Somewhere between the Dark Side and Yoda
Being a planner, an achiever, a doer, can serve many people well but it also has a dark side. It makes it difficult to turn off the mind, the internal chatter, the to-do list, and just be still. I'm slowly learning to become a human being more than a human doing.
I recently returned from a Leadership program, seven days in Spain with 20 amazing people from around the world, a break from family and work, and an opportunity it turned out to explore being.
Such a simple word being - to be, to be present, to be in the moment, and yet why is being so difficult? Is it the habit we are in of constantly doing - googling ideas for holidays, worrying about next Fridays presentation, writing another to-do list, checking Facebook. That if I'm not doing, I'm lazy, not achieving, that stillness feels uncomfortable.
What I'm learning to appreciate about the moments of being still, when I focus only on the breathe going in and out, is that for me it's when space really begins to open up, that I feel a sense of relief, that I can really tune in. It turns out the stillness is always there, it just takes being to realise it.
I am no expert in being still but I know what it's like to be a beginner at something, so here are a few tips:
- Schedule a time everyday, in a place where you won't be disturbed, for 10 minutes to just be.
- Sit down, close your eyes and focus only on your breathe. If you need help there are some great apps - Calm, Headspace or just a timer on your phone will do. Sometimes 10 minutes whizzes by, other times it can drag!
- Just start, that's the most important thing. Thoughts will come up, that to-do list will flash in front of you, don't judge yourself, just focus on the breathe and be still.
It takes around 30 days for habits to stick, and if you're telling yourself you haven't got 10 minutes to set aside for you, then I don't believe you!
This simple routine is now part of my life, it's too important not to do. If you have read this far then give it a go. Step away from the dark side and take a step closer towards the stillness of Yoda (...even the first word in the latest Star Wars trailer is Breathe!)
Learning how to be still, to be really still and let life happen, that stillness becomes a radiance (Morgan Freeman).