Last weekend, we had our very own table at the Metaphysical Show here in Montreal. We had the opportunity to share with people the meditative power of the sand mandala. The brave ones stepped up to the plate and tried it out. Others were captivated by the calm and concentration of those who were doing the sand mandala. To all of you – We say “Thank you”. We are super happy to have been able to share this practice with so many of you and look forward to doing it again very soon. In the meantime, here are some pictures from the day:
I was telling my best friend who is just starting a family how I faced some challenging situations and still managed to be smiling and start new projects. At some point, he asked me -how do you manage at work or in your relationships to not lose it completely? To what I answer – I do lose it and it used to be very frequently. I just kind of gave up, I gave up arguing with my partner, or coworkers, because in the heat of the argument I can have one of the following outcomes:
- Am I able to prove my point to the other person that is agitated? Most likely not.
- If I’m right, who cares? Probably I am damaging something more important which is the relationship itself
The most important thing about surrender to the conflict was not the fact that I stopped wasting time and energy arguing but that I would wait for a better opportunity to respond, keeping the relationship in good stand and well, why not….my own health. I’m not a guru but I learned from losing so many million arguments in my 40 something years.
My friend who facing a work dilemma, and knows how hot headed I used to be, then asked me -Then, how do you do to control the otherwise natural impulse to respond, moreover when you are right or when you notice somebody is just saving face while possibly making you look bad?
I spoke like 5 minutes about how multiple examples, but then we needed to go back to our offices, and I said, in summary what makes me rekindle the relationship with my girlfriend, what have saved me from losing my temper, what have given me best results in personal and professional life is to follow these 3 easy to remember steps:
1 No matter what delay your response.
Most of the time, we feel that we need to have an immediate answer to look good, or that we would lose the argument of something. Learn to take a pause, knowing or not the answer, take a pause, it would make you look better and smarter (think of Obama). It will help you to think and prepare your answer. It will help you to even evaluate if the issue in question deserves an answer. Just always delay your response.
2 Look at yourself as if it was a movie, then think how you’d like to look
Ask yourself: Are you mad? Are you agitated by this issue or by past issues? Do you feel pressured to respond? Is it your ego talking on your behalf? Are you just trying to win the argument? What are the stakes?
Act as your hero in the movie of your own life. Or as I’ve read many times: What advice would you give to your best friend if she/he was in the same situation?
Remember it is always better to be known for being nice and good team player than for being a know it all. Don’t burn bridges. You can take distance and yet be elegant, decisive and kind. Opportunities come easier when your reputation is of openness and team player.
3 Measure the consequences
Sometimes, we are too quick to respond and we don’t give ourselves the chance to evaluate the consequences. Some situations don’t even deserve and answer. Some answers are better given verbally other in written. Most often than not, the results we want are not achieved by winning an argument, and very often we assume others position entering in an unnecessary conflict and making others feel bad. As a project manager, I know that assumptions alone are dangerous, every assumption must be made (if required) putting ourselves in the other person situation, and always accompanied by a risk assessment. For example, would you absolutely need to eat at the place of your choice sacrificing your partners and family experience? I personally rather have a good time, by enjoying and making others enjoy the moment instead of insisting until the other party gets mad. After all who would want to eat if everyone else is angry?
These steps are not going to give you the path of the fame and fortune. They will surely make you flow better in your own path and making your life just simpler and more pleasurable, for you and the ones that surrounds you.
Finally, my friend said -wow how did you change so much? you are so good, it must really help at work.
To which I replied – by making the same stupid mistake so many times, that I’ve gotten so tired, and so much to lose that ended up giving up and started meditating. As with any sport responding this way is question of practice, the more you practice the better you get. I still fail many times, but I remember to practice again and again. Meditation surely had helped me a great deal to delay the response, detach from the situation, looking back at myself from the outside (step 2), breath and know that is not that important winning an argument, It is not that you will get paid more, it is not that you’d lose your position in life. I just remember that I have much more to win by earning trust and having a reputation of teachable-team player.
Find a different way to meditate at
Whenever you seek advice in fields as varied as management, entrepreneurship, meditation, fitness, yoga, leadership, or diet, you’ll see the same buzz words: embrace change, balance, mindfulness, think out of the box, let go etc, etc.
After almost every yoga practice you’ll hear “Namaste”, but many of us don’t really stop to think what this really means, and even less, how we can carry that meaning with us once we step off of the yoga mat.
I have now pondered on this for a while, and I’ve come to realize certain things that you might find helpful in everyday life. Let me share these with you. Continue reading
It’s been a long time since my son has been asking for a dog. We are thinking about the prospect of adding a new family member carefully. There are many considerations at hand. The size, the characteristics of the breed, preferably adopting one from a shelter, etc. But the single reason we haven’t chosen one yet is the long hours our new family member would spend alone in the house. Our schedule is so that we spend a good 10 hours away from home a day. And it breaks my heart leaving the dog alone such a long time.
My son is going bananas about having a dog, and he is particularly kind and protective of all animals in general. His little heart is always touched by every pet he sees. Dogs, cats, parrots, even reptiles, rodents and fish. At the same time my heart is squeezed with the wanting to please my son. I know he would take good care of any pet and, since my daughter doesn’t live with us, I am sure the company would bring both dog and kid great benefits. I don’t doubt that the dog would even improve the health of my son given an increase in outdoor activity.
Last Sunday, we were having lunch at a friend’s house. He owns a big, intimidating, black dog (Chow Chow and German shepherd mix). Even though the dog was more into the adults and enjoying the attention everybody was giving him, my son persisted until he started playing with him. We went to walk the dog and play with him at a nearby park entirely covered in snow. We enjoyed the fresh air, the run and even the eventual falls in the snow.
When we get back to my friend place a very interesting inter-generational conversation took place amidst coffee and Sambuca. At some point we were all talking and laughing while my son was just following the dog crawling in four legs. I asked him –What are you doing? – to what my seven year-old replied “I’m going to be his best friend, that’s why I am on four legs. He doesn’t play too much with me so I’m going to just follow him, do what he does and be his best friend.”
I just let my son be and watched while the rest of the adults continued their own stories, ignorant to this interesting forging of a friendship. At some point I just felt the happiness of my son when out of the blue he came by my side and hugged me sideways, squeezing my waist against his shoulders and then continued following the dog. I saw in his eyes the “this-is-it!” moment; I saw happiness that is blissful, silent and durable; happiness that goes beyond excitement and adrenaline – I tried to catch that in the picture you see at the top of this post.
It was contagious. I was sitting in happy silence, witnessing the scene, almost paralyzed in wonder, thinking if this is the bliss the Dalai Lama and other wise men were trying to tell us about. Surely I was feeling something special, peaceful, quiet, yet exhilarating. The silence was an Opera in itself, and it was so contagious that one by one, the other 6 adults started fall silent and just watched, until all of us had a big smile, looking in the direction of the dog and the kid. For a brief couple of minutes, the house was full of mute bliss, until his mom exclaimed brilliantly –Hey where is my phone I need to get this in a picture – and the jovial noise re-started.
What if that is the meditation blissfulness we aspire to? What if it is all in front of our eyes and all we need to do is to shut up rather than to start pushing it away with the air we blow when we speak?
I don’t have the answers, but the bliss was very similar to what I feel after a long period of meditation or prayer, or even when I used to conquer a new summit in the Andes!
What do you think? We are very interested to hear about you. Any advice for my dog dilemma? Leave us a comment.
Life with kids is delightful. When we are with them, we imagine our lives free of all the hassle; and whenever we get a break (because they have a sleepover at a friend’s house or the grandparents are babysitting) we keep talking about them and missing their presence.
Now imagine Continue reading