Blog – Sharn’s Musings

2 January, 2021

How to achieve great things

The key to achieving great things is letting go of striving.

Paradoxically, our cultural conditioning has told us just the opposite, that striving is the key to achieving great things, to dream big.  That achieving great things is the measure of a successful life, a meaningful life, a life worth living. 

It can be exhausting, demoralizing. Measuring our worth, each other’s worth by what we, and they, have achieved, measured by material assets, accolades and notoriety as measuring sticks. The more and bigger is better measure. Comparing us with them, a competition.

Life is not a competition. Comparisons are onerous. Competition and comparison feed the judgmental mind with the desire to be and to have.  The desire to be and to have, to achieve, sends the judgmental mind, racing off into the future, worrying and planning, and back into the past analyzing and regretting.

Great things are achieved when we trust the process, when we know what we’re doing and why. When we do one thing at a time, take one breath, one step at a time. When we allow ourselves to be fully present, open to what is, free from judgment, simply notice and let go.

Do as Epictetus advised, ‘Care-take this moment, immerse yourself in its particulars. Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed.’ Do as Tim Minchen advises, be ‘micro-ambitious’.

Dreams are by nature illusive, they happen when we’re asleep. A mindful life, a meaningful life, is lived fully awake, fully present, care-taking this moment, moment-by-moment.  Just this. Just now. Every moment, every encounter, every task, every breath, every day, a new beginning, that’s a great achievement.

1 January, 2021

Just do it

Today is the day for resolutions. Mine is to make writing a practice. What’s yours?

Whatever it is you want to do, whatever it is you know is calling you, just do it. Quit the excuses. Silence the inner critic. Begin. And begin again.

Practice. Whether you like it or not, feel like it or not, just do it. That’s the secret, the magic, the key.

There is no secret, no magic, no key. It’s all down to us, and our willingness to step through our resistance, doubt, habitual distractions and indulgence of things that no longer serve us well.

Practice makes magic happen, reveals secrets, unlocks us. That’s my experience. When I just do it – go to my cushion every day, whether I feel like it or not, make my bed every day, whether I feel like it or not, wash up before I go to bed, whether I feel like it or not, set my timer and write for twenty minutes whether I feel like it or not, set my timer and let go when the timer goes, whether I feel like it or not.

Anything can be a practice. Anything we commit to do daily for a designated amount of time, with intention to give it our full attention, with willingness to allow it to be as it is and to let go when it’s done. Day after day, moment-by-moment, simply noticing and letting go.

Decide what, when, for how long and just do it. For me ‘when’ is about routine – before this and/or after that. Wake up, get up, make bed, sit meditation, stretch, write, … Deciding ‘for how long’ is worthy of contemplation. If the ‘practice’ is something I have been wanting to do but have been putting off for ever or for feeling like I haven’t go enough time or it’s not that important, the key is committing to an amount of time I can’t talk myself out of.

Just do it. Ten minutes a day, doesn’t go astray. Ten minutes focused attention on the practice – drawing, writing, breathing, playing piano, weeding, sorting, stitching, strumming, singing, shedding, whatever it is, just do it.

And when the timer goes, let go. Mindfulness is a practice of doing one thing at a time and of letting go.

Whatever your practice, make your timer your ally.

Whenever you’re distracted, simply know you’ve been distracted, let go of distraction, return attention to the practice, the task at hand. When the timer goes, let go. Even if you want to keep going, even if you’re almost ‘done’ or almost ‘got it’, let go.

Just do it.

31 December, 2020

I’ve decided it’s time to get serious about regular blogging.

I’m wondering about whether weekly or daily is better, more achievable. I’ve set my timer for twenty minutes to see what I can produce in that time. If it’s something worth offering, or ‘shipping’, as Seth Godin would say, then I reckon I could manage that as a daily practice.

I’ve set my timer for twenty minutes. I reckon twenty minutes is an amount of time I can’t talk myself out of, something I can commit to. Deciding an amount of time you can’t talk yourself out of, and setting your timer is a great support for practice.

Daily practice certainly makes a big difference to confidence and competence, whatever we seek to do well and in flow. Flow is the result of effort, practice takes effort; practice is what it takes to get better at anything.

Cultivating our innate capacity for mindfulness, such that it arises spontaneously taking us into a natural state of flow, wherever we are, whatever we are doing, takes practice. Practice is the purpose or as it’s described in classic Buddhist meditation texts, ‘The path is the fruit.’ Or as early childhood educators say, ‘The process is the product’.

Goallessness and non-striving are attitudes of meditation and mindfulness practice. If we’re striving for something the orientation of the mind is in the future. Looking to get something, not the present to what is right now.

Mindfulness is present moment awareness, free from judgment. Looking to get something, feel something, achieve something gives rise to the judgmental mind.

Mindfulness practice requires and cultivates intention, attention and an attitude of friendly curiosity. ‘What can I notice in this moment? Oh that.’

As I write this, I’m curious about how it will be received. Blogging is a public act. It seeks to serve, to change, to make things, something, better for someone.

I’m not sure about blog page set up so I’m posting this first attempt here on the Mindful Works FB Page and on Linked in.

When it comes to getting started, there’s no time like the present.

I’d love your feedback. Send an email using the form on this page.

Would a regular, of the top of my head blog post like this serve you well?  

What would you like to hear more about – from me, uncensored, unedited, off the top of my head? Do you read blogs?

Who are your favourite bloggers?

Thanks for reading. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Thanks for all your efforts to bring mindfulness to life wherever you are, no matter how small those efforts may be. Any effort you make will benefit not only you but all those with whom you have contact.

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