Beloved Flower Lover,
Some in our team have been visiting loved ones in hospital recently. Some because of the birth of a new-born. Some because they were visiting geriatric family members. They knew they could not bring flowers into hospital, so instead either decided on other gifts, or planned to send flowers to their home on their return. Talking lot’s about the abundance of hugging going on between friends and family as they freely shared heart centered love, we all felt calm comfortably circulate in the teams focus. Yes, turning difficult feelings into waves of smooth gold.
Now an irrestibly intriguing story. Each person repeatedly reported back that they noticed that some of thehosital staff seemed quite cold hearted in their interactions with patients and visitors. Behaving distantly, uncommunicatively, aloof, formal and indifferent. Mmmmmm, we thought, have we stumbled onto a ‘flowers from the heart’ related topic ? We decided to research further.
Rebecca Coffey, of ‘Bejeezus out of me’, has collated research which suggests that contact to business world terms triggers a profit-and-loss morality that unconsciously reduces a person’s emotional responsiveness and reduces that person’s ability to conduct sensitive conversations. So they were unable to show sensitvity or direct sensitive conversations.
Reading this, we quietly became curious about how a gift of flowers to those working in administration, to those running the ward, the department, or the hospital as a whole could possibly soften their hearts. We just imagined how it might change that tense consciousness into calm, comfortable balance .
We continued our research still wondering how flowers could help steer those key patient, carer conversations. Even stimulate and activate those in charge of care, so their hearts relax, calm and lighten up.
For a few minutes, we held a quiet relaxed place for this discovery to be easily found in our own imaginations. Partly because we know that projecting tension and agitation results in more of that and more importantly just creating the intention to relax is in itself a time of calm and quiet, peaceful seed planting.
So what is the source of the continuing compassion shortage expressed by of some doctors, managers, police officers, school counsellors, and other “bad news bearers?” where is the cold heartedness coming from? Why the coldness in the care? Why do they express so little warm hearted emotion and summon up such costly anger?
Andrew Molinsky, a professor of organizational behaviour at Brandeis University, set out with researchers at Wharton and Harvard business schools to answer such questions. They found a wealth of scholarly research indicating that, in general, people feel and behave less generously when reminded of the pressures of the business world. They seem to link their personal identity to a feeling of being burdened by the professional needs of their organisation. They brood, they brew, they try to fix it. They feel their feelings of being hassled by their own self-created anxiety about the demands of business and perceive it as an on-going tense strain. So when they are reminded of cutbacks they respond more reserved, distant and emotionlessly to everyone else.
This has implications for employee training at hospitals, HR departments, within legal and police based organisations, and anyone in the bad news business. Positively this possibly provides an opportunity for other heart opening activities like the heart softening practise of sharing flowers to become a part of their business. Maybe having some beautiful flowers on a desk, on a reception desk. Anywhere where the eyes can gaze upon them, and help staff loosen up a little. This coupled with encouragement to allows themselves to make the choices to think something else, to quieten the heart and invite a break from brooding could all add up to more wellbeing being experienced by staff. To deeply gaze at beauty and to use the imagination to take what could be called a mini vacation may be exactly what generates the momentum of peace and tranquility, detached and relaxed.
We add this because, Coffey’s research suggests that training employees about the importance of sensitivity is not enough. Neither is practice, practice, practice. The research suggests that attention should be paid to the people activities that “bad news “were involved in immediately before difficult conversations.
It appears that it takes changes in thinking and emotional availability to power up the ordinary business-like and non-empathetic tasks and conversations of daily life.
Many companies train employees in interpersonal sensitivity and compassion. What’s of interest to us is that they don’t just do it because they value kindness and consideration. They do it because they recognise that there is a huge financial cost to heartlessness. They know that morale falls throughout a company, organisation or team and absenteeism and employee stealing and pilfering rises, as do lawsuits.
Being very interested in how flowers can be used to simply calm environments. We wonder what could happen if staff where given heart centered gifts. Perhaps flowers on a random basis for their desks or to take home. Maybe flowers as a heart centered take home service to help them calm down from work related tension. Possibly!
Opening up to our incredibly natural and generous way to softening the heart is our interest with flowers. Maybe they could make the difference that makes the difference. A unique blessing to be shared between people. You are the ones who can tell us, you are the ones we would love to hear from. Sharing stories of how a change of heart shifted a previously tense situation.
What an inspiring possiblity, perhaps, maybe.
The London Flower Lover