Tag Archives: continuous practice

Young writer at work

Three Small Practices For Times of Chaos and Overwhelm

Young writer at work


I’ve heard from some of you that fitting in a new practice or going all in with an old one has been challenging. I hope one or more of these ideas resonate. They are good for times when life is packed and stressful, but you can use them anytime to stay connected. 


  • You want to implement a new practice with the New Year, but something is getting in the way.


  • You want to start a simple writing practice, but you write so much for your job, you have no energy for it.


  • You planned to start meditating, but your child landed in the hospital and you are on duty day and night.


Your practice feels like one more item on your to-do list.


You don’t have time for twenty minutes on the meditation mat or for writing or yoga. And getting up early is not an option. You need more sleep not less.


Here are a few simple practices that anyone can do,

no matter how chaotic life gets.

Each of these practices will anchor your mind

and give you a moment to catch your breath.




Wherever you are — in a waiting room, at a sick bed, on a park bench while your kids are on the monkey bars — practice doing nothing. Don’t get on your phone to text or check out Instagram. Be still and notice the bench or chair beneath you, the air on your arms and face, and/or the rhythm of your breath. Then follow your breath in and out three times.


I learned about just sitting from Natalie Goldberg during an intensive. If you want to read the history of her assigning this practice, read the chapter in Old Friend From Far Away, “Do the Neola.”




Carry a small notebook in your purse or back pocket. When you have a few moments, write two or three sentences. Say where you are and how you’re feeling. Or take notes on what you’re seeing and hearing and smelling. Do this in the line at the grocery store or when you are waiting for your coffee at Starbucks.



  • May I be safe.
  • May I be peaceful.
  • May I be kind to myself.
  • May I accept myself as I am.



You can expand your practice later, as your schedule opens. In the meantime, see how sitting and writing and reciting can provide a small sanctuary, a place to take refuge, to go within, and remember who you are and what matters.


I’d love to hear of any additional tiny practices that have helped you in hard times. You know where to find me.