I’m just back from a week in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and still a little affected by jet lag. I had been over there twice already this year and this was the third and last phase of my signature coaching course for leaders. I love to teach people how to use coaching as a leadership style and while teaching, I learn a lot, too. One of my big take-aways from this experience is how the practice of mindfulness comes so naturally to the members of my group, 22 executives from an organization of 12,000 people.
I open all of my workshops with a moment of mindfulness which is like a mini-meditation. I am very aware of the discomfort this causes for some managers but I continue the tradition because of the proven benefits that come from practicing mindfulness throughout the day, including working hours. What struck me in Saudi Arabia was the distinct lack of resistance to this practice.
As I observed my participants and asked a lot of questions about their culture, it hit me that mindfulness comes easier to the Saudi people, most of them Muslim, because they share a lifestyle where they stop for prayer 5 times a day. This ah-ha moment brought me the clarity that the traditional prayer time allows people to slow down and clear their heads. Islamic prayers involve a ritual of first taking the time to wash your face, hands, and feet, which to me, is a reminder to take care of your body. The prayers are said in standing, bending, kneeling and bowing positions, which to me, is a reminder to connect with the earth beneath you as well as Spirit around you.
One of the executives in my group told me that prayer time gives her extra energy and the ability to focus better. I, for one, could use that, couldn’t you?
Most of us have heard about slow food and slow money. Now I would like to practice a bit of slow living. I don’t know exactly what I am going to do yet but as I figure it out, I will let you know how it is going.
Help me out with your ideas. What can you do to carve out sacred time to slow down and take care of yourself, body, mind, and spirit? What can you do to make ancient wisdom come to life in your own way? How do you use the ways of the world to make yourself a better person, happier or healthier or all three? Please share by leaving your comments.