Some stress in the office

My call is today.  Feeling nervous.  The guy is an expert in the field.  What do I have to offer?  Nervousness is creeping in...

[This post is about using a 3 minute meditation to ease a stressful situation.  By becoming more present to the experience in hand one notices the stress manifesting in the body.  Attending to it, in a curious almost impartial way, paradoxically can make it ease up - a simple yet challenging trick.]


...Nervousness is creeping in, spreading up the back and shoulders.  Eyes are straining,  shaped by my emotional state.


How will I start?  A friendly hello?  Act busy?  I know that my nervousness will be communicated.  Even if I bluff for the first few minutes it will slowly permeate through.  How can I come across as a peer, when I’m a fish out of water?


A bitter taste at the back of the throat.  A subtle grimace spreading across the mouth: dread.  Showing itself at my doorstep.  I hope it stays subtle, I hope it doesn’t grow.


In 15 minutes it will be 12pm: crunch time.  In 15 minutes it will be live.  At least I’m also closer to the time it will be over.  The anticipation is now growing, every minute.  Acutely unpleasant.  Why did I instigate this situation?  Why did I bring it to myself?  So I can build a relationship?  What, with an awkward conversation?


Ok I must go and compose myself.  Become more mindful.  Off to a quiet empty meeting room.  I close myself in.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Feel the breath. Yes, make it a bit deeper: it really is shallow.  Breathe.  Breathe.  I-i-in.  O-u-u-t.  Mindfulness of breath.  I-i-n.  Soft, subtle pressure: the contact of the shirt on the lower chest.  O-u-ut. Reduced tightness on the belt; breathing more from the belly now.


An almost pleasant sensation on the solar plexus:  permeating now, spreading like the warmth of a radiator.  Yes, it’s actually nice: some peace in the sea of tension.  In fact my back is no longer tense.  What time is it?  5 more mins.  Ok.  Good.  I’m relaxed.  Stay on the breath.  Don’t think about the call.  Stop hypothesising.  What will be will be.  Be present.  Allow the clarity to bring greater attention and perception to the nuances of the conversation.  Ok.  I’m here.  Eyes have relaxed.  Relaxed.  Light.  Leaving the room, walking back.  Breathe.  I-in, O-u-t.


At my desk now.  It’s crunch time.  Headpiece on.  Dial.  Ring.  Ring.


“Hello Michael*.  It’s John.”

“John, how are you doing?”

“Very well.  You’ve got an interesting accent my friend.  I sense Mediterranean.”

“Yes, yes…”

A smooth rapport.  Natural.  Flowing.  Chat, banter, move to business.  Clear head.  We're two friends having a conversation.  Yes, there are a couple of things worth following up on.  It’s gone well.  It’s gone well.  Feeling great.  Look forward to meeting up at the conference in Paris.


* Name has been changed.

Author: JD