I recognized that I was like a mouse spinning on a wheel -- I was speeding through my day, but not really getting anywhere. I needed to cultivate the awareness to bring my attention back to what was most important. I thought I would share with you my strategies for slowing down the the runaway train that often is my life.
Unlike animals, human beings have successfully developed the capacity to think about what is not immediately going on around them and to contemplate events that happened in the past or might possibly happen in the future. While this capacity called imagination can be a blessing, it can be a curse at the same time.
For a Jewish, middle class, Montrealer, I've spent a lot of my life in the company of the Buddha. I have had an 18-year on-again, off-again relationship with the Buddha. He's been by my side during the ups and downs. I never practiced Buddhism, but I have been a student of the religion for half my life.
As a practicing family doctor, I have always been fascinated with health and healing. Over my 20-year career, I have marvelled at the resiliency of the human body. Most of us are taught that our bodies are basically stuck with a disease and there is little hope. My questioning mind and search for more has taken me down a slightly different path.
I have experienced firsthand the internal withering that comes from slinking away from a creative existence. I have also felt the expansiveness, the joy and delight that comes from choosing imagination and possibility. I don't think it's too dramatic or petulant to say that life without imagination sucks.
This time when I practiced yoga in Bombay, the honking actually relaxed me. I could feel the city's pulse as an insider and wasn't from the outside looking in. When I stood on my yoga mat high above the city, warm smoggy breeze in my hair, I felt as at peace with the honking as I would practicing yoga to the sound of crickets in a field.
With the news programs blaring the most recent political scandals, it's hard to remember that there are positive things happening in the world and leaders who are inspiring heart-centred change. It's integral that we maintain a healthy, higher perspective about what really matters and share it with our communities.
You may think yogis are as non-judgmental as some of the spiritual texts would have you believe. The reality is this is a crowded profession. At yoga festivals like this, people give you just one chance. As a presenter if you give a mediocre class or have an off day, the word of mouth that this guy's class was "just ok" will filter through the festival and attendance will be low.
I left my psychologist's couch three years ago, feeling bitter and yet relieved. "You don't have OCD," she says, "everyone has these compulsions, I wouldn't worry." And yet I was worried. As I've gotten older, the triggers have gotten worse: homework, deadlines, boyfriends, grades, lack of sleep, insomnia over quarter life crises -- you name it.
Most of what I am about to tell you is contrary to what you might have been taught or have come to believe in. I have to share this with you because it's just too good not to and because it's something that we need to place more emphasis on. It began with that one word, the one that sometimes we're even afraid to say. Are you ready?
I am trying to teach my two and half year old son how to pray. I tell him it's like talking on the phone to his grandparents but through a "heart phone." Five minutes is equivalent to four sentences of an email so invest that time being "unplugged" in nature. You may just plug into something profound.
When we have a toothache, all we want is for it to go away, and when it does we are so happy. So, Thich Nhat Hanh asks, if you don't have a toothache now, why not be aware of that, and smile? Be aware that you have two eyes that work, enough food to eat and, really, all the conditions you need to be happy.
A month ago, I started really focusing on people who are happy at work. Everywhere I go, I pay attention to who is around me. Interested in creating more happiness at work? It starts by changing your thoughts. It starts by moving out of your thinking ruts, and into a new thinking groove. Here are some examples: