“Breathing in, I calm my body. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is a wonderful moment.”~Thich Nhat Hanh
A client came to his session the other day clearly upset about an interaction with his boss. The truth is, my client had said something somewhat snarky to his boss, and now he was full-steam in angst.
“I know there’s nothing I can do about what I did,” my client said to me, “But I feel like such an idiot.”
I sat in silence with my client for a moment or two, and then I agreed. “There is nothing you can do about what you did. That’s right. You’ve already apologized. Now can you let it go and forgive yourself?”
“How?” my client asked. “How do I do that?”
I’ve been working with the concept of forgiveness for quite some time, for myself and to help my clients through those moments, like these, when they see no way to let what they did be okay. I’ve found many tricks and tools and subtle approaches towards forgiveness, but none as good as simply breathing and grounding oneself in the present. This is what I offered my client.
“Can you take a deep breath?” I asked. “Maybe close your eyes and take a deep breath?” My client nodded and breathed.
“Can you maybe put your hand on your heart,” I asked, “With a sense of ‘there, there, this stinks’?” My client smiled and nodded.
“Can you be in this present moment and know that everything is okay right now? That what happened happened, and it is past?” My client nodded and smiled.
Over the years I’ve come to realize that nothing calms our racing minds, beating hearts, and churning emotions better than breathing. At least nothing calms mine better.
I’ve come to know that when we smile, even if we don’t feel like smiling, our brains think we’re happy. We wouldn’t smile if we weren’t happy.
And I’ve come to learn that when I can ground myself in the moment, when I can notice – really notice – my feet on the ground or my butt in the chair, I can remember that, in this moment, all is okay. I can dwell in the present moment and find – and see – the beauty in the present moment.
I can be Thoughtful – present, intentional, and authentic – and I can breathe in to calm my body, breathe out to smile, and dwell in the present moment knowing it is a wonderful moment.
How have you learned to calm yourself and be more present?
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