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A Ten Year Old Mindful Superintendent...


Paul MacCormack

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It’s hard to believe, but The Mindful Superintendent blog turned 10 years old this past week. Way back on Dec. 30th, 2012, with the support of TurfNet and my wife and editor, Jill, the Mindful Super began this journey (New Beginnings). It’s definitely been a heck of a ride thus far.

As I look back on what the last decade of personal reflection and writing has brought into my life, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I’m so thankful for all the ups and downs, ins and outs, the good and the bad. It has all served a purpose in bringing me to where I am today.

When thinking about how best to treat the tenth anniversary post, I landed on this format. Little lessons and reflections on what it has meant to me and how it has shaped my life…

  • A simple process works wonders. As a younger human, I never envisioned myself writing anything so when 15 years ago my wife Jill said to me, in her oft prophetic way, that she saw a future where we would write together for a wide golf audience, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Curiously, I gave myself over to the journey and responded with openness when opportunity presented itself. I practiced writing and speaking like I practiced mindfulness; imperfectly but with kind inquisitiveness. In doing so, I discovered, like anything worth doing in one's life, it is the humble routine of practicing and showing up for oneself that makes all the difference. The act of being intentional and committing to process has enabled me to share the Mindful Super message with all of you. (The TurfNet website says 437,117 views…but I think there might be a few robots in there)
     
  • Connections matter. This blog has allowed me to meet so many amazing people. Folks that would have been strangers, I now consider dear friends. I have had so many meaningful conversations as a result of this blog and made so many vital human connections that sometimes I cannot believe it is all real. The connections I have made through my role as the Mindful Super have fundamentally changed my life and this means so much to me.

    This point hit home even more over the past few years of pandemic living. Our in person connections have become so very precious. In the words of my good friend Tim Kreger (Carolinas GCSA and someone I’ve ironically never met in person) “People Need People.” In a climate emergency when we might consider reducing our carbon imprint from travel we have thankfully come to see that we can create meaningful experiences via alternate mediums such as zoom. It is the power of a heartfelt connection that truly matters.
     
  • Taking time for reflection is vital. Writing this blog over the past 10 years has given a deeper purpose to my internal reflections. It has been a reminder to pause and consider choices and consequences of my actions. It hasn’t always been easy, and to be perfectly honest there has been more than one occasion that I thought about packing it in. Having this space to explore and give voice to my reflections has been incredibly valuable way of seeing where I am at with things. It has also been a great monthly touch point for consideration of how well I am living the message I speak about. The power of learning to apply kind, non-judgmental awareness to this journey has been its own reward.
     
  • You just never know where things will lead. Staying open to possibility has allowed me to travel and develop a whole other side to this blog via speaking. It eventually led me to becoming an internationally certified mindfulness meditation teacher. Over the last half of the blog’s decade, I also became a General Manager/Superintendent at Fox Meadow. I never could have anticipated any of these realities ten years ago.

    The power of visualization and looking at the bigger picture can never be underestimated. So much of what has come my way via this blog existed within my mind’s eye for many years. Having the confidence, space and support to bring them forth has made all the difference.
     
  • Unlearning is just as important as acquiring knowledge; maybe even more so. Over the past decade I have learned a great deal. When practicing a mindful approach to life, you tend to gain a lot of insight into yourself and the world around you. But you also learn to let go and unlearn a great deal as well. This process is incredibly liberating and provides access to greater ease in your daily living.
     
  • Vulnerability is a superpower. Coming from me, this is quite a revelation (ask my family). Accessing the vulnerable parts of oneself can be a never ending practice…even a battle by times. But when you are able to let your guard down and show up, the people around you respond in kind. When they feel they have permission to share in your vulnerability, a deeper understanding emerges. You become better able to navigate those sometimes irksome similarities and differences between you and others in your life when you begin to notice your own sometimes irksome ways. Emotional blockades crumble and greater peace and equanimity is possible.
     
  • Kindness and compassion are keys to unlocking your life. Every message, note, and quiet conversation after a speaking engagement revealed many deep truths over the years. None more important than the simple fact that we all suffer. Every single person you know is carrying a burden or trauma of some sort and it’s up to you to approach every interaction with immense of kindness and compassion. You never know when it will be your turn to share in this dance.
     
  • Taking care of yourself is critical to your survival in this industry. Much like tending our turf, managing our equipment fleet or taking care of those folks who work with us each day, taking the time to develop healthy, self- care habits matters a lot. The tremendous stress of our jobs and that of everyday life can add up over time. Developing a management plan for your well- being could be one of the most important plans you ever implement.

This piece will close where it began, through gratitude. I have so very many people to thank and my heart just about bursts when I think of all of the support I have received over the years. Most of all, I want to thank all of you. All those who have taken the time to carve out a few spare moments to read what I have to say. To this day it still astounds me that anyone reads the blog, and for this reason alone I am incredibly thankful. 

There are a few folks in particular I would like to highlight. Out of the gate I want to thank Peter McCormick. He took the chance all those years ago to give me the space and the platform to explore what the Mindful Super might be. For this I am eternally grateful. To all of the fellow contributors on TurfNet, such as Dave Wilber and Randy Wilson, your support, wisdom and friendship have been invaluable. To Chris Tritabaugh (it took me 10 years to learn to spell his last name correctly) for being such a great friend, conversationalist and partner in crime. 

Then there is Frank Rossi. I remember back in the early days of TurfNet, reading and absorbing all of Frank’s writing. Little did I know that he would become a cherished mentor and dear friend. Frank’s ability to push me to explore new places and stay open to the possibilities has been life changing for me. Never underestimate having someone in your life who truly believes in you and can see your next success even before you do. 

Finally (and most importantly) I have to single out and express the deepest level of gratitude possible to my wife, Jill. She was the one who stuck by me since this whole thing began. It was no easy task, as we were going through an incredibly difficult time and emerging into something brand new. She has been there for almost every post. She is a gifted writer in her own right, and many of the words you have read over the years have been hers. She has lent a depth and perspective to this blog that I never could have accessed on my own. It hasn’t always been easy; admittedly I don’t always embody the ethos of the Mindful Super, yet she endures. There is no way I could ever repay her for giving me the space and support I need to be the Mindful Super. 

As I approach this milestone for the blog, I have also been asking myself…”what’s next?” The answer to this question is difficult to pin down. I can say with conviction that there is more to explore. What form that might take is still open ended. I have lots of ideas and projects in the queue… but where the path leads next is still anyone’s guess. 

Life is funny, isn’t it? Now I am back to where I began; imagining a future into being. The path remains open and flexible. With the middle way of mindfulness, the possibilities are endless. My heart is full and excited for what’s to come. 

Thanks so much for reading. 
 

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