David Mochel Shares Lessons on Applied Attention Mindfulness

On Monday, Nov. 30, while St. Stephen’s students enjoyed their last day of Thanksgiving break, the school’s faculty and staff gathered remotely for a day of meetings and special programs. A highlight of the in-service was a presentation by David Mochel, a leading expert in applied attention mindfulness.
“The ethos of ‘happily ever after’ is biologically impossible, but great marketing,” Mochel said. “But it’s a common idea of success: If we achieve something, then we will be happy. We believe the then is more important than the now.
“Believing in the power of success can blind us to the need for meaning and connection,” he added. “We torture ourselves with the idea of not being enough, and that thought sustains itself in us, regardless of the praise we receive from others.”
Mochel shared that discomfort is an inevitable part of being human and advised that we not try to avoid or resist it. Instead, he suggested we allow ourselves to feel the discomfort and then move on.
“Contentment and settling into life comes with understanding that we will ride a range of emotions throughout our lives,” he noted. “You can have a day filled with difficulty and still have a good life.
“Unwanted challenges often lead us to develop new skills, relationships and a deep appreciation for our abilities,” he said, noting four key behaviors that can help people feel more grounded. “Any situation can be an opportunity if you make space for what you are feeling, connect kindly to others, cultivate positive internal resources and choose where you put your energy.
“We can meet all of life if we do so with love, kindness and courage,” he concluded.
Mochel’s presentation to faculty and staff was provided through generous support of the Brooke Howe Laws Endowed Lecture Series, which was established in her memory by the Laws, Parham and Howe families and her many friends. The endowment supports an annual guest lecturer on social and emotional health. To learn more about supporting St. Stephen’s through this or another named endowment, please contact Christine Aubrey, associate head of school for advancement, at caubrey@sstx.org.
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