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?
“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!
We have all seen the positive slogans. They abound everywhere. You have these slogans on your phone, on your water bottle, on your clothes, just about anywhere. But, unless you have done the work behind the slogan, what does it really mean? Not a heck of a lot. If you stare at a post-it note on your mirror that says “Be Grateful”. Are you really going to be more grateful? I would think not. But if you have a daily gratitude practice and then you see your post-it on the mirror, the reminder has much more significance. You can feel it, not just read it.
Deepak says if we take care of our mind, body and spirit everyday our relationships will blossom. I find that to be so true. This was a reminder to me to pay attention to the intentions I set for myself and re-evaluate. I set the following self-care goals for myself:
Extend my meditation practice to 15 minutes a day
Stay hydrated – track again
Monitor sleep habits – get 7 hours/night
At this point I was meditating regularly in the morning for about 5-10 minutes. I had done a few longer sessions, but now I wanted to progress my practice. This took a little longer to get comfortable with. I bounced around with different guided mediations, I tried just music, until I eventually found a few I really enjoyed. Now I’d say my practice flows between 15-20 minutes depending on the day.
Staying hydrated was a goal that I was tracking in my planner. Somewhere along the line I stopped, so in this case, it was obvious to me that I needed to track it to accomplish it. I still do this daily. Between my morning hot green tea, cold green tea after my workout and water in the afternoon, I get it all in.
I’ve never been one to have much trouble getting to or staying asleep. Only when I was in pain did I have trouble. But because I’m an early riser I need to stay on track with my bedtime. If I stay up past 9:30 I feel it the next day. I have a daily alarm set for 4:45am which gives me just over 7 hours of sleep. I know my body doesn’t need more than that because I couldn’t sleep much longer even if I wanted to. My body likes to be up doing in the morning! Before I started monitoring my sleep I was in the 7 hour range, but I had noticed I had too many nights where I was at 5 hours. I can function, but not well. I become irritable and I make mistakes. Having a clear bedtime made this all much easier.
This week take a look at your self-care routine. Do you have one? If not think about what you could do for yourself. If you already have one, maybe revisit it and see where you can jump back in or tweak it someway. 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!
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.
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. https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/type-descriptions
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!
I’ll admit that I have a tendency to judge others. In this political climate I have found that some friends and acquaintances and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of issues. And now with all of us posting our stances and feelings on social media (and I don’t have a problem with that because I do it on a regular basis) I am confronted with differing opinions from my own on a daily basis. Deepak says “When you judge another human, you are denying that we are the same.” He explains a practice of visualizing the person you are judging with a parental attitude. Loose the grip on our grudges and find compassion. He goes on to say that empathy links you to everyone on earth. Well, that was just mind blowing to me. Of course it does! My favorite quote of Deepak’s from this session was “Step down from the judge’s chair”. Yes, Mona, step down. And stay down and post it this all over your house so you remember!
Next I made a list of people who I have judged or continue to judge and found things we both value or something I value and respect about them. Without listing names of course, I came up with the following;
Friend/Acquaintance #1 – She is extremely giving with her time and her kids. Friend/Acquaintance #2 – She is a good mother. Friend/Acquaintance #3 – We both want the best for our kids. We both are book lovers.
When you start looking at others this way it’s much easier to “step down from the judges chair” and stop the internal battle of “I’m right.” Which I do struggle with. I’ve found this little exercise can help me get through and not necessarily cut these people out of my life just because I disagree with something they did/said or believe. This is NOT the same as me removing toxic people from my life! (see previous post) That is different and necessary!
Have you found yourself judging others? Take some time this week to try the visualization I described above. Let me know how it goes in the comments! Thanks for being here!