Today's Veterinary Business

DEC 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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46 Today's Veterinary Business Leadership Centering is a way to calm the mind and redirect nervous or un- helpful energy into positive pres- ence. As the Center for Contempla- tive Mind in Society explains: "Centering is one of the sim- plest and most common forms of contemplative practice. The 'center' refers to a relaxed yet focused state of mind. Centering practice is especially helpful in the midst of strong emotional states such as excitement or anxiety, and is often used by athletes, public speakers, actors and anyone who wants to feel stable and prepared before a potentially stressful event." Centering has roots in many ancient traditions, including aikido, the Japanese martial art of spiritual harmony. Rather than experiencing life as a series of emotional reactions to predictable trigger events, centering holds the promise of being able to see any situation from a calmer and more balanced vantage point. No matter what our personal circumstances might be at any moment, we still maintain the capability to choose how we respond to whatever we are experiencing in that moment. Or as Jon Kabat-Zinn put it: "What's happening is not what matters most. What matters is how we are with what is happening." Getting Out of Your Mind Whether within a veterinary prac- tice setting or elsewhere, many of us may have suffered a significant loss or hardship and later realized we were living with the daily fear that a similar event would occur. We can easily get caught up in our stories and interpretations of events that may not be based in fact or reality. As Mark Twain is reported as saying, "I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened." In order to center, we have to step out of the regularly scheduled programming that our minds are more than happy to see continue. Specifically, we have to let go of thoughts — positive or negative — of the past and concerns of the future to not only be fully aware of what is real for us in the moment but also to be aware of our emotional state in the context of that moment. With centering, we keep one eye on what's happening in the moment and one eye on our internal state, leaving no eyes to be distracted by events of the past or projections of the future. Although there are numerous ways to center, This column has focused on exploring flow, that state of complete clarity and awareness in which you feel most enlivened and operate from a state of relaxed ease and, even, bliss. This time, let's look at the role of centering as a step in achieving flow. Leadership GO WITH THE FLOW By Jeff Thoren, DVM, BCC, PCC By Trey Cutler, JD many of them involve using the body to give us something else to fully focus on. Centering in Action One compelling example of cen- tering is provided by Operation Surf, a non-profit organization that helps wounded veterans learn to surf. Founded by Van Curaza, who discovered the healing aspects of surfing as part of his recovery from addiction, Operation Surf provides life-changing experiences for war veterans coping with mental or physical disability. As Curaza explained to The Tribune of San Luis Obispo in 2017: "What I focus on is what you can do, not what you can't do. Not what you have or don't have, but what it takes to ride a wave, catch a wave and ride a surfboard. They go off and catch a wave on Day 1. Right away, they just did something they thought they couldn't do. It's physical and spiritu- al. There is a certain healing aspect being in and around water." Operation Surf 's story has been chronicled in the short documenta- ry "Resurface," available on Netflix. Josh Izenberg, one of the produc- ers, explained to The Tribune the thinking behind the film: "We just really believe in the power of other kinds of therapy and other kinds of healing, and surfing is a great ex- ample of that. We just want people to start thinking along those lines and sort of start looking out into the world for other ways to think about healing and recovery." "Resurface" focuses largely on Marine Corps veteran Bobby Lane, who suffered two traumatic brain injuries and crippling post-traumatic stress disorder after his platoon was hit with five roadside bombs in 11 days. Before Operation Surf, Lane's plan was to surf for the first time and then return home and take his life. Instead of killing himself, Lane found a new sense of purpose and a passion for life because of his ex- perience with Operation Surf. As he explained: "Now I see it, if life gets too hard, there's always the ocean. The ocean is both incredibly gentle and incredibly fierce" — much like The art of centering Continued on Page 48 Being able to see any situation from a calmer and more balanced vantage point is one rung on the ladder to achieving flow.

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