Be The Question (be effective) – diapers, Koan’s, ADHD, Your Mind.

My mind loves to worry. If you took worry away from me I might implode. My ADHD Brain ideally needs quiet and calm, but it naturally creates havoc.

I say “my brain” because this child-ish self-centered part of This Mind loves to pontificate on how much crap it thinks it lives through. Which tells you I don’t live through a lot of crap (because when we really are in the hell of it, like needing to eat, we don’t have time to ruminate). What’s that fake Mark Twain quote? “‘I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

The Meditator Me? The Practiced ADHD-er Mind Me? I can notice that My Mind is doing it’s Worrying Thing and choose to actually look at what the Mind is making up (it’s actually a practice, like Gratitude, and it’s possible to not always be worry-distracted; it just takes practice; medication, meditation, and being coached – my personal cocktail).

OK, so we do have our share of life issues … “The Whole Catastrophe” in the words of Zorba The Greek reiterated by Jon Kabat-Zinn (look his work up, if you want to change you life). But … let’s be serious: most of us online do this with a very nice roof over our heads, full bellies, and for me: awesome clients, a full coaching practice, a new sweet kitten, and silly amounts of health care.

Buddhism, in the form of Koan’s, teaches us to “Be the question.” Pema Chodron tells us that if we feel like a pile of shit then what’s the texture? What’s the smell or color? Child Mind is about being here and now (vs. Child-Ish Mind). The Distracted ADHD Mind will often lead us around by our nose … but you don’t have to necessarily react

One of my clients (Alex) pointed out that Just Reacting isn’t choice, it’s the opposite of Choice. Choice is about making plans, being aware of what we want to create, and acting on those choices (coaching, self-coaching, goal setting year end reviews, daily journaling … all do these).

Being the question, for me in this moment, is about Not Knowing. From the place of Not Knowing we’re “teachable” (In my buddy Paul P’s words: “I’m a recovering know it all.”)

Being the question is about not knowing the answer and letting that be. Being in choice (vs. letting the hyperactive mind choose the next shiny thing) is about being effective.

Imagine life from a teachable effective-perspective?!

  • That person cutting you off in traffic? What if you’re teachable? What if you don’t have to react in anger? (be compassionate).
  • What if you’re available to this moment? Instead of worrying, thinking you’re in charge, or reacting from a crapping-your-diaper-perspective?
  • What if you made plans (instead of reacting)? Use a 3×5 index card and write down 3 things you’ll get done today?
  • What if you actually did a year end review and made some commitments for the next year?

Like anything in life (learning to parent a new kitten) Not Reacting is possible but takes practice. In our Get-It-With-The-App-Instantly-Have-Everything-Culture the construct of practicing something that creates an effective-perspective isn’t something that’s supported.

Return to the basics: learn to meditate (the App ‘Headspace’ was actually created by a former monk and it’s his voice on it!), go to the local Dharma Center ( is mine), make lists, take a MBSR class (Google it), or simply sit still (it worked for Henry David Thoreau).

In other words, as the Buddhist bumper sticker reads: “Don’t believe everything you think.”


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