Welcome to The Living Room!

Welcome to The Living Room!

I'm developing this blog to foster a warm community of people interested in ideas, art, science and practice around personal development and flourishing.

I work as an executive coach, and founded a company whose mission is helping people to find success at work in a way that provides satisfaction across all areas of their lives (you can check us out at www.madeleineshaw.com.au).

Leadership, learning, the wonderful brain/body connection, presence, influence, emotions, thinking, effectiveness, flow and FUN.

I want to know more, and do more!

The world is our living room so let's get living.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hello temptation, my old friend!

A quick update on 2011: Alcohol Free Year.

I am continuing to find it remarkably easy to keep with this. Before starting, I decided to take a mindfulness approach to temptation. Instead of pretending it's not happening, or trying to fight it, I welcome it as an old friend - safe in the knowledge that everything that arises also surely subsides. 

When I find myself tempted (the thought of a beer may have crossed my mind on the hottest night on record last weekend), I smile hello at the thoughts.  I take a curious, but neutral, approach - observing them and the tricks they are trying to play on me. It's a bit like the benign smile a parent might give a cheeky toddler that is stating the case for an extra sweet.

What I have found is that this approach takes much, much less energy than my old approach of fighting. I just observe and wait. Sure enough, the moment passes.

We used to open a bottle of wine two or three nights a week, and drink the bottle over 2 nights, between two of us. Weekends, consumption would often go up a little - but really quite moderate, in the context of the "typical" Australian drinker. Still, I was expecting the habit to exert a stronger pull than it has. I've had a birthday, we've been on holidays, we've had celebrations, we've had I-need-a-drink stressful days... all the kinds of things that would be a good "reason" to quit.  

And what have the benefits been, so far? Partly physiological - weight loss, more energy, sounder sleep. Actually, the main thing I've enjoyed so far has been the practical experience of the mindfulness practice in a challenging area.  Where shall I apply it next?