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What is Mindfulness? Part II: Meditation for the ADHD non-meditator.

Jun 4, 2021

By the way, I can’t honestly recall if I have blogged about this aspect of mindfulness before or not. I’m sorry if this is redundant, but happy if it is a needed refresher.


I never thought that I could meditate. My dad, the completely neurotypical one in the house, was a TM guy. He still meditates for 20-30 minutes a day. He tried to get me to do it when I was a kid. A squirmy, hyper, easily bored kid. Even medicated, I couldn't do it. 


But the “can’t” really comes down to the definition of the “it.” I looked at my dad and thought, I have to do this like him. I need to do it for a long time. Five minutes felt long to me at that point in my life. There’s no way I could do it for longer. 


I was also limited by my expectations. My dad does it for a minimum of 20 minutes. Even if I could do it for five minutes, what could I possibly get out of it? Perfectionism. Black and white thinking. Negative thought patterns. I pulled out all the ADHD stops. To be fair to myself, I don’t know if I could have meditated then, even medicated. But I know that I wasn’t able to with the limiting ideas I had in my head. 


For many years exercise was my meditation. And, I very much do consider my exercise practice an integral part of my ADHD and depression and anxiety management. I really do consider it, at the lever I do it, mindfulness. But it isn’t really meditation.


I only got into meditation in my late 30’s when my son did a study at MGH for ADHD kids under 6-12 using the kids' calm meditation on the HeadSpace App. I did it with him and found:

  • An ADHD adult might like a kid's meditation. I do. 

  • 5 minutes was just about right for me. 

  •  I never truly cleared my mind. But that was okay. I’m not a monk. But getting my thoughts down to one at a time from the swirling maelstrom that is usually inside my head was a pretty great achievement and gave me quite a bit of peace. 

  • It truly slowed me down. 

  • There were good days and harder days. But on some of the good days, a five minute meditation was as good as taking an ativan at lowering my anxiety. 

  • Even the harder days yielded results. 

  • The hardest part was getting myself to do it. But it was always worth it when I did, often exceeding the time I set out to do. 


I’ve subsequently learned more about myself and meditation. 

  • I don’t like guided meditation for adults. I stick with the kids. Or I use the semi-guided HeadSpace tool, which I took forever to find and love. 

  • My range is three to 18 minutes, usually around eight.

  • It helps me to have my To Do List next to me. I do think of good stuff. It helps me to write it down and then let it leave my mind.

  • I like varying the style of the practice. 


My point is, if you have always thought that you couldn’t meditate, maybe you’re wrong. I bet, especially medicated, you could find some form of meditation that you could do in some way for some period of time that would give you some benefit that would be worth the effort



Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.


What is Mindfulness? Part II: Meditation for the ADHD non-meditator.
Sometimes I use my Mala beads for meditation. But they make a great fidget too.

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What is mindfulness?

May 28, 2021

What is mindfulness can be a difficult enough question for anyone to answer. For an ADHDer, it can be even harder. We tend to think of a super zen person, maybe even a Buddhist monk meditating for hours while completely clearing their mind of all distractions. But that is a very limited and typically ADHD/black and white way of looking at it. Honestly, that's how I thought about it when I was younger until my eyes were opened. Now with a broader understanding of meditation and mindfulness as a whole, I realize how essential they are to managing our ADHD.

First, meditation is great. I'll come back to that. But meditation is not the only way to "do" mindfulness. For those of you who cringe at the mere mention of the term mindfulness, like the teenage client who inspired this post, I give you permission to insert the work intentional-ness every time I use the word mindfulness from now on. Because that is really all it is. In my experience mindfulness can be as simple as being intentional about something that you have never been intentional about before. 

I'll give you one example. Dr. David Nowell @davidnowell on Twitter gave me a deck of his mindfulness cards when we got together to network many years ago. I loved them and still have them. As with any group of things, I responded to some more than others. One of my favorites was, and I'm paraphrasing so I don't have to look through the deck this is still on my desk these many years later, "listen to one of your favorite songs but concentrate only one one of the instruments." 

I was not a musician and other than jamming to a particular guitar hook, or that sweet drum fill from "in the air tonight," I'd never really focused on a single instrument. But I found that it was a way to narrow the torrent of stimulation I am constantly receiving as an ADHD person. I forget which track off of Rancid's "... and out come the wolves" it was. But I just focused on Matt Freeman's Bass work. It was reasonably easy. They mix his base to be pretty prominent because he's really talented. But it was a very zen experience to shut everything else out and just focus on that. 

I found it calming and interesting. It gave me an appreciation for the song, the instrument, the way all the instruments fit together. And, it didn't challenge my ADHD the way sitting still and trying to think of nothing always has. Now, seven or so years later, I have been learning to play the drums for about three years and am always trying to just pick up the drum track in certain things, which can still be a very zen experience. 

I think I'll post this as is to make up for missing last week after I got my 2nd vaccine shot and was too low energy to do anything for three days. I'll talk more about how I actually got into real meditation, which I never thought possible for me, in my next post on Friday.

Note: Keep your eyes open for my new website. It should be launching in the next month. All new content. New everything. Hopefully a YouTube channel sometime this summer. 




Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.


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Globe Article: Resilience to porn

May 21, 2021

I was going to write about something else this week, until this article came across my desk. Thanks for sending it via snail mail dad.


Food for thought when we know our ADHD kids are prone to addiction of all kind. Sex addiction, Internet addiction, porn addiction. My twelve year old boy still looks away and says, "eeeew" when there is a kiss in a movie. But he also has my wife's old laptop in his room most of the time. I think it's time for "The Talk." And, porn clearly needs to be part of it.

A reminder: Almost all addictive and risky behavior by ADHD kids starts earlier than we think it should. As parents, we should almost always err on the side of bringing those sensitive topics up on the early side, rather than the late side.

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Automatic actions

May 13, 2021

My mid-week post… post dated as my post for last week, which got away from me ended up being longer than expected. So I’m going to try to make this one more concise. We’ll see… I may expand on this more later. 


The core idea is that in life we have certain moments/ideas/happening/etc. that need to be triggers for action. Often as ADHDers, when something goes wrong we go into triage mode and deal with the immediate ramifications but don’t account for the lack of planning, organization, time, attention, or whatever we needed to spend to avoid having the same thing happen again. Thus, we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. 


I’m going to give you one example from my professional life to chew on. And I may expand in a future post on how this has helped me run a more efficient business. (And, this concept came up this week with a client who runs a business that is not too dissimilar to mine.)


When I book a new client, like I did today, (Yay!) that automatically triggers…

 ? I send a welcome packet to that client with 5 standard documents, one of which is personalized. Now there is a certain percentage of people who ghost me at this point for whatever reason. So I wait until I get billing info which triggers a new set of tasks automatically.

? Put client in my google address book under “clients,” (Check list while I’m in there.)

? Put client in my master schedule so I don’t promise a spot that’s not open

? Put client on my google calendar so I don’t double book 

? Make a folder for the new client with a name label


These steps are annoying and tedious, ADHD kryptonite, if you will. But over the years I’ve just convinced myself that sucking it up for the few minutes it takes to do them is FAR better than the anxiety I experience when I need that information to be accurate and it isn’t. I don’t know why I’m capable of taking that long view, or why I can suck up that tedium, or how I got to this place. But it’s a good place to be. And it makes me beliece you can get here too. Yes, I have to spend the time and bandwidth to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. But the lower stress level is WAY worth it to me.



Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.

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More SIMPLE BUT DELICIOUS meal planning thoughts

May 7, 2021

Here’s a quick one mid week (backdated to last week,) and I’ll give you a more substantial post on Friday… hopefully. 


I have lots of clients who really stress out about meal planning and shopping. I know I’ve posted about that before. But I think sometimes I make it sound harder than it is. Really, you have some starch in your house. Roasting and baking potatoes, regular and pearled couscous, fries, wild, arborio, spanish and jasmine rice, nice bread to grill, hot dog/sausage and sandwich rolls, baked and black beans, tortillas and a both short and long pastas are what we usually have on hand. You keep those in stock as your “par.” 


Then you think about how many days you want to cook, how many days you want to pull something out of the freezer, and how many days you want to do take out or eat leftovers. I generally figure look at the nights we will all be home and think about 7 dinners that need to happen.

  • 1. Right now, I’m doing 5 Guys one night a week while my wife works late and the kids have practice.

  • 2. We’ve got tons of Matzo Ball Soup in the Freezer. Add a roll and a salad/some veggies = a meal. Might be potato leek, chile, Fejoada, Kale soup, etc. 

  • 3 & 4. There’s always a pasta in here somewhere, maybe two. I’ve got several I rotate through. I’ve got pesto in the freeze, cacciatore, meatballs, amatriciana, and artichoke pasta when Michelle is out like this Friday. 

  • 5 & 6 are usually a piece of meat, a veggie, and one of those starches. I generally have chicken breast and thighs, sausages, pork tenderloins or chops, 80% lean burger, and eye round steak hanging out in the freezer.

  • 7. I consider fish an extravagance. So sometimes I consider it a “protein/veg/starch” meal. Sometimes I consider it a “special dinner.” I generally do one special dinner: Stroganoff, Stirfry, Roasted teriyaki drumstick, taco night, Gyro night, or something fancier from my culinary past


So, really the answer is to keep the shelf stable starches in the “larder.” To keep a variety of proteins in the freezer. Have some sauces canned or frozen… or have some family favorites that you buy. Same with hearty soups. (I don’t expect everyone to cook like me. A jar of Newman’s Own Marinara and some frozen organic meatballs is an easy dinner with stuff you have in the house that will never go bad!) Then you decide how many days you need veggies for and if you need something special for the one “interesting meal.” Do you need avocados for taco night or sour cream/ yogurt for stroganoff? 


No, this is not as novel and exciting as pulling out a “recipe” and cooking a different thing from scratch every night in order to satisfy your need for newness. But it will make your life damn easier and still give you and your family plenty of day to day variety if you mix and match the pieces. And as long as you keep your pars… it’s not that much planning. 


Guess this ended up not being so quick... oh well. Attached is my menu for the week. Not so complicated, is it? Mother's day I usually do lobster for my wife. But this year I did lobster and bacon grilled cheeses and an assortment of other grilled cheeses for the rest of us non-lobster lovers. Everything else was pretty straight forward.






Standard Disclaimer:  In an effort to foil my own perfectionist tendencies, I do not edit my posts much… if at all. Please excuse and typos, mistakes, grammatical errors, or awkward phrasing. I focus on getting my content down. In my humble opinion, an imperfect post posted is infinitely better than a perfect post that goes unfinished.


More SIMPLE BUT DELICIOUS meal planning thoughts

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Friday's Schedule

Apr 30, 2021

Here's the schedule from Friday of vacation week. Having gotten my big work project done for the week, I could focus mostly on home/personal stuff. You will note that I already realized I misordered things while making the list and just gave them new numbers and accurate times. Errands in the afternoon. Probably my most accurate execution of the week. But no more or less productive. Just stuck to the plan 'cause there was no reason not too.
Friday's Schedule

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