Today’s lesson was all about getting closer to your true self, which we can achieve in meditation. Deepak says when we get closer to our true selves we can attract our desires into our life and to really let our soul be our guide. When I heard this it reminded me that I had heard an interview on a podcast where the discussion was all about soul writing. If you haven’t heard of soul writing it’s when you spend time in a quiet space writing in a free form. Whatever comes to mind, you just fill the page with it. I’ve heard people say they have had some of their absolute best ideas come from this form of writing. I have to admit, this has been on my “to do list” for a at least a year. My plan is for it to go on my 2020 Vision Board! (more on vision boards to come!)
My notes from Day 3 are so telling of my state of mind at the time. I could not see things manifesting in my life and I have to say two of the three have happened and the least important one did not. Not yet. I’m on my way. And I also think that’s the universe telling me to get my priorities in order! Which does happen with a little more work in the future.
So, here are my notes from this lesson.
Question 1 Name 3 things you truly wish you could have in your life and believe to be unattainable, so much so that you resigned yourself to not having them.
My answers are so telling here.
1 To be pain free. 2 To not be afraid of the medical community. 3 To redecorate the house. (SIDE NOTE: I still can’t believe with all I had going on that I listed this as a “wish”, but there is it. I’m not editing. Being honest in all it’s glory!)
Question 2 Reasons why they will not manifest
1 Too much damage to my body. 2 I don’t know how to begin to trust doctors again. 3 Not enough money.
Question 3 Ways nature could arrange for me to get desires. (Imagine it!)
1 Yoga works. I get injections. I continue physical therapy. My brain settles down. 2 Work on ABCDE problem solving. Dispute my thoughts. Keep working on coping skills. 3 I get a part-time job.
It’s funny, when I wrote out that I wanted to be pain free, it truly felt like a wish and not at all attainable. But when I read my answer on how to get what I desire, I was on the right track, even then. This just proves to me that the law of attraction works and was working in my life. Yoga has been a HUGE healer. Yoga gives me strength, flexibility, relieves my muscle tension, reduces my stress and forces me to practice mindfulness. It’s the best part of my day for sure.
Problem solving is another key and something I’ve talked about already here. At the time, again, I can see by knowing I needed to keep up this strategy in my life I was going to make it happen.
Part time work! Yes, after 20 years of being a stay at home mom I finally came to the realization that if my husband and I were going to send our kids off to college debt free (meaning them AND us) then more money needed to come into the house. In addition to budgeting and really getting a hold of our personal finances. Which I did and still do. Again, huge stress reliever! Later in this program, I will actually discover what I want as I get in touch with my true self. Spoiler alert, I AM working a part-time job now, but I’ll save the details for a little later.
This week think about your desires and go through the questions above. I think it can be a very eye-opening exercise!
As I finished my last 21- Day Meditation Experience I began to reflect on the reasons I wrote this blog in the first place. On the last day of the Experience Deepak said “Letting go is a choice. If you can forgive, you can trust. Clinging to the past is your separate self.” And the most powerful statement to me.. “Forgiveness is the natural state of a self aware person no longer burdened by the past.” Forgiveness does not come easily to me. I tend to hang on to grudges until they eat me alive. Deepak says “When remembering the past, you relive it again. If you are present that won’t happen. Old hurts feel toxic in our expanded awareness. Forgiveness stops being a problem because there is nothing left to forgive.” It took me such a long time to figure out that when I stayed angry at someone for something they did, I wasn’t hurting or affecting them in any way. It just ate at me, not them. This is something I work on all the time. I tend to be highly emotional so everything I feel is at a very high level. The good, the bad and the ugly. I don’t hide emotions well. If I’m feeling it then pretty much everyone around me is clued into how I feel. When I realized I could learn to “let go” of those past hurts that really opened me up to how much better I could feel. And isn’t THAT what this journey of mine is all about? Feeling the best I can and living my life! Why would I want to hang on to all that STUFF? Do you ever notice how you feel when you relive a moment from your past? It’s like I’m there all over again. The pain, the tears, a knot in my stomach. It’s awful. There are positive outcomes to these events. I know that my ability to be self-sufficient and have a strong work ethic all came out of how early I was making decisions for myself. Which was about 18 years old. I didn’t have any financial ties to my parents so I was making all the decisions regarding college, where I lived, my healthcare, where I went and what I did, everything. Most decisions were not good by the way! Ha! BUT I know that my work ethic is 100% from how I grew up. So, there is good that comes from every situation! The point is not to dwell on the hurts of our past, but to forgive and look for the good that may have come out of it.
Do you find it difficult to forgive? Try to let go of those feelings and see how it feels. I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Thanks for being here!
I used to think I was a good listener. Like, a really good listener. I’m not sure why I thought this other than maybe I just seemed to be one. And people tended to unload on me and I didn’t stop them. But newsflash I wasn’t! Deepak explains that there are three levels to Deep Listening that allows us to be heard.
Listen with our ears Listen with our minds Listen to hear with complete awareness and intimacy
So, clearly I was not doing all of that. But I notice now, I find it much easier to really listen when people talk to me. I’m no longer half listening and waiting to speak. There is a HUGE difference. I actually ask questions now. Before I would have just started talking when it was my turn with no recognition for what the other person just said. There is no love in that. I have to say this came naturally with the clarity that overcame me in my journey. This wasn’t something that happen right away when I started meditating, or stopped drinking, or right when I began to feel better or any of the other things I did to better my life. It was probably a year or so into feeling good. I was driving on the highway on my way to my yoga class and I just had a moment of pure clarity when I realized I could feel and see everything differently. I felt very alive. The music I was listening to, the clouds in the sky, the sun shining, all of it felt very different. Not only that but it was like I was seeing life with new eyes. I was calm, happy and clear. I wondered in that moment if most people live that way on a daily basis and I was just not aware for a very long time. I don’t know. And I don’t know if it’s because I’m so “clean” now. The no alcohol, no caffeine, etc. combined with the meditation, yoga, volunteering, friendships that all came together to make that happen. I’m not sure. But it was a moment of awareness that I’ll never forget.
In my notes from this day I wrote the following:
I need to pay closer attention when family members talks to me. Sometimes when they are talking a lot I tune her out.
The second part of my journaling was notes about a friend who was truly a good listener. I could learn a lot from her.
She listens, asks questions and follows up with questions days later. Shows she cares.
And third I wrote.
I want more. I have energy. I’m ready.
This week ask yourself if you are fully present when in conversation with others. What could you do to be more present for those around you? I’d love to hear your comments. Thank you for being here!
I’ve talked before about Emotional Contagion, and in some ways the energy you bring into a room take on the same contagiousness. Deepak says “When you walk into a room, you bring your energy with you. Everyone can feel it. We choose what we send into the world.” Deepak explains the difference between a Dynamic Life vs an Active Life. A lot of us have Active Lives (mental activities and rushing around and ending up feeling empty). In a Dynamic Life there is a purpose to your energy.
This got me thinking of my own life before and after my injury. I most definitely had the Active life prior to my injury.. rushing, rushing, rushing with no meaning. Very self-centered. Now I have a much more Dynamic Life which I have built over the last few years to include all the things that have meaning and give me joy. It’s a completely different life.
How was I choosing to show up? What kind of energy was I bringing into the room. We have to own that. We are responsible for it. When someone unleashes their negative energy you can feel it. So, next I was to make a list of how I wanted to show up from now on. Here we go.
Open Warm Friendly Kind Asking Questions Talking to Everyone Be Involved Be Authentic to Who I am Engaging Positive Complimentary
I try to run through a version of this list before I walk into an exercise class, meeting up with friends, going to events, talking on the phone and even just going grocery shopping! ANYWHERE I will be seeing people. Even in my own home. If I don’t, it’s so easy to fall into being with myself only and cutting everyone off. I can even feel when my energy is like that so I KNOW others around me are feeling it and that’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid.
This week try making a list of how you would like to show up in your life. Keep it somewhere you will see it until it becomes a habit to run through it mentally before engaging with others! I would love to see your lists! Thank you for being here!
What I learned about the Law of Attraction is that “you can’t attract what you don’t have.” As Oprah would say. It took me a while to figure this one out. If you look at this through the eyes of relationships, as I was at this time in my Meditation Experience, then for me to have what I want out of my relationships which was support, listening, being open minded to new ideas and different ways of thinking, kindness, deep conversations and someone to share all my favorite things.
Deepak says “ You attract what you are.” There’s so much there. What are you? How do you behave? If I wanted people in my life to behave as I stated above then I would need to behave that way too so I could attract it into my life. Deepak also says “We radiate what we want to bring into our lives and what we seek out is seeking you.” I’ve talked about the Law of Attraction in earlier posts, but here I’m specifically talking about relationships. If I don’t show the people in my life the kind of love and support I want than why should I expect it back? This is a great reminder when I may get irritated with someone in my family for not supporting me or not listening. But when I turn that back on myself, I can ask, have I been supportive to them? Have I been listening?
This week think about what you want to attract into the relationships in your life and ask yourself if you are what you want to attract. What could you do differently to attract what you want in your relationships?
As I moved through my Meditation Experience, thinking about relationships in my life, both with family and friends, a few things became clear. My oldest son was growing up. At this time he was 19 years old and in his first year of college. I’ve come to grips with the fact that he has other things he wants to do now than hang out with his mom! But I miss hanging out with him terribly. This is not a unique situation I’m in. Everyone with grown children would probably tell you a similar story. But that doesn’t make it any less painful. I was losing him. I felt like (and still do) that things are happening in fast forward and I’m just trying to hang on as he makes his way through life. I can barely catch up with my feelings as he moves to the next new thing. I wasn’t used to the idea of him living in a dorm when suddenly we were getting him his apartment for the following year. And at the same time he was asking us to send him abroad to study. I hadn’t even adjusted to him not living at home fully and suddenly all this was happening. It felt fast. Really fast. That’s all I can say. I never feel ready. Things just keep moving forward. I think when they are little and things move forward, we are parents and are in control. So, we can manage it easier. But, when they are adults that control is gone.
What I try to do when I’m feeling out of control is to re-frame the situation and tell myself he is growing into a strong adult. I mean, at some point, he’s got to be off and running on his own right? When I was his age, I had my own apartment (with a roommate) with no one supporting me. I worked a full-time corporate job and went to school at night. I found my own doctors, made my own appointments and began saving for a condo. So, when I think about it that way, he really doesn’t need me as much as I think he does.
Deepak says “Love is essential as a human.” And I feel like love changes with the different seasons of our lives. I will always miss that little boy who wanted to be with me every hour of every day. When I see other moms and little boys I tend to tear up I miss him so much. It is painful. The love we have for our children can be overwhelming! I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things he does with his life and I will continue to “hang on” as he builds a life of his own.
“Fear of accepting that I’m just not as “book-smart” as some others.” This was what I wrote about myself on Day 5. Not having a degree would sometimes make me feel like an outcast in social situations where I live, as we have the most degreed population in the country. It gets very uncomfortable. Especially depending on the crowd I’m around at the moment. Deepak says “true self esteem means to rest in the self.” Our self image is built over the years and to the ego our self image is everything.
Next I was to make a list of positive attributes about myself. Don’t judge! This is just the feelings I had at the time and based on my life experiences.
Motivated Organized Honest Caring Green Eyes Pretty/Nice Figure Reader Varied Interests Take Good Care of Myself Good Mother Responsible Empathetic
Making a list like that was not something I’d ever done before (or since!) It does make you quite uncomfortable to start. What great things can I say about myself?! Not something I do! But why not? Just looking at the list I feel proud of who I am. Ok, so I don’t have my degree. But that does not mean I’m not intelligent. Life circumstances stopped me in my tracks while I was in college and I never finished. Life changed again and a few years ago I did earn my Holistic Health Certification and I’m really proud of that. When I finished my certification I was overwhelmed with ideas of what I wanted to do. I wanted and still want to do it ALL!Should I pursue a job working for a doctor? Should I do one-on-one coaching? Should I do group coaching? Seminars? Or online coaching? The list goes on and on. Then during this mediation series I had an a-ha moment where I decided what I wanted to do first was write a book and tell my story. I wrote in my notebook:
“I feel the need to get it all out there to help others. I dream of being an author and someone that can help others with my story. I have no experience in writing but I’m doing it anyway. I just have this pull to do it and get all the words out. There is a story there. Write a book and share it on my blog.”
Well, there is it. I had my answer of what I was going to do! These meditation experiences have been revolutionary and truly life changing. It’s made me think through every problem or opportunity in my life. Working through the journaling at the end of each session really got to the core of my BEING. And the words would flow out like a roadmap to my life. I really believe that.
This week try making a list of all of your positive attributes and see how it feels! I’d love to hear how it goes! Don’t forget to comment! Thanks for being here!
The last day of my Meditation Workshop was all about relationships. Specifically friendships and romantic relationships. Similarly to building your tribe, but more focused on actually pursuing the relationships and friendships you want in your life.
Because of this idea, I notice I’m always “on alert” when meeting new people. I’m looking for signs that we have similarities. It could be social justice or mindfulness or any one of many things. I recently met a woman at work who I connected with INSTANTLY. And not because I knew so much about her, but she matched my energy. Which is rare. I feel like I have a ton of energy, I talk a lot and I’m a doer. So, when I find someone who speaks animatedly like I do, I’m like a moth to a flame! And after talking for only a few minutes, we were exchanging contact information. I don’t see her often, but when I do, we greet each other with hugs and begin talking so much we lose track of what else is going on around us. THIS is a spiritual friendship. Just one example of one though. Another lightening bolt friendship happened while I was attending an event for an organization I volunteer with when I got to talking to a woman I’ve only talked to in passing once or twice. Again, she matched my energy immediately, but this time it turns out we are incredibly alike. Maybe more alike than any other friend I’ve made in many, many years. We became good friends shortly after! These are the people to surround yourself with. I’m aware that I cannot and should not be pushy. Friendships either happen or they don’t, but engaging is key. You will not curate your tribe if you don’t get out there and meet people and then talk to them, with meaning. So, what I do now, that I NEVER would have done before, is start to invite these people I’ve met to get together as soon as I see or hear of something I know they would be interested in. Or just lunch, as soon as possible! I can’t tell you how rewarding this is. These kinds of friendships are SO DIFFERENT from the friends you make because you both have kids on the same sports team or in the same classroom. Maybe that’s all you have in common! The question to ask yourself is “Who do I want to bring into my life as a friend who shares similar values?” Life changing.
I’m not expert on romance or intimacy but there were a few nuggets to take here. The idea is that most couples feel disconnected in some way and they want to be closer. We are connected but separate. If you want more connection you have to act that way. There’s a revelation! Yes, this is something Gretchen Rubin says about with happiness or confidence, etc. She says “Act the way you want to feel.” By the way, this REALLY works. If you haven’t tried it, I say give it a go. It’s kind of like fake it til you make it. Eventually, you will truly catch up to feel like what you were doing to “fake it.” A couple of other takeaways I found helpful were the following.
Precision – Pay attention to the other person. Have good manners. Be thoughtful and honest.
Openness – Equal importance is given to you and the other person.
Romance – Romance ends. But you can increase intimacy. It has no end.
I have to say these are ALL works in progress for me. I’ve been married to a great guy for 24 years and in that time I may have lapsed on a couple of these to say the least. I also think just that fact that our kids are older now and we can start spending some time away together resolves a lot of these issues. We can now plan a hike or movie without thinking about who am I driving where today. Because they all drive themselves! My life is not their life anymore. In some ways, that makes me want to cry! On the other hand, life is changing and our relationship is changing too. And that’s a good thing.
Have you built spiritual friendships? Are you wanting to connect in your romantic relationships? Try the following;
Seek out friendships with people with similar values, who enjoy the things you enjoy and align yourself with those people.
Take the initiative to meet up with these new friends. Don’t wait!
In your romantic relationships, try paying attention to the other person, being honest and thoughtful.
I would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for being here!
I began my fourth Meditation Experience in July of 2019. This was my forth go around and was excited to get started. This time the focus was on relationships. I needed to work in some of these area more than others. And to be clear, relationships were an area that needed some work for sure.
Deepak says “We are not our feelings. Our true selves are always fully awake”. I’ve heard this before explained as “we are not our thoughts.” Being authentic has been a focus for me ever since I started learning from Brene Brown, Deepak Chopra and Gretchen Rubin. How much time did I waste not being authentic? And surrounding myself with those who I truly had no connection with and not really enjoying the things that I loved and made me happy?
There was a time when I would meet someone new and I would hear myself edit my conversation as I’m speaking! Maybe not tell the entirety of my story. And for what? What does not being authentic do for me? I think I’m meeting someone new, I’m looking for that bond or I’m thinking this could be a new friendship so don’t scare them away! Ha! When I stopped doing that, suddenly I had the best friendships I’d had in a long time. The right people just fell into my life. If I fall in that trap I stop and correct it, being my true self instead. There are places where I’m ALWAYS my true self. With my family, when writing, at yoga, and with my new friends. And it goes hand in hand with feeling my best.
Do you feel like you are your authentic self when meeting new people? This week try and catch yourself when you hear yourself not being authentic. You will be so happy with the results and the people you attract into your life! Thanks for being here!
Are you a podcast listener? I LOVE podcasts. My addiction started slow, but once I found ones I loved I became hooked. There are podcasts for any niche thing you are into. I find I would much rather spend time listening to something that really resonates with me or be learning something over most (not all) of the mindless shows on television.
I have many favorites that have either helped me in some way, or I’ve learned something from or I just flat out find them entertaining! I thought I’d share some of my favorites.
Personal Development/Health and Wellness
Happier with Gretchen Rubin/Happier in Hollywood Goes without saying that I’m a huge fan of her work. This show has all three of things I was talking about. I learn little tips and tricks to use in my life, it’s helped me to focus on what is important and it’s super entertaining. It’s where I began my second Happiness Project that sent everything in motion for me and how I started my “18 for 2018” lists and every year after.
Happier in Hollywood is Gretchen’s sister Elizabeth’s podcast that she does with her TV writing partner Sara Fain. In the same vein as Happier but with the twist of life in LA as TV writers.
Balanced Bites This one is no longer producing new episodes but you can still access all the previous years of content. This was PERFECT for me when I began my paleo lifestyle. Diane SanFilippo and Liz Wolfe are just a fountain of knowledge when it comes to clean eating.
The Doctor’s Farmacy with Dr. Mark Hyman This took my knowledge of wellness and food to a whole other level. His guests are top-notch! He goes beyond just “what should we eat”. He dives into climate change, farming, mindfulness, mental illness, social justice and list goes on. He has truly opened my eyes to the BIGGER picture and has inspired me to get involved with food advocacy. Future project!
Infinite Potential with Deepak Chopra Another teacher/mentor I have learned so much from . With all of his 21-day Meditation Experiences I did, this was a no brainer. Every week Deepak interviews a guest to discuss everything mind, body, spirit and beyond.
Ten Percent Happier If you are familiar with Dan Harris from ABC News you are probably already aware of this podcast. Every week he interviews a mediation teacher or leader. I always come away inspired and motivated and I learn something new every single time.
Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations It’s Oprah! What’s not to love? I’m a fan of SuperSoul Conversations on TV but if I miss the episodes, I can always find them here.
The Sheri and Nancy Show If you are a woman 40+ I guarantee you will find this show not only relatable but entertaining! Sheri spent most of her career as Oprah’s producer and now with her friend Nancy they are working on their “pillars” for all of us to hear and learn from. This show is great. It’s all about the second half of life. Sheri is 60 and has no intention of slowing into retirement. What keeps you alive are all the things I talk about on my blog and on this show they are sharing what happens as they work on all of those things. This show gave me a total mindset shift. When I was approaching 50, I kept thinking, I can’t believe I finally figured out how to live and it’s almost over. I was sad about that for a while, but after listening to this podcast I have a whole new attitude. When I tell people my age I also add that “I’m only half way” and that’s how I view it. I’m in the second HALF. When I reframed it, I now think, “ wow, there’s SO much I want to do and I have the time to do it. Life is good”. But it doesn’t magically happen on it’s own. If you don’t work on all aspects of your life you won’t get there or if you do you probably won’t feel so great and will be force to stop “living”. See my post on my Wellness Wheel to see the areas I’m working on for longevity. Another way I’ve heard it described is “training for the centurion olympics”. I love that. If you want to get to 100 AND feel good you absolutely must train NOW. Ok, that was a lot on one podcast! Update: This podcast is no longer producing new episodes, but the old ones are there for you.
Being Well with Dr. Rick Hanson Think of Dr. Hanson as a kind of Mr. Rogers for adults. He is SO CALMING. And extremely knowledgeable. His show focuses on mindfulness, compassion and happiness and all the science behind it. I find it fascinating.
HerMoney with Jean Chatzky You may know Jean Chatzky from the Today show or Oprah. When I decided to truly get our finances in order I began listening to MANY personal finance podcasts. Some stuck and some didn’t. This one stuck. It’s informative and practical and she always has interesting guests. I needed a lot of help in this area. I knew NOTHING about personal finance and money in general. I was starting at ground zero. I’m so much more literate now. This podcast was only a very small part of my learning. I went to our local library and checked out every basic personal finance book and read them all. I found a budgeting method that works for me and now I work on our finances every single day. But the podcast keeps it in the forefront of my mind.
Music (aka podcasts that makes me happy)
Disgraceland Stories of rock stars behaving badly told by Jake Brennan. Not for the faint of heart. Some of these stories are just outrageous. But that’s what it is to be a rock star. Personally, I can’t get enough.
My Favorite Album with Jeremy Dylan Great concept for a music podcast. Jeremy invites a musician to discuss their favorite album song by song. A lot of fun to hear what these artists favorite albums are and why.
27 Club Another darker podcast from Jake Brennan. This focuses an entire season to one artist that passed away at 27 years old. I love a podcast that takes a deep dive and this one definitely does.
Rolling Stone Music Now From Rolling Stone magazine. The best interviews and music journalists in one place. I love their conversations and find myself laughing all the time.
80’s Music Exposed This is a fun one! Especially if you grew up in the 80’s like me. This is a monthly podcast where they discuss the albums that came out in the 80’s in order by month. It’s really fun to hear some of this music again and to hear the critiques. The two guys are musicians and also around my age so I like hearing their opinions about what they liked then and now and what holds up and what doesn’t.
You Must Remember This Probably the most well done, entertaining, informative podcast I listen to. Karina Longworth hosts this podcast about old classic Hollywood. These stories are FASCINATING! The best part about this podcast and what makes it unique is that she doesn’t just pick random stories. She selects a subject and then goes deep. Truly better than anything on TV. This podcast along with Disgraceland have won a couple of awards and you can tell why when you start listening. They are just on a different level and it’s obvious the work that went into them.
The Librarian is In The New York Public Library has a podcast of book recommendations and what I love about this podcast is how it’s relaxed, but intelligent. I’ve tried other book related podcasts and they are either stuffy or just someone reading a list of recommendations and info off the book jacket. These are two employees of the library who come to discuss one book that each of them read. The conversation always takes a turn into something else. It’s just conversation. I love it. It’s funny, emotional and educational. And very New York.
Clear and Vivid with Alan Alda I’ve always liked Alan Alda. Smart and funny, just seems like a great guy. And loved watching him on MASH. I didn’t know until recently about his interview podcast. All the guest are well know and when Alda interviews them, it’s a sincere, thoughtful and intelligent conversation. Reminds me of BBC’s Desert Island Discs if you’ve ever listened to that podcast.
Lost at the Smithsonian Assif Mandvi takes us to the Smithsonian Museum to explain the importance of one object in the museum per episode. He interviews the staff as well and those who are knowledgeable about the history of the object. This one is so fun to listen to partly because Assif is so funny. One of my favorites was Henry Winkler’s Fonzi jacket from Happy Days. His interview with Henry Winkler was just heart warming. Another favorite was Dorothy’s red ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Give it a try!
Listening to podcasts about things you are interested in or want to learn from can help you achieve all your goals. By listening regularly you will keep everything that is important to you at the forefront of your mind and help you stay on track. Win-win.
I’d love to hear your podcast recommendations! Thanks for being here!