Adapt: The 3 Steps to Everyday Happiness

Adapt A Chameleon Mindful Fitness mindfitmove Learn to adapt what is mindfulness?
Fixed Ideas
Fixed ideas are the source of 90% of our suffering.

It goes like this:
– We get a picture in our head.
– Then we look at the world.
– We compare.
– We realize they don’t match.
– We get sad.
– We get angry.
– We get frustrated.

But it doesn’t have to be like this. We can learn to work with these fixed ideas. We can learn to adapt.

The Audition
When I was a high school senior I went in to audition for a play. I was sure I was perfect for the lead.

I had spent 4 years in the drama program. I had prepared for the part. I knew was going to get it. They owed it to me.

As the auditions progressed, I kept waiting for my chance. I read for a few other parts. But I wasn’t getting called for the lead.

All of a sudden the audition was over. I was devastated. I did get a part, but it wasn’t the lead.

You Don’t Deserve Nuthin’
Looking back, I realize I wasn’t right for the part. Even if I had tried out, I wouldn’t have gotten it. It just wasn’t me.

But at the time, it was hard. It was hard because, I had formed a fixed idea. I thought I deserved the part.

After I was over getting upset, I realized a hard truth. You don’t get something just because you think you deserve it.

It was a tough lesson to learn. But once I was able to let go of that idea, my life became much easier.

You can’t just flip a switch and get rid of all fixed ideas. But, you can learn to be more flexible, to adapt. And if you do you’ll be happier everyday of your life.

The 3 Keys to Everyday Happiness

1. Hold Your Preferences Lightly
Ever heard that story about the band that demanded a bowl of brown M&M’s at every show? Crazy right?

Yet, we all have our own version of this. Little idiosyncrasies that we ‘need’ to be happy. I once got into a fight over the proper way to load silverware into a dishwasher. (handles up and pre-sorted obviously)

The truth is unless it’s a food allergy you don’t need it that way. You just like it that way. It’s just one preference in a universe of preferences. You’ll be much happier if you learn to hold it lightly. Or even better let it go completely.

2. You Can’t Should’ve Done Anything
You can replay that conversation again and again. You’ll never be able to go back and say the right thing. If you need to apologize do it and move on.

Once it’s happened, it’s happened. Accept responsibility for your part and work to do better next time.

Don’t waste time with arguments in your head. Holding onto the past is not adapting. Look, learn, and then let it go.

3. When It All Falls Apart, Let It Go.
Yesterday, I got locked out of my partners house… twice. Both times, I left my computer at her house. So, I couldn’t get any work done.

I could’ve gotten upset, but instead I just took the day off. I did some foam rolling, took a long shower, and did a short tempo run.

It was a great day, because I accepted that I had no control over the situation.

If your flight is delayed, if your car breaks down, take whatever action you can and then relax. Worrying doesn’t speed anything up.

As the Dalai Lama Says “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”

MindFitMove Practice
1. Pick one preference, one small mistake, or one mishap to let go of.
2. Look for the fixed idea that you’re holding onto.
3.Realize that just because you think it’s true doesn’t mean it’s so.
4. Let it go.
5. Notice that you haven’t let it go.
6. Let it go again.

Let’s Talk:
What weird preferences do you have, that you have a hard time letting go?

Photo Credits


The 3 Teaching Discoveries That Transform Relationships

A Picture of a Teacher

Photo By Nikita Kashner

The 3 Teaching Discoveries:
Teaching is something we do all the time. In romantic relationships, we teach our partner how to support us. Your boss teaches you how to satisfy their expectations.

Unfortunately, we don’t teach clearly. Our partners and bosses sometimes teach conflicting lessons. We do the same to them.

This leads to confusion, mistrust, and disappointment. To create more harmony we must understand what we are teaching. We must mold our lessons to create more clarity.

This post is about how to start that process today.

Being Taken to School
Last week at the Bhaktishop Yoga School we practiced teaching a sequence of poses to a partner.

After our first session, I noticed 3 things that apply to every teaching relationship.

Here are the 3 Teaching Discoveries I made:

1. We Speak Our Own Language –
Everyone has his or her own dictionary. This dictionary is full of references to their life. The dictionary works great, until we use it to teach.

We expect everyone to know what we mean by a certain phrase or word. But everyone else translates our words with their own dictionary.

We have to be mindful of what we say and what it means. Or we risk confusing everyone around us.

The String
For example, when I say,  “Put a string on the crown of your head and lift.” this triggers 100 actions in my mind.

‘The string’ is my short hand for this set of subtle actions. The first time I used it, I had to explain to my partner the things that make up ‘the string’ feeling.

After that when I used ‘the string’ she did most of the actions I showed her. This is possible because we shared an understanding of this phrase.

When you work with someone, you must find common ground. You need to do it explicitly and often, or risk confusion and resentment.

2.  We Like the Way We Learn –
I’m an audile learner and a generalist. I like to hear clear simple instructions and to get the general feeling. On the other hand my partner was very detail oriented.

I would get lost when she added more detail and I left out details she probably considered vital for the pose.

Meet Half Way
When we are teaching we must meet others halfway. If a person likes more detail, add a little more detail. If a person learns better by reading, write a note instead of calling.

Don’t sacrifice your own strengths, but also don’t become dependent on them. If we get stuck on our own style, we limit the reach and efficacy of our message.

3.  Be Present
Teaching my first sequence, I found myself buried in my book.I was so focused on my notes, that I lost track of my partner. This is a real danger when we fixate on our plans.

When we are teaching, our presence is the most amazing gift we can offer. A book or video can recite cues. Only a live person can see and adapt moment by moment.

This is the simplest lesson I learned and also the hardest.

MindFitMove Practice
Pick a relationship where you are in a formal or informal teaching role.
Thinking about that role bring these 3 things to mind:

  1. What is one thing I say habitually? What does it really mean?
  2. What is my learning style? What is their learning style? What can I do to accommodate both styles?
  3. When do I lose touch with the person I’m teaching? What cues could I use to return to being present?

Thanks for reading!

Let me know what tools do you use when teaching?


The Most Important Factor – The Arrow


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I wrote a post a couple weeks ago on how to embody the classical spiritual triptych of the archer, the arrow, and the target. The idea arose out of a Yoga class where the teacher talked about how we are each: an archer, aiming for what we want to become; an arrow, the thing that is moving towards the target; and the target, that which we are aiming at becoming. This post will focus embodying the arrow; the self that is dynamically moving towards our goal.

Let Go

The most important thing about embodying an arrow is to let go of planning. Often the fitness industry sells the idea of a great plan that will get you ‘there’ faster, easier, and for less money. Picking the right plan is important to prevent injury, to develop in a balanced way, and to maximize your efforts, but it’s not the most important factor.

The Arrow

An arrow flows with what is around it, It dips and weaves with the air, having a conversation with it’s environment. As you work towards any goal you must be willing to embody the flexibility the arrow demonstrates.

When we are the archer we see the line to the target as straight line. If we are an excellent archer we take into account things like wind and terrain when we shoot. But as soon as the arrow is loosed, it becomes the object of response and adaptation.

If we resist this subtle flow and adaptation and try to fly in a mathematically straight line we will have a much harder time hitting our target. It is essential when being the act of transformation that we let go of how we thought things would be. Instead we must embrace what is.


How can you embody the arrow this week and let go of some expectations? What if you were to relax into whatever activity you are engaged in? Take some time this week and try being the arrow of change and see how it changes your attitude towards your exercise or fitness practice.

Transformation is the practice of people who transform their lives. I have met many people in my life who have transformed their lives and they all have in common is they are still transforming their lives. They never stop. If the arrow stops moving, it ceases to be an arrow. Make sure that in moving forward you don’t forget to flow with everything else as well.