August 21st 2020
Every 1-10 seconds a new thought arises in the mind.
We have 1-10 seconds to make a new decision. Allowing our mind to wander freely in the space of ‘non-task’ is a doorway to the art of paying attention.
What to practice in the 10 second pause?
Breathing in tandem with the heart becomes a hallmark of the enlightened leader.
How easily we forget to breathe. When our nervous system is activated in fight or flight, or in overdrive to a freeze, simply breathing can wire a new state of mind. Reminding the body to exhale completely and inhale a full dose of fresh oxygen moves us out of reaction and into response. Actions from here will reflect a strong, necessary, wise leadership.
Try this pattern to assist you moving out of the fight-flight-freeze state:
Breathe in (count 4).
Hold (count 4).
Breathe out (count 6 and hiss or hum or make any kind of sound).
Hold (count 2).
Putting your COVID face mask on may have a secondary benefit of reminding us to pause before we blurt out an irritable comment, assumption or judgement. Settling our bodies with breathing can support us to pivot away from destructive reaction and toward constructive response. It is a way to remember the greater whole and merge with others from here.
Using our hands, even in the activity of washing them, is ritual to calm and ease the activation of the nervous system. In a metaphorical way, it symbolizes purification: body and mind. In the 1-10 second pause, clasping our hands together, as if a kind of handshake with self; the gesture helps us then pivot towards others with a taoist reverence.
These 3 steps may become easy rituals that invite you to pay attention. The 2020 pandemic has an interesting twist [side effect?] of reminding us (1) a virus that infects the lungs, (2) to keep a mask over our mouth, and (3) to wash our hands. When we are present to self, our eyes are able to look across at the eyes of another with compassion and recognition. With 6 feet of physical distancing, we turn toward, and meet others in the space with presencing & listening with a heart open.
August 2020 | Elaine Sano