Mindfulness expert shares strategies with UCC community

By Catharine Erb, Latin teacher, Moderns and Classical Languages Department
As part of a Principal’s Innovation Fund for exploring mindfulness programs, I was delighted to host Dave Mochel on Monday, January 27 as he delivered seven presentations in the form of talks and workshops.
During his morning workshops, a diversity of student groups learned and practiced mindful listening skills, and participated in conversations about finding ways to be their best in high-performance situations. Dave’s assembly presentation was entitled “Of Course”: Moving from Upset to Purposeful Action. A dynamic speaker, his talk was grounded in scientific research and explained that there are methods of skillfully working with discomfort in our lives rather than avoiding it.
He says, “Rather than struggling against discomfort, we need skills for responding peacefully and powerfully in its presence. The foundation for growth and change is self-compassion, an honest and kind acceptance of ourselves as we are.” In the middle of his talk, he asked the audience to stand up and practice the mindfulness exercise Relax your Grip, to be used when you are feeling emotional tension or upset.
In the afternoon, Dave had a luncheon with the Lang Scholars, with whom I’m currently piloting a mindfulness program and research study. He then offered two workshops to employees, Difficult Conversations and Finding Balance and Supporting Students in the Presence of Anxiety and Stress. His day ended with a presentation to parents, Discomfort and Joy: Thriving in the Presence of Stress, Anxiety, Challenge and Change.
It was inspiring to see so many people in our community attending this programming. Students and adults alike actively engaged with Dave and received his message with open hearts and minds. Dave noted the genuine, kind and supportive qualities of both our community and our wellbeing initiatives. These words can also be used to describe Dave, who embraced his day at UCC with commitment and compassion. For this we are grateful.  
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