An executive client (while I was on location at a corporate client site) recently asked me ‘George, how do you remain so calm and balanced all the time?’ He had observed me over a six month period while I was working there with a variety of issues and employee behaviors and stresses that I had to deal with and help with.
That was a very good question that I’d like to answer a little bit here and give some insight into with four major points.
How was it that the whole time I was working with that client I never stressed out, complained, got impatient, got reactive to another employees behaviour, but was always calm, balanced and fully available?
On one level it’s a great testimony to this therapeutic work, meditation, mindfulness and body psychotherapy.
You can walk into a place and pretend to keep your cool and try hard to not react and stay balanced, that’s an interim step to the real thing. But what you really want is to be so present in the moment that normal stresses just flow through you, creating a little bit of a wave maybe, but pass through you and the present moment. Or if you do react, the reaction completes very quickly and flows out of your system so you are back in balance very quickly, within seconds sometimes, with very little lingering on.
So here is part of what keeps me in that balanced state the majority of my day:
Do your personal work. Preferably Body based Psychotherapy (my bias).
Having had a lot of personal sessions over the years has been the biggest foundation to being able to be more present than ever before. When I first started having sessions for some issues, I didn’t realize just how much I had buried within me. So as it came out, more arose that I became aware of. So I began a number of years of flushing out the past build up. Without that flushing out, (if you have a lot buried within you) it is very hard to stay present and calm in the face of reactive people that trigger your past unfinished business. So this foundation step is not a quick fix. It took some time which has paid off for itself handsomely over the past 20+ years.
Meditate every day.
Preferably every morning. Each time I arrived at that client’s site, I would stay in my car for 10 minutes, close my eyes, engine switched off, doors locked and I would meditate, centre myself, arrive, get more present. Let any stress from the drive there release.
Be mindful of the present moment – often.
During the day, stay in mindful touch with your body sensations where ever you are at. This helps to keep you out of your head and more embodied in the present moment. You can’t be responding to the present moment appropriately if you are off thinking other things in your head other than being with what is in front of you in the moment.
Be in the Zone.
People who do their job well, professionally, usually have mastered doing the work ‘in the zone’. That’s another way of saying – only be in the present moment now. So my client who wondered how I always stayed that relaxed was seeing me working ‘in the zone’ doing my job, focused, present, attentive, there to accomplish a goal. That’s different from the more casual state that you can be in outside of work hours, where you let your hair down. That professional ‘zone’ produces quality output.
So there you have four major points for how I stay calm and present when I’m busy and/or in a challenging environment.