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your life + zen = what?

IZL alum and self-described Zen “newbie”, Jen Ayres, joins Rebecca Ryan and Ginny Whitelaw as a 3rd voice in these biweekly updates and conversation starters.


New to zen leadership but having already experienced some genuinely life-changing effects of the Zen Leader programme, I’m keen to learn more and embed zen practices into my life. However, I’m not sure I know what that really means…

How ‘zen’ do I want to be?
How much room in my life do I have to explore this path?
Will the journey fundamentally change who I am?
And so on…

I have lots of questions and maybe you do too? Over the coming months, I’ll be exploring some of these questions with, hopefully, a little help from the IZL community. Whether you’re a zen newbie like me or much further down the path, it would be great to share our thoughts and experience. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please do email them to us so that we can get the conversation flowing and support each other: jen@zenleader.global

Kick-starter question:  How to Consistently Hit the Mat?

“To make real progress in zazen, we must make a genuine commitment to practice.”

I know this is the truth. I absolutely feel better when sitting (zazen meditation) daily, there’s just one problem and that’s the word ‘commitment’. If you’re like me and hate routine (and being told what to do), even just the notion that I should be doing something is enough to make me dig my heels in and spin off in a different direction. Throw in a busy week and a crisis or two and zazen gets bumped off my to-do list.

As such, there’s little wonder that I appear to have fallen off the mat. Again.

So, my question really is: how to move sitting off my if-I-have-time morning task list and onto the will-not-leave-the-house-without-doing-this list?

Sitting Zazen edited

Rebecca Ryan reminded me today of the The Four Tendencies developed by Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Happiness Project. This framework looks at four ‘types’ and how we meet our goals. Could understanding whether we’re an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner or a Rebel, help us to develop a sustainable meditation practice? (There’s a quiz HERE if you’d like to know your tendency).

As an Obliger – someone who’s better at keeping commitments to others than to themselves – I’m thinking I may need a sitting buddy or even start a sitting group to make my practice more consistent.

I’d love to hear how you’ve embedded zazen into your life.

Wishing you a wonderful week,


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