Winter isn’t my season of choice. In fact, I often have to stretch myself to see the beauty of the season – things look stark, dull and lifeless. As I have watched this season, however, there is a beautiful stillness, a peace, even a strength behind it all. I’ve been watching this tree grow all year, and as I stopped, I realized how elegant it really was, even during winter.
There is such power in my own life when I stop; when I am present to the moment and rest in it. If I’m honest and free myself of the goal-oriented, go-go-go, large, skinny, au lait way of doing things, my perspective does shift. I am able to see things close-up and differently when the ordinary is allowed to just be there.
So what’s the deal? Why do I, and other leaders, resist it so much? We crave more stimulation. We want the instant gratification of feeling productive, valued and engaged in something. The adrenalin from so many balls in the air seems addicting, and then, of course, reinforcing. At times, the busyness seems to smother the very psychological air we need for leading ourselves and others.
And on the other side of the rush, fear may be what’s pushing me away from stopping. I may not rest in something if I sense a difficult truth or a painful reality I may need to see. In my own growth, I recognize my ability to lead is very much related to my ability to listen to myself honestly if I am going to hear my authentic voice.
From an adrenalin rush to a fear I may be avoiding, I understand the power of refueling. So one way I refuel during the day is by a 2-minute breathing stop – I’ve learned not to underestimate its power. If it can take as little as 2 minutes to shift your mood, then deep breathing seems be a place to see what’s really going on. It helps me notice; simply watch what’s going on both inside and outside of me. And the word notice is a really nice word – it has no desire to control or act on anything, but to simply watch and hold what’s around you. It invites me to slow down, and stop to be in this moment. This very moment.
What value do you place on stopping during the day? What creates the best place for you to stop? In this very moment, what is there for to you see?