Can you have a quiet mind even when you’re really busy?

Most of us live in the illusion that it’s difficult to have a quiet mind if you are really busy. We have grown accustomed to the idea that busy-mindedness is a natural consequence of being busy. There is an implicit assumption that some amount of stress, pressure, and tension simply go with the territory of having a lot to do.

Well, it ain’t necessarily so. There is no inherent stress, tension, or pressure in having a lot to do. The stress, pressure, and tension come 100% from Thought, not from circumstances.

Given that many of us live in a culture of busy-mindedness and are steeped in the habit of expecting a busy mind to go with a busy life, it is natural that we would fall for the illusion that the stress, tension, and pressure are coming from the outside. But they just aren’t.

You can “do busy” without being busy-minded

Most of us live in the illusion that it’s difficult to have a quiet mind if you are really busy. We have grown accustomed to the idea that busy-mindedness is a natural consequence of being busy. There is an implicit assumption that some amount of stress, pressure, and tension simply go with the territory of having a lot to do.

But stress and busy-mindedness don’t come from having a lot to do

Stress, tension, and pressure are not an inevitable product of having a lot to do. The stress, pressure, and tension that we feel, when we feel them, come 100% from Thought, not from circumstances.

You can test this for yourself

Most of us can readily think of times when it seemed like stress was coming to us courtesy of our circumstances. Yet when my clients give themselves space to reflect, they invariably find instances when they were extremely productive and juggling multiple calls on their time and attention without being busy-minded.

That couldn’t ever happen if stress was actually inherent in certain situations, experiences, or circumstances.

It’s easy to overlook

We may overlook the absence of stress for the simple reason that we aren’t wired to notice what isn’t there. Yet the more you reflect, the more you are likely to observe multiple times each week when you handle what is right in front of you in the moment without being preoccupied by all the other possible things you might be doing, have just done, or could be doing next.

Play with it

Play with it. See if you can recall times when you have had a quiet mind even though you have had a lot to do. Then see if you can remember times when you have had a busy mind with lots of stress and tension even though you didn’t necessarily have a lot to do. (Don’t get me started!)

Then tell me what you observe. As always I welcome your comments, questions, and push back. If this has been helpful, please share it with friends and colleagues.

If you’d like to do more with less busy-mindedness, check out The Art of Living

The Art of Living is a 12-week encounter with the possibility of high engagement and low stress. In a small group (maximum 12), we will tap the deeper intelligence available to every human being, an intelligence that will guide you in the creation of what you want in life, whether you think it is possible at the outset or not.

Starts November 9, 2017Click here for details.

 

Overwhelm is optional (really!)

Overwhelm is optional—really

If a surfer riding the crest of a wave obsesses about the last six waves or the next six waves, she’s certain to wipe out.

Yet human beings do this all the time when we (yes, me too!) innocently generate overwhelm.

The illusion of overwhelm

Most of us live in the illusion that overwhelm comes from overwhelming circumstances. We think that our jammed mental circuits, tight shoulders, irritability, and confusion are inevitable and natural consequences of the situations we face.

But that’s just not so.

Overwhelm comes to us courtesy of thought, not the world

Overwhelm is the product of overwhelming thought, not overwhelming circumstances.

Consider surfing.

If overwhelm were the natural byproduct of circumstances, every surfer would be utterly and completely freaked out by the ocean all the time.

I mean really, what’s more freaking overwhelming than the ocean and wind?

Successful surfers only focus on one wave at a time

A surfer who succeeds isn’t thinking about yesterday’s waves or tomorrow’s weather. She succeeds and improves to the extent that she pays attention right here, right now, and allows herself to be educated by the experience.

The surfer who stays in the moment learns naturally and organically on multiple levels as she gains experience. If she overanalyzes that experience, she’s going to gum up the works, stop learning, and perform poorly. (In golf this is known as the yips.)

Overwhelm arises from using the small personal mind to do a job it isn’t designed to do

Overwhelm arises when we try to think our way through situations that we are designed to live our way through.

When we live in the moment, life educates us in exactly the ways we require to meet whatever life is serving up. Like babies learning to walk and talk, life invites us to whole body, whole mind, whole spirit learning.

So long as we come back to the wave we are on right now.

Talk back

Play with this. Reflect on your experience. Where do you notice you or someone around you learning and growing organically? And where do you see you or someone else gum up the works by trying too hard or getting hung up on the past or the future? Play with the possibility that you are designed to do life with less mental effort than you may think.

Let me know what you notice in the comments at the bottom of this page, or email me.

Check out The Art of Living

How would it be to really see that you are perfectly designed to do life? If that sounds good, check out The Art of Living. It’s starts November 9, and three of 12 places are already spoken for.

How to rock the game of life

This video is a bit longer than usual. It’s all about the freedom we have to make up whatever game we choose to play in life from what matters to what we create to how we keep score. We can’t control the outcomes, but we have infinite choice over the inputs. When we shift our focus from outcomes to inputs, we see that rocking the game of life is more like making art than it is about winning races. Along the way I touch on choosing to work on a gift basis and marrying The Charming Prince. I enjoyed sharing this ride with you, and I hope it leaves you with a good feeling for how much freedom, possibility, and joy are available to you. ♥

How to clear a mental logjam

When we don’t know what to do it is easy to get caught up in a mental logjam. The harder we think and the more things we come up with, the worse it gets. What’s happening is that we’re trying to shift gears without going into neutral. The remedy is to see what we’re doing, stop grinding, and allow the choice of what gear to try next to arise from a neutral place.

Would you like to see even more clearly how to get clear of mental logjams and shift into a meaningful, productive, and joyful gear? Check out The Art of Living: Creating Magic and Meaning in Life and Work. Starts July 5.

Just say YES

The end of one year and beginning of another is often a time of reflection and goal setting. We look back at the year and assess ourselves and our accomplishments, and we look ahead and consider what we want to create or achieve. We may consider what qualities we want to cultivate, what values we want to express, and what we would like to have to show at the end of the year for our efforts.

This reflection and intention setting can be immensely valuable, yet it can also be a trap. We can fall under the spell of self-importance.

This spell may cast a shadow, and in that shadow it will seem that you are not now and never will be enough.

Or it may create a glow so bright that you are impelled to dream up ever bigger, brighter goals without noticing that you are losing touch with your heart.

Whether the spell tricks you into playing small or playing huge, it distracts you from an inner spark, which wants only one thing: that you say yes to life.

Saying yes will sometimes lead to small things and sometimes to large. Wherever it leads, the value of what you are up to in the year ahead will not be determined by the size or scope or apparent importance of your activities. It will be determined by the quality of your YES.

In the weeks and months ahead, I wish you time and space to discover and nurture that spark. To experiment with saying YES in matters large and small.

Because your YES matters, and you are the only one who can utter it.

Is your work is calling…

…but somehow the call isn’t turning into action?

Sometimes you feel the call to show up for your work or business this year, but you aren’t quite sure how to do it. Whether it’s not being clear about what to do or not quite having the confidence to put your choices into action, you need a little help.

The Come Alive and Do the Thing! Mastermind group is designed to help you pick up the phone already.

It’s about answering the call in big and little ways, day in and day out.

It’s about finding your way–the way that really works for who you are and how you want to be–without hype, adrenaline, or pressure.

Come Alive & Do the Thing! will help you tap into your own wisdom and common sense to do what needs to be done. It’s about saying YES to your life and work.

We start January 18. Won’t you join us? ​​​​​​​Click here to learn more about Come Alive & Do the Thing!

Are you tired of sitting on the fence with your head in the clouds?

how to get unstuckI’m hearing from so many people these days that they are fed up and frustrated. Whether it’s the state of the world, the state of their work, the state of their dining room tables, or their very souls, they long to make a change but seem not to know where or how to start.

And you know what? I can help with that.

Next week you’ll find details of three new small group programs in your inbox.

  • The Art of Living for Everyday Activists: Accessing resilience, inspiration, and stamina to do great work one step and one day at a time.
  • Revisioning Recovery: Uncovering the inner path to freedom from addiction, compulsion, and tiresome bad habits. Think a mash-up of group coaching and book club.
  • Come Alive & Do the Thing! A mastermind for solopreneurs who waffle when they’d rather rock.

If you oscillate from inspiration to overwhelm, from indignation to resignation, and back again…

If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired of a tiresome habit or compulsion but unwilling to buy into a story of lifelong disability and impairment…

If you have been poised on the verge of action (or on the verge of the verge) and wondering how the heck to get off the fence and into action…

Then one of these groups may be for you. Watch for details next week, and if this speaks to you, please don’t dilly dally. These groups will be limited to 6-8 persons each.

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