About Lynn Curry

McNair Director at Central Michigan University

How can I help you?

I’m intrinsically interested in how we operate on a daily basis. How we get stuff done, how we take care of ourselves, how we create meaning in our lives and how we feel along the way. It’s a lot to bring together and it’s hard to make it all happen sometimes.

mindfulness practice is part of my daily flow

I think of it as creating our daily flow because time keeps moving no matter what we do. Things tend to ebb and flow in our lives and in our days. We need to get good at shifting our focus while keeping ourselves centered. I think most of us want to feel “in flow” with ourselves and those around us. In the work we do, in our families and relationships, in our community. We all want to create a daily flow that works for us. Being intentional in our daily choices is key to making this happen.

That’s where I come in. As a self-care strategist and well-being coach, we’ll start by getting clear on your priorities. What do you all have on your plate? What needs to stay and what needs to go? We’ll do an inventory of your habits, work modes and daily structure. We’ll pinpoint areas of strength and those in need to fine-tuning and focus. Together we’ll develop a plan of action to more fully operationalize yourself on a daily basis, while feeling great doing it.

You will create an ideal weekly flow, that together, we will bring to fruition. Little by little, you will solidify the habits, routines and rituals that will best support you in life. By getting clear on our needs and desires, we pave the way toward greater satisfaction and fulfillment.

Helping you to develop a mindfulness practice is at the core of this process and work. Learning to be more mindful has the potential for extraordinary benefits on so many levels. As we become more in-tune with ourselves and take actions that support our well-being, we bring ourselves to an entirely new level of existence. Being aware. Cultivating that awareness, moment by moment, not only brings us closer to ourselves, but to our true nature and reason for being.

Mindful Scholar

So excited to be sharing the benefits of mindfulness with our McNair community. Learning how to be present is probably one of the greatest gifts we can cultivate. I look forward to being on this journey with each of you!

The simple practice of breathing with our students is planting a seed with potential to ground ourselves in the present moment and more gracefully handle the ebb and flow of daily life in all its beauty and challenge.

Mindfulness is present moment awareness. It’s one of the most important skills we can cultivate because it teaches us to BE.

We spend a lot of time doing. Because we have a lot to do!

School teaches us how to THINK + DO really well and becoming a critical thinker is a large part of what pursuing a Ph.D. is all about.

The problem emerges when we spend most of our time thinking and doing and not enough time being. The truth is we spend a lot of time inside our heads, and sometimes, it’s just not the friendliest place to be!

Consider yourself and your students. How easy is it to be carried away by the ticker tape in our minds, telling us we’re not good enough, not smart enough, or that the world might be ending, right? Our minds tend to be a constant stream of commentary often feeding into our stress and anxiety.

What mindfulness brings into focus is a counterbalance to all this thinking and doing. It teaches us to be in our bodies by using our senses and focal points, such as the breath, and helps shift into an alternate mode … that of simply BEING.

The #mindfulscholar movement invites us to breathe together on a regular basis.

Breathe with our students. Explore meditation and yoga. Talk about how we feel in our bodies, when we’re feeling well and when we’re dealing with stress. Let’s invite exploration + conversation on this important topic and how becoming more mindful can make a huge difference in our academics and life!

Joy habit

Today I’m inspired by the lovely Dr. Kerry Ann Rockquemore. She inspires me in lots of ways, but today I want to talk about a little concept she’s been sharing that she calls the joy habit. It’s basically leaning into that state of gratitude for things in our lives, good and bad, and cultivating joy. So much so that it ultimately morphs into a way of BEING.

Living joy, if you will.

And it’s more than just happiness. Being happy is a great emotion to have, but it’s fleeting. I think this idea of being in a joy state couples nicely with learning to cultivate greater mindfulness in our daily lives. One of the things mindfulness teaches us is non-attachment and using our senses to simply be in the present moment more often than not.

That heightened level of cognizance can become a wonderful foundation for cultivating a joy habit. Lots of crappy things happen everyday too. So how do we keep our foundation of joy despite what Kerry Ann describes as our world being structurally oriented to separating ourselves from it?

Great question! Again, bringing back this aspect of mindfulness and growing that skill (it is a skill that we can learn + enhance) can help us to sit with all of the stuff less joyful in life. Daily stressors, hardships, serious issues in our local communities and on the other side of the globe.

Becoming more mindful teaches us to be with what is without trying to change it. We can acknowledge any less than ideal reality that might be swirling about in our face at the moment and still ground ourselves in joy.

It’s tricky and seems counterintuitive, right?

I’m no expert, but as I develop my own daily meditation practice and share insights with others doing the same, incorporating this idea of cultivating JOY as a way of being seems really cool. It must since I created this little graphic below a few months ago using a photo from my very first photoshoot!

stuffed animals from the kiddios galore! AKA “the guys”

So as I’m moving forward in my own journey of mindfulness and encouraging others to do the same (#mindfulscholar #356mindfuldays), I’m going to be further experimenting with cultivating JOY as my backdrop, my foundation, my inner compass pointing me toward all that is good, and not so good, in life.

Daily writing

I haven’t been doing my daily writing, so I’m going to write about it here. I’m not sure what the hang up is because I know that continuing to write and express my ideas will only bring more clarity. And I want that. Clarity of thought, of how I can serve, of what I have to offer.

I’m working on several presentations that I’m going to share with our McNair community in a few weeks and I’ve also been feeling blocked. It’s that autopilot in my head always second guessing my worth, what I have to say. So my intention is to simply keep writing through it.

It’s that shitty first draft that people talk about. Keep on writing those shitty first drafts because they can eventually shift into gold. Well, maybe not actual gold. But gold in the sense that words on the page will serve some greater purpose, if only to self-express and perhaps tickle another’s fancy, encourage a new perspective a new thought?

You never know when something you write will resonate with another person. I’m putting a bit more pressure on myself because I’m writing on my blog and simply posting. Not a ton of people actually read my blog (yet!) and so I feel okay about doing that. Something about having that reality of sharing makes it easier for me to put words on the page.

I do draft in Evernote sometimes, but I don’t like that as much because those drafts tend to sit and eventually mold over. I don’t like coming back to them for some reason. All kinds of resistance I know.

Besides the presentations, I want to redesign my website and so I need fresh copy for that. For both, I try not to attach great meaning so as to trick my brain into thinking that it’s no big deal, just write something.

Perhaps I’m thinking too much.

Perhaps what I need to do is shift more toward being mode. Allowing my intuition to guide me more. That is what we’re trying to do in meditation. Softening our thoughts to get to the root of what we have to say. Becoming less judgmental toward ourselves also serves us in the writing process.

I have been rather enjoying creating posts on Instagram, especially guest posting on Ph_Depression which focuses on mental health in graduate education. That’s one of the things I’m presenting on actually. It’s such an important topic and one that deserves more attention, especially within individual graduate programs and graduate schools as a whole on a national level.

So many students are struggling. Which makes it hard running a program that strives to encourage more students to pursue this life. Life of the mind. Life as an academic. A scholar. The resiliency factor for each student entering a Ph.D. program really needs to be up there that’s for sure. I hope our students can find their way to good people who will support them and help them flourish. But that’s not always the case. This is where pressure on graduate student mental health builds and spills over into some really serious realities students much face in order to achieve their degree. It feels good more open discussion is happening on this important topic.

But I digress. Four minutes remaining of my 25 minute writing period and I admit I’m watching the clock. Since I’ve been avoiding writing, this is really my first day at it, so I’m going easy on myself. I’m allowing myself to dribble on here (judging myself, I know, noted) so that I can move forward and ultimately create a consistent habit that will lead to greater productivity and satisfaction. Won’t you join me?

Posted in Me

365 Days

A friend of mine recently posed this question on Instagram: what can you do for 365 days? We talk a lot about habit formation at the gym and with our scholars. Rituals. Routines. Our daily flow.

My initial response, especially since Conner is a CrossFit and nutrition coach, was to think food-related. Could I give up sugar? Eat an apple a day? You know what they say … smile.

My next response was resistance and avoidance. I didn’t want to answer the question because I didn’t want to lock myself into anything. This isn’t the intent, but even speaking (softly to myself lol) I know from experience that I’m all too apt to make a declaration only to let it silently slip away soon thereafter.

So I hesitated. Then I thought, well, I’m all about striving for daily meditation, as well as encouraging others. Surely I could meditate for 365 days, right?

There’s actually a group on the Insight Timer called 365 Days Together and has over 97,000 members. It’s an active group, with folks posting daily, sharing their meditation journeys. I became part of this group when Amanda and I created our Mindful Scholar group; I’ve learned a ton and it’s definitely a community to model. People routinely post what day they’re on, when they fall off, what they are learning about themselves and this practice.

One of the biggest takeaways is compassion and kindness, even when you do miss a day. Just recently, I had nearly 30 consecutive days going, only to have to start again at Day One. I’m less consistent on the weekends, which is something I’m working toward. It’s okay to start on Day One.

As many times as it takes I say.

This idea of being intentional with our days is something I’m very interested in, despite my own resistance to routine. Daily actions. Daily intentions. Daily choices build upon themselves, in small increments, that eventually create meaningful change.

Thinking about them as small steps, that do add up, is a good way to go about it. And being kind to yourself when you do falter should be part of the process too.

With that in mind, I came up with this list of things I can do for 365 days.

  1. meditate
  2. consume things that make me feel good
  3. do one handstand
  4. kiss my kids + Kenny
  5. be kind
  6. notice the beauty around me
  7. write for 25 minutes

Is seven items too much? Maybe. I thought to make the list an even TEN, but then thought better. Seven feels good. And I like my items. It’s not that I’m approaching these things with extreme rigidity (that would suck!), but rather, more of a general mindset or approach to . . . life!

Specificity is good, so I know simply saying, “consume things that make me feel good,” might need some follow up and direct action to create greater health + fitness. Being kind and noticing beauty, I just want to carry those things with me . . . always.

The handstand? I think of my dear friend, Anna, who still does one handstand every day! And she’s got great arms to prove it (LOL). But seriously, we should all do inversions more, get that blood moving. I want to build strength and equanimity; doing a handstand a day will do just that.

Meditate. Already actively working toward that. And I kiss my fam a ton, but I could kiss them more. My intention here is to be more mindful with each of my special persons. It’s so easy to get carried away by the stressors of the day and not focus on the beauty, that are these hugely amazing + special people, I am so lucky to have.

More love!

Lastly, the “write for 25 minutes” is probably going to be most challenging. I want to creatively express myself and writing is definitely an integral part of that. I’ve been saying that I need to develop a daily writing practice for a long time now. Now is the time dammit. No excuses. I want to figure out what I have to say and writing will do that.

Writing, writing, more writing.

Thanks, Conner, for the inspiration with this. Must revisit as the New Year goes along!