The Buddha Walks into the Office

For this post, we’ve come up with… a book review!  Looking forward, we will be making this a regular staple of our posts here at Dharma in Every Wave.  Sometimes, we forget to put posts up… but we are always reading and taking notes.  If you like the idea, and have books you can recommend, please comment below and share!

Kid, you had a rough day.  Everyone has them.  And when you do – do what I do – you ask yourself: Anybody’s life better because of what I did today?  If the answer’s yes… then stop your whining.  If not, well, do better tomorrow.

- Comic book character Nick Fury.

If there is one thing that I remember after turning the last page of Lodro Rinzler’s The Buddha Walks into the Office, it would be built on the above quote based entirely on the words of a fictional character.  Not only did it make me laugh and recall Samuel L. Jackson’s rendition in the recent Avengers movie, but it also held a deep message that I could serve to refer to daily.  Indeed, if there is one thing we could all do, it is to try and make other people’s lives better.

This teaching of working for the benefit of others, directly and indirectly, is one of the core themes often revisited this poignant and often inspiring. The book itself is about applying the underlying Buddhist roots and teachings to a modern scenario we are mostly all subject to.  A place where our emotions often get the best of us.  Where our encounters with others can be a forced mix of personalities who are not necessarily the people we would spend time with in social situations.  That place, would be where we go to work.

Lodro writes that you should be “…approaching your life and work from the perspective of what is good for everyone, not just yourself.”

“When someone comes to you with an issue, they often believe it is the most important thing on your agenda as well as theirs.  To treat it as otherwise is a slap in the face.  To lean in and meet that person in that state of mind where they can sense that you value what they are working on is a gift.  When you create this kind of space for someone, they will often resolve a difficult issue in an amicable way, because you offered them your heart.”

“When we engage our speech in a kind and mindful manner, we are not just avoiding causing harm to others.  We are treating every encounter with our coworkers as a spiritual practice, an opportunity to connect with our goodness and theirs.”

Building on this way of seeing and helping others, Lodro tells us that the real goal, the real juice of meditation, is to bring the lessons of those quiet hours of contemplation to fruition in the real world in trying situations.

“If you can shift your view so that your work is spirituality, then you can bring your meditation practice off the cushion and live your hours at work with meaning and purpose.”

Lodro does not lose sight of what many of us want in life: to be, or to follow, a great leader.  Vulnerability is explored as one of the most desirable strengths a leader could possess. 

“It is said that people are more likely to follow a leader if that individual is easy to relate to in some way.  We are inspired by leaders who make themselves available.  In his book Integrity, Dr. Henry Cloud wrote, “The tension between vulnerability and strength in leaders cannot be lost.”  This is the power of bodhicitta.  It is not a weepy heart or a heart that whines a lot.  It has tremendous strength because it is a heart that is open, capable, and brave.”

“When faced with cynicism or overt threats, a strong leader will rise to the occasion with a sense of openness.  I am a firm believer that cynicism can be overcome by power of an awake heart and that uncomfortable conversations can be softened through bodhicitta.”

(Bodhicitta is a Sanskrit term.  Bodhi for “open” and citta for “heart”.)

The Six Paramitas

Building on and exploring vulnerability, Lodro works through six states of being that can help each us be more mindful at work, and bring an ease to the areas we are involved in.  In Sanskrit, these states are known as the six Paramitas.  Para can be translated from Sanskrit as “other shore” and mita as “arrived”.

1. dana (generosity)

“Pema Chodron once said on the topic of generosity, “The main point isn’t so much that we give, but that we unlock our habit of clinging.”  Whether you are giving your material possessions, money, time, service, or presence, it is about offering yourself in a way that unbinds you from your habitual way of relating to the world.”

2. shila (discipline)

“Discipline often gets a bad rap.  People think it’s something that is going to be imposed on them, like when you mess up at work and your boss calls you in to his office to discipline you.  The Buddhist perspective is much different from that and is based on developing virtue.”

“…to practice discipline is to carry out more positive actions.  The more you meditate, the more you turn the tide against the habitual way you have lived your life.  One easy way to do this is to determine what “positive actions” means to you.”

“My personal recommendation is to jot down then positive actions that you can do at work on any given day.”

When performing positive actions for others, it’s good to remember that “…the biggest jerks we know are the ones most in need of kindness and care.  So please apply the discipline of working to better their lives, too.”

“It’s always easy to be nice to those who are nice to us.  The real challenge, and the situation that can effect the most change in the workplace, and the world, is to be helpful to those difficult people who annoy the hell out of you.”

3. kshanti (patience)

“Dudjom Rinpoche has said, “The point of patience is to train so that our altruistic attitude is immovable and irrepressible in the face of those who hurt us with their ingratitude and so forth.”  Patience is not something that is based in just waiting until you get to do what you want to do, with those people you want to do things with.  It is based in relating fully with a situation, even if it annoys the hell out of you.”

 “Patience is easy to practice when you know something is going to happen eventually; it is an asset when you don’t know what will happen next.  If you can smile in the face of uncertainty, you are well trained.”

4. virya (exertion)

Exertion “encompasses both applying yourself on behalf of others and rousing yourself to think about more than just your own particular situation.”

“One thing you can do to try …this type of exertion is to take a “choose me” approach. Anytime your boss asks for volunteers for an upcoming task, be the first one to throw your hand up in the air.  Exert yourself beyond your comfort level.  Try this for up to one week and see how you feel at the end of it.”

“We can embrace the path of offering ourselves for others as a means to our own happiness.”

5. samadhi (meditative concentration

 “The simple fact is that when we are focused and truly mindful, we feel good about what we are doing, whether it is eating a good meal, enjoying a conversation with a client, or completing a successful surgery.”

“The internet has made it so that completing a simple report can take ten times longer than it should because your friends want to g-chat with you, your ex has posted pictures of himself/herself on Facebook, and the latest gossip site has just broken a big story.”

“It may be best to cut down on multitasking and develop a feeling of well-being by bringing yourself entirely to whatever is right in front of you.”

“If you are truly present with people, they begin to feel respected and encouraged.”

6. prajna (wisdom)

 “There is great wisdom in taking the time to hear someone out and give yourself the space to understand what they are trying to communicate.  When you sit down to meet with someone, you can take the attitude of not needing to come up with an immediate solution to whatever the issue is.  You can avoid interrupting them or making assumptions and instead listen deeply.”

 “After deeply listening to a variety of opinions, you should chew on them.  See what truth sits with you and what does not.  Reflect on what has been offered to you.  There is an element of patience in this process as you continue to contemplate what you have heard, sorting through what comments ring true and which you think ought to be disregarded.”

“Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche wrote, “When our attitude is open, we can have fun with what the world presents.”  The workplace does not have to be a battleground; that is just one way to view it.  Instead we can view it as a fun factory.  You can begin by offering the paramitas to yourself, seeing how they influence your behaviour.  See if they perk you up, if you feel uplifted and joyful because of them.  See if you become more efficient at work.  Then you can begin offering the paramitas to others, both the individuals you like and those you have a hard time with.  Eventually, you can offer this perfect activity to everyone you meet.  If you are able to offer your heart in this way, it can transform not just your workplace but the entire world.”

The Six Ways of Ruling

There is another set of teachings from the Tibetan Buddhist canon whose purpose is to guide a person in their position of leadership.  These teachings, if adhered to, can help ensure that you stay a warm, open and genuine leader who inspires those around you.

1. Benevolence

“The Oxford English Dictionary defines benevolent as “well-meaning and kindly.”  In the context of the Six Ways of Ruling, however, benevolence means more than just meaning well; it is actively engaging kindness so that the lives of the people you are leading are changed for the better.

For example, benevolence might mean that you are open enough to recognize that keeping employees late ruins last-minute dinner plans with their spouse or makes them less likely to get enough sleep to be competent the next day.  Seeing their situation and feeling empathy will lead you to decide what is best for both the project at hand and the employees.  You are taking a holistic look at your work situation rather than focusing on deadlines alone.”

 “When you have a conviction in basic goodness, you develop a sense of weightiness, like the sheriff.  He knows that he is doing what is right, what needs to be done, so he is stable and solid, like a mountain.  Being true to your own goodness has that kind of power.  You can be as steadfast as a mountain when you experience the strength of your basic goodness.”

2. Truth

“The first aspect of being true is unwavering presence, that mountain-like steadiness.  Then there is the second aspect: power.  There is tremendous power within that steadiness, that Olympian ability to truly be there for a task or for others.The last element… is warmth.  “

3. Genuineness

“Durant, summarizing Aristotle again, said, “Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”  Excellence in the workplace is not a onetime thing.  Neither is being genuine. In both cases, you have to repeatedly come back to the idea that you want to be genuine with others.  If you can hold that as a mantra worth repeating, then you can spend your day coming back to this simple principle over and over again, gradually undoing negative habitual patterns and replacing them with the Six Ways of Ruling.”

4. Fearlessness

“One aspect of working from a position of power is learning when you need to be fearless.  Fearlessness is the fourth of the Six Ways of Ruling, and the first of the three under the heading of powerful.”

“Fearlessness is based in the idea that in order to truly deal with your phobias, you need to confront them with an open heart and mind.  Eventually, through repetition, meditation, and possibly even therapy, you can work through them.”

5. Artfulness

“Artfulness is the fifth of the Six Ways of Ruling.  It is the ability to flow with your life, as opposed to measuring it out in exact terms.  It is seeing what needs to happen and making it happen, utilizing the skill sets at your disposal.  When you are successful at being artful, everything looks effortless.”

“This aspect of artfulness is sometimes referred to as arranging your kingdom.  Imagine your life as a kingdom, with you as the monarch.  Knowing you cannot do everything or be everywhere, you need to appoint certain people as ministers, others as generals, others as educators, and so on, so that everyone has their rightful place in the kingdom based on their unique abilities.

“Being artful includes consideration of others.  The artful leader cares about the people they are leading and wants to know them intimately.”

6. Rejoicing

“The final quality of the Six Ways of Ruling is rejoicing.  While is sounds simple enough, many of us don’t take the time to celebrate our lives as fully as we should.  We have a knack for dwelling on all the upsets that come our way, complaining about our inconveniences, instead of celebrating everything that we have going for us.”

“It’s actually possible to celebrate whatever or not we have something specific to celebrate.  With the view that everyone and everything we encounter is rooted in basic goodness, we can find magic in any situation.”

“Rejoicing is a direct outcome of combining the previous five methods of leadership.  When you are benevolent to others, are true to yoUr own goodness, can genuinely point out the logic in any given situation, are fearless in presenting that goodness and logic, and are artful in your execution, a great deal can be accomplished.  When that happens, it’s only natural to party.”

There is a quick reminder of our daily challenges: “If we recognize obstacles as merely part of the display of our world, then we realize we don’t have to take them – or ourselves – so seriously.  You are not this heavy, solid thing but a vast conglomeration of knowledge and experience that is ever-changing.  Similarly, when you face an obstacle, you should think of it in the same impermanent, fluid way.”

The book ends with an important reminder of how we can choose to be in the world.  A mantra which, combined with some moment of silence first thing in the morning,can help create a day of ease, no matter the adversity.

Let go of what has passed.
Let go of what may come.
Let go of what is happening now.
Don’t try to figure anything out.
Don’t try to make anything happen.
Relax, right now, and rest.

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Courtesy to an ant – a meditation on connection

The elephant becomes courteous to the ant

A few days ago, during my spring solstice meditation (Every Solstice, a friend and I tend to dedicate an entire evening, usually into the wee hours of the morning, to focused meditation), I stopped for a few minutes to read some Hafiz. In case you do not know Hafiz, he was a Persian poet, not unlike Rumi in his greatness. Though a few of his poems stroke me particularly deeply that evening, this one resonated to my core, and has been with me since.

God
Blooms
On the Shoulder
Of the
Elephant
Who Becomes
Courteous
To
The
Ant.

Wow, it still hits me strongly. No matter what your version of God is (in my case, it is a form of universal connection between all things), the depth of these words are profound. The patience, love, and respect we can all develop, by respecting all beings, is simply awe inspiring. Imagine if the next time you were out in the world, you were as equally generous with kindness to strangers as with your friends and family?

The poem, and this vision of kindness, reminds me of the story of the Buddha and an untouchable named Sunita. In ancient India, the untouchables were the lowest caste in the Hindu caste system. They were the wretched, the poor, the diseased. They cleaned toilets, did the hardest work, and were prohibited from entering Hindu temples. If they were heard reciting prayers, their tongues were cut out. It was the worst imaginable existence. But the Buddha did not care.

In the story of Sunita the untouchable, the Buddha approached him, and said “My friend, please come closer so that we may talk”. Continue reading

Let it go.

Let go

“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” – Bruce Lee

In our multifaceted, complex lives, sometimes things can be difficult.  We travel for work, spending long days away from home. Our bodies become sick. We argue with loved ones. We end up jobless at a time when money is needed most. We are judged by those that don’t understand the actions we take.

Someone close to us leaves us behind.

We then cry out that these things shouldn’t happen; they should not be the way they are.  We decide that things, life, and events are unjust and unfair.   We label them, judging them as bad or good, instead of accepting the ways things are: neither good, neither bad, just there.

The weather is never bad, it’s just weather.

In this way of resisting what is, we add lots of negativity, anxiety, and frustration. Often times, we spend more energy criticizing how terrible things are than what what is done in the first place! How many times have we recounted to friends and family about the terrible driver that cut us off that day? The unfair cost increase in our power bill? The store ran out of bananas?

This way of carrying things around with us, past the event itself, is well recounted in a story of two monks. Continue reading

Loving Kindness Meditation, Step 1

Meditation

In our previous article Surfing Meditation, we broached the topics of surfing and meditation and the soothing effects they can have on a person.  In another post on Square Breathing, we demonstrated a simple meditation that can be used to calm oneself through using the breath.  Today, we begin a 5 part series on Loving Kindness Meditation.

The Loving Kindness Meditation is based on the Buddhist notion that all beings desire to be happy.  This commonality can unite people through their differing points of view, experiences, and belief systems.  The Loving Kindness Meditation can be thought of as practicing love, and then sharing that love with all around you.  Family, friends, strangers, and even those we “dislike” can all benefit from our love.  As a meditation, it is, in our opinion, one of the most calming and peaceful.  As a daily practice in life however, it is one of the most challenging (yet rewarding) as it involves an active control over our reactions and judgments of other people, and oftentimes unrequited compassion and love.

But why would one wish to practice love?  Isn’t that a little “artificial”?

It is much like anything else in life: if we leave something up to chance and randomness, we’ll never be really great at it.  Once in a while we’ll “fall in love” with someone, and they may or may not love us back.  We’ll love our families, our friends.  Some of us may even learn to love ourselves!  In this unpracticed fashion, love is purely environmental and a reaction to particular, perfect conditions.  With practiced love resulting from the Loving Kindness Meditation, it is a creation resulting from an unshakable internal state.  It is like the difference between the following two surfing situations:

  • Bobbing around in a random place on the water, hoping that not only a stellar wave will happen to come by, but with little to no prior experience, one will be able to catch it and ride it like a pro.
  • Setting up regularly at a known surf spot, with good, consistent sets, and practicing not only catching and riding waves as often as possible, but also sharing them with others thanks to the feeling of abundance.

In summary, if we leave the ability to love to chance, then we only end up loving a very few around us; the easy ones to love.  By consciously practicing love through a Loving Kindness Meditation, we more easily have love for all around us, from the “unlovable” to the ones we already care about very deeply.

Spontaneous love is unpredictable and rare.  Created love is consistent and abundant.

The steps of a Loving Kindness Meditation involve creating love inwards, then progressively moving outwards to different levels of relationships.  These steps are loving:

  1. Your self;
  2. A friend, love, or family member you feel great love for;
  3. A larger group of friends or family you feel love for;
  4. A person you have difficulty loving; and
  5. All persons you encounter.

Traditionally, Loving Kindness Meditations step through all 5 (sometimes 4) tiers in one sitting.  We decided to break this meditation in smaller, composite parts, which will allow the “meditatee” to build focus and a strong foundation of love.  Our first meditation involves Step 1: Loving our Selves.

Appreciating and having compassion for self is the most important step.  As Lucille Ball said, “I have an everyday religion that works for me.  Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.”  In order to share abundant love with others, we must first build a strong foundation of patience and empathy towards our selves.

With this vision of a strong foundation of love in mind, listen to the guided meditation below.  While listening, keep your breath slow and calm, and repeat the words after they are spoken.  Most important is to truly feel the words and their meanings.  Embody love!  Feel patience  and compassion!  Do not repeat them emptily! (Though if you do, worry not:  Simply have the patience and compassion with yourself to just try again).  Repeat this meditation for as many days as is needed until you feel you have a solid foundation of love and compassion for yourself.

Put your heart and soul into the meditation, and with that, stoke the love within you.

Loving Kindness Audio Meditation Step 1: Loving Yourself

Photo by h.koppdelaney @flickr

Surfing Meditation

 

A friend recently asked me what it was about surfing that relates to Buddhism. In the ensuing expansive explanation, I shared with him the peace and quiet it brings. Upon further discussion, I realized that it may be valuable to share a portion of our upcoming book, Dharma in Every Wave, on this blog…

It’s raining cold pebbles of ice and rain. The piercing offshore wind resonates in my ears as I make my way down the beach from the gravel parking lot. Clutching my board tightly, my right hand echoes the anticipation of my heart and mind as I watch a six foot right crash in the distance. Through the wintery grey and the spray of the waves, I scope my paddle out line of least resistance. I know this beach somewhat, and the general area which can pull me sideways into the oncoming waves. I must be conscious, I must be mindful, and not get distracted by the environment.

Breathing deeply while stretching my back and shoulders, I become aware of the havoc that the cold is playing on my flexibility. Doubt begins to enter my mind. I make room for it, thinking of the warmth and comfort I have left to come here.

My left foot makes that familiar splash as I start to enter the vastness of the ocean which awaits me with gifts of cold, pain, and exhilaration. The wind is howling now, and the rain is hard and piercing, attacking me from below as it forms a barrier off of the embracing sea.

The noise and the harshness of the elements tell me that I do not belong here; and I listen, wondering more and more why I am doing this. I ask out loud if the piercing howl of the wind will cease. I curse the weather as it attacks me. Surely, if I was not wrapped in the protection of the wetsuit, I would have never considered the adventure of the early morning Canadian West Coast beach.

The waves make themselves known to me. A set starts rolling in while I am at that place; too shallow to dive, too deep to guard my face. The water engulfs me, finding every possible way into my core, stopping my breath and stealing the little heat I so preciously guard.

It is at this point that I realize I am alone, and all is noise.

There is no one else here on this beach. No friends to save me if anything goes wrong. No strangers to paddle out if I am not vigilant. I stole out of the hostel I am staying at before first light. Success depends entirely on me, and the doubt is louder and stronger than ever.

I push on, knowing that this noise and distraction is part of my journey to catch the seemingly un-catchable. That moment where you harness the power of the universe under your feet, and tune into the flow of the chaos.

Once the set has passed, I lift myself onto my trusted board and start to paddle, pushing the small feeling of security and self further out and away from the safety and stability of the beach.

Through the rain, wind, and foam, the crest of a giant begins to form. Its thick and dark walls are outlined by the endless shower from above and the sideways spray of water carried by the wind. Choosing not to move backward, I paddle forth towards the uncaring water. As the darkness towers over me, I lift my knee onto my board and clutch the rails of my brazilian beauty. She has seen warmer waters, and I frequently hear her asking me to return her to southern seas. I take a deep breath, push her nose down, and I breathe out. My face embraces the darkness.

I am alone. And all is quiet.

The rain is gone. The wind has stopped. My face, still cold and tight, is somehow calm. I continue to breathe out as I push with my shoulders. For this brief moment in time, all is peaceful. Though surrounded by waters that could eventually cause hypothermia, I have forgotten the cold that was piercing my chest. The uncaring noise of the world is gone, the doubt has washed away, and my mind suddenly feels at peace. My body relaxes into the movement as I follow the momentum of my actions. I feel loose, flexible, strong.

I look up, and can see the faint glimmer of the sun through the surface of the sea. Every time I dive, I return to a different place. Sometimes forward, sometimes back, but always more experienced.

This previous story describes a time when I first realized the power of meditation, and the connection to surfing. As I continued to paddle out that day, I began connecting my love for surf and the actions contained within it to the peace and calm I was acquiring through the studies and meditations Buddhism was bringing me. The rain, the wind, the cold, are all noise that cast doubt in my mind and form a barrier between my true self and my surfing practice. Life casts the same metaphors of noise; distractions such as television, financial woes, self-imposed judgments and internal feelings of external obligations all create states of mind that prevent my true self from being fully expressed.

Meditation, much like diving under a wave as described above, allows me to quiet the busy, day-to-day noise and concerns, and focus on the true strength contained within myself. The thoughts and distractions wash away as I focus on my body, breath, and universal connection. I become relaxed, and am reminded that the mind holds the power with which I can create the internal reactions to external situations. A daily meditation practice allows for more peace, and I must be vigilant in making time for it. Curiously, the more time I make for meditation, the more relaxed I am in the other moments of the day, as if time has been created out of nothing.

Those who have never meditated may feel unsure about what needs to be done. Is there anything to study? Must it be done in any one specific manner? No. There are many ways to meditate, some involve sitting and breathing, some involve sports (such as above), some involve yoga, but all contribute to calmer places within. It is in these moments of internal flow that we let go of our past and future concerns, and focus only on the present moment.

In the near future, we here at Dharma in Every Wave shall be creating some step-by-step meditations to follow and share. These will be audio and written guides, and build successively on one another. If you have never meditated before, by starting with these simple meditations, not only will you feel more at peace, but you will also notice that a daily, consistent practice benefits your mental health and productivity.

6 Things to Help Create Calm and Focus

Too often in our lives today, we aren’t in tune with the environment around us; the air, the earth, the people, or even, ourselves.  We forget to take time and focus, remain calm.  We forget the important things in life: life itself.  We begin to live by other people’s rules and ideals.  We forget what makes US tick.  We end up with a wide variety of people, all in different levels of connection with the environment around them.

Some are like the familiar co-worker – Let’s call him John.  John is there every day when you arrive to work.  He’s been there since daybreak, skipped breakfast, is drinking coffee, and has a diet consisting of, on a good day, pizza, soft drinks, and cookies.   He often complains that there is not enough time in the day, he is scattered, unfocused, never giving his all to an item, and tends to stay later than everyone else.

Then, there others… the weird ones that seem to always have life under control, and exude a calmness around them we can’t quite figure out.

Let’s call the fella that embodies this Jeff.  Jeff values work, but not more than his health.  He realizes that in order to be effective at work, he needs to be healthy, both physically and emotionally.  He has always eaten a good breakfast after a calming night of sleep.  He is calm and collected, giving his full attention to any item or conversation he is involved with.  When necessary, he stays late at work, but does not make it an expected, regular occurrence.  He is supportive of others, and seems to always have a
thoughtful, alternative point of view.

Of course, these are 2 different sides, and there is everything in between.  Which one are you like?  Take a moment and think about this.  Seriously.  Do not read any further until you have thought about your day, your energy level, your ability to focus, and calmness under pressure.

Once you have thought about where you are, continue and take a look at some simple things that could create more calmness and focus in your day.

1. Drink a glass of water immediately after waking up.  You lose moisture while you sleep, so you’re less hydrated in the morning. It’s kind of like working an 8 hour shift without any drink! A glass of water helps to restore this balance within yourself, feels good, and starts your system up for the day.

2. Take a minute to be calm, assess yourself, and your day.  If you jump straight out of bed, and rush to get to work, there’s  very good chance you rush through many things without thinking or being mindful of where you are at or want to go.  Take a minute after your glass of water to sit there, look out the window, think about the day you have, and what you want to accomplish.  If it takes getting up 5 minutes earlier, do it.  Do not hit snooze on your alarm.  Do not force yourself into rushing.

3. Eat a healthy breakfast.  Breakfast sets the energy in your body for the day.  Skip it, and you will rely on coffee and quick snacks to keep going, only to crash in the afternoon.  Aim to have a high amount of proteins and some fruit for breakfast.  This will help minimize the carbohydrate sugar hit and crash that can happen.  Have a smoothie. Eat some eggs.  Black beans with salsa.  SKIP CEREAL.  Cereal is usually starch and high amounts of sugar, with little to no protein, and leaves you hungry shortly later.  For some more ideas and a breakfast I stick to that helps my energy levels, check out Tim Ferris’s blog about breakfasts here.

4. Schedule your work tasks as best as possible, and take breaks.  Upon arriving at work, go over the important tasks you need to accomplish today, and focus on getting them done!  Then work in 50 minute increments, making significant progress on tasks during those 50 minutes, then take 10 minutes to stretch, go to the washroom, drink some water, and go over the tasks for the rest of the day.  By setting what you want to accomplish in advance of the work, and giving yourself permission to have a few minutes break every hour, you allow your mind to stay calm, more focused, and , in turn, accomplish more.

5. Do one thing that makes you smile, every day.  This is key.  Every day, we give ourselves and our energy to work, people, and thoughts. By taking the time to do something you enjoy, you give yourself some energy back.  This could be exercise, writing, playing frisbee, calling friends, walking your dog, painting, carving, playing music. Anything that you truly enjoy and smile from!  Even if only for 5 minutes, take the time to allow yourself to play.

6. Meditate, and consider the day you had.  If you meditate, have a session before bed.  Allow your self to be calm, and bring your day to completion.  If you have never meditated, check out our simple Square Breath meditation here.  If you do not want to meditate, then just take a couple of minutes and think about the day you had, bringing it to a wrap.  Breathe for a minute, then pour yourself a glass of water for tomorrow morning.

Repeat daily.  Read this post first thing every morning to help you remember.