Get Quiet

Nature is such that it is difficult to see things clearly when we are in motion. Looking out the window of a moving car leaves us with a blurred picture of what’s really outside our window. Looking into a pond that’s rippled by the wind leaves only a distorted reflection of our faces looking in. Nature is such that it is only when we STOP that we are able to see things clearly. And it is for this reason that the absolute first step that must be taken in any path toward higher understanding is to stop, and get quiet.

Quick ways to Get Quiet

      • QPR Challenge: sit in silence for five (5) minutes before bed. Turn off the TV, your phone, your music…everything. Find a place where you can be alone and just sit and breathe. Nothing else.
      • Change what you hear: altering what music you listen to can have an immediate effect on your state. Cut out the hard rock & rap and try listening to some “quieter” melodies, just for a limited time, and see if you feel differently. I have a hunch that you will. Sigur Ros has some great music, or tune your TV to the “Soundscapes” channel (for those of you who have it).
      • Change what you see: instead of  starting and ending every day with the news, turn off the TV and keep your quiet music from above playing.
      • Do the smart thing and scale down your smartphone interaction. iPhone = iMirritated. Start by only allowing yourself to look at your phone when you’re (a) at home, or (b) in the office.  If it’s that important your phone will ring.
      • Morning Pages: write 3 pages every morning. It doesn’t matter what, and it doesn’t matter how big the pages. Just write, and in doing so you will be giving all that noise inside a way out.  [learn more about The Artist's Way]
      • Get closer to nature: there’s a reason that we’re all drawn to nature, and whether it’s sitting on the beach, hiking in the mountains, or picnicing in the park, we have all experienced the power of nature to balance us in some way. Re-route your commute, plan more weekend activities outside, start cycling…whatever it is, but get closer to nature and you will notice an immediate calming of all the noise and irritation within.




Get Positive

It is always your choice as to whether you want to look at life through a positive lens or a negative lens, and at some point we all must come to the realization that it is less about what happens “out there” in the world, and more about the reactions we choose “in here.” There are plenty of rich people with beautiful loving families who only seem to complain, and there are people in poverty who are somehow always filled with joy and positivity. All that you think you need “to be happy” is already there. But in order to start seeing it, and in order to start experiencing it, you’ve got to get positive.

Quick ways to Get Positive

      • QPR Challenge: this one is a guaranteed game-changer. You are going to practice the non-expression of negativity for one (1) week, which means that you will not let anything negative come out of your mouth. Hang a ‘clicker’ around your neck and click every time you catch yourself verbalizing negativity. You will be shocked at how much negativity you’re bringing to your life, but watch as your awareness develops and you begin to see how different life becomes with just this one minor change *TIP: make it fun by challenging a friend or partner and whoever “loses” buys dinner. The higher the stakes (pun intended) the better!
      • Gratitude List: start each day by writing down 3 things that you’re grateful for and notice how your entire attitude toward the day changes.
      • Build stronger associations with positive people; weaken your associations with negative people. The truth of that matter is that we are affected by the energy of those around us. Do yourself a favor and start building a healthier atmosphere around you.
      • Go on a media diet. I’ve never met you but I know one thing for sure: media is the single greatest source of negativity in your life. You don’t have to cut it out of your life forever, but cut it out for a week, a weekend, or just one day, and let me know if you feel differently. I have it on good money that you will.




Get Real

There is only one thing that causes us suffering and that is a gap between actual reality and our ideal reality; the way the world is, and the way we want it to be.

There’s traffic, we wish there wasn’t. There’s $1000 in our bank account, we wish there was $10,000. Someone close to us dies, we wish they hadn’t. We want to get that promotion, we don’t get that promotion. Things happen that we don’t want to happen, and things that we want to happen don’t happen.  And herein lies our suffering. This, however, is the absolute nature of life.  So instead of suffering every single time that the world is not the way we want it to be, we must work to better understand the actual reality of things, why things are the way they are, and in doing so allow ourselves the chance to Get Real, ease the suffering that’s being caused by our lack of understanding, and begin to see that everything is, in fact, just how it should be.

Quick ways to Get Real

      • QPR Challenge: take five minutes to complete one (1) ActivInsight worksheets from The Myth of Stress. Feelings of frustration or stress are key indicators that you’re not seeing things clearly. There’s a blind spot. And instead of waiting for one of those “ah ha” moments to come along and bring you the insight you need to conquer your stress, ActivInsight gives you a quick and easy way to summon those “ah ha” moments – whenever you want them. Best done in conjunction with reading the book.
      • Choose a friend, partner, or colleague, and with them in mind complete “A Day in th Life”: imagine that you are that person and write down what you think one day in their life is like.  What are they worrying about when they wake up? What are their living conditions, family situation, financial challenges, work environment? By learning to see the world through the eyes of others you will broaden your perspective and, in doing so, get closer to seeing reality.
      • Meditate on the reality of impermanence: really take some time to digest the reality that nothing in life is static, that nothing is forever, that everything that comes will (sooner or later) go. Physical appearances, jobs, money, relationships, feelings…they are all impermanent. Fully process this to relieve youreslf from the suffering that occurs when things inevitably change.