Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

Meditation: You Are the Author of Your Own Life’s Story

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I’ve taken a few days off from writing meditative posts because 1) Life. and 2) At the risk of sounding repetitive, I wanted to make sure what I was writing was useful and unique.  Writing/using meditative practices can feel redundant at times, and while practice is what gets us to that elevated state of being, it’s also not helpful to repeat the same things over again.  In order to grow in your practice, especially if you’ve been at it for a while, you sometimes need new information to help feed it.

I’ve written on the topic of “Creating Your Own Life Story” before, but it came from a different point in my life, a point at which I was evolving into who I wanted to be.  A few years later, and I’m a lot more self-aware (in all aspects), am driving towards the things I want, and am finding myself enjoying each of my days as much as I can. In other words, I’m constantly creating my life’s story, and it never stops!

I know, especially in today’s world, there’s so much noise – “buy this”, “travel here”, “do these 80,000 things before you die”, “vote this way”, “hate this”, “love that”. You follow all of these “strong recommendations” on how to conduct your daily life, living in fear (and debt) that you’ll be missing out, or are judged,  and you’re miserable because what you really wanted was something different.  In this scenario, are you really creating your own life story or living out someone else’s?

I used to have major FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) a lot.  I believed that other people’s lives, documented on social media, were far better in comparison to mine. I tried to emulate much of what they did and wore, and realized that 1. I was exhausted 2. I felt broke, and 3. I had no idea who I was.  So what if I preferred a different style of dress?  So what if I didn’t get the $1000 milkshake at the newest/trendiest cafe (totally exaggerating on that one, but I once shared a $300 lasagna)?  Was the stress and instant gratification worth the emulation and money for something that would be forgotten on a timeline?  And, that’s just this overly-hyped use of social platforms… this doesn’t even account for real-life situations of going to place after place, event after event, seeing the same faces every night, realizing you’re just as lost and miserable as everyone else… while they are carrying the coveted bag of the season.

Step 1, for me, was getting out of my environment.  I’ve mentioned before the notion of being around what you want to BECOME.  This means living in an environment that nurtures your life’s goals, not prohibits them.  It means surrounding yourself with like-minded people who inspire you to get there.  Unfortunately, Washington, D.C. wasn’t the place for my transformation, so I moved back to San Diego for a year.  While it came with its own challenges, it also came with a lot of GROWTH – it was as though I needed to be a “life” exchange student to independently transform into the person I was always meant to be.

Step 2, for me, was figuring out how to BE healthier.  This wasn’t a checklist, but rather a natural progression.  Sunshine is a good start, and so are long walks by the ocean and the bay.  Then I started hanging out with some of my favorite people who are into holistic approaches to life, including meditation, Reiki, eating well, and workouts designed to relieve stress.  Slowly, over that year I was there, I began to evolve.  I started to naturally move away from certain people who weighed me down negatively, I adopted new, healthy habits that had me looking and feeling better than I ever had before.

Step 3, for me, was to EXPERIENCE my own life.  Feeling freer than I ever had before, I spent a lot of time in Los Angeles meeting all sorts of amazing people, went to Sundance for the first time, flew home a couple of times to attend some super fun events, as well as so many other places to do things I had had on my “bucket list”, but was never sure I’d get to.

… and then… I moved back to Washington, D.C.

It wasn’t planned, it just sort of happened.  My lease was up, and I knew that while San Diego was great, I needed to be around a bit more energy.  The decision was then between moving to Los Angeles or going home.  I went back and forth on it until I was just about a week away, and decided that for some unknown reason, it was time to go home.

The thing was… I was different, more relaxed, and happier.  I saw the city in a different light. I took the tools I instilled in me, and made a conscious decision to keep using them as best I could (while not being surrounded by sunshine and water).  I took a trip through Europe for two weeks, experienced pure euphoria on a few occasions during that trip, came back, met someone amazing, traveled to Mexico, India, and Iceland, bought a house, and moved up in my career.  I’ve written two books (which are currently being reconstructed), have been asked to contribute to professional publications, and have finally settled into a great mind/body routine.

The summary on my life matters because I consciously CHOSE to create my own story, to experience my life the way the universe intended.  I said “yes” more and “no” less.  I chose (and choose) to remain present as much as I can to appreciate every moment, regardless of what I’m doing.  I chose (and choose) to not waste any minutes, because there might not be minutes left with someone you love, or even you, yourself.

You’re going… “well, good for you, but why do I care?”  Because everyone is given their own journey from the start, and few actually take it.  YOU have the ability, at any time, to choose what you want to do with your life.  I’m not saying up and quit your job, and become a beach bum; but I am saying if you’re happier by the beach, look for remote work that allows you that flexibility!  If you wish you could have happier friends, make sure you’re making yourself happier first and then you will attract those friends!  Don’t wait for others to create your story, make yourself be the most interesting person in the room because YOU went out and created it.

Live. Life. Fiercely.

So, you want to be on the path to happiness, and you’re ready to create that story that’s all your own.  How do you do it?

Always start small!  Just like any new healthy habit, it’s taking baby steps to make it stick.

  1. Start by looking out a window you always look out of and notice five new things you never saw before – it can even be people!  Appreciate the fact that you saw five new things out of the same view – it means you’re already practicing awareness and looking through a different lens!  Repeat that for a week or so, appreciating, each day, that you can see something different (it’s also fine if it’s different windows).
  2. Do something different in your routine everyday.  Are you usually a coffee and toast person?  Have a bowl of cereal instead!  It forces you to sit down for a minute and enjoy the morning… even if it’s only a minute.
  3. Take stock of the things that make you the happiest – things that have a lasting effect.  No, this isn’t shopping.  Is it your home?  Is it your family?  Friends? Travels?  Pick one (or more) of those and spend more time with it/them.  This is to create that happy feeling, continuously, that propels you into wanting to seek more avenues of long-lasting happiness.
  4. When you’ve mastered these, seek out the new things you want to try that gives you the same happy vibe you’ve been feeling everyday.  Is it learning to skydive?  Dance?  Go do it!  The happy feeling comes from accomplishment of trying it… even if you decide it’s not right for you to do again.

The goal you must always keep in mind is that you are seeking happiness through things that brighten your life.  The more you open yourself up to the experiences, the more you do, become, and are able to share with the world!  Go out there and create your own story.

 

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

Meditation Experience Day 3: Finding the Key to Your Creativity

The world is your oyster still life

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “The World Is Your Oyster” before.  If you are unfamiliar with the meaning of it, it means that you have the ability to seize any opportunity you desire – your opportunities are limitless.

Many of us hear this, think this, but believe that the path to obtaining this state of mind, as well as living it, is out of the cards.  We might either be too busy with our daily lives or find ourselves flooded with limiting beliefs, that we ignore the signs that we are meant to be/can do anything.

Nine times out of ten, the reason we don’t believe this is true, is that we are not fully aware of the creativity we possess in seizing those opportunities.  Going back to yesterday’s meditative post, we often times find ourselves coveting an aspect of someone else’s lifestyle, followed with a statement, such as, “I’ll never be…” or “I can never do…”. This limiting behavior is what holds us back in finding our own path, specially tailored to our individual selves, which could potentially serve up something much greater!

What Deepak teaches us is that the more aware we our of ourselves in the present moment, the more life-affirming qualities surface, which sends us on a trajectory in believing anything is possible.  When we find out how to obtain something, and seize it, we’ve managed to get ourselves unstuck and back on track.

It’s certainly a hard thing to do!  While I went through bouts of “anything is possible” in my life, I also have hit many hard (and what felt like never-ending) concrete walls that threw me into the exact opposite thinking.  It could be that work was getting tough to manage, I was stuck on a creative project, someone else told me I’d never be able to do x,y, or z; or that I saw an aspect of someone’s lifestyle I always wanted, and felt stuck on how to obtain it for myself, chalking it up to having made a lot of mistakes.

Since learning what works for ME, what I want in MY life, and how I KNOW I am able to obtain it, my life became more about having fun with everything I do, than dreading the next day and what it would hold.  Below are some of my exercises in keeping me fully engaged, creative, and present:

  1. Learn what you LOVE.  So many people race through each and everyday, not taking into account what they love in life.  It could be a particular artist, a show, a form of exercise, a type of person, etc.  And, even if they do know it, oftentimes they ignore it, in favor of going with the status quo.  My favorite quote ever, “You have only you for the rest of your life.”  Why would you not satisfy your happiness?
  2. Ignore those that bring you down.  Yep, there are a lot of “Debbie Downers”, “Chicken Littles” and “Eeyores” in this world who find comfort in spreading negativity. I worked hard to not be one.  Unless someone asks my advice, I usually say that I’m sorry to hear about something they are going through; or I smile, listen, and move on.  It’s not worth absorbing the negative energy, especially when you are seeking unending happiness 🙂
  3. Reminding yourself that anyone and anything can be accessible. That’s right – ANYONE and ANYTHING.  With a little bit of perseverance, you could meet your mentor, that major celeb you have a crush on, or that one person you admire.  Alternatively, you could find away to go on your dream trip, live a lifestyle you have always wanted to live (even if for a weekend), or purchase a large item, such as a car or a home you’ve dreamt of.  For me, it comes down to planning and perseverance.  (I’m also relentless, which helps. 🙂
  4. Live to tell a great story.  I love telling stories of my life, not because I feel everyone needs to listen to me all the time, but because I can find a way to relate to so many people that I’ve now got friends across the globe!  Human connection is a need in all of us and the more we can connect with each other on some level, the more satisfied, well-rounded, and happier beings we are!

I encourage all of you to use these steps above as a start or certainly, meditate if you can.  It’s important to note that the more happy and relaxed you are, the more confident and approachable you will be.  The deeper you are in this state, the more the world will come to you with all that you hope for!

Namaste

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

Meditation Day 4: Become What You Believe – Your Positive Beliefs Shape Your Potential

Yesterday, we focused on how to tackle negativity in the face of judgment.  It’s not an easy thing to do.  Negativity is one of the easiest cycles to get sucked into and very hard to get out of.

Although over the last few days I talked a lot about the negative impact of being judged by others, today’s practice wants you to focus on setting your own positive beliefs to help shape your true potential of who you are.  It’s taking those “I can’t” statements and turning them into “I can’s!”.

We hear a lot about abundance when we think positively.  The more we love someone else, the more love we receive.  The more we allow ourselves to be creative, the more outlets we given to continue being creative.  The more cash flow we allow ourselves, the more money we’ll make.  These are some of the examples of what happens when you see new possibilities – it’s called evolving and expanding, and it’s powerful.

Believe it or not, there are some very powerful people in this world that believe in meditation practices. Every single morning, they take 20 minutes to breathe, center themselves, set their intentions for the day, and then get to work on achieving those intentions.  Their success (although met with plenty of obstacles), comes from a calm, clear-headed space that allows them to think through any issue from a more enlightened perspective.  In other words, they are not personally operating from an ego level, but one of true self.  It’s key in not only keeping beliefs positive, but also being an effective leader.

So what does this have to do with YOU.  Anyone can unlock their potential (as cheesy as that sounds) – it’s figuring out the right tools to get you there, and learning positivity through meditation is one of them.  So how do you get started?

You need to be open to new ways of doing things.  Being closed off from a place of fear or skepticism will not get you there.  I saw a woman on a meditation group on Facebook, claim that meditation was B.S. because it didn’t work for her.  Meditation is a practice that comes from within.  If you’re closed off, you won’t unlock the potential of what it can do.  You have to believe in yourself, to believe this practice.  It also doesn’t come overnight.

Do your best to block out “noise”.  Noise refers to those that send you negative messages, whether it be verbal, physical, or subliminal.  Remember, you have YOU to live with the rest of your life, no one else.  Do what makes YOU happy!  If you feel confident about something in your life, stick to your guns!  I can’t tell you how many times I used to feel like I needed to defend myself on some of my more personal endeavors. What I learned was that if I came across as defensive automatically, it creates a level of uncertainty that opens me up for a negative “attack” of sorts.  OWN who you are and what you believe in, block out the noise of the naysayers, and I guarantee you, it not only creates an energy shift, but also changes everyone’s perception, including your own!  Positive energy is infectious.

Be open to new possibilities.  I have a girlfriend that says “yes” to as many things as she can in her professional life, as it can always open four more doors to greater things.  Her success and what she has unlocked personally is absolutely incredible.  You might be busy because of all these “yeses”, but busy is good – especially if you want to achieve your dreams!

Believe that there is always a solution.  Understand that you might not find it alone but someone else, or the universe will be there to help you.  In lieu of that, having faith that something will resolve itself, sends out a positive beam of energy, helping you to not only find a solution, but a peaceful one at that!  I like the example of the airport line – maybe half of them are about to miss a connecting flight, are agitated, irate, etc.  They stand in line, fuming over the fact that they will not get on the plane they were supposed to be on.  They collect their negative thoughts, think they are doomed to never getting where they need to go, and by the time they get to the counter, they start listing demands, yelling at the attendant, and then storming off, accepting a different flight that leaves at a different time.  Now, watch someone who comes from a positive place, that accepts that they will miss their flight, and that all will work itself out (no one has ever been stranded permanently).  They go to the counter with a smile, take the time to either make a small joke about the crazy person before them, apologize on behalf of the line of those who are mad, etc., and ask that while they ideally would like to get on the next soonest flight out, what is available, and are there any possible upgrades? I’m telling you, that energy shift does wondrous things.  They not only got a solution, but they helped ease someone’s day, even if for a minute.

This is all about having faith in the process, designed to help put you in a positive, successful direction.

Namaste