Day 4: Harnessing the power of the Mind-Body Connection
Welcome to Day 4 of 21 Days on the Mountain. Today we focus our Power of Pause practice on creating space between an external stimulus – what someone says or does, or a situation or event – and our reaction.
Excellent leaders have the ability to stand back and see things as they are, responding from a place of calm rather than a triggered emotional reaction.
Our ability to master ourselves and our emotions is really about a sense of mind-body connection. Learning to create an intentional ‘internal space’ allows us to become a more consciously present, grounded and stable leader, able to use instinct as well as intellect in our actions and decisions.
Join me in the video below as we practice today’s Power of Pause to the gentle background sounds of Alpine waterfalls and birdsong.
Hello and welcome to 21 Days On The Mountain. A chance for us to pause and breathe together for a few minutes. So this is Day 4 and I’m standing at the heart of the hamlet in which we live. Our house is about 150 metres that way. The ski slopes that I was talking to you from yesterday are back over there, and behind me, I think behind my left shoulder, you can see a beautiful waterfall, La Cascade du Rouget, otherwise known as Queen Of The Alps, which attracts visitors from miles around. And you can hear, the sound of the waterfalls are deeply sonorous in the background – there’s two more over here out of shot – and of course the birdsong.
But now, in this moment, let’s pause. Let’s bring our focus into this space and breathe. In a moment we’ll practise it together in silence for a couple of minutes. But right now, why is it then that I ask you to bring your focus into this space? Why not here or here or your big toe? Well actually, since the point of pausing is to create a space between a stimulus – something someone says or does or some event – between that stimulus and the way you react to it, preferably respond to it more consciously… if the purpose is to create space, and if it helps you to shift your focus to your big toe, or anything else for that matter, and if that’s easier for you then do that. Because what matters is that you shift your focus and create the space before you just respond.
But if you can shift your focus here (base of the sternum), if that feels accessible to you, if it’s okay, if it makes sense, if you can do it, then I would really really recommend it. Because what you’re doing when you focus your awareness here, into the solar plexus, it’s like you’re supercharging the benefit of shifting your focus. You’re supercharging the pause. And when you add your breath, you’re moving the energy of your breath into the solar plexus. And you’re going to feel more grounded, more stable, calmer, more present, more able to stand back and see things as they are, and more able to master your arising thoughts and emotions.
Because you see, mastering our thoughts isn’t all in our mind. There are cognitive processes that we can follow for sure. Marvelous therapies that we can use step-by-step to help us to form mental formations, that help us to think more clearly or manage our thoughts more ably. Sure. I’m not suggesting that there aren’t for one moment.
But what I am saying to you is that in my experience it isn’t all in the mind. Our ability to master ourselves really is about a sense of mind-body connection. Really is about a sense of tuning in to that part of us – perhaps our heart, the intelligence of our heart, the intelligence of our gut, gut instinct. A lot of us rely on gut instinct to make our decisions and sometimes gut instinct alone isn’t enough, but it is important, and if we can bring our awareness to a space, this space somewhere between our heart and our gut, between our sternum and our navel, to this marvellous amazing energy of the solar plexus, if we can tune into that, that’s where we supercharge the focus. That’s where we supercharge the pause and that’s where we master our thoughts and emotions most effectively in the moment. So that’s why I invite you to bring your focus into this space.
So let’s do that together now. A couple of minutes in silence. I’m going to close my eyes to help me concentrate better and I invite you to do the same if you’re comfortable with that. So pausing, bringing your awareness into the space between the base of your sternum and your navel, the solar plexus. Placing your hand there as I do if that’s helpful, and breathing into the back of your hand. Observing your breath flowing into your body through your nostrils or through your mouth, and landing in that space behind your hands. Gently expanding as you breathe into that space, and releasing as you let go. Breathing in, expanding, breathing out, releasing and letting go. As if you were beginning to grow an inner muscle on which you can call in any moment, to master your response. Let’s enjoy a couple of minutes of silence together, listening perhaps to the birdsong, and all the background noises of nature in this Alpine village.
When you’re ready, on your next outbreath, gently open your eyes.
Thank you for joining me today in this practice, this pause practice. I hope you have a wonderful day ahead, a wonderful weekend ahead, and remember, in those moments which feel challenging, remember to pause.
See you tomorrow and thank you.