— Yoko Ono
I arrived in pretty rough shape.
I had committed to coming every three months.
It had been nearly a year since I’d been back.
In the intervening time, I had run 1000 training miles and two ultra-marathons; I had launched a new book and traveled around the country on a speaking tour; I had ramped up my professional coaching practice; managed my law firm; climbed on the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere; developed and launched a new product; and begun an intensive training program to hone and sharpen my coaching skills.
I was spanked. And not in a good way.
Yes, the guy who talks the game of groundedness was wrung out. Again.
They say we teach what we most need to know. So forgive me if I teach this one once again.
Regardless of whether we are introverts or extroverts, regardless of our religious or spiritual traditions, regardless of our roles, our professions, our commitments: every now and then we need to stop. Really stop. Completely stop.
Most of us have lives that are pretty crazy. And although “busy” has become a badge of honor, studies show that nearly 80% of us feel overwhelmed and stressed.
We live for weekends and holidays; thirsting for some down time. But we’re addicted to our smartphones, tied to our computers, inundated with voicemails, deluged with emails; obsessed with status updates.
We are torn in a dozen different directions by the demands and expectations of our businesses and our professions often at the expense of our personal and family lives.
“Vacations,” when we take them, are often thinly veiled excuses for going back to work to “rest.”
We become like hamsters on a wheel that cannot stop.
We need to stop
> To renew our spirits
> To refresh our souls
> To listen to our hearts
> To hear the Still Small Voice that calls us to what truly matters
> To connect again with the ground, and the Ground of All Being.
We cannot be fully present to others if we do not nurture and care for ourselves. We cannot share our gifts with the world when we are fried.
I go to Weston Priory nestled on a hill in the Green Mountains of Vermont with a centuries-old Benedictine tradition of hospitality and refuge. I go there to feel the ancient rhythms. I go there to soak in the silence, the stillness, the peace. I go there to read and to write and reflect. I go there to walk the quiet roads, to sit in the Stone Chapel, to watch the afternoon light play on the hillsides, and to gaze at the stars in the inky blackness of the nights.
You don’t need to go to a monastery though. You can walk on a beach, hike in the mountains, sit by a brook, lay in a field. You can nail plywood to your windows, pull your computer cord out of the wall, turn off your phone and sit on your sofa.
What my coaching clients seem to cry out for most is time management. Time, of course, can’t be managed. Time just is. We must manage ourselves. We are the only ones who can stop the wheel and step off.
Or we can crash and burn.
Stopping is a simple grace we give ourselves. We get to choose.