Wellness Pathway #204 Sound the Bell

There is an Eastern tradition of sounding the bell as a call to mindfulness. It can be rung before breathwork and meditation as a gentle yet powerful way to move us from ordinary time to extraordinary presence. Thich Nhat Hanh, a well-known Vietnamese Buddhist monk, has made the “mindfulness bell” an essential part of his practice. He sounds the bell, in private and in public, because of how it “calls us back to our true home.”

I have recommended this technique to several clients, who have incorporated the practice into their daily lives in significant ways. One client looked for a bell, but ended up choosing a wind chime, to ring at the start of the day. This led to the purchase of several more wind chimes, to ring throughout the day. One stays at home, one at the office, and one in his car. When he passes by, he rings the chime.

This practice helps him to slow down and focus on his true values as he goes through the day.  To this end, we used a gong on our recent Vocation Getaway. Striking the gong symbolized the passage of time and coming to order. I strike the gong in my office, at the start of each coaching session, as a way of turning my mind from one person to the next.

Having written this Wellness Pathway, I just returned from two hours of ringing the Salvation Army bell in front of Wal-Mart with my daughter. Once again, in this Christmas tradition to collect alms for the poor, I saw the power of sounding the bell. It made people smile and give. It stimulated eye contact and conversation. It warmed us up on a cold night. It called people to their senses as they went by with shopping carts full of merchandise. Perhaps there is more to life than what we can buy for ourselves and our families. Perhaps the bell opens us to that possibility.

Coaching Inquiries: What calls you to slow down and focus on your true values? Could sounding the bell serve such purposes? Where would you look for such a gentle noisemaker? Is there something you could ring, chime, or strike right now? Then make it so. 

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Wellness Coaching programs and to arrange for a complimentary wellness coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Bob.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

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