Notice nothingness. Discover the peace and power in the presence of absence.

Notice nothingness. Discover the peace and power in the presence of absence.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Noah Silliman

Have you ever spent time in an isolation chamber? Not me!

I think that would be too much nothing. What about the use of room darkening shades and a set of noise cancellation headphones?

We tend to live in a noisy, lights-on world where the presence of absence is absent.

How and where do you escape the barrage of stimuli that can drain your power and disturb the peace?

EXERCISE:

Where in your world is it possible to turn down the volume and turn off the lights?

Try a few experiments this week and discover the peace and power in their absence.

Try playing with your other senses and see where your mind wanders in this open field of awareness.

The way you look at things is the most powerful force shaping your life

“The way you look at things is the most powerful force shaping your life.”

John O’ Donohue, late Irish poet, author, Hegelian philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Bradley Pisney

Today’s quote is an excellent reminder to develop and cultivate our self-awareness and mindfulness abilities.

When we choose to adopt constructive perspectives and attitudes, we can harness our powers of perception to create a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

If and when we look at things from a negative or closed mindset, we limit our abilities to navigate life’s challenges and complexities.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you exercise and develop your powers of perception to shape your life and your world for the better?

See the humanity in others. We are all wrestling with our own stuff

See the humanity in others. We are all wrestling with our own stuff that is making life messy and difficult.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Bud Helisson

To a certain degree we are all narcissists. We can’t help but look through the lenses of our own trials and challenges each day. Doing this can often create a separation between ourselves and others in our communities. We can come to think that the burdens we carry are somehow unique to us and are of far greater magnitude.

I recently watched the National Geographic series 9/11 One Day in America. and got a big wake up call at how our troubles pale in comparison. I’ve also realized in the past few years since Covid the wrestling done by most people is far more than I ever imagined.

EXERCISE:

To what degree do you take the time to fully embrace the humanity in others? Take a few extra moments today to be interested rather than interesting and see what you discover.

A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company

“A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company.”

Charles Evans Hughes, 11th Chief Justice of the United States

 

Image from Unsplash by Caspian Dahlström

Imagine spending a month or more completely alone, with no one to talk with.

The Netflix series “Alone” places ten individuals with expert survival skills in remote locations. Their goal is to live off the land and outlast the other nine participants, whom they never meet.

In the early stages of this adventure everyone is stoked, positive about the opportunity to challenge themselves, become the last one standing, and receive a $500,000 prize for their effort.

Building shelters, sourcing food and water, and braving the elements keeps everyone pretty occupied, especially during the daylight hours. At night their thoughts often go to a darker side of the experience, given their complete isolation.

With their two video cameras and their efforts at documentary filmmaking, we see their wild journeys that include the physical and mental aspects of starvation and loneliness.

EXERCISE:

Describe the company you keep in your personal and professional worlds.

How much alone time do you experience?

How successful are you at befriending yourself during periods of isolation and loneliness?

Please reply to this post with your thoughts and feelings.

Don’t worry if you’re making waves just by being yourself.

“Don’t worry if you’re making waves just by being yourself. The moon does it all the time.”

Scott Stabile, Inspirational self-help writer and speaker

Image from Unsplash by San Sahil

Did you know that the moon only shows us one of its sides? Not until we sent spacecraft and men to orbit our neighbor did we see its other side.

Perhaps this is wise council for each of us as well. Being our true selves and showing the world who we are with all our impact craters may not be such a bad thing.

The moon has been tugging on us for billions of years. We were so fascinated by its pull we decided to visit it in the 60’s and early 70’s, and plan to return in the coming years.

EXERCISE:

How can living true to your nature—even if it makes a few waves—attract the people and opportunities you most desire?

“If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day.”

“If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day.”

—Leonard Cohen, late Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, novelist

image from Unsplash by Anastasia Taioglou

How have you been feeling lately? To what degree are you experiencing a sense of well-being or discord with the world around you?

We recently had our piano tuned after moving about six months ago. They say it takes about this long for a piano to adjust to its new home so that it can be tuned in harmony with its surroundings.

This past year we’ve had our share of seasickness with numerous ups and downs. Slowly, we are regaining our sea legs and have become more at ease within the ocean of our new communities.

EXERCISE:

How can you move from some of the lower decks of your life to the bridge of your ship to settle your stomach and view the horizon of each new day?

Re-examine all that you have been told. Dismiss that which insults your soul.

“Re-examine all that you have been told. Dismiss that which insults your soul.”

—Walt Whitman, 19th Century American poet, essayist and journalist

Image from Unsplash by Markus Winkler

In our journey toward greater mindfulness and self-awareness it can be helpful to stop and re-examine our own perspectives and views of the world around us.

Where and when did you first become aware of specific beliefs?

What factors had you embrace them as your own?

To what degree do you remain open to examining your thinking and not simply accepting what you’ve been told to believe and how to act?

Just because we have done something a particular way for many years does not necessarily mean it is the way to go when you have new information to consider.

EXERCISE:

What are some of your current beliefs that no longer serve you? How might revisiting your thinking through a more soulful lens help you live a more fulfilling and meaningful life?

Contemplate your monk mind instead of your monkey mind

Contemplate your monk mind instead of your monkey mind.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from youtube.com

Jay Shetty of the CALM Daily Jay meditation series recently offered today’s quote as a twist on a common theme to mindful awareness.

We all wrestle with chaotic thoughts from time to time, much like distractible hyperactive monkeys playing in the trees and jumping from branch to branch. Unless they are sleeping or grooming one another, their kinetic energy is often off the charts.

Shetty, a former Hindu monk, suggests we develop a monk mind of calm self-reflection and awareness that we can access during times of both calm and chaos.

EXERCISE:

Bring to mind your own vision of a mindful monk. How can and will you develop and practice these attributes to calm the rambunctious monkeys that often scurry around in your head? Click here to learn more about Jay.

The marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by the asking as it does by answering

“The marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by the asking as it does by answering.”

—David Whyte, Anglo-Irish poet

Image from Unsplash by Hadija Saidi

What are some of the questions you have been asking yourself and others over the past couple of years?

As a lifelong learner, I marvel at the power and insights offered by provocative open-ended questions.  These tools dig below the surface of our day-to-day experiences to uncover new depths of understanding of one another and the world.

In the coaching profession we often say “let your questions do the heavy lifting.”  The surprising thing for me, based on Whyte’s quote, is that both parties can be shaped through these exchanges.

EXERCISE:

What are some of your favorite “stop you in your tracks” questions?

How have these questions shaped your identity and opened up pathways for you?

Two books I’ve found very useful on this subject are A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger and The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stainer.

“We learn who we are in practice, not in theory.”

“We learn who we are in practice, not in theory.”

—David Epstein, author of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Image from Unsplash by Giorgio Trovato

I just finished binge watching the Disney+ 6-part series Welcome to Earth with Will Smith. It reminded me a bit of the series Running Wild with Bear Grylls but on steroids.

Instead of each episode highlighting a different celebrity, Welcome to Earth took a deeper dive into our breathtaking natural world, and into the world of Smith’s fascinations and fears of exploring.

Watching from the safety of my recliner I felt his excitement in stretching beyond his physical and emotional limits. I too wanted to be an explorer and yet I realized it is hard to do that wearing fuzzy slippers!

EXERCISE:

Where and how can you learn a great deal about yourself by becoming more of an explorer? What opportunities present themselves to you each day that you have yet to embrace?