As I raced towards the Pavilion Café in Victoria Park stressed and cursing myself for arranging another meeting in an already full day, I frantically texted Karen to let her know I was running late.
“Great, see you in a moment. No need to rush,” came the reply.
No need to rush. Just those few words were the start of a rather transformative hour – purely the result of talking and walking in the crisp January day around one of East London’s finest green spaces.
Karen Liebenguth is a life coach and mindfulness specialist, Hamburg-born, adoptive native of East London since 2001 and one of the most calming influences I’ve encountered in years.
We talked about the myriad pressures and the feeling of panic when being pulled in so many different directions. ALL THE TIME. Your kids, your boss, your clients, nurturing multiple social groups, forcing yourself to go to the gym, your partner… and then you try and eat well, take in some culture and arrange holidays and have to work late.
And then one thing in a packed schedule falls over. And then the knock-on effect is compounded several-fold.
It’s never lost on me, the irony when someone tells you they are too busy to meditate, or too stressed to exercise. I shouted at a very well-meaning friend the other day for suggesting I’d have a clearer head if I managed to squeeze in just a 20-minute run every other day.
“I. HAVEN’T. GOT. TIME! Not right now!”
Now, of course, he was right. And it was a wake-up call to the bigger picture of what’s going on in life right now.
But there are days when you genuinely don’t have time to run around the block, or get to the gym, or meditate for 20 minutes. Which is where Karen suggested the Mindful Minute.
When the pressure is getting to a situation or you are at risk of firing off an email in the heat of the moment, or you feel like your To Do list is caving in on you, just take one minute, she advised.
Breathe. In. And out. For one minute.
And everything seems somewhat more manageable again