On Kindness

On Kindness

“Go F*^king kill yourself”
I quickly scanned the rest of the text before reading the hate filled sentences out loud.
I handed the phone back to teen and listened as she shared her story during another one of my free mental health and leadership workshops for teens.
Her story was followed by others.
I spent some time talking about how our silence, silences others. And the role of a leader to speak up against the stigma surrounding mental health.
A hand raised from a teen sitting on the other side of the room.
She wanted to comment about what I said about our silence silencing others, she wanted to share her story.
And in front of a room of strangers, she shared how she had struggled with depression and attempted to take her own life. She shared how alone she felt, her voice breaking.
I looked at the girl who shared the text messages and nodded for her to go and hug the other girl.
To move towards the pain, the sadness, the suffering of a fellow teen.
Both girls were leaders in that moment. Leading with vulnerability and with compassion.
The stories continued for the next hour, with me gently guiding them to look at things from new perspectives, what they can control and ways to put mindfulness into action.
This past month I have heard so many stories from teens.
Stories of not being accepted by their parents.
Of not being good enough for parents.
Stories of verbal bullying, the emotional gut punch of seeing others witness it but not speak up.
Stories of physical bullying.
Stories of depression.
Of anxiety and overwhelm in school.
Stories of exhausted, both physically and mentally, teens who felt like quitting sports or activities weren’t an option.
Stories of feeling failed by their schools to keep them safe.
I spent an hour sawing and removing brush from the timber- processing the courage I witnessed today.
We need to do more.
Tomorrow is the start of mental health awareness month, but for these teens and so many across the globe, we owe it to them to make changes that go beyond checking the box next month and for every month to come.
Speaking and running mindful leadership workshops for organizations/corporations is the business side of BMK, offering this space for teens is something I do to give back.
Those who hire me to speak at conferences, work with teams or consult for their business, know that I live the values I talk about-by doing things such as providing these free events at BMK.
 
***IMPORTANT**** Some have questioned my integrity in posting about the workshop interaction. I got permission from both girls mentioned in the post before writing and sent them the link to approve. I also am clear on the workshop page that I am not a mental health professional. I do not provide counseling and advocate for therapy to anyone and everyone- we all need therapists!

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About Becky

Becky Schmooke (pronounced “Smoke”) is a Mindful Leadership Consultant and Speaker, focused on providing action based mindfulness and leadership training to organizations and businesses who are ready to do things differently.

Becky’s Mindful Kitchen, is located outside of Iowa City, and provides truly unique team building and leadership retreats,  strategic planning workshops, private parties and classes and weekly summer camps for kids. The commercial teaching kitchen, treehouse, archery range, bush craft skills, first aid training, wood fired pizza oven, chickens, baby goats and timber adventure playground provides endless opportunities for hands on activities.

 

As a mom to three girls, 60 chickens, 4 goats, 2 dogs and a fire fighter’s wife- life is never boring and provides Becky with endless stories which she uses to illustrate her approach to mindfulness in daily posts on social media.  

In all that she does, Becky has one goal, to build confidence in others to take action to live their best life, not just pass time.  

On Shame

Shame…we all deal with it- so let’s talk about it.
There’s no shame in box cake.
And for most of you reading this, that statement is a no brainer.
But to some, getting caught baking from a box would cause shame to come running.
Shame tells them that baking from a box you aren’t a true baker, a good mom, a good wife. You are lazy, an imposter, a fake. You don’t really care about your kids if you are allowing them to eat those ingredients.
Powerful is the box of cake eh?
And for those who are still wondering how anyone could feel shame about that, take a hot second and consider what your cake box of shame is.
Because we all have one, or two or 20.
Things we do that we desperately hope no one catches us doing because the story we have told ourselves is that if they knew, they would judge us, shame us, and never look at us the same.
Things we have grown up believing are unacceptable in our society, in our families, in our culture.
It’s why we blame our farts on dogs.
And by ‘we’ I mostly mean women. Because the message we grew up hearing was that men can burp and fart, women can’t.
We grasp onto an identity and shame traps us there, preventing us from being who we really are.
There are so many women right now watching the news about the leaked Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade, their stories of past abortions held captive by shame. Women who have been known as ‘the good daughter’, ‘the smart one’, ‘the doesn’t make mistakes one’…
Here’s the thing about shame, it’s a brilliant storyteller, but only when it comes to fiction. It sucks at nonfiction.
Shame is the narrator of so many of the destructive stories we tell ourselves, the ones that keep us from sharing the stories we need to tell.
I have a commercial teaching kitchen right below my personal kitchen-baking from a box doesn’t make me any less of a baker.
I now spend my time speaking and teaching mindful leadership, sharing stories of how I have failed to do the very same things I am teaching. Doing so doesn’t make me less of an expert. It simply makes me human.
And when we lean into our shared humanity- shame doesn’t stand a chance.

Follow For Daily Posts and Baby Goat Videos!

About Becky

Becky Schmooke (pronounced “Smoke”) is a Mindful Leadership Consultant and Speaker, focused on providing action based mindfulness and leadership training to organizations and businesses who are ready to do things differently.

Becky’s Mindful Kitchen, is located outside of Iowa City, and provides truly unique team building and leadership retreats,  strategic planning workshops, private parties and classes and weekly summer camps for kids. The commercial teaching kitchen, treehouse, archery range, bush craft skills, first aid training, wood fired pizza oven, chickens, baby goats and timber adventure playground provides endless opportunities for hands on activities.

 

As a mom to three girls, 60 chickens, 4 goats, 2 dogs and a fire fighter’s wife- life is never boring and provides Becky with endless stories which she uses to illustrate her approach to mindfulness in daily posts on social media.  

In all that she does, Becky has one goal, to build confidence in others to take action to live their best life, not just pass time.  

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