Ask Arnie


Post a question and I’ll do my best to provide a mindfulness-based answer!



  1. Dear Dr. Kozak,

    I find it hard to find the time to be “mindful” of my own presence. With a stressful job, a house full of kids, a wife who has expectations of me when I get home, where do I find the time and engergy to be “mindful” in my own home?

    Do I have to build another room onto my house as to avoid the kids crying out for something or my wife requiring me to perform another house duty.

    Would love to have some peace of “mindfulness” in my world, but how do I achieve that when I’m surrounded morning, noon and night with work and family obligations. I feel smothered.


  2. Dear Tyler,

    Thanks for your question. It sounds that your mindfulness challenge is to be mindful of a lot commotion. In other words, your home is full of Wild Chickens. One common misunderstanding about mindfulness is that it is somehow separated from our chaotic lives. On the contrary, mindfulness brings us closer to our lives, making us more intimate with the details. So when you are at home can you be present to what is happening — the kids and your wife? If you feel you cannot be fully present, can you ask for a brief respite (one in which you could practice mindfulness, perhaps) and the return able to give yourself over to the moment? This strategy may seem counterintuitive at first — to move closer to distressing things rather than away. But with practice its sense and appeal can grow into a durable and flexible solution. Part of coping with these stresses is to change our idea of what “peace” means and where it is located. That peace you seek is always within you and available in any given moment. Mindfulness practice can help you to access this at any moment without requiring a change in circumstances. Of course, I feel it is important to be breathing literally and figuratively in every moment. Remember to breathe!


  3. Dr. Kozak thank you for the quick response. I will try it out. I know when I go to the gym and excercise, my body is at rest and I do feel a less stressed. Brisk walks do the same. I have this old attic with lots of stuff scattered all about. I think I may clear it out and see if I can set up a little small peaceful space for myself. I will read the book and continue on my path for a more “mindful” lifestyle. Peace be with you…

  4. Tyler,
    Many years ago, while playing at being a professional actress, I worked with a wonderful director, who planted many seeds in my mind and heart. When I first started performing, I was often struck with “stage fright”. Right before a performance, I got anxious, nervous, butterflies in the stomach…almost to the point of nausea. The mind chatter took over and reinforced the anxiety. What if I forget my lines? What if I don’t remember the blocking or choreography? What if I mess things up for the other actors? I was on the mind chatter trolley until I got on stage. Once there, I was in the character and allowed my mind and body to be what it had practiced being. My director friend noticed what I was experiencing and suggested that everything is simply energy passing through us. What if, I imagined the butterflies in the stomach as friends, rather than enemies? What if, I percieved the feelings of anxiety as feelings of joyful anticipation? What if, I changed the mind chatter to “I can’t wait to get out there and perform as I’ve been practicing to do”? It didn’t take long to embrace this concept. Wonder of wonders, I started experiencing the feelings as joyful, positive energy, and proceeded to take that lesson into my everyday life. Now, when I feel anxious, I anticipate that there is a change or joyful opportunity I am about to experience.
    How would it feel Tyler, to enter your home or office joyfully anticipating that something good is going to happen? What do you bring to your office and home? I assume you chose your work? Why not enjoy it? You chose the woman you want for a partner? You brought those precious children into this world? Why not enjoy every moment you have with them? How about bringing a book home that you and the little ones could enjoy? Something that would bring peace, joy and comfort to all of you as you sit down to read and spend quiet time together? How about a game you could all play together? Think about playfully, joyfully changing the scene. You have the ability and opportunity to bring joy with you wherever you go.

  5. Dear Dr. Kozak,
    I enjoyed your “WILD CHICKENS…” talk yesterday at Barnes and Noble. Your uncomplicated approach to facing life challenges is appealing. While listening to you speak, I was reminded of a quote in “A SENSE OF THE MORNING, Nature Through New Eyes” by David Brendan Hopes. “I tell you how to stave off drowning. Dive down. Embrace it. The sea will spit you back, astonished”. Makes sense to me!
    Toward the end of the session, because I was in the back where noise was a wild chicken, I missed your answer to a question. What motivated you to take the path you are on?

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