In the summer semester you have started your guest professorship at ASH Berlin with the focus "mindful professional self-care". What can you imagine by this?
Yes! I am very happy about the invitation to represent this topic at ASH Berlin. This is new territory for the university. Although there are an increasing number of professors teaching mindfulness-related topics internationally, ASH Berlin is, to my knowledge, the first in the world to explicitly focus on "self-care".
What resonates with you when you let "mindful professional self-care" sound inside you and pay attention to the resonances? What resonates with me: conscious attention also to my inner stirrings, being open to what wants to show itself there, patience, searching, sometimes struggling for words or finding non-linguistic expression, friendly attention, knowing and feeling what it takes for my body-mind-spirit-organism to regenerate, being grateful for life and joy in caring and transformative co-creation of a caring and livable world. Big, beautiful themes, right?
What is mindfulness?
To me, the term denotes a set of qualities of mindfulness: present, mindful, sensory, turned toward, kind, open, and humorously skeptical of opinions, evaluations, attributions, and beliefs, my own and those of others. We don't have to believe everything we think and feel - very liberating, isn't it?
The sensory-aesthetic qualities of perception and perceiving are inherent in human consciousness and are part of our nature. They express themselves in all our emotional and creative design processes. In the conventional educational canon, however, they are, in my opinion, too little used and developed. We can and should change this together now!
Especially after the pandemic, many people in the university context are overloaded. What must and can be done here?
Perhaps first sigh! Let go of your shoulders and sigh again with a long exhale, if you like. Then feel free to stand up, open the window, let your eyes wander, and allow your body to move as it feels good right now. Is this going in the right direction for you? Then let's get on with it!
What can be done specifically for students?
Create time and play spaces, allow places of lively stillness and of being with oneself, with fellow students and with nature in a trusting way, offer affordable, socially and regeneratively produced, wholesome food and drink, offer courses that impart knowledge and skills for self-care that are suitable for everyday life and provide support for sustainable integration into one's own everyday life. One of my courses about this topic was fully booked with 40 participants within two hours of being activated. If that (also) has to do with the content, I am very happy and excited!
What are your research interests?
For the past 24 years, I have helped build a clinic where chronically ill people can learn mindful self-care if they want to. Among them were and are many people who work in the SAGE professions. My research projects are about transforming resource-consuming work and leadership cultures and behaviors in SAGE organizations to ones that are caring, sustainable, regenerative, and joyful. In keeping with the inner development goals, I want to understand how the themes that promote nature and climate stewardship on the outside also become effective and cultivable on the inside, in being human and in shaping professional relationships between people.
What are your plans at ASH Berlin?
First of all, I am very excited to get to know the people here, the house, the culture, the togetherness, the values and the current issues. I would very much like to base my plans on what can fit here, serve the people, their values and goals, and challenge them and me out of our comfort zone to the right degree, so that inspiration, learning and development can flourish joyfully.
Thank you for the questions and your attention!
Link to the website of Prof. Dr. Nils Altner