How to be mindful

Slowly add mindfulness bells. A mindfulness bell can be anything in your environment. Thich Nhat Hanh suggested using traffic lights as a mindfulness bell — when you see one, instead of getting caught up in the stress of driving, allow yourself to become present. You can slowly find other mindfulness bells — your daughter’s face, opening your computer, having your first cup of coffee, hearing a train going by.

Finding ways to trigger making conscious decisions is the key to increasing the amount of time you are mindful. The possibilities are endless!


Put it in full-screen mode all the time

Single-task by putting your life in full-screen mode. Imagine that everything you do — a work task, answering an email or message, washing a dish, reading an article — goes into full-screen mode, so that you don’t do or look at anything else. You just inhabit that task fully, and are fully present as you do it.

~ Leo Babauta

Whenever I perform a save or equivalent preservation action, I stop and spend a second determining the context that needs to be associated with this artifact. Every single artifact has a bit of context.

~ Rands

Another idea: Long ago I cleared the home screens of my devices. I wake my phone and the screen is empty; Just the background image. At first, I opened my phone—a lot—and went, “wait, why did I…” AND THEN I CLOSED IT. Now I think, “what’s the weather tomorrow?” Wake phone. Swipe down w-e- … touch, read weather, hit home (back to clear), close phone.


The kind of training I need

The truth is that if you can push into the discomfort, with love, and keep going … it’ll be an amazing breakthrough for you, an opening up of your habitual patterns. It’ll be a place of growth, of learning, of tremendous change. This is the kind of training that you need to put yourself in if you want to grow. Not a meditation retreat, necessarily, but any kind of practice that makes you want to retreat. It doesn’t have to be hardcore, just something that causes you to be uncomfortable, that causes your old habitual patterns to come up.

~ Leo Babauta

Leo’s Zen Habits has helped me tremendously over the years. His was one of the first useful sites I found about 10 years ago when I started changing my life. The idea that hard work– not a retreat per se, but anything that makes you want to retreat– is exactly what I need to work on, is one of the pillars upon which I began rebuilding. When things start to crack– when I feel my grip on my reasonable demeanor slipping– it’s this idea which I try to pull up.



You have a million things to do an not enough time to do it all? Not a big deal: pick the things you can do, and get to work. That’s all you can do anyway, so it’s not worth adding some stress to the already difficult situation. Have a huge task to do that is going to be very difficult? No big deal. Just take the first step. Just get moving. You’ll deal with the difficulty.

~ Leo Babauta

Frenetic activity. Fits of rage. Tidal waves of guilt. Mountains of frustration. Spasms of activity. Rivers of self-doubt. Occasional moments of calm. Thank you Leo!

Why I’m always in a hurry

So what is going on? Why do I hurry so much? I’ve been reflecting on this, and the answer seems to be that my mind has a tendency towards greed. This isn’t greed in the sense that I want a lot of wealth … but my mind finds something it likes and it wants more. Always more.

Approaching Life with Beginner’s Mind

It’s not just something you practice when you’re learning something — though dropping the “expert’s mind” and seeing the learning as a beginner is an important practice in learning. It’s something you can practice every single moment of the day (if you can remember to do so).

The Path of Fearlessness

The two key fears are the fears of uncertainty and not being good enough, and in my experience, they’re both the same thing. We’re afraid of the uncertain future (and uncertain situations) because we don’t think we’re good enough to handle whatever might come out of the chaos.

If one felt that this were true, what might one do unlearn such fear? As usual, Leo has a considered opinion spoken from the position of experience.

The Way to Finding Powerful Human Connection

Human connection is not so common in our age of connectivity. We see lots of people but find our little cucoons to hide in. We don’t realize we’re craving a deeper connection with others until we find it.

It’s hard to connect, because cultural norms get in the way — we’re supposed to talk about the weather and sports and the news, but not our deepest struggles. We’re supposed to say cool or witty things, but not share our greatest hopes for our lives or the person we want to become.

Why travel? Well, I’m glad you asked…

Alternative paths

(Part 8 of 27 in ~ Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)

Post class thoughts? Not many. Class is usually pretty visceral, (as one would expect,) and there’s not much time for an internal dialog of philosophical thinking. There were of course various opportunities to come up with relatively creative solutions to physical movements and challenges. But nothing particularly interesting in the context of this discussion. I think the primary reason this “alternate paths” section didn’t stand out in class was that everyone there already thinks this way. Almost everyone in class is already applying this section’s ideas — at least applying it in the physical context.

And so, I hadn’t bothered to put up a “nothing to report” report. Until I happened to read:

As you begin to learn something, notice when you feel frustrated with sucking. It might be really difficult, confusing, full of failure. You’re out of your comfort zone, and you want to go back into it.

Now turn to this feeling of frustration, or whatever difficult feeling you’re having: confusion, impatience, boredom, feeling bad about yourself, wanting to quit.

Turn to the feeling, and instead of trying to stop it or avoid it … try sitting with it (or running with it). Just be there with it. Let it be in you, give it space.

~ Leo Babauta, from The Gentle Art of Trying Something & Sucking at It

I’m pulling disparate threads together here of course. But this is the feeling! I look at something really sketchy, challenging or downright scary, and my mind flees to the easy path. Took a lot of work to get my body to NOT flee to the easy path, which eventually gave my mind a bit of time to look at the “I don’t think so…” path and give it some consideration. In hindsight, I think it’s what Babauta describes so succinctly.

So, uh, yeah. What Thibault said. And also what Babauta said. :*)