Silence is Golden – How to find stillness in the chaos by Melissa Chapman Haynes and the MNEA Board of Directors

MNEA Board of Directors
MNEA Board of Directors

Welcome to Day 1 of Evaluation 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota from the Minnesota Evaluation Association, a local affiliate of the American Evaluation Association. I am Melissa Chapman Haynes here with the MNEA Board of Directors.

Minnesota is proud of its strong evaluation community and we are celebrating the convergence of the evaluation world in our back yard.

Connect. Learn. Community.

These are three central tenets of our local affiliate, enacted through our by-laws and programming, and reflected in our membership of 370 members, and counting. We invite you to engage with us – through stillness – at our sponsorship at Evaluation 2019, on the mezzanine level of the Minneapolis Convention Center. With over 3,000 people from around the world convening in our lovely city, we have created a space for you to take a quiet break from the pace of the conference to reflect, meditate, work, or just enjoy whatever brand of peace you need.

In this space, available from Wednesday through Saturday, you will find the following:

  • Gratitude prompts and questions for you to reflect and center yourself
  • Quiet space to work, journal, or reflect
  • Conversation starters, for introverts or others who want ideas for how to meet new people
  • Books about Minnesota for you to browse, including Minnesota trivia (please leave them there!)
  • Minnesota-themed coloring sheets and markers
  • Stress balls
  • Mints and chocolate

“Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything.”

-Gordon Hempton

How do you spend downtime at the conference, or any event where you need to get away? We challenge you to take a picture and share it with us, wherever you are in the world! Tag #MNEval and #Eval2019. And follow us on Twitter, @mnevaluation!

We hope to see many of you in the next few days, although we will leave you alone, should you be in our sponsorship space!

Rad Resource: Conference Survival Guide: Self-Care Basics to Save Your Sanity and Boost Your Energy

Rad Resource: If you are not able to attend the conference, build community by connecting online or with your local affiliates or other VOPE. If you are at the conference, attend a TIG business meeting or connect with others from your local affiliate.

Hot Tip: Howto practice loving kindness meditation.

  • Find a quiet place. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths.
  • Imagine yourself feeling physical and emotional wellness and inner peace. You are right, just as you are right now.
  • Repeat some reassuring phrases – some examples are:
    • May I be happy
    • May I be safe
    • May I be healthy, peaceful, and strong
    • May I give and receive appreciation today
  • Allow feelings of self-compassion in.
  • Do this for as long as you would like. Feel free to think about other people in your life that you are grateful for and repeat this meditation, with them in mind.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

2 thoughts on “Silence is Golden – How to find stillness in the chaos by Melissa Chapman Haynes and the MNEA Board of Directors”

  1. Thanks for this space and for the post–it helps everyone if everyone is acting intentionally and thoughtfully because they have identified and acknowledged how they are feeling rather than reacting from a place of woundedness.

    In that spirit, I will acknowledge that I feel invisible reading this post. Since Gordon Hempton was cited, I think it is necessary also to cite that loving kindness meditation comes from the Therav?da school of Buddhism, which originates in South Asia. Mett? or maitr? means benevolence, loving-kindness, friendliness, amity, good will, and active interest in others. It is the first of the four sublime states and one of the ten p?ram?s. The cultivation of benevolence is a large part of the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh’s work to build peace at individual and international levels.

    Loving kindness meditation has a history and context that cannot be erased, co-opted, or misappropriated. Living in Minnesota and knowing MNEA and its current leaders personally, I know that you want to be made aware when that is happening, and I know that you are doing the work necessary to be able to hear it and act on it (rather than reacting without reflection). I’m sharing publicly rather than privately in an attempt to model that kind of interaction, which is possible when rooted in a relationship of demonstrated solidarity.

    1. Vidhya, I always appreciate your voice and really appreciate you sharing this comment publicly. I apologize that this post made you feel invisible, possibly others as well. I did not know the history and origins you just shared, but I do now and will carry that knowledge forward.

      I appreciate you and all that you share. Apologies again and much gratitude for your patience as we try to do better.

      In solidarity,

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