Like many business owners, Patrick Kelly could be described as a man under a lot of stress. His company, Stein Your Florist, with its two flower shops in Mayfair and Burlington, struggled in the recession. He had to pump $150,000 into it to keep it alive and he and his wife, who both work there, now take home less than what one of them did in the past. They managed to keep employees on, but reduced their hours. And they are still paying off a huge debt they incurred when their Mayfair store went up in flames in December 2001, costing them four busy holidays -- Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter and Mother's Day. Meanwhile every day is a stress machine, because flowers need to go out on time for funerals and weddings.
Yet, Kelly said he's rarely stressed. Why? He credits meditation.
"When you calm your own mind and you realize that you are running on obsessive/compulsive thinking, you can stop it. You can be a calm presence," Kelly told me when I interviewed him for a story that appeared in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer.
That calm presence helped him when the fire struck his store. Most stress, he said, comes from mourning or regretting the past, or being anxious about the future. "Instead of going into what is going to happen, or what did happen, I just stay in the present and deal with the real situation at hand."