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!


Lessons Learned

Day 19-21

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As I came to the end of my first 21 Day Meditation Experience with Deepak Chopra, a few things became crystal clear. For one, Transcendental Meditation was amazing and most definitely my favorite form I had found to date. During those twenty minutes the anxiety and worries melted away. Mantra meditation was for me. Occasionally, depending on the day, I would feel “out of my body” during my meditation. It sounds very woo-woo, but it’s the best way I can describe the overwhelming calm that came over me. I still do other forms of meditation, but TM will always be my go-to.

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There was a lot of self-discovery going on during these two weeks. The journaling forced me to look at myself and the way I thinking and behaving in life and asked to make changes. Or, as I would look at myself I could see what I needed to add into my life. Some of my journaling took the form of life goals, some were immediate changes and others lead me down the right path for future endeavors.

The most important thing I learned was to focus on staying present. I didn’t realize how much I was lost in the future or the past. Churning up worries that weren’t even real. Putting my body and mind through stress that was not needed and only would cause a fight or flight situation in my brain and body. Which in turn, would cause symptoms I would worry about. It’s a vicious cycle.

This was not the end of my meditation experiences with Deepak Chopra. I went on to do additional programs and every time I learned more and more about myself. I could see overlaps with other self growth programs and goals I had for myself and the journaling I had done in these experiences. I will write about those later because I had some real AHA moments that made a huge change in the path I pursued.

Have you considered meditation? Try the following.

Download one of the many meditation apps. Some popular ones are Insight Time, Calm, Headspace and 10% Happier. I use Insight Timer, which is free.

Find a meditation type that works for you. You could try Transcendental, Body Scans, Gratitude, Sleep, etc. There are many, many choices. You could also not do any guided meditation and choose just to have music or nature sounds as your background sound. I suggest that if you are brand new to meditating you try a few short, guided meditations first.

I would love to hear your feedback! Please comment below! Thank you for being he


Relationships

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Day 11’s meditation was all about giving relationships quality time. If we don’t pay attention to our relationships, they devolve. It’s really choice on whether or not we give our relationships the attention they deserve. I had two issues here. One, I neglected all my relationships (except with my mother and children) during the time I out of commission. I didn’t see any of my friends during this time. For one, I couldn’t do anything. And I just didn’t want to talk about how awful I felt. I just wanted to feel normal. And my relationship with my husband was strained to say the least. He took on all the driving duties for our kids at this time. My son was about a year away from learning to drive and when he did that eased up the responsibilities some. I couldn’t even do the dishes or any housework whatsoever. He did what he could, but he was very busy at work as well. My mom helped out, I ordered my groceries online and did what I could. My life had come to a halt. That is going to strain any relationship. He was feeling the stress of “why aren’t you getting better” too.

The second issue, and one I will cover much more in depth later, is that I wasn’t that great at paying attention to my friendships in the first place, before any of this started. I didn’t make it a priority. I let time slide between seeing them. I would say no to invitations for no good reason. And I really don’t know why I did that, but looking back it is most definitely a pattern I see.

I’ve made my friendships a huge priority. I talked about the types of people I’m surrounding myself with on a prior post about finding my tribe, but what happens when you have your tribe? I began to make those people in my life a priority. I make a point to invite friends on lunch or dinner dates. If I see that I don’t have any booked, I started reaching out and getting things on my calendar. I ask myself, who haven’t I seen in a while? Or who do I need to connect with right now?

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I also make sure I’m showing up for friends when needed. I’m quick to offer help now, where to be honest I wasn’t before. I’m not proud of this. It’s just a fact. Now, I’m more giving. And when I am with my friends, I make sure it’s a real conversation and that just comes naturally now because of the people I’ve surrounded myself with. Taking time to talk is so important. Even just a quick text makes a difference.

Are you looking to make your relationships a priority? Try the following:

Make time to meet up with your friends, whether that means lunch, dinner, a movie, a festival, whatever you enjoy! And make sure you have these dates in your calendar to make them a priority!

Check in with your friends often just to see how they are doing or even a quick text to keep connected.

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


It’s Not Me Talking

Day 7

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Pretty sure that’s an 80’s lyric that I dug up out of my brain! What I’m really talking about is Deepak’s teaching about the ego. Today’s lesson in my 21 Meditation Practice was still focused on the present moment but now also talking about being the observer of your own thoughts. Years ago Oprah did a online course with Ekhart Tole on A New Earth. This was my first forte into learning about the ego. Once you learn it you can’t unlearn it. I see it EVERYWHERE. In myself, in others and people I don’t even know. I hear the ego speaking. If you recognize this voice as your false self you can see that you are the observer of your thoughts. Deepak says “we are not our thoughts”. That is so true. Having this awareness was so enlightening! It just drives home the idea that my true self is in my awareness, not my thoughts. If my thoughts are taking me down the road of worry and past hurts, that takes up my present time. I needed to learn how to be in the present as much as possible to keep stress and worry at bay. Deepak says there are three things that take up the present moment.

Dwelling on old regrets

Anticipating the future

Worry as protection

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I did all of these on a regular basis. Dwelling on old regrets was something I did occasionally, but not as much as the other two. Anticipating the future!! All the time. This was where all my “what if something happens to my kids” worries lied. And until I heard this I never thought about worry as protection but that’s exactly what it is. It’s like preparation for disaster. I would say to myself “if I think about it enough, it won’t happen”. It’s exhausting really. I DO NOT want to live that way ever again. And I’m happy to say I don’t. At the moment, I have a parent who is dealing with some health issues. I’m even surprising myself at how well I’m handing it. I’m not up all night with worry, I’m not projecting the future, I’m not thinking about it nonstop. It’s truly incredible. The old me would be stressed to the point of not eating, (a hallmark indicator of my stress levels) talking about the “what if’s” constantly and obsessing over any information I could find on webmd. I’m tired even reading this. No wonder I felt the way I did! Like I said before, meditation carries over into real life and I’m living proof of that! Staying present is a part of my practice.

Do you find yourself not in the present moment? Think about trying the following:

Remember that only the “now” is real.

If you find your self talk is focused on old regrets or worry about the future, recognize this as your ego (your false self). You are not your thoughts.

Please comment below! Thanks for being here!


My First 21 Day Meditation Experience

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I’m not sure how I came upon my first 21 Day Meditation Experience with Deepak Chopra, but I do know it came at the right time. Because I was so new to meditation and just began using my new Insight Timer app I was open to learning more. So when I saw this I immediately sign up. If you aren’t familiar with these programs Deepak Chopra offers, they are in collaboration with Oprah and guide you through 21 days of mantras, meditation, self discovery and journaling. I find them to be incredibly useful. I have learned so much about myself from these programs. Oh did I mention they are FREE? Yay! It’s amazing the amount of aha moments that come out of these experiences for me. I have everything written in my notebook and I can see where the learning happened and how I moved forward with it and the changes made in my current life because of it. Pretty powerful stuff! Here are my thoughts and lessons learned throughout the my first 21 Day Experience.

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Day One

Each session has a theme. The first one I did was Time. There were a lot of lessons for me to learn here. First being “making every moment matter.” On Day One Deepak says “If you don’t have enough time, you need to manage it better.” Yes! Of course!

Three things I want to have more time for:

My husband


Volunteering


Having fun

Three things that feel like I lost time or wasted time:

Household Chores

TV

Scrolling on my phone

The goal here was to achieve a more fulfilling use of time while decreasing wasted time. I decided to make use of my early afternoons and early evenings volunteering or doing something fun. I can see now I took those to heart and are now all happening in my life. The doing something fun also took care of spending time with my husband. A two for one! We make a regular habit of going to concerts, as we are both music nerds. He being in a band in a previous life and me as a music lover surrounded by musicians in high school (my husband being one of them!) We have a deep love for music. This is our thing.

Volunteering was the other area I wanted to have more time for in my life. I did a little research and found a meal delivery service for seniors who were home bound. This was a county program where I could make my own schedule. It was a perfect start. I love seniors!! They are the most honest, funny, lovable people! It made my day to deliver their meals and chat a little. Doing for others is so important for both the people you are helping and your overall health. Win-win.

As far as the lost or wasted time, I decided that household chores are inevitable so I make the most of them by listening to a podcast or audio book during this time. No more TV on in the background. I go days without watching tv now. I don’t miss it at all. I have my shows recording and when I schedule the time to watch, I get my fill. You can do anything you want to do if you start taking control of your tv habits. Phone scrolling is the same. I started setting a timer when I would sit down and scroll through my phone in the morning and evening. If I don’t, an hour can go by just like that! I could have been reading, writing, exercising, meditating or any of the other things I want to bring into my life. This is a habit I’m still working on. I still forget to set my timer sometimes. I need to set a reminder for my timer!!

While on the subject of wasted time, I want to mention Laura Vanderkam and her books on time management. I found her work fascinating. She suggests keeping a time log for a few days to see how you are using your time. If you want to know where you are wasting time just try it! My time log was eye opening! Most clearly was my unplanned time scrolling on my phone. It was all there in black and white. I have a lot I want to accomplish and the only way to do that is to manage my time well. This is an area that I have to continually come back to for review and get back on track. Here’s a link to Laura Vanderkam’s TedTalk. https://www.ted.com/talks/laura_vanderkam_how_to_gain_control_of_your_free_time?utm_campaign=tedspread&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare

Do you feel like you have lost or wasted time in your day? Try the following:

  • Keep a log of your time using Laura Vanderkam’s method or choose one of your own.
  • Make a list of things you want to have more time for. Keep it small, three or four things.
  • Make a list of areas of wasted or lost time.
  • Think of ways to use your time more wisely to increase what you want to bring into your life and how to decrease the lost or wasted time.

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


Becoming an Optimist

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After reading Learned Optimism and understanding how to use the ABCDE method to start changing my pessimistic views and to overcome fears, I wanted to continue with this theme and made it my next resolution, which was:

My Quotation: “You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.”

Daily/Weekly Actions:

Problem Solve

Pick a Time of Day to Think

Listen to the Happier Podcast

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So, the first action was to problem solve.  Not my strong suit.  It was rare that I actually would attack a problem going on in my life.  I would skirt around it or make small changes but never the big sweeping action steps it would take to actually solve a problem all the way.  If you remember, problem solving was part of my “How to Improve Coping Skills” list as well.  Here’s more on why problem solving is important. “Work out what you need to do now to get over what is happened to you.  Talk to people and think about taking practical steps, such as finding a support group.  Sympathy feels good, and sometimes it’s tempting to be a victim and tell people how bad your troubles are, but problem-solving will be more constructive in the long run.”  This sounds very much like something a child should have learned.  Something I should have learned along the way at some point.  But, I did not.  I have notes written next to this action that say “budgeting – research in the fall.”  Money was at the forefront of my mind.  We’ve always had plenty of money.  My husband works very hard and is very successful, which we in turn thought the money never ended so we could spend and charge as we please.  Not the case.  That does catch up with you.  I also had MOUNTING medical bills.  Thousands of dollars with no end in site.  It was incredibly stressful.  These notes, were the very first time I ever thought about taking control of our money situation.  My son would be leaving for college the next year and there was money put away for him but not enough.  And the thought of taking on any additional debt just made my stomach turn.  Even though I did not take action on this immediately, I eventually did.  I woke up to the fact that we could not continue this path.  And I was adamant that no one was going to have debt, not my kids with student loans and not us either.  So for the first time in my life I started a budget.  I did my research, found a few extremely helpful podcasts such as HerMoney with Jean Chatzky and How to Money.  I took it all in, started my budget, attacked the debt, and started seriously saving not just for college for my kids, but for everything that would be coming our way in the next 5 years.  I sold a ton of stuff, I cut expenses, but mostly I PAID ATTENTION to where the money was going.  I discovered we were wasting money EVERYWHERE.  Literally throwing it away.  Having a budget, at first, seems restrictive, but it’s not.  I’ve never felt so free to spend in my life.  Not an ounce of guilt with any purchase, because it’s all accounted for.  I’m happy to say we are just about debt free now and the college savings are building. 

Until I had this project in writing and actually wrote down my resolution and took action, I would have never started this process. It just would have been another source of stress in my life, which was the LAST thing I needed at the time.

My second action of Pick a Time of Day to Think was straight out of Learned Optimism (Which you can purchase here if you’re interested. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1400078393/ref=as_li_qf_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=myawakenedwel-20&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1400078393&linkId=f5121b37228bba3162df147b18ecf86b) The idea is to use this time not to be anxious, but to use the time for problem solving and solutions. This forced me to stop stressing out every time something came up. I would put it aside and have a time, for me, usually in the evening, where I would sit down and sort through all the issues that have come up. Even though I might not come up with a solution immediately, I haven’t spent my whole day in a state of worry. Read more about this strategy here. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/stop-worrying-anxiety-cycle_n_4002914

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My third action was to Listen to the Happier Podcast with Gretchen Rubin.  When I started this Happiness Project, I started looking into the work Gretchen Rubin had done since I had read the original Happiness Project eight years early.  I found she had written several more books! (yay!) and had a weekly podcast (also yay!).  I DEVOURED these episodes.  I had about two years worth to listen to. So to catch up,  I listened whenever I could.  So many fun tips and hacks that I will go into more later.  But for the most part just having this in podcast in my ear all the time kept some of my priorities in order and kept me on track.  I can say the same about the personal finance podcasts.  Podcasts are my new favorite thing! I rarely watch tv anymore.  Podcasts are where it’s at.  Any niche you are into, there is a podcast for it I promise.  I’ve learned SO much.  I can’t recommend them enough.  Also, it’s just so easy to have them on while I’m getting ready in the morning, doing chores around the house or driving. 

One more note about becoming an optimist.  I just want to share another piece from Learned Optimism.  Here Seligman provides the case against pessimism:

Pessimism promotes depression.

Pessimism produces inertia rather than activity in the face of setbacks.

Pessimism feels bad subjectively (blue, down, worried, anxious).

Pessimism is self-fulfilling.  Pessimists don’t persist in the face of challenges, and therefore fail more frequently – even when success is attainable.

Pessimism is associated with poor physical health.

Even when pessimist are right and things turn out badly, they still feel worse.  Their explanatory style now converts the predicted setback into a disaster, a disaster into a catastrophe.

Who would want to live this way?  Not me.  I decided I never wanted to live like this again.  My health was and is my number one priority and this was part of being healthy.

Do you feel like you are a pessimist?  Try the following:

Start problem solving.

Pick a time of day to think.

Find a podcast that will keep you on track that align with your goals.

I can’t wait to hear all about your progress! Thanks for being here!