What have you been doing for too long? Being in nature reminded me of the answers to this question…
Is your creativity dead?
I honestly believe that few of us – regardless of whether we work as “creatives” or not – intentionally set out to kill our own creativity.
We may just gently turn our backs on it, dismissing it as something reserved for children, or as something only “irresponsible” adults indulge in, or as a waste of time that could never serve a purpose in society (ie, getting paid money for it), or as something only “talented people” get to do.
I’m here to say that none of those is absolutely true.
Creativity is not limited to art…
So, let’s say you’re longing for a more creative life. That could mean anything from having more freedom and flexibility in your current job, to finding a way to support yourself while expressing your own creativity.
I don’t define creativity as being limited to “artistic” activities like painting, dancing, singing, or sculpting pottery. I define creativity as our innate human ability to connect with the unseen. By this definition, I see every human being as creative, by virtue of our brain’s ability to spontaneously form images that are only seen in our mind’s eye.
How you choose to use your creativity is a different story.
And this is where many of us have killed our own creativity, or least left it for dead. Continue reading
I happened to be awake and watching television last night when the hip-hop artist and entrepreneur Jay-Z appeared on the new Oprah Winfrey Network show, “Master Class.”
He was speaking about everything he had learned so far in his life. His childhood roots of living in urban housing projects, and having a father who abandoned the family when Jay-Z was 11 years old, were completely foreign to me, as a child of married, Chinese immigrant, PhD-educated parents in the upper middle-class suburbs of the Midwest.
He told the story of a typical day, being on the playground with friends, and having to run and take cover whenever gang members would drive by, shooting automatic weapons at random. After fifteen minutes or so, he and his friends would re-emerge and start playing again.
As I held my breath and imagined a story of how “horrible” it must have been to grow up under such dangerous and uncertain conditions, I heard Jay-Z say this: “It was truly a remarkable upbringing.” Continue reading
For most of the years of my adult life, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas has felt like a race.
“A race to where?” you might ask.
Instead of racing through your list of “to do”s, try something new this holiday. Try adding some restorative practices to your days, and checking in with yourself to ensure that you are sharing and giving your best self to the people you care most about.
Don’t know what restores you?
Well, here’s a great place to start: STOP.
Yes, that’s right. STOP doing for even one whole minute each day. For those of us who thrive on the thrill of accomplishment, fitting in, doing more, working harder, and making things look good, this might be as big of a challenge as anything you’ve put on your “to do” list.
That’s why you need to do it now. STOP.
Just sit still with yourself for ONE ENTIRE MINUTE each day, and watch what happens. Feel everything that comes up. Feel your resistance. Feel your annoyance. Feel your jitters. Feel your desire to be anywhere but right here, right now.
Give yourself this gift every day during the month of December, and you’ll be on your way to being able to give to others what they truly desire – your full presence and peace with yourself.
Want more inspiration and instructions on how to create restorative practices and restore sanity to your holiday season? Enroll in my online course starting December 13th. Register here>>
Have you ever tried actually doing one thing at a time?
I’ve found that it takes a tremendous amount of trust – an amount I often don’t have – to truly do one thing at a time.
Somehow my brain prefers that high-anxiety mode of doing many things at once, having many irons in the fire, keeping many options open, so to speak. But the reality of that mode is nothing ever gets done, and I never feel totally complete. In other words, I set myself up to prove the belief that underlies this kind of behavior: “I am not enough.”
To turn this behavior around, I first choose a new thought to believe: “I am complete, as I am, in this moment.”
At first, I repeat it as a mantra that sounds ridiculous because my brain has never practiced focusing attention on all the ways that I am, in fact, complete, as I am, in this moment. I have trained my brain, for many years and quite intensively, to find all the ways that “I am not enough” – all the ways that I “should be” doing more than what I am doing right now.
But since I have made the choice to be and do in a different way, to connect with a different energy as the source of my actions, I keep repeating that mantra. I allow myself some stillness and some time to find one example of how I am really complete, as I am, in this moment. I find some gentleness toward myself as I learn a new way. I remember that I am like a toddler, about to take my first steps, and joyfully falling and getting up more times than I will be able to count.
I choose something to do, in this moment, which gives me the feeling in my body of being complete as I am. These days, it is a hike. I get to move my body, deepen my breath, and bring my senses in contact with nature – the sky, the cool air, the silence.
Yesterday I happened to shoot two videos – one before my hike, and one after. I think you’ll see a visible difference in my face, or at least sense a different energy from me, in the two videos. Plus, in the second video I leave you with two questions to ask yourself about your own restorative practices.
My take on physician burnout focuses on self-empowerment and witnessed self-inquiry to create a personal definition of physician wellness. There are many academic journal papers outlining the symptoms, prevalence, and possible explanations for physician burnout at every stage of medical training and continuing through practicing physicians mid-career. Here are a few of my favorites:
The blogosphere contains lively discussions on the subject of medical student and physician burnout. For example:
FREE recordings from my “Get the 411 Before It’s a 911″ coaching calls for medical students, residents, & fellows (also valuable for practicing, mid-career physicians):
Coaching Call #1 – I work with a practicing physician on the stressful thoughts of being on call.
Coaching Call #2 – 5 Principles of Self-Care for Caring Professionals
Coaching Call #3 – Creative Leadership for physicians
Coaching Call #4 – Boundaries, Self-Care Principle #1 for Physicians
Coaching Call #5 – Reactive to Creative Mode, Self-Care Principle #2 for Physicians
FREE episodes of “Revolutionizing Medicine…One Belief At A Time” podcast – examining the commonly held stressful thoughts among physicians:
Episode 1 – “I need to take care of my patients.”
Episode 2 – “I am surrounded by illness and suffering.”
Episode 3 – “Patients demand my time.”
Episode 4 – “People need me to respond.”
Blog posts I’ve written:
BUY the book, Physicians In Transition, including 25 interviews with physicians who have made the transition away from clinical careers and created the life of their dreams! I am included on page 27!
Want to learn more and get “virtual coaching” on this subject?
ENROLL in my online course, “The Art of Self-Care Primer“. 21-day online interactive course takes you through each of the Principles of Self-Care (outlined in Coaching Call #2 above) in greater depth, including daily exercises that you can incorporate into your life. You complete the activities at your own pace, and have access to all materials after the course is completed! More info here>>
I’ve been teaching and deepening my learning each time I teach. This time it’s the lessons of Tibetan Sound Healing, as transmitted by the lama Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. So simple are the sounds of the warrior seed syllables (just 5 single syllable sounds, chanted repeatedly), and yet so deep the lessons, when practiced.
The concept that really stuck with me from Tuesday was resting in the recognition that “I am complete, as I am, in this moment.” Without reason. Without condition. Without any explanation.
I breathed it in and felt the power of resting in that energy of peace, joy, and freedom. What power could I manifest if I just rested in that recognition?
Today I practiced again, right after a particularly poignant moment of recognition for me.
Take the time to say this to yourself: “I am complete, as I am, in this moment.” Say the sound “Ah” and breathe into the feeling of space opened by the vibration in your body. Repeat and rest.
The other night I read on the back of a friend’s T-shirt the following list of guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA)’s latest heart-healthy lifestyle campaign, called “Life’s Simple 7“:
- get active
- control cholesterol
- eat better
- manage blood pressure
- lose weight
- reduce blood sugar
- stop smoking
From my medical training, I recognized each of these 7 items as addressing the major risk factors for coronary artery disease and therefore heart attacks and strokes.
However, from my journey of learning about the connection between mind and body, and especially the ways in which our mind dictates the feelings, behaviors, and results we see in our lives, I noticed that these “Simple 7″ are not so simple at all.
Four of the seven guidelines involve behavioral changes. Three of the seven can be addressed with pharmaceutical drugs but are also dependent on these behavioral changes in order to have maximum impact. These areas of behavior change – exercise, diet, weight loss, and smoking cessation – are typically the most challenging and frustrating for both patients and doctors in a preventive setting. Continue reading
“My most relaxing time is when I’m sitting on the couch watching TV. What’s YOUR most relaxing time?”, asked 11-year-old Aaron.
I paused, then said, “Well, I meditate every morning. So that’s my most relaxing time.” I was a little hesitant to say it because I didn’t know how an 11-year-old boy would react to the word “meditate”.
“How do you meditate?” he asked.
“Oh you’re too young, you don’t need to learn how to meditate yet.” I waved my hand and smiled, thinking he would want to move on to other “cooler” subjects.
“You know what I heard? If you meditate 15 minutes a day, it’ll change your life,” he said, his eyes widening a little. “Did it change YOUR life?”
“Yes, it did. It completely changed my life.” I smiled and nodded. Now I recognized that I was speaking with a fellow human spirit, and that I had incorrectly assumed that because of his age, and being a boy, he wouldn’t be interested in the same human subjects I’m interested in. I also caught myself doing something that I had always found annoying as a child – whenever an adult waved off my question with the phrase, Oh don’t worry about it, you’re too young to need to know. The reality, I saw, is that this fellow human spirit was full of curiosity, playfulness, and desire to know the truth, just like I was. Continue reading
Making sound with breath and voice is the ultimate union of mind, body, and spirit.
In this 3-week series, we will discuss the use of sound in meditation, self-care, and creativity, and practice the healing sounds of the five warrior seed syllables from the Tibetan Bon tradition.
I am excited to explore my deepening understanding of the power of sound healing with you.
- gain a basic understanding of the use of sound in meditation,
- experience how making sound can clear and quiet the mind,
- explore the application of healing sounds in creating balance and harmony in your daily life.
Upon completing the series, you will have the foundational tools to begin your own home practice using healing sounds.
The first 30 minutes of each class will be spent discussing the seed syllable and the philosophy as described by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. We will then move into a 15-20 minute sounding practice, and conclude with a 15 minute guided reflection/journaling time where you can consider the application of this practice in your daily life.
There will be emphasis on the practice of sound healing in removing blocks and barriers in the mind, deepening your access to the positive qualities already within you, and uncovering your innate creativity and wisdom.
This series is based on the teachings of Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, author of “Tibetan Sound Healing” (available on Amazon, includes CD).
It is highly recommended, but not required, that you read Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche’s book before and/or during this series.
The workshop will be led by Dr. Lisa Chu. Read more about Dr. Lisa Chu here.
When: Tuesdays at 7:00pm -8:15pm
November 2, 9, & 16, 2010
Where: The Cradle of Manifestation, 2483 Old Middlefield Way, Suite 150, Mountain View, CA 94043
Fees: $75 for 3-class series, $30 for single class
For more information: (650) 325-2194 or contact me by email