The Prouty Project

August Perspective – The Act of Resting

by peter bailey
Two weeks ago, I completed a couple of my busiest months. 16 flights, 11 cities, and 15 client programs.

Ordinarily, I would brace myself and my family for a “crazy time,” a “whirlwind week,” a “Road Warrior” travel schedule. And yet, using language like that in the past always made the time feel more stressful and heroic.

A few years back, I had the amazing good fortune to be at a lunch table seated next to Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor and creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. He was in the midst of a flurry of speaking engagements, promoting his mindfulness work.

I asked him how he found time to rest, due to the demands of his speaking schedule.

He turned to me, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, then quietly said, “I rest all the time.”

Words, no doubt, influenced by his Buddhist teachers.

So, faced with my past two month’s schedule, I was reminded of his calming wisdom and decided to apply it to myself. I practiced sitting still and breathing at airports or in rideshare cars. I took slow walks before flights down the terminals. I browsed bookstores and delved into the classics. I found quiet places and just let my mind wander.

I didn’t call it “Hell Week.” I referred to it as “Glory Week,” where I was able to rise to the challenge with skill and ease. Instead of saying “life is busy,” I took each leadership session and every new client one day at a time, and I was fully present. I was not over-tired from the last group or exhausted from my travels. In short, I practiced resting all the time.

It worked.

Another book I found helpful in this endeavor was Jim Loehr’s Power of Full Engagement. As a sports psychologist and a life and business consultant, he made a connection to the world of sports and the world of work. He gave examples of how athletes would build in rest, almost invisibly. The three bounces of a basketball before a free throw…rest. The two bounces of a tennis ball before a serve…rest. He urged us “corporate athletes” to also find ways to rest so that we can do the sprints and marathons of our lives with more fullness, richness, and ease.

Sixteen flights later, I look back on this time as successful and fun. Full, but not daunting.

Thank you, Jon Kabat-Zinn and Jim Loehr, for finally getting through to me.

I wish you all restful times as you continue to take on the challenges of your lives with fullness, richness, and ease.

Where can you find moments of rest this month?



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