Tag Archives: pema chodron


What’s your reason for quitting smoking or overeating or acting out in anger?  The answer is an important one because the rationale has to be strong enough to keep you on the path.  Sure it could add years to your life, but what are you living for?

As a Pilates Instructor, weight-loss is often popular goal for clients.  I could recite all the health reasons why losing weight is beneficial but like quitting smoking, I think most people already know why excess weight is bad for health. When I pushed them to be specific about why they wanted to lose weight, here’s what I heard:

  • I want to be a better role model for my daughter
  • I want to hike in Vietnam and keep pace with the front of the group
  • I want to look/feel better naked

Specific, personal, and self-determined – that’s a golden combination.

Once you’ve determined your strong motivator, the next step is figure out WHY you do what you do and put some strategies in play. Sometimes the answers can be simple.  For example, a client told me that she whenever she passes a fancy cupcake shop she can’t stop herself from going inside and eating a few.  When asked what she could do differently, she said, “I guess I could take a different bus route.”  Bingo.  She solved her own problem.  And that’s the key.  Good coaches/therapists can help you by asking the right questions so you can develop strategies that work for you.

I recently listened to a lecture by Buddhist nun Pema Chodron. She talked about how patience is the antidote to so many of our struggles and certainly it applies to addictions of every kind.  If we can add the balm of patience – just wait before you eat yet another cupcake or light up another smoke – we are one step closer to making a permanent change.

When we scratch the wound and give into our addictions we do not allow the wound to heal. Pema Chodron.

It will take time.  But keep taking steps toward your goal. Others have done it and so can you.  The choices you make in this moment will and do make a difference.

What one thing can you do right now that can help you quit?

Define it and do it.



How many times have you heard that adage that people are your best teachers?  That when something bothers you about someone else, it’s a reflection of something you don’t see in yourself?  It’s not an uncommon spiritual teaching.  Which of course doesn’t make it any less challenging to deal with. In this talk, ordained Tibetan Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, sheds light on how troublemakers can help you.

Understanding where you have work to do is a big part of any spiritual journey.  Troublemakers, as Pema calls them, will be the ones to point you toward your own neurosis.  Noticing how and when you get provoked is an important life lesson. Awareness is the first step. If you can laugh about it; so much the better. Unhook yourself and you are on the path toward personal freedom.

Awareness comes through slowing down your mind. All that chatter and noise. All the automatic response patterns – many we’re not even conscious of.  The to-do lists, the shoulda, gotta, didn’t – oh no!  Once you start the practice of noticing and slowing down your thoughts, you’ll be amazed how such a seeming simple task becomes a lifelong adventure.

Here are a few simple ways to bring more mindfulness into your day:

  • Set an alarm for 10-mintues and watch your thoughts
  • Notice what’s happening in your head when you’re at a stoplight
  • Waiting in line anywhere can be a great time to check your thoughts

Stop the incessant need to multitask.  A real challenge in this day of smart phones where all around us people are neurotically checking their phones, in cars, walking down the street, and when pushing baby carriages.  Can you just stop for moment to be in the moment? To see? Smell? Touch? Listen?

JoAnn Milivojevic