Shuli Passow is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, Class XVI.  She is a second year rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary and serves as boardchair of the Jewish Meditation Center of Brooklyn,,  She can be reached at

Facing a difficult challenge at work, I launched an effort to solve the problem.  I thought things over for several days.  Wrote in my journal.  Consulted with friends and colleagues.  When a vulturous frenzy of brain-picking yielded no results, I took a different tactic. Seated on my meditation cushion, I gave myself permission to stop thinking.  For five minutes, I released myself from the clamoring urgency of finding a solution.

 Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

Within two minutes, a solution emerged, of its own accord.

The rhythm of our Jewish week insightfully mandates space to breathe.  Yet I have found that Shabbat, on its own, is not enough; daily moments of pause are a necessary and powerful component of my vision of leadership.  

“You cannot make a decision,” an unlikely source of wisdom once suggested to me.  “Instead, you must arrive at a decision.”  In the silence of my sit, I had given myself the space to arrive.