Leadership Being… from stress to stillness
Not a word I connect with, stillness… or rest! Now stress, that I know, that just sounds normal. Which is why I suffer from adrenal burnout and high anxiety, just like everyone else I know. Why does it matter ? Because how you show up affects how influential you are. We all know that person who is always in a rush and impatient, even when they aren’t speaking, the person who always radiates anger and disdain, the person who seems to be solid, still and understanding. Who do you listen to more ?
The more time I spend coaching and facilitating leadership based on non-violent communication and mutual learning (as opposed to unilateral control), the more I find myself becoming aware of the power of an individuals presence. It is always there, always speaking, always influencing.
Now Presence isn’t a word we use a lot when we talk about successful people yet I suspect it is the thing we are all looking for. Every now and then I bump into it and now that I am paying more attention, influential presence seems to come with a vast stillness, calm, gentleness and honouring of everyone else as being legitimate others, on their own journey, doing the best they can with what they have learnt and know.
The eternal question is, how to create that if it isn’t something that comes naturally, because you just can’t fake it with words!
The clue may be in that word rest, because it shifts the focus from language, beliefs and thinking to the body which is where presence eminates. Body work like Leadership Embodiment (Wendy Palmer and based in Aikido) seems to support this, creating an opportunity to become aware of our patterns of reacting and so how we show up (and why we get the response we get).
I have been practicing this for a year and have found that it is a powerful way to get out of old, unuseful habits. I have found that when I shift into the body I shift out of language and create a space where stillness becomes possible. I become aware of how alien stillness feels and these days thanks to a new meditation I discovered, how unrested my body is.
It was a tiny paragraph that I almost missed, a name (Dan Howard) and a word, rest. So I looked it and I just can’t get enough of intentional resting, especially because I can use it in any moment if any day,. This isn’t one of those meditations where you focus on quieting those EVER pressing , pesky thoughts. This focuses on your body and creating intentional rest. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t really ‘get’ the word ‘rest’. It goes deeper than just resting muscles, it rests the places that hold tension and fear, places in our body that we aren’t aware of and my favorite, it creates a space to rest from the stories we tell.
There is a gentleness to this meditation that has me hooked. I rest into my breathing! I rest from my stories (which is a huge relief). I add to it and rest from my anger and grief. I rest into my joy.
Imagining relaxing into your day ? Imagine moving and speaking and working from a relaxed body ?
Imagine living from deep rest ? From a place of stillness where storied and beliefs don’t own you ? When I do I get a sense of stillness, a sense of freedom and limitless possibility. I am reminded in fact of 2 minutes I spent at 221 meters, where anything seemed possible and the only thing disturbing the deep sense of peace I had was the ever present sound of bubbles.
Perhaps try it out for yourselves ( the Deep Rest meditation, not the 221 meters, although if that inspires you, try that to) and let me know what happens ? What do you discover about yourself and how you engage with the world ? What changes for you ?
It’s my Dare for 2017 (amongst others).