Taking time to ponder

Do you wake up to an alarm? If you do, you may be missing some of your best thinking time. When an alarm goes off, your mind is jarred and any thoughts are generally lost. If you can get to bed early enough to get a solid night’s sleep without waking up to alarm, it’s fun to let your mind wander before you jump out of bed.

“Theta time” is when you’re kind of groggy but awake. If you can push yourself to stay in bed and float for 10, 20, or even 30 minutes, you might be surprised what you come up with. Continue reading

The glass is already broken

When I’m feeling too attached to something – an object, a person, or an outcome – I meditate on the Buddhist saying, “The glass is already broken.”

When you start to sweat the small stuff, and remember that it’s all small stuff, you have to know that this will pass. We’re in a constant state of change with new beginnings and new endings every day.

And, like the glass, we’re here for a short time. Continue reading

The art of deciding

You may think you make a lot of decisions, but most of what you do each day is driven by habit. What time you get up. What you eat for breakfast. What you do for exercise. How you get to work. Even the conversations you have can be driven by habit. “You say this. Then I say that. Then you say this.”

So it’s no surprise that when you have to make a decision, it can be hard on your brain and rather unsettling – especially if it’s a decision that leads to big changes – like where you live. Or go to school. Or who you date or marry. Or what you do for work.

I like living a Zen life and feeling unsettled is very un-Zen. So how do we make decisions easier? Continue reading

Ideas for a 30-day challenge

I’m teaching a class this winter and have been toying with the idea of making it a 30-day challenge. When I found this graphic on the web last week, I thought, “This is it! I’ll do a 30-day declutter challenge.”

I gave this a little more thought and decided no one could declutter for 30 days straight without losing their mind. I mean, I like decluttering and this chart looks daunting.

That got me thinking about other 30-day challenges. Continue reading

Practicing loving kindness

I met Broadway actor and writer John Cariani a few weeks ago at a writing workshop. I sat in the front row and was so delighted to be there, John asked if he knew me. I assured him he did not. I knew him from seeing him on Broadway but I was pretty sure he had not noticed me in an audience of about a thousand people.

Partway through the class, John asked me again, confused. “Do we know one another?”

I smiled. “Nope!” Continue reading

When you’re having a bad day…

I’m just finishing an audio version of Sharon Salzberg’s book Real Happiness at Work. Sharon’s focus, as always, is on practicing loving kindness.

Here are three tips ¬†from Sharon if you’re having a bad day: Continue reading

Listening to silence

I’m listening to Eckhardt Tolle’s audio book Peace in the Present Moment. Being present and having a clear intent about how you spend your time is only a small part of what I talk about in my Organizational Zen presentations – so it’s awesome to hear six or seven hours on this one topic!

My big takeaway yesterday was on silence. We all know we could use more of it – but then what do we do with it? In our society, silence is an uncomfortable state. If you’re at a meeting or a party where everyone is quiet, there’s almost a race to fill the void with talking, a joke, data… Or when we get home to turn on the radio or TV. It almost feels sinful to be caught somewhere without something to do or something to think about or to listen to. When we have a quiet minute, we grab our phones or a magazine or a book. We dare not be caught in a moment of silence! Continue reading