My most important insights about applying mindfulness to work are grounded in an experience I had as head of the kitchen during a sesshin at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in 1971.

Getting stuck in anxious energy and busyness, but getting nowhere. Does this sound familiar? I call it "running in place," and it's a sure sign that I’ve stopped giving myself love and compassion. When you notice yourself doing this, don’t think, “I have to stop this.” Instead, think, “Oh! I'm running-in-place! I must be denying myself love and compassion.” Then if you like, you can put your hand to your heart as you do in the Hands Over Heart Technique I mentioned in this earlier post. . . .

In the last post, I mentioned making the conscious effort to soften your heart with patience and kindness (and therefore courage). Were you surprised to see “courage” in there? Did it surprise you to think that softening your heart, consciously becoming more patient and kind through consistent effort, takes courage? If it did surprise you, please consider that it is an act of courage when you resist the fearful habitual thought patterns that keep you stuck, or anxiously running-in-place inside yourself, unable to move forward. It is possible to make major shifts -- to easily make true and lasting positive change in any area of your life -- when you call on the courage to be kind.