Positive Spin

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At the beginning of this year I made a New Year aspiration to practice with “Positive Spin.”

The basic premise of this practice is recognizing that there is a fundamental difference between the facts in any given situation and the story we tell ourselves about these facts. Typically, we tell ourselves very negative stories about the facts, and these stories can end up being a source of suffering. Practicing Positive Spin entails asking myself when facing a negative situation: “Given the facts I have, what’s the most empowering story I could tell?”

Credit where credit is due: I was inspired to take on this practice after reading an article by Tony Schwartz where he shared about “Realistic Optimism” and how it had helped him be resilient in difficult times.

When the New Year began I was eager for an opportunity to practice, and soon enough, one came along: Continue reading Positive Spin

Benefits of Mindfulness

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dessert in the desert

“If you come to mindfulness just expecting benefits, sooner or later you’re going to be confused.”
-Michael Carroll

If you Google “benefits of mindfulness” you will find hundreds of recent scientific studies. There is proof of mindfulness meditation’s effectiveness at strengthening attention in schoolchildren, creating more resilient business leaders, increasing brain density of the pre-frontal cortex, improving the functioning of the immune system, and plenty more. But most seasoned mindfulness teachers will tell you that while all those benefits may be true, they are side-products of the process and not to be focused on as the “goal.”

Three years ago I was speaking on the phone to Michael Carroll, the founder of an organization which focuses on sharing mindfulness to business audiences. We were talking about a new initiative I was involved with, and while I was extolling the numerous benefits of the program he stopped me and said, “If you come to mindfulness just expecting benefits, sooner or later you’re going to be confused.”

I was admittedly confused. Continue reading Benefits of Mindfulness