by Kate Harper
I was recently introduced to lojong, a centuries-old Buddhist practice for training the mind in compassion. As Pema Chodron describes it, lojong contains “fifty-nine pithy slogans that remind us how to awaken our hearts.” The slogans point to practical instructions for ways to awaken amidst the beauty and difficulty of the world.
I was struck by lojong’s use of pithy sayings as invitations (or exhortations) to practice a different way of engaging with what is right in front of us. And that made me think, this is what we created with Pause, Inspired Mastery’s book and card set of 52 practices for leaders.
Hang on for a minute. Before you think I’ve gone crazy, I am not comparing Pause to lojong as an important spiritual text. I’m not saying Pause is the path to enlightenment. And yet, Pause is a set of concise practices, with pithy quotes, that invite a different way of engaging with what is right in front of us. The Pause practices open possibility, expand awareness, and cultivate presence. In pausing and inviting a new perspective, we access our natural resourcefulness and open-heartedness.
I often reach for Pause when I’ve got my knickers in a twist. Feeling frustrated with my ability to help a client get unstuck? Pick a practice at random.
Practice 5: Stay in the Game
A hero is no braver than the ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer. — Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Ahh. I breathe. I relax. I get back in the game.
Lojong also reminds me to use Pause in a conscious and dedicated way. I pick a practice for the week and apply it several times a day. I choose a signal – e.g. when the phone rings or before I begin a meeting, to remind myself to practice. This week I picked practice 27.
Practice 27: Turn Problems in to Assets
If you fall in the mud puddle, check your pockets for fish. — Anonymous
As I take a moment to practice I feel less stressed and more resourceful. I have a greater ability to do my work well. Isn’t that what we all want? Less stress and more impact.
If you already have Pause, take it out and pick a practice for this week (or day). Or try on one from the free sample pdf. Choose a signal as a reminder. Work with what is right in front of you, in the moment. No extra time required. Be dedicated, deliberate, and compassionate with yourself.