I recently traveled to New York City for an MBA class to explore how humanities and the arts can influence leadership and business. I have never traveled to New York City before and was excited about the themes and topics of the class as well as embracing the culture and financial capital of the world.
Most of my life I have lived in smaller suburban cities, with less population than large urban cities. I usually practice mindfulness early in the morning; I wake up, shower, and then do a 20-40 minute mindfulness meditation with minimal noise, so it is easy to let go of disturbances or distractions. NYC was noisy with construction and the hustle and bustle of people and traffic most of the day. I had to learn to adapt to my new surroundings and it took more effort than normal to stay focus on my practice.
Mindfulness helped to expand my perceptions with an open and non-judgmental mind in the “City that Never Sleeps.” it allowed me to observe and embrace the atmosphere and ambiance of the city including architecture, environments, culture, history, and most of all the people. The NYC lifestyle is very different from how I live my day to day life. Even though the boroughs are filled with disarray and chaos, they embrace their big city and are proud to be citizens of NYC. One of my observations was how restaurants are people are integrated. Even though there is a sense of rushed momentum throughout the city, people stop and connect with each other while grabbing a bite to eat or enjoying a cocktail.
Mindfulness allowed me to consciously take in and absorb my NYC experience, moment by moment and day by day from the inside out. I was able to look back at our event filled days of culture, arts, history, and business with great appreciation. Mindfulness gave me the tools to really see and BE in New York City for the first time. Through this class and my practice, one week made a significant influence in my character, depth, and self-awareness. The following quote reminded of my encounter with NYC:
“Being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, moment, and thought follows inevitable from the previous one, like playing jazz. your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” – Mihály Csíkszentmihályi
How has mindfulness guided or added to your new experiences?