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Mindfulness and Work: Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?
By Maya Talisman Frost
Nov 6, 2005 - 5:52:00 PM

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One of the beauties of mindfulness is that it invites you to appreciate what you have all around you.

People. Nature. Creativity.

The quirky part is that nonjudgmental awareness can help you see what you value most. Even if you�re fully present and observing your thoughts and the world without sorting everything into �good� and �bad� piles, human nature dictates that we seek pleasure and avoid pain.

When we�re really paying attention, we can see that we tend to gravitate toward situations that bring about a greater sense of connection and comfort.

Here�s where it gets tricky. You see, we often jump into activities with a long-range goal of creating comfort, but the process of working (the squeeze) becomes a habitual pattern and the goodies at the end (the juice) are never really evaluated in terms of what it takes to get them.

Despite the bumper sticker wisdom that tells us �The best things in life aren�t things,� it�s not always easy to find support for this in the Real World. We get caught up in the quest for stuff, and before you know it, we�re having another garage sale on our day off.

Once we recognize what matters most, we can spend more time living and less time earning a living. Mark Henricks, a prolific business writer and author of the book, Not Just a Living: The Complete Guide to Creating a Business that Gives You a Life, suggests that instead of chasing growth in our companies and excess in our closets, we might consider being intentional about what we want--and what we don't want.

Just because we can work really hard to make more money doesn't mean we have to or that we should. We get to choose. We forget that, though, and that's how we end up working 60-hour weeks and wondering when we'll ever get another vacation.

Insert mindfulness here.

Instead of mentally listing all your bills, your future obligations with kids going to college or your retirement plan, veer away from knee-jerk rationalization about your chosen squeeze and watch what happens when you ask: "What matters most?" and "How can I get that while truly enjoying every day?"

Now, I'm not saying you have to change a thing. But the simple process of asking is a powerful eye-opener. And really, that's what mindfulness is all about--gaining perspective.

Don't shy away from the squeeze vs. juice question. Ask, and keep asking.

And make sure you're sipping that tasty juice every single day.

Maya Talisman Frost
Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse. Her work has inspired thinkers in over 70 countries. She serves up a unique blend of clarity, comfort and comic relief in her free weekly e-zine, the Friday Mind Massage. To subscribe, visit http://www.massageyourmind.com.


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