When I am unwell, I quite often find that I loose my taste for coffee. It comes back in its own time as I heal. As I recover from pneumonia I had started making myself a cup of coffee in the morning, but wasn’t really enjoying it. So when my acupuncturist suggested that I stay away from coffee for now and instead have some green tea, I thought, “I can do that.” For a while, all has been good.

    Now in the morning, as I make my wife’s coffee alongside my green tea, I am starting to warm to the aroma of the coffee. My mouth is starting to search for the coffee taste. I sense some challenges ahead.

    The upside of this is that if I am wanting coffee, I take that as a positive sign of improvment.

    The Harshness of Interruptions

    When I read this this essay by Nancy Kline of Time to Think I thought, ”YES!”

    I’ll go further - I felt, “YES!”

    Kline speaks, not mincing her words, of how interruption is an assault. In the first paragraph of the essay she says as much,

    Interruption is assault.

    She goes on to say,

    There is violence in it. Interruption is a slice made into the guts of an as yet unfinished idea. Interruption is arrogance masquerading as efficiency; it is efficiency massacred. It stops the thinking of one person in favor of another. It is the politics of the aggressive laying waste to the brilliance of the respectful.

    Her words laid bare for me everything that I felt when I am interrupted, but was afraid to verbalize. Her words contrast with the relative tameness of my choice of title for this article.

    A colleague introduced me to Kline’s work because of my interest as an introvert and highly sensitive person in having space, specifically quiet space, to think and work. While Kline’s work is not specifically for quiet people, she is interested in creating environments where people can think, her arguments around being interrupted really resonated with me and I would imagine for all those who value quiet, focused time.

    I work at my best when I am alone and in a quiet space, maybe with some soft music playing. At its best there is absolutely no one else present. Just me and the task at hand. In such an environment I can just drop in and focus on the job that I am doing.

    When I know that someone else is present who might blurt something out at any moment - a question, a statement, just making conversation for the sake of it - my body and mind are on edge and it seeps into my ability to focus and concentrate, eating away at my capacity to get work done effectively. In one of her recent newsletters, Kendra Patterson shared some words that really resonated with me,

    it’s not the loudness of sounds that bothers me, but the invasiveness of them

    Loudness can bother me, but I also relate to the invasiveness of sound. Patterson linked to a scientific study on misphonia, a condition where people suffer an extreme sensitivity to and decreased tolerance for sound. I like the passage that Patterson picked up from the article,

    people with misophonia feel in some way that sounds made by other people are intruding into their bodies, outside of their control. The results of the new study support the understanding that misphonia is not about having a negative reaction to sounds, but that hearing certain noises causes brain activity in the areas involved in creating that sound.

    I have been known when someone makes their presence felt, and by that it might just mean a person stepping into the room that I am in, that I will get up and involve myself in other work elsewhere. Work that might need to be done, but which I’m not in the space to do in that moment. Regardless, I do so simply to give myself the mental and physical space.

    I admire people who appear to get things done in the middle of complete chaos, but that is definitely not me. Though I still wonder what the quality of the work is that that person does, and if they could get much more done in a more quiet and focused environment (my sense is sometimes yes, and sometimes not)?

    I have been called out before when I turn the music down or step out of a room because someone has entered, the implication always being that I am doing something wrong. At other times I have stayed put, gritted my teeth, and tried to proceed with my work - but I can feel the others' presence in my body, and wait anxiously for the interruption.

    Some might have the superpower of working with mayhem happening all around them? All power to them, but it is not my strength or, dare I say it, ability. This is also a superpower that I have absolutely no wish to try and cultivate. I am quite comfortable with who I am.

    If like me you feel as though interruptions are an assault, I highly recommend reading Kline’s short essay. It could become your ally.

    Journaling while in Self-Isolation

    I have long kept a journal. For me it started as a record of my travels during the late 1980’s. Since returning from those journeys my journal has become a place to share what has been on my mind, to explore my thoughts and work through them. It has been a place to just write with no goal.

    The passage of time

    Journaling as a daily activity has embed and flowed. From days of intense involved writing, to weeks of occasional notes, just wanting to get a thought out of my head while not having enough time to take it further.

    I have gone through periods of having my journal sit beside me during my morning meditation. If something is really nagging at me, I pick up my pen and journal and write it out of my head.

    Other times I have put time aside to write, just allowing the pen to go where it wants to go with no agenda as to what I say. I might start with the weather and end up with something that happened last week.

    Yet again I might have my journal as something that I carry around with me and jot words into as I go through my day - words of inspiration, something that I am doing, or just something that I am trying to work out in my head.


    The journaling medium has also varied over the years. For the most part it has been a pen and notebook. I love the process of allowing a pen to track across the page. My choice of notebook and pen have varied. I find it important to write with that which I am comfortable.

    As the digital age developed I started having a part time computer based journal that lived on an app on my computer and iPhone. With this I had a place to catch things on the go. In time, with the realization that if the app goes so do my journal entries, I have started to transfer those entries to a digital text based format, something that can be opened in pretty much any writing application regardless of platform - computer or phone. And with that my main journaling medium now appears to be text files sitting in the Cloud.


    With a digital journal that can be accessed on my computer and iPhone, I have found it a helpful as a place to go to during this period of self-isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Self-isolation puts me and my family in a situation that we have never found ourselves in before. The isolation part does not bother me. I am use to not venturing far. But being an introvert in a very extroverted family with our needs and wants sometimes clashing, having a place to go to put down my experiences and feelings has been a great help. The process allows me to go inside, to process, to explore, and normally by the time that I reach a finishing point I find I have created some space in my life. In some way I have relieved pressure that has been building up in me. I am ready to take on other things. The exercise of writing has allowed that to happen.


    Each day I simply open a new file, put the date at the top, enter the time of my first entry and write. Later in the day I will open the same file, enter the current time and add more content to that file. By the end of the day it becomes a log of my experiences and thoughts through the day.

    I am grateful for it.

    Time passes

    I started this post on April 1st according to the timestamp on the file that is holding this post. I am unsure why there has been the delay in getting this out? I think in part it has been managing my way through these times of self-isolation with my family. Today I wrote on my micro.blog blog,

    One of those days which never really feels as though it gets going, such that by the end of it there is a sense of frustration and a “cross my fingers” that I am not there tomorrow.

    Life over the last almost four weeks, that is how long my family & I have be practicing self-isolation, has been an up and down ride. Some days have gone well, others have felt like trudging through mud - unproductive, lethargic, family members struggling.

    Through it all I have been journaling. Some days more than others - the frustration that I speak of in the blog post above can play a part in that. However the day plays out, the writing helps to keep me going.


    What are you using to help you manage your way through these times?

    If you want to find out more, I’d love to hear from you. Just click here.

    An Invitation to some Self-Isolating Meditation Sessions

    Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7, I shall be offering a free virtual meditation session each day, probably through April. The intention is to give me and hopefully you a break during your day, a time to come back to yourself in a world of self-isolation.

    Details on how to join me or watch later are in the invitation below. No experience is required, just a wish to stop, breathe, be with yourself and let the world carry on without you for a few minutes.

    I hope that you will join me.

    The Invitation

    Dear Friends,

    I am writing to let you know of a daily meditation session that I will be offering during this time of self-isolation. My plan right now is offer it until the end of April, but that is open to change. My aim is to show up each day, and at the same time I am aware that life might happen to make that impossible. I shall try and inform everyone if I know ahead of time that I cannot make it.

    Why am I doing this?

    • Friends asked me if I would offer some meditation instruction.
    • I find that living this life of self-isolation with family, for me some days are good, some days are a struggle. The answer to this for me is to make some time where I can reset and come back to myself. This daily, midday meditation I hope will serve that purpose for me and for you.


    • The first session will be streamed live on Tuesday, April 7th at 1:00pm Hawaii time (4:00pm PST / 7:00pm EST / 12:00pm New Zealand / 12:00AM UK).
    • I will look to be online 5 minutes before the top of the hour.
    • No meditation experience is required to take part in these sessions.
    • The whole session will last no more than 20 minutes, with meditation about 10 minutes (don’t worry if that sounds too long, I will have you covered).
    • You can be at home, in your office, in your pajamas, in a suit. My only suggestion (if possible) is to find a quiet place to sit comfortably (and not be driving).
    • As I will be using YouTube to stream the sessions (see tech details below), they will be recorded and can be watched later if you cannot make the live time.
    • As I will be at home I hope and will ask for no interruptions, I cannot guarantee that as life happens around me.

    Technical Details

    I have decided to use YouTube to live stream the meditation sessions (These are now archived on my YouTube page, details below). This will be my first time using this platform to stream videos. I have spent time experimenting with it, but I do ask that you bear with me as I get use to YouTube’s intricacies. Here is what you need to know:

    • Click on this link to be taken to my YouTube page, where the YouTube videos are now archived.
    • You will see a thumbnail link to the next scheduled video (take a look now), click on that and the video will start at the designated time(ish) - providing I hit “Go” at the right time).
    • Recordings of all past sessions will be available on my YouTube Channel.
    • Comments and chat will be disabled for the videos, at least that is the plan so that we can concentrate on meditation. If you have any questions or comments (put anything out there as I want this to work for people), contact me if you have my contact details, otherwise there will be available via my YouTube channel (click on the About tab).

    Have I missed anything? Is something unclear? Please get in touch.

    Please pass this onto anyone else who you think might be interested.

    Thank you for your interest in these meditation sessions. I looking forward to seeing you there.

    Stay safe. Be well.


    If you want to find out more, I’d love to hear from you. Just click here.

    Passing it on - Advice for this time of Self-Isolation

    Laurie Helgoe is a psychologist and an author whose work I admire. Her book Introvert Power has long been a favourite of mine on the growing genre of books on the subject of Introversion. She recently posted a piece of advice on Twitter which I thought was very helpful for these times. Retweeting it is one way of passing it on. Sharing it here is another.

    Looking back

    Are you struggling with the self-isolation which appears to have been imposed on most of the world? Is it overwhelming you?

    Stop for a moment. Imagine yourself in the future looking back to your time of self-isolation. What do you wish you had done or experienced?

    Do that or experience it, NOW.

    I feel that this is a good piece of advice for any time in my life, perhaps when I am feeling down, or stuck, or as though my hands are tied in some way.

    What opportunity is available to me now? What would I like to experience now?

    And it might be as small a thing as stepping outside, or opening the window to breathe some fresh air.


    The original tweet is here.

    If you want to find out more, I’d love to hear from you. Just click here.

    Finding Balance in my Life

    There is a saying, that ‘a change is as good as a rest.' A few days ago I decided to make that change and it made me realize how little I make space for such in my life, and with that how much I do benefit from when I do honour the opportunity for doing something different.

    Over the weekend I headed out to YMCA Camp Keanae with two friends who are a part of the Maui community of The ManKind Project (MKP) here in Hawaii. MKP uses the Camp as a venue to hold weekend workshops, and in order to help keep our costs down for participants, the Camp offers MKP work exchange days.

    The drive out to Keanae, the village above which the Camp sits, is along the scenic Hana Highway, so called because of the destination town on the eastern most point of the road. I can see the highway from my home and each day it busy with visitors heading out on the two hour, narrow and twisting drive out to Hana. The drive is a justifiable attraction. Although the road is hairy in places as it turns sharp corners while hugging the cliffs high above the Pacific ocean, the views of the sea and the remote coast line are stunning. I have driven that road a few times and am still struck by its beauty.

    But this journey is not a regular occurrence, and visits to Camp Keanae are fewer.

    The Day’s Plan

    The plan for the day was quite simple. We drive out in the morning, find out what work needs doing, help out for the day, and head home early evening. All the while chatting and working aside good friends.

    The day was beautiful, an atypical winter day from what we had been having. Clear skies, warm sun, and wind to whip the ocean into a froth of breaking waves.

    The Camp sits above the village of Keanae, and the views from the kitchen/dining area look down onto the tarot fields, church and few buildings that make up the small hamlet. A disappearing part of old Hawaii.

    The Job

    I was assigned the job of tearing up and replacing some decking, under the guidance of an experienced carpenter. I was in short the grunt man. We worked through the morning tearing up the rotten wood and laying the start of a new deck. At lunchtime I took myself off for a walk around the grounds and to sit and gaze out at the cliffs stretching into the distance.

    It still amazes me that in living here on Maui, I am sitting on a massive volcano - Haleakala.

    After lunch we moved on through a hot afternoon. Where we were working was a sun trap and we were protected from the cooling but refreshing wind. By the end of the day the base of the new deck was in place for those who came the next day. Indeed tomorrow’s crew showed up while we were getting ready to leave and started on the next stage.

    Heading Home

    As can often happen, I find, the drive home felt quicker than the ride out to Keanae that morning. We chatted happily, reflecting on our experiences within MKP.

    I was the first to be dropped off. My wife was still out and so I had an hour to settle back into home, clear up and put work clothes away.

    The day was transitioning to dusk. The light changing, that sense of winding down for the day. As I cleaned up, I looked back on the day. There was a sense of time having passed, of jobs done, conversations had, of having been somewhere else. Home felt different, different through being away from it for a period of time and enjoying myself in that time away. In being away, home felt refreshed, different yet familiar. And I felt refreshed, pleased to have been away. Pleased to have decided to take that time to spend time in good company, somewhere different to my usual daily haunts.

    A change had indeed been as good as a rest.

    And finally

    Just before reading this piece through and preparing to post it to my blog, I headed out for Saturday morning breakfast with my wife and her daughter - again something I seem to do with less regularity than I have done in the past. My day now feels fresher, cleaner, newer. I will be starting on home tasks with a sense of renewed vigor. More benefits from a change.

    If you want to find out more, I’d love to hear from you. Just click here.

    Stepping out of Retreat, and Valuing Solitude

    I share here an experience from a few weeks ago. I stepped outside, I made it into town for the first time for two weeks. The world appeared so vivid and colourful, so bright, so varied. I was reminded that the world carries on regardless of whether I am a part of it or not. That was freeing. Through unplanned circumstances I had spent a week in relative solitude. Let me explain.

    It had been raining here on Maui for two weeks. My wife left the island to visit her mother. When she flew out the weather was good, or was maybe on the turn. When she returned, the weather was good. In between it rained, and rained, and rained. Island wide.

    Now I like my alone time. I like solitude and quiet. It nourishes me, allows me to ground myself and refocus, but this was different. Why? In part because it was unplanned. While I knew that I had time to myself, I still expected to get out and about. The weather kind of put a stop to that. It just poured and poured and with that I just found myself staying at home. Commitments where I had them and work were honoured. Otherwise I just stayed put. I rested, read, reflected and fed myself. Before I knew it the first week was over…..And with it a deep sense of fulfillment, contentment and healing, but I found myself stopping and reflecting on what had just happened. I even wondered if I had been selfish?


    You see my step-daughter and her family live next door. I normally see at least one of them each day. I saw none of them during that week. My doubting mind started asking if I could have used my time more productively, more usefully, without actually quantifying what those terms might have looked like? When I sat with this, asking if it was true, what I found coming up was a question. That question was,

    "Why was I questioning taking this retreat time?"

    When I lived in a Buddhist Community in the early 1990’s, retreat time was part of our yearly commitment. Either supporting people who were taking time out to just focus on their spiritual practice, indeed they supported me in such an endeavour before I moved into the community, or doing a practice together as a community. There was always work to be done inside in the community. There was always work to be done outside of the community. But in these times of retreat, individuals were saying,

    "I need and want to take time to feed myself inwardly. Life will carry on just fine without me, and when I return to the outside world I'll be refreshed and ready to carry on my commitments."

    For me that was a major insight, maybe slightly unsettling at first, that life carries on just fine without us. It is good before you drop into retreat that you make sure that all your ducks are in a row and that you have got all necessary business wrapped up with family, loved ones and work colleagues. Don’t just disappear. But with that taken care of, you can close the door and be assured that others will get on just fine without you.

    Nature of your time away

    You can choose to go completely offline while in retreat, or as I did for this wet week, to honour commitments that you have but don’t do anything ‘unnecessary.' In my case, my quiet time had not been planned and so just disappearing would have been very inappropriate. People were relying on me in some areas of my life. So I did what had to be done, and then returned home, staying within the confines of my home.

    I listened to my body and did what I felt I needed. This retreat was as much about resting, reflecting and nourishing my body. A retreat might be about focusing on, say, a meditation practice. That needs its own preparation, which might also include some rest before getting started for if you arrive exhausted, you will not have the mental stamina to make it through the retreat.

    The men’s weekends that I attend occasionally require that I wrap things up with family before I head off (this retreat is men’s work, but is also ultimately about family and those in your life). Making sure that all unfinished business with family is made good and that they have any contact numbers should an emergency arise - otherwise I am offline.

    Are you making time for retreat?

    One take away for me in my week’s retreat was how much I don’t make space to take time out from my life. Going forward it is something that I want to prioritize in my life. It might not be for a week. A weekend might be more appropriate, or maybe a day, or perhaps even just an afternoon. However, I want to be wary of where I sell myself short and let excuses get in the way of time taken. Life has a tendency to make its presence felt a little too heavily at times - at least I know that I can bow very easily to my life’s demands.

    Finding time

    So if retreat time is something that you would like to bring into your life, how and where can you make time for it? Where are you making excuses to avoid retreat time? What needs to happen so that alone, quiet time becomes a part of your annual rhythm?

    If you want to find out more, I’d love to hear from you. Just click here.


    Being able to catch a quick 40 winks can be a life saver for me. I usually find a patch of the afternoon, mid-afternoon, when I start flagging. My eyes start becoming heavy and ache, an ache that might drift round to the back of my head. I notice that my ability to focus or be productive in my work, dives. I can push myself to keep going, but my work becomes less focused and more fractured. I know that what I really want is to stop, rest my body, and close my eyes.

    If I am at home, I will lie on my bed or curl up on a chair - I was on the sofa this afternoon - but I have been known to doze in the car, get out of the chair that I am sitting on and just lie on the floor, or even escape to the bathroom in a house that I am visiting, curl up on the floor of and drift off for 10 or 15 minutes, my hand acting as a pillow. The weariness can be so great that provided I am warm - coldness, especially cold shoulders, appear to be what keep me awake - I will fall asleep or drift into a deep in between state, almost anywhere.

    Quality of sleep

    There is a quality to catnapping for me which is very different to a regular night’s sleep. It is not that. It is like a quick refuel which will get me through the remaining hours of the day. I am still ready for bed come the end of the day. But the nap feels as though it takes me deep, to a deep place of rest. I close my eyes, withdraw inwards putting aside everything that is going on in my life and drift off. I am always amazed at just how refreshed I feel afterwards. Indeed research has shown the benefits to mental performance of such power naps.

    Personality’s part?

    Without that ability to take a quick catnap, making it through the days would be much harder for me. I put some of my need for these power naps down to the years that I suffered from chronic fatigue, more of which I plan to write about soon. I have also wondered what part my introverted and highly sensitive personality play in my need for a nap? If my day is more in a flow, running more with my needs, there is less of a need for a nap.

    For now though I am grateful for the ability to be able to take a quick nap, and especially not necessarily needing a bed to flop into when I need to grab one.

    Self Care Sunday

    If we cannot keep ourselves in balance physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually we cannot hope to function from a center of well-being.
    Thrive: The Highly Sensitive Person and Career, by Dr. Tracy Cooper, PhD

    It is 6:30pm and I have still not made the bed today. That is an unheard of thing for me. I usually can’t get on with my day if I know the bed has not been made. The front door has not been unlocked since I locked it last night - I have not been outside today.

    About twenty minutes ago the sun set and once that happens here in Hawaii, because of our proximity to the equator, it gets dark quickly.

    ​Today has been a self care day for me. I woke up not long after 6:00am, not an unusual time for me, but I woke feeling deeply weary - something that is much more than just being tired. It is a feeling of exhaustion that just eats through to my bones. It is brought on by me pushing the limits of my personality as a highly sensitive person. The wise thing to do is to learn what the triggers are that tire me and dial back life a bit so as not to wear myself out. Most of the time I do that, but when I don’t or choose to push on regardless, eventually deep fatigue sets in. That is what I woke up to this morning.

    I am by myself at the moment. My wife is visiting her mother on the other side of the country. Other family are also off the island and I had no plans for Sunday. As I lay in bed waking up I could hear rain outside and knew that more was forecast for the rest of the day. Cool temperatures, at least for Hawaii (low 60’s early 70’s), were also on the table. So with that I chose to turn over and doze for an hour longer.

    The rest of the day has been taken equally slowly. I stayed in bed until noon - had breakfast, read. At lunchtime, once I was showered I did my meditation practice and then went back to bed for an hour’s sleep. A show on Netflix took up another hour of the afternoon.

    I’ll cook myself some dinner this evening and then will finally venture out to put the trash out for tomorrow morning’s early collection.

    I share this experience as I believe that introverts and those with sensory processing sensitivity (highly sensitive people) need to make their own self care an important part of their lives. HSP’s, because of their depth of cognitive processing and hypersensitivity to external stimuli, can find situations that others breeze through extremely exhausting. Peer or family pressure might have you feeling that you just need to suck it up and keep going, but sooner or later your body will wave a white flag and you’ll have to stop. As Dr. Cooper says in the quote above, HSP’s need balance in their lives for their own well-being. Try to identify what it is that are your triggers. Set boundaries for yourself and learn to say “no” to that which pushes you too far. Where possible educate others about your personality so that those who you spend time with, at work and home, understand and support you.

    I still feel a weariness now. I am hoping that a good night’s sleep will help, I have an early start tomorrow. If am still tired tomorrow, I’ll take next week step by step, pacing myself. Regardless, I am very pleased that I have just stayed at home today, rested and allowed myself to do no more than necessary. Psychologically, just giving myself permission to stay at home and do nothing is a big boon in helping me rest.

    ​As introverts and/or HSP’s I hope that you find, indeed make the time that you need to rest.

    Some Days Suck...

    Some days suck and yesterday was one of them for me. That was the downside. The upside happened as the day drew to a close with a bit of wisdom that came my way in one of those synchronous ways that things can unfold in life. The advice was helpful and what I needed to hear. However, that piece of wisdom did not surface before I had spent a good part of the day feeling sluggish and as though I was lugging a dead weight around with me.

    The wheels were spinning for most of yesterday. For some reason I was getting little accomplished and sitting there staring at my computer screen or with pen in hand did not seem to help the situation…and it wasn’t as though I hadn’t been there before or spoken to friends in a similar situation. The solution was sitting a stone’s throw from me, and I knew it, but was I acting on that solution? No! The fast failing belief of “gotta get something done and as long as I sit here something will manifest," was foremost in my mind overriding more sound wisdom.

    The Ocean

    The solution is where I ultimately wrote a first draft to this post (though that was not the intention) - outside. I went and sat by the ocean to get some perspective and feel the energy of the waves breaking over the ancient volcanic rocks that make up these Hawaiian Islands. I allowed my mind to rest as my gaze wandered across the bay or to the horizon.

    My words of advice to others when nothing seems to be working and the mind feels like pea soup is to down tools and take a break. Forget about work for a moment and allow the healing powers of the natural world to work their magic. In our productivity driven, got to get things done world the tendency is to push on regardless. We tell ourselves, as I did yesterday, that if bum is on the chair and utensils are in our hands something will happen sooner or later. We have been there before and know about the unproductive results, but no matter we sit there stubbornly telling ourselves that we are going to get this work done.


    So I’d like to offer you (and me) a few strategies to take your mind and body away from that which is frustrating you, to a place that supports you and gives you much needed space … to breathe, to stretch and to hopefully bring some inspiration back to those tired brain cells.

    1. As I shared above, down your tools and get outside. Take a walk. If time allows, find a place with a view - distance and perspective will help to rest a cluttered mind. While I was working on my thesis for my Masters paper a decade or so ago I would take a 5 minute walk every 40 minutes. I set an application on my computer that disabled the keyboard at set intervals. With the computer out of action I would get up and take a short walk outside. I still think that it was one of my most productive times_._
    2. Listen to some music. Music that inspires or rests you. Music that lifts your mind out of the funk that it is in. Preferably that music is not on your computer so that you move away from it, but with YouTube and other portals at our finger tips, music is never far away - and that was a part of yesterday’s restful mix for me.
    3. Have a book or two that inspire you near at hand at all times. Whether it is a work of fiction, an account of a time in history that rouses you, or a spiritual volume - let it be something other than work that lifts your spirits and offers you another perspective.
    4. Stop and meditate. Whether a stationary meditation, such as focusing on the breath, or getting outside to practice walking meditation, both can be available to you. The focus takes the mind away from the worry.
    5. Get away from your chair and stretch, practice yoga, t’ai chi or something similar. Go outside if that is available to you. Feel the freshness of the air on your face as you go through your movements.
    6. …And the words of wisdom that I received at the end of the day…? Just remind yourself how unproductive, contrary or pessimistic states of mind can be. This was shared with me during a meditation class that I was at last night, but it is just as relevant in our everyday lives. We were being introduced to a Tibetan Buddhist technique for developing a calm mind, a single-pointed mind (Tibetan: zhi-gnas) - there are nine stages, but there is a pragmatism to those stages. A few stages in, if you are struggling and spending a lot of time dwelling on questions like, “why am I doing this, I’m really not getting anywhere?”, ask yourself, “what use is this way of thinking to me?” “Does this state of mind bring me happiness?” “Does it help me progress in my practice?” “Look at how much time I am wasting in thinking this way."

    Reflecting on what we want to achieve and how our thoughts are really completely unproductive helps to pull us out of that pea soup mind. It might take time to create a habit of bringing the positive thoughts to our mind, but regular familiarization will help to change our habits.

    I hope that something here is of help to you. Today has certainly been more productive for me, and for that I am grateful.

    How do you pull yourself out of a work funk?

    How to Approach Difficult Situations ... and Manage Those Holiday Blues

    A lot of good advice has been offered online on how introverts and HSPs can manage the social demands that might come their way over the holiday period. I was not intending to add to this well informed conversation, until I came across this short video (below) by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who is based in Seattle. The advice that he gives stretches beyond the Buddhist world and applies to any time and place in our lives, not just the this holiday time.

    He speaks of how by reaching into core principles such as love and compassion, principles that speak for the well being of the other and not of self, we find more peace of mind by not dwelling on that which is causing us pain. In doing so we lessen our own load and make the difficult more bearable. We transform the situation by not dwelling on the negative. Continued practice of acting in this way creates a new habit for ourselves, our heart and mind are more at peace and we are able to weather more challenges in our lives.

    If and where the Buddhist terminology does not work for you, I invite you to replace Rinpoche’s words with words or phrases that help give his advice meaning to you.

    Have a happy and safe holiday time whether with family and friends or by yourself, and wishing you all the best for 2015.