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“Mindfulness.” With Beau Henderson & Lisa Arie

To break it down, mindfulness is beneficial on so many levels because it provides a way of being other than automatic. Mindfulness allows us to step out of the habit of fear and living at a hyper-pace or in survival mode — to experience life more fully and realize that everything we need is actually […]

To break it down, mindfulness is beneficial on so many levels because it provides a way of being other than automatic. Mindfulness allows us to step out of the habit of fear and living at a hyper-pace or in survival mode — to experience life more fully and realize that everything we need is actually in this moment. When we shift to this knowing our life transforms. Making the most out of every moment you are in is making the most of life. Our thoughts become quieter and we can see the truth.


As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lisa Arie.

Lisa is the co-founder and CEO of Vista Caballo — one of the most innovative leadership and human development frameworks in the world. Described as the “CEO whisperer” by Fast Co., she’s the expert people call in when they are having trouble navigating the unexpected and are ready for self-mastery as the answer.

When leaders are stuck, feel like they are spinning and nothing else is working, Vista Caballo’s unique, proven, the science-based framework utilizes science and one’s innate intelligence to create calm, certainty, simplicity and clarity and equips them to be unstoppable.


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?

Thank you for interviewing me. I began my career in advertising. I was a Creative All Star, worked on iconic global brands, produced Tom Bodett’s first Motel 6 spots, and created two companies that became multimillion-dollar enterprises.

I still felt like I was missing out on life, and when I was struck with a terminal disease, I started paying attention to life — which led me to horses. In the company of another species, I reconnected to myself, and my disease vanished. I took what I learned and brought it to the wider world. My partner and I founded Vista Caballo — an award-winning, international personal and leadership development center for the conscious leaders whose mission and purpose is to drive positive change in our world.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

When I realized I was living someone else’s story, and decided to find my own. The moment of stark realization struck me like a lightning bolt. Growing up thinking I had to prove myself to be loved drove me to become a super-achiever. But achieving is not the path to fulfillment. After I was diagnosed, I made the decision that if I was going to die, I was going to die happy and fulfilled. When I started listening to my gut, rather than staying inside my comfort zone, I snapped out of autopilot and started living my life rather than trying to survive it.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

A hallmark of great leadership and work culture is when you equip your team to thrive, rather than just survive. It’s the prosperity versus scarcity mindset. That means rather than instructing them to follow a playbook, you educate and equip them to lead outside their comfort zone so they are ready to lead confidently in any environment. When you equip your teams with the tools to develop themselves to be their best, to be whole humans, and to access their potential, you create thriving cultures that grow and sustain themselves.

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?

Many years ago when I first started learning how to live life fearlessly and on purpose I read a book called The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I loved the simplicity and the premise that there are four constructs that you either decide to agree with or not:

  1. Be Impeccable with your Word.
  2. Don’t take anything personally.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
  4. Always Do Your Best.

It was so simple and highly effective for showing me where I am, where I could improve and where I could go. The four constructs help me stay conscious, keep my heart open, my focus strong, my ego in check. I still use them today. Thank you, Don Miguel Ruiz.

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?

You’re welcome. Mindfulness is a practice and a state of mind that develops the ability to pay attention in a particular way, on purpose, without judgement in the moment for the moment. It’s about staying aware — of everything and developing yourself to be and stay aware — on purpose. All of your energy and attention is focused on the now.

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?

Mindfulness can reduce anxiety, improve your memory, increase your mental performance, decrease errors in decision-making, improve self-esteem and relationships. It also increases dopamine levels, which impact our mood and executive function; providing feelings of fulfillment, contentment, and happiness.

To break it down, mindfulness is beneficial on so many levels because it provides a way of being other than automatic. Mindfulness allows us to step out of the habit of fear and living at a hyper-pace or in survival mode — to experience life more fully and realize that everything we need is actually in this moment. When we shift to this knowing our life transforms. Making the most out of every moment you are in is making the most of life. Our thoughts become quieter and we can see the truth.

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 from 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.

  1. Give yourself a one-minute holiday. During these times, you may not have the time to do a full meditation practice but need a breather and a reset.. Or you may not have yet learned how to meditate. Here’s a solution: Pick a word or image you hold sacred. Set your timer for one minute. Get comfortable. Start. Close your eyes and focus on your word or image. If your mind wanders just notice where you are-are in the past or the future? Gently bring yourself back to present by refocusing on your sacred word/image. As you relax into this and become more confident you can increase your practice for three minutes. And once you start to notice the benefits, it will become easier to expand to longer times and make this an integral part of your health and lifestyle.
  2. When fear triggers, it’s important to understand the trigger. Realize that the fear response is almost entirely autonomic: We don’t consciously trigger it. The same fear that’s activated when we sense danger is also spurred by uncertainty. The simple solution to not triggering is to develop staying present and to use consciousness and discern the level of danger that is at hand. Our experience and filters of what we determine is safe or not has a huge play in our response or reaction to fear.
  3. Here’s a suggestion to help you respond versus react. Ask yourself — out loud — “What is the fear, and is it rational?” I suggest out loud because just saying it out loud can often bring to light if it’s rational or not. When we say our fears out loud to ourselves they can often seem less alarming or even ridiculous — allowing us to dismiss them and move forward.It doesn’t mean that you will still not feel the potency. But you can diminish it by articulating it. If the fear is rational, you have three strategies-fight, flight or freeze. Choose one consciously. Do not be afraid to feel the fear. It is there to keep you safe. Just don’t let it hijack you. Practice presence so it doesn’t.
  4. Set your intention: do you intend to make it through this better than ever? Set and reset that intention. Whatever your intention is make it clear to yourself and reset it during the day. Write it on your hand. Do whatever it takes to keep this intention front and center during your day and use it as your North Star.
  5. Make yourself the safest place to be. If you are the safest place to be, no matter what is going on around you, you can stay present to the moment and make your best decisions from that place.You cannot change what happens to the outside world, but you can always change your thinking. Take a minute to entrust yourself. We’re often braver, stronger, and more capable than we realize. Think of a time when you summoned bravery from within. Whether you realize it or not, you’re armed with that right now. Now is the time to discover the courageous parts of yourself that are buried within your subconscious. You have courage. You’ve used it before. Now’s the time to trust yourself and lead with it.

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?

  1. Understand that our sense of vulnerability can be connected to our sense of fear. If the innate fear strategies of fight, flight or freeze do not quell the sensation of uncertainty or anxiety, our sense of vulnerability may be in play. Vulnerability carries a different message than fear: it’s a signal that we need to connect. We can help those around who are feel anxious by asking if they are willing to connect. Heart to heart connection is possible no matter where we are.
  2. Drop into your heart. Connect to each other. There’s spiritual connection. There’s emotional connection. Ask the question: What do you need? For physical connection, remember to suggest plants or trees if they have no access to the animal kingdom. They can even connect to their energy and transform it through conscious breathing.
  3. Be a compassionate listener. Many people need to actualize their fears aloud. If you allow them to voice their fears, rather than sharing your own, they can hear them and may be able to start to discern whether their fears are rational or not and can create their own best solutions which can increase feelings of confidence and empowerment. Repeat what they have shared with you to make sure you are both clear on what is being said. Ask if they need help before offering it. Be ok with sitting in silence. Make sure you have met your own needs first so you can be and stay present to others.
  4. Reach out! During these stressful times, many people are embarrassed or even afraid to admit that they want or need support. So give a holler to your friends, peers and family and check in. Create a list of inspiring ways to start a conversation — rather than “How are you?” you can say “Did I ever tell you how much I love you or how amazing I think you are?”
  5. Try conscious breathing together. Get comfortable and have them get comfortable. Nice slow deep conscious breaths in and out for a few minutes can help calm our sympathetic nervous system down (the one that activates with fear response) and brings us back into the parasympathetic nervous system (the system for restoration and rejuvenation
  6. Imagine with them — which can also be done virtually. Have them articulate what they dream of. Then kick back and share what you both saw and experienced. This can provide great emotional connection and keep you present in a shared moment — even if you’re isolated miles apart.

What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?

Set your intention every day before you get out of bed. Make developing your ability to be and stay present non-negotiable. You can start with one minute a day so there are no excuses.

We created a unique, digital, science-based solution called the StillPoint Experience, which shows you how to clear your cognitive intelligence filters and re-calibrates your filter-free thinking in only three minutes a day. It’s a tool I personally use and highly recommend for equipping yourself to be more mindful and serene.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

I have three. One was from my father. The last five words my father spoke to me before he died: “I love you. Don’t worry.”

One way for me to honor my father is to do what he asked of me. Which is not to worry. Sometimes it can be challenging. But his preface — “I love you” — keeps me strong and focused. He didn’t ask me not to worry as just a thing to say. He wasn’t like that. Even as he was dying he was giving me his best advice for how to lead a great life.

My mom also shared a quote with me that had an impact : “Life is Better Without A Script.” We were sitting on my bed in my tiny NYC apartment which she just helped me reconstruct (she’s a fabulous interior decorator) when she said she’d like to paint those words on my bedroom wall. I’m not sure why we didn’t, but I used to lay there and imagine them. I’m not sure I’ve reached living life completely without a script yet, but when I do live this way it’s so much richer and freer, like a swan dive into the present moment.

Lastly, I bought a little plaque many years ago that said “Every Wall Is A Door.” I had absolutely no idea what it meant, but I would have my cup of tea every morning and stare at it and wonder.

The quote is a powerful puzzle piece to living a rich, fulfilled life, I have learned that every wall is indeed a door. It’s an absolute truth. And I love knowing this. It’s a key that continues to unlock seemingly endless new dimensions to the magnificence of life.

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. 🙂

Years ago, I was running with my hair on fire trying to help our planet and our humanity wherever I could. One day, I finally paused and asked myself “what’s the source of these problems?” The source is an absence of consciousness. So my husband and I set out to create a tipping point where a critical mass of self-actualized people could make the world peaceful and prosperous for the children of all species.

We created physical and virtual world experiences that equip leaders and their teams with the tools to challenge what they think they know, so they can discover and embrace what they don’t. When that vision is fulfilled, everyone has the courage and awareness to utilize their creativity and intelligence to help the world in ways that once seemed impossible. Can you imagine living in a world like that? The movement has started, and we invite everyone who wants to live in a world that is peaceful, safe and prosperous for all to join, collaborate, and partner with us.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

They can visit VistaCaballo.com/blog to see my insights and sign up for my newsletter. We’re also on Instagram (@vistacaballo) and on LinkedIn.

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