Many moons ago, I vacationed in Sedona. I loved many things about that magical place. So when my watercolor teacher invited us to bring in a landscape to paint, I chose the red rocks. One of the most fascinating things I learned there, I read in a book I found in the B and B owner’s library. It was a birthday book of sorts that analyzed your personality based on your birthday. Anyway, there was a line in mine that suggested that naps could be my best friend. Sure I had spent years battling my babes to take longer naps, and guiltily squeezed in a few myself, but up until that point, I had believed that naps were sinful. Somehow, reading that big book gave me permission to nap. And so I do, occasionally. What I do more often, is pause to sit in mindfulness meditation. Here at the halfway point (hopefully), the wisest thing I’ve discovered is this: the power’s in the pause.
I recently paused to write a blog for Founding Moms (see it here: http://foundingmoms.com/the-power-of-the-pause/). The ask was for a tip for female entrepreneurs and so I offered this:
This may seem counter-intuitive to women running businesses, households and actively engaged in the business of their communities, but I believe that the most important skill you can develop is how to take the BUSY out of BUSIness. I do this daily by taking time for reflection. The “power of the pause” is hands down the single most powerful tool in my toolkit. I create this in moments of silence, my morning meditation, time in’s throughout the day and an annual 24-hour escape. And also, by sitting in Circle. Slowing down to pause in the middle of the day to be in Circle with other women is a tremendous gift that allows both personal and group reflection. Together, we tap into group wisdom far greater than we hold individually. We mirror each other’s essence. “We help each other become who we want to be,” as one of my most frequent Circlers likes to say, with a beautiful beaming smile on her face.
Becoming intentionally not-busy, we can get busy (the verb really means “occupied with” and not the more common 2015 interpretation “frenetic, overwhelmed, Energizer Bunny behavior”) with what matters most. What I experience in Circle is women slowing down, setting intention and dialoguing deeply about meaningful matters. What happens next is awesome; It’s that “I see you” feeling expressed in Avatar. When we take a time out to tune in to our inner wise selves, magical insights are revealed. Heartfelt support is rendered. New, creative ideas emerge. Deep connections develop. Community is formed. We go out into the world, better business women, wives and mothers. And all that comes simply from taking time to reflect — to stop being busy for a short while and start being who we came to be.
Working with seniors writing their college essays this past semester also exemplified the power of the pause. Many of them came to me overworked and overwhelmed. Together we put life on hold to check in mindfully with the state of their sleeping, relating, and enjoying life. Putting the rat race on pause, allowing them time to reflect on the big questions of life, enabled them to write inspiring stories, which we translated into college essays. One by one, I saw each of them come alive to passionately reveal hidden aspects of their lives. Instead of just “getting the job done,” they reported how much fun they had! We reflected, connected and yes, all of them have been accepted into their top choices.
While I may occasionally say “my plate is full,” I refuse to say “I’m busy” any more. Multitasking is not the way to go. The ‘power of the pause’ is the thing. I am much more creative, inspired, and fully alive when I have slowed down to pause, to reflect on what matters most. Try it for yourself by sitting and staring out the window right now. All it takes is a minute and a few deep breaths, and you have stepped off the busy path into the pool of reflection, where time slows and you have all that you need.
And if you want to learn more about mindfulness, come to my April 15th Mindfulness Workshop. “Mindfulness is for the brain what aerobic exercise is for the body.” Kellie Edwards Why does it seem like everyone is trying to learn MINDFULNESS? Because it is life-changing! In recent years, a wide range of people—from Marines to members of Congress—have embraced mindfulness with hope of leading less stressful lives. We are living during a MINDFUL REVOLUTION! The concept of trying to find time to “be mindful” can sound stressful as we seek balance in a world fueled by endless email and a 24-hour news cycle. And yet, mindfulness is an inherent human ability which we all have and can cultivate. What does it really mean to be mindful? What can we do every day to live more mindfully? Beginning this spring, set your intention to live more mindfully. Come discover the benefits of mindfulness for yourself! Spend a morning immersed in mindfulness practices on April 15 (9-noon). Learn methods for practicing mindfulness — take home your very own toolkit! As Barry Boyce says about the practice of mindfulness: “It’s a small thing. We can all do it. And it can change the world!” Come and change the world with us! ($50 per person includes all materials)
Although most of the work I am privileged to do in the world is literally TOO BIG FOR WORDS, occasionally I am inspired to put some words to my experience, and this is the landing place. Chime in on the conversation. Your voice is needed.