When I was in junior high school and my mom was driving me crazy, one of the ways for us to find connection was through shopping for clothes. I have many memories of standing with her in a boutique or big box department store contemplating whether or not to buy the pair of baby pink Hang Ten jeans I was holding up and hearing her say, “When in doubt, do nothing.”
Her words flooded back to me this week when I found myself frustrated by a project that seems to be moving at a snail’s pace. Should I reach out to my partner and set up a meeting about “next steps,” or should I gather more information and let the project marinate some more?
My mom’s wise words flooded in and my decision to let things “sit” a while longer proved to be right on.
There is so much wisdom in these five words. Often, when I get hit by a wave of anger, frustration or am overtaken by my desire for things to be different than the way they are (what author Byron Katie calls the definition of “hell”), I am best served by having my first and immediate response be to simply do nothing. Many times the best course of action is to let go. Wait. Sit. Breathe. And trust.
When it makes sense, I talk the issue through with my husband or a friend. Eventually, after I’ve come into a neutral space around the incident (which can sometimes take days), I ask: Is there an action that I’m being called to take around this? Often, the response I get is “no,” and I find what is most needed is not an action, but a shift in perspective.
Recently while leading an online retreat for a leadership team, I was reminded of how much the practice of self-care has helped me to embrace this “do nothing” concept.
My commitment to self-renewal (read more) has affected my life in so many ways, but one of the biggest is how it’s allowed me to cultivate the ability to pause. This practice has taught me how to create space around how and when I respond to others. It has helped me reflect–even if it’s for a split second–before I pick up the phone, hit “send,” make a comment, or indulge in a full blown emotional tsunami.
Do I hit the pause button every time I get triggered? No way! But does it happen a whole lot more than it did 15 years ago? Absolutely. The art of self-care –attuning and responding moment to moment to my needs and desires– has helped me to cultivate a gentler, kinder, sweeter relationship with myself … and in turn, with others.
And this that makes those around me very happy.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOU? HERE ARE TWO OPPORTUNITIES:
- I’m booking 2021-2022 workshops and presentations now: Consider hiring me to create an online balanced living experience to help your team, organization or employees feel less stressed and more resilient, creative and focused. For 20+ years I’ve been working with companies/organizations like Merrill Lynch, the Center for Women in Law, the Hewlett Foundation and more. Whether it’s a workshop, keynote or custom retreat via Zoom, I’d love to discuss how I can support your team or organization. Learn more here.
- From stillness comes discernment. Sad you missed STILLNESS: A Winter Solstice Women’s Retreat? It’s not too late! The month of January is an ideal time to enjoy this retreat. You can purchase the download for only $59 (includes a bedtime Deep Relaxation session) A great gift to give or receive. Purchase it here.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, AARP, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups for women based on her pioneering work. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. She lives in Western North Carolina and occasionally Austin, Texas; she and her husband are enjoying a new empty nest. More on Renee here.