Time to Add Some Zen into Our Daily Lives



Some people are what I like to call Zen. They are cool and collected, and they don’t stress out over most things. However, we’re all human, and I’m sure that we all have some limitations, some buttons not to push—that probably say, beware of pushing this button. O.K., you get my drift. Even Zen people get upset and irritated sometimes—I’ve just decided to call them Zen people (FYI I’m not being racist or prejudice or anything, it’s just a name, relax… Zen, remember?). 

Zen people don’t get irritated as much as your average person. Well, at least, they find enough inner peace and strength to hold it all together. Perhaps they’ve learned certain calming methods for gaining self control, and maybe even some self-soothing techniques, and ways of controlling their emotions and not losing their cool, or as I like to call it, their noodle. They usually stay calm and collected by doing things, positive things, or thinking things that will ease their tension, calm their nerves, and take them into a state of peace, relaxation, and zen, where they can more easily cope. And come on, who doesn’t want to take a nice vacation into the World of Zen, where everything feels like a breeze, no worries, no anger, no stress, no drama, no tension, and definitely no emotional outbursts of any sort—ehem, I have never had one of those in my entire life.

Me? No, I’m not the Zen type. And if I desperately need to get to a place of Zen, I will likely bite my tongue, take a deep breath, turn on some music, and take a warm bath. But hey, more power to those who are more carefree than I am. I care too much and too deeply about how others feel, and I’m simply too sensitive, self-aware, and in touch with my feelings, that I don’t truly know that I will ever get to the place of Zen as I may hope, but I will strive. I always strive towards being better than I was yesterday, and I always desire to find more inner peace. And I’m on that road.

What’s crazy, and I’m sure that many will relate, is that as soon as we feel Zen one minute, where we truly feel that nothing will bring us down or change the magic of that calm, balanced, and peaceful feeling, BOOM! I’m sure that we’ve all been there. We get tested in life by different things and many times, we’re forced to face unexpected challenges, hardships, and hiccups in our daily lives, but we need to be cautious, prepared, and remain calm and collected as much as we can. 
Now, don’t get me wrong, because I’m a big believer in not sweating the little things, and picking and choosing my battles. But at the same time, many times people who live very Zen-like lifestyles will tell me not to have anxiety, not to stress, and that nothing is really a big deal. They’ll say, “Who cares!” And that I should laugh about it—IT being any and everything. But they haven’t walked in my shoes. They don’t know how deeply I feel.

Feeling cool and collected is awesome! I mean really, truly awesome, and it’s just so great for those who have either always been that way. That free-spirited, easy-going, cool, fresh, Fonzie-like way, as well as for those who have worked really hard on themselves to get to the point of all of those perfect adjectives I listed and then some. Having said that, one thing I can honestly tell you that I feel is missing from many or at least some of the Zen types, oh yeah, the Zen people, is that sometimes, believe it or not, they lack intense ups, the intense passion, the intensity of wanting craving, and yearning to love hard. And many times, they’ll either be emotionally unavailable, emotionally distant or closed off, or even lack hope, lack faith in God, and they don’t believe in true love. Sorry folks, can’t relate to that mentality or to those types for too long.

Again, hear me loud and clear, I love Zen people. As a matter a fact, I love all people who are kind souls. But I simply can’t relate to not feeling passion, and lacking certain emotions. I have to hold onto hope, no matter how hard it may be to find at times, I still feel that I have to hold on to it, because to me, that’s what having faith is, that is believing in God and in love. I don’t relate to atheists. I don’t hate them, I just don’t relate. I have the belief that one day, I too will be wrapped up in the arms of my true love. I have to believe. For me, that’s the only way. And may God forgive me for saying, but I’m slightly curious to know His schedule book… Axl Rose, like an angel, pops out just slightly on the right side corner of ACW, singing “Patience, yeah, a little patience, mmm.”

Being in touch with your emotions is a beautiful thing. And it’s even more beautiful when you’re in a relationship with someone who is the very same way in regards to sharing and expressing their emotions. No one wants to feel like they’re having teeth pulled and no one wants to be the one pulling the teeth, unless that’s someone’s job, I suppose. And you shouldn’t have to force anything, or anyone to express themselves more, and to share things with you more or on a deeper level. And sure, it doesn’t hurt, no, it never hurts to try—O.K., scratch that— sometimes it hurts a lot to try. Especially, if you’re a mental case like me who feels everything—kidding. Tell your partner how you feel, be honest, direct, kind, and open book.

Set an example of the type of open book relationship you want, where you share your feelings, thoughts, and develop friendship, a closeness, that will build the foundation for what will hopefully be a very loving, happy, and healthy relationship. After all, communication is everything, if that’s the type of relationship that you desire to have. And you have to tell your partner how you feel if they’re seeming closed up or distant and not being warm as you feel they should towards you. Tell them and express yourself. It takes hard work to maintain a healthy and happy relationship. So be willing to put in the effort and love that it takes for you both to shine—together.

As far as being Zen or even happy, I’d like to reiterate what I learned from the late Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, who recently passed away at the age 105 and who’s inspired many, when he expresses his way of thinking towards happiness. In a nutshell, he says that we should live like kids and be happy, and that it’s about energy, rather than simply eating well or sleeping a lot. When we feel good, we’re happy. Although, something I truly feel is
 important, is not to settle or fall from choosing instant gratification, a quick fix, or short term light with the consequence of long term darkness.

Be willing to work for happiness if needed. Don’t stress when you can avoid it. Be Zen if you can. But also, care, and care deeply when you feel it. Don’t close off your hearts. Show your hearts bright and beautiful, and wear your feelings on your sleeves. Don’t be ashamed of your wounds, emotional or otherwise. Wear your soul with pride and love hard. Love yourself hard. Love your loved ones hard.

Having said all of the above, I’m about to head into the morning L.A. traffic, so wish me some Zen, I might need it.

Anne Cohen
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