Many of my clients are concerned about the quality of their day, which often seems frenetic and scattered as they rush from one meeting to the next. In fact, most people I know (including myself!) struggle with this sense of never having enough time, never getting enough done. I have begun a new practice that is helping me expand my sense of time and certainly my sense of calm and I’d like to share it with you as we start the new year.
What I find valuable about this practice is that it doesn’t take a lot of time. It’s not a typical time management practice at all. Instead, it recognizes that it is not time, but how we react to the time we have that is the problem. If we have X amount of time and X amount of things to do, how do we use that time wisely? This practice helps us calm and center ourselves so we can make those decisions more creatively. It is a practice that uses the body to ground ourselves in the present moment and to calm our minds and our emotions so we can think more clearly. And it takes less than five minutes.
You can do this exercise from any position, but it’s easiest to learn if you are standing. Stand with you feet hip distance apart and knees softened. Begin by breathing normally and just noticing your breath. As you breath, find your length by imagining there is a line pulling the crown of your head up to the sky while your feet remain firmly planted on the ground. Imagine energy coming down from the heavens and running through your body and through your feet deep into the ground. Then imagine the reverse—energy coming from the ground, through your feet and up into the heavens through the crown of your head. Breathe the length of your body and feel its length.
Next, shift your breath to your ribcage. Feel your ribcage expand outward to the sides of your body as you inhale and feel the movement inward as you exhale. Become aware of your body’s width. Extend it outward by imaging energy coming from the core of your body and radiating outward through your sides. As this energy moves out, celebrate your width. Take a couple more breaths.
Next, focus your attention on your back. Think of all your gifts and talents, your skills, the people who love you and have influenced you and imagine they are behind you, supporting you. Imagine that their energy is forming a long and solid tail behind you, a tail that supports you. Lean backward slightly and let that tail hold you up. Feel its weight and length behind you. Find your depth by Imagining the energy from all these sources moving through you from back to front and is sending that power out into the world ahead—into your future. Breathe.
That’s it. You’re done. This simple practice takes just a few minutes, but doing it with your complete attention shifts everything. You are more present and able to focus and problem solve in ways that were impossible in a more scattered state.
I wish you the best in 2013 and invite you to explore this idea further by checking out the websites of two people who introduced me to this practice, Doug Silsbee, author and coach trainer, and Suzanne Zeman, a master somatic coach.
Plum Cluverius, PCC is an executive coach with over 30 years experience in leadership and professional development. She lives and works in Richmond, Virginia.