Posted by Wes Brooks on Oct 16, 2017
Last Tuesday, we welcomed Bill Dabney (on left) as our newest member. Bill is pictured with his sponsor, Steven Utroska. Many thanks to Callison Richardson (on right) for providing our program. Callison is pictured with our Club President, Paula Brahan.
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President Paula Brahan presided over the meeting. Thanks to Stephen Utroska who gave the invocation and to Tracie Fowler who led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Thanks to Mallory Donald and Leanne Cross for serving as our greeters today.
Mike Ratliff introduced today’s guests.  Jaclyn Adams has prospective member Colby Sappington as her guest. Amber Chancellor has Jacob Graham as her guest. Chris Dunkley has Haley White as his guest and David Hayhurst had Mahesh Jaudz as his guest.
Bill Dabney, sponsored by Steven Utroska was inducted into the club as our newest member. Bill is a Statistician of Institutional Research at the University of Southern Mississippi. He and his wife recently relocated to the Hattiesburg area to be closer to family.
Paula introduced Callison Richardson with the United Christian Academy. The Academy is a recipient of a $312 Rotary District Grant. Callison thanked our club for supporting the school’s efforts and accepted the grant on behalf of their students. She also introduced a couple of the students who thanked Rotary for our support.
Tracie Fowler noted that a few more volunteers are needed for the October 23rd Homeless Connection event. If you are interested please get with Tracie or Jaclyn Adams in the very near future.
Amber Chancellor then introduced today’s guest speaker, Dr. Marcella McKay. Dr. McKay is the Chief Operating Officer for the Mississippi Hospital Association (MHA) and President/CEO of MHA Health, Research and Educational Foundation. She spoke to us about “Mindfulness” which she describes as the opportunity between stimuli and our response. She says that after today’s discussion she hopes we will all learn to react more like a Labrador retriever rather than a Jack Russell Terrier. Mindfulness she says gives us an opportunity to settle our minds after a stimulus and carefully consider others in our response as well as discovering more options for our response.
Dr. McKay says although multitasking is valued in today’s society, the research indicates that the human brain can only do one thing at a time. Although some of us are faster at switching from one task to another, the results are a loss of productivity and mental performance. In fact, research shows that multi-tasking makes you about 40% less productive and decreases your IQ by about 15 points. Researchers have also proven that only 2% of humans are genetically programmed to multi-task.
Mindfulness has a high road and a low road, according to Dr. McKay. The low road is the brain providing a warning, helping us seek protection. It is that flight or fight component of our brain when we feel threatened. The low road consists mostly of habits. The brain loves to form and use habits so that functions can go on with much effort on our part. On the other hand, the high road is the portion of our brain that allows us to pull back and give consideration to others and to responsive options before responding to a stimulus. Dr. McKay likes to refer to the high road as the executive center where our brain can develop multiple perspectives at the same time allowing us to explore behavioral options.
There are many exercises, books, articles and other resources that are available to assist anyone wishing to begin practicing Mindfulness. They begin with exercise that clear the mind and redirect interruptive thoughts. Breathing exercises are also a part of the skill set. Dr. McKay will send out a book list for those interested.
Paula thanked our speaker today and with no other business or announcements she adjourned the meeting with our motto, “Service Above Self.”