Creating Time to Think: As Important as Dreaming is to Sanity

It was a mid-February morning and 3:45 a.m., an early hour to be awake. I drank a cup of Love Buzz coffee, the beans fresh from My Organic Market, and headed out to meet my coach. She, a seasoned runner and a Boston marathoner, inspiring and relaxed into the whole of this experience called “running.” I was a novice where everything is new.

We jogged slowly into a dark oasis, greens gently rolling, sloping toward the river. The city light reflected in the night sky made the path easily discernible. Shadowy trees. Quiet. Calm.

In the 25 °F cold, the wind was thankfully mild. We wended our way through the shadows to the sound of our muffled footfalls and rhythmic breathing.

A flock of geese flew over, a large “V” trailed by two smaller ones. Their honking pierced the dark, resonating in me–symphonic, intimate, in the blanket of night. In between bits of conversation, there was… Time to Think.

Time to think is both a luxury and necessity for me and for the people with whom I work. Not long ago Anne Kelly, the Executive Director of the Federal Consulting Group, asked me about the patterns I have seen in the people with whom I work. Two predominate:

  1. We do not realize just how interrelated we are with our family members and those within our organizations, and the influence this has on us.
  2. We forget the body–we forget we are animals and treat our bodies as though they are cars for our brains.

We all know the physical benefits of movement. But there is a different level of mental and emotional ones we tend to overlook… Creating time to think by incorporating gentle movement in a beautiful context allows thoughts and emotions to get aired and exercised too.

We are culturally conditioned to use our minds to change our body, to change the way we think or feel. Yet precisely because we are animals, we have the delightful option of starting with the body or both the body and mind. The quality of the experience is unique–when your body/mind works together in this way, you feel transformed. Enlightened? No. Changed? Renewed? Clear? Yes.

For some executives, Time to Think is created by hiking in Muir Woods in the magnificence of an old growth redwood forest, riding a motorcycle through beautiful countryside in the Blue Ridge Mountains, or mowing the lawn with a push mower.

If you had a sleep disorder and were starting to lose your sanity, you would address it, wouldn’t you? Yet, somehow because our insanity might take other seemingly tolerable forms–time stress, being propped up by caffeine, health challenges, impatience, or a steady-state of worry, for example, we overlook how essential and restorative this kind of time is–as important as dreaming is to being sane.

A beautiful context, gentle movement, and Time to Think. It’s about time for some, don’t you agree?

U.S. Library of Congress ISSN 2164-7240

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