I like looking forward to vacation. It brings me pleasure. I think there’s value in always having a vacation on the calendar.
I coach a lot of people who are too busy to schedule a vacation. They can’t do it before May because every week is already booked. They can’t do it May through August because they know that’s a busy season. September school starts up again. Etc. etc. etc.
Schedule it for February 2014.
Schedule it for 2020.
I don’t care. Just put it on the calendar.
(And if money is an issue today, try a stacation and/or put the next vacation down for when you suspect you’ll have the money for it.)
We too often equate happy and satisfied.
They aren’t the same thing.
You didn’t get the big sale, promotion, or whatever? It’s okay to be unsatisfied, to hunger for more. It’s also okay to be happy at the same time. I’d even say it’s advisable.
Monkey Mind is a common label in eastern philosophy referring to the way our minds race from one topic to the next, never settling down to just rest. Our monkey minds race when we wake up in the middle of the night. The monkey is hard at work during the day, telling you to worry about your work or your family, convincing you you’ve forgotten something, reminding you of your mistakes.
The monkey takes many forms.
I find (with myself and my clients) that the normal response to the monkey is to fight against it, to attempt to override it, to get it to stop somehow. But the monkey never stops.
Instead, I’ve been trying a different approach with some success (again with both myself and my clients). I express appreciation.
So when the monkey tells me to worry, whether at 2 AM or 2 PM, I say, “Thank you Monkey” (not out loud). Then I focus on my breathing or whatever else I’d rather pay attention to. If the monkey jumps right back up, I repeat, “Thank you Monkey.” I’ll do it once or twice or 10 times or more if I have to. The goal is to say thank you with as much calm and sincerity as possible and then refocus.
And I find that the monkey is calmed by appreciation. When I shout at the monkey to just be quiet, he comes back louder than ever. When I thank him, he usually goes away and leaves me in peace.
8 Minute Meditation by Victor Davich, was the seventh book from my 2012 reading list. (It is a beginner’s how-to type meditation book.)
I loved this book! Despite some rather hokey language and explanations at the start, if you’ve ever wanted to try meditation but didn’t know how, this is the book. If you’ve ever tried meditation and didn’t know if you were doing it right, this is the book for you.
This book offers eight weeks of meditation (a different type each week) at 8 minutes per day. I really like how he gives the reader the experience of a variety of techniques. And more than anything, I like how accessible he makes meditation.
Here’s example #1: There is only one measure of whether or not you had a good meditation session – did you have it? So long as you made some attempt, that is the only measure. So it was a good meditation session if:
- your mind was distracted
- you stopped early
- you spent the whole time wishing it was over
- you forgot how you were supposed to sit
- you sang a jingle the whole time
It doesn’t matter. So long as you sat down and made the attempt. There will be better and worse meditations, but Davich’s encouragement is loud and clear. Just keep trying. And why not? Meditation only
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces chronic pain
- Reduces stress and anxiety
So give it a try. In this case, try is a guarantee of success.
What if you are not alone?
What if others are more like you than you have ever allowed yourself to believe?
What if you are more like them?
What if every mistake you’ve ever made, so have they?
What if every mistake that aggravates you in others, you’ve made yourself?
What kind of forgiveness would you ask for? To whom could you offer more forgiveness today?
Most people, in most situations, aren’t thinking too deeply about what they are doing.
That may not sound worthy of a news flash to you. But stop and think about it.
We act out of habit and routine and what’s comfortable and normal. This doesn’t mean we don’t try to do what’s right. But most of the time our brains make the decisions about what to do, about what is right to be done, by simply channeling us toward the behaviors we use most commonly.
So we constantly revert to our natural state of being. No problem.
Unless the situation is unnatural. When something unusual occurs our normal behaviors might not suffice. Other people’s normal behavior might hurt or anger us when normally it wouldn’t.
In times of stress it is especially important to pay attention. Notice where your natural state pulls you. And sometime, act unnatural.