Thursday, May 22, 2014

Are you Disciplined Enough for a Meditation Practice?

I have been having a rough few months with my eating habits.  Funnily, I just developed and tested a Mind Fitness Program that helps groups make more mindful choices in their wellness! And although I have believed in choice for many years, I realized I had turned to trying to be disciplined over the last few months... and kept making unhealthy choices.

Many people that are trying to eat healthier or lose weight often use the phrase, "I should be more disciplined."  Well, I disagree.  Your discipline muscle will get tired after a while and you will give in to your cravings and old habits... UNLESS you create new habits that are meaningful for you.

You make choices in life.  You choose how to behave.  You choose what to think.  You choose to eat that chocolate bar... or not.  Being mindful means being aware of your choices... being aware of the impact they have... and not judging... yourself or others.

Practicing mindfulness is no different from eating healthy.  Your formal practice is very important for growing your mindfulness muscle, yet every single client I have had finds it difficult to meditate daily.  So do I some days!  So what is the problem?  And what is the solution?

Part of the problem is that you haven't found the reason that is meaningful for you to take on a mindfulness and meditation practice.  Is it to be healthier?  Is it so you can stop missing out on the moments in your life?  Is it so you can share it with others?  Is it so you can reduce stress?  Is it so you can be a better leader?  A calmer parent?  It doesn't matter what the reason is, you just have to have one.

Part of the problem is also that you may not truly see yourself as that kind of person.  So you try to change yourself by being disciplined.  But your discipline muscle depletes its energy and you are back to old habits because you have not truly chosen to be that kind of person.

What can you do?  Make a choice.  Choose to be a mindful person.  Choose to be that person that meditates each day.  Choose a lifestyle that works for behaving mindfully.  Choose how you design your weekly schedule and incorporate formal practice into it.  Choose to build a mindful team at work.  Choose to choose meditation.  And accept that whatever is... is.  Whatever you chose, you chose.  You can choose something different now... or tomorrow... or next month.  It's your choice!  And the outcomes from your choices are yours too.

Indeed, making the choices is not always easy - especially if you are not surrounded by like-minded people.  But guess what?  Every time you practice making the choice to be mindful, you have improved your mindfulness!  That's how it works.  Before you know it, you will believe wholeheartedly that you ARE that kind of person... the kind that meditates... or the kind that eats healthy... or the kind that rides a bike to work... or the kind that remains calm in a stressful situation.... or the kind that lives life to the fullest.... You are whatever you choose.  

So what's your choice? 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Dance Through the Laundry

I work from home.  Sometimes on Fridays I take an hour or two out of my workday to do house/personal stuff…. Run errands, fix the broken screen, tidy the toys, clean the dishes… or do laundry.

I don’t really enjoy laundry.  I stick it in the washer and dryer no problem, but I end up with mounds of clean clothes and towels at the end of the week, and I’m not too fussy about folding it all.  So I blast the music and dance while I fold.  It can be one of the most enjoyable times in my day, and I’m totally pumped to get more work done afterwards (I just finished folding five loads and am finally getting to the blog!).

I have been a dancer my entire life, although I haven’t always taken classes.  I have been known to incorporate dance into my workshops and team meetings.  Yeah, I’m one of those people.  But, really… everyone is always more energized afterwards.

So I thought…. Why not incorporate dance breaks into your work day?  It really doesn’t matter where you are or what you do.  You just have to get a song on your phone these days and start moving.  People smile and laugh, release endorphins, get the blood flowing, and tend to get focused on the moment.  Yes… get focused on the moment…. Get mindful.

I worked with a client who had laughing breaks in their workplace daily – love that idea too!  Why not dance?  Imagine the lady holding the road sign dancing while you passed?  Imagine the customer service clerk having a little shake while he answered the phone?  Imagine getting your team together for a little boogie mid-day to remember to laugh, dance, and enjoy this moment? 

The rewards go beyond having fun, being healthy, or ramping up your energy.  Getting back to the moment through movement can also lessen stress and improve creativity.  The next time you or your team are stuck on a decision or conflict is rising... dance through the laundry.

Dance on!