On healing by slowing down.


I love this piece by The Optimist Daily. I spent much of my summer out in the wilds of Wyoming, far away from screens and phones, where the body and mind can unwind, slow down and and rejuvenate. Autumn is arriving and it's time to return to the work of the world. But slowly, gently, with a greater tenderness, and a much slower pace.

An excerpt from The Optimist Daily:

"In making decisions, attending meetings and making plans, I keep discovering how important it is not to succumb to the temptation to hurry. I continually notice, in myself and others, the tendency to say 'here, let me handle that': wham, bam, down to work and get it done. In my experience, that approach produces new results that look suspiciously like the old ones. For something truly novel to occur, we need to slow down.

We don’t know what new thing will reveal itself to us and through us. We can only recognize it as something that sounds, feels or looks different from what we ­already know. It requires attentiveness—and often courage—to speak from a place you don’t yet fully understand, to be open to what others put forward. It requires alertness and a receptive attitude to pause a conversation when you’ve heard something that sounds new or you have an idea you can’t quite yet put a name to. If we want to create something new, we must also create the space within which it can grow and present itself. If the space between us is filled with opinions—or even just good intentions—it’s too full for ­innovation to take root.

In many groups, it takes a change of collective habit to explore things slowly together. You must be able to listen. And to listen, you have to silence the noise inside your head. That’s why it’s a good habit to take time before a meeting to check in, even if there are only two of you. Your check-in question might be, 'What’s going on with you that might affect this meeting?' After a short silence in which each attendee focuses attention on their inner space, they share their answers in turn. Each person describes what they’re preoccupied by, without reaction from the others. In this way, participants ground themselves in the present and create a circle that encloses the shared goal for the meeting. It also activates the ability to listen, both to what’s going on inside yourself and to others.

Sharing your inner world creates a sense of connection. It nurtures trust and reveals that every reality is actually a perspective. In that minute of silence, each person also realigns with the common goal, which in turn receives a stronger focus. The check-in is one of the most efficient ways to start a meeting in my book. The best way to begin the minute of silence is by sounding a singing bowl, gong or bell. That marks your shared entry into a sacred space, where each person is prepared to contribute to the collective goal.

To nurture budding innovation, we must change the habits that rule our interactions. To heal the world, we must reshape our public ­decision-making and planning."

Come in soon. Slow down. Sip some tea. Check in with your body. It's there waiting for you.