“How to Zen” for Type A Personalities

You’re already running late, fumbling with your keys, your gestures are sharp and agitated, you’re barking at the other person in the room cause you’re short on time, short on patience, and reeeeally wanting to complain. You’re feeling frustrated that you’re even behaving this way when you literally “know better”. As an adult, a yogi, or meditator, or spiritual person…you know better. But compassion and empathy or patience for that matter are far far away in this moment, like a distant whisper on the wind. You “know better” but you can’t seem to “act” right. The other person in the room calls you out and you flinch, launching immediately into a defense and then barely refrain from slamming the door too hard as you leave. Once in the car, once on the road, once the music starts pumping through the speakers your Spirit descends back into your body, you slip into your vortex, and start mantra-ing, affirming, chanting, praising, and devoting yourself to your highest path.

Yep. This is what it looks like right now as we collectively (and respectively) transition from our beast minded 666 fight or flight mentality into our more enlightened God consciousness of compassion and mindfulness. This will have to be cultivated, and that journey is not easy, especially for Type A people. What is Type A? Someone extra driven, goal-oriented, perfectionist, discerning, and intolerant to failure. These folks are everywhere, including the New Age movement and within spiritual communities. Often our hearts are in the right place, but our inner programming for productivity and success causes us much distress and derailment. Thus, having a genuinely zen lifestyle can feel like a pipe dream.

So here are a few simple tips I use to return me to zen before I “schiz” out on myself or someone else. Re-structuring the perspective is oftentimes all that is needed to pull you out of a bad vibe. Here’s a totally doable (and easy to remember) method for how…

  1. Just Breathe; slow, deep, deliberate breaths. This tool cannot be overstated honestly. Many of you already know this…”following the breath” returns you to the now, enables oxygen to calm the nerves, and literally pulls you out of stress consciousness. 
  2. Clear your mind; as you consciously breathe in and out, wipe away your thoughts like a breeze (your breath) is washing through your mind and dispersing all the thoughts from your it. Most Type A’s are “in the head” focused on achieving some important and impending goal. Clearing your mind will release you from overemphasis on something in the past or future and return you to the Here Now where the “task at hand” is not so urgent and unforgiving. You can relax your nerves and find more grace. Having no other preoccupation in the mind will also enable you to better focus on the now with all of your Self.
  3. Choose Love; over tasks, projects, deadlines, or “inspired action”. The bus is not leaving. It’s not easy to soften your tone of voice or put down the workload and pick up your kid…but it’s what truly matters in the Game of Life. The tasks will be there in 2min after you’ve given your partner a warm hug, a word of gratitude, your precious “time of day”, or after you’ve tousled your kid’s hair and reminded them how much you adore them. Connection is key to human beings. We need it. So choose love…
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