Open Source Sofware

Simple Habits: 9 Steps to Permanent Change


We have a horrible relationship with habits.

We struggle, we buy videos, we join clubs, we set our alarm clocks, we buy different foods. We have New Year Resolutions, we buy gym memberships, we buy pants in smaller sizes. We spend huge amounts of time, money and energy focusing on removing bad habits and creating good ones.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.” –Apostle Paul, in the Book of Romans

In my practice of presence, I’ve found an amazing method that’s freed me from the vicious “habit cycle” of doing what I don’t want to do, and not doing what I do want to do.

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Four Steps to Feel Amazing Right Now

At any given moment, you might have a very good reason for being in a bad mood:

“I didn’t get enough sleep last night, so I’m in a funk.”

“He didn’t listen to me, which made me so angry

“I am tired and cranky…”

“I don’t have enough time to get this all done. I’m so overwhelmed.”

“This whole day didn’t go like I wanted. I’m so frustrated.”

“He was supposed to do X for me, and now I’ll have to do it. I’m so disappointed.

“I am scared if X doesn’t happen, Y will fall through.”

Many of us go through life this way- oscillating between bad mood/good mood. Bad mood…good mood. If you’re like me, you can look back on whole days, weeks or months of your life when you were in a bad mood, life sucked, and everything you did seemed to fail.

Then I discovered one of the greatest revelations of my life: I don’t ever have to be in a bad mood.

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The Simple Guide to Lasting Forgiveness

Noël Zia Lee on Flickr

We’ve all been there. Someone says something harsh, or forgets something important to you, or doesn’t act the way you expect them to. Sometimes, we might even perceive that they’re actually out to get us, hurt us or manipulate us. In the worst cases, we’ve hung on to unforgiveness for years, believing that if we forgave someone we’d give them license to hurt us again. (I have four fingers pointing back at me, here.)
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Our Attachment to Thoughts

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”  -Buddha

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Four Stories to Help You Be More Present

The reaction to The Emotion That’s Killing You has been far greater than I could’ve possibly imagined. It’s led to incredible exchanges online and offline, and I’ve been given a deeper and more profound glimpse into why we are so attached to our grief, and why that post in particular hit a chord with so many of us.

I’d like to share four stories I’ve collected. Some of these you might find profound, some you might think are silly or simple- but I invite you to sit with them and let their deeper meaning wash over you.

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The Truth About Fear


I believe it’s impossible to be fearful and be present at the same time.

Presence, as I define it, is living fully in this moment. Smelling the air here, right now. Feeling the temperature on my skin, here, right now. Seeing the people around me here, right now. Standing on the earth, right now. Hearing. Swallowing. Blinking. Feeling my body.

The moment I start thinking about some event, like that meeting on Tuesday, or that meal I’m going to cook, or that phone call I’m going to make, I stop being present.

I realize it’s incredibly difficult to always be present. We need to honor the meetings we set up. We need to do business with people at appointed times. If we have an employer, we need to show up at certain times, on certain days.

But once we set the framework for the day in our “to-do” part of the brain (i.e. shower and pack a lunch before leaving the house, drive to XYZ, phone call at 2pm, dinner with friends at 5) it’s important to be present now.

I can’t worry about that phone call if I’m examining the fruit as I cut it for lunch.

I don’t make space in my mind for that call if I’m watching the road as I drive and honoring the drivers around me.

When two o’clock comes, I pick up the phone to make the phone call. It goes so much better if I don’t have preset ideas (and projected fears) about how it will go. If I’m present, solid in this moment, and take the next step, “Hello?” and the next, “How are you?” there is nothing else there but presence.

Worrying about what might happen is not presence. “If I do that, then X might happen, and X might lead to Y, which would be terrible!” If your heart is telling you to move, move. If you feel hesitation, hesitate. Take care not to project fears- it’s a waste of valuable creative time.

Instead, I use fear and worry as a trigger. “Aha! I’m not here, now. What is here, now? This chair. This cup. This decision. Okay, decision, I still need to make up my mind about you. What is my heart telling me?”

Not: what are the pros and cons?

Not: what is the worst that can happen?

Instead: what do I feel good about doing?

What choice makes me feel happy and satisfied?

Pay attention, the next time you’re feeling fear. You’ll notice it’s tied to something that “might happen.” We can’t fear in the past. We can’t say, “when that softball hit me, it makes me afraid now!” The softball happened. We dealt with it. There was no fear in the moment. But we may now fear that the softball might hit us again. How silly! We survived it already. What is there to fear in it happening again?

Our minds constantly want to jump ahead, or remember the past. There is nothing there. Nothing in the past is happening now, and nothing in the future has happened yet. All we have is this moment, and this moment is never fearful.

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