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The Loud Mouth Life Coach Goes On Retreat

meditation retreatAs I sat motionless staring at the long line of stationery traffic in front stretching on for at least 2 miles.

Not only was I now moving, but I was not moving on the wrong side of the I75 heading toward Ocala instead of Tampa.

I realized I was probably going to be late  and I was officially stressed.

I berated myself for not concentrating at the Intersection of the I4, not leaving earlier, stopping for something to eat as well as the Middle East Crisis because I had a sense that may have had something to do with me.

Then I caught myself.

You’re A Life Coach!

“Seriously, you’re a Life Coach on your way to a meditation retreat and you’re stressed?

What the hell kiddo, you need to chill the fuck down! You won’t be refused admission, formally reprimanded or made to say 10 hail Buddha’s whilst standing on one leg eating a pound of tofu.”

The truth is I was a tad anxious about the retreat before I even left home.

Would my knees and back hold up to 3 or 4 hours of meditating per day?

Would I remain engaged and not get bored?

Would I be able to sleep well in a strange bed (something that’s always been an issue for me)?

And would I make a total ass of myself by doing something ridiculous or asking a stupid question.

The answer to all of those was a resounding yes!

Oh, except for the last one, I would deliver on that score and them some, but more later.

Arriving At The Retreat

When I finally got to retreat center (amazingly enough, on time and a lot more relaxed) I was delighted to see it was as beautiful as it looked online and a positive haven of peace and tranquility.

I parked my car, strolled up to the lovely looking house and walked in through the open door. Wow! A stunning sunken lounge lay in front of me with a kitchen on the next tier, a stairway running off the lounge and I could see a bedroom the other side of the kitchen.

“This will do” I thought.

I shouted hello but I was greeted by silence so I wondered across the lounge and through the kitchen because I could hear a TV turned on in the bedroom.

Even bigger wow! A flat-screen TV in a gorgeous bedroom. To be honest I wasn’t expecting to see any TV whatsoever, but it was nice to have just in case, and I certainly wasn’t going to complain.

I called out again and again got no reply, so I wondered back outside to be met by another attendee who had just arrived, Rick.

We had a chat and it was then I noticed another building off to the side and was curious to know if somebody was in there.

We both strolled round to the door and into the annex to be met by Bodhipaksa for the first time. Even though I’ve known him online for getting on 5 years and done many of his online Skype courses it was the first time we’d met in person.

Disappointingly, he wasn’t 7” feet tall with an angelic glow around him as I’d imagined, but a normal Human Being. Albeit it a Human Being with a smile that would make the most miserable hard-bitten cynic feel good about themselves.

I motioned back to the other building saying my bags were in there and was kindly told that wasn’t the retreat, that was the house of the owner!

Oh well, at least I didn’t plonk my bags down in the master bedroom, claim it for my own and stretch out on the bed in my boxer shorts to watch some TV.

Buddha’s Greatest Hits

The first night involved some meditation – no really it did, eating a very health, but completely anti-Paleo vegan meal and then getting to know the other attendees as we sat outside and drank wine.

Ok the wine bit is a lie and for somebody who likes a nice glass of white with his meal on a Friday evening, strangely I never even noticed its absence.

The first sit was like Buddha’s greatest hits as Bodhi (as he shall be known from now on) lead us through the mindfulness of breathing and the Metta Bhavana lovingkindness meditation, two of my favorites.

My knees didn’t give in on me, I didn’t sit their scratching like a demented Gibbon with eczema and my back only gave me the occasional – “don’t forget I’m here” twinge.

At the end, Bodhi bade us goodnight and instructed that we were not to speak until after breakfast the following morning.

Oh. I wasn’t expecting that, and for a man that likes a good natter it sounded tough with a capital T.

But surprisingly it wasn’t, and other than not being able to call Helen to assure her I hadn’t ended up in a Hare Krishna commune and was currently sporting a rather nifty saffron robe and on my way to Atlanta airport to sell some flowers, I actually liked it.

I wasn’t awake all night, in fact I slept so well that I never even heard Shelley and Linda in the next room bail out in the kind of panic that would have had Corporal Jones cringing (sorry for the UK cultural reference there that probably means nothing to you, but it will to the Brits on the retreat).

They left their room no doubt fearing for their lives and taking their bedding to sleep in the meditation room.

What was the source of this problem?

None other than a vicious killer Palmetto bug.

Welcome to Florida you northern wusses!

I was awake at 6.30 and lay on my bed reading until the first sit at 7.30am (I’m proud to say I never once fired up my iPad the whole weekend).

There was some low level chatter going on about the preceding nights invasion by the large, very unattractive and completely harmless critter, but I abstained and only nodded a couple of times.

I was too busy prepping myself for a one hour sit.

I’d only sat for an hour a couple of times previously and on each occasion I thought my iPhone app had crashed and I’d really been sat for 3 and a half days with nobody wishing to disturb me in case I was on a sponsored sit.

We started spot on 7.30am and again not only did I have no problems, but I didn’t want it to end. That’s good, but also from Buddhist perspectives, somewhat bad.

I say ‘bad’, but in reality Buddhist’s don’t consider things either good or bad. Those terms are not only often wrong (how many times has what you perceived to be a bad event turned out to be a positive one in the long run?), but they lead to black and white thinking.

Skillful Or Unskillful?

The Buddhist approach is to look at things as either skillful or unskillful.

It sounds like we’re splitting hairs, but when you start to think as your behaviors in that way you’re far less likely to judge yourself and others. You can always learn new skills, but if you see something you did as wrong then that creates an entirely different mindset..

I know I bang on a lot about the importance of language and this is yet another example of a small change that can make a huge difference, so much so that I will be introducing this approach into my coaching work.

As I said, I didn’t want the session to end and that is grasping at something pleasurable and a big no-no. Grasping at people, things or experiences causes suffering and is unskillful behavior.

However, I was assured if there were a grasping rankings top 50 chart it would almost certainly be much lower down than lusting after the woman sat in front of me, wanting some crack and wondering which liquor store to hold up on the drive home.

Speaking was still not allowed until breakfast was finished and even though I was asked a couple of questions I answered in nods, rather smugly it has to be said. You will never grind me down, I am man of steel, I shall not talk!

Well not unless you ask me something interesting and in my haste to answer I forget I’m not supposed to be talking. I am man of goldfish memory!

I was eating my toast respecting the Nobel Peace and somebody said something (I forget what now) and I instinctively answered waving my jam covered toast around to make a point.

At that exact point everybody else was silent and Bodhi walked in.

“Fuck me” I thought “This is like all those times when I used to work for my dad and he could be in Brazil searching for the source of the Amazon, but would still manage to walk in to the office if I started dicking around”

Fortunately, Bodhi isn’t a strict disciplinarian and he didn’t give me a damn good thrashing with a zafu or any other cushion-like object for that matter.

Cultivating Compassion

Saturday involved lots of meditation, some silent and some lead by Bodhi as we started to cultivate compassion, the goal (if goal is the right word and it probably isn’t) of the retreat.

In between we talked and I got to know some amazing people. I don’t think I have ever been in a more friendly, open-minded and just downright, nice environment this side of a 1992 ecstasy-fueled rave.

It was an absolute privilege to meet them all and I’m pretty sure not one of them were on hallucinogenic drugs.

On Saturday evening before the final sit of the day Bodhi read some of the Buddha’s teachings. I’m terrible at remembering the names so can’t tell you which one, but I can tell you this.

It was fascinating.

I thought I’d be bored, but the reality is Buddhism is so bloody practical and often fits snugly into what I talk to clients about and I really enjoyed it.

The Power of Language

We even got into a conversation about what in NLP are termed complex equivalences (something I talk a lot about with clients and you can click the link to see a video explaining it in more detail), but in Buddhism is known as the first and second arrow (or sometimes, dart).

In short, this means it’s never an event itself that makes you feel bad, but your interpretation of the event and how you react to it.

As Shakespeare said a couple of thousand years after the Buddha was around, “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so”

Everybody gets hits by the first arrow of shit going down in their lives from time to time, but most people unskillfully compound their suffering by attaching all sorts of meanings to the event, many of which are simply not true and serve only to make them feel worse.

Unskillful – He shouted at me therefore I’m bad and/or he hates me
Skillful – He shouted at me, I wonder what is happening in his life to act like that?

Unskillful – I got fired and now I’ll lose my house and end up wondering the streets stinking of urine and muttering to myself
Skillful – I got fired and now have the chance to find a better more fulfilling job

It’s easy to respond unskillfully and we may even be wired up to do so, evolutionary speaking.

However, acting skillfully requires effort and conscious awareness of our thoughts and that can be tiring and too much like hard work for many people, which is why they are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

I didn’t expect to be involved in a conversation that seemed just like one I may have with another Life Coach, just with different terminology. This was an added bonus, to actually be learning things I can translate into my coaching practice.

Open Mouth – Insert Foot

I wished there had been wine there, because at least then I’d have an excuse for the question I blurted out next. I have no idea how I got onto this topic, but get onto it I did by asking:

“If Buddha was effectively a vegetarian (he did occasionally eat meat as he begged for all his food and would take what was offered) why was he so fat in later life?

Much chuckling all round as it was pointed out the figure I was thinking of what not the Buddha, but a Buddha, the Laughing Buddha who obviously liked his meat pies and a beer or two a tad too much.

Not the same fella at all and the ‘real’ Buddha was probably ripped like a side of beef and able to knock out 20 one-armed pushups with the Laughing Buddha sat on his back.

Well how was I supposed to know Buddha’s were ten a penny in those days and probably more common than Life Coaches are now? After all, I’ve only been meditating for 5 years and these things can slip by you.

You’re Never Too Old, Too Clever, Or Too Experienced To Learn

Sunday morning I was up again at 6.30 and reading an excellent and hysterical book called The Misadventure of a Garden State Yogi (al)- more in an up coming post and well worth checking out.

About 15 minutes before the sit I decided to wander outside and enjoy the peace of sitting by the lake in the morning light.

That’s what I like to think, but in reality I was playing Words With Friends on my phone for the first time since I got there with a friend who is in England.

Not very enlightened in retrospect, but come on, I had a juicy triple word score opened up for me.

I looked at the time and saw it was 7.33am and ran to the meditation room to find the sit had already started.

Again I cursed myself as I tried to be quiet and get into place without disturbing those that had actually made the lengthy 3 step walk from the kitchen to the meditation room on time.

Then it struck me what Bodhi was saying. He had just started to lead a meditation that included the first phase of offering compassion to ones self.

Bingo!

Was I doing that?

Of course I wasn’t and I’d have have probably beaten a client with a large pointy stick to within an inch of their life (not really, but a reminder would have been in order) if they had done such a thing.

Prior to this weekend I really thought I’d more or less eradicated giving myself a hard time, but that wasn’t the case. I have some work to do if I’m to walk the walk with a little more integrity.

It just goes to show that self development is never a job you finish, it’s ongoing and sometimes we lose sight of our own limitations (which is why hiring a Life Coach is a great idea!).

And before anybody says anything, I’m not beating myself up over my faux pas, they are par for the course and make for excellent blog copy.

A Life-Changing Event?

Late morning on Sunday after another meditation – and by now they were sailing by and I’d have been happy to have gone for longer – we all sat down to talk about the weekends events.

Life-changing is a word that is bandied around a little bit too often for my liking (even if technically speaking every single thing you ever do is life-changing at some level).

However, in this case I genuinely believe some of the attendees had made huge beneficial, even life-changing shifts. The change in a number of them was almost palpable.

Was it life-changing for me?

I honestly don’t know, I think that is down to how I apply what I learned both about meditation and myself.

If I do nothing with it, then it was merely a very enjoyable stress-busting weekend, but I don’t plan to let that happen.

I now know I can meditate for longer than 30 minutes without melting down into a blubbering mess. I know that I’ve slipped back in how I treat myself and I also know that the only thing weird about meditation is that some people don’t do it.

Some Thanks To The People That Made It Such An Awesome Weekend

To Shelly who helped organize events and shared an amazing powerful story with me about the loss of her husband.

To Adrian for cooking the food. if I’d been given what he had to cook with I’d have either phoned the local Chinese or burst into tears.

To Ed for being almost as loud and almost as funny as me. I’m sure he’s louder and funnier really, but he graciously let my ego dominate things.

To Rick for being brutally honest about his upbringing and allowing his mask to drop in front of everybody when it was plain to see it was very tough for him.

To Kristin who never seemed to stop smiling and had almost everybody in tears at the end.

To AJ who unfortunately had to leave early because of excruciating back pain. The question you passed on to me to ask Bodhi had everybody in hysterics, nice one mate!

To Linda for laughing at my jokes and representing all things Scottish via Canada.

And last but not least, to Bodhi for being such a fantastic communicator, teacher and all round great guy with a voice that we all agreed is the best in the Buddhist community, and would have had his fellow countryman, Sean Connery, weeping with shame.

If you’re curious to know more, you can download my free ebook on meditation (there’s also an audio version) aimed at beginners and skeptics.

You can also visit Bodhipaksa’s site at Wildmind and kick things off my maybe downloading a couple of guided meditations. I have 4 of his and they are all excellent.

Trust me, if you do that and stick with it, you may just see it as the best money you ever spent.

Now go meditate, after you’ve left a comment of course ;-)

 

37 comments to The Loud Mouth Life Coach Goes On Retreat

  • Mantha

    I really enjoy the way you write, and I have been smiling and laughing through this whole post. I have just recently started meditating (thank you by the way for the e-book, I feel much less pressure after reading it) and I have already noticed a difference in my ability to come to center. My therapist looks at things very much from a Buddhist perspective and we have been working on language and reframing my thought from unskilled to skilled. Anyway, Thanks so much for sharing your adventure!

  • Oh Tim, haha, this had me laughing at loud – very funny piece of writing! Loved your use of similes, in particular the rave one; very good.

    Definitely don’t concern yourself (I know you’re not, really) about the Laughing Buddha question – I’ve been studying Buddhism a while and live in a Buddhist Centre and that was news to me!

    Great reminder for myself that I’ve also been slipping a bit in terms of giving myself a hard time, so thanks for that. :o)

    • Nah, I’m not worried Lisa. I know there is a crap load of stuff I don’t know and I just have to keep asking questions and not be fearful I’ll look like a total muppet ;-)

  • Kristin

    Awesome, Tim! I laughed and cried (I really don’t cry that much…..ha!) while reading the post. Great interpretation of the weekend, and perfect characterizations of the people present. I am so glad to have met you in that great setting, and I plan to follow your blog forever! Much metta!

  • Tim, That sounds wonderful! We can be so hard on ourselves, but the main thing is to catch it. It’s funny how we can find our own behavior so ironic (I speak of course from experience. I guess it’s that human thing.) Glad you survived all of your anticipatory worries and thrived.

  • I love the way you write because your writing is authentic, so what’s not to love? You ask questions and explore answers deeply, so what’s not to love? You share your honest opinions based on your own experience, knowledge, insights and wisdom, so what’ not to love?
    I laughed all the way through this piece of yours as it reflected some of my own thoughts and experiences. I can relate to and identify with what you wrote.

    I’m irreverent too. Yes, I allow myself to be disrespectful and flippant and from time to time irritating or even annoying. I refuse to don the shackles of perpetual niceness and positivity. I have never petitioned the universe for a cure for anything that ails me (I am a cancer survivor). I bristle with contempt when I see self-styled coaches charging money for what has been freely given for milieniuims, but only long enough to remind myself that there are no adult victims, only volunteers.

    In “The Secret” video the claim is made that how the Law of Attraction works all due to the operation of quantum physics. The claim is that all molecules vibrating in your body at a certain resonance attract like things. That’s certainly no secret but it’s not quantum physics. It’s neuroplasticity. The more you think about something the more your reticular cortex notices similar things.

    I have negative thoughts and I learn about what I need to do to address the underlying causes by acknowledging them. I have difficult people in my life and though I limit the time I spend with them, I recognize that others may perceive me to be difficult too. When I observe my own negative thoughts, words and acts I find opportunities for growth.

    I’m capable laughing at myself and my monkey mind and it’s antics. Yes I ask questions just as you do I ask lots of questions and will continue to be courageous enough to open my mouth and ask them until I stop drawing breath.

    I attended my first meditation retreat when I was in college and I’m heading towards my senior years now. My first meditation retreats were not Buddhist retreats. They were Yoga retreats. I even attended a TM retreat but it wasn’t for me.

    I learned breathing meditation and candle meditation in Yoga classes and retreats and then one day I decided to attend a Buddhist retreat. Following that I had 5 years of Buddhist mind training experience under the guidance of a lama (teacher). During my college and university years Buddhism provided philosophy that was in line with my desire to live simple life. That has not changed. My husband and I did make a life changing decision. We tossed all thoughts of becoming yuppies into the trash and moved back to the land after graduating with honors – no kidding! We wanted to live a very simple life and that’s what did and that’s what we are still doing now.

    We have been exposed to the various schools of Buddhism and though each linage does approach meditation slightly differently mindfulness mediation is a core practice.

    Vipassana meditation (insight meditation) is an open awareness to whatever arises in the meditation experience that you may want to try. Once the monkey mind has settled you continue to follow your out breath and take a glimpse of where the mind is going. You make a teeny tiny mental note like “thinking” when it strays and very gently without criticism or self judgment you just experience the next moment without expectation. You just sit and be with what is. It’s that simple and it’s so beneficial.

    Upaya is Sanskrit for skillful means or skillful method and it doesn’t only refer to forms of mediation one would recognize as meditation. Upaya refers to any activity, skill, experience or practice that helps someone toward the realization of enlightenment. For example, ritual can be upaya.
    Here’s a personal example of skillful means. I love to sing and chant opens the door to meditation for me. When I chant, I lose self ie. my ego is silenced. Most people like to hear me sing. Some people will join me in call and response chant, even though they don’t consider themselves to be good at singing. (It’s just sound people -don’t judge it just make it.) Some of those who will join me that say they could not settle in sitting mediation but when they chant, they settle. Chant is the skillful means that helps me and them make the shift into the silent meditative state.

    It’s unlikely that I will ever hire a life coach, but if I do choose to do that you will be at the top of my list.

    • I love it when I hear from people who I had no idea were involved in meditation, actually have a lot of experience.

      I *believe* that kind of repetitive chanting sends the temporal lobe offline and it is that part of the brain that gives us our sense of self, so we lose that too.

      It’s all amazing stuff and the continuing advances in neuroscience are revealing more and more the power of meditation.

      I’m delighted I’m at the top of your list of things you don’t need ;-)

      BTW, you’re the second person to say that to me this week, maybe I need to start tapping into the people who don’t need Life Coaches market!

      • I’m so sorry to see the spacing spacing between paragraphs in my comments above was wiped out which rendered the readability as very poor. I’m visually challenged and I wrote the comment in WORD which is not of course web compliant. If you care to enter the carriage returns that would be cool.

        The irony of being at top of the list of things I think I don’t need is that probably needy, but in a state of denial. lol :D

    • SKILLFUL SKRILLEX

      If you wanted to learn to play golf, you’d presumably be happy to pay for golf coaching from a professional coach with many years of experience. Why should it be different for work/love/family/happiness?

      Yes, you can get free advice from friends and family, but will that advice be as good as that from Tim? Not usually.

      Or, to put it another way: people are happy to pay for things that they see as valuable. If you don’t see coaching as valuable, then there’s little wonder in the fact you’re unwilling to pay for it!

      For what it’s worth, I also used to question the value of coaching. Until, that is, I was coached by Tim and he helped me to make one of the most important decisions of my life.

      • Maybe she’s just mega happy and doesn’t want to make any changes?

        • SKILLFUL SKRILLEX

          I was responding mostly to this bit, “I bristle with contempt when I see self-styled coaches charging money for what has been freely given for milieniuims, but only long enough to remind myself that there are no adult victims, only volunteers.”

      • @SKILLFUL SKRILLEX
        I’m so disappointed that there’s no link to your blog from your username. I was prepared to click on over and see what your blog was all about but that’s no go. I’m guessing you don’t have one but knowing I could be wrong.

        I’m sure what you wrote in your comment is in your own words but it’s not original in it’s derivation. My response is that your whole comment could have been cribbed or paraphrased from the advertising bumph and/or testimonials produced by or received by multiple life coaches and counselors. In other words, similar words appear in almost every personal development and/or self improvement book I have ever read and I’m a voracious reader. That being said, it does not remove the fact that you meant what you said and I accept it and even find it agreeable to some degree.

        I’m authentically happy to hear that your coaching sessions were valuable and you are pleased with the result of actualizing what you learned.

        I am happy to hear that that one sentence of mine pissed you off and this is why.

        “Yes, you can get free advice from friends and family, but will that advice be as good as that from Tim? Not usually.”

        Why do you assume I have received only free advice?

        I have survived horrific traumatic events I don’t choose to share about in my blog. I have had the benefit of p[professional help and I’m grateful for cognitive therapy, treatment for PTSD, art therapy, EMT, etc.

        Why do you assume the free life coaching I received from my First nations Elders is not on par with what’s available for big bucks in the LOA movement?

        Moreover, why do you take what I said specifically about the LOA movement only and apply it to the coaching Tim provides, when he also takes the stand that LOA is a con job?

        This sia what I said: “I bristle with contempt when I see self-styled coaches charging money for what has been freely given for milieniuims, but only long enough to remind myself that there are no adult victims, only volunteers.”

        This in part is why I said it:

        “In Tibetan Buddhism, the concept of neuralplasticity has been around for far longer than Western science has recognized it – the term for it is le-su-rung-wa which means “pliability”; your brain can change based on repeated experience. It’s no surprise then that studies have been performed on plasticity during meditation and have shown that the brain can change based purely on mental training. This of course has huge ramifications for mental practice and its impact on overall well-being. If you can think yourself into being more compassionate, or more positive and more resourceful, or calmer and more content, it seems a little too good to be true. But with some effort, it’s possible.” – Neuroplasticity: Your Brain’s Amazing Ability to Form New Habits

        Some of my colleagues have invested heavily into LOA programs and feel victimized but I take the position that they were volunteers. They chose to spend their time, energy and money where they did and IMO they ought not to be crying the blues. Crying the blues has limited short-term usefulness. After you realize you made a mistake, it’s best to learn form it, forgive yourself, make a new plan and move on.

        Who am I? I am well educated woman who could have lived my life in the city practicing either one or both of my professions but I made a different choice. I chose to make the dream I shared with my husband come true. I am living my dream and I am loving it.

        I live in a remote location where there are no services aside from emergency services that I do not provide for myself and pay for myself. There are no big box stores, fast food franchises, rapid transit lines or even buses, etc. where I live. I can’t see a single human being or man-made structure out of any of my windows, aside from my fencing.

        I choose to make an income that places me just above the poverty line as I’m not well and don’t wish to tax my health by working longer hours in a higher paying job I would have to commute to. I work remotely on NDC (non disclosure clause) contracted work via online connectivity. I could say that I am self employed, disabled person, who is visually challenged but I am much more and much less than that.

        I live a life of voluntary simplicity. By that I mean I live very simple waste not want not life, drawing water from my well and splitting waste wood for heat.

        I love the life I’m living.

        I wouldn’t change where I live, who I associate with or what I do, for for all the pots of gold in the world.

        Note my response to Tim above please: “The irony of being at top of the list of things I think I don’t need is that I’m probably needy, but in a state of denial. lol :D”

        May you be well and happy too.

  • Ed McGuigan

    I just thought I’d share the wisdom of a great British sage of 1970s:

    “Get off, you’re rubbish!” – Eric Morecambe

    Cheers,

    Tim

    • SKILLFUL SKRILLEX

      Presumably advice you’ve been applying to yourself regularly.

    • Schoolboy error there McGuigan!

      Not saying Eric never said that because I suspect he did, but this was what he was more well known for.

      Ernie to the audience – What do you think of the show so far?
      Eric usually with his hand cupped over his mouth – Rubbish

      • Ed McGuigan

        You may be right Tim. My memory, possibly false, is of Eric shouting that from behind the curtain when Ernie was out front on his own extemporising about a play “what he had wrote”. I suppose it’s also the standard music hall and working men’s club heckle.

        Funny how somebody who doesn’t know the reference should jump to your defence.

        Cheers Tim.

        Ed.

  • Thanks for sharing your experience with this retreat. I want to start attending some retreats a couple times a year. I’ve put it off while I was getting some other aspects of my life organized, and now I think it’s time I start exploring to see what’s available in m area. The retreat you attended sounds wonderful. It sounds like you met some great people and learned a lot.

  • Mary-Ann Hill

    I felt like I was with you on the retreat, your “show don’t tell” style let the story flow. i smiled a lot and chuckled along, and could feel the healing power of the practice. Also loved TIMETHIEF’s story (and don’t quite get the point of Ed McG’s comment…).

    Thanks to your previous recommendatios, I regularly listen and practice to Bodhipaksa’s meditation CDs and agree, he has a very calming voice.

    You have reminded me to be more diligent about daily practice, thank you for that :) Mary-Ann

  • I could have sworn that is not your picture in the post! :-) The Retreat sounds like an enjoyable experience. The part I loved most (besides your question about the Buddha’s weight management) is the Power of Language. When I was a Sales Trainer in another life, we had an entire module on the skilled/unskilled line of thought because sales people, especially new recruits could get negative very quickly. The come with dreams and are surprised when it takes a heckuva lot of hard work and lots of sweat instead of being a nice cool breeze. Words are powerful indeed.

    Happy to hear your back held up. :-)

    I’ve added a reference to this post in your post on my blog.

    Aaaand…happy to say that my meditation practice is going very nicely, thanks to you.

    I am also thoroughly enjoying Brian’s book!

    I have a good mind to organize a mini retreat at home over the weekend.

    Thanks for a great read. Always such a pleasure!

  • SKILLFUL SKRILLEX

    What a wonderful blog post. You inspired me to sign up for another year of GetSomeHeadspace. To make myself meditate every day and be publicly accountable, I’ll be writing a brief Facebook post every day on the experience.

    I’d like to meet this Bodhipaksa. I suppose I should finish his book at some point too.

    The concept of skilful/unskillful thinking is new to me, but I love it! It certainly feels very different to the concept of good/bad thinking. I’ll incorporate this myself!

    • Bodhi does a lot of online meditation training mate. I have done 4 or 5 of his courses and they are highly recommended.

      He also runs a closed Google Community for people to talk about their practice. At the moment they have a 100 day challenge going on, with people committing to meditate every day for 100 days and reporting in each day.

      Not sure what’s needed to get in, but of you ask him on Google+ I’m sure he’ll let you know if you’re interested.

  • Mark

    A wise man once said “there are no stupid questions”. The wise man then proved the rule by finding the exception. Brilliant.

    Great post.

    • Hoisted by my own petard!

      To be fair to myself I almost mentioned that, but then thought “Who the hell is likely to remember the subtitle of my first book?”

      I should have known the answer ;-)

      Thanks.

  • WOrking as a life coach does not absolve a person of normal personal anxiety. Fortunately, you had the skillset to work through your tragic failure to pay attention to detail, and your inability to get your butt out of the house on time.

  • Marcy

    I had a kind of interesting question as I read about your experience.

    I’m wondering if you are still able to sit for long periods now that you are back in your own environment.

    I have advanced fluency in French, and if I’m not really paying attention I still understand, for example, a tv conversation, but when I focus it goes right over my head. I also struggle reading written French.

    But, I have no difficulty carrying on a conversation when surrounded by native speakers, and just waiting around in the Charles de Gaulle airport for a train suddenly I’m able to read my French novels also.

    Something about the environment has a profound affect on my ability.

    I once went to a meditation gathering and sat for two 45 minute sessions without a twinge, but have back pain in much shorter periods of time at home.

    • To be honest Marcy I haven’t tried to sit for an hour since last week. 30 minutes hasn’t been a problem though.

      I do think you have a valid point though.