“I have so much to accomplish today that I must meditate for two hours instead of one.” Mahatma Gandhi
When the world speeds up, we need to pause… and to connect.
As leaders, when we move at break-neck speeds we’re at risk of missing critical details – or doing our work in a way that’s less aligned with our values than we intend. At best we make mistakes that put our colleagues, or the work, in harm’s way. At worst, we may end up replicating the very out-dated paradigms we’re aiming to lead our communities beyond.
But – you ask – what happens in the pause?
And to what (or whom) do we connect?
For most of us educated in a Western context, our nervous systems resist the pause. We’re not used to it. It makes us anxious. We don’t know what to do with it.
So we design our work and our lives to keep it at bay. We fill our calendar with meetings, and our lists with to-dos. We rush our strategic planning and do quick future predictions on the back of a napkin – while missing whole categories of stakeholders in the rush.
We make a hundred promises we can never keep, so that JUST in case our superhuman capabilities kick in, and we manage to accomplish 99, there will still be one more thing left to kick off the doing again tomorrow.
We know it isn’t totally working… but we do it anyhow.
We’re not stupid, and we’re not bad people.
We do it because – despite the research, the self-help books, and our guru’s admonitions – we simply don’t TRUST that it works.
Because it’s not clear that anything at all is happening during that pause.
• Because we don’t know how to count the invisible.
• We haven’t invested in learning to listen to the field.
• We’re not practiced at tuning into the subtle.
• And we can’t yet detect changes in the vibe.
But on the other side of pausing for 24 hours (or 24 days), we become a different kind of human.
One who begins to naturally re-align and re-calibrate: her nervous systems. her perceptions. her goals.
One who sees with fresh eyes. Whose peripheral vision is wider.
One who notices what’s happening between the lines.
And one who is more able – and more willing – to connect, both with herself and with the others around her who, more likely than not, have valuable pieces (of information and of support) to offer.
If you are a changemaker in your industry or organization, it probably feels like you’re holding up the entire world. In fact, maybe you are.
At this moment, there’s a lot on the line for each of us, and for the communities we care about.
I’m keenly aware of the
- Recent environmental and social impacts of the hottest recorded day on earth
- Breaking down of out-of-date transportation infrastructures and political infrastructures in countries around the world
- Rolling back of affirmative action policies, women’s reproductive rights, and the rights of LGBTQIA community here in the US
- Tensions in the financial sector and the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank
- The rapid rise of AI technology and our collective questions about whether (and how) to guide, influence or control it
- And continued violence perpetuated against black and brown bodies in communities across the globe
And in my gut I know that our willingness and ability to pause… and to connect – to ourselves, our stakeholders, and to other leaders who are holding a vision for change…
will make a significant difference in the outcomes we co-create, over the next 6-18 months.
Do I think our life on Earth depends on it?
Sounds dramatic. But maybe.
It’s one of the biggest reasons why we’ve committed to hosting a gathering of women leaders and change-makers at the end of October, on sacred land here among the giant redwoods in Northern California.
To create time, support and a powerful container to pause… and to connect with other women who hold keys to our futures in:
• Environmental Sustainability
• Ethical and Beneficial Technology
• Media and Politics
• the Evolution of Finance
• Social Justice, Diversity and Impact
In order to recalibrate our own nervous systems to be more fully aligned and on-purpose with the missions we each serve, to vision the future in community, and to cross-pollinate learning from one another’s work, experience and expertise.
To create a guided time for pause and planning. And to generate the energy (read inspiration + resilience) to weather both the storms and the opportunities that are coming our way.
BECAUSE I believe we can only truly align – and grow – in community.
And BECAUSE I deeply trust the magic of the 3rd space, where women come together in a well-designed, well-intended pause that invites new ideas, new relationships, and new worlds into form.
If you’d like to learn more about it, or get on the list to attend, you can check out the webpage here.
A Practice for Now
In the meantime, let's practice together.
First, set an intention to take a beat and take one longer, deeper breath the next time you're about to rush into – or rush through – an important conversation about something that matters to you. Really stop and feel it. Slow down.
Next, I invite you to take a few minutes to build in your own time to pause… and to connect, over the next month. (Timing is everything. Pause. I dare you – DIN: do it now). Take a look at your own calendar two to four weeks out. Pick a weekend or, better yet, a couple of weekdays.
Block a no-meetings ‘meeting’ with yourself: for half-a day… a whole day… two days. And in the empty space of the calendar invite, write down three questions you’ve been thinking about lately that you haven’t had the time to properly tend.
• Questions for your company or team
• Questions about impact or new innovation
• Questions about your marriage, partnership, or relationship with yourself
• Questions about your health, wellbeing, or resilience
• Questions about the evolution of your work
Once you’ve done it, take a look at your calendar three months out and do the same. (hint: perhaps consider joining us in October – or just find your own dates for a meaningful quarterly pause).
And, if you’re feeling inspired to keep that pause you scheduled truly sacred, take one more step over the next two days to let your key ‘stakeholders’ (family members, team, boss) know you've blocked the time.
You could even invite them to join you!
(Isn’t that how cultures and movements get created? For fun: an oldie but goodie)
Thanks for considering. Thanks for practicing. Thanks for connecting.
Enjoy your pause,