Life, love and everything in-between

A friend of mine and I were discussing relationships today. He shared the most breathtaking insight with me:

We build our lives together in a relationship. Our essences are entangled from the moment we commit to being a relationship; even after it disintegrates we carry a part of that person with us always. I suspect this is where our minds come in and do the comparison thing with what we have presently and with what we had in the past. They key here though is that the past is purely the past. Those moments will never be rekindled good or bad. All we can do is try and make the forward part better. Relationships are hard work. Stupid things get said, buttons are pushed. The beauty of it though is that despite all that we can choose to keep trying to be there for the other person and to commit fully to be a part of the relationship. The “enthusiasm” of a relationship ebbs and flows. The true “enthusiasm” of a relationship is to continue to be in the relationship despite the ebbs and flows.

It’s so true.

So often we can approach relationships with “small mind”. We keep track of every “wrong”, every slight hurt and slight. And we lose sight of our “big mind” which is nurturing our relationship as a whole, and giving our partner space to breathe and grow within the relationship. Without holding them accountable constantly for every small thing that they said, or did (or didn’t do!).

I try to always hold my relationships (romantic and platonic) with great metta. I’m not always successful, but I try to approach each person, and situation, with as much loving kindness and spaciousness as possible.

Because in the end you can’t “make” someone act or say or think the way you personally want them to. All you can do is giving them as much love and forgiveness and kindness as you can, and trust that they are doing the best they can at any given time.

Much love my friends ♥

Meg

Abandoned kitty

Wow, I’ve just realised how long it’s been since I posted!

I will do a catch up post soon, but first I had to share this incredible miracle that has come into my life ♥

2 days ago I found an abandoned kitten in my backyard.  

It wasn’t a complete surprise – I’d been feeding a number of stray cats for the past couple of months, and I knew that at least 2 of them were pregnant.  For whatever reason (maybe fate) they left one of the kitties in my backyard.

Words can’t describe how much I love this little cat.

She’s approximately 2 weeks old, and has required around the clock care.  2 hourly feeds, toileting, even burping!

And it’s truly been the most incredible experience.  I’m beyond grateful that I got to experience this – each moment with her is a miracle ♥

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I’m amazed by how much my heart has opened even wider in the 2 days I have had her.  

And I’m thrilled to report that she is thriving :D.  She’s feeding really well, and the vet said she’s in exceptionally good health (thanks to the food I’ve been giving the strays).

All is perfect in my little world :-)

Much love,

Meg

How much fun can we have in this lifetime?

How much fun can we have in this lifetime?

This is something I believe passionately with my whole heart – that life is all about having fun and enjoying every moment to the absolute fullest.

Life is also about learning – and it’s a constant learning.  From each experience, each encounter, good and bad.  Each relationship that doesn’t work, each friendship that dissolves.

I used to struggle being happy on my own, and had expectations when it came to meeting someone else and finding my happiness with them.

As I’ve continued on my journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, I found the perfect idea of myself and a partner to be a myth.  And it was disconcerting to turn the attention inward, rather than continue focusing outward in the hope of someone filling up emptiness that clearly wasn’t meant for him.

I’ve come to understand that I need to appreciate things as they are and find my own happiness in each moment. I am developing a connection with how short life is and am no longer feeling sorry for the relationships I endured and the ones I couldn’t make work.

For me the lessons I am coming to learn are:

Self Acceptance

Two people who are comfortable in their own skin individually can together play on the same team.

Confidence and stability in ourselves can keep insecurities in check. When insecurities do arise, having the confidence to admit it and not fear rejection is huge. Also not expecting our partner to fix it and practicing mindfulness is the key.

Friendship

Who wouldn’t want a relationship where we have our best friend by our side as we go through this life?

The one we can play and laugh with, explore, be silly, love, share, support and optimally, treat each other with that deep regard, the respect and kindness we each deserve?

It’s what gets us through the dark times, and makes the happy times truly blissful.

Lose the expectations

True happiness means we’re not relying on someone else to make our day.

It doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t do something to make us feel a sense of appreciation, excitement or passion….it means, that we’re okay whether they’re lighting our fire or something else has their focus.

Each of our worlds doesn’t revolve around what each does or doesn’t do for the other. It’s realistic; it’s not based on a fantasy of how one’s partner is supposed to act and be. It gives freedom so both of us can give and receive fully without expectations.

There’s no pushing or forcing one’s agenda on the other, because we don’t need them to be our bandaid.

Complete connection

Not only do two people who aren’t beating their partner up with their baggage have more passion for each other, but they also share a passion for life.

This type of passion is what keeps us young, looking to learn, seeing the precious, and finding the dark hidden spaces to not be so scary.

And we get to share it with our best friend!

So – how much fun can we have in this lifetime??

Awareness can shift our perception to open us to creating more possibilities (and fun!) within our relationships ♥

*  dedicated to my soulmate and best friend Dave *

Buddhism, love and marriage

“But let there be spaces in your togetherness
and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”

~ Kahlil Gibran

I read an interesting article today on the Buddhist notion of love, and it’s really made me pause and re-evaluate my concept of what love is… and what it should be.

I must admit that in love, I can turn inwards, become insular, and all consumed.  However I am coming to realise that love is really about helping one another to face outward, not merely inward.

“In the Buddhist tradition, there’s no “tying the knot.” There’s no two candles, two souls “becoming one.” Instead of facing one another, completing one another (Jerry Maguire) and living happily ever after (which only happens in fiction and even then they never show, they just tell), the Buddhist visualization of a successful marriage is this:

Two friends (who want to make out constantly) facing the same direction together, symbolically east—the direction of the rising sun—as in our awakening, fundamentally a-ok human nature. Walking the path together. Helping one another to be of benefit.

Waylon Lewis

I realise now that love is about more than the 2 people involved.  It’s about loving each other enough to give each other freedom.  And I know that’s an old cliché “If You Love Someone, Set Them Free. If They Come Back They’re Yours”.  However the older I get, and the more experience I have, the more I see the truth in this statement.

But it’s not just letting them go, it’s about giving them freedom always.

It’s about sharing life together, but apart.  Maintaining individuality whilst  nurturing a relationship.

And that’s a balance.  Too much “together” is stifling.  Too much “apart” and really what’s the point?

I guess love is about having the internal strength to say to your other half: “be free.  Do your own thing, and I will do my own thing.   I give you the space to be yourself, to do what makes you happy, and I will do the same.  And yet I will be loyal to you, to our relationship, and to our future.  At the end of the day I will come home to you, and to us “.

It’s about spending as much time nurturing yourself  as you do the relationship.  Creating a strong foundation within yourself – so that you bring strength and stability into the relationship instead of looking for that in your partner.

“PROTECT YOUR OWN HEART. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to let anyone or anything else enter there.” Gerald Rogers

Maybe this is truly the way to build a strong relationship.

 

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A Grateful Heart

Hi friends :-)

I was recently very inspired by this great article A Grateful Heart.

In this article, 52 year old John Kralik explains how he turned his life around by sending out a personal thank you note each day for 365 days.

“It took a little more than a year, but by the time I had written the 365 thank you notes I had set out to write, my life had been transformed in ways I could not have expected.”

It has really inspired me to start sending out my own thank you notes.

Too often we get wrapped up in our lives, and our problems, and fail to really stop and appreciate the blessings in our lives.

By taking the time to sit down, and thank someone, we bring not only kindness and positivity into their lives, but generate more in our own lives (and the world) as well.

So yesterday I had the pleasure of buying some beautiful stationery, and stamps, and writing out my first 3 cards.

I can’t wait to share with you all this journey.

Much love,

Meg

Thought for today ♥

I think the most profound effect of meditation is that it teaches you to listen and be patient. I think the kindest thing you can do for anyone is be completely present and listen. Listening without any intention to force yourself on a situation is so simple, but so powerful. That has a huge ripple effect beyond the person you have been patient with.

~ Rich Pierson the other half of Headspace

Slowing down time

*** An article I wrote for work :-) ***

Have you ever wondered why as you get older – and busier – that time seems to speed up?

Frequently our days go by in a blur – we wake up, work, go to sleep, and do it all over again the next day.  And so go our days, weeks, months ….

Of course the days are not actually going past any more quickly, however our perception of them makes them seem that way … but why?

Because we are not paying attention

As we fill our days with more and more, time seems to fly by more and more quickly.

Inc. Magazine recently highlighted neuroscientific research which indicates that how the brain perceives time passes determines how long or short or busy our days feel.

“Our sense of time, it turns out, isn’t even. It’s dictated by how much information we need to process — more information spells more time, which is why our younger years, when we’re processing lots and lots of new stuff, seem to pass so slowly.”

The Inc. Magazine article pointed us to a 2011 New Yorker profile of David Eagleman, a neuroscientist who studies time perception. Inc. highlighted this passage, written by Burkhard Bilger:

 

The more detailed the memory, the longer the moment seems to last. ‘This explains why we think that time speeds up when we grow older,’ Eagleman said — why childhood summers seem to go on forever, while old age slips by while we’re dozing. The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass.

So in essence, the answer to slowing down time is to notice more.

Or – in a practice that has become very trendy and popular lately – practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness involves cultivating an attention on the present moment – the “here and now”.  By practicing mindfulness we can alter our brain and it’s perception of how quickly – or slowly – time is passing.

“Mindfulness allows people to appreciate their surroundings and can lead to the feeling that time is passing more slowly,” Dr. Steven Meyers, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at Roosevelt University in Chicago, told The Huffington Post in a recent article. “Paying attention to events that are pleasant or interesting certainly can enhance our mood and allows us to savor positive experiences.”

It’s easy to lose entire days in mindless distraction – and this is how we can feel that time is flying by.  However if we practice mindfulness – noticing everything around us – our perception of time is slowed down.

So how do we practice mindfulness in daily life?

Our morning commute is a great opportunity.  How many details of the commute do you see as mundane because it happens every day?  What if you took the opportunity to see – really see – the journey with fresh eyes.  What new things can you notice and really pay attention to?  There is always something.

On my journey yesterday I was captivated by the formation of the clouds, and sat in wordless silence for nearly the entire journey just staring at them (it’s okay I was a passenger!).

Another opportunity I took last week was to practice this whilst sitting in the car waiting for my partner to finish an appointment.  I noticed the colour of the cars parked on the street.  The colours of the paint on the building, and the patterns of the shutters.  I noticed the small butterfly that was alighted on the hedge in front of me.  All small things that I could have easily missed by surfing the net on my phone instead.

 In our society, multi-tasking is king.  The more we achieve, the more we pack into a day – or weekend – the more successful we are deemed to be.

Mindfulness brings us the realisation that this is not true success.

Success is stopping to appreciate the small moments in each day – moments that we would otherwise miss in a rush of activity.

And the more aware we are of every small moment – every intricate detail of our day – the more satisfaction we will achieve, and the more time we will seem to have.

And that time is so much richer as a result.

 

Mindfulness is engaging fully with your life on a moment to moment basis.
Being mindful of the now and improving your present moment sense of comfort, tranquillity and serenity.

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Life as a learning experience

Every moment of every day is a learning experience. The good moments, the “bad” moments, the dull moments – all are an opportunity for growth.

And we can make the choice to live our lives with that belief. 

Because quite simply the way that we experience life is mostly due to our outlook, and the way that we perceive events. 

What though if we changed our perspective? 

What if we believed – truly believed – that everything that happens in our life is meant to be?  That everything is happening for a reason?

Because in the end we can choose to be a victim.  Or we can choose to have gratitude for each moment, and to learn from it.

Looking at life as an opportunity for growth, we give ourselves the opportunity to embrace each moment for what it is.

With this perspective there are no mistakes – there is only experience, and learning.

With this perspective we can move past fear, and anger and manipulation. 

We can learn and truly understand that each moment is bursting with potential – the potential for happiness and acceptance, love and understanding.

Because in the end everything happens as it is meant to.

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Quick Launch User’s Guide to Mindfulness

Originally posted on Microwave Meditations:

the present moment 1

Instructions: Apply in a moment-by-moment way, as possible and appropriate

As you attempt, cultivate, and adopt these…

  • Slow down
  • Pause
  • Breathe
  • Open
  • Observe
  • Listen
  • Give space
  • Set aside the habit to move immediately into “doing” mode

…you’ll find that there’s more often time to…

  • Relax
  • Reflect
  • Consider
  • Know how you’re feeling
  • Recognize internal dissonance, if you’re experiencing any
  • Know about your initial reaction and be able to suspend acting on it
  • Set aside the instinct to rush to immediately diagnose, fix, solve or improve

Then it becomes possible to…

  • Observe another’s face and body language, take them in clearly
  • Recognize humanness in yourself and others
  • Know dissonance without it being a problem that it’s happening
  • Recognize internal dissonance and differentiate it from interpersonal dissonance
  • Try on new perspectives
  • State facts and distinguish these from emotions, opinions and biases
  • Find what’s productive in dissonance

This can result in the opportunity…

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4 ways to connect with absolutely anyone

Through life we have to connect with all sorts of people from all walks of life.  Family, friends, co-workers, superiors, supermarket workers, service staff, and so the list goes on.

Sometimes we connect really well with people, and other times it feels like something is lacking.

On those occasions where you have trouble connecting – who do you hold responsible?

Chances are, you hold the other person responsible.  Maybe they just aren’t as intelligent as you are.  Or witty.  Or funny.

However, if you are able to meet with every person where they are at.  Whether they are the smartest person or the dimmest.  If you are able to connect with them.  And make them feel seen and heard, then that is the test of real intelligence, more than anything else.

When you meet someone new, instead of thinking “is this person worth my time”, turn it around, and think “How can I connect?  What do they care about?”

Here are some tips to make it easy to connect with absolutely anyone:

1.       Ask open-ended questions

Most people love to talk about themselves, and topics they are passionate about. If you can get them to talk about what they care about, they will usually come alive.

Ask questions that can’t be answered with a yes or no answer.

2.       Ask a follow up question

Show that you are really listening and interested by asking a great follow up question.  Ask questions that ask for more than just information – but for analysis, reflection and engagement.

3.        Watch your body language

Display that you are interested and engaged by your body language.

Lean in, make eye contact, smile and nod (without overdoing it of course).

Non-verbal cues are a huge part of our language.  And show that we are genuinely interested.

4.       Be present, and give presence

The greatest way to make a connection with someone else is to be fully present.  Not thinking about grocery shopping, or your next meeting, or your weekend plans.  But listening fully and openly with interest and respect.

 

“Connection starts long before the first interaction. Be the guy glowing with passion. Let the people around you feel your fire for the impact you want to have on the world. Prompt others to share what makes them come alive. Share in their excitement. There is no more empowering, genuine way to connect. If you don’t know the impact you dream of making, how will you know who you want in your corner to make it happen?”

Leo Babauta

Tender hearted

Hello my lovely friends :-)

It’s been quiet lately on my blog as I struggled with a number of personal issues.

As always though I am grateful for the experience.

I feel very tender hearted and “open”.  I am grateful for the chance to continue on my spiritual path.

I’m also reading a truly beautiful book on blessings, which has come at the perfect time in my life.

How are you all?

Heartfelt blessings,
Meg

A Design So Vast

I really love this blog – A Design So Vast.

Today the author – Lindsey – answered some questions about herself.  They were such meaningful questions that I wanted to share my answers.  I would love to hear your answers too! :-)

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Loneliness.  There is something indescribably heart-breaking about facing a tough battle and discovering that you are completely alone.  If I had one wish for the world, it would be that no one would ever feel alone.

Where would you like to live?

I don’t have any specific place – I would make the most of wherever I am.  I think there is always something to experience and appreciate no matter where you are.  And something you can learn, and people you can help.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?

Making someone else smile.  Kissing my sleeping little man as I go to bed. A hot cup of tea.  Meditation.  Really connecting with another living being – whether it’s a person or animal.  For me particularly if it’s an animal – it seems like time stops.

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?

People who have made mistakes that they regret.  I feel an incredible empathy, as everyone makes mistakes, and is entitled to another chance.  

Who are your favourite characters in history?

I’m actually not very knowledge about history – one of my biggest failings I guess.  It’s just something I have never been interested in.

Who are your favourite heroines in real life?

Audrey Hepburn – without a doubt.  She has been my idol for as long as I can remember – she is feminine, and kind, and gentle and classy.  She speaks beautifully and just radiates an innocence.

Your favourite painter?

Van Gough.  My favourite painting of his is Starry Night, closely followed by Starry Night Over the Rhone.

Your favourite musician?

I’m not sure I could narrow it down to one.  My favourites would be:  Chris Martin (from Coldplay), Bono, Jeff Buckley, Paul Simon and Billy Joel.

The qualities you most admire in a man?

Kindness, humour, the ability to make me feel safe and cared for, and a sense of fun.

The qualities you most admire in a woman?

Independence, Elegance, Softness.

Your favourite virtue?

Honesty, Integrity, Compassion.

Your favourite occupation?

A carer or therapist.

Who would you have liked to be?

A Buddhist Nun.  Failing that, I would have liked to have had a very simple, and honest life as a housewife/mother.  Raising children, looking after my partner, and volunteering in the community.

I would LOVE to hear you answers to these questions.

Blessings,

Meg

A Writer, a Plumber and a Plan to Save the Planet

I just had the good fortune to read a wonderful story about a man saving the planet – one leaky tap at a time.

It amazes and humbles me the wonderful people that are out there in this world.  It certainly gives me great faith in humanity when I read stories like this:

A Writer, a Plumber and a Plan to Save the Planet

Aabid Surti is an odd character. A few years ago, the angular, bearded author was invited to meet the President of India to receive a national award for literature at a ceremony in the capital, New Delhi. He politely declined. Absorbed in writing the first draft of his new novel, he cited the reason that he did not have time. But what he has made time for every Sunday for seven years now, is going door-to-door in Mira Road, a non-descript suburb of Mumbai, with a plumber in tow, asking residents if they need their tap fixed for free!

In 2007, he was sitting in a friend’s house and noticed a leaky tap. It bothered him. When he pointed it out, his friend, like others, dismissed it casually: it was too expensive and inconvenient to call a plumber for such a minor job – even plumbers resisted coming to only replace old gaskets.

A few days later, he came across a statistic in the newspaper: a tap that drips once every second wastes a thousand litres of water in a month. That triggered an idea. He would take a plumber from door to door and fix taps for free – one apartment complex every weekend.

To read the full story, click here.

What do we REALLY need in life

After our basic needs are met, then what becomes important?

I was giving this question some thought today after listening to another Gil Fronsdal dharma talk.

In it he discusses the “4 requisites” which is what all humans need to feel safe and healthy.  And those 4 requisites are:  enough food to live, shelter, adequate clothing, and medicine.

These 4 requisites can be met quite simply.  They key though is what becomes important after these basics are met.

Is it important to you to get a bigger house?  A better car?  A more important job?

Personally I believe that once these basic needs are met, there are 2 important factors to build our lives on – caring for others, and caring for ourselves.

By focusing on our own egos and trying to pursue “more” and “greater” we are just leading ourselves to greater disharmony.  Whereas by concentrating on others, and others happiness, we inadvertently find our own happiness.

And it’s a happiness as a result of a life of service and selflessness.

There is so much good we can do in the world, by living a life of kindness and compassion.  

Once our basic needs are met, and we are safe and healthy, I believe it’s time to start giving ourselves to helping others, and making a difference in the world.

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Jessie’s Joy Jars

This is just so incredibly beautiful:

 

Jessie Rees was diagnosed with an inoperable and incurable brain tumor at age 11. As part of an outpatient clinical trial, she was asked to undergo 30 days of radiation and chemotherapy. When she found out that some of the kids in the cancer ward did not get to go home everyday, she decided to do something to cheer them up and give them hope, and Jessie’s Joy Jars was born. Before Jessie died a little over 10 months later, she had distributed 3,000 Joy Jars. The Foundation set up in her name has continued her wish and has distributed more than 50,000 Joy Jars to children all over the world.

Reach out – BE the kindness

I’m inspired to write this today after the support and friendship of 2 very special people: Jonathan Hilton and Russ Towne.

I’m acutely aware of the suffering around me at the moment.  I don’t know why, but many people seem to be having a hard time, and are not themselves.

It’s at these times that sharing love and kindness and compassion is even more important.

Who can you reach out to today?

It doesn’t take much.  A smile.  A hug.  A kind word.

It can mean the world to someone who is suffering.

 

Kindness Connection

It happens every time
I experience 
Love in Action
Whether it’s
Kindness to me
From me
Or to others by others
I feel a connection
To humankind
The spirit within me
And the universe
That makes my heart smile
Fills me with gratitude
To be alive
And part of it all.
–Russ Towne

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Things I love today

It’s Friday afternoon, I’m feeling incredibly grateful and happy, and wanted to share my favourite things today :-)

♥  Having good health, and energy and vitality.  I’m feeling so good at the moment – I’m eating really well, juicing (love it!!), and exercising.  I am just so grateful that I am able to do this.  At the moment I am training for an obstacle course/endurance event towards the end of the year. I’m competing with my 70+ year old best friend (she is AMAZING!).

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Me (photo by my little man)

♥  This beautiful BEAUTIFUL piece of music.  Perhaps my favourite ever.

♥  A quiet Friday evening, sushi for dinner, a cool breeze blowing through the open window, and the sound of birds having their last flight for the day.

What are you finding happiness in today?

Blessings,

Meg

istopforsuffering:

Thank you Lisa! This is beautiful ♥

Originally posted on Gems of Delight:

turquoise-headerI don’t remember the first time I paused and softly smiled upon hearing the word, “delight.”  Maybe it was when my mom said, “How about you write what’s on your heart and call it ‘Gems of Delight’?”  As moms usually do, she knew what was on my heart before I could consciously name it.

Delight.

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Our true nature is filled with delight,” I wrote on the Barefoot Barn’s website nine years ago and it is still there today.  Look at any little kiddo.  Everything delights them – everyday things like the “magic” of peek-a-boo, their own toes, your silly faces, the dog’s huge tongue, going big poops in the potty…you name it.  Delight can be lowkey, content, an inner soft smile.  It doesn’t have to be verbose or grand.  Just a deep sense of lightness and contentment.

Delight FEELS good.  When we take delight in something, we…

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How mindfulness can increase company profits

*** A blog post I wrote for work :-) ***

Mindfulness has become a popular and fashionable word in recent times. 

The mindful workplace is gaining popularity in leadership development with forward-thinking public and private sector firms such as Transport for London, Google, Harvard Business School, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the Home Office and Toyota.

But what is it exactly?  And how can it help your practice?

In today’s blog post we will focus on these key questions.

 

Our minds are our most important tool. Being emotionally intelligent and self-aware are important for so many reasons, not least because they equip you to take action.

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What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness, quite simply, is the act of focused awareness on the flow of the present moment.

It brings out attention from the past, or the future, right here into “now”, so that we can be fully conscious of what we are doing, and what is going on around us.

How often have driven our cars somewhere, and had no memory of the drive itself?  Or walked into the shops, and then had to go back to our car to make sure we locked it (because we had no memory of doing it)?  These are examples of mindlessness.  At the time we were likely caught up in our own thoughts.  And as a result we completely missed what was happening in the moment.

It’s natural that we want to spend time thinking about past or future events.  We want to analyse the past so that we can learn from those experiences, and we want to plan for the future. 

However, as in all things, we need balance.  We have to find the “middle way”.

 

The Benefits of Mindfulness at work

Mindfulness can help us learn to manage our minds, to improve workplace resilience, focus and concentration, leading to improved performance and productivity. It’s like training a muscle – training attention to where you want it to be. 

With regular mindfulness you can:

  • Calm your mind on demand
  • Improve your concentration and creativity
  • Perceive mental and emotional processes with increased clarity
  • Develop optimism and resilience necessary to thrive
  • Increase empathy

 

And how does this relate to our work?

Greater Focus

In life, and in work, one of our biggest challenges to productivity is distraction.  And not just the phone ringing, but the distractions that our minds present us with.

We may be trying to focus on one pressing task, when we remember the 12 others that are also demanding our urgent attention.

Whilst thinking about that, it occurs to us that we should really check our email.  And since we are checking our email, we might as well check our social media accounts.  And then, we may as well make that cup of coffee since we are distracted anyway.  And so goes our entire day – in a frantic whirl of doing not much at all.

With mindfulness we learn to concentrate on one task at a time with calmness and focus.

And remember:  When you’re calmly focused on a single task, your brainpower is multiplied. Whilst it may seem more productive to multi-task, in fact it often reduces our efficiency.

 

Build better client relationships

Notice the difference when you phone client away from your computer or any other distractions.

When your only focus is listening intently to what someone is saying, you’re likely to make them feel that the conversation is important to you.

Making a genuine connection with your clients helps you build trusted relationships – by being mindful in the way you interact with your customers will have a positive impact on your business.

 

Improve memory function

Next time you meet someone new – whether it’s a client, or a new business colleague – listen ‘mindfully’ when they say their name. Pay proper attention to the conversation and bring your mind back when you find it wandering. You’ll be surprised at how much you remember about that person next time you meet them and how good your overall memory becomes!

 

Stress Reduction

A lot of stress is brought about through worry of possible negative future scenarios.  If we were to live completely in the present we would not suffer from this stress.

Stressing about future scenarios that haven’t happened is a pointless habit; with mindfulness we can redirect these negative and worrying thoughts back to the present moment and remind ourselves that the future hasn’t happened and so far is not controlling our present circumstances.

With mindfulness we can bring our focus back to the present.  Where are we now?  What’s happening in this moment (certainly not what we are worrying about).  And it may actually never happen, and we will have wasted our time and energy, and missed out on what WAS actually happening while we were worrying about the future.

 

How do we practice mindfulness?

Personal productivity begins with mindfulness, and mindfulness begins with controlling our attention. Mindfulness is our most important defence against the constant onslaught of demands on our attention.

Mindfulness means to pay attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.

 

Mindfulness meditation

Begin your own mindfulness meditation practice.

Find a quiet place, then focus your mind on the present moment. Don’t think of other things, but sit in silence. Begin with ten minutes and meditate daily. Be aware of your thoughts, but be willing to release them and stop thinking about or focusing on them.

 

Mindful Hand Awareness Exercise

Grasp your hands really tight and hold for a 5 to 10 seconds, then release and pay attention to how your hands feel. Keep your attention focused on the feeling for as long as you can.

 

Mental Focus Exercise

Stare at any object and try to remain focused on just that object for as long as possible. Keep a mental watch on when your mind starts to wander, then just bring it back to the object. The longer you can remain focused, the more your mindfulness will increase.

 

Candle Staring Exercise

Stare at a candle flame for ten minutes straight while studying everything you can about it. When your mind wanders, become aware of where it’s going, then bring it back to the candle flame.

 

You can also practice mindfulness outside of meditation. Be aware of your body, your emotions, and what is happening at that moment. Notice sensations. Reduce distractions and busyness, and practice living in the moment.

 

Here is a short video on how to practice mindfulness.

 

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Take this moment to remember that the future hasn’t happened, the past is gone and the wonderful present, is all we have and all that is guaranteed. Make sure you are part of each moment and experience the gift that is Now.

 

 

Practice and livelihood

Does your job cause benefit to others?  Is it beneficial?  Does it improve people’s lives?

This week I am focusing on the concept of “right livelihood”.

It is an area that I am having difficulty with.  I don’t harm anybody as a result of my employment, however am I benefiting anyone?

I was listening though to an interesting talk though by Gil Fronsdal, and he explored the concept that it isn’t just what we do, but HOW we do it.

We can carry out our work in such a way that our attitude and behaviour enriches the lives of those around us – our co-workers, and those we come into contact with as a result of our work.

We can work with positivity, kindness and joy.  And with gentle calmness and a sense of personal ethics.  Our work can be full of dignity and compassion.  And we can move the people around us with a sense of contentment and piece.

Our job may not itself be beneficial, but the way that we do it enriches people’s lives.

He also asked the question, “How does my livelihood support my practice?”

I would like to pose this question as well:

“How does my practice support my livelihood?”

I – like many others – don’t have the luxury of throwing in my jobs to go on a quest for the perfect job that fits the definition of “right livelihood”.  And nor would I want to anyway.  I enjoy and value my jobs.  I design and build websites, I am a personal assistant, and I also teach (and write about) personal development.

My goal this week is to use my practice to support my livelihood.  To benefit others not through what I am doing, but how I am doing it.

To bring mindfulness and kindness to my work life as well as my personal life.

I am interested to hear your experiences.

Are you satisfied with your job?  Do you feel it contributes to society?  Have you thrown it in to pursue something more altruistic?  

Meg

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