It’s interesting to contemplate the shift from learning to teaching. While in my corporate life my role is characterized by the art of bringing people to their Ah-Ha moments, I’ve spent a large portion of my time in the last 5 plus years in my personal life being the student. Learning. Learning about the importance of self-care. Learning about stillness. Learning about tuning into my heart and my body to make decisions from love instead of from fear. On the harder skills, learning NLP; learning EFT Tapping, learning website management and design. I am always learning, and always trying to apply what I have learned.
My first reaction is that I haven’t mastered anything, not yet anyway—not from the lens of putting myself down but from the lens of humbleness. From the place of knowing that there is always more to learn, a deeper awareness of any subject matter to be gained. When I put aside the reverence that is associated with Teacher or Master and instead consider that learning is a journey and I am somewhere on that path, I realize that I have things I can share with those who are still not at the same place I am yet.
I have learned things, I have gathered insights, sometimes painfully, that have gotten me to where I am on this path. From that perspective I think, what can I share? What marker or note can I leave for the person coming behind me in their learning journey that might help light their path on the darker days, or shine light on fallen branches or sinkholes to be avoided? What warning or sign would I myself have wanted to see earlier on in my learnings?
The answer comes quickly. Be still. Take time to breathe and be with yourself. Strike a balance between being and doing. The doing is easy. I dare say in North American culture we are socialized to do, accomplish, do more, and we focus on the doing part. Set goals, reach goals, set new goals and repeat for the rest of your life. Doing, achieving, and always striving was what I learned and had indoctrinated into me. It is firmly rooted in my DNA.
What I realize now and share—with my kids, my healing clients, with colleagues, with friends—is the importance of filling up. Of just planting your bare feet in the grass, surrounding yourself with nature, turning your face up to the sun and letting the beams warm your face. Yoga. Reading. Soaking in a bath. Meditating is amazing if you can get there. And I truly believe you can get there. If this reformed type A+ can do it, I guarantee you can too. It’s this ability to slow down, to focus on breathing, to simply be present in the moment that I now know feeds and fuels my ability to keep on doing the doing. Without the being, the constant doing wears you down. It’s like driving a car and never stopping to fill the car with gas. Eventually, the car stops going. Just like us, without stopping and fueling up with the gas of “being” we eventually stop being able to go.
I wonder where I might be now had I learned that skill earlier in life. And yet, it doesn’t matter. I know deep within me that my life is so much better now because I do know this and I do practice this skill of simply being. Just recently, much to the great pride of Canadians, 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu won the US tennis open, beating legend Serena Williams. She credits her win and her winning mindset to her training program, and to her practice of meditation and visualization. Imagine. Imagine if we learn from this amazing example of grace under pressure. The success of “doing” here came with a flow thanks to the time taken to be still, to calm the mind and focus on simply being in the moment.
While I am by no means an expert, I can see where when my life is in flow, it is because I have been in the moment. I have been mindful. I have remembered my breathing and my self-care. A little does go a long way. Just 15 minutes in the morning can change the trajectory of my day. I know, because I have witnessed the lack of flow, the friction and frustration I run into on days where I haven’t taken that 15 minutes of stillness for myself. Breathe in. Breathe out. Feel the sounds around you. Become immersed in the moment. Be still, my friends.