We’re in the conference room of EDSI in Dearborn, Michigan taking 15 minutes to talk with Casey White. Casey has been meditating consistently in the MeditationWorks mobile unit with about 20 coworkers for three months now.
JL: So Casey, you’ve been with EDSI for about five years as Director of Marketing. You have a wife and an eighteen-month old daughter at home. How did you deal with stress before MW came to EDSI?
CW: Talked to my wife, Lucia, and probably hid a lot of my stress from others. I don’t think anyone who met me would say I’m a stressed or anxious person, so my wife is probably the one person who knows more intimately the anxiety that I bring into the world.
JL: Did you ever try to meditate?
CW: Not at all! I wrestled in college and competed in a lot of athletics at a pretty high level. That’s where I practiced visualization, as well as maybe portions of meditation with some alone and focused time, but not as structured, and certainly not as meaningful as I do in the mobile unit, and definitely not since I’ve stopped competing in athletics at that high level have I really revisited any of those techniques by myself.
JL: That probably happens a lot to athletes who are used to having focus and stress reduction routines available to them and then leave the collegiate world and enter the business world without that structure.
CW: That’s a great point! Like before a wrestling match, right? I would be off by myself. I had a routine in my brain. I’m going through things, I’m drilling. You go through a practice that puts you in the right frame of mind, gets your body and mind prepared. Then you come into the business world and it’s not quite as accepted. Maybe I pop in some headphones on when I need alone time, but it’s harder and less acceptable to find a (focus and stress-reduction) strategy that works.
JL: You’re obviously in shape so you continue to exercise. But since you’re not competing anymore, you don’t put that time aside to focus. You just get in, get your workout in, and get out.
CW: Exactly. Like tonight I play beach volleyball. In a guy’s competitive two’s league in Northville. My whole thing will be to get some exercise tonight. I’ll probably get there right on time, jump in there, barely warm up, you know. I’ll play and come home and get ready to be a dad again. Yeah, there’s less focus time for myself. So this has been fun spending some focused time concentrating on myself and just being mindful of things…a moment to be selfish in a way? (Laughs)
JL: Ahh, it seems selfish, but what you are doing is actually selfless, a gift you give to everyone you come in contact with. So describe for me, your first experience in the MeditationWorks mobile unit.
CW: I would say I’m pretty open to new things, so there wasn’t any fear, or “Oh, this feels weird.” I was actually excited to get in there, and upon completing the meditation exercise, my first thought immediately after was, “Man, I definitely want to do that again!” And was thinking to myself, “Well, how am I going to incorporate this into my daily life if we don’t get this program?” I feel fortunate that EDSI decided “Yeah, let’s keep this going” so super fortunate that we are able to work with MeditationWorks on a consistent basis because for me, I look forward to it every week. Some weeks I find it easier to concentrate and be still, and other weeks it’s more of a challenge. I kind of appreciate that, too, recognizing that I’m still a novice in meditation, and embracing that. But gosh, I do look forward to it every week, and think it’s this moment of stillness I can find at work on a Monday afternoon.
So this is how MeditationWorks works, giving people like Casey a “few moments of stillness” at work to relax, refresh, and prepare the body and mind for whatever faces them at their desk and at home! As well-trained and experienced Casey is, it was really difficult for him to find effective ways to focus and manage stress until MeditationWorks rolled up to the door of EDSI.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of Casey’s interview, where he talks about achieving some of the mindful behavior that comes naturally to Lucia, his wife!
Until we meet again…