Puppy on meditation cushion

Zen Master, Zen Disaster

TENACIOUS TUESDAY ~ A friend of mine was over last week and got to witness my less than cool response when my puppy wouldn’t stop counter surfing, right in front of me no less. She said, “This is a new side of you I’ve never seen!” I replied that in my inner dialogue I refer to myself as ‘Zen Master, Zen Disaster’ (stay tuned for the book). While I do my best to stay present, peaceful and resilient to intense emotional urges to scream, I’m hardly a saint. Oh the stories my Alexa could tell if she’s recording me.

There will always be people and situations (and puppies) that seem to push all of the right buttons to trigger the worst sides of us. Over my life, I’ve learned to care less about a lot of things that used to bother me. More importantly, I’ve learned to pause for a second or two to think about how I will respond rather than simply reacting. Mel Robbins dubbed this approach ‘The 5-Second Rule’ and it is profoundly helpful in managing all areas of our life. When faced with a decision or reaction, stop, count backwards from 5 and then respond. It’s amazing how much we can talk ourselves in or out of in just 5 seconds.

All of that said, there will always be moments when we lose our cool. Sometimes we have to. The downside of doing our best to stay in our Zen zone is that we may end up beating ourselves up over behavior, emotions or words that we’re not proud of. What’s misunderstood about Zen is that it isn’t meant to erase how we feel, but rather to teach us to let those things pass through and to work to do better next time.

I challenge you to do two things this week: 1) Give yourself a moment to pause – pause before you make a decision, before you react, before you speak. Pause and consider how much the moment really matters and whether it will matter to you a week, a month or a year from now. 2) Give yourself and those around you a break. Most of us are doing things with the best of intentions and learning as we go. Sometimes it just doesn’t go as expected. Let it pass and try again. Peace doesn’t come from perfection. It comes from being happy with what we have and who we are despite our imperfections. #BeTenacious