Caller ID for the voices in my head

“Can I get Caller ID for the voices in my head?”

—Author Unknown

Work on Caller ID technology began in the late 1960s, and eventually came to most of us between 1984 and 1989.

In 1995, call waiting technology arrived, to help us screen incoming calls when talking to someone else.

In a world that seems to always be trying to reach us, these boundary-setting technologies have helped a bit.

As many of us increase our self-awareness and mindfulness practices, no other outside influence compares to the almost constant voices in our heads. Many people experience considerable tugging and pulling in directions they would prefer not to go.

EXERCISE:

Where would gaining additional mastery of noticing your inner voice provide you with the greater peace of mind you desire?

No amount of guilt can change the past

“No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of worry can change the future.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a card stating "Mindfulness"

Image from Unspalsh by Lesly Juarez

The practices of guilt and worry are actually habits we form through our lives.

Close your eyes and look back in time at your upbringing under the influence of friends, family, school, religious institutions, the economy and the media, who always thrive on drama.

Take a few minutes to look also around your world as it exists today, and into the future to see what conversations or inner chatter occupies some or much of your thoughts.

Given that this line of thinking often results in frustration, exhaustion, uneasiness, and upset, ask yourself: How does my thinking this way help?

EXERCISE:

Assuming your answer to the question is “It Doesn’t,” what alternative strategies can you try to reduce or eliminate guilt and worry from your life?

The Law of Impermanence

“Everything comes to pass; nothing comes to stay.”

—Matthew Flickstein, teacher of insight meditation

What do weekends, holidays, vacations, and happy times have in common?

What do colds, the flu, Mondays, and boring meetings have in common?

What does the first list have in common with the second?

If your answer was that they all come and go, do not last, or that, in mindfulness terms, they are impermanent, you are correct.

Whether you are happy that certain events occurred, or are sad they have come to an end, the law of impermanence is something of which you can be certain.

EXERCISE:

How can you apply the law of impermanence in your personal or professional worlds in the days and weeks ahead? How might that maximize the Ups and minimize the Downs of life?

The More you Eat the less flavor

“The more you eat, the less flavor. The less you eat, the more flavor.”

—Chinese Proverb

Image of a small plate meal

Image from Unsplash by Kawin Harasai

The next time you sit down to enjoy one of your favorite meals, try this:

For the first ten minutes, eat only three to five mouthfuls, paying particular note to the texture and flavor of each bite you mindfully chew.

Next, take a “Thanksgiving Size” portion of the same meal, and chow away. Make sure you go beyond your level of satiety to the point of moderate discomfort. Pay particular attention to your awareness of texture and flavor.

EXERCISE:

Where and how would the practice of eating less in a more mindful manner bring you greater pleasure and perhaps a bit smaller waistline as a bonus?

The Best Speech You’ll Ever Regret

“Speak when you are angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.”

—Ambrose Bierce, 18th Century American Writer and Civil War Soldier

Image of 2 men screaming at each other

Image from Flickr by Sid

When was the last time you lost your temper and really let someone have it? Perhaps you even rehearsed your speech and shared your seemingly justified attack articulately with equally practiced volume and gestures.

What happened after the initial “feel better” burst of adrenaline and getting things off your chest?

If you are like many, you may have experienced considerable fallout, and repercussions much like the aftershocks of an earthquake.

EXERCISE:

Where would counting to ten or a hundred, or simply holding your tongue more frequently, dramatically reduce the number of regretful interactions you experience?

 

Mindfulness Gives You Time

“Mindfulness gives you time. Time gives you choices. Choices, skillfully made, lead to freedom.”

—Bhante Henepolo Gunaratana, Sri Lankan Buddhist monk

Image of a pink flower with "Mindfulness" above it

We’ve all heard the phrase, “The choices we make make us.”

Do you agree? Perhaps if we were all able to make even better choices, we would experience the freedom and fulfillment of an even more wonderful life.

Today’s quote suggests that through increased mindfulness and greater self awareness we can all find time to make better, more discerning choices about how we spend this precious resource.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you invest a bit more time on a daily basis to strengthen and build your mindfulness muscle?

If you are new to such practices, consider starting with 5 minutes in the morning or evening in a practice such as meditation, gratitude reflection, or some form of life review, to enhance this skill.

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure…”

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.”

– Mary Jean Irion, Pennsylvania Teacher and Writer

Photo from Flickr by Jan

Photo from Flickr by Jan

Have you ever sat in front of your TV, eating chips or another favorite snack, only to find your fingers at the bottom of an empty bag, searching for more, and wondering how you could have possibly eaten your way through all those treats?

Just like food we consume mindlessly, our days, months, and years sometimes fly by unnoticed, because we think there’s plenty more “in the bag,” or simply because we do not cherish each moment as a precious gift.

EXERCISE:

If you knew your days were numbered (which they are) how would you spend this “normal day”?