Last week I (Lillas) facilitated a thought leader forum on women’s leadership development at a Conference on management & executive development at St Petersburg Beach in Florida. The Conference wrapped up at noon on the fourth day and I was leaving to come home to Calgary in the early hours of the next morning.
As I looked ahead to my week, I faced a full schedule of facilitation, coaching and meetings. And as I looked, I felt the pressing weight of responsibility, the almost compulsive need to review, prepare and perform to perfection, and felt the stress gradually increase and contract within me.
Then I immediately remembered our foundation for Women in Leadership for Life of radical self-care. I paused and checked in with myself and asked: “Sweetheart, what are you needing right now? How best should I prepare for this coming week?”
“JUST RELAX!” was my inner response! So I listened and let go. I walked, did yoga, meditated then napped on the beach. And when I awoke, I saw the sun illuminating a grove of palm trees in an unexpectedly beautiful way. There I was: Peaceful. Warm. Wonderful. And I felt my inner voice was right: relaxation was the new preparation for me for my upcoming week.
I then reflected on my past experiences and noticed that if I take time to relax, I sleep better, I show up more present to enjoy life and become more of a beneficial presence for others. I noticed I am happier, lighter and more peaceful and that this spills over and positively affects others around me. And I noticed that I could handle daily challenges with more grace, rather than more struggle.
I looked back on my years of over preparation, over doing and over functioning and wondered: certainly there may be some times when this type of activity is necessary, but in my Florida beach reflections, I relaxed into the deeper truth that, “I know enough, I do enough, and I am enough.” And it felt good to do so and let myself be so.
I will keep my new affirmation “relaxation is my new preparation” as I move into the holiday season, deeply knowing that the benefits of this practice are for me and for all those around me.
I invite you to try it out and let us know your experience.
Lillas Hatala, Dec 1, 2014
About the Photo: Taken by Lillas from my beach lounge chaise,
Nov 24, 2014, St Pete’s Beach, Florida