CT meditates: a comedy (31). Gratefulness to my reader(s) [hi mom!], and happy new year

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A new year!

Instead of briefly held resolutions, think back over the last 30 days. We’re ahead of everyone else. Take your new 30 day habit of meditation, focus, presence and have a great year. We know that 30 days of repeated behavior is a powerful initiation of a new sustained habit (see the book: Power of Habit).

I’m hopeful, instead that in the past 30 days, you have found ONE THING (see book) that you can latch onto as a consistent practice for presence and focus. Anything else you achieved is a bonus.

Remember: those coming on the journey: 3 minutes of meditation every day! I’m holding both of us accountable to this important habit!

CMIO’s take? Whew! We made it. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. Thank you for being my reader(s) [hi Mom!] I’m going back to weekly postings.

CT meditates: a comedy (30) Tai Chi

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I’m learning Tai Chi! I have a background in the martial arts, having trained in Shotokan, in Tae Kwon Do and most recently in Bushinkan Karate disciplines.

Tai chi is another take, much gentler, much more philosophical, much slower, and amenable to learning and practice by just about anyone who can stand on two feet.

I understand that older, frail patients at risk of falling can substantially lower their risk of falls and risk of hip fractures by learning Tai Chi. I have patients whose anxiety is improved with regular Tai Chi classes. Just about every community has a Tai chi class somewhere.

Of course, the introvert in me prefers to learn Tai chi from a DVD, and so there it goes. My choice was Tai Chi for Health with Terry Dunn:

https://www.amazon.com/Tai-Chi-Health-Short-Terence/dp/B0002ZDR7Q

I was not successful at finding anything really useful online on YouTube.

Having now memorized (not really mastered) all the 80-ish moves from the Yang Style Short Form of Tai chi, I find it to be relaxing, meditative, more active than sitting with eyes closed, more interesting than stumbling meditation, with less risk of unintended snoring. Furthermore, I find that I can make it quick (done in 5 minutes) or long (30 minutes) and easy or hard (I can be sweating at the end, if I hold my poses until my thighs start burning).

And, while traveling, if the gym and or pool at the hotel is closed, 30 minutes of in-room Tai Chi takes very little space, is meditative and a good workout as well. Business Traveler Secret!

Funny memory: there is a movie from decades ago called “A Great Wall” where a disillusioned computer programmer in San Francisco takes his family to Mainland China, and hilarity ensues. The one memory of this movie I have is the father doing Tai Chi on his tiny porch, and at the right moment, relaxing into a stance and farting.

Remember: those coming on the journey: 3 minutes of meditation every day! I’m holding both of us accountable to this important habit!

CMIO’s take? I won’t say if this happens to me, but there are times during my Tai Chi practice when I’m smiling and others in the room are fleeing.

CT meditates: a comedy (29). Impermanence

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http://walkingonsacredground.com/impermanence/

FOR THE END OF THE YEAR. Let go.

In the Book of Joy page 249. Impermanence, the Dalai Lama reminds us, is the nature of life.

All things are slipping away, and there is a real danger of wasting our precious human life. Gratitude helps us catalog, celebrate, and rejoice in each day and each moment before they slip through the vanishing hourglass of experience.

Remember: those coming on the journey: 3 minutes of meditation every day! I’m holding both of us accountable to this important habit!

CMIO’s take? No take. Just give. Let it be. Be present. Be grateful. Spread compassion. Have a great new year.

CT meditates: a comedy (28). How does mindfulness contribute to effective teamwork?

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OK, lets review. We’ve learned how and why we meditate.
We’ve learned we can meditate in 3 minutes.
We’ve learned to forgive ourselves when we inevitably drift, and the Notice-shift-rewire.
We’ve learned to use meditation to improve mindfulness, presence, focus.
We’ve learned to use this focus to generate gratitude.
We’ve learned to take this gratitude and move into compassion for others.

So what? If it doesn’t contribute to the bottom line for my company, isn’t this a bunch of new age-y (#$* B.S.?

For me, pursuing daily meditation HAS improved my focus, my sense of calm, and I want to TALK ABOUT IT with everyone I meet (perhaps insufferably so). And then I form surprising connections with colleagues who have started similar habits. And then maybe our teamwork is riven with less strife.

Furthermore, my personal focus has me less distracted, seeking ways to find time for Deep Work (a future blog post), and more productive.

Finally, team meetings, or better yet, inter-team conferences with potential conflict is somewhat easier to navigate. One of my growing strengths is the ability to be even-handed and balanced. Being able to summarize the important positions of both sides respectfully can lead to more collaboration and a better group decision.

I love those moments in contentious meetings, when, about 2/3 of the way through the hour, when combatants begin repeating themselves, I finally speak up (Simon Sinek has a great YouTube talk on how leaders stay silent during meetings so that all voices can be heard; those who speak up in the beginning squelch creativity because the boss has already spoken). “So, I’m hearing at least 3 separate buckets of concern. One …., two …, three … I think one and two are easy solutions, can we agree? Three is where we should spend time. May I propose …”

And despite the appreciative looks from the committee leader and the nice after-meeting comments from others, I know fundamentally, this was a simple exercise in listening hard, staying focused, creating a clear summary and gently guiding to a win-win conclusion.

Remember: those coming on the journey: 3 minutes of meditation every day! I’m holding both of us accountable to this important habit!

CMIO’s take? Mindfulness, focus and deep work will be key skills that are future-proof in our age of acceleration, globalization and disruption.

CT meditates: a comedy (27): Forgiveness, Levar Burton, Audible.com

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from: ask gramps dot com

From The Book of Joy page 234.

Forgiveness, the Archbishop added, is the only way to heal ourselves into being free from the past. Without forgiveness, we remain tethered to the person who harmed us. We are bound to the chains of bitterness, tied together, trapped. Until we forgive the person who has harmed us, that person will hold the keys to our happiness, that person will be our jailor. When we forgive, we take back control of our own fate and our feelings. We become our own liberator.

I am working on this for myself: forgiveness, compassion for others. For example, on that drive to work, I’m no longer rushing to get there. I no longer mind it if someone cuts me off in traffic, seeking a momentary advantage. “Wow, he is an amazing driver; I’m sure he/she really needed to get there sooner. I hope he/she has a better day. I’m already having a great day.”

It helps that another one of my secret weapons in my search for peacefulness is my iPhone linked by bluetooth to my car, playing either a podcast (Hidden Brain, Planet Money, TED radio hour, RadioLab, Levar Burton Reads, or HBR ideacast), or a book from Audible.com.

I’m a sci-fi nut, if you didn’t get that already from my previous book reviews, and nothing is better than a long, sometimes multi-hour drive between hospitals during the CMIO’s journey, to listen to a great book. I try to alternate a non-fiction book with my sci-fi, but I always have one ready when I need to unwind.

Remember: those coming on the journey: 3 minutes of meditation every day! I’m holding both of us accountable to this important habit!

CMIO’s take? Be your own liberator.

CT meditates: a comedy (26) If something can be done about it …

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From the Book of Joy:

If something can be done about it,
what need is there for dejection?
And if nothing can be done about it,
what use is there for being dejected?

Seems eerily similar to the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference

So, in multiple theologic traditions, there is this same sentiment. Regardless of the origin, I find it to be an interesting source of meditation and mindfulness practice.

Of course, there is always Seinfeld’s episode, Frank Costanza yelling: SERENITY NOW.

Remember, if you’re coming on the 3-minute daily journey with me:  eyes closed,
with just the simple goal of spending 3 minutes in a comfortable pose, and focusing on breath. Then to watch the inevitable stream of thoughts floating by, observing each one as a puffy cloud, letting it just drift by without diving into it, and returning to breath.

CMIO’s take: Serenity. Now.

CT meditates: a comedy (25) Merry Christmas-Holiday-Kwanzaa. And Zen Shorts!

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Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Care-filled Kwanzaa! Happy Buddha!

A book I gave to my physician and clinical informatics teams this year is ‘Zen Shorts.’ This is a terrific children’s book with wonderful watercolors. You don’t have to be a child or a Zen master to appreciate it. However the stories it tells are deceptively entertaining. Think about a little longer and it becomes a life lesson. Read this; you won’t regret it.

Take time to be mindful and grateful today. I hope you have a quiet, restful, joyful day.