Mindful

Letting Go

Jessica Morey was burned out. The executive director of iBme, Morey was leading a team of six office staff, sixty retreat staff, and about a hundred volunteers, doing work she believed in wholeheartedly—serving mindfulness and meditation practices to teens on summer retreats.

Despite her love for the work, it was stressful. “I was overwhelmed and exhausted,” Morey recalls. And when she looked around at other nonprofits, she saw their executive directors in similar straits. “How are we going to find that person who’s going to do this?” she remembers thinking, of the job that required all the hours and energy she had available to pour into it—and more. “I’m only willing to do this because it’s the center of my heart.” And the situation at work was increasingly uncomfortable.

“When I’m stressed out, I become a general,” Morey says. She narrows her focus to what’s required to survive, and her tone becomes brisk and businesslike, instead of warm and relational. “I probably would be good on a battlefield, but that’s not the paradigm and world I want to live in, actually.” Morey acknowledges that while her staff wanted her to be a loving presence—which she sometimes was—she was just as often disruptive to them. “I could see how I was behaving,” she says now. “I was not aligned with my mindfulness practice values at all.”

A New Way to Work

Frustrated, she was browsing the Animas

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