Uncertainty + Laughter: Our anxiety usually goes back to how things will affect us. I recommend bringing mindfulness laughter into your life to improve your mood, relieve pain, increase personal satisfaction. Laughter is truly the best medicine for the soul.
As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Susan King.
Susan is a holistic practitioner, emotional healer, meditation teacher and brand ambassador to COMO Shambhala, COMO Hotels and Resorts’ sister brand in wellness. She takes a unique approach, combining intuition with counseling skills, allowing clients a unique experience tailored to them. Susan splits her time between London and New York and is available for consultations in person or through video.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
From a very young age, I have always had a profound intuition, with very strong likes, dislikes, and opinions. In my early teens, I began to realize that I saw things very differently from the average person. I was always able to see the outcome of situations, or why something appeared the way it was. It was at that time that I realized I had something the average person did not seem to have, a kind of the second nose, or a sense that was stronger than others. I knew I had to lean into this sense, as undeveloped as it was. Before we can treat the symptom, we need to find the cause, once we know that we can give the medicine.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I have many stories to tell, but one that sticks in my mind is the JAL (Japan Airlines) disaster of 1985. As a teenager, I had a dream that this would occur, and when it happened, it was as if I was re-watching a movie I had already seen. My dream consisted of me being on an airplane full of people with dark hair speaking a dialect I did not understand. I remember that I was in seat number 53 or 54 and that it was a Boeing 747 aircraft. There was an earie stillness as we ascended, where soon after the roof of the plane peeled back like the top of a can and we spun around and around. When we came to a crash, my entire row had survived. I wrote down my dream and years later I learned of the JAL Boeing 747 crash. All passengers had died, except for rows 53–54. Years later I would go to Japan for work and meet the families of the victims, which was an incredible experience.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
Several years ago, I was doing work in Japan, where one of my clients, a businessman, asked if I had the same intuition about people just by looking at a photograph. I had never tried this before but I took a look at a photo of his team and was able to tell him what motivated each of them, who needed more praise than others, who was a team player, how he could bring them together, and who was the highest promotion prospect. This led me to work with recruitment companies. I tell business leaders and managers all the time to remember that employees are human — they need to feel cherished, valued, like a member of a family. How companies treat their staff goes hand in hand with retention rate and loyalty.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I actually learned to play golf when I was young and completely fell in love with the game, determined to perfect my technique. This led me to discover a book called The Inner Game by W. Timothy Gallwey. The book taught me about controlling feelings of self-doubt. It helped me stay focused on a positive, confident mindset, i.e. the inner game. Feeling and sensing more than what is obvious to the psyche, is all about the practice to gain confidence. We all have to perfect our technique in order to play the game — work or otherwise — with confidence.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?
Mindfulness is being in the moment, fully aware of your feelings, thoughts and physical sensations. The practice of mindfulness is being in the present, not letting your mind wander to the past or the future. Mindfulness can be applied to anything we do in our daily lives, whether it’s sharing a meal, learning something new or listening to a friend. Practicing mindfulness creates a state of total awareness.
This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?
Practicing mindfulness will help you sleep better, ridding your mind of clutter. You will also be more attentive to what’s happening around you, which can improve relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. Being able to banish negative feelings, recognizing that they are not relevant in the present moment, helps you stay calmer when dealing with hardships.
Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious about the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness and serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.
- The first step when feeling anxious, uncertain, lonely, or fearful is to identify the trigger. Once we understand where the feeling is rooted, we can use techniques to combat them. A few techniques include:
- Daily mantra breathing: This calms the nervous system through the breath.
- Finding a space place: When your mind is flooding with negative thoughts, it is your anxiety taking your mind to an imaginary place. Put yourself in a safe place, bringing yourself into the now.
- Reflecting kindness with “metta meditation”: Practice being kind to yourself. When your mind is focused on something other than anxiety and fear, you are able to find peace. Simply put, when you are kind and warm to yourself, it is very hard to be fearful or anxious.
- Uncertainty + Laughter: Our anxiety usually goes back to how things will affect us. I recommend bringing mindfulness laughter into your life to improve your mood, relieve pain, increase personal satisfaction. Laughter is truly the best medicine for the soul.
From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
- Make sure they have a routine. It is very important for the mind to focus on different tasks
- I always encourage outdoor activity, whether that’s taking a walk, gardening, or running. This will release endorphins into the bloodstream.
- Do some simple breathing exercises to help calm the mind.
- Make sure to find downtime. Read a book, be kind to yourself, pamper yourself.
- Communicate with people and don’t isolate yourself, it’s vital.
Always remember a busy mind is a happy mind, a mind left to wander like a kite will fill up with unwanted ‘what ifs’.
What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?
- Learn how to breathe. If you control breath, you are in charge of your mind and body.
- Learn basic awareness, train your mind to be more mindful.
- I recommend exploring some of the Buddhist philosophies, which may help give you a different perspective.
- Learn to meditate. Use an app or take some classes.
- Read books that teach you to be in the NOW. I love books by Anthony De Mello or Eckhart Tolle.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“I am not my body, I am not defined by my body, my body is a temple, a host for the very life force within my soul”
I discovered this quote for around 11 years ago. Later I realized my whole life, I had been trying to connect with the essence within my soul. That understanding gives me freedom, of mind body and spirit. Understanding that there is life beyond our physical body on earth
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Share your vulnerabilities, what is the worst that can happen? We are programmed not to show weakness, expressing anguish, but why not? Who says we can’t? My soul purpose in my working life is to share light in the darkness, to give hope and a new perspective.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!