Positive Relationship Building: Surround Yourself with People who Get Sh*t Done

Have you ever noticed that some people energize you while others drain you? In some groups, you feel smarter while other groups make you feel less intelligent? Perhaps your productivity differs depending on the type of company you’re with.

So I’ll just come out and say it – yes, your friends matter.

In the 1950s, a psychologist named Solomon Asch did an experiment with a group of volunteers to study group conformity. Imagine that you, a participant in the experiment show up to the experimental room where there are seven other participants. You don’t know this at the time, but the others aren’t actually participants, but co-conspirators of the experimenter. You’re the only real participant. The experimenter tells you that the study is about visual judgments, and places two cards in front of you. One card shows one straight vertical line, while the other card shows three lines of various lengths, labeled A,B, and C. The experimenter then asks each person to indicate which of the three lines matches the length of the card with only one line. You’re the last person to answer. You can tell that line that perfectly matches is obviously C, but one after the other, the “participants” say that it’s B.

What would you do in this situation? Would you conform? Or stick to what you know is right?

While in the control condition, where participants did not have pressure to conform to a unanimous answer, only 1% chose the wrong answer, yet in the experimental condition, over 1/3 of participants chose the unanimous and obviously incorrect answer.

What happens in our brains from a neurological perspective is that when we have an opinion that matches those of people around us,  our brain’s reward center releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which gives us a jolt of pleasure. We feel good, validated, and closer to others. Yet when our opinion differs, we feel bad. The area of our brain responsible for pain is activated, and we can either pretend to agree with others but secretly hold onto our own thoughts, or more likely, our brain will actively change how we think and molds our thoughts to align with those of the crowd that surrounds us.

When we choose to hang out with those who bring us down, the naysayers and pessimists, who tell us “no” and rain on our parade, we get less done. Misery loves company, and people who don’t get sh*t done don’t want you to either! Our brains are rewired to say, “it’s okay, I don’t have to do it.”

But yet, if we choose to spend our time with high achievers, people who are dreamers and more importantly doers, they inspire us and supercharge us to do even more than we ever thought we could. If you surround yourself with like-minded people, who are full of energy and ideas, are excited to put themselves out there and to make things happen, you will too. While misery demands company, so does success. People who are successful actively surround themselves with people who also successful. When we spend time with these people, our brains are rewired to say, “They did it, and you can too.”

“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”

— Richard Tirendi, CEO and Co-Founder of VisionQuest

So how can seek out mutually beneficial relationships with other successful people to help us achieve more?

Who You Should Spend Time With

Spend time with people who inspire you. Have you ever looked at a friend and thought, “Wow! I wish I could be more like you in ___ area?” Spend more time with people who inspire you to be a better person through their own behaviors and examples. Ask them their secrets to success and pick up a few life hacks!

Spend time with people who share your values. Authenticity matters in friendships. When you spend time with people whose values differ vastly from your own, you not only run the risk of setting off your brain’s pain receptors (ouch!), you also might end up changing your opinion to match theirs.

Spend time with people who you can learn something new from. I love having friends who come from different backgrounds and have different skill sets. It not only makes life more interesting, but it also gives me the opportunity to learn something new.

Spend time with people who make you a better person. Real friends who will call you out on your BS are gems. They not only tell you the truth, but they will also continue to raise the bar on your personal growth. Treasure them!

Who You Should Not Spend Time With

What you don’t want to do is spend time with people who are consistently negative, who aren’t achieving their own goals, who don’t share your values and are constantly dragging you down with drama. This person doesn’t have much to offer you but is always asking for help. They spend a lot of time tearing others down, gossiping and complaining. If you have people like this in your life currently, make an active choice to minimize their role in your life.

What About Networking?

The word networking is intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. People who are getting sh*t done are all around you, and in fact, are likely your friends, family, and colleagues. Take a look at your personal network. Are there people who you would like to be spending more time with, but you aren’t currently doing so? In this day in age, where we have social media, email, and more importantly, smartphones, your future cheerleaders are often just a few clicks away. Notice that they’ve done something extraordinary lately? Send them an email of congratulations and let them know how much you admire their achievements, then simply ask if they would like to grab a coffee or drink sometime. After all, the worst they can say is no, and more often than not, people are usually quite willing to spend time with you.

Another idea is to host informal gatherings or parties to bring people together. Do you have different groups of high achieving friends who might benefit from getting to know one another? Make the introduction simple by inviting a curated group to happy hour, or perhaps an intimate dinner party. The activity of breaking bread tends to break the ice, and to me, people who eat together often also achieve together.

Ultimately, it’s scientifically clear that you are the people who you choose to surround yourself with. According to the motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, “The law of averages says that the result of any given situation will be the average of all outcomes. Therefore, you are the average of the five people you most associate with.” So take a good look at your innermost circle. Are you associating with those who are bringing you up, helping you become a better person, and get sh*t done?

The One Social Media Habit That Will Make You Feel Better, Not Worse

Study after study has shown that social media makes us feel bad. Whether we browse through Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or Pinterest, we get the sense that other people are more successful than us, look better than us, are having more fun than us, or even just living a better life than us. Social media has been linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression and decreased social skills. It’s all about that comparison – and usually, we’re comparing our real lives to the highlight reels of others.

It’s easy to forget about the promotion we just got, the vacation we just took, or even just the nice dinner we just had, even if we did post it to social media, and got a thousand “likes”. You know what I’m talking about here. It’s when you save up for some type of large, extravagant purchase that you’re absolutely sure will change your life for the better. Or when you’re chasing that goal achievement of making a certain amount of money. Or perhaps getting to your goal weight. The, “If only I…” creeps into your mind. If only I had more money. If only I could lose those last 10 pounds. Yet when we actually reach those goals, our happiness is rather short-lived. We forget about it and move on to the next thing.

This is because of the phenomenon of the hedonic treadmill. The hedonic treadmill is a term coined by psychologists Brickman and Campbell to describe the tendency of people to keep a relatively stable baseline level of happiness despite external events or changes in our demographic circumstances. This is why lottery winners aren’t happier months after their big win, and people who go through difficult times tend to often bounce back to their former disposition. Rather than changing our circumstances, we need to change the way that we look at the life that we’ve already experienced. Instead of chasing the next dream all the time, what if we were to spend some time re-living, or savoring our memories of the past?

“It’s not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”

— Charles Spurgeon

The good news is while changing our external circumstances often doesn’t lead to increased happiness, changing our internal circumstances does. According to Martin Seligman, one of the founders of the field of positive psychology and a past president of the American Psychological Association, “there is quite a number of internal circumstances (…) under your voluntary control. If you decide to change them (none of these changes come without real effort), your level of happiness is likely to increase lastingly.”

So here’s my suggestion for the one social media habit that will make you feel better:


That’s right, instead of going through the social media feed of others, go through your own highlight reel. Connect with the good memories, those moments where you felt pride and joy. The moments that are a part of your past, but rarely a part of your present.

According to Denis Waitley, author and motivational speaker, “a good life is a collection of happy memories.” Well luckily for you, you’ve got that collection in your hands right now.

How to Have a Positive Career Development Conversation with Your Boss

Last night, I sat down to dinner with my husband in a busy restaurant in Manhattan after a long day of work. It was Korean restaurant in the heart of midtown down the street from my office, and at 7 pm, crowded full of young professionals. As I was telling my husband about my upcoming annual performance review, I overheard the couple sitting next to us discussing the very same thing. “How do you think I should talk to my boss about my career development?”, the boyfriend/husband asked his girlfriend/wife. “I think you should start with asking for their feedback,” she replied.

This quick exchange suddenly got me thinking. At my current organization, I spent some time surveying leaders and employees on the biggest challenges that they face. Time after time, having career development conversations come up. It seems like we often get mixed messages – do we appear too forward if we ask for a promotion? Should we wait for our manager to approach us first? What if my plan isn’t to stay with the organization for the next 5 years? Should I be honest? Will that prevent me from getting that raise?

“Career development, like dating, is messy. But just like dating, the best policy is to not play games; but to be honest, authentic, and assertive about what you want.”

— Nikki

According to Gallup, 87% of millennials rate “professional or career growth and opportunities” as important to them in a job, and 59% of millennials report that opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job. Knowing just how much we prioritize career development, why do we oftentimes leave this important task in the hands of others?

If you have regular one-on-ones with your people leader, you should be having career development conversations. And if your people leader doesn’t bring it up, you most definitely can! After all, it’s your career we’re talking about here.

Here are my top suggestions for having a positive career development conversation with your boss:

Plan for the conversation and start with a positive atmosphere. The last thing you want to do is to catch your boss off-guard. If you have regularly scheduled one-on-ones, let your leader know that you’ll want to spend some time during your next meeting to discuss your career development. If you don’t, ask to schedule a meeting. Before the meeting, find a quiet place, an office, or even a casual coffee shop to have the conversation. Limit distractions by putting away your cell phone or closing your laptop to demonstrate a commitment to the conversation.

Be honest about both your short-term and long-term goals. You don’t necessarily have to put time stamps on each of those, but giving your boss the bigger picture of where you want to go in life helps set the foundation for how he or she can best help you to develop. Be open about wanting something different from your current position in the future. If you have a supportive leader, chances are, they will be able to help you get to your next step in many ways. Down the line, they can give you stretch assignments or challenges to help you meet your goals, and potentially introduce you to your next role, whether it is in a different department or even outside of your organization.

Be clear about what you want to learn and how it will help the business. Spend some time thinking about areas in which you could either improve on or new skills you can build to get better at your job. Identify one or two concrete plans – whether it is a course offered internally or externally, a conference that pertains to your profession, or a book that you want to read. Make a strong connection of how the learning plan ties into your role and how it will enhance the business. Don’t be afraid of rejection. You don’t get what you don’t ask for, and the worst he/she can say is “no”.

Ask for actionable positive and constructive feedback. Once you have clued your leader in on what your short-term and long-term goals are, show that you are ready to take initiative to learn and grow. Ask for open and honest feedback about your performance. If the feedback seems vague, dive deeper and ask your leader to provide you with specific examples and ideas on how you can improve. Remember that feedback is truly a gift. Take on a positive growth mindset and see constructive feedback as a reflection of your performance at the time, not a reflection of you as a person or your character.

Having a career development conversation with your leader can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be hard. The most important thing to remember is this: be honest and authentic with yourself and your leader. Take the time to really imagine the life that you want for yourself and make bold steps towards those goals. You are in control of your career development, so don’t dream your life, live your dream.

More than Listening to Understand, We Need to Listen to Connect

 Sometimes when people are speaking, this is what we hear.  Sometimes when people are speaking, this is what we hear.

A few years ago, I started to work with leaders to develop their ability to communicate better to drive engagement and results for their teams. When these leaders would show up in my classroom, often times, they bring with them their struggles and challenges to get their message across. “They just don’t listen”, exclaimed one exasperated leader after the other. It seems like they faced an impossible challenge every time – whether it was getting their direct reports to show up to work on time, or whether it was convincing their boss to adopt a new strategy. Several mentioned the difficulty of having to deliver tough feedback. “I don’t know what to say,” one manager said to me, “so I just don’t say anything at all.”

The misconception in communication is just this – that to be a good communicator, you need to be able to speak well. To most of us, it’s simple to imagine that getting our message across involves some sort of magical persuasion or influencing tactic. We have to be inspiring, to use the right words and grammatical structure, we have to elevate our tone, our posture, our gestures. In fact, there are so many “tricks and tips” all over the internet on how to say anything to anyone. From using “we” language to asking the right questions there are endless examples of how we can “say” the right thing to finally get our message across to the other person.

In exploring how to help these leaders develop their communication skills, I stumbled upon a new concept – listening to understand. It was a huge light bulb moment for me. I tend to think quickly on my feet and react immediately to conversations, that is, I have a tendency to listen to respond. In fact, I typically don’t even wait for the person to finish speaking before I formulate my thoughts on what to say next. What happens for me is this: as the other person talks, the wheels in my brain continue to spin, just waiting for the right moment, the moment where the other person takes pauses for one breath, and then I swoop in to say my piece, whether it was warranted or not.

Listening to understand is all about being generous with your attention. It is about truly focusing 100% of your attention on what the other person is saying. It’s taking the time to learn about the other person’s perspective. When you listen to respond, you can miss important details, facts, and cues. When you listen to understand, you zone in, rather than zone out on what is said, giving you the advantage of truly hearing what the other person is saying, so that what you hear, is what you understand.

Yet having a conversation, especially a difficult one isn’t a one sided process. In fact, conversations are two-sided, they are didactic and dynamic. While listening to understand is a critical skill to great communication, I would argue that listening to connect is even more important. Listening to connect builds trust, and trust breaks down conversational barriers. According to Judith E. Glaser, author of best-selling book, Conversational Intelligence, in order to build trust and get extraordinary results, leaders need to listen to connect, not judge or reject. This involves taking listening one step further. Instead of trying to understand what the person is saying, try to relate to it. See the way they see, feel the way they feel. Observe the little nuances of what is said vs. unsaid, what lies beneath the surface or between the lines. Be intentional about looking for opportunities to understand and relate to the other’s perspective. Focus on being non-judgmental, and open up the conversational space for creating greater connections, sharing perspectives and discovery.

When we choose to listen to connect, we become better communicators. In the end,  it’s not about word choices or persuasion. It’s about making a connection, caring for and bonding with another human being.


The Character Strength of Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence

Winter in New York is a dark and deary time. It’s also relentless – in that winter can last from October to May, bringing howling winds, bitter coldness and snowstorms. For that reason and many others, New Yorkers tend to spend most of their winters indoors. Especially after daylight savings hits, the days become rather short, with darkness falling around 4:30 pm. When the workday ends later than sundown, New Yorkers bundle up to leave their concrete jungle, putting on layers upon layers – scarves, hats, gloves, boots, and thick winter coats. There are no rooftop happy hours, no walks in Central Park, and strolls through SoHo. Just a quick hustle towards the closest train station, and then a miserable and bitter-cold walk home.

As a former California girl, I didn’t realize how deeply winters in New York affected me. Without access to sunlight, that sweet, sweet, vitamin D, I was feeling worse by the day. Whether it was with friends, colleagues, or even complete strangers, we complained about the weather. We lathered our skin in excessive amounts of lotion to combat dryness, wore a lot of black sweaters to cover our pale tones. Getting dressed for work felt like getting dressed to go into battle.

One day, a few friends and I were chatting, and we decided that enough was enough. If the weather wasn’t going to change as yet another nor’easter was going to be upon us, we would do it ourselves. We impulsively booked a long weekend trip to Bermuda.

 Horseshoe Bay Beach was secluded in off-season, perfect for us.  Horseshoe Bay Beach was secluded in off-season, perfect for us.

It wasn’t until we arrived, and I dipped my toes – actually I practically ran into the ocean, embracing 65F, which Bermudians consider “too cold to swim”, that I realized just how much nature meant to me. I was in complete awe of the beauty of what surrounded me. The pink sand between my toes, the cold, clear ocean waves upon my skin and the open, salty air. I felt connected to all of it. Gratitude, peace, and joy swelled in my heart. I was WOWed. I loved every moment of being on that beach. I felt a thrilling sense of overwhelming awe. At that moment, I recalled one of my top character strengths – Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence.

Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence is a character strength that has been studied by psychologists Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman, the pair who developed the VIA Institute of Character Strengths. Defined as “the ability to find, recognize, and take pleasure in the existence of goodness in the physical and social worlds,” it falls under the virtue category of Transcendence. Transcendence describes strengths that provide a broad sense of connection to something higher in meaning and purpose than ourselves.

Peterson and Seligman have determined that there are three types of goodness for which individuals high in Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence are responsive to:

Physical beauty. This may be visual, auditory, tactile, or abstract. This type of goodness produces awe and wonder in the individual experiencing it.

Skill or talent (excellence). This is often energizing, and makes the individual want to pursue their own goals. It produces admiration.

Virtue or moral goodness (moral beauty). Virtual goodness makes the individual want to be better, more loving, and produces feelings of elevation.

Unsurprisingly, I respond to all three. Feelings of awe and inspiration are absolutely critical to my well-being, and I need these moments to be happy, just like I need air to breathe. Now you might feel more drawn towards one or two types rather than all three, or you might find yourself like me – drawn to all of them.

Remember when you were a child? You probably experienced this type of awe and wonder all the time. Whether it was something new and novel, something that was physically beautiful, or seeing excellence in performance or art, you audibly exclaimed “WOW!” What does that for you now? Taking the time to cultivate the character strength of Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence makes our lives better, more meaningful, more worthwhile. By reconnecting with the beauty of nature, we are able to get in touch with our sense of inspiration, awe, and wonder.

So here are some quick tips to help you reconnect with nature, even if you live in the city and it’s winter, like I do.

1. Get out. Go for a walk. Do something else that’s a change in routine. Whether you live in the suburbs or the city, take a moment to enjoy your surroundings. Make it a slow stroll, and be mindful of the little bits of beauty and joy around you.

2. Make time and effort for little pleasures. Buy yourself flowers, plant a little garden (even an urban garden), and watch those documentaries on Netflix about people who have done extraordinary things or have excelled in their fields. Print out vacation photos and put them in your office to remind you of times where you truly were connecting with nature.

3. Travel. Traveling is one of the best things to do to open up our minds and explore new things that can lead to that sense of wonder and awe. When traveling, fully engage with the experience of being somewhere novel and new. Lose yourself in the experience and take full advantage of any nature experiences that are afforded by that location.

I’m not going to lie, coming back to yet another nor’easter after a beautiful 3 days in Bermuda wasn’t easy. But I came back with the new perspective of making time and effort for reconnecting with nature. And though it’s not completely the same as being in Bermuda, I ended up visiting the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Gardens, and it was amazing! Who knew that just 30 minutes away from my apartment in Queens lies a wonderful world of natural beauty.

What Would Be Your Signature Job Title?

A year or so ago, I met someone during a training seminar in Washington D.C., and she introduced herself as a Director of First Impressions. As a fellow Learning and Development professional, much of her job revolved around orientation and on-boarding new employees. She was bubbly, enthusiastic and kind – the type of girl who exhibited all the characteristics of what it means to Positively Sparkle. As we connected, I began to realize that her title was more than just a job. Being a Director of First Impressions was at the core of her identity, values and strengths, and it wasn’t just a title, it represented her purpose.

So what’s in a job title anyway? All of us seem to have job titles at work, and we tout them around even after hours– at networking events, at social happy hours, house parties, and family gatherings. They’re on our business cards, our email signatures, our name badges. Some of us find immense pride in our titles, others, not so much. In the corporate world, titles help us to establish hierarchy. We know that the letters C, or VP mean that you are a leader in the organization with significant impact. Some of us would say that our title represents exactly what our job functions entail, yet again, others, not so much. There are such a vast variety of job titles that even knowing which one to search for on online job posting boards requires intensive research. We mold our resumes to fit the job title and description, painstakingly researching keywords and applying relevant knowledge and experience to fit the “role”.

Yet, if a title is a representation of who we are and what we bring to the table, why shouldn’t we create our own? Several organizations have begun the process of letting employees choose their own job titles. At Berkshire Hathaway, there is a Director of Chaos. The IT department at Netflix are called NERDS, and the CEO of the Make a Wish Foundation is called the Fairy Godmother of Wishes.

People say that their self-created job titles help them to focus on the joyful parts of their job versus the hardships, and research shows that the titles provide self-verification, psychological safety and external rapport. Now while not all of us are going to be able to create our own job title at work, let’s take a moment to discover, just for ourselves, what would be our signature job title?

Mine would be: Sparkle Creator. Because I love creating experiences that delights, invigorates and brings joy to others. I seek to innovate on learning for leaders that spark positive change for people and organizations. My life purpose: to leave a little sparkle wherever I go.

The Latest in Mindfulness is Pasta Meditation: Making Garganelli

For a long time, I felt that I wasn’t good at meditation. In my mind, meditation meant that I was sitting cross legged, hands gently resting on my thighs, palms up, head clear, breathing in and out slowly and purposely without letting my mind wander of falling asleep. Whether it was guided or unguided, I felt like even 5 minutes was too long for me. Not only did I always feel like I didn’t have time to meditate, when I could find the time, I couldn’t even sit still for the short duration. Thinking that this type of meditation wasn’t for me, I knew I needed a different solution. And that’s when I stumbled upon the idea of cooking meditation.

Cooking is an activity that inherently requires us to be fully present. After all, if you’re not fully present while chopping vegetables, you might just cut your fingers off. You have to be fully present to put the right amount of salt and seasoning in your food, you have to be present not to burn dinner, and you most definitely have to be present while measuring ingredients for baked goods. Not only does it require full presence, it also allows for connection. To me, cooking provides me with a way to connect. I connect with food through my hands, and I use food and cooking to connect with others. It’s an activity that is both productive and creative, purposeful and meaningful. When we fully engage in cooking, we engage with all of our senses – our sense of smell, taste, sight, touch and even sound.

When I think about all of my favorite hobbies and things to do, cooking ranks up there as probably my favorite thing to do in the world. I love cooking for myself and my husband, entertaining our friends, or challenging myself to make something new and exciting. Cooking satisfies my soul in a way that nothing else does. It provides me and the people I love with nourishment and pleasure; it satisfies the the mind, body and soul.  It calms me down after a long day of work, and it gives me the space to be creative and to enjoy beauty and excellence.

So, of course, one of my favorite youtube stars is Andrew Rea, or Oliver Babish from Binging with Babish. If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s basically short tutorials and recreations of recipes from television and movies. In one episode, Babish makes il timpano, a baked pasta dish filled with meatballs, boiled eggs, red sauce and garganelli. As soon as I watched the episode, I knew I wanted to make garganelli one day.

A few weeks ago, I finally got my chance to make homemade garganelli – a tubular shaped hand rolled pasta that requires fresh pasta sheets being cut into small squares 2×2 squares, folded on a wooden dowel and rolled on a small wooden comb called a pettine. Similar to their less glamorous cousin, penne, garganelli differs in that a “flap” is visible where one corner of the pasta square adheres to the rest, as opposed to a perfect cylinder in penne.

To understand this specialty of Emilia-Romaga, I  read a cookbook called Making Artisan Pasta by Aliza Green. Aliza described garganelli as coming from the Italian word garganeli, meaning a chicken’s gullet, or “gargle” in English. The dough contains a healthy amount of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and freshly grated nutmeg, giving it a speckled appearance and a delicious smell. The dough is slightly moist but pretty firm, and has the texture of a nice cool playdoh.

 Here I am, rolling out dough using this awesome kitchen-aid pasta tool. It's an absolute must have for all your homemade pasta sheets, and it's 100x easier than using a traditional hand crank pasta machine.  Here I am, rolling out dough using this awesome kitchen-aid pasta tool. It’s an absolute must have for all your homemade pasta sheets, and it’s 100x easier than using a traditional hand crank pasta machine.   Once the dough was rolled out to the right thickness, I used a ruler and a fluted pasta cutter to cut the dough into 2x2 squares. This particular cutter could cut either a fluted or straight pattern.  Once the dough was rolled out to the right thickness, I used a ruler and a fluted pasta cutter to cut the dough into 2×2 squares. This particular cutter could cut either a fluted or straight pattern.

Though immensely tedious, I gave my full concentration on each of those fluted square shapes, taking the time to gently place each one on the dowel and rolling it onto the board just so- that the tiny ridges formed and the edges sealed perfectly, resulting in a perfectly shaped garganello. Sliding the tube gently off the dowel, I reached for the next piece of square dough.

 The gentle yet firm folding technique on the board that creates the grooves in the pasta and seals the edges.  The gentle yet firm folding technique on the board that creates the grooves in the pasta and seals the edges.   Each completed garganello brought me a little bit of joy.  Each completed garganello brought me a little bit of joy.

The purposeful balance of being not too light- as to not stamp on the ridges and give the dough a proper seal, or too heavy- which would make the dough stick on the dowel and in the board was my only task. With each gargenello, I improved my technique. It was as natural as breathing, yet it required sheer concentration. When one didn’t come out as perfect as the others, I simply noted it, letting the pasta gently slide onto a wooden board without judgement. Soon, a portion’s worth of garganelli was laid in front of me. I kept going. 6 portions later, I was done. A few hours must had passed. I’m not sure exactly how much time had elapsed, but I felt so calm, so satisfied, a container of perfectly formed hand rolled pasta sitting in front of me. I had just meditated for hours and didn’t even realize it. My mind had been clear, completely in focus. My hands moved organically yet purposefully. I had entered into a complete flow state, where I lost track of time, the temperature, hunger or thirst. I was fully absorbed in this beautiful activity of making pasta.

 Once I got into the grove of this activity, I completely lost track of time.  Once I got into the grove of this activity, I completely lost track of time.   6-8 portions of garganelli, all done.  6-8 portions of garganelli, all done.

When it comes to mindfulness, I believe in doing what works for you. What calms your mind? What makes you feel completely at ease? What activity can you do where you feel completely absorbed, where you enter the flow zone? Where your hands, mind, and heart are all connected and fully engaged? For me, it’s making this labor intensive, beautiful pasta. If you don’t believe me, try it! It might just work for you too.

 The second best part of this mindfulness activity: eating it.  The second best part of this mindfulness activity: eating it.

Want to try making garganelli? Here are the tools that you’ll need.