Day Twelve

DAY 12: Dr Elise Bialylew interviews Elizabeth Lesser


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Mind Life Project Bonus Content:

Download your Transcript here.


Video Objectives

In this video you’ll learn:

  • The value of difficult times in our personal growth
  • How to be more gentle and patient with yourself on your meditation journey 
  • How cultivating awareness can improve our personal relationships
  • A moving personal story of love and loss which will inspire you to more courageously navigate your relationships 
About Elisabeth Lesser

Mindfulness of breath and compassion  - 15 minutes

A meditation by Founder of Mindful in May Elise Bialylew

** NB: The meditation has no bell  - it ends with: "open your eyes when you feel ready"

*click play to listen to the meditation


In today's interview you heard from Elizabeth about the power of honest conversations.

Conversations are a great opportunity to practise being mindful – and mindfulness in turn supports us in experiencing intimacy.

Our lives run at such a hectic speed, with competing forces pulling our attention in all directions, that bringing our full attention to someone is truly rare. By being mindful in our conversations, we can develop empathy as well as insight into and understanding of the perspective of those we interact with.

It’s a challenging practice, but one that can deepen and enrich both our personal and professional relationships.

Experiment today with these twelve steps to having a mindful C.O.N.V.E.R.S.A.T.I.O.N.

C: Clear intention to be mindful

Set a clear intention about how you are going to use your attention in this conversation. Recognise that you are going to make an extra effort to be fully present.

O: Open to the other person

Often during conversations we can be caught up in our own concerns and thoughts. When we mindfully communicate, we consciously open our awareness to include a sense of our own body and emotional state, while also making space to be open to the other person.

N: Non-verbal communication

Pay attention to the person’s non-verbal communication: their posture, eye contact, and facial expressions. A large part of communication is transmitted through our non-verbal gestures and signs.

V: Voice quality and content

Notice the pitch, volume, pauses and the energy in the other person’s speech. Pay attention to whether the content of their words is congruous with the way in which they are saying them. For example, someone may tell you they are really happy, but their voice tone may communicate the opposite.

E: Engage with a beginner’s mind

Remember to bring a beginner’s mind to the conversation. Activate your curiosity and allow yourself to be surprised by the other person. Drop any assumptions you may have about the other person or how a conversation is going to unfold.

R: Resist interrupting

When we are in conversation it can be easy to fall into habitual ways of communicating. Some of us have a habit of talking too much and not allowing enough space for the other person to express themselves.

For others it may be a habit of listening and not sharing our thoughts, because of shyness or a belief that what we have to say isn’t valuable.

A common conversational habit is the tendency to interrupt, reflecting our general lack of patience. We can bring more awareness to the way we communicate by noticing our urge to speak, and at that moment taking a breath and reflecting on whether this is interrupting the other person.

S: Speak the truth

Sometimes we don’t speak the truth because we want to avoid conflict, or we don’t want to be disliked by others. Be aware of what you are saying and stay connected to what is true for you.

A: Allow pauses

Many of us are uncomfortable with silence and so we speak to fill the space. Notice if you have a tendency to fill the space and don’t be afraid to pause in conversations.

T: Tune in to your body

When in conversation, it can be easy to lose touch with your own feelings. In mindful conversations, you’re invited to be present to the other person’s non-verbal signs and also maintain some awareness of your own feelings and body sensations.

This can be particularly helpful in difficult conversations where you might be emotionally triggered. By staying aware of your own emotional state, you can respond more effectively to others, especially when you’re under pressure.

I: Invite a non-judgmental attitude

Our minds have a tendency to constantly judge others. This judging mind stems from our ancient survival instincts: we are constantly scanning for danger in our environment.

However, we can be quick to judge others in conversation, and this closes our capacity to really see the person as they are.

O: Observe your mind’s tendency to drift

During mindful conversations, we are using the other person as the object of our meditation. Just as our attention wanders during meditation, when you notice your mind has drifted away from the conversation, gently bring your attention back to the words or physical presence of the other person.

N: Notice when you feel emotionally triggered

Conversations are a complex exchange between people, and without realising it, we can be emotionally triggered by people’s words or responses.

Pay particular attention to the feeling of being triggered while in conversation with others.

By maintaining a sense of your emotional state throughout conversations, you are better resourced to respond wisely to challenging interactions.

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