What I learned

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Day 16-21

Wrapping up my 21-Day Meditation Experience these last few days I realized how much I had learned and grown in my practice. Being grateful was so much more than writing down five things every night. That part of my practice is solid and the base of everything else, but what I’ve learned is to “sit in those feelings” when they are happening. Take the time to really feel the joy and gratitude when things are going well. If you don’t feel it and you are just writing things down, it won’t have the same effect on your brain. And I do have memories from the past that are so good and so vivid that I can still feel them. Events big and small. Big events like when my children were born of course or that feeling of falling in love when my husband and I were dating. But small things too. I vividly remember a day in my early twenties. At this time I was living close to the beach and occasionally I would ride my bike from my apartment to the beach and bike along the strand to the next beach town and back to my apartment. This day in particular is a great memory for me and I can’t explain why other than I remember feeling extremely independent and free. I can still remember how the sun felt so warm that day and I also remembering feeling strong. I was working out regularly but biking was new for me. I LOVED it.

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There were many lessons for me in this meditation experience, but it also made me glaringly aware of how much I judge. (see last week’s post) Awareness is key. This is something I’m now working on more than ever. I’m an enneagram one, the Reformer, so by nature I like to “fix things”. That includes myself and others. If you aren’t familiar with the enneagram, it’s not exactly a personality test, it’s more your true nature. I’m all about self knowledge! If you want to know more about the enneagram, you can read more here.

One of my favorite quotes from Deepak during these last few sessions was “I am consciousness that accepts life with wisdom”. It was time to take what I learned into my life!

I’d love to hear your comments! Thanks for being here!


Day 4/5

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There is a lot of talk about self care these days. And for good reason. I think as a society we are starting, very slowly, to realize that how important self care is and that “busyness” should not be a badge of honor.

Usually when we think of self care we think of exercise, spa treatments, meditation, sleep, etc. but Deepak asks us to think about where we put our attention. He explains that our creative energy come from joy. So, I asked myself “What brings me joy?” and do more of that. Pretty simple. It’s basically the same principle as The Happiness Project. (Read more on The Happiness Project here www.gretchenrubin.com. I knew I was on the right track. This lesson just reinforced what I already knew I had to continue doing.

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It feels really good to value myself enough to make my own happiness a priority. As a mom, I put myself second. For everything. I lost myself so completely during my kids younger years I don’t remember doing anything for myself outside of the occasional trips to the salon. I never pursued my hobbies and interests, I didn’t read as often I as would have liked, I didn’t go out with friends very often and I didn’t volunteer outside of my children’s school. My world was small. It was all for them and that’s perfectly fine. I choose it and I WANTED it. But looking back, I could have stayed home with them and kept my sense of self by pursing some of these other options for myself. Maybe the build up of fear and anxiety wouldn’t have happen or at least not to the extreme that it did. Who knows. Lesson learned. The HARD way.

Are you finding joy in your every day life? Are you pursuing your interests and the things that give you the most joy? Try the following:

Try a Happiness Project! It’s a GREAT way to find and rediscover what you love. I have a series of posts about my Happiness Project. Check it out!

Please comment with your thoughts! Thank you for being here!


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Day 3

Do you ever notice how you don’t feel tired when life is satisfying? In today’s meditation Deepak explains that when we have organized energy with meaning and purpose, we then have fulfillment in our lives. And we do not except stress and obstacles. Once again, it’s about staying in the flow.

The Centering Thought for today was “When I feel fulfilled, I have enough energy for anything needed.” This really was a bit of a lightning bolt moment. Every since I began my journey and started focusing on all the areas of my life (diet, exercise, spirituality, meditation, having goals, being in nature, volunteering, coping skills, conquering fear, becoming an optimist, building community) and basically pursuing EVERYTHING that makes me happy, I have found an energy that just flat out didn’t exist before. I’m just SO ALIVE. I was always a “doer”. That’s not new. And my Upholder tendency allows me to get done what I want to get done. The difference was the work and intentionally I had put in resulted in so much happiness and energy. I can’t even relate to people who walk around in the “I’m so tired” state. Think about how many people say that to you in a given day. Or maybe it’s you. And I know by looking back that it wasn’t just “one” thing to make this happen for me. It was all the things. I am a work in progress. It is easier to move forward knowing that everything I put into this will comeback ten fold. I keep moving forward in all areas of my life and I also keep finding new areas to learn about!

Take a minute this week to think about how fulfilled you are in your life. Does your life give you energy or drain it? Do you have meaning and purpose that fulfill you? I’m excited to hear all your comments! Thanks for being here!

Building Resiliency

Day 2

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I spent the first half of my life with almost zero resiliency. And I paid a high price for that. I had almost no ability to bounce back from setbacks or upsetting situations. According to Deepak, resiliency gives us energy and the ability to rebound mentally and physically with energy. Stress is a HUGE energy drainer. A simple practice of getting enough sleep can help in this area. I have always been an early riser. Always. Just naturally. My mistake was I was still going to bed at 10 or 11 and then getting up at 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning. I didn’t feel that bad, but when I made the switch to a 9 or 9:30 bedtime, I felt amazing. I was getting enough sleep and being productive. I’m no longer willing to sacrifice my health and wellness for work, family or anything else. My health is first or everything else goes to crap. I saw it happen in my own house when I was not functional.

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Deepak says we must “build a platform by making positive choices EVERYDAY”. Yes, every day is key. This is partly why I think people don’t find lasting change with things like, Dry January, or a Whole30. Even though I agree wholeheartedly that giving up alcohol and eating an anti-inflammatory diet are super important, doing it for a month isn’t setting yourself up for meaningful changes in your diet. It has to be a LIFESTYLE change. Same for meditation. Doing it once in a while is helpful, but having a regular practice is life changing. These are all the ways we can build our platform as Deepak says.

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A couple ways I maintain these habits is to keep everything in my calendar. I’m a bit of a planner junkie and I have a couple systems in place to help with reminders. On my weekly page of my calendar I have a section I call My Morning Routine. In it I have my routine that begins at 4:30 or 5:00am every morning. They are:

Meditate for 15 minutes

This is how I start my days. I may meditate or read again later, but starting out his way guarantees it gets done. Another way I use my planner to build my platform is the Habits section. Here I list the five habits I want to maintain every day. Right now mine are as follows:

Hydrate (for my and my weight, that’s six glasses of water a day)
Meals not snacks

You can see some of these overlap with my morning routine. It’s just another way for me to stay on track.

How are you building your platform? This week think about where and how you can add habits to your life that would help build your platform of positive choices! I’d love to hear your comments. Thanks for being here!

21 Day Meditation Experience Round 3 – Energize Your Life

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At this point I was ready to dive into my next 21 Day Meditation Experience with Deepak Chopra. I had gained SO MUCH insight into my own self I was excited to keep going. This session’s topic was called Energize Your Life – Secrets to a Youthful Spirit. When we think of energy we typically think of food fueling us up to give us energy. But Deepak explains there are actually four types of energy. They are; Physical (moving), Mental (understanding), Emotional (caring) and Spiritual (meditation).

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I am a pretty enthusiastic, high energy person. That’s because I’ve learned to put things in place in my life that give me energy, not deplete it. For example, I’ve already talked many times about finding my tribe and taking toxic people out of my life. After I’ve met up with girlfriends for lunch or a movie or whatever, my energy is through the roof. Literally. I feel like I’ve had 10 cups of coffee, I’m smiling and I feel like I can take on anything. I try to maintain some type of connection with my friends once a week. I’ll send a quick text and see if someone wants to meet up or if I see an event I want to go to I immediately think of which friends in my life would most enjoy it and start contacting them to get it on the calendar!

I always had this tendency, but ever since I began this journey and started working on myself I’ve discovered I’m overflowing with energy. Even though, I’m an Upholder (see previous posts about The Four Tendencies), I did not always want or do the right things to maintain the energy I wanted in my life.

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According to Deepak, meditation increases and renews our energy. There are a couple of places in my life where I practice meditation and all of them clear my head in a way that gives me spiritual energy. First is my morning meditation at home, second is my yoga practice and third is my soul writing (more to come on that later!). All three of these practices makes it possible for me to move through my day without stress and worry.

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On the other hand, there are a few things that challenge my energy levels. First is cloudy weather. I know that sounds like a small thing, but more now than ever, the weather has a huge impact on how I feel. If I wake up to a warm sunny day I feel a surge of energy and happiness. I’m happy just to go to the grocery store!! Just to be out in the bright, warm sun feels so good to me! But an overcast day can kill my mood, so best bet for me to counteract this is to meet up with a friend or go exercise in some form, preferably outside. One thing I haven’t done yet but want to, is to purchase a sun lamp for home. I feel like it would be good to have during our cold Northern Virginia winters.

How are your energy levels? Start noting what depletes and energizes you. Try the following:

Meet up with friends that raise your energy level, not deplete it.

Exercise. Preferably outdoors.

Meditation regularly.

Follow Your North Star

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I wanted to take a minute this week to talk about commitment. Elisha Goldstein wrapped up his Mindful Living Course discussing commitment, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject too. I’ve talked here before about how I was a bit “adrift” in my life. Things happen to me more often than I had planned for things to happen. I didn’t know any better. I cannot emphasize enough how having direction, goals and knowing where you are headed changes your life so drastically. I am making things happen for myself now. Like Dorothy, I had the power all along but just didn’t realize it. Manifestation is REAL. I see it working in my life everyday.

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The difference is having intention and commitment to what it is that I actually want with daily reminders. My reminders come in all forms. Some days, it’s in my yoga class. My very favorite instructor, who is like my guru, will say just the right thing on the right day. I swear, he can read my mind, and body for that matter. He knows exactly what I need to hear and what I need to physically do! I’m sure I’m not the only one in the class that feels that way, but that’s the magic of a brilliant instructor.

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Another reminder is good old post it notes! These are great to write your intentions on and post on the dashboard of your car, your bathroom mirror or on the refrigerator. Wherever it will be seen!

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Of course, another way to be reminded of where you are headed is a vision board. I keep mine in my bedroom as a constant reminder. I love it. I’ve actually used mine for two years straight, as my goals remained the same, but the week I’m writing this I’m having a vision board party to make a new board with my friends! I used Sarah Centrella’s book #futureboards as a guide this time and I’m SO glad I did. She made me think really big. Way bigger than I would have done on my own. And this will not be a board for just the coming year. It’s my vision for the next 10, 20 or 30 years! I can’t wait to put it all together. If you want to know more about the #futureboards book or Sarah Centrella click here https://www.sarahcentrella.com/.

Have you found your North Star? Do you have reminders in place to keep you committed to your mission? Try one or two of the following:

Write your intentions on post-it notes in your car, bathroom mirror or refrigerator

Have a yoga or other meditation practice to keep you mindful and intentional

Make a vision board

I can’t wait to hear your comments! Thanks for being here!

Emotional Contagion is REAL

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Have you ever felt drained after meeting with a friend? Our friends should give us energy, not deplete us. Emotions are contagious. You can learn more about emotional contagion here. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201906/protect-yourself-emotional-contagion That is reason alone to review who you are spending your time with since we are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Elisha Goldstein explains that we are a highly social species and whoever we are around influences our behavior. Having a high social connection has become one of my overarching goals for many reasons that I’ve written about here before including longevity. I’ve made some huge improvements on this front, but still have more to work on.

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In this lesson, I was to make a list of all the people I spend the most time with and then rate them on a scale of 1-10 by asking how much that person inspired me. At the time, I came up with a list of 17 people that I saw regularly. I thought this would be a difficult exercise but it was not. The uninspiring people were glaringly so. The lowest number I assigned any one person was a 3. Needless to say, I’m not really in contact with that person anymore. There was nothing so terrible about her, but she was the kind of person who when they speak, only complaints come out of their mouth. I was like that too at one time, and I probably would have been a snarky cohort, but now I see it and I want to run!

On the other end, the highest number I assigned was a 9 and that went to three friends. One of which was my personal trainer Carrie, which made complete sense since she jumpstarted so much of this for me. One other was one of the ladies in my exercise group who did some incredibly meaningful volunteer work. The kind of work that stopped me in my tracks to ask more. She was SO inspirational to me. She was the reason I started doing more important volunteer work in the first place. Not to mention all the health benefits of volunteering that I’ve mentioned before. I used to joke in class that “When I grow up I want to be her”. She lives her beliefs and there’s nothing more inspiring than that. My last 9 went to a friend who I feel is truly supportive. I never felt drained around her, in fact, the complete opposite is true. After seeing her I feel GREAT! She actually listens to me and understands me. Our conversations are real. She is most definitely part of my tribe.

This week try the exercise above. Make a list of the people you spend the most time with and assign each a number based on how inspiring they are to you. If nothing else you will see where your energy gets lifted up and where it gets drained. I can’t wait to hear about your experience with this exercise! Thanks for being here!

No Prerequisites

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I’m going to take a quick pause from my 21 Day Meditation Experience posts to talk about a moment that happen to me during the same time as the 21 Day Meditation Experience that was another aha for me.

I was listening to the “This is 50 Podcast”, now called “The Sheri and Nancy Show” and honestly, I don’t know who the guest was that they had on because I didn’t note her name, however she said some things that made me jumpstart all I had envisioned for myself.

By this time, I had the revelation that I wanted to pursue Health and Wellness in some form but had not acted on it just yet. It was brewing. I had a lot of questions and doubts. Was I smart enough? How will I afford school when I’m trying to pay for college for both kids? Will it be worth it? Will I have clients? Then, as if on cue, I heard the following about pursuing your dreams:

  • Be clear about your wants
  • Believe in your dream
  • Take action
  • Know yourself
  • No prerequisites
  • Increased longevity if you have dreams

These all hit home with me and were areas I was trying to work on. NO PREREQUISITES! That was such a good thing for me to hear! All I did at that point was give myself prerequisites! The kids must be done with college, we need to be debt free, I have to have the perfect business plan….How freeing to know I could just start. And that’s exactly what I did. The ball started rolling shortly after this. I like to say it was a “shift”. I’ve had a few of these along the way where I hear or read something the resonates so strongly that I make the change immediately. And this was one of those days.

She (the unknown speaker) said we should ask yourselves “Who are you now?” That’s a really good question because I was no longer the same person I was even a few years ago. Life changes, kids get older, we get older and we adjust. Or not. And that’s when the decline happens. This wise person said, that decline in the body happens when one or more of the following things happen:

  1. Empty nest
  2. Retirement
  3. No dreams

Well, empty nest was literally around the corner, I had no dreams until recently and retirement was further down the road, but not that far. So, I decided right then that I would NOT wait until my kids were out of college to pursue my dreams. I would find the funds and the courage to move forward and that’s exactly what I did.

Have you put your dreams on hold? Ask yourself why and start taking action on them today. Small steps make big progress. I’d love to hear about your dreams! Thanks for being here!

Say Yes to Life!

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Today focuses on playful manifestation. Deepak talks about “saying yes”, which is one of my happiness goals that I wrote about earlier. Here I got a much better understanding of why this is so important.

According to Deepak, “To be carefree is to trust the universe to take care of everything.” For an Upholder like me this seems to be an impossible task. I like controlling situations. Being “carefree” was not in my vocabulary. To be honest, I spent my whole life up to this point doing the exact opposite. Never in the flow, always worrying and trying to control outcomes. Desperate and uptight = disappointment. There’s a slogan for your fridge! And a good reminder!

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Deepak says when we let go of resistance to life it amplifies the law of attraction. I find this to be true. Letting go is a constant struggle for me, although I am MUCH improved. For example, as I write this my 19 year old son is planning his 4 month study abroad trip to Prague. The old me would be literally SICK with worry. All of the horrific scenarios worked up and spinning through my head on a daily basis. I would have been losing sleep, researching the area intently and constantly “talking” it over with my husband. I have done NONE of that. I’m trusting that things will be just fine. Because, if I was to apply my ABCDE strategies here, I would come to the conclusion that the facts would be on my side and I didn’t have much to worry about. That being said, as we get closer, I will have a talk with him about safety and we will be sure he has everything he needs. And then I will let go! Life is so much better this way. Both physically and mentally!

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Are you someone who is naturally carefree? Do you aspire to be so? Try saying yes to whatever comes your way and see how your life opens up and the law of attraction starts working. Try letting go of controlling outcomes and situations. Let me know how it goes! Thanks for being here!

Don’t Impose

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There is a fine line between helping others and imposing our path onto them. I walk this line all the time because I’m SO PASSIONATE about what I’m doing and what I’ve learned. It’s the whole reason I write this blog. I suddenly, after never wanting to discuss what happen to me, I wanted to scream it from the rooftops to everyone I know. And at first that’s exactly what I did. I BOMBARDED my family and friends with “Did you know.. blah, blah, blah” Basically, “everything you’re doing is wrong” is what most people heard me saying I’m sure. I just get very excited about new things and the science is there to back it all up so I just felt the need to share. And I’m still doing that, the difference is I’m letting the people who want to know find me, instead of me telling everyone around me whether they want to hear it or not.

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I recently overheard a conversation between two people, congratulating themselves, while eating peanuts, on what healthy snack choice they made. Inside I was bursting at the seams wanting to say, “Peanuts are are not nuts, they are legumes and they are inflammatory! Also, what kind of oil are those cooked in? Mostly likely canola, which is a processed oil known for causing heart attacks!” My brain was spinning, but I didn’t say anything. Because, it’s not my place. Deepak says we don’t know what other people’s path entails. We need to let nature take it’s course. I needed to let go of ego control and judgement! Whew, that resonated with me!!! As an Upholder (see Gretchen Rubin), I’m just programmed to do what is “right” and follow the “rules”. So, when I read about a way to improve my health and well being that maybe isn’t widely known yet, I just jump aboard and do it. I needed to stop trying to “fix” everyone. On the other hand, helping people is what I’d signed up to do! The difference is when I’m asked, or if it comes up in conversation with me directly, I will speak up, but I will not jump into a conversation just to tell someone they are wrong. Deepak says we should “envision that everyone’s mind/body state is perfect just as they are.” That’s so important to remember. And one that I work on constantly.

Do you feel like you try to control others actions? Do you feel like you are judgmental? Try reframing these feelings and tell yourself that others are on their own path and are right were they need to be. Once we release ego control we become more relaxed. I would love to hear your comments below! Thanks for being here!