Mindfulness and email

One of the things I observe with myself as I write email is how I reflect on the words I use before I send the email.

Mindfulness practice has helped change my view on what is an acceptable email and what is not.

The example I often bring to mind is of “Maori sticks“.  This is a game where two people kneel on the floor and each person holds a short stick about 6 inches long in each hand.  The two people throw / pass the sticks to each other at the same time so that each person is able to catch the sticks.  You can do one stick at a time or both sticks at the same time – singing while doing is optional.

Clearly in order to catch the sticks you need to throw the sticks in such a way as to allow the person to catch them.

This example teaches us that you need to think about what you are saying in the email and how the recipient will receive the email.  Will they be able to catch it easily and do something with the information e.g. if the email is angry will it help that person respond and perform to the best of their ability.

Try it.





04 Mindfulness Experience – Productivity

BoredI have to face facts that I was feeling bored with my current employment – not that I had any really good reason to be bored but non-the-less I still felt bored.

After a review with my boss the other day where I received some feedback and like all bosses you rarely get feedback that lets you know you are doing – you receive the negative stuff.  The problem with negative feedback is it provides a golden opportunity as you will see.

Interestingly for me, I followed my normal pathways of thought and felt upset and a bit hurt.

The next day, I approached the problem in a different manner – I decided to have a meeting with myself.  In the old days of blue chip corporate companies we would have a 1:1 with our manager every 1-2 weeks where we would discuss what was happening in work, successes, areas of concern, help needed etc.  These days this happens (to me) at best twice a year.

I decided that I would have a 1:1 with myself every Friday morning for 30 mins or so.  I decided to self coach (myself).

Today was the first self-coaching session and i followed this format…

1. On a piece of paper take no more than five minutes to brain storm what my job is and what do I do.

2. I then wrote on the top of a fresh piece of paper the following…

  • How are you measured
  • How do you rate yourself against those measurements
  • What actions do you need to do in order to better meet those measurements

3. On the next page I had the following…

  • Areas of Improvement
  • Areas of Enjoyment (in work)
  • Help Needed

Needless to say there were a lot of actions!

However, the point here is that I felt empowered enough and ready to take more responsibility for my management and contribution.  Now, there may be many reasons why someone might do this but I attribute a good portion of the motivation to do this to mindfulness meditation and the mbsr course I am currently attending.

It was a simple yet effective revelation to me that I can actually control my behaviours, needs and wants and I do not have to rely on a boss / supervisor to help with this – amazing. :o)

I would be really interested to hear if you have had similar experiences around self-management and engagement with work.

03 Mindful Experience – Walking in the back garden


Following on from the Mindfulness Mediation (MBSR) session 4 and the walking meditation in particular something really interesting happened the other night.

I was tidying the kitchen and doing a few house hold chores and I needed to take the rubbish out to the bin.  As I left the house from the backdoor and walked onto the deck I instantly heard the birds singing.  I also noticed that it was twilight and the air was very still.

So I put the rubbish bin down on the deck, kicked off my shoes and walked onto the grass and started to do a short mindfulness walking meditation.

It just struck me that having had a walking meditation experience the other week at the MBSR course when the conditions were similar my physiology took over and the desire to do a mindfulness meditation arose.

I walked backwards and forwards for about 5-10 mins and then continued doing my chores – it felt good.


Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction – Week 4

Zafu Cushion
Zafu Cushion – red

The session started with a short seated breathing meditation in our small group.  This week there were eight of us including the instructor.

Once we had settled ourselves after the breathing meditation we nipped out to the school across the road (Mt Eden Normal) and did a walking meditation for 20 minutes or so.

It was a lovely experience to walk with intent while becoming aware of the action(s) of walking.  It was approaching twilight and the birds were singing very loudly.

There is something quite magical about doing an activity where there are no demands on your performance or achievement other than to relax and notice your body, mind and the world around you.  

It is quite a freeing experience.

During my walking meditation I tried different styles of walking

  • the slow lope
  • the quick staccato walk
  • the slow motion walk
  • my normal relaxed walk

You notice things about how your core muscles contract when raising your foot.  How the impact of the foot fall travels up the body to the top of the head.  How on some walks like the slow lope the head moves from side to side.  How the muscles of the legs contract.

Activity for you.

1. Take 3 minutes, sit on a seat, close your eyes and breath.

2. Simply focus on your breath flowing into and out of your nose.

3. Put some shoes on and hop outside

4. Find a bit of space, maybe 5 metres or 15ft and walk backwards and forwards in that space

5. Do this for 15 – 30 minutes.

The object is to gain some awareness of walking, gently focus on what is going on.  Be curious about what is happening.  Say to yourself “I am allowed this time”.

6. Notice what you experienced in your body, how did you feel and what were you aware of in yourself and outside of yourself.

Summarize this in the box below and share with me. (or share with a friend!)

Also make a date for your next meditation session in the date widget below.

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Life Coaching – Path to Happiness

As we engage in meditation and mindfulness at some level we are looking for an improvement of some sort.  You may say I wish to be happier or you may say I wish to be less dissatisfied – either way we want something more.

Suzanne‘s presentation below provides a few practical approaches to helping us with our lives.

While mindfulness helps us with the day to day trials the presentation below may provide a step in the direction of managing the future.  If we want certain mindful experiences in the future then we will need to plan for them in some way.

Feedback is always appreciated especially in how you plan for your life.


featured Image credits: http://telligent.com/cfs-file.ashx/__key/communityserver-discussions-components-files/1589/girl-happy.JPG


02 Mindful Experience – Driving, I felt alive

Driving with the windows down
Driving with the windows down

What were you doing?

Mindfully driving.

I was driving my car down Highway 1 in Auckland with the windows down.  The wind was twisting around the car – if I had hair it would have been thrown about like a rocker at a heavy metal concert.

How did you feel?

I felt alive and engaged in the whole experience.  Driving a car, feeling and hearing the wind, looking out of the window and glimpsing Rangitoto.

I felt alive.

How did it effect you physically?

Smiling, face muscles relaxed, breathing more deeply,



01 Mindful Experience – bird on the side of the road

grass verge with flowers on and houses in the background
Grass verge

The rush hour traffic was heavy and slow.  Grinding my way out of the city I chose a slightly different route home.

As part of the mindfulness course (MBSR) I am attending there is an exercise to try and identify moments in the day that make you smile or feel happy.

As I drove home on the grass verge was a small cheeky bird hoping along and for some reason it put a smile on my face.  Just thinking about that bird as I type this still brings a smile to my face.

Just having a moment of amusing mindful experience eases the stress of the day, its refreshing.