Zen Teaching takes conscious effort.  Here are seven steps I’ve taken this week to create a handful of Zen moments in my life–both personally and professionally.

1.  Subtraction/Space:  A writing assignment I did with my juniors crashed and burned.  I simply jettisoned it, and I pretended as if it never happened.  Time to move on, and we were all the better for my having done that. Onward and upward.

2.  Silence/Meditation:  Several times last week, I found time during the school day for silence.  Before school, during my prep period, during lunch, or at the end of the day.  I sat at my desk in the empty room and enjoyed all of the noise I wasn’t making.

3.  Lovingkindness:  In an effort to unify our staff (which has gone through some bumpy times recently), I launched an in-house, all staff virtual faculty lounge (read: website and blog) celebrating the great things we’re doing on campus.  I love my school and my staff and it is my hope that it will help us come together again and, with luck, help us begin to heal from the recent tensions.

4.  Detachment/Acceptance:  Last weekend I was looking forward to going to my favorite restaurant, but when I arrived the wait was over 45 minutes. As I went to check on the wait at the restaurant across the parking lot, I started to get all butthurt that I wasn’t going to get to eat where I wanted, but then remembered that each moment is beautiful and perfect the way it is, and that I needed to accept.  After deciding to wait for the place I wanted originally, my name was called in just over 15 minutes.  My acceptance avoided a lot of unnecessary weeping and gnashing of teeth because, as it turns out, The Universe had a plan.

5.  Simplification:  Yesterday was an off-campus professional development day where I worked on goals and curriculum.  I designed goals, objectives, and curriculum that eliminated unnecessary stuff and focused only and exclusively on the areas of learning I want to cover.

6.  Quiet Mind:  After the professional development was over, I walked through a local mall and, for an extended period of time, just sat and watched the water flow in a water fountain simply because it was so beautiful.

7.  Self-Care: 
I have no obligations tomorrow morning.  I will spend at least two hours in the a.m. just recharging my batteries.  Coffee. Music. Some reading, perhaps, or writing poetry. Even just sitting in a chair listening to the birds outside.  I will rest both body and mind.  No agenda; just being.

If part one of the question is “Where can you include a few moments of Zen in your personal or professional life?”, then part two of the question is, “Where do you need to create peace, focus, and simplicity?” TZT