Mindful

I was recently reminded of a column I once read. It was written by an organizational leader who was describing her realization about the auto-pilot way she was going through her life, and her ultimate discovery of the mind’s capacity to cultivate awareness.

She shared that ”Blackberries used to be something we consumed, not something that consumed us.” At the time, I remember being stopped by this notion of consumption. I certainly had many days and weeks of feeling over-busy, over-scheduled, etc. But, had it reached a point of feeling or being consumed? Of losing completely who I am, what my dreams are, what is important to me? I sat with that for quite some time back then and when I was being completely honest with myself, I had to say that the answer was “yes.” There were times in my life when I felt consumed, when I did what everyone else asked or expected of me and I lost who I was and what was important to me. And, today, if I am not vigilant, there are still moments and days when that can happen.

What I find comforting is the knowledge that it is possible (although not always easy) to meet what is here in a way that might keep us from being consumed. But, of course, first I must see and feel that I am disappearing, that I am being consumed. That is where the simple act of taking a purposeful pause comes in. In those moments when I “stop,” whether it is at my desk, or a walk down the hall, or a walk outside for 10 minutes, I can feel the release of the resistance and tension, the dust begins to settle and I can begin to see a bit more clearly. And I can listen deeply to that inner wisdom—who I am, what my values are, and what is important to me. I can even ask myself whether the hustle and bustle is, once again, beginning to consume me.

If you care to experiment this week, commit to one purposeful pause each afternoon… a quiet time, even just 10 minutes with no “to do” to take care of… except maybe a delicious bowl of blackberries!

Warm regards,

Janice

Janice Marturano

Janice Marturano founded the Institute for Mindful Leadership in 2010, following five years of developing curriculum and providing mindful leadership training to leaders from around the world. Prior to founding the Institute, she was the Director of Leadership Education at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare and Society. For more than a decade she has been the Vice President, Public Responsibility and Deputy General Counsel of General Mills Inc., a Fortune 200 company. Her new book, Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadership, was published January 2014.

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