We have a lamp inside us, the lamp of mindfulness which we can light anytime. The oil of that lamp is our breathing, our steps, and our peaceful smile. We have to light up that light of mindfulness so the light will shine out and the darkness will dissipate and cease. Our practice is to light up the lamp. Thich Nhat Hanh, Your True Home
I first read this lesson at the beginning of the year. Here is what I wrote then:
As I am reading this I can feel myself relaxing into the message I am receiving. The flurry of activity following the holidays seemingly melts away as does the intensity with which I was determined to start the new year off ‘right’, my sky high expectations that every aspect of my life-my business, my personal life, my unique journey, was going to fall perfectly in line with my plans for the new year.
As you can guess, it has not been quite like that. I find myself creating distractions, going into ‘overwhelm’.
And yes, this is once again the perfect time to revisit this lesson because fast forward nearly six months, I have fallen into the distraction trap, my busy-ness, the fear-based scrambling around. I love how as a small business owner your life informs your business and visa versa. At the heart of it, I love being an entrepreneur because I am always learning and more often than not, just on the edge of my comfort zone. I like to push myself and a practice of mindfulness is a challenge for me because it asks me to be present, to be conscious, to be patient. To be still!
Today I was presented with another opportunity to learn and get uncomfortable. A dear friend and I connected because we experienced a recent rough patch. In the process of listening to each other, she shared that she once felt like I was a bright light in her life. She also shared that she felt like I had changed and not for the better. I no longer appeared to be a bright light. It hurt to hear her say that. It hurt because I felt like I had let her down and because I want to be a bright light for her, for all my friends, my clients, my colleagues, my family.
My ‘I want you to like me’ brain immediately began to panic and think of things I could do to prove myself to her. Then I stopped and realized what an incredible gift this was; an invitation to slow down, to breathe. To step into the awareness of needing to course correct not because I can control where our friendship goes from here but because I do have a light and when I am true to my own peace then my light shines. It is time to reflect on my peace, to come back to center.
The same is true in our businesses. Unflattering feedback is helpful and necessary; this does not make it easier to hear or quell our initial reaction of wanting to fix things. ( I am not saying the impulse to fix things is wrong. It just pays to create a response appropriate to the problem. When we react then we will tend to overreact.) Beyond ‘making things right’ when you are addressing negative input, it is important to reflect on what just happened and what possible bigger issues the situation can shed light on.
Because I know from experience that sitting with an uncomfortable situation/feeling AND being open to insight from said uncomfortable situation can be really hard to do alone. I am here to listen, reflect back to you, and even share some thoughts if that would be helpful. I am available at firstname.lastname@example.org. Growth is good for our businesses and ourselves.