When the Mind is too full to be mindful

{3 minute read}

Today is going to be a day of mindfulness. I confirmed that intention after waking up.

I wanted eggs for breakfast. I’m usually not ready to eat until about 2 hours after getting up, and at least 30 minutes after I’ve had coffee. It was 9:30 on a sunny Buffalo morning when I decided breakfast is eggs.

Bought fresh eggs last night. Found eggs with sell-by date 12/02/16 in fridge. Good ones. Organic, level 4, pasture raised healthy eggs. How long do they keep? It took me three attempts to call the farm. I distracted myself with coffee, Instagram, Facebook, and running to the bathroom. Farm says they can’t answer the question, referred me to the USDA. I look up their webpage as I am holding to speak to a person, but it takes so long to load so I check my phone and get distracted by all the email notifications. One from a coaching colleague who sent an adorable family picture. I have to write to her and thank her, before I forget. In the meantime, I am boiling 4 of the old eggs to see what they smell like. Oh, I forgot to call the USDA. Shoot, wasn’t I on hold just a minute ago? Call dropped. Their website says 3-5 weeks after the sell by date, the eggs should be used. Ugh. Wait. My coaching buddy responded right away. Happy me! The eggs smell notsogood. I toss them and apologize to the universe and all the hungry people in my neighborhood. I boil fresh water.

I decide to get a grip on this frazzledness and set the timer for 5 minutes after I lower the fresh eggs into the boiling water. I will give myself 5 minutes to respond to my friend’s note.

I find myself getting up for no reason, headed towards the stove. I set a timer, so damn Ki, stay put until it rings. I write to my friend, and get up again. I notice that I got up for no reason … 3 times.

The timer finally rings.  I pour out the hot water and scare the eggs with cold water. Makes it easier to peel them later.

I had to write this down.

Today, and this week, maybe longer, is a day, a week of focus. That was my intention when I went to bed last night, and when I got up. I wanted to spend my time mindfully. Aware of what I am doing. Observant, not judging. I noticed that with so many incentives, inspiring thoughts and impulses, my mind is full. Being mindful, I noticed my mind is too full to focus. What helped was structure, and the boundary set by time. Having the limited amount of time for a task, or an activity segment, helped tremendously. I noticed how long those five boiling minutes were. I noticed how much I was able to get done in that time by simply sitting back down after getting up for no reason, and focusing on replying to my friend. I wouldn’t lose time, because I had set the timer.

It’s 12:30 now. Lunchtime. I will be eating my breakfast. I am hungry now.

Mindfulness will have me set the timer again.

It helps keep things in perspective.

By on | Human Nature | 2 Comments [Read More]

How to Keep your Cool when Life puts you in the Hotseat ~ Newsletter Excerpt

{5 minute read}

Five Fairly Simple Transition Tips:

My top five things to balance and empower yourself in any life transition:

Tip 1: Be still, and assess the situation  Yes, I am borrowing this from bear encounter safety training 101, because it works so well and is applicable to pretty much any situation that involves change or surprise. Being still is not a “Mannequin Challenge”. Being still means focusing on the moment at hand while you take deep breaths and assess where you are, what you have, what lies behind you, what lies ahead.  

Tip 2: Prepare. If your transition is an anticipated move, preparing yourself is a no-brainer. However, sometimes, the transition you are facing comes suddenly. Taken by surprise, we often rush ahead and soon find ourselves checking off never ending to-do lists. Whether you were laid off or your partner announced the end of the relationship, whether you are having immigration issues, or you are taking advantage at the last minute of a promotion that requires you to move abroad – preparation is key in maintaining your balance and sanity. I listed more specific steps for careers, relationships, immigration issues and international transition, or relocating nationally and internationally in my mini-transition guide Seven Northern Lights.

Tip 3: Self-care. Again, a no-brainer, you might think, but it is surprising how many of us forget to take good care of our physical, mental, and emotional needs.  In the stress of a transition, treat yourself. You won’t have time to think much, so just choose what’s best for you, not what’s quickest, easiest, cheapest. The slice of pizza works for a day, but not every day.  

Get your clean water, your fruits and vegetables (sources of the cleanest cell water obtainable), and your clean protein to feed your body.  

Squeeze in a 30 minute walk at least three times a week, even if it is just a walk around the block. Try getting to the park at least once a week. Connecting with nature, walking in a forest, is as medicinal as taking aspiring, if not more. 

Laugh often – surround yourself with funny people, check funny instagram memes, watch funny shows or blooper videos, or take two wooden matchsticks, stick them vertically in your mouth against your bottom teeth, and try to maneuver the tips into your nostrils. (Definitely get back to me on how that went, with pictures or video please!)

Turn off the noise, find quiet, meditate, pray, read before sleep so you get sufficient amounts of restorative sleep.

Hug. Hugs are perfect, you never just give, you always get one back, right?   

Tip 4: Assume Innocence – Everyone can become a Friend One thing that truly made a difference for me when I changed locations – I learned to give people a chance. As and introvert, I had to learn to make the first move. What I learned over time was that we have a lot more in common than is obvious at first sight. I concluded a few years ago that all of humanity essentially want the same things: knowledge of our purpose, someone to love, something meaningful to do, and someone to love us back. When I approach or respond to strangers with that thought in my heart, first encounters are disarming. Try it, and let me know how you felt, and what happened. I really want to hear your thoughts and feelings about this, because it transformed how I connect with people, and I am curious about your transition experience. I am still an introvert and recharge in blissful solitude or in the presence of only few, but my efforts at making friends are much more successful, and a lot less anxious. 

Tip 5: Routine. I learned this after an unanticipated transition: starting a routine after you relocate, or after a break-up, a loss, or any crisis will help ground you, give stability, and a sense of control. To move out of confusion into more clarity, having a routine is helping us settle in. Start small, and build up. A routine can consist of:

a daily 30 minute walk, or

a small, informal tea ceremony at home. It can be that 

time set aside for journaling, or

exercise, stretching with a buddy or by yourself, or

your favorite, uplifting tv show.

Adding time for meditation, prayer, and contemplating things that you are thankful for daily will transform your transition days into gentle powerballs.

So much for Ki’s keys to a smoother transition. You can read more and be inspired by the amazing Alaskan Aurora Borealis here.

My biggest goal, and wish for you, for 2017 is this: Upgrade to Simple. Transitions are more fluid that way. I don’t need any more stuff. I am letting go of complicated. I release heavy. Saying bye-bye to difficult. Farewell to drama. Good riddance to what doesn’t serve us anymore. 

Welcome the Upgrade to Simple.

By on | Transitions | 0 Comments [Read More]