Darrell Jones is a minister, coach, teacher and the General Manager of Chill, a Chicago-based wellness company providing online meditation classes, workshops, and training for individuals and companies. I was fortunate to share an enlightening and hopeful hour with him. We discussed how to take better care of ourselves and our world in these unsettling times through personal practice and a genius concept he has created called “togethering.”
Darrell has always been interested in helping people connect deeper to their hearts and a higher power. His beloved father, who passed away this year, was a minister as well, and in our interview, we discussed how it is a great time to be in the compassion business. It’s businesses like Chill that provide us with an opportunity to well…chill, for lack of a better word, and find our way back to our center and, hopefully, a more cohesive society.
So how does a black spiritual leader and mindfulness expert address the realities of grief, social justice protests, a pandemic, and growing his business?
First, begin with personal mindfulness practice, and here are a few of his tips to get started or maintain what you have:
1. Start with the right mindset: Know the answers come from within; outer transformation is not possible without inner work.
2. Focus on the quality of your practice, not the quantity; even one-minute a day can help if your attention is focused. This space of mindful pause allows your heart, body, and mind to connect.
3. When things get hard, move toward your practice, not away from it. Through the devastation of losing his father this past March, he’s maintained his meditation, prayer, reflection, and reading practices to help him cope.
Next, practice unity rather than separation. Move toward togethering.
In this time of uncertainty, Darrell pointed out, and we’re quick to practice “othering,” and create a dynamic of you vs. me. Othering highlights how people are different and creates marginalization. And if we continue to amplify this narrative, we continue to create separation and a lack of understanding that can lead to more racism, partisanship and other negative biased-based mindsets and behaviors.
Darrell offers a powerful and timely antidote to othering: togethering. Togethering focuses on what we have in common, rather than our differences. I think he is on to something BIG. We can all ask ourselves this question, how can we promote togetherness and create an opportunity for inclusive conversations that provide a supportive and safe container for discord?
If I want to be an active part of this new togethering movement, I have to move to more compassionate conversations with people with differing political views.
When so many people feel frustrated, scared, and angry, Darrell remains hopeful that we are waking up from the destructive societal patterns. Because ultimately, he knows we choose our mindset. We can choose to create space for contemplation and for expressing emotions like anger in a productive way.
Thank you, Darrell, for your loving, wise heart and timely guidance.