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issue 15

Are you awake?

  • 30 January 2015
  • Posted by Marcella Bremer

How are you? Busy? Relaxed? Energized? Tired? I notice a pattern in modern life. I’m going too fast and packing too much in my days. I’m hunting for stimuli – or at least I'm distracted by them. I notice restlessness when I’m already tired. I see most people around me living by schedules that don’t leave space to slow down and to be mindfully aware of what really happens. How do you wake up to the present?

I’m lucky though. Since I am self-employed, I can schedule time for contemplation. I know that I need some time for silence – to be my best self again when I work with clients. When I’m going too fast – I am less awake, less present in the moment. So I’ve started an experiment. My intention is to follow my energy as much as possible – what do I feel like doing now? What gives me pleasure? What do I need at this moment?

Let’s see if and how my experiences and results change when I give more attention to what I’m doing right now, with mindfulness. What emerges if I let go of attachment to outcomes and SMART goals? For instance, my intention is to create something new (it’s been stewing and brewing for a while) but I’m not going to translate that into a target up front, like: “Finish my next book by the summer”.

Trust this moment

I’m going to BE with whatever is present – instead of only focusing on everything I must DO. I’m going to trust that things will work out – instead of fearing that I won’t get enough done when I follow my energy and needs. I’m curious to see what emerges, or what important clues I get (that I may have missed in my busy-doing mindset), when I’ll be more mindful. It feels like an adventurous journey – in a way it’s letting go of (the illusion of) planning and control. I’m tired of trying to force reality into my mould according to schedules and goals.

What if I was more open and trusting toward reality? I have my intentions – but let’s see what happens when I travel in that direction: listening, feeling, sensing, checking, learning whether I’m aligned with what is present. Let’s “wise up” and go with the flow – if there is any. Or wait ashore, if there is no flow, temporarily. The tide will eventually rise again – and until it does – why not enjoy your quiet time at the beach?

How do you satisfy your need for introversion, contemplation, quiet time? People don’t learn from experience. We learn from reflection on experience.

You won’t learn from reading our newly published issue 15 of Leadership & Change magazine. Let alone quickly scanning it for “news”. You might learn from reflecting on what you’ve read, answering the journaling questions below the articles or trying to apply techniques that authors share. To discover what’s in it for you, you need to slow down and spend mindful attention:

  • Zen-writer Leo Babauta asks if you give up when things get hard? Is your life run by a 5-year old?
  • Classical conductor Jos van Immerseel shows how he is present with the orchestra he leads – while trying not to control them: “I listen to the propositions of the musicians when they play. Then I adjust. I don’t start with a fixed idea: “Mozart should sound so and so.” I see what emerges from the group and go with that.”
  • Gerald Wagner shares his calling to create workplaces where employees can’t help but smile when they tell others about their job – spreading wellbeing and happiness in organizations.
  • Christopher Bezzina explains his leadership and how he engages with students as a university lecturer.
  • Graham Williams offers tools to improve your problem solving skills.
  • Jeroen van Beele wrote a philosophical piece on a new economy where we share more.
  • Daryl Conner offers three questions to help change practitioners make changes with impact. By the way, you can join him in our upcoming webinar!


Regarding going too fast, consider this: There are three times to wake up: never, afterwards or while it is happening. As Eckhart Tolle says:

“Don’t ask, how long can I stay awake? Rather count how many times you woke up.”

  • How do you help yourself to wake up?
  • How are you? What’s your energy and needs at this moment?
  • How does your day change when you acknowledge them?

by Marcella Bremer

Editor, author & change facilitator

Four Free Webinars

Leadership & Change Magazine partnered with Nexus4Change and we’re proud to announce a series of four excellent webinars!

  • Daryl Conner (18 February - Character and Presence of change practitioners)
  • Frederic Laloux (4 March – New organizations with wholeness, purpose and self-management)
  • Marcella Bremer (25 March – Organization development and dialogue with the OCAI)
  • Jeremy Scrivens (date to be announced soon – Cultures of Kindness)

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