The Art of Strategic Absence


I wanted to answer the questions born of that hell: Can I keep the peace and quiet amidst the noise of normal life? Can I measure zen and productivity?

  1. Daily Meditation
    Although I used to meditate for five years before fleeing, I had grown inconsistent. When life went well, it fell apart. When she got stressed, I would pick her up again. I used meditation like Advil, where it had to be a daily vitamin.

The brain, of course, is the tissue. Exercising this muscle, like any other, needs to be repeated regularly. Elizabeth Hoge, Ph.D., is a psychiatrist and associate professor at Georgetown University studying the effects of physical therapy. You measure the effect of meditation in a number of ways, including levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Cortisol spikes in times of stress, as is often the case in humans, but the body cannot distinguish between the stress of being chased by a bear and the stress of thoughtful thoughts, such as, “Will I lose my job?” or “Will this project fail?” That helps the practice of meditation. Each day, it slowly trains our brain to recognize the concept of what it is: a temporary attitude and not a bear. Huge found that this training can lower cortisol levels.


“[By meditation,] you train your mind like a muscle to direct attention and not to be distracted by thoughts,” Hoge said. “It’s a skill that you need to work on. When you notice an idea, you see it more clearly and you don’t go into it. ”

Nothing strategic
I started practicing meditation for the first 15 minutes, every day. I bought a bright aqua meditation pillow that proclaims its presence in my neutral colored home, and every morning, it is my back in that shack, no matter how busy my day is or how late at night. I live and teach myself to distinguish thoughts from bears. (So ​​far, there are no bears.)

  1. One Memory Practice
    Meditation and meditation are not the same thing. While meditation involves the close awareness of thoughts, mental thinking is easy, if not impossible. It is the act of being where we are, paying attention to what we do, and connecting our senses.

During the retreat, the leaders told us to do everything carefully. Our diet was considered, as we ate less, placing a fork between the bite, noting the composition of the food, the temperature, and the taste of the food. We walked mentally, feeling the ground under our feet, feeling the change of balance from one leg to the other. As I examined the backyard areas, I noticed that the cool air in my face felt a little different from the one that reached my arms (was it really fast and cool just a few feet?), I felt the branches of the trees sway above me. Pick up my phone, add a little thought, and wander around the world as a woman in Ecstasy.

Nothing strategic
Within a week of my return home, I was back in my normal routine of walking fast and wearing a morning scarf while hunting for a magazine. Constant thinking is not compatible with productive health. I wanted, however, to keep one daily habit that I could turn into a thoughtful habit. I chose The Mindful Shower.

Rain often as I wait for my day, thinking of upcoming meetings, news that is still being mentally prepared. Usually my brain is so busy that I forget if I have shampooed and repaired it or just shampoo it, which leads to stress and loose hair. I decided to turn my stressful rain into smart rain.


A shower can be a very easy practice to trade with a thoughtful practice. Overcrowding there: hot water rubs on my face, the smell of Aveda shampoo, the feeling of a radiant flood on my legs. Whenever my mind starts to write a story, I stop and focus on the temperature, the smell, and the composition of the big shower. This sounded very difficult at first, making me recount my thoughts mentally. “I wash the car, I wash the car. I wonder what traffic will be like at 77.… Eish, I’m conditioning, I’m conditioning. ”It was a little mental training that was easy to apply to other activities, such as exercise and cooking.

With The Mindful Shower, I transformed an unprecedented part of my creation into a moment to think. I feel cheated now. The rain has always been a relief of this, and I missed the awareness because of… meetings or something?

  1. Re-Search for Margins
    Going back was a free time scheduled for the whole day, and without access to a phone, computer, or chat, this is not my time. I would sit on the bench and… just sit. I just walked around looking around. It was unthinkable to think but never got into anxiety.

The Dutch call this disapproval nicknamed niksen. Italians call it dolce far niente, the pleasure of doing nothing. We Americans, however, tend to forget that sometimes, there is not much that we can do.


The deceptive thing is that I don’t have a lot of time to devote to anything, as there are so many things in my plans. I was too busy to do anything each day, right?

I started looking for something I could sell for free. The simplest thing: wait. I have rescheduled the limitations of daily life such as absent times, food lines, red lights, the doctor’s office, or waiting for friends. I don’t take notes, I don’t make a to-do list, I don’t look at Instagram. I let my brain relax.

For the first week, this included a little funny hand dance. My hand was already reaching for the phone in my pocket, then I put it back, and then after 15 seconds, my hand came back, and I pulled it back, and I really looked like I had a spasm. By the second week, it was a new trend.





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