Now things are pretty crazy and off-kilter.
Now folks who still have jobs are mostly working from home.
Now kids are out of school.
Now couples and children, siblings and sometimes cousins, basically families, are together, all day, everyday. Planning for, prepping, serving and cleaning up after three meals a day, everyday, for the forseeable future can feel daunting. It’s a lot to manage.
Now lots of folks are dealing with the illness and death of loved ones.
Now might be a good time for quiet meditation.
Back in 1991, when we began homeschooling Charles, Damon, and Evan, CMadison and I already were fully entrenched in building PN&A, Inc. www.nabrit.com/pna. And it wasn’t a “side hustle” or “Plan B”. PN&A, Inc. was and remains the singular source of income for this household. Our sons grew up hearing their Dad say “We only eat what we hunt and kill.”
We launched in 1986 and have remained in continuous operation since, partly because of a “less is more” business model. We provide research, analysis, writing, training, and coaching all of which are delivered to clients at their location(s). We determined there was no need for the inelastic expense of external office space or administrative support when market demand for our services is inherently elastic, so we’ve always been a home-based business. The owners and principals of this firm, i.e., me and CMadison never just show up for “platform hours” to present. We also manage multiple federal and private sector contracts, do marketing, invoicing, photocopying, and collating, we purchase office supplies, make travel arrangements and handle collections as needed. And we continued to do that during CMadison’s illness and death.
It can be stressful and folks often asked how CMadison and I could live together and work together.
Now might be a good time to share one of our secrets: Meditation. With so many people working remotely from home, in close and relentless proximity with one another, and one’s spawn now might be a good time to practice quiet meditation.
We began homeschooling in a pre-existing entrepreneurial space. We continued homeschooling in that space until Charles and Damon were admitted to Princeton and Evan was admitted to Amherst. We continued in that space as first Damon and then Charles joined the firm as independent contractors and Evan provided design services as needed. We continued in that space when CMadison became gravely ill from diabetic complications and we continued in that space when our hearts were broken at his death in 2013.
Just like homeschooling, strategic planning and implementation for a multigenerational family business require a certain level of flexibility and patience with the here and now and the unpredictable future. For folks thinking about adding an entrepreneurial endeavor, now is a good time for quiet meditation.
In the midst of uncertainty and unrest caused by COVID-19, now is a good time to reflect on the benefits of meditation. From the time our boys were toddlers we practiced “Quiet Time” in our home. Quiet time is not punishment. Learning to sit, to be still and to be quiet is a phenomenal gift we have shared with one another within our family. And it is critical if we want to hear the still, small voice of God. Now, as news from around the world changes almost hourly, now as more and more, often conflicting information is shared, now as the cost-benefit analysis of questionable decision-making from suspect sources elevates the risk factors to previously unimaginable levels, now is a good time for quiet meditation so we can hear that critical still, small voice.
Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
I am 4th generation Apostolic, Pentecostal so quiet time in church was not a big part of my experience as a child. But quiet time was something CMadison and I wanted to be a part of our children’s lives at home. When they were little, a 5-year-old Charles, often the spokesperson of the child team (not to be confused with the parent team) and the one most likely to directly challenge us asked “Why do we have to be quiet? What are we supposed to hear?” I simply told him “Just listen and see what the Spirit says.” Thankfully, he was young enough to be intrigued by the counter-challenge. Of course, when they were very little guys, quiet meditation was literally just 2 minutes, 120 seconds. But that time grew as they did and by the time they went to kindergarten, much less by the time we began homeschooling them, they knew how to meditate, how to be still, and how to be silent.
Now is a good time for all of us to meditate, to be still, to be silent and to see what the Spirit says. We are surprised and dismayed at what is unfolding day-by-day, right before our very eyes. But guess who’s not surprised? The One who knows the end from the beginning. The One who can lead, guide and direct. Now is a good time to listen for the still, small voice. Now is a good time to meditate.