I’m reminded today of the fantasy sequence in an early episode of Absolutely Fabulous, when Edina awakes bright-eyed and perfectly coiffed to the sweet sound of birdsong and the soft glow of sunlight infusing her bedroom. And then her alarm goes off, and we see her real morning-time ritual…something altogether less pastoral.
No, I didn’t wake up this morning to empty wine bottles and overflowing ashtrays under the covers. But I did wake up to a dozen or so emails (the real kind, i.e., from actual people) pinging impatiently in anticipation of whatever answers, solutions, miracles, magic I might offer in reply. And, of course, I only had to roll over from my blissful slumber to reach for my phone.
This is what connectivity looks like? Stop. Breathe.
I recently took on a new position at my company. It’s a global role, which means that as I’m powering down in the evening for a cold winter’s nap, my friends over in Asia Pacific are powering up on a new day. (Turns out expats don’t take two weeks off for Chinese New Year.) What to speak of Europe and the Middle East, coming off their lunchtime highs and ready to make an afternoon impact. So the flow of email is truly without rest.
The challenge for me is to pause and not try to “fix” everything in my inbox immediately. That’s my usual tack, but it’s not possible, and it only results in paralysis and disappointment. So, instead, I sat in meditation for 15 minutes. The thoughts of those awaiting emails didn’t vanish, but when they came to interrupt my practice, I accepted the interruption. And then went back to the breath.
And after my sitting, I got to work. Did I change the world? No. But maybe, just maybe, I showed myself some compassion and, in the process, gave my colleagues something, too.
Onward with the Challenge. Happy meditating, all.