Monday, October 17, 2011

Take the Zen Challenge

A few years ago, I was reading an interview about some spiritual leader. I was a little skeptical at first, but the interview surprised me. One of the things this woman did was take ONE WEEK each year and not speak ONE during this time. She spoke of the freedom it gave her, the way it cleared her mind, purged her, etc. It really captured me and I decided to try it. The first few days were BRUTAL. I consider myself pretty positive; some have even called me a Pollyanna. But when I had to zip my lip, it did not go easy.

But, after a few days, just like a diet, it got a little easier. I didn’t feel that my emotions were pent up, like I thought I would. I found ways to express myself without using critical words. And my interpretation of events around me was less critical. As the week came to a close, I found some strange things happening. My mind slowed down. Not in a “stare at my hand for hours” way, but in an “I don’t have to obsess every minute of every day” way. It was …. nice. Further, I FELT better, more positive, hopeful, motivated. And another thing? I thought my nasty little would bottle neck itself in my head. But no thank you. Instead, it was as if those thoughts had nowhere to go. Like plants that didn’t get any light or water, they withered away.

One thing that surprised me was that the feeling LASTED. After the week was over, I found myself left with the residuals for a long time. It was wonderful. Eventually, I did it again and again. I even reference this in my planners, encouraging people to try it for a day, or even an hour, each week.

But, it has been awhile. Today I read the same advice in a book I am reading. It’s been a long time since I went down the one week road of NO NEGATIVITY. So, I thought, this is a good week to give it another run. Having done it before, it’s easier this time. I know what I am in for. And you know what? My head’s a little clearer already. I feel a whole lot of focus. And the anxiety? Nowhere in site.

So, here’s the challenge. Why not give it a go this week and challenge yourself NO this week – sorry, I know… double negative. Forget everybody else and think instead exactly what this can do for YOU. And much like a diet, a fast or your first few days at the gym, you just have to push through it to get to the other side. I am already reaping the benefits. Feels good to be mellow, calm, free of anger, frustration and anxiety.

Let me know if you have ever tried this, how it is going this week, and I do mean the good, the bad and the ugly of it all.


  1. This is an interesting topic

  2. look great!

  3. Maria- I love this idea. Thanks for the inspiration.