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11/7/19 3:55 P

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The Way of Less

By Leo Babauta

Our lives naturally get filled with clutter: possessions that we ordered online pour in week by week, we take on more and more, we are constantly reading and watching and responding, messages pour in daily as well.

The modern world is one of more, more and still more.

What would it be like to declutter our lives and live with less?

The Way of Less is one of:

Less clutter, fewer possessions, just the essentials

No need to reach for the comfort of buying things or holding onto things, because you have learned to take care of your stress without things

Less doing and busy-ness, because youíve said no to more things, and have focused only on the things that make the most difference

Less distractedness, because youíre checking on things less, more focused and less responsive

Less on your to-read list, less on your to-watch list, less that you have planned because youíve let go of needing to read and watch and do everything that looks interesting

By reducing down to less, you learn to become content with little. You have space in your life. You can breathe. You can give focus to what matters most to you. You can find joy in the simple things.

This is the Way of Less, and many people I know have found it to be a joyful way of living. I often get off the path myself, but returning to it is always like coming home.

Essentials for the Way of Less

The Way of Less is not really about saying no to everything or tossing everything out or doing nothing. Sometimes it involves those things, but thatís not what itís about.

Itís about saying yes to what really matters. Paring down to the essentials that matter most to you, and making space for those.

What matters most: What are your essentials? My list might look something like this:

My mission (work, including writing and teaching)

My loved ones

Learning

An active, healthy, mindful life

The last one might seem like a cheat, but itís flexible: it includes meditation but could include walking, hikes, sports, lifting weights, yoga, cycling, swimming, surfing or more.

What are your essentials?

Possessions: You can also make a list of essential possessions. Mine might include:

A minimal amount of clothes for a week

A dozen books or so (I have more than that right now, but am paring down)

Exercise equipment & a yoga mat

My computer & phone

And of course things like dishes, towels, a bed, sheets, etc.

Projects & doing: How much do you have on your plate? If you could whittle it down to the essentials, what would it look like? For me, it might look like:

My mission ó one project at a time

Cultivating the communities of my programs (including responding to messages once a day)

Learning project

Doing things with my loved ones

Iím not saying these are the only things I ever do, but theyíve become my ďprojects & doingĒ essentials lately.

Digital essentials: How much do you do online? What do you read and watch? How often are you responding to messages or checking social media? If you had to pare it down to your essentials, what would it be?

For me, itís email and the online communities for my programs, along with team and client messages. I also check a few news websites but those arenít essentials for me. I also often do my learning projects using online reading.

Itís not about cutting everything out of your life, but about contemplating what your essentials are.

Getting to the Way of Less

Once youíve identified the essentials, getting to the Way of Less is the next part of the journey.

We wonít go into the details of it right now, but here are some key points to this journey:

Identify the essentials. As we talked about in the section above, itís important to identify whatís most essential to you ó in your life, digitally, with your possessions, projects, and so on. Get clear on this.

Start decluttering the rest, one chunk at a time. Now start to let go of the rest. Do you have big commitments, projects, activities that have been taking up your time but not on the essentials list?
Start to let them go.

Do you have a lot of clutter beyond your essential possessions? Start to let those go as well.

Digital distractions, huge reading and watching lists, all of the aspirations that you donít have time for ó start to let them go! Just a little bit at a time ó otherwise it can get overwhelming. Itís the same as how you eat an elephant: one bite at a time.

Learn to cope (and thrive) without the buying & overdoing. Now hereís the thing we need to start to shift, in the Way of Less ó not needing to buy things to deal with stress, sadness, loneliness. Not needing to always be busy. To be willing to feel what we feel, and be OK with it ó thatís a key skill. It starts with meditation, but cultivating the capacity to be present with your feelings is a lifetime practice. Itís what we train with in my Fearless Training Program ó you can start with the Fearless Purpose training package.

Find joy in the things that matter to you. Now that youíve let go of most of the non-essential things, the key is to stop looking for happiness and comfort in everything else Ö and start finding the joy in the things that youíve kept. The things that matter most to you. Find joy in very little. This is another lifetime practice, but you can do it today. Find one thing on your short list of essentials (like my mission, loved ones, learning & healthy life), and see if you can find joy in it.

Start saying no to the rest more often. And hereís another key step that we often forget about ó once you create some space for the things that matter, stop saying yes to everything else. As much as youíre able to. Donít let things creep back in. I have to either keep this front of mind, so that I am saying no as a general rule Ö or come back to it when I start to forget. I know that Iíve forgotten when I donít have enough room for whatís important.

Enjoy the space. Itís not just finding joy in the things that matter. Itís also finding joy in having some breathing room. Having some space. Not needing to keep doing, but to stop and just be. Just notice. Just breathe. Relax into it. Very few people actually allow themselves to do this, without needing to fill everything up with reading, watching, doing, responding, talking, moving, acting. Enjoy the empty space, as if it were just as important as all the rest.

Positive Paula

Food is Medicine!

You are what you think!

I Say............"Keep Life Simple".

The simple and easy diet I Love:

nosdiet.com/


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10/28/19 7:07 P

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The Everyday Mindfulness Practice of Direct Experience

By Leo Babauta

When I first started practicing Zen meditation years ago, I thought it was to make me more calm. Then it was to make me less reactive. Then to make me less attached to things.

These things all happen if you meditate regularly, as many of you know. But one of the most helpful things Iíve done is to drop the goal of meditation and mindfulness. And just be with my experience.

I think of this as the mindfulness practice of direct experience, and itís something you can do every day, as many times as you can remember. Itís quite ordinary, and also quite a bit magical.

The practice of meditating on the breath is how this starts, of course: you stay with the direct experience of feeling your breath, in and out, the sensations of breathing your breath. Your mind wanders, you notice, you come back. If you like, you can label it ďthinkingĒ before you come back to the breath. But you keep coming back, even if youíre sidetracked for 5 minutes.

That is practice for direct experience of everything.

The thing is Ö our lovely minds get in the way.

The Mindís Commentary Habit

If direct experience is like a movie thatís playing all the time, the mind is like a person who adds subtitles and commentary to the movie. Imagine a movie with commented text constantly plastered all over the screen ó all over the place, all the time. Youíd never actually see the movie!

Thatís what our minds do. We have this miraculous reality right in front of us, and our minds block it all out with constant commentary and fantasties.

A few of the things our minds are constantly doing include:

Judging whether something is good or bad

Labelling things ó pleasant, unpleasant, unhappy, unfair, idiotic

Judging whether weíre good or bad, whether other people are good or bad

Getting caught up in a narrative about something that happened earlier

Getting caught up in fantasy or worry about what might happen later

Getting caught up in a story about whatís happening now, why it should or shouldnít happen

These things also get us irritated, frustrated, angry, sad, worried, anxious. These are not terrible things, but they come from these commentary habits of the mind.

What would it be like if we dropped the commentary habit? What if we just experienced the movie without all the extra things overlaid on top?

The Practice of Direct Experience
Hereís the practice of direct experience, laid out simply:

Notice the sensations of this moment. It might be sounds. Or light. Or sensations on you skin, or in your body. Just notice whatever you notice.

Experience these sensations directly, without any thoughts, labels, commentary, fantasies, narratives, judgments. Just the experience.

If you are doing any of these things, just notice, and come back to the experience. Over and over.

Relax into the experience, just as it is. Itís not good or bad, itís just experience. We donít have to do anything about it. It doesnít need to be changed. Be curious about it ó what is it like right now?

You can just have the direct experience of life as it is. What a wonderful thing.

What will this practice get you? Calm, focus, peace, happiness? Maybe, probably, sure. But the thing the practice really gets you is just experiencing reality as it is. Itís wonderful, full stop.



Positive Paula

Food is Medicine!

You are what you think!

I Say............"Keep Life Simple".

The simple and easy diet I Love:

nosdiet.com/


Total SparkPoints: 10,439
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10/24/19 4:57 P

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zen habits

b r e a t h e

How to Not Believe Your Ultra-Persuasive Rationalizations

By Leo Babauta

Iíve come to realize that smart people are very good at creating super persuasive arguments for why the shouldnít do the thing theyíre fearing doing.

This past week, Iíve worked with half a dozen intelligent people who have convinced themselves to give in to their resistance, over and over.

Theyíre persuasive, convincing people, and when it comes to convincing themselves, they are really good at it, as there isnít even anyone to argue back.

So they convince themselves, in the moment of fear and resistance, not to do the thing they told themselves yesterday they want to do. This results in not sticking to their word to themselves, not doing the habits they want, not doing the important, meaningful work theyíve always wanted to do.

So how do we overcome our own persuasive rationalizations? Iíve learned a few things working with these wonderful and intelligent people. Let me share them with you.

Start from Your Best Mindset
Mike Tyson had a famous phrase that went something like, ďEverybody has a plan until theyíre punched in the face.Ē While I donít love the violence of it, I do love the recognition that our best plans go out the window when weíre faced with fear.

So we have to train in how we respond to the fear, so that we donít collapse.

But before we do that, itís important to start by thinking about this when youíre in your best mindset. Or at least a pretty good one. Not when youíre in the middle of the resistance, because at that point, youíll just rationalize your way out of it.

Your best mindset is when you can look at the situation objectively and decide what you really want to do. Not what you want to do when faced with the book writing or sales call youíre resisting. Not what you want to do when itís cold or youíre in bed and the alarm clockís gone off in darkness. But what you want to do when you are calm and not feeling the resistance.

What do you want? Why do you care about that? What would it mean for you and others? How important is this for you? Write down the answers to this, to show yourself when youíre facing the fear. When fear punches you in the face and you want to run.

Come Up with Your Counterarguments
Now that you know what you want and why Ö come up with your counterpunches.

Start to list the reasons you give yourself not to do the thing you fear. You can add to this list later, when you see them in the wild. But for now, list the ones you can remember.

Now write down a good counterargument for each one. Each rationalization will be at least partly true, which is why theyíre powerful. So you have to overcome it with even more truth.

For example:

I should sleep in, I need the sleep. Yes thatís true, sleep is important ó but that just means you need to start going to sleep earlier. You can wake up today and suffer a little bit, but then get very serious about going to sleep on time so you can get what you need to be focused.
Why should I do this, Iím already happy. Thatís also true Ö but giving in to your fears doesnít lead to long-term happiness. Breaking your word to yourself doesnít lead to self-trust. Doing the thing you said you really want to do will lead to long-term happiness.

Just this one time wonít hurt, isnít a big deal. Thatís true Ö except that it is a big deal, because youíre breaking your word to yourself. It will hurt, because one inevitably leads to another, and so youíre forming a pattern that will hurt you. This is the argument I made so that I could smoke cigarettes, and it always ended up hurting me. So look at the evidence ó has believing that rationalization hurt or helped you?

Iím too busy. Yes, you are busy ó but are all the other things youíre doing more important than this? Can you say that with absolute certainty? Because yesterday you decided that this was important, and the other things werenít as important. Maybe you shouldnít renegotiate with yourself right now, but wait until youíre in your best mind to reprioritize.
These are just a few common ones, you can probably think of a few of your own right now. If not, watch what you tell yourself the next time you try to put off your important things, and write down the rationalization.

What would convince you not to believe your rationalization? Write it down, and tell it to yourself at the moment of difficulty.

Train in the Moment of Resistance
Itís one thing to write things down and have counterarguments ready for yourself Ö but what will you do when fear punches you in the face?

This takes training. You need to intentionally practice in this, every day, so that you get better and better at overcoming the resistance and not collapsing when hit with fear.

The training is this, in a nutshell:

Set a practice time for yourself, and commit to doing the training every day at that time.
Set something for yourself to do in that practice time ó something that will bring up some resistance. Set this the day before.

Only do a small chunk of it ó if you want to write a book, for example, only try to do 10-20 minutes of it (depending on how hard that is for you). Donít make it crazy difficult at first.
Notice what happens when the time comes to practice ó what do you do? What rationalizations do you give yourself? What comforts do you turn towards? What complaints are there? Just notice, without judgment.

Stay for a moment with the fear and resistance. Just be with it. You donít need to run, just feel it for a moment. Maybe a couple moments. This is the training ó not running.
See if any of your counterarguments work. Remind yourself of why this is important.
Put yourself in a place of love ó how is doing this an act of love for yourself and others? How important is that love? Can you let yourself feel the love and compassion right now, for yourself and others? Let this move you.

Try to get even one minute done. See if thatís possible. Maybe 10 seconds. Itís an opening. Tomorrow, get a little more done if possible, or at least the same amount.

Daily training will help you not need to run. The rationalizations will lose their power with time, because the fear wonít be as scary.

Positive Paula

Food is Medicine!

You are what you think!

I Say............"Keep Life Simple".

The simple and easy diet I Love:

nosdiet.com/


Total SparkPoints: 10,439
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10/17/19 4:36 P

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Discipline Challenge: What My Mind Does When I Commit to Hard Things

By Leo Babauta

In the middle of last month, I set myself a 45-day discipline challenge, just to see what my mind would do.

I like the idea of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and so I decided to take on 12 things at once, which is against my usual advice!

The challenge isnít over yet, but Iíd like to share some of my findings so far.

So my challenge for 45 days was to follow these 12 things each day:

Wake early (between 5-6am, which is early for me these days)

Meditate first thing
Read
Plan my Most Important Tasks (MITs)
Do my first MIT early
Cold shower
Fast until mid-afternoon
Study in the late afternoon
Walk in the late afternoon
Exercise (weights, only 3 days a week)
Meditate in the evening
No alcohol

I should note that none of these is individually that hard for me, and Iíve done them all before at different time. Even putting them all together isnít crazy hard ó the challenge is sticking to them for 45 days to see what happens in my mind.

And it turns out, a lot happens in my mind!

The First Week

The first few days were actually a lot of fun. I get excited at the start of a new challenge, and I seem to relish taking on hard things.

I started waking at 6am, with the intention to slowly move it earlier. That was a little bit challenging, as Iíd been waking at 7am before that, but I really enjoy the quiet morning time, and getting more of that was nice for me.

I became much more consistent with morning and afternoon meditation, even though I often saw my mind coming up with excuses why I should skip them. I saw the excuses, and just did them.

Cold showers were not new to me, but I hadnít been doing them in awhile. I definitely donít enjoy them, but theyíre not the worst things. I was able to embrace them and use them as a meditation. (Note: I only do the cold part for a couple minutes at the end of a shower.)

Fasting was also not new to me, but it was still challenging. Iíd been eating my first meal between 11am Ė 12pm, so I pushed it until 2-3pm, and found myself really wanting to eat by noon. Hunger is hard for me, not because itís painful but because my mind really tries to find a way around it.

No alcohol was also not new, and honestly Iíve been drinking way less this year ó not every day, and often only sips of my wifeís wine. That said, I saw myself often tempted to sip her wine when it was right in front of me.

The rest of the stuff was easy ó I enjoyed the walks, and reading and studying and doing my focus work was all lovely.

The Harder Stuff

The first week wasnít too tough, but after that, I found a few things particularly hard, and it was interesting watching my mind:

I found myself less excited about the challenge. I was still committed to doing it, but it was no longer fun. Turns out, I only get excited about the beginning of things.
I didnít really adjust to the fasting. I still havenít. And I broke the fasting a couple times, for no good reason other than I wasnít really thinking about it and I let my mind trick me.
Waking early was a little tough, mostly because of staying up with the family the night before. I tried to go to bed earlier, but some nights I didnít succeed, and it really made getting up early a big challenge.

I found myself wanting to skip reading a lot, especially when I had a lot of work to get to. In fact, I ended up pushing reading to later in the day rather than right after meditation.
Alcohol has been one of the tougher ones ó I donít miss alcohol, and donít care at all about the effects of it (I donít get drunk or even buzzed, and donít need it to relax). But when Eva has a glass of wine and itís right in front of me, I find myself tempted several times a night to take a sip, just for the taste. I havenít given in yet, but almost did multiple times.
Thatís what I faced the 2nd and 3rd weeks. The 4th week was not a success Ö read on to hear about it.

Some Inconsistencies Lately
I did not do as well the 4th week. I became focused on other things, and it turns out itís hard to focus on many things at once. Who knew? :)

Iíve still been very consistent with a few things ó no alcohol, studying, exercise, doing my first MIT early. Iíve missed a few walks lately, though, for social reasons. I was super consistent with meditation twice a day until this week, again for social reasons. Iíve slept later than usual a few days in the last week, because of visitors and travel. Iíve missed a few cold showers because Iíve earlier been in a rush or I forgot.

Overall, Iíve been less focused and consistent. Itís interesting because my mind is so less interested and excited in this challenge now, and in some ways wants to just give up and forget about it. I havenít been reporting to anyone, which has probably been a mistake, because if I was reporting it, Iíd probably be much more motivated to remember.

Iím not feeling shame about the lack of consistency lately ó thatís not what this challenge is about. Itís about learning about my mind, and Iíve definitely done that. I think if I only had one thing to focus on each day in this challenge, Iíd be much more focused. So itís interesting to see myself try to manage 12 things at once.

A Return to Focus

Writing this post has been good, because it has returned my focus. With that in mind, I think having a journaling habit helps a lot because you reflect on how things are going and can re-commit and re-focus yourself. I havenít been journaling lately, but if I do it at least once a week, I think it might be almost as good as having some accountability (which really is the best, in my experience).

So Iím committed to returning to my challenge (as much as Iím able, given that we are going to have half a dozen visitors this week).

I really do love most of the things Iíve challenged myself to do. Most of them are what Iíd like myself to do when Iím in my most open, wise state of mind ó which is when you want to decide these things, not when youíre facing the discomfort.

Weíll see how many of them I decide to keep when the month is over, but I think at least half are keepers! Iíll let you know in a couple of weeks.



Positive Paula

Food is Medicine!

You are what you think!

I Say............"Keep Life Simple".

The simple and easy diet I Love:

nosdiet.com/


Total SparkPoints: 10,439
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10/14/19 5:01 P

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For some reason spark people won't let me add this latest Zen Habits post it says no Profanity Please!

Tried and tried to see where and what they did not like but could not so.................. here's a link to the website where you can read it for yourself if you wish to:

zenhabits.net/decisions/

Positive Paula

Food is Medicine!

You are what you think!

I Say............"Keep Life Simple".

The simple and easy diet I Love:

nosdiet.com/


Total SparkPoints: 10,439
10,000
11,249
12,499
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14,999
SparkPoints Level 11
HAPPI_PAULA's Photo HAPPI_PAULA Posts: 1,625
10/7/19 7:04 P

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Working with the Heartbreaking Feeling That Something is Wrong with You


ďI found the Divine within my Heart.Ē

~Rumi

By Leo Babauta

The most common problem Iíve found in the people Iíve coached and worked with in my programs is a very fundamental problem:

Most people have the feeling that something is wrong with them. And it is heartbreaking.

Actually, most people would say that their problem is that they want to be more disciplined, more focused, better at sticking to their health habits, better at finances, more mindful Ö so more of something, or better at something else.

But underlying all of that is the feeling that something is wrong with us.

We are not disciplined enough. Weíre not focused enough. Weíre not fit enough. Weíre not mindful enough. Weíre not organized enough. Weíre not good enough. Weíre not enough. Weíre never enough.

It breaks our heart, because we try our best, but we come up short. All of our efforts canít solve the fundamental flaws in us, the parts that will never be good enough. There are parts of us we donít want to face, that we donít like, that we donít want anyone to see. And so we hide it, cover it up with activity that shows how great we are. Maybe if we show how awesome we are, no one will notice the shameful parts.

The most heartbreaking thing is that nothing could be farther from the truth. Nothing is wrong with us. We are whole, we are good-hearted, we are beautiful and full of love.

In this article, Iíll offer a few ways to work with this heartbreaking delusion.

Where the Feeling Comes From
We form this feeling sometime in childhood or our teenage years ó before this, we thought we were awesome and we felt whole with the world.

But somewhere, we got the message that we should be more. We should work harder, be more disciplined, be more beautiful, be better.

It came from parents, other relatives, school, peers, media, church. Everyone gave us this message, because everyone has bought into the fundamental agreement that we all should be better, more productive, more of everything.

Itís rooted in religion, in consumerism, in the fundamental fabric of our society.

Itís a flawed message, but itís everywhere. We can feel it when we open social media and see all the ways other people are doing or looking better than us. That makes us feel worse, and reinforces our belief in our flawedness.

But Actually, We Arenít Flawed
Thereís nothing wrong with us. Weíre not ďperfect,Ē but any idea of perfect is based on some ideal, some set of expectations that have been created and that only serve to make us feel less than.

Weíre not perfect, but weíre not flawed. We are good at our core. We are the embodiment of love. We are whole with the universe, if only we could see it.

Take yourself back to when you were six or seven years old, and you felt amazing. Maybe not all the time, but there were moments when you felt awesome. You were playing, imagining, creating, connecting with others or the world around you, full of joy and wonder and life.

This is the feeling of wholeness with the world, with yourself. Itís still there, inside you, but itís covered in all the agreements youíve taken in from the world around you that youíre flawed. Those agreements have been reinforced and taken as covenants, but we can break them and form new agreements.

The most important new agreement is that you are whole, you are love, you are good-hearted.

5 Powerful Ways to Work with This Flawed Feeling
So how do we start to shift? One small action at a time, we break the old agreements and start to form new ones.

Here are some powerful ways to start that shift ó note that these arenít steps in order, but different ways you can work with the feeling of something being wrong with you:

Practice kindness & friendliness with yourself. This is such a key and transformational practice: you practice looking at yourself with gentleness and friendliness. Just like you might look at a loved one with the same gentleness and friendliness, or light up with warmth
when you see one of your best friends. That same feeling, turned on yourself. All the time.

Whenever you look at yourself or something youíve done, turn on the warm light of kindness to yourself, of friendliness and gentleness. Let go of the old ways of harshness, and transform it into kindness and warmth. What would it be like to do this all the time?

Use the pain as a path of transformation. When we feel that thereís something wrong with us, it can feel painful. But this pain can be useful ó drop into your body and feel the pain, as a physical sensation. Where is it located? Get curious about how it feels.

The pain, then, is opening you to the present moment, instead of being caught up in your cycles of thinking negative things about yourself. Itís opening you to feeling the tenderness of your heart as well. It can also open you to compassion ó if youíre feeling this pain, can you imagine how many others feel it? Can you feel compassion for every other being who feels this kind of pain? Can you send them kindness and love, from your tender heart?


See your basic goodness. At our core, we are good. This is my belief. We have good hearts, we want to be happy, we want to be kind to others, and we have a wide-open awareness, compassion and connectedness that is always available to us, if we can open up to it from our usual place of being caught up in self-concern. We can all practice seeing this goodness, and feeling it in our heart. Feel the compassion in your heart, that is always available. Feel the kind intentions, the love that emanates from your tender heart.

This is your basic goodness, and you can practice seeing and feeling it in any moment. The more you practice with this, the more fundamental your trust in it will become.

Practice self-compassion regularly. You can do this practice right now: feeling the pain of something being wrong with you, of being inadequate and unlovable Ö can you wish for relief from this pain? Feeling the stress and disappointment in your body, can you wish for a feeling of peace? Can you wish for yourself to be happy? This wish can be felt in the heart, when you practice. Notice this feeling, and cultivate it regularly by wishing for a relief to your pain and stress, wishing for your own happiness and peace. It will help to heal the pain of something being wrong with you.


Use the self-doubt to open to curiosity. You might feel doubt about whether youíre doing something right, about whether you can do something, about how youíre living and who you are. Thatís OK! Doubt and uncertainty about yourself are not bad things.

In fact, if we let them, they can open us to curiosity: I donít know if Iím doing something right, can I get curious about how I should do this? Can I get curious about what this doubt feels like? Can I get curious about the task or topic without needing to know exactly how to do it?

You can open to curiosity in any moment ó itís a space of not-knowing, a recognition that knowing is fixed but not-knowing is wide open and space for possibility, creation, exploration, play, wonder.

As you can see, the place of feeling that something is wrong with you is just a starting place. You can use it to transform, to find gentleness and friendliness, to find compassion, to open to the moment, to see your basic goodness. You can use it to open yourself to curiosity, possibility, not-knowing, creativity, exploration, wonder and love.

ďI wish I could show youÖthe astonishing light of your own being.Ē

~Hafez

Positive Paula

Food is Medicine!

You are what you think!

I Say............"Keep Life Simple".

The simple and easy diet I Love:

nosdiet.com/


Total SparkPoints: 10,439
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10/1/19 5:06 P

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Why We Never Have Enough Time & What to Do About It

By Leo Babauta

Everyone I know has this problem: there never seems to be enough time in the day for everything we need or want to do.

We have a pile of tasks and projects to do, endless messages and emails to respond to, and even if we work with focus and no distractions (thatís a huge ďifĒ) Ö thereís not enough time.

Letís say you happen to find time after work and on weekends, to do non-work stuff, like reading and exercise and meditating and learning new things and taking up a hobby Ö well, then you find that the time you create for this stuff is never enough, you have too much that you want to do and thereís still not enough time.

And thatís just the big things Ö in addition to all of that, thereís eating and sleeping and driving and showering, thereís using the bathroom and watching TV shows and keeping up with the news, thereís cleaning and other chores, washing the car and paying bills, grocery shopping and cooking, doing your taxes and registering your car. How does all of this get shoehorned into the small amount of time that we have for work and non-work tasks and activities?

Thereís never enough time, and it freaking stresses us all out.

Why is this? Whatís going on? And what the hell can we do about it?

The Cause of Not Enough Time

There is a fixed amount of time. Itís neither ďenoughĒ or ďnot enoughĒ ó itís only our expectations that make it one way or another.

If we want to get more done than is possible in this fixed amount of time, we think itís not enough, because it didnít meet our expectation. If we are satisfied with how much we can do in the fixed amount of time, itís enough time.

So itís our expectations of how much we should get done in a day.

Where do these expectations come from? Our managers? Society? Our parents? Ourselves? Of course, the answer is all of the above. Weíve all created these agreements about how much weíre supposed to do, and the agreements are impossible to fulfill in the limited amount of time we have.

So the practice is to let go of the flawed agreements of how much we should get done.

And instead, learn to appreciate the time we actually do have, and appreciate each act weíre able to do within that time.

Ya But Ö I Need to Get All That Done

You might object: the endless list of things to get done still needs to be tackled!

Absolutely. Try this experiment for a week: make this list of things to do, prioritize them, block off time in your calendar for them. Now be absolutely disciplined and focused in each block, doing exactly what you planned. Adjust the blocks as you learn that you have forgotten eating and grocery shopping and the like. But after a week, youíll have a much better idea of how much you can actually get done.

You will see that itís much less than you hope you can do. We are overly optimistic about how much we can do in a day, in a week.

So if we get realistic, the actual amount of things we can do in a week is greatly reduced. We need to start with that realistic recognition. Letís see how to use that to actually do stuff.

How to Get Stuff Done Then

Now we can work within that reality of fixed time and limited amount of things that can get done:

First recognize the things that must get done. What on your list are things that have to get done no matter what? For example, you might list things like: showering, eating, sleeping, buying groceries, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, driving to work, taking the kids to school, etc.

You might also have some non-negotiable work things: Monday meetings, daily calls, etc. How much time do these take? Calculate it the best you can. A good estimate is 8 hours of sleep, and then 4-7 hours of non-work things (depending on if you have family or other increased non-work obligations). Now how many non-negotiable work things do you have?

Now recognize how much time you have left. Letís say you have 8 hours of sleep, 4 hours of non-work non-negotiables, and 1.5 hours of work non-negotiables Ö that leaves you with 10.5 hours to allot each day. For some of you with more non-negotiables (both work & non-work), you might be down to 6 hours. Just find the number.

Now ask, how can I best use that time? With the time you have to allot to your big pile of tasks and things you want to do and read and watch Ö how will you best use this time? Thereís no right answer, but ask the question. For me, I spend a chunk of it writing, a chunk responding to people, a chunk working on one project, and a chunk taking care of admin tasks. Then I allocate time for meditating, walking, exercise, reading & studying, connecting with loved ones. Those are my priorities.

Pick & block off. With this list of priorities, block off your time. You can get by without this, but itís a way to budget your limited time. And protect the things you believe are most important. This is all you get, and you get to use it the best you can. Thatís all you can do in that time!
Now work & act with appreciation & focus. In each block, pour yourself into the act. Really be there with that task, because youíve chosen to include it in your limited time, so it must be important. Appreciate this task, and appreciate the space youíve cleared for it. (More in the next section.)

All of the above will be done imperfectly, of course. Weíll still try to fit in too much. But at least it will be more realistic, and over time, you can stop trying to cram so much into your time blocks. Youíll learn that you canít get as much done in those blocks as you hope. But with practice, we can accept that this is enough.

Working with Appreciation & Focus

Youíll still want to cram more into the limited time you have ó it our nature.

But itís good to recognize that this stems from a lack of appreciation for the time we do have. It is enough. The time we have is a precious gift, and we can appreciate it just as it is, without needing it to be more.

So the secret is to work and act with appreciation and focus. Appreciate the spaces we have ó we donít have have many of these spaces ó theyíre precious and beautiful. Can you love them as they are?

Be fully with the task, without letting ourselves get sidetracked. Itís important enough to include in our limited day, so itís important enough to give our full attention and devotion to.

Relax into each space, each task, each act, learning to love it just as it is. Not worrying about all weíre not doing, but instead appreciating what we are doing.

What a gift this task, this act, this moment is! I will devote myself to it fully, out of love.

Positive Paula

Food is Medicine!

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Live on Purpose


ďOur purpose here on earth: to manifest the very nature of our spirit, which is touched by the spirit of God.Ē

~Rumi

By Leo Babauta

So often we live our lives drifting, getting by, trying to find comfort and pleasure, doing what we need to do, doing things out of habit, getting lost in the busywork, going through the motions, getting caught up in our thoughts, getting lost in distractions, trying to stick to something but then reverting to habitual patterns, dealing with one crisis after another, putting out fires and sweeping up messes, dealing tiredness and stress and depression and anxiety, trying to keep our heads above water, trying to make ends meet, falling behind and getting overwhelmed, struggling and not wanting to face our problems, getting mired in a pit of neverending tasks, losing our days and weeks because they all blend together.

This is the human condition, and it is beautiful.

But what would it be like to live with purpose? To have meaning in the work that we do, and to structure our lives with that purpose in mind, and with the most meaningful relationships and activities?

What would it be like to live on purpose?

To have intention to our actions, have a purpose to drive us, to put everything we have into everything we do?

The more we live on purpose and do our best in every single thing we do, the more meaningful our lives will be.

Letís explore this idea of living on purpose.

Getting Clarity on Your Purpose

Not everyone is walking around saying, ďYep, I know exactly what my purpose is in life!Ē In fact, most people donít ask the question, and if they do, they might not believe there is such a thing as purpose.

Thatís because there isnít inherently a purpose in our lives ó we have to create it. If we donít, our actions feel drifting and meaningless.

So how do we figure out that purpose? Itís a matter of creating an inquiry, and then listening. Then putting it into action. This is worth doing, by the way, even if you feel you have some idea of your purpose.

Weíll get to the inquiry in a moment, but this process looks like this:

Start asking some questions (inquiry) that opens us to thinking about what is meaningful to us. See the next section. This is about opening to inquiry and seeing what comes up.
Start listening. This is the part that many people skip ó they might ask the questions but then not really feel theyíre coming up with meaningful answers. Thatís because we have to listen. In silence and solitude.

So go out in nature, and walk in silence (no music or podcasts or audiobooks). Or sit in silence. Ask the questions below. Listen to what comes up. Listen some more. Ask some more. Itís like having a dialog with God ó or the universe, or your inner consciousness. Ask and listen. Speak and see what comes out.

Take action to get clarity. Many people make the mistake of thinking they need clarity before they can put it into action, but thatís actually the reverse of how it works. You get an idea but no real clarity ó then you try it out and see how it works. Does it feel meaningful? Which parts of it scare you? What do you need to change in order to make it happen? You might find that itís not for you and you need to try something else out. Or that something related to your original idea is actually closer to your purpose. Itís an exploration, and through this exploration you start to get some clarity.

This isnít a one-off process, actually. Itís an ongoing one, of getting more and more clarity. So even if you think you are pretty close to your purpose, keep this process going. It might never end (I donít know yet).

The Purpose Inquiry

Thereís no right way to do this process of inquiry, except to turn toward the questions and the possibilities.

Some questions to start you in the process:

What people have you helped in your work made the work feel more meaningful than usual?
What people have problems that really speak to your heart, that move you to want to help?
What have you done in your life that felt most meaningful? (It doesnít have to be around work.)

What books have you read, videos watched, courses taken Ö that really lit you up?

When have you worked with people who really lit you up?

Who has inspired you the most? Who have you inspired?

Again, these are just to get you started. Ask questions like this that open you to feeling meaning, that open you to new ways of seeing things.

Then go out in silence and listen. Journal. Listen some more. Talk to yourself (or God or the universe). Then listen (to yourself, God or the universe). See what comes up. Then take action.

Living on Purpose

Once you have a little clarity (you donít need very much), you can take some action.

Help one person.

Help another, then another.

Write about what you learned helping them.

Create something for someone.

Give that creation to a few others.

Launch something.

Be a part of something. Start something new.

Each day, ask what one thing you could do to live your purpose out.

Eventually, you start to have a bigger vision for what you can do with this purpose. Challenge yourself to make it even bigger.

Now bring that vision into your daily life:

Bring your bigger vision into smaller steps until you have a purposeful task to do today.
Structure your life so that you are creating the space for the purpose.

Bring practices to your life that help you work with the habitual patterns that get in the way of purposeful work (patterns like procrastination, distraction, overcommitting, etc.).

Structure your life to support this purposeful work ó meditation, eating, fitness, reading to get you to the most clear, inspired place you can get to.

Do every single activity the absolute best you can. This doesnít mean exhausting yourself, but doing each thing with full intention and care, instead of ďhalfĒ doing it as many of us are prone to doing.

If you can bring these five elements into your life, you are living on purpose.

p.s. If youíre ready to live your life on purpose, train with me in my Fearless Training Program or check out my latest creation:

The Fearless Purpose Training Package: A System for the Uncertainty of Your Meaningful Work
ďIf you do your best always, over and over again, you will become a master of transformation.Ē

~Don Miguel Ruiz




Positive Paula

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Antidotes to Overwork

By Leo Babauta

Too many of us are overstressed, overbusy, overwhelmed, overloaded, overworked.

This leads to exhaustion, poor health, deteriorating habits, depression, burnout, unhappiness. Overloading ourselves and overworking ourselves is not a recipe for success or happiness.

There are a number of factors that lead to being overworked, but here are a few of the most common:

You are working a job that demands you to work too much, and have little control over your schedule or workload.

You have to work multiple jobs to pay the bills, and canít seem to do much about it.

You overcommit and overload yourself, and always seem to be working and yet never seem to be doing enough.

Youíre always connected, always responding to messages, always checking email, always doing a thousand tasks. Always stressed and overwhelmed.

The first two problems are difficult to solve, because you donít always have a lot of control. Weíll talk about the antidote to those problems first.

The second two problems are obviously related with a lot of overlap. They actually tend to be more common than the first two, in my experience ó though sometimes itís a combination of the first two and the last two factors.

Weíll talk about the second two factors next.

Antidote 1: Make a Structural Change
If you have a job that overworks you, or you work two or more jobs Ö itís not working out well. Youíre overworked and leading to a disaster.

You need to make a structural change.

Some ideas for structural changes you can consider:

Get more focused & effective, and get your workload done in less time. (See next section.) This lets you do the same workload but not spend as much time working.

Reduce your workload ó if you can control this, then find a way to cut out the less important tasks and focus on the higher priority tasks. (Again, see next section.) If you donít control your workload, then you must talk to management. You canít sustain this, and they donít want to lose you, most likely. Tell them youíre going to be more effective working on high priority tasks, more focused ó but that you need to work fewer hours. Ask them to help you cut less important tasks from your workload.

If youíre working two or more jobs, find a side hustle that pays more per hour than your current jobs. Yes, I believe itís possible (for most people). Do more of that and less of the other jobs, so that you can work fewer hours.

Set boundaries for yourself ó talk to your supervisor, talk to human resources, and tell them you cannot sustain the hours youíre working. Set a boundary of what hours you work, and another boundary of how much youíre expected to respond to messages (so that you can focus and get more done). This is a scary conversation for most people. Itís less scary than burnout, trust me.

Cut your hours.

Change jobs.

Which of these structural changes need to happen for you? Are there others you should consider?

Antidote 2: Get Focused While Letting Go of Doing Too Much
This one might seem contradictory at first, because Iím suggesting that you work harder but not work as hard.

But itís not work harder ó itís work with more effectiveness and focus. With this kind of change, you can have a bigger impact while doing fewer tasks. My first book, the Power of Less (a new edition is out in the UK), was about this very idea.

Notice that Iím also not suggesting you work the same number of hours while being more effective, so that you can get more done. Nope. Youíre going to work less by letting go of the extra stuff you do, and letting go of always working.

This allows you to replenish. The best performers realize that their rest and recovery periods are just as important as the work periods (either that, or they burn out).

To accomplish this antidote, itís really two main steps:

Get more focused & impactful.

Do less by enforcing disconnected replenishment time.

Get More Focused & Impactful

I wrote a book (and training package) in 4-5 days by being more focused and focusing on my one high-impact task each day (writing). Iíve launched courses, run programs, run retreats and workshops, and more ó all by being more focused and more impactful than I used to be. I believe the best performing people in the world do the same, for the most part.

So how does this work? Itís fairly simple:

Zero in on the most impactful tasks. This is nothing new ó I wrote about it more than a decade ago in the Power of Less, Tim Ferriss wrote about it in 4 Hour Work Week, and recently I read about it again in a book called the One Thing. Itís also often called the Pareto Principle: 20% of your tasks get 80% of the results (not exact figures Ė itís more of a principle). So zoom in on those 20% high-impact tasks ó and then do 20% of those, and 20% of those, until youíre down to just 1-3 tasks. Do that as soon as youíre done reading this post ó what are the 1-3 most impactful tasks on your task list?

Only focus on the single most impactful task. Even if you have 3 Most Important Tasks Ö only focus on the One Task. The one thing that will get you the most results today, have the biggest impact on your career, long-term goals, etc. Let the other important tasks go for now, and let this One Task be your entire universe. Be absolutely focused on this, blocking out everything else in your world. Especially the internet and your phone.

Block off time for this, and block off time for the other things you need to get done. If the One Task is important enough to give your focus to, then itís important enough to block off in your day. In your calendar, or simply on a sheet of paper, block off the hours of your day ó and devote 3-4 hours to your One Task. Block off an hour for your other 2 Most Important Tasks. Then block off time for the other things you need to get done today, including administrative stuff like responding to email and messages.

If you can get more focused like this, and focus on the higher-impact tasks, you donít need to work as much. Youíll have more than enough time for the things that are important.

Some of the less important stuff will pile up. Thatís a part of it. Youíre not going to get everything done. Youíre going to get the things that matter done.

If you work like this, the idea of too little time to do too much gets turned on its head. You have enough time. Youíre just going to use it more effectively, working with priority.

Do Less By Enforcing Replenishment Time

Enforcing time for rest and replenishment doesnít come naturally to most of us, especially in our society. In our world, itís always a matter of doing more and more. Itís always connected, always cram in more, always respond. All the time.

How often do you take an hour or two just to go for a walk and not read or listen to anything useful? To find silence and time to contemplate? To find space for yourself, to find room to breathe?

We donít value that, but itís so important. You canít function at your best without it.

So weíre going to create the time and enforce it by doing the following:

Carve out the time for replenishment. Just as you need to block off time for your high-impact tasks, you need to actually block off time for replenishment. What time will you shut down your devices? (Hint: at least an hour before bed.) What time will you sleep? Most people let themselves get too little sleep because theyíre hooked on devices, but that affects their sleep and all of the next day. What time will you stop working and instead go for a walk, meditate, exercise, or just find some quiet space? Will you create time for quiet space in the mornings? Block it off and make it happen.

Enforce it by letting go of the rest. When you get the urge to check messages, email, news, blogs, websites, social media Ö donít do it. Block it all out. If you need to check messages and email, block it off in your schedule. If you need to check social media, create a space once a day to do that. You canít have the habit of always being connected if you want to be focused and impactful, and also have rest time. Itís either the constant connection or the focused, impactful, restful schedule.

Create a mantra: this space is a tremendous gift. The space you create for yourself will not feel great at first ó youíll want to check on things, youíll want to get more done, youíll feel guilty for not working, you wonít be present. Thatís because your mind is trained to not value rest time, to not value space. Itís trained to do more and more, forever, because thatís what youíve been doing. But that doesnít work. So instead, create a mantra that values this space. That sees it as a gift. That emphasizes that this moment, just as it is, is enough.

Learn to find the deliciousness in the moments you create of disconnected time. Of not-work time. Of being present with your loved ones, present with yourself. Of moving, being outdoors, getting active.

Only when you can make these changes will you finally have the antidote to overwork. You can do this.

Positive Paula

Food is Medicine!

You are what you think!

I Say............"Keep Life Simple".

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nosdiet.com/


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The Art of Creating a Ritual for What Matters Most


ďYour sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.Ē ~Joseph Campbell

By Leo Babauta

In this world where technology and consumerism have become our religion, weíve largely lost something magical: the ability to elevate something into the realm of the sacred.

Iím not a fan of Catholic priests, but if you watch them perform the Eucharistic ritual in mass, it feels like a moment of true magic. If you watch a Zen priest performing similar rituals, it feels like a moment that is lifted into sacredness. Yoga practitioners before their altar, Muslims worshipping at mosques, Buddhists at their temples ó they all practice this kind of sacred ritual.

What weíve lost is this idea that there is an element of the divine in the world. Iím an atheist and donít believe in God, but I believe in the divinity of every living being, every object, every breath. These arenít just ordinary things to be taken for granted, but ordinary things to be deeply appreciated.

And so Iíd like to advocate for the idea of ritual.

We can lift an everyday act into the realm of the divine by turning it into a sacred ritual. What Iíve been trying to practice is the art of turning what matters most in my life into a ritual.

What would it be like if you turned what matters most in your life into a ritual? (Hint: if itís in your life, it is important, as youíve chosen to include it in your limited time.)

In his book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz writes in his chapter on the Fourth Agreement (ďAlways do your bestĒ):

ď I make everything a ritual, and I always do my best. Taking a shower is a ritual for me, and with that action I tell my body how much I love it. I feel and enjoy the water on my body. I do my best to fulfill the needs of my body. I do my best to give to my body and to receive what my body gives to me.Ē

The ritual of taking a shower, then, becomes an act of appreciating the body you have, taking care of it, and fully loving it. Itís an act of devotion.

What would it be like to bring this art of devotion to everything that matters most in our lives?

The Elements of Ritual

So what would a ritual contain? Itís an art, so you can make it however you like. However, some elements to consider:

Create your environment: A ritual might have an altar, a temple, incense, etc. But your ritual doesnít have to have these particular elements ó the important thing is to consider what environment youíd like for this ritual, and how that environment will affect the practice.

By taking care to create the environment, thereís an element of mindfulness and intention that is missing from most of our actions. An example might be to have flowers and music and sage as you do your yoga practice, or to eat dinner with phones off, a candle burning, and silence in the room.

Intention: As you start, set an intention for the ritual. What would you like to practice during this ritual? How do you want to show up? Set the intention, and then carry that intention throughout the ritual.

Bring presence: A key part of ritual is to be as fully present as you can. This is another element missing from most of our daily actions, but if we elevate something to ritual, it can increase our presence.

Deep appreciation: Ritual is about bringing full appreciation to the act. A daily shower ritual is appreciating your body for the miracle it is. Daily eating rituals is appreciating not only the nourishing food, but the people who put their life energy into growing, transporting and preparing the food. A daily writing ritual might be an appreciation of your connection to your reader. We often take things for granted ó ritual brings the appreciation for life, the world, others and ourselves back into our lives.

Contemplation: Ritual can be a space for contemplating whatís important to you, what you are afraid of, what your aspirations are, and more. Again, this isnít something we normally make space for, but what if we created that space?

Connection to aspiration: What do you want to create in the world? Who do you want to be? How would you like to show up, to shift yourself, to serve others? Ritual is a way to connect to these aspirations, so that we can be more resolved to live them.

Lift to sacredness: We take the ordinary things in our lives for granted, but what if we lifted the ordinary to sacredness? This doesnít require a belief in God (though it can) Ö itís imbuing a power into an action. The word ďsacredĒ comes from the Latin ďsacrāre,Ē which means to consecrate, to dedicate. That usually has holy connotations but can simply mean to be devoted to something that has power. What if we could see the mundane as powerfully sacred and magical?

Close in gratitude: A ritual has a closing, which might be simply gratitude for whatever you just did, how you practiced, or what you are devoted to. Give a small prayer of thanks to yourself, to the world.

These are some elements to consider ó you donít have to include all of them, and there are many others you can pull in from traditional rituals that range from the pagan and Druids to shamanic to Vedic and more.

Rituals to Consider

Any act that you do each day, thatís important to you, can be considered for something to turn into a ritual.

For example, some that Iíve been experimenting with:

Start of your day: How would you like to start your day? Can it be with intention, gratitude, reflection? With aspiration and appreciation? With meditation and quiet?

Getting ready: When you get yourself ready for the day, will it be a rushed affair, or one of slowing down, appreciating your body, taking care of yourself, loving yourself?

Writing or other work: Whether your work be writing or phone calls or building a house Ö you can elevate that to ritual by creating intention around it, appreciating what youíre creating, pouring yourself into the act, bringing mindfulness to it. How can you elevate it to ritual?

Email & messages: We normally just dive into checking email and messages, but what if it became a sacred ritual of connecting to others, of carefully considering issues, of crafting language? Can we elevate the act to one of deep presence and appreciation?

Eating: With eating, we can simply fuel our bodies and put food down our throats, phones or TVs distracting us Ö or we can elevate the eating to an act of nourishing and loving our bodies, connecting to others and the earth that has provided for us, connecting to loved onesí hearts.

Exercise: We can rush through exercise, just trying to get it over with. Or we can bring it to the realm of the divine, letting it be an act of love for our bodies, an act of connection to our environment, an act of full presence and highest purpose.

Yoga: Is it just exercise and stretching, or can it be a ritual of full devotion and surrender, of practice of our highest selves?

Meditation: We can sit there, waiting for the final meditation bell to ring, or we can let it be a ritual of practice for what weíd like to train in. Or simply a ritual of full appreciation for the moment.

Sleep: Is sleep a matter of being on devices until weíre so tired we canít check another thing on social media? Or a time when we reflect on our day, prepare for our time of rest, slow down and appreciate our lives?

I have to confess that I have not perfected the art of creating ritual for all of these things ó Iím still learning, still experimenting. I have a lot of growth to do here. But when I do it, Iíve found it absolutely profound.

Elevating What Matters Most to You

What is important to you? If itís in your life, you must care enough about it that youíve included it. Our hours are precious and limited, and we can take care to only place the things that matter most into that limited space.

So what youíve included in your life must matter tremendously. Why not craft a ritual for this thing that matters so much?

If you care about checking social media, messages, email, news, blogs ó why not make this act into ritual?

If you care about your relationship with someone, why not create a connection ritual where you fully connect with them?

If you care about reading, why not make a reading ritual?

If you care about your meaningful work, why not create a ritual for practicing with that work?

Positive Paula

Food is Medicine!

You are what you think!

I Say............"Keep Life Simple".

The simple and easy diet I Love:

nosdiet.com/


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Here's the latest Zen Habits!

Sparkpeople would not let me post it when I copied and pasted it here like usual from my email I recieved so I went to the website to find it so I could copy the link to add.

Sparkpeople said "No Profanity Please" well I tried deleteing the word I assumed was profanity and it still did not let me post it so here is the link.

It's quite a good one this time worthy of looking at.

Oh, the Rationalizations Your Brain Will Dream Up!

zenhabits.net/rationalizations/

Positive Paula

Food is Medicine!

You are what you think!

I Say............"Keep Life Simple".

The simple and easy diet I Love:

nosdiet.com/


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Move Towards Your Resistance

By Leo Babauta

Our minds have the tendency to turn away and move away from what weíre fearing and resisting the most. We naturally donít like pain, frustration, difficulty. So turning away and avoiding and putting off are protective acts.

And yet, this keeps us in our comfort zone. The path of growth is in the parts weíre resisting.

Each day, find the thing youíre resisting the most and move towards it.

I donít mean that you should do something thatís actually unsafe. Jumping off a cliff to your death is not a good example of moving towards your resistance. Putting yourself in physical danger isnít what Iím suggesting.

Iím inviting you to find the thing in your business or personal life that you know would be powerful for you, but that youíre resisting doing. Move towards that.

Turn toward it and look it in the face.

Move closer to the fear and let yourself feel it completely. Open your heart to it.

Let your love melt the resistance a little. Stay in it even if it doesnít evaporate. Be courageous and fearless with it.

Do the thing youíre resisting the most. Do it bolder and louder than you are comfortable with. Do it with love, from a place of love. Do it long enough that you are no longer held back by it, and your relationship to it is transformed.

Find the joy and beauty in the middle of the resistance. Find gratitude in the midst of your fear. Find play in the midst of your burden.

You only need to focus on one small moment of it at a time, instead of the whole huge burden of it. You only need to open your heart for a moment. And then another, and another, but you donít need to worry about all those anothers right now. Just this one moment.

Move closer to your resistance, open your heart to it, do it repeatedly, and see what happens. Thatís my invitation to you.

Positive Paula

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Transforming Overwhelm & Burden to Something Powerful

By Leo Babauta

How many of you have felt overwhelmed recently by everything you have to do?

How many of you have felt something you have to do ó or everything you have to do ó as a burden?

Many of us feel everything we have to do as burden, as overwhelm. It stems from how we look at the world: itís hard, itís difficulty to bear, and things are crashing down around us.

This is not said judgmentally, but with compassion ó almost all of us see things this way. It feels like itís programming thatís hardwired into us.

But itís changeable. It starts by shifting how we see the world.

Instead of seeing the world as burden, can we see it as gift?

Instead of seeing the world as difficulty and struggle, can we see it as possibility and opportunity?

Instead of thinking we have too much to do, can we see the joy in each task? And see that a pile of tasks, then, is an abundance of joy and possibility?

Because yes, we have a huge amount of tasks to do, and we feel like we donít have enough time to do them all. But we all have the same amount of time, and all we can do is one task at a time. Thereís no way around this.

We can get better at choosing which tasks to do (prioritizing), but in the end thereís never any certainty that weíre doing the exact right tasks. We can expand our capabilities through automation, delegation and outsourcing, but experience tells us that even doing all of that, we still have too many tasks to do. The problem doesnít go away with these kinds of tricks.

The amount of tasks isnít the problem, because weíll always have too many to do. The problem comes partly from over committing to too much, but even if we get better at that, we often still feel overwhelm and burden.

The only real solution is a change in mindset. To see everything we have to do as a gift, as possibility and opportunity, as an abundance of joy.

We can implement systems, get good at prioritizing, get more focused, outsource and delegate and simplify and commit to doing less Ö but in the end, burden and overwhelm wonít go away until we shift the mindset.

So hereís the practice:

When you experiencing overwhelm, burden, or fear, pause and feel it. Let yourself be fully with it, experience it, feel it fully, and open up to it. Can you be curious about it? Can you find a way to love this feeling?

See if you can see the tasks in front of you as a gift. You choose to do these because you want to. They are benefitting you and others. Do them with love, and be grateful for the gift of each one.

See if you can see the possibility and opportunity in each one. What can be done with them? How are they more open and vast than you feel them to be?

Can you experience the abundance of joy in your pile of tasks? If each one is a joyful gift, then isnít there pure abundance in this pile? You can reach into the pile and pull out an opportunity for joy, growth, and giving your gift to the world.

Mindset shifts arenít something we can just flip like a switch. They need to be consciously practiced. Can you see the possibilities in this practice?



Positive Paula

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How Shift Happens in Our Lives

By Leo Babauta

There are a lot of us who would like to change something, but find it difficult to make that change. Iím here to share with you the fact that making a shift like this is absolutely possible, and share how that shift might happen.

So letís start with this: making a shift in our lives is absolutely possible. Not only have I made dozens of changes in my life, Iíve seen hundreds, even thousands of people change in my Sea Change Program and now my Fearless Training Program. Itís not always easy, itís often very messy, but itís absolutely possible.

Letís look at how shift happens most often.

The Phases of How Shift Happens in Our Lives
Hereís how the change often happens, in my experience:

You struggle with the change. This phase might take years ó thereís something in your life thatís making you unhappy, unhealthy, or struggle with work or relationships. You want to change it, but either itís too difficult or you arenít very motivated to do it. You struggle, you give up, you feel bad about it. Repeat for months or years.

This might be thought of as Phase -1.

You are finally ready to change. Something clicks for you ó itís almost like a switch being flipped. You decide itís finally time to change. For some people, itís hitting rock bottom ó things get so bad that you are finally faced with the fact that you need to change, and you want to change. Other times, itís getting inspired by something you read or watch, or hearing about someone elseís change. Sometimes itís just having the courage to really sit and reflect on the change that you want and why itís so important to you, and then resolving to get serious about it.

Weíll call this Phase 0.

You start the shift, probably with some enthusiasm. You might go all in and be incredibly enthusiastic about the change, and get new books and equipment, watch videos, read about it online, download an app or two. The first few days, you might be super motivated and diligent. For some people, this initial surge can fade quickly (in 1-4 days) or last a little longer (5-9 days). Itís a bit rarer for it to last 2 weeks but it can definitely happen.

Letís call this Phase 1.

You find it harder or different than you thought, and struggle a little. Often people find change to be more difficult than they thought, or not meeting the expectations they had. This can bring struggle or even quitting. If you struggle but donít quit, you can make it into the next phase. The problem is that we have a fantasy of how it will happen, and it rarely goes that well. We think weíll be in shape to run a 5K after a week of running. We are surprised that working out at the gym is so tough. We are not masters of the French language in 14 days. And so on. It can be discouraging. Sometimes people just lose focus because of too much going on ó this is a sign that they arenít as motivated as they need to be, if busyness can sidetrack them easily.

Letís call this Phase 2.

You stick with it and find some positive change. If you do stick with it through that initial struggle, and keep at it Ö youíll find change starting to happen. That will feel good and be encouraging. Most people donít stick with it long enough for change to happen, even though it can start to happen after a week or two. If you get to this stage, rejoice! You are probably in the top 10% of people who want to make changes. This phase can last for a pretty variable amount of time ó a week, a month, maybe two months.

This is Phase 3.

You get sidetracked but then come back again (or not). At some point, probably in 2-3 weeks after getting to Phase 3 above (maybe longer), you will get sidetracked. Itís inevitable. No one is completely focused on one thing forever. You travel, you get sick, you have visitors, you get busy at work, you have to move, thereís a crisis in your family, your child or pet gets sick. This is Phase 4, and itís not necessarily the end of this change ó though for many people, it is the end. They get sidetracked and go all the way back to Phase -1 above, when theyíre struggling for a long time. But it doesnít have to be the end ó itís just a brief break of a few days or even a few weeks. You get sidetracked, probably discouraged, and you probably donít want to think about this change because it makes you feel bad to think about it Ö but then you decide to face it and start again! You pick the next smallest step and start. Maybe you find ways to motivate yourself that are similar to Phase 0 above. You get started again.


It becomes a part of your life. This Phase 5 is similar to Phase 3, in that youíre chugging along nicely and making the change happen Ö but in this phase, it gets easier and easier and becomes a part of your lifestyle. Or maybe not, and itís actually just a repeat of Phase 3 and then you go through Phase 4 and then repeat a few times. But if you reach Phase 5, it can seem really easy and seem like youíll never have to worry about this again. This is when itís a good idea to start a new change.

Things start to slip back until you refocus yourself. But at some point, many people slip back into their old habits, despite the change becoming easy. The old habits havenít always completely died. By the way, this isnít a universal phase ó Iíve never slipped back into smoking, for example. But for me, exercise, diet, and other similar habits have all slipped back from time to time. It might feel discouraging to have to start again. And some people never start again because theyíre discouraged. The successful ones just start again and get focused and motivated again. The good news: itís much easier the 2nd and 3rd time around! Itís not as much of an uphill struggle.

So as you can see, itís a messy path. There are starts and stops. Thereís motivation and then getting discouraged. Thereís interruptions and restarting. Thereís long-term change and slipping back again (sometimes). Shift happens, but not at the pace we like and not how weíd like it to.

This is the process of human beings shifting habitual patterns.

By the way, to have complete transformation of your life, youíll need to create several (or many) of these shifts.

Key Skills in Creating Shift

Armed with that information, what do we need to create this kind of shift?

Here are the skills that will make shifts much more likely to happen:

Recognizing what you need to change and then flipping the switch. We can fool ourselves about needing to change, for years. Instead, itís a powerful skill to take a look at your life and see that you need to make a change. Often it shows up in others ó they are constantly reacting negatively to our behavior, but perhaps we rationalize why theyíre wrong. Often we know we need to change but donít want to face it. The skill, then, is to get very honest with yourself and recognize that a change is needed, and then finding a way to flip the switch so that youíre committed and taking action.

Starting and setting yourself up well. When you are ready to take action, get good at actually getting started. It doesnít matter how you start ó donít get caught up in indecision and research. Instead, take action. But make one of your early actions be setting yourself up for future difficulties: set up accountability, tracking, motivation, so that when you falter, youíre more likely to stay in it or come back to it.

Encouraging yourself when youíre discouraged. You will get discouraged or lose motivation at some point. Get good at encouraging yourself instead of discouraging yourself. This takes practice, but can be as simple as repeating, ďYou can do this!Ē

See your rationalizations and get back on track instead. Similarly, there will be times when youíre rationalizing not doing it. You got off track, or there are things getting in the way. Get good at noticing your rationalizations and getting back on track. This is pretty much the same as the first skill at the top of this list, but applying it during the process instead of before the process starts.

Starting again with a small step. Similarly to the above, really ó just get started. Find the next small step and take action. Encourage yourself, over and over.
These skills obviously overlap, and you can practice them over and over again as you make a change. In this way, ever time you get sidetracked, demotivated, or struggle, itís a great opportunity to practice the change.

Edited by: HAPPI_PAULA at: 8/29/2019 (17:15)
Positive Paula

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Embrace Groundlessness: When Everything Seems Out of Control

ďTo be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-manís-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.Ē ~Pema Chodron

By Leo Babauta

Itís a fundamental fact of human life that we want our lives to be under control ó we develop plans, goals, routines, systems, tools, schedules, structure to our lives.

But while developing some structure is a very helpful thing for most of us Ö the truth is, thereís so much that we donít control. Life is chaotic, out of control, shaky.

Itís what Pema Chodron calls ďgoundlessnessĒ ó the feeling of no solid ground under our feet. Other Buddhists might call it impermanence, which is a basic fact of life that we very often donít want to accept. We donít like groundlessness. We want the solid ground.

So what do we do when life feels out of control, groundless?

We open up to the groundlessness.

Normally, we seek ground: some kind of control or permanence. The routines and systems, the hardened opinions about how life should be and how others should act, the comfort foods and distractions, any kind of semblance of certainty and comfort. Itís why we procrastinate, put off healthy habits, get angry at othersí behavior, and feel so much anxiety.

What if, instead, we could embrace the groundlessness?

What if we didnít have to run, but instead learned that it is a beautiful thing?

What if we opened up to its spaciousness, its deliciousness?

The Fresh, Open Experience of Groundlessness
We normally think of the world around us, other people, and ourselves as solid things. But in fact, the things we think of as solid are just our ideas of them. The things themselves are constantly in flux.

Consider yourself:

You think youíre an individual person, separate from everything around you. But in fact, you breathe in the air around you, taking it in, and it becomes a part of you. What separates you from the breath of air you just took in?

You drink water and eat food that becomes a part of you, and that food was brought to you by others, the water was brought by a whole system of water distribution, a whole weather system before that. You are only existing because of everything around you. Where do you begin and everything else ends?

You, in turn, are helping to create the world around you, and others around you. They owe their existence, in part, to you. Where do you end and others begin?

In fact, weíre all just interrelated phenomena, constantly shifting, all interdependent, and the line between one thing and everything else is completely arbitrary, all in our minds.
OK, that might all seem intellectual. The idea is that nothing is as solid as we think, and everything is interconnected in such a way that we canít really say that ďthis is this, and that is that.Ē

To take it to an experiential level, try this:

Pause for a moment and take in everything around you in this moment. Notice all the objects, the space, the light, the sounds. Bring everything around you, yourself included, into your awareness.

See everything as less than solid. Imagine that everything isnít as solid as it seems. The air isnít solid, itís constantly flowing and changing ó now imagine that everything else is similarly flowing and unsolid. Yourself included. Imagine that itís all just one big sea of changing fluid matter.

Experience the openness. If nothing is solid and permanent, then everything is changing and open. Feel this openness as a freedom, a freshness, an exhilarating vastness. Relax into this openness, and feel its beauty.

This is the openness of groundlessness. Nothing is solid, nothing is fixed, but this is the good news! Openness is unconstricted, free, peaceful, and gorgeous.

Learning to Find the Beauty in Groundlessness
So things seem out of control, uncertain, groundless ó and it brings up anxiety in you. How can we work with this?

First, we can allow ourselves to feel the sensations of uncertainty in our body, as physical sensations. How does your fear, anxiety, frustration feel in your body (dropping the narrative or story about it, just feeling the feeling)? Being present with this is a wonderfully courageous first step.

Next, we can experience the groundlessness of the situation. Your life is up in the air ó feel the openness of this, the freshness of this moment, the freedom of nothing being fixed. Itís a beautiful, delicious groundlessness.

Yes, you have some things to do ó thatís the practical aspect of needing to get things done in your life. Weíll get to that in a second. But for now, just experience the beautiful freshness, freedom, vastness and openness of this groundless moment.

Relax into it. Appreciate its openness. See and feel it with fresh eyes, as if youíve never experienced this particular open moment before (hint: you havenít, no one has). Let yourself melt into this open groundlessness. Let yourself fall in love with it!

Then, from this place of openness and love Ö ask yourself whatís the most important thing I can do right now? Whatís the most loving thing I can do for myself and others?

Take that next step, not out of anxiety or fear, but out of love.

Do it while experiencing the openness of the moment and your actions. Savor the freshness and freedom as you act.

This is the way of embracing groundlessness.

Positive Paula

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8/22/19 4:49 P

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Meaningful work: A Simple 3-Step Method for Getting Your ďOne ThingĒ Done

By Leo Babauta

Most of us have that One Thing on our task list that is the most important thing on the list, that would be the most meaningful Ö and yet weíre not doing it.

The One Thing is so meaningful and important that it brings up a ton of uncertainty for us, and causes us to avoid, run, distract, comfort, procrastinate. Itís an old habitual pattern.

So how do we deal with this uncertainty and habitual avoidance?

Iíve been working on a 3-step method for this, very simple and it improves with practice.

So hereís the simple (not always easy) method:

Create a space. Put aside all the messages, social media, distractions, smaller tasks, organizing and tidying, checking on one more thing. Instead, have a small space (even just 10-15 minutes) for this important task, and nothing else. You can do it now: set aside the next 15 minutes for this task, and tell yourself this is the only thing youíll do for the next 15 minutes. Itís that easy.

Meditate on meaning & feelings. For just a minute, mindfully drop into your body and feel your fear, resistance, frustration, overwhelm. Let yourself feel it fully. Then let yourself feel the love you feel for those who youíll be serving by doing this task. Do they matter to you? (It might be you, loved ones, customers, a team, the world, etc.) Let yourself fully feel what you feel for them, as if your heart were wide open. This step only has to take a minute or two.

Do the smallest next step.

Now pick the smallest action you can take to get the ball rolling with your meaningful task. If you have a paper to write, can you just focus on writing a few paragraphs? If you have to do your taxes, can you just get your documents together? If you have to organize your house, can you just organize one drawer?

Get moving, translating your love into a small action.
And repeat. Itís that simple! With this method, youíll connect to the deeper reason you want to do the task, along with the fears that are coming up for you that are making you run from the task. With this connection, youíll be much more able to move into it.

Once you are ready to move into the task, picking the smallest next step (instead of a huge step) allows you to move in with a lot more ease, and get the ball rolling. Then you can do the next small step after that Ö or throw in another short meditation to feel connected again.

Over and over, this method helps with your meaningful tasks, your One Thing that youíve been wanting to do but dreading and putting off.

I wrote this post using the method, with love for all of you.



Edited by: HAPPI_PAULA at: 8/22/2019 (16:50)
Positive Paula

Food is Medicine!

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Creating Impeccable Structure for Your Life

By Leo Babauta

Thereís a strange contradiction in most of our lives:

We deeply feel the messiness of our lives. We feel it in all areas of our lives, which stresses us out and causes us to shut down, feel overwhelmed, run to distraction and comforts. It creates tremendous uncertainty for us.

But Ö

We resist sticking to structure and routine. We want to have a great order to our lives, but when it comes to actually following it, we struggle. It feels too rigid, too constricting. So we immediately toss the plan aside and start free-forming it, answering messages and going to distractions and reading or watching things online. This creates even more uncertainty, not being able to stick to structure.

This contradiction might not be universal, but itís present for a lot of people. I would guess that a majority of people reading this feel a struggle between these two things.

Now, I donít think you can get control and order over everything in your life ó life is inherently messy and uncertain, and all attempts to make it ordered and certain are fundamentally futile. Itís often more helpful to practice mindfully with the uncertainty rather than try to control it.

That said, this is not an all-or-nothing choice. We can create structure and practice with uncertainty. We can even create structure for our uncertainty practice. And we can learn to be unattached to the structure, so that if we have to do a day or week without it, we can be perfectly OK.

Two Reasons to Create Structure

There are two major (interrelated) effects that we feel from this struggle with structure and messiness:

The messiness of our lives causes us to be messy. When we have a huge mess around us, itís hard to be impeccable. Itís hard to be focused. Itís hard to really put our best effort into our meaningful work. We are greatly affected by everything around us, and by any kind of messiness in our lives. That doesnít mean we should strive for perfection, but instead that we should recognize the effects of this messiness on us.

Lack of structure creates a lack of trustability. When our lives are completely unstructured and messy, itís hard for others to trust us. If you were to go into business with someone whose office and life were a huge mess, vs. someone whose office and life seemed to be in impeccable order Ö all other things being equal, who would you choose? This messiness is felt by our spouses or partners, felt by friends and other loved ones, felt by our colleagues and bosses, felt by our clients, even if they canít completely see it. And we feel it ourselves, and it erodes our trust in ourselves.

None of this is reason to freak out or beat yourself up. Itís just bringing awareness to the effects of lack of structure. And maybe resolving to create more impeccable structure with time.

Creating Impeccable Structure

Once weíve resolved to create structure in our lives, itís important to recognize that this is a process, not a destination. You never do it and then are done with it ó itís an ongoing process.

What does that process look like? Hereís what I do:

Recognize when a part of my life is messy and could use more structure. I list some of those areas below, but the important thing is to notice the feeling of messiness in an area, and resolve to try to create better structure.

Contemplate a structure that would give you a feeling of trust. For example, if you are not staying on top of your emails, you could create a structure as simple as, ďCheck email at 10am, 1pm and 5pm only, and process each email out of the inbox to empty, or as close to empty as possible in 20 minutes.Ē If this would make you feel a sense of trust that emails would be taken care of, itís a good structure. You may need to test it out (see below). Take a little time, disconnected and in solitude, to contemplate this structure.

Write out the structure, then put it somewhere youíll see it. Once youíve give it some contemplation, actually write it down ó either on paper or in a text document. Make sure itís somewhere youíll see it when you need it. If you write it down and then forget it, itís of no use.
Put it into action, as a practice. This is the key step ó actually test out the structure by using it. See if it works. See if it makes you feel a sense of trust. See where the flaws are, and adjust as needed. Do this structure not as a chore, but as a practice, seeing if you can relax into it, surrender to it.

Revisit and revise on a regular basis. Even if the structure is good, youíre not done. Itís like a machine, humming along ó eventually it will break. It needs maintenance. You need to adjust as your life changes and you change. Youíll need to make it more impeccable when your life demands it. Every month or two, revisit and revise. At the very least, revisit every 6 months (set reminders in your calendar).
Iím constantly revisiting my structures, and revising them, especially when I feel itís needed.

Examples of Structure

Some areas of your life that might be messy and in need of structure:

Daily structure. How do you want to structure your day? It doesnít have to be super planned out and rigid, but you might have something simple Ö for example: a simple morning routine, then a block for important tasks in the morning, email, important tasks, admin tasks, email, work closing routine, exercise, meditation, evening routine. For others, a more detailed structure might be important. For others, an even looser structure might be better. Or one that is different on different days.

Financial structure. How do you stay on top of your finances? Create a system so that you are tracking your spending on a regular basis, and have a plan for how to spend it.
Communication. How are you handling email and messages? You might carve out time in your regular schedule so that youíre on top of email and messages, without being overwhelmed by it or doing it all day long.

Relationship(s). How are you working on your relationship? Do you have regular dates or time you spend each day together? Do you have counseling or getaways to focus on you as a couple? Maybe youíre not in a relationship ó how do you stay in touch with your closest friends and family? How do you make sure you stay close to them, or go even deeper?
Health. How will you stay active? What will you eat to give yourself a thriving healthy life? How will you stay on top of both of these areas?

Household & personal maintenance. How does the laundry get done? Groceries and menu? Cleaning the house? Taking care of yourself (grooming, etc.)?
Physical surroundings. How messy is your house, your office? Is it cluttered? How does all of this affect your mental state?

These are some important examples, but you might have other areas in your life that feel messy. Wherever youíd like to feel more trust and order, thatís a place to contemplate & write out some structure.

Practicing with Uncertainty Within and Without the Structure
Once weíve created the structure, there are two ways to practice with it:

Working with the uncertainty & resistance of having structure. If you feel yourself rebelling against having structure, you can practice with the uncertainty of that.
Working with the uncertainty when weíre not in the structure. You wonít always be able to stay within your structure ó some days will go sideways, other things will come up. In those times, you can practice with the uncertainty of not being in your structure.
Letís first talk about working with resistance to having structure.

Resistance to having structure: When you set up a structure for yourself, it might sound nice Ö but then when it comes time to actually doing it, you might feel constricted. You might feel uncertainty about whether you can do it or if itís the right structure. Or if you should be doing something else instead. This is uncertainty & resistance of having the structure itself.

This is actually perfect! The structure, instead of eliminating uncertainty from your life, gives you a space to practice with the uncertainty. Instead of letting yourself flop all over the place (without structure), youíre asking yourself to courageously confront your discomfort and uncertainty.

The practice is to stay in the discomfort of having structure, and play with it. Feel the resistance, but donít run. Let yourself open up to the feeling, be immersed in it, be mindful of it in your body. And find a way to appreciate this space, be curious about it, grateful and even joyful in the middle of it. Then play with whatever you have set for yourself to do! Instead of running from the structure, relax into it. Itís an amazing practice.

Uncertainty when weíre not in the structure: If you are used to having structure, what happens when you canít use it? For example, maybe visitors come over and you canít do your regular routine? Or you travel, have a crisis at work, have a crisis at home, or have social functions to go to that disrupt your regular schedule and structure?

This is also perfect! Itís an opportunity to practice letting go of the need for structure, and be present in the moment, deciding whatís needed next.

For example, you might be traveling, and your structure is out the window Ö but you wake up and decide you still want to meditate, so you meditate for a few minutes in your hotel room. Then you decide you need to do a little work, and you do that before you head out for the day. You find a window at lunch time to catch up on messages. Before you go to bed, you find a window to do some writing. You are flowing, but not just letting everything go, youíre finding focus and purpose in the middle of chaos.

The same could apply if you are in a crisis, have visitors, etc.

This doesnít mean itís better to have no structure ó for most people, a default structure is going to be helpful, but itís not helpful to only be able to work and function when you have structure.

Adjusting & Learning with Structure

All of the above is great, but setting up structure once isnít a ďset it and forget itĒ type of deal. You are going to work with this structure on an ongoing basis.

You will learn as you work with the structure whether it works for you, whether you have needs that arenít met by the structure, whether you forgot to include things.

For example:

A client created a schedule for himself but then discovered that he was very tired, because his structure didnít include enough time for rest. So he could adjust it so that he has a sign-off time to ensure he gets enough sleep. Or he could build an afternoon nap period into the structure.

Another client discovered that she was overloaded with too much on her task list. So she learned that itís better to pare down her expectations of how much she can get done.
I personally have found that the landscape of my day is constantly changing, not always very consistent. So I have a structure for when I have a wide-open day with only one or two meetings, but otherwise I create a structure at the beginning of the day depending on what I have going on that day Ö or I figure things out on the fly if my day is shifting during the day.
You might find that you need to move something to the morning to give it more focus. Or move exercise to the afternoon to conserve energy. Or have a different structure for different days.

The point is, you learn and adjust. Itís an ongoing refinement. You can make it better and better, and more and more impeccable, with some care and attention.

Structure is worth the effort, because you can learn to relax into the structure. The people around you can trust you more, and relax into your structure as well. And the structure becomes a way to practice with the uncertainty, resistance and discomfort that inevitably arises in your life.






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zen habits

b r e a t h e

Retraining Deeply Ingrained Habits of Mindlessness

By Leo Babauta

Itís hard enough to change a habit that you can physically see: going for a daily walk, sitting down to write, having a salad for lunch each day. These are easily seen, but can still be quite a challenge to instil in your life.

But what about habits of mindlessness, that you donít even know youíre doing? Maybe you notice it later, maybe you never notice. How do you change those kinds of habits?

For myself, I have a number of mindless habits that I could focus on:

Judging other people

Eating mindlessly, especially when Iím talking to people or watching TV

Sitting too long and getting distracted online

Comparing myself to others or judging myself

Shutting down into self-concern when someone is unhappy with me

Hiding things from others because Iím ashamed or afraid for them to know

Of course, these are just a handful that stand out. Theyíre deeply ingrained, because Iíve had them since childhood.

They are not a reason to beat myself up, or judge myself. There is nothing wrong with me for having these habits. And yet I can see how theyíre unhelpful to my happiness, to my relationships, to the work I want to do in the world.

So it would be helpful to retrain these mindless habits.

How do we go about that?

What to Know About Changing Mindless Habits

Before we start, itís important to know that there are two big obstacles to changing these kinds of habits:

They are deeply ingrained. Youíve been doing them for years ó reinforcing them for years ó and so you wonít just be able to flip a switch and change them in a day or a week. It could take months to retrain, and in some cases, longer ó depending on how much focus you give this retraining, and how consistent youíre able to be.

They are unconscious. If you donít know youíre doing it, you canít retrain it. It just keeps happening without you being able to do it. Without awareness, youíre powerless.
So it will likely be a messy process, with starts and stops, lots of ďfailuresĒ that arenít really failures if youíre using them to learn and grow your awareness. It can get discouraging, unless you look at every failure in this way, as a necessary step to becoming more aware, a necessary stepping stone to crossing this river.

A Retraining Method for Mindless Habits

With the above ideas in mind, hereís how we might retrain these mindless habits:

Focus on just one habit. Look at my list of mindless habits above ó these all seem like great candidates to take on immediately. So why not do them all at once, right? But itís hard enough to be aware of just one of these habits ó trying to be aware of several habits at once is like trying to pay attention to 5 televisions at once. Iíd say itís impossible. Pick just one ó you can get to all of them eventually.

Recognize the habitís effects on you. Before you get started, reflect on how this habit affects you. Maybe just watch it for a few days and see how it affects your happiness, relationships, and the meaningful work youíre doing in the world. Start to get very clear on exactly what this habit does to your life, and all of the ripples it has on all parts of your life. Then get clear that you donít want to keep doing this to yourself and others around you. You canít afford it.

Create a practice container to give it focus and create awareness. With focus on one habit and clarity about what it does, you can now set up your retraining practice dojo. Hereís the key: create a space where you become as aware as possible of the habit. For example, if I wanted to work on the ďbeing judgmental of othersĒ habit, I might have a practice hour each day where I walk around in public looking at people and noticing when I have the tendency to judge them. Iím actively watching for the habit. Maybe itís just 30 minutes, or 5 minutes, depending on the habit. But it has a defined start and end, and Iím very deliberately practicing during this time. I can slowly expand it over time, or have multiple practice sessions a day, but it shouldnít be all day long. Sometimes I might shrink it. The key is to try to be as aware as possible during this practice container.

Imagine an alternative habit that would be more helpful. What would be a more helpful habit to do instead? For example, instead of judging people, I might try to look at them with compassionate eyes. Instead of eating mindlessly, I might try to fully savor each bite, pausing in between to ask if taking another bite would be a loving act or just mindless satisfying of cravings. Instead of sitting too long, I might have focused work sessions for 15 minutes, getting up and exercising or stretching in between. Instead of comparing myself or judging myself, I might see myself with loving eyes. Instead of shutting down when someone is unhappy with me, I might try to see their pain and what theyíre going through. Instead of hiding things from others, I might be open and vulnerable about what Iíve been hiding. These are only examples ó take a little time to imagine the habit youíd rather have.

When you notice yourself doing the old habit, practice the new one instead. This one is obvious ó during your practice session, if you notice yourself starting to do the old habit, do the new one instead, as deliberately and consciously as you can. Every single time, as consistently as possible. If you donít do it consistently, just notice when you donít, just increase awareness.

Repeat many times. This one is obvious too ó repeat it often, until it becomes easier and more natural and more and more automatic. Reinforce each time you do it by giving yourself a mental pat on the back ó feeling good about this success, even if itís not perfect. Take a moment to feel grateful for your effort.

Then learn to do the new habit earlier. With some practice, you can learn to do the new habit much earlier in the process. For example, instead of judging someone and then switching to seeing them with compassion Ö I might look at someone and immediately try to see them with compassion, as soon as I see them. This takes a lot of awareness and practice, but it gets easier with time. Youíre cutting out the old habit completely, so that the new one gets reinforced.

Repeat many more times. Again, repeat this method as many times as it takes to become more and more automatic. You might add additional practice sessions. You can even try to catch yourself outside of the practice sessions, until it becomes really easy to be aware of this during the day.

Important: see every mistake as a stepping stone to greater awareness. Remember that youíre not going to be perfect at this. Itís going to be messy. The old habit has been strengthened over years. Develop patience with yourself, understanding, compassion. Learn to encourage yourself when things are hard. And see every failure as information to use to get better and better.

This is the method. It works, I promise ó Iíve changed some difficult habits this way, even if it took me longer than Iíd care to admit. Iím still working with this method, in spurts and starts, in a very messy way. But shift happens. It can for you as well!



Edited by: HAPPI_PAULA at: 8/15/2019 (19:16)
Positive Paula

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zen habits

b r e a t h e

The Practice of Listening to Find Purpose


ďLet yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.Ē ~Rumi

By Leo Babauta

Very often, our lives are so filled with busyness and distraction that we have no space to actually listen to what life is calling us to do.

Think about your day so far, and your day yesterday: how much of it was spent in busywork and distraction? Messaging, social media, videos and news, reading favorite websites, answering emails and doing errands, replying and reacting.

In the middle of this craziness, do we ever have space for silence? For creation, contemplation, reflection? And for a practice that I think we do too little of much of the time: listening.

The practice of listening is about creating a little space for silence, and then listening to what you need to do right now:

What have you committed to doing that youíre not doing?
Why is what youíre doing now important?
What do you need?
What do the people you care about need?
What are you being called on to do?
What would be the most impactful or meaningful thing you could do right now?
How do you want to spend the next month of your life?
What do you care most deeply about? Are you willing to commit yourself to it?
These are the kinds of questions to ask in this purposeful listening practice. But more important than the questions is how you listen:

Create some space by taking a break from devices and busyness. Stop and get somewhere where you can have stillness ó a walk in nature, dropping into sitting meditation, dropping into childís pose on the floor, having a cup of tea, sitting out on your porch, finding a bench in a park.
Now just find silence and stillness and ask a question. You can ask any of the questions above, or whatever feels important for you right now. One of my favorites is, ďWhat am I being called to do right now?Ē
Keep yourself in that stillness and silence, and listen for the answer. Breathe deeply. Feel how your body feels right now. And then listen to the answer that comes up for you. Your gut has an answer. Maybe itís not the perfect answer, but itís something to start with. Listen until you have clarity.
Itís that simple. Pause in a moment of stillness and silence. Ask a question. Listen for the answer.

This can be used in all areas of your life: your relationships, your health, your finances, your work, your meaningful contribution to the world.

How can you practice this throughout the day?




Positive Paula

Food is Medicine!

You are what you think!

I Say............"Keep Life Simple".

The simple and easy diet I Love:

nosdiet.com/


Total SparkPoints: 10,439
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Finding Groundedness in the Age of Anxiety

By Leo Babauta

We live in uncertain times.

Actually, things have always felt uncertain to the people who live in those times, but these days it might feel even more heightened, with the hyperconnectivity of the internet, social media and constant messaging, comparing ourselves to everyone else, and a very tense, divisive political situation (not just in the U.S., but in many countries).

Itís enough to drive anxiety through the roof for many people. I coach hundreds of people through my Sea Change Program and Fearless Training Program, as well as 1-on-1 Ö and anxiety seems to be a huge problem for many people I work with. Iíve seen it in my extended family and friend circle as well ó anxiety seems to be on the rise, or at least it can feel that way to many.

So what can we do to deal with this anxiety?

There isnít one simple solution, but there are some habits we can form to help us cope ó even thrive ó in the middle of chaos and uncertainty.

The Causes of Anxiety
In short, our anxiety is caused by uncertainty. Itís a feeling of alarm, of stress, of fear or even slight panic, when things feel unsettled, constantly shifting, out of control.

We feel this kind of groundlessness, this out-of-controlledness, all the time at some level. But there are times when this feeling is heightened:

We lose our job or feel like our job is unstable
We get into deep debt or feel like our finances are out of control
Someone we love has a crisis (like health crisis)
We get sick
Thereís a death in the family
Someone we canít stand gets elected to the leadership of our country (this has happened in multiple countries, Iím not talking about anyone in particular)
You move to a new home in a new city
You get the idea ó theyíre all times of heightened uncertainty, and so the feeling of anxiety starts to increase.

The thing is, if you go through just one of these things, itíll increase stress and maybe anxiety Ö but then if things calm down, you have a chance to recover. But if youíre constantly going through these kinds of things, it doesnít give you a chance to recover. Youíre constantly in a fragile state, and everything becomes more stressful.

The key is not to eliminate uncertainty and stress in your life Ö but instead to increase your resilience by allowing yourself to feel grounded even in the middle of a stressful, uncertain event. Then things become not such a big deal. They might stress you out a bit, but they wonít be the end of the world.

Six Habits that Lead to Groundedness
The basic habits that lead to this kind of resiliency, and a feeling of groundedness, are things you can practice every single day:

Let ourselves feel it. When weíre feeling uncertainty, instead of rushing to solve it Ö or to distracting ourselves or comforting ourselves with food or shopping Ö we can let ourselves feel the uncertainty. Iím not talking about engaging in a narrative about what the uncertainty is like and why itís so bad ó but instead feeling it physically in your body. Where is the feeling located in your body? Can you give it some attention and curiosity? Can you stay with it for a few moments? This habit of letting ourselves feel the uncertainty and stress is transformative ó every bit of anxiety becomes a place to practice, an opportunity to be present with ourselves. It becomes a chance to create a new relationship with our experience.
Learn that itís OK to feel groundlessness. You are feeling anxiety because of the uncertainty of your situation. But thatís because uncertainty becomes a reason to freak out. What if, instead, we learned that this groundless, uncertain feeling is actually just fine? It might not be completely pleasant, but itís nothing to panic about. In fact, it can be an opportunity to find joy and appreciation in the groundlessness ó what is there to appreciate in this feeling of complete openness? Start to shift how you see and react to this groundlessness, embracing it rather than panicking about it.
Give ourselves love. In the middle of stress and uncertainty, instead of engaging in our old habits of shutting down or avoiding, of worrying and fretting Ö can we try a new habit of giving ourselves love? This is a way of being compassionate and friendly with ourselves, no matter what weíre doing. Itís like giving love to a child who is in pain ó the compassion and love pour out of our hearts. Can we practice this for ourselves?
Simplify by being fully present with one thing. We have so much going on that it can all be overwhelming. Can you simplify by focusing on just one thing right now? Trust that youíll take care of the other things when itís needed. Instead, be fully present with this single task. It can be something important, like working on that writing that youíve been putting off for days. Or it can be something small, like washing this one dish, or drinking this one cup of tea. Be fully with it, and savor the experience fully. This leads to a feeling of groundedness, and helps us to not feel as frazzled.
Find the joy in being fully present and savoring. The item above, of simplifying by doing one thing, can feel like quite a shift for many of us. It might feel like sacrifice, not constantly switching tasks and being on social media and checking phones. But it can be a way of opening up to the moment, treating yourself with a little focus, joyfully savoring whatever youíve chosen to do with this moment of your life.
Learn to love being resilient. Resilience is a matter of saying ďNo Big DealĒ to any kind of uncertainty that arises, of savoring and being present, of giving ourselves love and being present with whatever uncertainty is coming up for us. Resilience is not blowing everything up to End of the World level, just because itís not under control. Resilience is feeling grounded in the middle of chaos (even if thereís stress present), and finding a joy in being in that uncertainty. Resilience is taking a breath and then savoring that breath. It can be a wonderful thing, if you learn to love it.
Try these habits today, whenever you notice stress, anxiety, uncertainty. They take practice, but with time, they lead to a feeling of being centered and grounded.

Positive Paula

Food is Medicine!

You are what you think!

I Say............"Keep Life Simple".

The simple and easy diet I Love:

nosdiet.com/


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8/6/19 2:52 A

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Cutting Through Indecision & Overthinking

BY LEO BABAUTA

Iíve been working with a few people who are very intelligent, very competent, and very talented ó but they get stuck in indecision and analysis paralysis.

In effect, overthinking and getting lost in endless options reduces their effectiveness and intelligence by producing inaction.

Taking any action is likely to be better than inaction and indecision, but we can get so caught up in trying to find the perfect decision that we make no decision.

The answer is to cut through the indecision and overthinking with action.

Before we talk about that, letís look at whatís going on with smart, competent people who get stuck in their beautiful minds.

The Trap of Overthinking
For someone who doesnít see a lot of possibilities, sometimes a choice is easy ó you just choose the one that looks obvious.

But for someone who has an abundance of intelligence, there are many more doors than that. And choosing can seem impossible. So this person starts creating a decision tree in their mind: ďIf I choose this, then this might happen, which means I need to decide if I want this, and then that might happen Ö but then this other option brings three more decisions ÖĒ

They also will research every option, which leads to more research. It becomes an endless cycle of thinking through options, researching it, and through the research finding even more things to think about. No decision can ever be made!

Itís also impossible to analyze so many endless options, because each option contains a lot of uncertainty ó you can never know how each will turn out, how important every factor is, what the probability is of each possibility happening.

The uncertainty in this kind of thinking is what keeps us stuck in indecision. We fear the uncertain outcome, and would rather have cold hard data, and much more certainty.

But we can never have the kind of certainty weíd like. Weíd have to run experiments or do scientific research on every single thing before taking action, which means weíve just missed out on opportunities as we did that research! Spending a lot of time analyzing comes with opportunity cost.

So how do we deal with this? By cutting through the overthinking with action.

Cutting Through with Action
If overthinking can be a trap of indecision, an unsolvable knot Ö how do we untie it? By cutting through it.

There can be no solving this knot through thinking ó itís thinking that gets us into it. Now, Iím not saying that ďthinking is badĒ Ö I believe we should contemplate pros and cons, that we should take a step back from action and get some perspective, see the big picture, consider the deeper Why of what weíre doing. But at some point, we have to say, ďEnough!Ē And then take action.

Setting a limit for thinking can be a good way to do this. ďIím going to spend the next 2 days thinking about it, and then make a decision on Tuesday.Ē You consider the merits, you do a bit of research, you talk to other people. Then you decide, and take action.

How do you decide when there is no certain answer? You have to just pick something that seems to be the best, given your limited information. Itís like poker ó you never have complete information, but have to make a decision based on what you do know, and the most likely outcomes (the likelihood is based on what you know, but you can adjust your mental probabilities with experience).

You start by taking a step back, think about your deeper Why as it relates to this decision Ö and also what youíre basing this decision on. Is it based on fear? On instant gratification of a desire? These donít lead to good long-term outcomes, in my experience. The place to come from is long-term benefit ó is this a loving action for those you care about, or for yourself?

Then you think about the different factors that weigh into the decision, and how important each are to you. You think about likely outcomes of each possibility (donít limit yourself to just 2 possibilities), and weigh the probable benefits with the probable costs.

And then finally, you just go with the decision that seems best. Do a quick review of whether this is for the best long-term benefit. And then pull the trigger. Step off the plank.

You cut through all the doubts and fears and hand-wringing that are holding you back, and just dive in.

Get good at this diving in by doing it in small versions:

Write something short and publish it
Take a small action to your long-term dream career or business
Take a small action to be healthier
Declutter one thing thatís easy to decide on, rather than getting stuck on things that are hard for you to make a decision about
What decisions are you stuck on? Can you make a small decision thatís easier, and take action? It might give you more information that helps with the bigger decision. And in the end, the real benefit is practicing taking action without getting caught up in indecision and inaction.



Positive Paula

Food is Medicine!

You are what you think!

I Say............"Keep Life Simple".

The simple and easy diet I Love:

nosdiet.com/


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I will be adding the Zen habits to here when I get them from now on.

Edited by: HAPPI_PAULA at: 8/6/2019 (17:07)
Positive Paula

Food is Medicine!

You are what you think!

I Say............"Keep Life Simple".

The simple and easy diet I Love:

nosdiet.com/


Total SparkPoints: 10,439
10,000
11,249
12,499
13,749
14,999
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