Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Serenity Tools for the Recession: Metta to the rescue

If you listen to news reports, you know the gloomy--even terrifying--financial predictions for the year: It'll get worse before it gets better; the economy won't rebound till 2010 at the earliest; blah blah blah. It's enough to make a self-employed individual hide under her low-overhead desk. But I'm a pragmatist, and if I want to keep my mind clear and focused on work--and motivated to market--I need tools. My tools, it just so happen, are of the yogic variety. This is an occasional series of tips and tools for maintaining calm and serenity despite economic forecasts. Have a tip of your own? Comment below.

Here's a sign of the economic times: You're waiting for a check. You got a particularly heinous set of edits. Or, you're trying to cram 2000 words into an 800-wordcount story. How do those feel in your body? I don't know about you, but I harden myself. I steel myself for confrontation.

That's why Metta practice is so important.

Metta is a form of guided meditation designed specifically to soften your heart.

Now, for you more practical types, this may sound too namby-pamby for you. But I challenge you: Visit Lisa Dale Miller's Web site and download her 20-minute Metta meditations for beginners.

There are lots of places you can learn loving-kindness meditation, but I found these in iTunes' podcast search, and I like them because they're free, easy to follow, and her voice is relaxing and melodic. Plus, she encourages you to pile up a bunch of pillows on your bed and relax during meditation.

There are two Metta meditations Miller offers:
  • One that opens your heart to someone you love unconditionally, as well as to yourself.
  • One that opens your heart to someone about whom you have neutral feelings, as well as someone with whom you may have conflicts.
Can you see where I'm going with this?

It's not that that publisher who hasn't paid you doesn't deserve your ire--but you deserve freedom from rage and the blocked energy that comes with it. With a soft heart, you may find yourself more flexible, more able to focus on what you can control and, by extension, more serene.

Who knows: Your marketing to increase, your ease around contacting your editor, her publisher or an attorney to get easier. That's what you have control over, and that's what serenity is all about.

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