How to be Still

We are in the second week of our quarantine as we battle the Coronavirus or COVID 19. This has been tough as everyone all over the world feels the sting of this pandemic.

While we’ve practiced “social distancing” and stayed at least six feet away from others, I decided to take advantage of our beautiful weather today. I was sitting outside working on my computer, writing, emailing, information gathering—all the necessary tasks for an entrepreneur trying to keep her business alive during these times. In light of all the bad news, I was enjoying the weather, and I was feeling quite proud of my productivity.

During my flurry of activity, I noticed one constant being that didn’t flinch the entire time I was working—Louie!

It wasn’t that he was asleep and not moving; he was lying down and fully awake. Sometimes he’d gaze into the trees, looking for some creature that dared to walk across his kingdom…but not this time. He was just being! He was serenely experiencing every bit of beauty that nature offered. I have no doubt that he thought it was all for his pleasure alone.

As I watched him, I couldn’t help but think, “It must be nice to be my dog and relax on the deck while I work to provide a nice home and good food.” Then I had to laugh. Louie was teaching me a lesson that took me years to grasp and yet is still so easy to forget—how to be. We get caught up in the “More” mode: I’ve got to do more, work more, network more, socialize more, Facebook more, more, more, more. Help—let me off this merry-go-round!

I’m not sure what Louie thought as he quietly enjoyed the blossoming nature, but he inspired me to close my computer and experience the stillness as well. Ahhh, there it was, something I had been missing—peacefulness. Most of us never take the time to practice being still and emptying our minds of the stuff that clutters our thinking and clouds our wellbeing. The ability to be is crucial to our ability to lead well.

There is an assumption that sitting quietly means you’re not doing anything. But that may be our most productive time of creativity or processing a difficult issue…or praying about how to respond to something.

Recently, our peacefulness was disturbed by the coronavirus. While our initial reaction was denial, then anxiousness as to what will happen to our businesses, etc. I decided to do what Louie does and just be. I took a few moments to process, and I stopped getting on social media to see what the latest crazy news. I practiced being still and not reacting out of anxiety. Instead, I focused my energy on encouraging others and connecting with family and friends. I know that, given time, this too shall pass.

I know another leader who demonstrated the leadership quality of “being.” Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, who wrote Lead Like Jesus, shared the five habits of Jesus. The first one is solitude: “Jesus modeled solitude as an integral, strategic component of His leadership. In solitude and prayer, Jesus received instructions on the best use of the next day from God.” This also gave Jesus the strength to stand up to others who gossiped, mocked, and eventually crucified him. He didn’t draw a sword, nor did he spew angry words, yet His quiet spirit shook people to the very core of their being. Now that’s power!

Just being is necessary for us to make the best decisions that positively affect our lives and those around us. We’ve been forced to be still these last few weeks. After this is all said and done, let’s continue to work on being intentional about being still.


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