Keep Smiling, Keep Shining

Holidays are over: while some of us are feeling resistance towards the limitations that work life imposes, others will be relieved to return to a more structured rhythm. Holiday and work are yin and yang, spontaneity and freedom versus drive and delivery. Driven people offer the world excitement and energy, but are sometimes undone by perfectionism and lonely striving. Those of us on the yin side of the continuum bring creativity and flexibility, but can be undone by lethargy and lack of direction.

When we balance yin and yang we are neither in constant struggle to get somewhere, nor obsessively searching for peak experiences. Instead we find ourselves both driven and relaxed, living lives of meaning and accomplishment in a state of ease.

Some ashrams offer no weekends or holidays for residents. Every day is like every other, supporting the mind to relax into the timeless present. In contrast, our modern way of life compartmentalises experience: we judge activities as good or bad, enjoyable or painful, interesting or boring. The way we exercise and eat also distorts our natural rhythms and adds to dis-ease. Latest medical research suggests that the damage done by spending eight hours hunched over a computer cannot be undone by an hour of intensive gym work. Mindless eating at our desks while tapping away at the computer, as well as multi-tasking, are also habits that do not serve us.

However, there is another way.  Half-an-hour of focussed, absorbed effort is worth hours of distracted activity. Our most valuable work contribution comes when we are being fully present and accessing our flow. Being present is a calm and connected state, it’s also a respectful one. Being present allows us to listen in a deep and non-judgemental way. If it’s a superior, a subordinate, or a client talking, we offer them the same respectful silence in which they feel understood.  In this way, we contribute to harmony and ease in the workplace, at the same time cultivating a state of harmony and ease in our being.

May 2015 be a year of balance, a year of connection, ease and presence; and as the song goes “keep smiling, keep shining.”

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