BOOK Notes: The Buddha in me, the Buddha in you

KLR note buddha in me buddha in you book 11-03-23

I read. A lot. My list of “books to read” has over 100 titles listed, and every time I mention a book I’ve appreciated, I get another recommendation of a new one and the list gets longer. 

One of the books recommended to me years ago was “The Buddha in Me the Buddha in You”, by one of the PF team. She mentioned it had some helpful principles about how we navigate life – and whether you’re a buddhist or not, there are principles you can learn from and apply in life. 

I wrote it down, forgot about it, and moved on with life. Read lots of other books. 

And then when I broke my ankle, and was sitting and resting a LOT, with loads of time for reading, I went back to my list and started reconsidering some of the titles on it. 

When I looked up “The Buddha in Me the Buddha in You”, the subtitle was “A Handbook for Happiness”, which struck a chord. 

Dealing with an injury is difficult. Sad. Wearying. It can be hard to find happiness and every day feels about the same.

So I bought it. I bought the hard copy, and put it by my bed, and started getting into a pattern of reading a chapter every morning with my coffee. 

In the past I never really liked reading books one chapter at a time. I’ve seen the suggestion often – “just read one chapter a day!” Or, “read a chapter of a book every day with lunch!” – but when I tried it, I got too distracted. I’d forget what I read the day before, and it felt really disconnected to try to read it that way. I preferred to read a book at one fell swoop. Get fully absorbed into it and focus on that topic before moving to another one. 

But my attention span (already minimal, and even shorter in the healing period) made that impossible, so I went with the one chapter a day approach and discovered to my surprise it was working. I had time to think on the topics. I had something to look forward to every morning. And the principles applied to all areas of my life – personal and business and relational and all – so it was a good way to start the day. 

A few weeks ago I finished it, and thought I’d share some of the principles I appreciated and which helped me straight away as I navigated my life during a healing time: 

Thank the spoon

If a glass appears to have clear water, but there’s mud and silt at the bottom, and a spoon stirs it all up, you become aware of the dirt (which you weren’t aware of before) and you can deal with it, so you’re grateful. It still sucks, but at least now you know what you’re dealing with. 

Same with hard things in life. If things appear to be going okay, and all is clear, and then suddenly something hard happens, it stirs up things you haven’t dealt with yet. And it sucks, but then over time you realise what it stirred up and you are grateful for the opportunity to deal with it. 

So you thank the spoon. Broken ankle? “Thank you, spoon.” Client who is disgruntled? “Thank you, spoon.” Car going reallllly slow in front of you? “Thank you, spoon.” And you deal with what has been stirred up.

Fundamental darkness 

Those of you who have studied the “ego” concept will recognise this – sort of the worst self, the “Survival Obsessed Self” who responds in a way  based on survival but not growth. I appreciate the term because ‘darkness’ feels like it accurately reflects where my soul and mind go sometimes. A dark place which isn’t the healthiest but it makes sense why I’d default to it. 

There’s a gift in the struggle 

This is a concept I’ve understood for some time, and appreciated the reminder. Any struggle, any difficulty, always has a blessing, a gift. There are good things which come from them. For me this doesn’t mean fake positivity, pretending everything is great when it’s not; but it does mean I insist on looking for the gift. 

We even turned it into one of our company values at PF, and defined positivity as believing there is always a gift and looking for it. Sometimes you look for it for a long time; sometimes you look whilst being angry or frustrated or weary; sometimes you give up and then revive yourself to try again. But there is always a gift. (It’s similar to the “thank the spoon” concept above.)

He describes it visually as “the lotus flower in the muddy pond”. You can focus on the mud, or on the flower, but they’re both there. 

Nam – myo – ho – renge – kyo : “The happiness soundtrack”

This is the Buddhist chant the author recommends, and the five principles are described in the book. I pulled out the core concepts of each as they applied to me, and they are: 

  • Purpose
  • Mystery
  • Potential 
  • Bloom in the struggle
  • Flow of life

Although chanting isn’t something I’m doing regularly, I appreciated these principles, and the reminder every day that…

  • I have a purpose unique to me
  • There are mysteries to consider as I go
  • There is greater potential I can lean into
  • I can choose to bloom in the struggle, to see the lotus flower in the muddy pond.
  • This all flows together in a bigger picture. 

There’s much more in the book, and I’m sure when you read it you’ll pull out other concepts helpful to you. But now you know some of them, and when you hear me thanking the spoon, or asking you what the gift is, you have a little more background to it. 

My question for you is…what are you reading right now? What are you appreciating about it? 

Follow me

ON THE GRAM

I’m not actually bummed about the grey weather we’re having. Here’s why.

I went for a walk in the MORNING today, which felt like i’m winning at life. 🏆 

Lately I’ve been fitting in my daily walk at 9 or 10pm after a long day of meetings. I’m super grateful for the way it’s still light so late at night, but a walk-at-end-of-day doesn’t have the same motivational kick as the walk-at-the-start. 🌑 

So that one little thing I did puts me at champion status, and affects my entire mindset for the day. 💪 

There are a lot of contributing factors to this morning’s walk, but the top one was that it was grey, cool, and windy...which is far more motivational to me than bright sunshine. 🌬 

I know, it’s weird.

The rest of britain is like UGH WHAT A SHIT SUMMER and i’m here going um...i really, really love the rain. And clouds. And cool breezes. And grey skies. ☔ 

I’ll join in the conversation and be like yea, yea, it really does suck...but that’s just to start conversation and show British solidarity. Deep down I don’t think it does suck. 👀 

I do like sunshine, but after spending 25 years of my life in Arizona, I don’t love or crave the heat. ☀ 

Anything over about 20 degrees and i start getting a bit antsy...and my limit is “23 with a breeze”. 😎 

If it’s higher than that I’ll literally hide inside, not rush out to sit in a beer garden or at the beach. I really don’t enjoy heat at all. 

So thanks grey skies and wind, you helped a lot today. 💪 

Just me? Everyone else dreaming of 30+ degrees and sunshine?? It’s okay if you are...i just...don’t get it. 🤣 

#justkeepgoing #walkoftheday #goodmorning #wegotthis #onestepatatime #motivation
Cancelling things is a superhero skill.

Not all the time, of course: we want to be trustworthy.

And the sheer stubbornness of being a business owner is good.

I can do it. I will do it. No matter what! I can make. this. work.

A product, an event, a new hire, a business.

So we keep pushing. Show up, send the emails, make the phone call, record the videos. More training for the new hire, more new hires. Make sure we never let anyone down.

Of course, things happen. We get sick, something happens to a family member, or there’s an emergency and we need to shift things around.

But cancelling things can be a superhero skill: when you do it well, knowing why it’s time to cut the cord and communicating it well.

Here’s some of what I consider when I’m trying to decide if it’s time to dig in, or stop & go another direction:

1. Does anyone even know about it?
Sometimes it’s been a big part of your business life and used a lot of brainpower, but no one outwith you and your team know it was meant to happen.

2. What’s the cost of not doing this now?
The full cost, more than financial, including:
- Motivational cost for you, team, clients
- Decreased trust for clients
- Loss of strategic partnership connection

3. Could you replace it with something else?
Another day, an online option, a template instead of custom build? Sometimes a replacement isn’t a cancellation at all. You’re doing it, but in a less costly way.

4. Do I have the energy and appetite to keep going?
I can do it with an automaton approach…but given the other things on my plate, where do I want my energy to go? How much do I have to give? Will it renew energy, or drain it?

I ended up cancelling a small event recently, & whilst I was disappointed, it was the right decision for these reasons.

It can feel embarrassing...but cancelling something can be a superpower, if it’s done well & communicated clearly and honestly. And when it’s more the exception than the rule.

Anything you are considering stopping? What impact might that have?

✨This is from this week’s Creative Headspace note. They go out every Friday - except for the rare occasions I skip a week for my own sanity. 😄 Sign up in bio!💌