Finding the Self in the Midst of Chaos — Permission to Rest!
As we all adjust to a new way of living right now, we may also be finding ourselves pulled into behaviors that we believe to be productive… like scheduling and/or attending Zoom meetings all day, working longer hours to prove value and worth to employers, implementing rigorous home school schedules, developing high energy and complex recreation activities for our families, or forcing ourselves to learn a new skill or language since we now have so much “free” time. We are guessing the list may go on and on.
While these behaviors may be somewhat productive, help to fill the time, and/or create distractions from what is happening in the world around us, The Prouty Project believes we have all been presented with a unique opportunity to take a very different approach — one that will bring renewal, rejuvenation and refreshment. Instead of continuing to “go, go, go,” we encourage everyone to take some of this time to actually “stop” and replace the need to do something with a focus on stillness and CALM. Introspection and reflection can help us lead ourselves well during this time and, as a result, will create space for us to better lead our families, communities, and organizations with grace and thoughtfulness.
As you go through the next few days, weeks, and months, we ask you to dedicate yourself to the following aspects of being C.A.L.M:
C: Compassion and Connection
Showing and giving ourselves love and attention is critical right now. Knowing and receiving that we are valuable, worthy, and loved makes it easier for us to connect with the self and others. When we more fully understand that we are all connected and part of a larger whole, we all desire to feel happy and secure, and we all are deserving of love, we can more freely show compassion at all times. Spend time caring for yourself and developing a healthy relationship between your mind, spirit, and body, and this practice will lead you to happiness and joy under any circumstance.
A: Awareness and Acceptance
Being mindful and present is a beautiful way to observe and accept whatever is happening in the present moment. Jon Kabat-Zinn (mindfulness expert) describes mindfulness as “awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.” Remember to bring your thoughts to the present moment and focus on being fully present, remaining open to the experience and how things are unfolding now instead of being frustrated or stressed about how you think things should be. Accept the moment for what it is, knowing that things in the next moment can be different. Doing this can bring us to a place of peace in our lives, and out of the futile fight against what is. Whatever is happening, accept that it is happening, don’t judge it as good or bad, and know that we are strong, can withstand it, and adapt wonderfully no matter what happens.
When we become really still, we tend to speak less and listen more. This not only increases our opportunity to more clearly hear others, it also gives us the ability to be more present within ourselves, interact with our thoughts and deeply know and appreciate our true selves. It is sometimes difficult to listen and really hear what our heart is telling us, however, it is a vitally important part of our journey towards self-awareness and inner tranquility. We also become much more open and ready to listen to others with humility and love if we can truly and honestly listen to our inner self.
M: Quiet Mind
As we are all very aware, there is true chaos happening around us, in the world, in our communities, and maybe even in our homes. The ability to keep our minds quiet will increase our ability to achieve inner peace. Quieting our mind means to take captive of our thoughts and keep them from wandering out of control. When we are still, and in interaction with our minds and thoughts, we are better able to manage what we think about. Do your best to quiet your mind during this time by being relentless in watching over your thoughts. Really try to limit negative thoughts and intentionally fill your mind with healthy and positive thinking.
It is true, and especially in uncertain times, what is in our hearts will most certainly come out. When it comes out, it has the potential to significantly impact those around us. We encourage you to use your time now to reflect on you. What is inside of you? What will come out when pressed? Being CALM during this time will help you reveal the true answer to these questions and create the opportunity for you to lead yourself and others well.
Essay Two, Part One in a Series by Peter Bailey, Adrienne Jordan, and Kristin Jonason at The Prouty Project.