Today the video comes before the text. Watch, then read :)
A dark night, a child cries in bed. He’s had a nightmare. Crows of sorrow are singing in tune, a smirk of vanity tattooed on their giant beaks. Mutilation and incests for breakfast, he sees aunts and cousins shredding their families apart with meticulous dedication. Sitting in a desperate chair, the dark clouds of justice frightened the lightening out of him. From this lightening, an unintended spark of love caught his world on fire. Lost in his dream, reality collapses. The solid foundations of the temporary images crush his soul with pride and certainty. Now he knows that the truth is drinking wine with knife and fork. Semi-conscious of the paddling, he tries to stir water slowly to move around him. Ordered and purposeful, it marches like battalions of blue siamese twins. The more awake in his sleep, the more asleep he repeatedly wakes up. With a dream in his left hand and nothing on the other, there is no choice but for his eyes to follow the invisible path between their sockets and his hands. It is a race never to be finished that he’s engaged in. Electrons storm his eyes like a herd of frightened bats. A well trained cattle owner, his brain leads the frightened bats to restful caves. They settle peacefully in the darkness of his mind, not to be disturbed until the next adventure in the depth of darkness.
One eye opens after the other, for two things can’t happen simultaneously. The ceiling greets him and asks about his night “it seems like you’ve been very active on the other side: where did you go?”. Before he has time to reply, the caring wardrobe intervenes “give the prince some time before you harass him with questions: where did your manners go?!”. A row started between the two. Too confused by the unexpected normality of his wake up, he crawls under his sheets to a secret passage that takes him right into a public bath.
This big Turkish bathhouse made of solid thoughts was his favorite. The steam rooms had so many rooms that the steam would chase you tirelessly for hours and minutes. The slippery floor was excellent to practice his figure skating, and the judges sitting at the corner of room 2 and C were more often than not, fans of his classical performance. He lacked originality for his mum and cat were both very traditional. His upbringing was more than strict, according to the norm of these days: three days a week, religious duties were forbidden, while the other three days were profoundly faithful. They rejected the post modern asymmetrical 7 days week. It was ugly and offensive to the eye of any classical artist. Three days in one extreme and three days in the other. Life was designed this way and the human body is a demonstration of this normality. Predictable was the key word at home: every lock was made to open at this command. This kind of keys were very common amongst their neighborhood because socially, they were on the upper crust: the crispy part of the bread at the top end of the baguette. It was by far the most peaceful area to live in and his mum and cat were proud of rising from bottom of the yeast. The recipe for the flour used to build their houses was a secret kept for generations. It was truly the most amazing thing about their neighborhood. Everything else was just so, so predictable. His family was important in keeping the flour symmetry of the part of town that they live in.
His mind wondered around the house, shining light in dark corners while his body performed the daily cleaning ritual he had been taught to follow meticulously. The practice involves only the physical body, so his heart often took advantage of this daily break to smoke on the balcony. As soon as it stepped on the sun heated balcony’s, its feet start sizzling. Within a few minutes of hanging out there, the bottom of his heart’s soles start smoking. With a fresh breathe coming down its coronary artery and the light smoke coming up its veins, the heart relaxes with a deep sigh of umami. The sun displays a Piccaso inspired sunrise, which brings a modern touch his parents don’t like: too asymmetrical for a good family like theirs. The heart struggled to agree: nothing was more perfect than this moment yesterday. And every day, it thought the same. He couldn’t wait for tomorrow to enjoy today. The magic of this timeless experience was still his favorite.
The cleaning ritual was over before the sun he set fire to itself. The child had done absolutely nothing with its body for a half of an almost full hour, and as a result symmetry was achieved. All lost parts were recovered after the mind returned late by 2 or 3 meters with its usual basket of somber thoughts to explore the day. The heart had finished smoking and the day was well on its way: it was now time to get off at the next stop.
The bell rang and the doors opened: the child stepped out of the bathhouse. He walked to the desk and picked his assigned name for the day. Something went through his head as he reflected on today’s name. It was a seagull. Not his name obviously. It was a seagull that went through his head, and kindly left a few feathers for him to plant behind his ears. The seagull gone, he looks again at the name he was assigned: Marcus Aurelius.
Most children were given that name much later in their education. There was no error because the name giving ceremony was completely random. A team of experts worked for years to develop this marvel of a system: all name were first organized in every single possible pattern until all sequences were exhausted. The genius of this method is that the only sequence left was completely random. This was know as the Theory of Exhaustion. This theory invented Professor Bob who explained it to the world after years of conflict with its inventor. Like the chicken and the egg, the two couldn’t quite come to existence simultaneously because that’s not only impossible but also a ridiculous idea. For centuries of hours, they alternated between inventing and invented. The alternating flicker eventually got so fast that it appeared to be real. A child noticed what wasn’t there and the problem was solved. Since that day, children are assigned in the most perfectly random order, their name for the day. Since that day, nobody had trouble with identity and knowing who they are. It was a better world because it was a more random world, and a more symmetrical world.
Marcus Aurelius liked a lot this practice: his shoes changed with his name and he liked to discover new ways of walking. Each pair of shoes had different soles, and colors, and path underneath them. As Marcus looks down at his feet to watch the shoes form, he has a flashback of the day that he got these most uncomfortable shoes with the name “Marie Antoinette”. As soon as he put that tag on, his toes got chopped off and he spent the day falling forward and back. He never understood that name, and he knew that it left someone in his heart that wasn’t there before. Little did he know how much this detail would change the course of his otherwise so normal, so predictable life.
End of Pilot Chapter.
"To jump or not to jump?" wonders Arthur the cricket.
“I have been sitting for already 2h and I haven't yet come up with a decision: I hate these leaves that end so abruptly...", Arthur thinks to himself, "... and if I did jump, I bet that there'll be plenty more unexpected stuff that will happen. I can't deal all this uncertainty anymore!"
"I just want the leaf to continue being the way it was before" laments the cricket before he spots a big thing coming from the right. He gets scared and almost jumps, but the mass stops suddenly next to him.
A human that was walking by stopped to look at the cricket. "Aaaaaahhhhh!! what is this?! What do I do? What do I do? Do I jump? Do I stay? Argghmmmmmpff I wish I had jumped before: I wouldn't have to deal with this now!" thinks in panic the cricket.
As the human gets closer to snap a picture of the beautiful cricket, it stays frozen and observes "what is it doing? I bet it's dangerous! It's going to eat me! I should have jumped when I could, now it's too late...", then the big shape moves away and before Arthur the cricket has time to finish its thought, the human is gone.
Arthur doesn't move because its scared and confused "The big scary thing is gone.What do I do now? What does it mean? Arggh!! I wish I had jumped when it was here because I had a good reason to..."
"Why do problems always happen to me?", thinks Arthur the cricket before he falling asleep on the leaf, uncertain whether to jump or not.
The human walks away, happy to have captured a peaceful moment in the life of the cricket. As he looks at the photo later, he thinks to himself "what an easy life: outside all day without all the problems I have and no difficult decisions to make". He continues his day fantasizing he had as easy a life as the cricket.
“2 years ago, I had never heard the word “mentor”. I feel funny seeing how naive I used to be.” says Sujata, before admitting “I was selected for a leadership program with Women LEAD, and I was “matched with a mentor”. Then I was asked “what do you expect from this year-long mentorship?” and I struggled to find an answer because I did not know what a mentor or mentorship was.”
The unexpected disaster
My first mentorship experience started with getting along with each other. We were quite in touch and talked about our lives. I found her to be kind and friendly. It was going fine initially, but it was not an intense relationship. Nothing much happened with this mentorship: maybe we were too busy in our own life; maybe we did not take the mentorship seriously.
The last time I met my mentor in person, I gave her an invitation card for my graduation ceremony at Women LEAD. When I called her to confirm her presence at my graduation, she said she does not know me. I told her who I was and why I was calling but she hang up the phone. Now, that was totally unexpected, and the last thing I wanted to hear from her. But it happened. And on my graduation day, she did not show up. In a split second, I lost my mentor, without knowing what really happened. I tried to reach her but was unsuccessful. I was stunned, stung by this bitter experience.
A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
I moved on, and a year later, I saw another opportunity and applied for mentorship program of Wedu Fund. It was a hard decision for me after the bitter experience with my first mentor, but I chose to go for it. I got selected and when I started my mentorship, it started was quite the same: the same attempts to get along with each other and the same sharing of our lives. But I could feel its intensity from the initial days. I could feel the determination of my mentor to help me out. The awkwardness diminished gradually.
Every time we talked, I learnt something. I felt more and more confident. I started believing in myself more than ever. I found myself more and more ready to step out of my comfort zone. He introduced me to inspiring people from his network. His struggles always inspire me because he shares both his success and failure stories with the same enthusiasm. I could see myself improving. I would not say he brought out a new me, but he definitely he brought better out of me.
Paying forward is reaping benefits
While being mentored, Women LEAD offered me a chance to mentor a younger girl. And all those things I learned from my two mentors, I applied myself while mentoring her. I did all I could. Over the year, I observed her grow from ground level to sky. It was interesting to see hear her saying how grateful she was for having me as a mentor because from my perspective, it was very clear that everything she achieved was due to her own efforts.
If I’m honest, my goal was to not make her “first” mentorship experience a bad one. I focused my attention on adding value to her life. After a year of mentoring I attended her graduation ceremony, and to my big surprise I received the Best Mentor award. It was an amazing moment for me because I discovered that I could help someone else what was helped: a man mentored a girl so well that she grew to be useful to someone else!
What makes a good mentor
From my experience, a good mentor can change your life. It does not necessarily have to be someone with bells and whistles: you just need to take the relationship seriously, and apply yourself to get the most out of your mentor.
After my two experiences being mentored and discovering the success of my first experience as a mentor, I have observed that a good mentor would...
... always encourage you
... believe in you
... make you try something new (to even fail in my case)
... share personal stories including success and failure
... inspire you
... facilitate but let you decide
... do some homework before answering you
... more likely be your friend
... help you overcome your weaknesses and build your strengths
... link you with his/her own network
Even though I didn’t know it at the time, I made mistakes with my first mentor. With the second opportunity, I was determined not to repeat that. Now I am proud to have Noam Kostucki as my mentor, and to pay it forward by mentoring someone younger.
That's why I believe today that, indeed, we all need a mentor.
- Who are all the people who’ve mentored you over the years?
- Who are all the people you’ve mentored?
- When you look for a new mentor, what qualities are you looking for?
- Learn more about how to find the best mentors and keep them with the book Seek to Keep
I love the moment at which I realize I actually fucked up. It's awkward, it's frustrating, it's embarrassing, but it's always such a great opportunity to learn and grow.
After writing the article “He keeps creeping into my life. What do you do when he does that?”, I shared it with the person concerned with an apology. I made a conscious effort to apologize for the wrong I had done to him, even if it was unintentional.
You've inspired an article thanks to our email exchange about Elon Musk.
I apologize for asking for suggestions for improvements when I wasn't looking for suggestions for improvements. My insecure teenager creeped in without me noticing. When you wrote that "I believe you asked for suggestions", you triggered doubt and I went back to my first email... and you were right.
I understand that it was probably a frustrating and unnerving experience to receive emails from me with opposite messages.
I apologize for wasting your time with my insecurities, and I thank you for this opportunity for me to learn.
One of the most important lesson I learned about building healthy relations is to clean up after myself: if I say or do something wrong, I make up for my errors. It’s not personal and it’s not about being a “bad” person, but about taking responsibility for what I do.
This is NOT about becoming a monk: this is basic “spiritual hygiene”.
After I cook, I clean up after myself; after I take a shit, I clean up after myself; after I make a mistake, I fix what I did.
Take part in the game below to clean snot from your spiritual face.
- Find 3 places in which you have fucked up with your words or actions.
- If you said something wrong, apologize for your words.
- If you did something wrong, make up for your actions.
- After having cleaned up after yourself, what difference has it made…
- … for the other person?
- … for you?
Do you ever catch yourself saying and doing something, then thinking to yourself “why the fuck did I do / say that!?”? Someone offered to introduce me to Elon Musk if (1) I write the email I want him to forward and (2) I include in the email a quote from Esther Perel about the work I’ve done with her on 2 TED talks (first here, second here).
It seemed like a fair offer so I worked with my coach on creating 2 emails for my contact to choose from. I send him everything as agreed and he replies me a long email back with how to improve the emails and questions about my coaching.
I worked with my coach so I’m confident about my approach and annoyed by his reply: he told me he would forward my email, not that he would first put me through a “test”. I answered to every questions and finished by explaining that if he's insecure about making the introduction, I don't want to deal with that.
It turns out I was full of shit.
When he replied with “I believe you asked me for suggestions for improvement...”, my initial reaction was "I can't believe he's now shifting the blame to me". Then I thought about it and went back to my original email to prove that he was wrong. That's when I found a sentence that had creeped into my first email:
“Are you happy to forward one or both of these, or do you have suggestions for improvements first?
I can't remember writing this sentence... but reading it made it clear that I was NOT as comfortable with my approach as I thought I was. Tthe problem was MY insecurities, and he replied exactly like I had asked him. Expressing his insecurities was simply a reflection of mine.
If something similar ever happened to you, you may have your own version of the insecure teenager who lives inside my head. His face is full of pimples, he has thick glasses, mid-length greasy hair, is socially awkward and feels insecure. He doesn’t feel like society wants him, and he constantly seeks validation and approval.
Sometimes it creeps into my life without me noticing, and takes control over my thoughts, emotions and actions.
We’ve all got voices in our head that are a combination of people from our pasts, stories we’ve heard and experiences we’ve had. When we notice the differences between the voices, it makes it easier to understand why we do or say things that seem not to match with who we “really” are (ie. who we want to be).
The voice that creeped into my email, I have named “the insecure teenager”. Other voices in my head include the obvious “mum”, “dad” but also “MacGyver”, the “Nerdy Engineer”, the “Explorer”, the “Fearless Samurai” and many more.
- What are all the voices in your head that you can name?
Each voice serves a purpose. The purpose of the insecure teenager is that he makes sure I don’t make a fool of myself and that I ask for help when I don’t know.
- What is the purpose of each voice you named?
Each voice also has a drawback or a slippery slope. For me, the slippery slope with the insecure teenager is that he makes a fool of himself by not being confident when he has all reasons to be, and he asks for help when he doesn’t want help… then blames people for offering advice.
- What are the drawbacks for each voice you named?
- Now that you look back at the voices you named and a deeper understanding of their role in your life, what difference does it make for you?
Sujata, the Nepali girl I mentor says "here’s a strange yet interesting phenomenon with us, human: we love routines. When I was in primary school, my parents wanted me to change school. But I refused because of newness. I believed that I could not make new friends. The idea of a new school was a nightmare. I thought that new teachers would not be as good to me as the old ones.
Eventually after 4 years of convincing, I had to enrol in a new school. And the nightmare came true. I had to face the fear of the new and the unknown. It was very hard for me to cope with. Making friends with new people, adjusting to a new city and new environment, was all so difficult. Because of that newness and inability to adapt, I became a bookworm. There was also basketball and other sports unlike in my old school… but I never really played any of them because I was concerned about what other would think. If I made a mistake, they would think I’m a loser, I would be a laughing stock and people would criticise me. I yearned for things but fear obstructed my way.
It was always inside me that I could be a lot better than that and I needed to do something about my fears of the unknown and of what I was not sure about. After 3 years of hiding myself, I decided to apply for a Leadership Program with an organization called Women LEAD. Again, it was a whole new thing… but this time, it was my own decision. I was the only applicant from my college which made it uncomfortable. After getting selected, the entire new journey was scary again.
I was one of 25 young college girls but the rest of them had 3-5 college-mates while I was alone from my school. Again the same pattern started: new people, new place, new topics I didn’t know anything about. It was again difficult for me to cope with these changes. But this time, I took a step ahead and tried to strike conversations with one small group. Though it took a while to take that step, it was worth it because I was slowly overcoming my weaknesses. With amazing training sessions in Women LEAD, I finally learned more about myself and society. I developed skills like public speaking, and I learned about different communication types and personality types.
During the year with Women LEAD, I went to many events alone. Now it is not as scary as it used to be. Now I do not have problems breaking the ice with new people. It does not mean I do not feel odd but I gather enough courage to overcome my social anxieties. As a result, I often meet new people and ask them questions I would have not dared asking before. I no longer fear being the laughing stock because I have learned to laugh with them. I do not fear of making mistakes because I know now that it is a way to learn and improve.
Just the thought of doing something “new” used to make me nervous. Since I have learned these lessons, I no longer hide out. I stand ahead. I lead. I fail. I succeed. Just because I have now learned that it is OK to feel nervous and fear of newness but it is NOT OK to stand back saying I cannot do that."
If you love DOING the same thing over and over again, trying something new is a great way to step out of your comfort zone.
- What are all the things that make you feel uncomfortable? (rank them from most uncomfortable to least)
- Are you willing to give yourself the permission to overcome these things you're uncomfortable about?
- If YES: start from the top of your list, and everyday, take ONE action that makes you uncomfortable. Write down your experience of discomfort, as well as the results you got from taking that action.
- If NO: what is stopping you from wanting to overcome these discomforts?
If you consider yourself to be polite, this article is an invitation to rethink your politeness as opportunities to get to know yourself better, and to grow. People often reach out to me via my coaching website. I receive two requests within 24h from the same person… with two very different projects. The two emails intrigued me and their combination confused me: they both seem exciting but I couldn’t see the connection between the two.
As a coach, I’m excited about these projects so I want to learn more. I invited her for a short conversation to untangle the projects:
I’m confused but interested. Let's block 30 mins to have a quick Skype call, so that you can tell me more in person. Here's a link to block some time to talk.
Instead of receiving a booking for the 30 min call, I received a long email with more explanations. I read attentively and was still confused by the connection between the two ideas… so I replied with the same message as above with an invitation for a 30 min call.
She replied to my second request to block time for a Skype call with an opening line that inspired this article:
Before we make a Skype call, I’d like to make sure we don't 'waste' your time.”
After telling me about not wanting to waste my time, she wrote a long email that left me in the same state of confusion I was in before.
As a coach, my job is to observe the language people use because with the words we use, we build the world that we live in. The sentence “I’d like to make sure we don’t waste your time” is very interesting because the moment we take responsibility for others, it is a sign that our thoughts are all muddled up.
The reply I sent her contains a few nuggets of wisdom that may be useful to you:
You say "I’d like to make sure we don't 'waste' your time"
I have read your email, and it's still confusing. I don't have more time to spend reading your emails. I understand your good intensions, but by giving in to your fears / lack of self-worth and anxieties, you are not following my instructions (i.e. book a 30-min call) and as a result you are wasting my time.
Be fearless - by giving in to your fears, you are doing exactly what you wanted to avoid.
Have faith - by not trusting me (i.e. following my guidance and instructions), you are not allowing me to do my best work.
Use this link to block 30 mins to have a quick Skype call, so that you can tell me more in person. Here's a link to block some time to talk.
When you're worried about "offending" someone or "wasting their time", it is a sign that you are scared of something. "Being polite" is often our way of hiding behind our fears… and it is something I got caught up in for many years.
Turn away from "being polite" and focus your attention on "what scares you?” / “what is the worst that could happen if you were fearlessly yourself?”.
When you are clear about what scares you, you can start heading straight towards your fears.
"Expose yourself to your deepest fear;
after that, you are free." Jim Morrison
- When were the last 3 times you felt the need to be polite / you made sure you were being polite?
- What were you scared would happen if you weren’t being polite?
- If you weren’t being polite, what would you REALLY want to say / do differently?
If like me, you wish that you never got frustrated or angry at “things”, then this article is for you. I grew up in a household where anger wasn’t accepted: good and intelligent people don’t let their emotions take over, so they’re never angry nor frustrated, and if you are it shows your weaknesses.
Few weeks ago, I unexpectedly walked into a bureaucratic black hole, and got completely sucked into a different dimension. If felt like being in a virtual version of the movie “The Terminal” (the trailer below will give you a good idea of what I'm talking about).
My most primitive self
Administration is definitely one of the few things that drives me crazy to a point that I return to a very primitive fight or flight mode. It is one of these moments that brings me back into what it's like to feel helpless, and to feel like I have no control over my own life and destiny to the point that I eventually felt like Obelix at the 6th minutes of this clip:
I am now out of this weird robot-slave experience of trying to figure out what to do for my visas and passport, and looking back, it feels like I had been possessed. My frustration with Administrative a pattern I’ve noticed before and know very well, so I had start working on this issue with a coach a week before, and we’d done a great job. I felt like something had shifted in me, and I was not getting even a pinch of frustration for the first 6 days of dealing with all the characters in the mad play of administrations. I felt like I was doing great, and then it happened. I lost all my spiritual greatness, and I was back to being a caveman fighting frantically for survival. As a result, I had no headspace to think about what was important to me, and I got delayed with my work: I needed to spend as much time as possible to rest, relax and recover the traumatic experience.
I had started preparing a radio show with Sandra Malhotra for 2016 (watch out!) and when I shared this story with her, she burst out laughing. Then she told me about how she had lost her “spiritual greatness” the previous day. Her story made me laugh. It is a lot funnier to see other people lose their spiritual greatness, than it happen to ourselves.
After she had shared her story, it was a lot easier to see myself from the outside and to realize that yes – as much as I want to be a living Buddha – it is still OK to be angry, frustrated, and to lose my cool. By sharing my story and listening to hers, I see myself better from the outside, and I can laugh at my anger and my frustration. As a result, I feel surprisingly closer to the kind of spiritual greatness that I want, than by stopping myself from ever losing my cool.
The problem is not that I became frustrated or angry. What drives me nuts is that I think I’m not allowed to get frustrated and angry. When I believe that being frustrated and angry is a problem, something I don't want, something to change or that I'm "too good for", I just feed the beast. When I do, I like to remember the follow quote by one of my coaches:
“What if the only problem with you,
is that you think there’s a problem with you?”
- Share a moment during which you lost your spiritual greatness
We all take on roles. When we get in a group with a written or even an oral contract, we take the role we agreed to. By having contracts with clearly defined roles, we all know how to function around each other and have an idea of what we're supposed to do, and how others are supposed to behave. The creative is late, the engineer doesn't smile, the entrepreneur wears jeans, and the investment banker buys an expensive car. You know how to be “you” in different situations; you may be a son or daughter, a husband or wife, an entrepreneur or employee, European or American, rich or poor. When we take these roles life seems to be make sense. When there is a written contract, the roles a so clear that specific behaviour have been spelled out in writing. We need to play roles to function in society, and in any system with humans, because that's how we relate to each other. When we shift roles, we may not notice we’ve shifted from one way of being to another. When we believe these roles we play are real, life becomes are very strange place because we shift from one reality to another without noticing. When we realize that we are not the different characters we play, nor the voices in our head, nor our thoughts, nor our identities, life becomes a beautiful and a magical experience.
Like in a dream, you become both active observer and passive actor. When you do, you remember that I am writing articles full of questions and thoughts aimed at provoking your thinking, not because any of it has to be true, but because you’ve agreed to play a fun game called "the writer and the reader". And if you agree to play the game “coach and coachee”, you may take the time to ponder of concepts I raise, answer questions I ask and play games I offer.
You are not who you think you are, and I am not who you think I am. Nobody is really an accountant, a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer, Belgian or American. People may have gone to a university that gave them a paper which says they are a doctor or have a passport to prove nationality, but it’s simply not true. As convincing as the evidence may seem, you’re not even really a man or a woman. They’re just roles that is really easy to believe is real because you notice you have a dick between your legs, or boobs on your chest. And some of us have both.
I am not really coach, but it is a character I have become very good at playing. I’m not even human, but it’s a role I got really good at because I can’t seem to get out of this costume. When we play these roles knowing they're not real, we can go deeper into the characters, without getting carried away into believing we really are the roles we play. When we believe that we really are these roles, we worry that we may do something that's out of character. When we worry that others won’t believe the character we’re playing, that’s when we feel insecure, that’s when we second guess ourselves, and that’s when life becomes miserable because we spend our time trying to convince others that it is true that we’re a successful entrepreneur, a beautiful woman or a celibate priest.
When we remember that none of these roles we play are real, we focus on how to play each character better every time we get a chance to act with others. When we wake up and we are conscious of the roles we play, we can explore different ways of being for each character. When we notice that we're playing these roles, and when we notice the roles others play, we can choose to explore who we can be fearlessly.
- What are all the roles you play?
- For each role, rank how much you tend to believe it’s real (0 = the role feels very real, 10 = you know it’s just a role)
- What are the roles you're not interested in playing anymore?
- What roles do you NOT play currently play, that you want to start playing?
- Describe each of these characters
If you’re anything like me, you like being efficient and getting things done. I’m successful because I get a lot done quickly, and in Costa Rica I learned a lesson that has changed my way of being efficient. During one of my first few weeks in Costa Rica, I was walking back towards my place with a Tico girl. For those who don’t know, Tico is the way Costa Ricans describe themselves). The village I live in is tiny, and as we hit one of the 3 crossroads, she headed forward so I motioned to turn right. She looked at me and said:
- You know that you can get to your place by continuing straight?
I’m was a bit confused, because I always took the path on the right and I asked how. She replied:
- Yeah, you continue straight then you turn right, then left, then right again and you end up at your place.
I was still surprised, so I asked
- So that’s shorter?
She looked at me like I had asked the strangest question and replied
- No, it’s longer
I laughed, as it seemed like we were having the craziest conversation, and asked
- Why would you tell me about a longer way?
She still didn’t understand why I was puzzled, and replied as a “matter of fact thing”
- Well, if it’s a beautiful day and you can just walk a little longer, or if you have more time to get to town you can just take the longer way
I laughed at myself because it suddenly all made sense. It never really occurred to me that I could ask for the longer way. Then I realized that I had spent my entire life looking for the shorter way, for the faster way. In my head, I was still in a prison of my own beliefs about doing things efficiently.
When you get caught up in your own beliefs, you become prisoner of your own thoughts.
I consider this my first lesson in “Pura Vida”, because “Pura Vida” is the national saying in Costa Rica, which means “Pure Life”. It is the local motto for enjoying the moment and being present.
After this experience,
- I started looking for longer ways to get to places and to do things
- I started noticing every time that I wanted to do things fast, and I stopped myself in order to slow down
- I started slowing down for the sake of slowing down, and as a result I focused more of my attention on enjoying the journey
- Pay attention to every time that you want to do things faster, and keep a daily count. Post the result in the comments.
- The next two places you go to, find a way that takes twice as long. After taking the longer route, answer the question, “what difference did it make for you to take the longer path?”
Have you noticed the spaces between your thoughts and sensations? Join me for 6 Free Online Meditation Sessions
I love meditation and therefore I practice different forms of meditations. If you’re anything like me, you’re open minded and you've heard that scientific research has proved the benefits of meditation for the mind and body.
If you want to deepen your meditation practice or if you're completely new to meditation, this online program may be for you. Together we will look at how to use the tools without needing to join a new religion, cult or sect.
When I run an experimental Online Meditation program in January, the result was far above my expectations... here's what participants said:
What does this online meditation look like?
- Every Monday for 6 weeks we will have a 1h30 session during which I will (1) present a meditation technique, (2) we will practice the technique together and (3) we will have a quick debrief at the end to check how was your practice and answer questions
- By the end of the 6 weeks you will have practiced 3 different types of meditation, twice each.
- To join this program, all you need is an internet connection, and I will send you the link to join the video conference
- The program will start on Monday 10 August 2015
- All sessions will happen via Google Hangout
- Meditation sessions will take place every Monday from 6.30am to 8am GMT- 6 (Costa Rica)
- 1.30pm - 3pm GMT+1 (London)
- 9.30pm - 11pm GMT+9 (Tokyo)
If you want to read more about the course and what past participants said, visit this page.
If you're ready to join the program, add your name and email bellow, then I'll send you a link to the meditation program.