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

Get out of the briar patch

It’s so important in life to do what you say you’re going to do and to be fully committed. But if you feel your energy drain when you’re in your briar patch or even think about your briar patch, it might be time to get out.

The weird thing about briar patches is they’re not all that easy to get into – whether your briar patch is a job, a house, a relationship. You worked hard to get where you are! And we all like forward motion so the tendency is to keep moving, hoping that things will magically get better. 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

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

A community takes action

This incredible story ran in yesterday’s Washington Post.

What was incredible to me was that help was on the way. Police were on the scene. But someone – one person in a large crowd of beach-goers – decided to take action. And that one person and their one decision helped save at least one if not all ten of the people, including two children, who were stuck in a horrendous riptide.

There are a number of studies that show most humans will not help if they think someone else is going to step up to the plate. Those studies say if you want help and a crowd is nearby, you need to point your finger at one specific person and ask, “Will you help me?” Continue reading

Connecting from the heart

Last weekend, I attended my daughter’s “White Coat” ceremony at Duke University. This signifies the end of Sam’s formal schooling to complete her doctorate in Physical Therapy. Now she has a year of travel to learn hands-on skills from experts in her field.

At the graduation ceremony, small teams presented posters on their specific area of study. Being a bit of a science geek, I went over early to read as many of the studies as I could. They were all cool (i.e. you are just as likely to wipe yourself out with CrossFit as you are with any other high-intensity workout), but the one I liked most was “The Role of TA (Therapeutic Alliance) in Managing Chronic Pain.”

I know that sounds like, “What?” but picture this. Continue reading