So Chilled

Bridge 43 on the Llangollen CanalThe holiday is over, the boat returned to its rightful owner intact and in good order and the crew are both back at work.

A week afloat, in beautiful countryside and always at walking pace or below is enough to slow even the most frantic heart rate. Of course there were a couple of issues, the most memorable being the deluge we encountered whilst trying to moor Kingfisher at Hurleston junction.

The rain was coming down by the bucketful and mooring spaces were at a premium, so the stress levels were raised just a little. To say it was wet would be an understatement. Everything, and I mean everything, was soaked through.

But these tiny bumps in the road we call life, are just opportunities to learn and improve, and although it was reported by First Officer Fogg, that I did use a few expletives at times, the task was accomplished and everything was dry, or drying, by the following morning.

So now I’m back in the office. Apart from the odd sensation of land sickness, where perfectly solid buildings appear to sway like a narrowboat, giving everyone the impression that one is a little intoxicated, it’s life as usual.

Whether life as usual is a good thing or not, is open to conjecture. Whether life as usual will remain life as usual was discussed on several occasions during the week afloat, so maybe watch this space for further developments.

On Coping With Challenges

The State Of Mindfulness The challenges we meet in life are often seen as the negative side of our existence. We alone can decide how we deal with them, we can accept and tackle them head on, or shy away from them and hope they go away. Anyone who has tried the second path will know that it never works, so accepting challenges has to be the right way to go.

Accepting our challenges is not, initially, the most natural thing to do. It might seem easier to run away, to bury our heads, or just ignore the issues, but no good will ever come of taking that path. Taking responsibility and meeting challenges head on can be really hard. That doesn’t mean it has to be difficult, but it does mean we have to dig deep, stay strong and never ever give in.

So how should we approach the process? For me, it means looking at the challenge from all sides, and that involves keeping a calm mind and thinking clearly about all the aspects involved. Chanting allows me to calm my mind, to focus and to concentrate. This is the state of mindfulness and gives me control over my thoughts, words and deeds. For others it may be beneficial to meditate or to write down a list of all the facets of the challenge.

The whole process can be thrown into turmoil by our fundamental darkness. That little voice in our heads that tells us the challenge is too hard, that we cannot overcome it, and that giving up is the easy path. We must listen to that voice because it is part of us, but we must then rationalise the alternatives and be determined to take the right path, not simply the easiest path.

When you overcome a challenge, the feelings of elation are immense. When we give into a challenge, the feelings of defeat are equally immense, but terribly damaging. Gaining your first win will be the hardest. Once you know the winning feeling, you will never again want to feel defeat again.

So try different coping strategies, be that chanting, meditation, list building or whatever works for you. Be sure that overcoming challenges will make you a stronger and more confident person, and that each win will make the next challenge easier to overcome. In time, you will lose the fear of challenges, and although you may not exactly look forward to the next one, you will be more prepared to meet and overcome it when it arrives.

There’s A Kind Of Hush …

There's A Kind Of HushAs you know, I’ve just had the perfect long weekend. Albeit that it’s a couple of days ago now, but the memories are still sinking in. In the past, I might be rueing having to come back to work, but the period I had without work has rather put a stop to that, and it’s also because I now have the ability to pour a mental calm over everything.

You know the calm I mean, at least I hope you do, when slowly everything starts to come together, to fit into place and there’s a soft and easy feel about things. At work, at home, in my practice, in fact in life, I have definitely turned some magical corner and tranquillity is the result.

Not that tranquillity itself is necessarily always a good thing. It can make us lazy, complacent, stop setting goals for ourselves or making the causes for the effects we want to see. But the tranquillity that accompanies the calmness of a balanced situation is very magical indeed.

Sometimes we have to go through a rough ride to reach the place we want to be. During the ride it’s tough, tranquillity is a million miles away and sometimes appears to be receding fast. But if you stick with it, learn from the pain and make the necessary causes, you will reap the benefits of the effects when they arrive.

So stick with it. If you have confidence in your goals, remain determined and resolute in your quest, and have the courage to withstand the pain, you too will see the benefits. It’s marvellous.

I Don’t Like Mondays

I Don't Like MondaysNow you know that Monday isn’t my favourite day. A whole weekend worth of questions and issues, a change of email servers, and really terrible weather making for a late start. The perfect storm, literally.

But having weathered said storm, resolved the issues and answered the questions, there was still time enough to lose a system we had fixed on Friday … nightmare !!!

But you know what was really amazing. Despite all the grief, all the angst, I was stoic and composed, I took it all in my stride. The day flew by, so much to do, so little time to do it in, but another set of challenges dealt with and another tick in the ‘we’re really getting there’ column.

I Love Monday !!!

There's a kind of hushHands up all those who never thought they’d see that title on my blog … but today has been pretty awesome so far. Ok, so it’s Tuesday, and I’ve just had the perfect long weekend, but in work terms this is a notional Monday after all. But it has been a really great day, even though things have been a little hectic in the office, and all because I now have the ability to pour a certain calm over everything.

You know the calm I mean, at least I hope you do, when slowly everything starts to come together, to fit into place and there’s a soft and easy feel about things. At work, at home, in my practice, in fact in life, I seem to have turned some magical corner and tranquillity is the result.

Not that tranquillity itself is necessarily a good thing. It can make us lazy, complacent, stop setting goals for ourselves or making the causes for the effects we want to see. But the tranquillity that accompanies the calmness of a balanced situation is magical indeed.

Sometimes we have to go through a rough ride to reach the place we want to be. During the ride it’s tough, tranquillity is a million miles away and sometimes appears to be receding fast. But if you stick with it, learn from the pain and make the necessary causes, you will reap the benefits of the effects when they arrive. Today has been one of those days for me.

So stick with it. If you have confidence in your goals, remain determined in your quest and have the courage to withstand the pain, you too will see the benefits. It’s marvellous.

NOW … I Want It Now !!!

CalmnessSo often, and I am as guilty as anyone, we want things to happen now.

Our modern frantic way of life, clever marketing and the bombardment of advertising we all endure, have left us all lacking a little patience. We are encouraged to spend before we can afford it, to want everything yesterday and to make unrealistic demands on ourselves and others.

So next time you are stuck behind the nervous learner driver at a busy junction, queuing at the check-in desk or find yourself tempted to have a go at that overworked shop assistant, just see things from the others viewpoint and stay cool, calm and collected.

Not only will it make your wait much more pleasant, but your calmness will transmit to those around you and help them relax too. They may even surprise you by being grateful or by going the extra mile to help.

Remember, everyone has the world of Buddhahood within them, so as the T shirt might say, stay calm and help them let it shine.

Putting It In Context

Put That Problem Into ContextArriving back in the office this morning, following my nice long weekend, I was greeted by the dreaded bulging inbox. Most emails were asking about forgotten passwords or the whereabouts of mislaid deliveries, but one stood out like a sore thumb.

One of our clients had missed her subscription reminders and so had been locked out of our virtual album product. Her collection data was safe and sound, but she wasn’t to know that. However, judging by the panicked tone of her email, you might have thought that the world had stopped turning or the sun had suddenly gone out … ‘nothing short of an absolute disaster ‘ was the way she described it.

Naturally, I fixed the problem within minutes and soothed her furrowed brow, but the incident got me thinking.

How often do we see something, which in real terms is a minor irritant, maybe a worrying occurrence at worst, as the end of the world? Somebody puts a ding in your car on your way to work, or the first tube is full after you’ve waited a full ten minutes for it to arrive, or maybe you spill coffee on your nice clean white shirt … disaster !!!

But when we take a deep breath, let our pulse return to normal, and look at these events in the cold light of day, they really are nothing. The problem is that we are all too often distracted by the minutiae of life whilst we fail to see the bigger picture. Your car may have a dent in it, but nobody was injured, the next tube has plenty of space and you get in on time anyway, the stain on your shirt may be annoying, but at least you weren’t scalded in the process.

So next time you think your world has come off the rails, take time to see the problem in context. It may not be as trivial as the examples I’ve given, but is it really as bad as you first thought, I rather doubt it. Remember, even the end of the world won’t be the end of the world in real terms.

Marvellous Monday

TranquillityHands up all those who never thought they’d see a post of mine saying that … but today has been pretty awesome too. Ok, so I’ve just had a perfect weekend, but this is Monday after all. But it has been a really great day, simply because there is a new calm over everything.

You know the calm I mean, at least I hope you do, when slowly everything starts to come together, to fit into place and there’s a soft and easy feel about things. At work, at home, in my practice, in fact in life, I seem to have turned some magical corner and tranquillity is the result.

No that tranquillity itself is necessarily a good thing. It can make us lazy, complacent, stop setting ourselves goals or making the causes for the effects we want to see. But the tranquillity that accompanies the calmness of a balanced situation is magical indeed.

Sometimes we have to go through a rough ride to reach the place we want to be. During the ride it’s tough, tranquillity is a million miles away and sometimes appears to be receding fast. But if you stick with it, learn from the pain and make the necessary causes, you will reap the benefits of the effects when they arrive. Today has been one of those days for me.

So stick with it. If you have confidence in your goals, remain determined in your quest and have the courage to withstand the pain, you too will see the benefits. It’s marvellous.

Walking The Walk

Walking The WalkWhether it was the early night and the extra couple of hours sleep that made me a bit dopey, or whether it was the difficult topic of conversation I was having on my Bluetooth headset I don’t really know. But I wasn’t very proud of the way I dealt with the situation when a chap didn’t stop at the road traffic calming ‘chicane’, forcing me to mount the kerb to avoid hitting him in his bright green Honda Civic.

It’s easy to sit here, in the quiet of my living room, and pontificate about staying calm and dealing with challenges in a nice controlled manner. Being able to deal with real life situations is so different from the theory, but it does give you a really good measure of how well you are doing on your journey to enlightenment.

I did manage to stay fairly calm, helped possibly by the fact that I didn’t find any damage to the car when I stopped to take a quick look. The traffic down to Canford Bottom roundabout was slow and that gave me a few moments to compose myself further. I then chanted my head off all the way to Ringwood, so by the time I got into the office I was chilled and in the right life-state to tackle the usual pile of emails waiting in my inbox.

So when you read some of the topics on my blog, and think ‘I could never be like that’ or ‘I would like to give that a try, but I just can’t see it working for me’ remember that I’m only human and that even though I do practice what I preach, it doesn’t always work all the time. Still I was quite proud that I managed to ‘get it together’ though chanting and mindfulness. Learning, through a little slip, is valuable and just goes to prove that we do need challenges to make us stronger.

Accept Challenges, Stay Calm And Overcome

Quiet CalmThe challenges we meet in life are often seen as the negative side of our existence. We alone can decide how we deal with them, either we can accept them, tackle them head on, or we can shy away from them and hope they go away. Anyone who has tried the second path will know that it virtually never works, so accepting challenges has to be the right way to go.

Accepting our challenges is not, initially, the most natural thing to do. It might seem easier to run away, to bury our heads, or just ignore the issues, but no good will ever come of taking that path. Taking responsibility and meeting challenges head on can be really hard. That doesn’t mean it has to be difficult, but it does mean we have to dig deep, stay strong and never ever give in.

So how should we approach the process? For me, it means looking at the challenge from all sides, and that involves keeping a calm mind and thinking clearly about all the aspects involved. Chanting allows me to calm my mind, to focus and to concentrate. This is the state of mindfulness and gives me control over my thoughts, words and deeds. For others it may be beneficial to meditate or to write down a list of all the facets of the challenge.

The whole process can be thrown into turmoil by our fundamental darkness, that little voice in our heads, that tells us the challenge is too hard, that we cannot overcome it and that giving up is the easy path. We must listen to that voice because it is part of us, but we must then rationalise the alternatives and be determined to take the right path, not the easiest path.

When you overcome a challenge, the feelings of elation are immense. When we give into a challenge, the feelings of defeat are equally immense, but terribly damaging. Gaining your first win will be the hardest. Once you know the winning feeling, you will never again want to feel defeat again.

So try different coping strategies, be that chanting, meditation, list building or whatever works for you. Be sure that overcoming challenges will make you a stronger and more confident person and that each win will make the next challenge easier to overcome. In time, you will lose the fear of challenges, and although you may not actually look forward to the next one, you will be more prepared to meet it and overcome it when it arrives.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: