In life, we are always expected to be moving. People expect us to find a job, do well, and learn to prosper. We are supposed to find hobbies, have a family, and above all, keep moving. Even on vacations, we are expected to “see the sights” and “take in everything.” I rarely hear, “On my vacation, I stayed home and meditated.” or “At work, I take 30 minutes a day to sit and not think about work. I sit and close my eyes.”
Moving is good. We often equate moving to growth. However, constantly moving can keep us from appreciating what we are doing. Constantly moving can keep us from the action of reflection, which can provide insight about where to move next and other ways for potential growth.
During my Ph.D., a mentor of mine would tell me, “Students don’t take enough time just to sit and think.” I don’t think he meant just students; I think he was talking about all people. Even to this day, I think about his words when I feel the most overwhelmed. What I have come to believe is the act of pausing to think is most important when we feel we need to keep moving. Giving ourselves the permission to not need to move all the time can foster new ideas for growth.
Stepping back every once in a while can give you perspective. This is a valuable skill when we need to take a adjust during personal challenges. I learned this lesson when I lived in Chicago some years ago. You see, I had a chance to go to the top of the Hancock Building back then. This is a wonderfully tall structure on Chicago’s lakefront that distinguishes the skyline of this historic city. The first time I visited the Hancock Building's observatory floor, I saw many people looking down at the streets and other buildings below them. I did the same.
This gave me the feeling of how high I was because everything below was so small. I looked out over Lake Michigan and became entranced. I spent several minutes (who knows how long) casting my eyes over the water. I actually felt myself step back to get a wider view. Why? I wanted to take in as much of the spectacular spender as possible.
The point is, it is natural to take a step back. Think about the last time something impressed you. Our body and mind move away from that impressive moment to give it space to breathe and allow us to see as much as we can to learn and appreciate. When we are trying to learn about ourselves, we can do the same thing. After all, we all deserve time to learn from moments in our lives that have earned the right to pause, not be pushed aside.
I am a person who likes to move. A lot. I am an extremely busy individual with teaching, presentations, and research. Through meditation, I have learned to practice the behavior of standing still and stepping back. I continue to try and grow the value of taking time to sit and think.
Finally, I continue to learn from these moments of resetting my mind to reset my life so I can continue to be open to new growth opportunities.
Welcome to your first step of growth! Take a moment to appreciate this occasion.
With compassion and kindness,
Co-host of the "Act To Live Podcast"
Author of "Let’ Walk Together: The Act To Live Podcast Blog"
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