In Action

Kip Speaks on TCI Mindfulness Panel

Founder and CEO of Hollister Staffing and Hollister Institute, Kip Hollister joined a panel discussion Wednesday morning to talk about mindfulness and how we can use it to improve the quality of our lives at work and at home.

The event, titled Mindfulness—It’s Worth the Investment, was put on by The Commonwealth Institute (TCI), and also featured Eric Langshur, author (of Start Here) and founder of LifeXT, and Robert Cota, director of case management at Newton-based home care provider HouseWorks, with moderation from Sandy Lish of The Castle Group.

As panelists took turns responding to a series of prompts provided by Sandy, each revealed a unique glimpse into the stress-reducing and relationship-strengthening benefits of mindfulness.

Robert talked about how implementing a meditation space in his workplace – a former storage closet which he affectionately referred to as his ‘Zen Den’ – has done wonders for his team’s ability to better navigate the challenges of working with aging seniors.  “I’m actively listening in a way I never have before.”

Sandy asked everyone to define mindfulness.

Robert said, “[Mindfulness] helps me not do mental time-traveling, and just stay here in the moment.”

“I think the tricky part for all of us is our crazy thoughts,” said Kip.  “This darn mind does not turn off, even when we are sleeping.” 

Left to right: Eric Langshur, Robert Cota, Andrea Cohen, Sandy Lish, Kip Hollister, and Elizabeth Hailer 

Kip said that while even though we may not be able to shut our minds off fully, one way we can achieve calm is by focusing on our breathing when our mind is going crazy: “One of the greatest tools we have is our breath.”

Kip talked about her own spiritual journey, and how she was a soul-seeker early on.  She said her own quest for consciousness is what led her to create the Hollister Institute, where she coaches the merits of mindfulness, as a natural remedy for persistent negative-thinking and disconnectedness.   

Eric Langshur, author of Start Here and founder of LifeXT

Eric dived deeper into the medical ramifications.  He described our brains as being ‘neuroplastic,’ warning us that if we don’t take care of our mental health, we will continue to experience neural decay until we die.  He put it even more succinctly by saying, “If you’re not meditating every day, it’s like you’re drunk driving through life.”

Eric cited one study which found that subjects who spent two weeks meditating 30 minutes per day, had their amygdalas – i.e. the part of the brain which controls negative stress response – physically shrink.

“We want to wake up, so we can give and impact humanity in a positive way,” said Kip, talking about mindfulness as a powerful way to avoid the slumps of our daily lives. 

Sandy asked panelists to share one or two things we can do to start being more mindful right away.

Kip shared two:

  1. Watch how you speak. Your thoughts and your words are closely connected, so what you say is a declaration of your intent.  If you continually say things like “I might” or “I should,” then you aren’t giving a full commitment.
  2. Before going to bed, observe how you feel, and say three notes of gratitude. If you didn’t have a good day, then you can say, “I’m grateful to be in bed now…”

Erik offered his “3 C’s of Habit Change”:

  1. Commence Small. The commitment can be as small as meditating one minute per day—as long as you do it every day—working your way to four minutes, and then 20.  “Think about meditation as non-meditation.”
  2. Commit 100%. Not 99%.  99% allows you room to negotiate with yourself.
  3. Set an alarm, put it in your calendar; find a prompt that will effectively force you to take action a time you’ve designated.

Kip and Erik both stressed the importance of committing to a daily practice, more than attending any single-day seminar on mindfulness. 

Kip Hollister, founder and CEO of Hollister Staffing and Hollister Institute

Putting everything we learned into practice, Kip concluded the panel by leading the room in a short, guided meditation. 

Many thanks to TCI for creating this event, and to LockeLord for hosting!

Andrea Cohen, co-founder and CEO of HouseWorks
Panelists with moderator Sandy Lish, principle/founder of The Castle Group