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Stay Calm During Coronavirus

For someone with anxiety, life during COVID-19 can be downright challenging. Staying calm is critical for both your sanity and for those around you, especially if you are quarantined.

I truly believe my meditation practice is paying off. I use Sam Harris Wakingup app, but can also happily recommend Tara Brach’s podcast as well as Headspace. I’ve tried them all and just simply prefer Wakingup since there is a new, daily meditation.

The other thing I’ve done is to study the Stoics. I read The Daily Stoic email newsletter which provides a terrific foundation and reminders as to how to think, act and lead during these challenging times.

Outside of that, here are some of the things I’ve tried to do to remain calm:

  • Limit the amount of news I read or watch.
  • Stay off Twitter.
  • Go for a walk or exercise every day for at least 10 or 15 minutes.
  • Read for a few minutes every night before bed.
  • Forgive myself for eating an extra piece of chocolate or a bag of chips.
  • Remind myself that this too shall pass.

Staying calm during Coronavirus is hard, but doable. What are you doing to stay calm?

Reacting without thinking is insane

It’s kind of funny that once you really start paying attention to yourself, you see all sorts of shit. I was flying high yesterday, feeling so good. Today not so much. I’m low. Annoyed. Good weather… bad weather – it just comes and goes. It’s comical to sit back and realize how insane I am in reacting to any of it. Reacting to my thoughts without realizing they are just thoughts is insane.

For a lot more on this, read about RAIN from Tara Brach.

Flashes of Insight – 2020 edition

For a few years now I’ve been documenting what I call “flashes of insight” in my notes app. Re-reading them just now made me think I should share them. So.. I present you with my a list of insights and quotes from 2020.

Some of these are self-explanatory, while others may confuse you out of context. I’ve notated the source where possible, and the dates reflect the day I recorded the insight.

12/26/2019

There is no past and no future; no one has ever entered those two imaginary kingdoms. There is only the present.

Tolestoy

12/22/19

The most courageous decision that you can make each day is to be in a good mood.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Voltaire and Rilke, respectively

12/20/19

And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

― Kurt Vonnegut From A Man Without a Country

12/17/19

Give up the War

Sam Harris

12/11/19

Poker face. Accept. Be.

Get rid of shit you don’t need.

Let go. completely.

This egolessness, which is the key to being authentic is a battle.

Garry Shandling

11/26/19

You can’t teach tenacity

Sam Hollander 

11/14/19

There are two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. And the other is as if everything is a miracle.  

Einstein – Neri Oxman’s favorite quote – from Abstract on Netflix

10/29/19

A well-flowing life is when we wish for what is going to happen not what we want to happen  

Epictetus

10/16/19

The Straightforward and good person should be like a smelly goat — you know when they are in the room with you

Marcus Aurelius

10/1/19

While pain is inevitable, suffering is a choice – everything is fucked.

Mark Manson

9/21/19

That being so, so what

Jerry Colonna – Reboot

9/21/19

What makes all of life complicated, and not just hard, is this unwillingness to do the work that’s ours to do her unwillingness to live the examined life.

Jerry Colonna – Reboot

9/18/19

What if being lost is part of the path? Reboot

Jerry Colonna – Reboot

9/16/19

Don’t mistake motion for meaning

Jerry Colonna – Reboot

6/21 

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

Anne Lamott

6/15/19

Three pillars of happiness: regular exercise, mediation, and constant pursuit of purpose.

Bob Weir – GQ article

6/2/19

Life ultimately means taking responsibility to find the right answers to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for the individual

Viktor Frankl – Man’s search for Meaning.

5/28/19

There is only one thing i dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings

Dostoevski

2/17/19

Comparison is death

Liz Gilbert Magic Lessons Podcast 

2/6/19

It just doesn’t matter

Tripper from Meatballs (Bill Murray)

1/28/19

The vitality in life is staying a verb

Mark Rohn? Poet on magic lessons podcast  – unsure

1/16/19

If we don’t discipline ourselves, the world will do it for us.

William Feather

1/10/19

Any talent you do not use becomes a burden

Liz Gilbert 

Daily Ritual – Creating Routines That Help Manage Energy and Performance

There has been a lot written here, here, and here about the value of having a daily ritual. The benefits of daily rituals range from increased productivity, stress-relief, higher energy, career, family life and more.

I’ve had a decent morning routine for a while now that has included meditation, morning pages, affirmations and more. I recently finished reading the excellent Power of Full Engagement by Loehr which has opened my eyes to a critical insight I had totally missed up until now.

Energy is our most precious resource

According to Loehr, energy is our most precious resource because everything stems from having enough positive energy to get things done. It makes sense. The book talks a lot about how athletes strategically use recovery to gain energy and rituals to stay focused during stressful times of performance. For us non-professional athletes, these principals apply, perhaps even more because unlike sports, corporate drones don’t get months of recovery during an off-season.

After reading the book and dutifully doing all the exercises (what’s do you value, what are your strengths, who do you admire and why), I revisited my own daily rituals which now include a morning and evening component along with a handy Google Doc to help me track my progress.

My Morning Ritual (20 minutes)

  • Get out of bed and eat a handful of peanuts or a banana
  • Meditate for 10 minutes (I’m currently addicted to this app)
  • Read my vision, values & affirmations
  • Morning Pages (Include what I am grateful for)
  • Daily Stoic daily exercise
  • Note: No email until I finish!

My Evening ritual

  • Before bed, do the following…
  • Daily Stoic evening reflection
  • Be grateful for 1 minute
  • Enter data in ritual tracker 

Do you have a daily ritual you use? How has it evolved over time?

Hell yes! or no F_cking way!

Hell yes, or no way. Essentialism to the rescue!

I’ve read the incredible book “Essentialism” by Greg Mckeown 3 times now, and each time, my (digital) copy gets more and more highlighted. It’s a great read, and one with an incredible amount of wisdom, great ideas, and perspective. Reading it has enriched my life immensely. My biggest and most challenging takeaway is the idea of “Hell yes, or no way.”

Essentialism

If you haven’t read it, I recommend you watch any of the excellent videos that outline the basic concepts including hearing it right from Greg’s mouth in a Google talk:

“No more yes, it’s either a ‘Hell, Yeah!” or no.” #Essentialism— Greg McKeown (@GregoryMcKeown) January 15, 2016

Essentialism, for me works great for small, simple decisions such as:

  • should I work out?
  • should eat that 3rd slice of pizza?
  • should I read this book or that book

But it breaks down for me when I try to apply it to big decisions such as:

  • should I invest in becoming a better or published writer?
  • should I change careers, go back to school or keep doing what I’m doing
  • am living my best life, and if not, what’s that even mean?

I think a big part of the problem is that I’ve been unwilling to be completely honest with myself. Saying hell yea to something life-changing has ramifications that go far beyond my own personal impact.

As an example, I’ve written two books (one a YA-Sci Fi thing, the other a memoir), and I’m stuck inside my head. Do I try to improve them with the help of an editor and finish that journey, or do I leave writing as a hobby and a fun creative pursuit? I honestly don’t know.

The truth is, part of me is scared.

Shit. Even as I wrote that sentence I sort of figured out something important. Trite as it is, that saying “do what scares you most” may very well apply here.

Hell yes, or no way. Eh?