"If you cry 'forward', you must make it clear the direction in which to go. Don't you see that if you fail to do that and simply call out the word to a monk and a revolutionary, they will go precisely the opposite directions."
Anton Checkhov

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 394

Estimated reading time:  2:30 minutes


Hello from the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. We have come up for a few days of chores around our home here in Gibsons, interspersed with a few phone meetings and webinars. It is good to be here. And it has got me thinking about rest, what in ancient Hebrew is ‘sabbat’, or anglicized to ‘sabbath.’ 


I missed writing a Leadership Notes last week, because I was going full out, co-teaching a brain based coaching course. By the time I looked up, it was late Friday and I had missed my own deadline. And these past 7 weeks, have been metaphorically ‘harvest time’ for me, as the Fall often is. 


The ancient idea of sabbath is rest. And the neuroscience is backing up the importance of rest. David Rock and Dan Seigel developed a great model called the Healthy Mind Platter. http://www.drdansiegel.com/resources/healthy_mind_platter/  Our brains need sleep, physical exercise, focus time, connecting time, play time and linked to sabbath, downtime and time in. It is these last two that we often forgo, at our own peril. 


Downtime is rest, and taking a break. It does not involve soccer practices (play time), parties (connecting time) or exercise. It is literally sitting down, reading a book, watching an easily digestible show, or going for a leisurely walk on a beach (what I will be doing this afternoon). Your brain should not be taxed during down time.


Time in is contemplation, meditation, or contemplative prayer. It is not downtime. It is actually investing the time in contemplation, usually associated with a discipline like focusing on breathing, a mantra or rhythmic repeated prayers. It offers time to listen for the still small voice inside, and is a place where insights, given the right conditions are most likely to happen.


Both of these ideas are expressed in the concept of sabbath. And we need a bit of sabbath every week, if not more often. Sadly, we fall into traps and narratives about how important it is to be seen to be busy, and to be busy. 


I wonder then, how you are taking sabbath time; downtime and time in, for the good of yourself, your team and your family?