Mind Like Water

Sigh! I’m still in a blue mood because of the loss but I’m forcing myself to get back into a normal routine.

I have to say that doing anything – even washing my hair or talking on the phone – feels like a humongous effort so sitting still and staring at the TV did bring a measure of comfort for a while. However, I’ve decided that two whole weeks of stepping out of my routine is enough. Anything more and I’m afraid of treading into dangerous “I’m Feeling Terribly Sorry For Myself And It’s A Great Excuse To Do Nothing” territory.

In the spirit of getting back to ‘normal’ I have attempted to start on one of the many books I bought earlier this year – remember this post? I’ve started on Getting Things Done since I feel that I haven’t done much of anything over the last couple of weeks.

The book has turned out to be a good choice. I’m only on page 14 and I’m already inspired by David Allen’s approach to productivity. His style is a comforting mix of practical and surprisingly (especially for a book on organization) spiritual ideas.

Allen talks about the “Mind Like Water” Simile :

In karate, there is an image that’s used to define the position of perfect readiness: “mind like water.” Imagine throwing a pebble into a still pond. How does the water respond? The answer is totally appropriately to the force and mass of the input, then it returns to calm. It doesn’t overreact or underreact. The power in a karate punch comes from speed, not muscle; it comes from a focused “pop” at the end of the whip. That’s why petite people can learn to break boards and bricks with their hands: it doesn’t take calluses or brute strength, just the ability to generate a focused thrust with speed. But a tense muscle is a slow one. So the high levels of training in the martial arts teach and demand balance and relaxation as much as anything else. Clearing the mind and being flexible are key.

Anything that causes you to overreact or underreact can control you, and often does. Responding inappropriately to your email, you staff, your projects, your unread magazines, your thoughts about what you need to do, your children or your boss will lead to less effective results than you’d like. Most people give either more or less attention to things than they deserve, simply because they don’t operate with a “mind like water.”

Wise words indeed. It applies to work and to life as well. I’m now trying to use this principle to deal with what I’m facing. It hasn’t put a huge smile back on my face but I have to say that it has certainly brought a tiny sense of balance back into my life.

I can’t wait to see what else David Allen has to say….

photo credit: http://www.ojaiwordfest.wordpress.com

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Pick-Me-Ups

I have to admit that sometimes, I just don’t feel like being happy. I know, I know – this totally goes against my Journey To Happiness Experiment and my personal pledge to continuously find ways to be happy. Sometimes, I wonder what possessed me to make such a pledge!

There are times when I feel like wallowing in self-pity, eating a ton of ice-cream, chocolate and peanut butter (in any combination but when things get really bad it’s usually chocolate peanut butter ice-cream eaten using a Snickers bar as a spoon).

On days like these, I just want to curl up all day on the couch, wrapped in the pale, yellow blanket my Mum gave me for Christmas, to watch every single movie on the Astro movie channels no matter how bad the movie is…. and trust me, some of them are really, really bad. Don’t believe me? Well, the last time I had a  Gloomy Glenda day, I happened to catch Dinocroc Vs Supergator on TV.

Isn’t that the worst movie ever? I mean, it’s so bad I think actually getting eaten by a Dinocroc or Supergator would be preferable to sitting through 90 plus minutes of this heart-stoppingly horrible film.

The good thing is that the Dinocroc Vs Supergator fiasco taught me a lesson. After I watched that movie, it dawned on me that that was two hours of my life that I would never get back again – ever.

So, I resolved to avoid the sorry D grade movies the next time I happen to feel a Gloomy Glenda Day coming on which happens to be today : (

I suppose the fact that I’m feeling a little under the weather (headachey, sneezy) has a lot to do with this overwhelming ocean of self-sympathy that makes me want to get under the yellow blanket again and reach for the remote. Fortunately, I dredged up just enough willpower to avoid that trap this time, focused on what I’d learned from my Happiness Library of books and turned instead to the video (at the end of this post) that served as instant an pick-me-up. Studies show that it’s possible to boost your happiness just by employing simple tricks and tips, some of which can take less than a minute.

Among the most effective happiness boosters:

1. Looking up (literally)

Turning skywards can give you an instant happiness hit. This has something to do with the mind-body connection, which makes sense since we naturally tend to look down when we’re miserable. To get the most of this pick-me-up, just keep looking up at the ceiling or the sky for about 60 seconds to improve your mood.

2. Aromatherapy.

Catching a whiff of a pleasant scent can put you  on the path to happier times. Just-baked cupcakes, the smell of rain or my personal fave – fresh laundry.

3. Pets.

It’s been proven time and again that animals have healing powers. Petting my cat Charley never fails to uplift me. Even if you only have access to Animal Planet or a funny video on YouTube, watching/interacting with animals is an effective mood booster.

Speaking of YouTube, I here’s my personal pick-me-up that totally shifts my mood from positive to negative every time I view it. It’s an SNL Digital Short by Andy Samberg which lasts just over 2 minutes. He’s made some forgettable shorts but when he gets it right, it’s absolutely hilarious. I think Samberg is a genius! Some people might disagree (citing big-brained award-winning science types) but hey, Einstein never made me laugh this hard!

Enjoy!