Finding Creativity Through Pause

Find a comfortable seat and close your eyes. Consciously take a deep breath in and even deeper out.

How do you feel? Did you feel the cool air entering your nostrils? Maybe you heard your heart beating or a bird chirping. Did you find a sliver of clarity? A moment of calm? An appreciation for where you are in this moment? Did you stop worrying for a second?

Congratulations! You just mindfully meditated.

Over the last six months, I have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. From despair, confusion and grief to determination, comfort and contentment. Not knowing where we were headed back in March, I did know one thing: I needed to breathe. I needed to stay in the moment and not get ahead of myself. I needed to step away during the day, walk my dog, find some gratitude, and encourage my team to do the same.

Admittedly, we were all working around the clock at first. When you are suddenly working from home every day, possibly in the same room where you sleep, it is difficult to ever feel “out of office.” Our spring vacations were canceled. Our summer concerts moved to the TV. We couldn’t even go to a movie or take the kids to the trampoline park in our free time. What else was there to do but answer emails, take calls, and get lost in the endless amounts of projects due to the COVID response frenzy and the George Floyd tragedy?

Luckily, Citizens offered a timely mindfulness training for colleagues through Brown University. Practicing being present with my peers was a helpful reset and a reminder of my yoga-teacher training. We stretched, visualized the perfect vacation spot, and learned breathing techniques to help our brains get unstuck and out of a panicked state. Discovering that we actually become less productive as we clock more hours was a real eye-opener.

To share these insights with others, I dove deeper into meditation and became a certified instructor. Practicing meditation has taught me to remove judgement and simply be in the moment. Perfection is elusive, but forgiving ourselves for not being perfect allows us to live with increased ease.

I find that creativity comes along when I least expect it: when my brain is calm. Ideas float in and out as I focus on the moment and meditate, or even just breathe consciously during a conversation. If we are whole-heartedly present, we can be there for ourselves and others. And, we can learn from every experience when we are not.

Eckhart Tole says, “One conscious breath in and out is a meditation.” Give it a try. You may be more aware of what is unfolding right in front of you. Colors can brighten and creativity can blossom, not by working all hours, but by pausing for just a moment.

Namasté.

Rachel Houk Seeger is the Creative Director at Citizens, leading an in-house creative team of 30 called Greenhouse. She also teaches at Soul Space Meditation, offering a virtual mindfulness meditation class for business professionals every Friday at noon. Visit soulspacemeditation.com to learn more.

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