As individuals, organizations and communities we are often focused on future planning. It makes sense to plan for the future. Yet, if we lean too heavily on the future planning we might miss the opportunities of the here and now. Ekhart Tolle has a large following of readers from his books on living in the moment. His book Power of Now has been a guide for many people to rebalance the focus between future planning and living in the “now”. What strategies do you have for balancing future building with the power of now?
As someone new to sand art, I’ve been seeking beaches and low tides as a place to be in the power of now. The tide has to be just right for the sand to have the right moisture content. As I pick up my rake and assess the beach, I look for a place to begin creating. While some people might be more planful, I tend to just start and see where the design takes me amidst the rocks and waves. I am so in the moment that I often don’t even notice how fast the tide is coming in. It’s a refreshing practice. I’ve come to realize that when I take this time to be in the moment, that I am restored to go back to work, build my business, and think about the future with fresh eyes.
Recently, a young woman joined me in creating sand art. She was particularly concerned about her future: go to school, which school, get a job, which job. As we began creating together, she settled into the moment: sand, rake, water, sunset.
We eventually created a design together with spirals. Together we made over 30 spirals of different sizes down the beach in a huge creation. As we looked back we saw the tide was washing away some of our spirals. We began to talk about where she was with her future planning after creating sand art. She had tremendous new insights as it related to her design.
She commented…“I realize that each new spiral we made was similar to me trying something new; it did not have to be perfect, I just tried to connect to the whole design and keep moving down the beach” and “the impermanence of creating as the tide came in reminded me that no matter what I decide, I can change my mind and try something new.” In just 2 hours she had a new awakening to her future. She had paused to be just in the moment and it unleashed new strategies for future building.
Many organizations spend tremendous amount of time on a 5-year strategic plan. The plan guides everyone towards the future. Good strategic plans have good action plans. What if before we start strategic future planning, we paused and do something in the moment. We stop reflecting on the past, planning for the future and just be in the moment, the now. What would be different? Would groups have new insights? Would individuals bring fresh perspectives because of clearer minds?
What in the moment activities could you do to help you get in touch with the power of now before future planning for yourself and/or your team?
Here are some ideas
- Take a big breath in every door way you walk through before the planning meeting.
- Take a walk around the block during your lunch break and focus on one thing…colors, shapes, or sizes.
- Sit on a park bench and look up at the sky…how many cloud shapes can you notice?
- What else?
What ideas do you have for pausing before planning? What could you do as a group? As an individual? Let me know what you come up with.
And if you want to try sand creations, let me know. We can schedule a time to create together on the beach and see what the sand, sea and tides can teach us both about now and the future.