to ‘airy fairy ideas’.  I was passionate about communicating the genius of these practices to men and women who could feel the benefits of this learning in their busy lives in practical or demanding jobs.  So far the exercise had been a thorny experience but I knew it was what I was here to do.  I persevered.  The talk at this CIOB AGM was part of my mission.  And it was a turning point.  This audience on this summer’s night gave such an enthusiastic, high energy response to the teachings of these disciplines that I was lifted beyond measure.

The joy of my internal world was being reflected back to me on that motorway drive home.  Brains, Mind, Body, Wellbeing, Buildings, Construction – the whole concept was beginning to flow.  Surely everything that has ever been built or made or constructed started off in someone’s mind?  So isn’t it worth having a look in there, exploring it? Working with it or taming it?  The construction of the outside reflection is what we shall live in years to come…..

Mindfulness.  It is worth your investigation.

Is the next step a conference on Mindfulness and Neuro-Leadership for the Construction and Engineering industries? Would love to hear your thoughts….

Anne’s talk to Be2Talks, The Cuddle Hormone’: Mindfulness, Sustainable Construction and Social Media  can be viewed here 

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