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: Creating Peace in Your Life

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It may because I’m getting older (I’ll be 40 in August), but I’ve realized I hate disturbances and do my best to avoid them at all costs.  If I can “be” Amy Poehler in this .GIF then I’m heading in the right direction.

For the first (let’s say) 36 years of my life, I allowed myself all sorts of unhealthy imbalances that left me tired, dramatic, and totally unsure of who I was as a person.  I wanted “the right” people to like me, but in turn, wanted them to make me happy.  I really had no idea who I was, and that wasn’t good.

In the last four years, a lot of things changed.  I went from married to divorced, from living in San Diego, to living back in D.C.  I went from renting to being a homeowner, and financially struggling to get by, to dabbling in investing and certainly padding my savings.  I also went from allowing friends that didn’t have it together, to making peace with the fact that I’d prefer quiet nights in than absorb negative energy.  But, the only way  I was able to get there was to create my own peace and self-love, by spending a lot of time taking stock of my life.

We all have that one aspect of this process that’s the most difficult to overcome and for me, it’s other humans.  By nature, I’m a people person and with my aforementioned affliction, it was super hard to take stock of who I surrounded myself with, what I really wanted in a friend, and ultimately, how to gracefully “exit stage left”.  If you’re like me, then you know that deep down, almost everyone is a good person, and quite possibly, they are just as “stuck” as we are/were.  As time goes on and the universe’s “nudge” to follow your path gets stronger, it forces you into a situation of having to make better decisions for the long run. As the saying goes, “Surround yourself by those that inspire you to be where you want to go.”  While it feels down right wrong to fade out something (or someone) that doesn’t serve a purpose, it’s also important.  It’s part of growing into the person you want to be – the person you have to spend the rest of your life with (you).

Sure, I’m focusing on other humans because that’s where my journey has taken me.  But, it could be anything.  It could be a job, bad habits, holding yourself back from something you really want to do, a need to surround yourself with materialistic goods to make yourself happy, etc.  The point is, no matter how painful, it’s necessary to shed what no longer serves in order to find peace.

Many believe peace is about instant gratification; happiness. The actual definitions Miriam-Webster has includes:

: a state of tranquility or quiet: such as

a : freedom from civil disturbance

  • Peace and order were finally restored in the town.

b : a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom

  • a breach of the peace

2: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions

  • I have been in perfect peace and contentment
  • —J. H. Newman

3: harmony in personal relations

  • The sisters are at peace with each other.

4a : a state or period of mutual concord between governments

  • There was a peace of 50 years before war broke out again.

b : a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity

  • offered the possibility of a negotiated peace
  • New York Times
5used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell

Imbalance feels disturbing

at peace

: in a state of concord or tranquility

  • The problem was settled and his mind was at peace.

(Originally this word was created in the 14th century – that’s a bit ironic given how much of Asia was being conquered at the time, as well as the spread of the Black Plague.  Perhaps this word was the only word to describe what they wanted 🙂

But, if you look at all of the definitions for it, it proves that most people abuse the word “peace” as something that isn’t an ever-lasting state.  If you take a look at “at peace” (at the bottom of the list of definitions), it denotes a timeless state of being – that it’s the end result we all want to achieve.

How To Get There

As with yesterday’s post, this isn’t an easy journey, and certainly one that can’t be forced. But, there is a path and if it’s followed diligently, it will be easier!

  • Meditate – seriously, I can’t stress that enough.  It can be 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or whatever works for you.  Putting your body and mind in a state of complete calm becomes somewhat addicting.  You’ll realize you like having no disturbances.
  • Consciously think about what would put you at permanent peace.  Write it down and put it somewhere you can save it.
  • Begin to slowly chip away at how to get to that state of peace.  Is it staying in one extra night a week to save money, helping to slip away from those you don’t truly want to be around?  Is it telling yourself you don’t need to go on Amazon everyday? Is it slowly fading out a bad habit by replacing it with a good one?  Regardless of what it is, take it day by day, or hour by hour if you have to!  Make sure to write down the milestones you want to achieve and if necessary, a plan to get there.
  • Write down your positive thoughts and feelings in the morning, and do it again at night.  Read it once to see how your day went, then don’t look back – living in the past doesn’t promote growth

For those reading this, you’re already on the path to self growth, or are looking to achieve this.  I’m not an expert in the slightest, but I’ve been through enough life to get the hardships, difficulties, and the constant wanting of something better.  I, myself, have followed the above, and I’m a believer in the process!  I hope that each of you find the long-lasting peace you want in your lives.  And if you ever need something to aspire to, save that Amy Poehler .GIF 🙂

 

 

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

Meditation Day 10: The Reality of Inner Strength

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After going through this meditation, I was honestly a little taken aback by Deepak’s intro before he dove into the meditation.  I realize that this meditation was created out of the need to help millions of people who felt complete despair after the election, but was hoping the political agenda behind it wouldn’t truly be revealed.

Then came the mention of “Why does one person appear to get all the power, while millions of others give it away?”  This was followed by a message to stand tall, speak your truth, and take responsibility.

While this can be translated into everyday life, it was still too much, too soon and certainly not right, considering meditation teaches us to not judge.

As a human race, we have unfortunately become very fragile.  Between most of our lives being spent/displayed on the Internet, reality shows being the normal thing to watch, and more kids growing up latch key; we’re in a society of weaker-minded, lost individuals that don’t know how to find their inner strength to actually DO things that will make a difference in this world.  No, I’m not saying ALL humans are like this but certainly, there is a very large shift, particularly with this newest generation.  And instead of doing something to curtail it, people find it easier to shut it off by taking on the burden for the other, in order to move forward.  It is this horribly repeated cycle that is causing a generation of lost souls.

Yesterday, I wrote of the need to find yourself first before bringing someone else into your life.  Today, I’m asking for you to reach deep down inside yourself and pull out your greatest strengths, examine them, nurture them, and then USE them.  Each one of us has amazing gifts to share with the world, and there should be no shame or fear in pursuing them – even if it’s a side hobby.  Are you someone that by day wears a suit, really wishing you were at Burning Man, artistically expressing yourself through costume?  DO IT!  Share your artistic brilliance with the world!  Are you someone that really wants to spend more time helping those less fortunate (or even just the general population), and know you can make a difference?  What’s stopping you?  Or, do you feel like you’ve been treated unfairly and know you are better than that?  Step up and be “better than that”.  These are just a few examples but the point is, there is no need to live your life in fear.

So what happens when you come out from the shadows:

  • You are at peace
  • You are strong
  • You no longer feel anxious
  • You feel the world is full of endless possibilities – and you take advantage of it
  • You are able to take on any challenge life throws at you, and you welcome it

I know it’s so much easier said than done, so start small.  Take a class in something that interests you – even only if it’s one time.  Or, if you feel bogged down emotionally, there’s no harm in seeing a therapist – no one has to know but you.  If you can go totally out of your comfort zone and you need a true break, take a drive somewhere, stay the night in a hotel, and just relax – pamper yourself! Start getting to know who you are and learning that you’re your own BFF.  Treat yourself with the same care you would treat others.  Before you know it, you’ll be that kitten in the mirror, staring at a lion 😉

Namaste

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

Meditation Day 9: How to Truly Trust in Yourself

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Have you ever felt at war with yourself? You know, totally avoiding yourself altogether and instead, seeking out distractions to quiet that nagging lost feeling?  Or, do you wait for someone else to tell you what to do, how to behave, etc. because it’s easier than figuring out things for yourself; yet deep down, you feel it goes against your beliefs?  If you said yes to any of these, and you were to justify it, you would say, “because it’s just easier” or, “I have too many other things going on to work on me right now”.

Deep down inside, you want to be healed but that comfortability of remaining “broken” is far easier than taking the hard road of spending time with YOU (since you are the only person you truly have to live with the rest of your life).  It’s called learning to trust yourself and it’s one of the HARDEST things to do.

Why am I being so harsh to day…

All too often (almost everyday, including today), I see people walking around in a daze, rushing from place to place (oftentimes glued to their phones), just trying to get through their day.  I hear about them going on dates and never being satisfied, oftentimes finding mundane excuses for why “so and so” isn’t good enough for them.  I hear them constantly complain about their lives and how they’re too busy for “xyz”, while they are at their 3rd event of the evening, needing to be seen.  I see them plowing over people to get what they want, not really caring how it affects others, oftentimes blaming/manipulating others when they speak up.  It seems to be so bad, especially in major cities, that I have a hard time ignoring it.

People who are accustomed to taking the “easier” negative route, find themselves waking up in the morning, completely miserable.  If they didn’t bring someone home and/or are inebriated, they’re going to bed unhappy as well, silently wishing they could just have a peaceful night in, without “being in a million places at once”.   This, my readers, is you being a stranger to yourself, and it’s completely unhealthy.

I’ve been there myself – needing to be seen, blaming everyone else for everything that feels “unfair”, and generally feeling crappy all the time, as though the whole world will forget who I am if I don’t make “x” appearance.  Thousands of dollars, several illnesses from being run down, and 15 lbs. later, I learned it doesn’t matter.  I felt lost, out of control, and broke.  The worst part: when I had to stop going out so I could recoup my losses (financially and physically), I had no idea what to do with myself.  I cried a lot, freaked out a lot, and felt raging jealously that I missed that night’s big soiree and not one soul bothered to text, saying I was missed.  I felt irrelevant and angry.

About four years ago, I had an awakening.  If I felt ugly on the inside, certainly it radiated outward, which means others could see what I was feeling.  I knew I was better than that, and that so much more was meant for me.  There was no way I could live a full life under the conditions I gave myself.  So… I purged… about 1,000 people I didn’t know on Facebook; old blog posts on local happenings that sparked certain feelings; clothes/accessories (which I consigned) that I could’t afford because I wanted to not be seen in the same thing twice (I made a few thousand from consigning); friendships that weren’t friendships at all (I distanced myself); crap food I was eating; alcohol (for a while), and about a hundred other things (exaggeration) that were not going to suit the life I wanted to live.  Was it hard?  Immensely.  Was it worth it?  Completely.

As it turns out, all of that “clutter” was a ridiculous amount of noise that led to a massive fear of being judged – something that I used to be highly sensitive to.  I felt I needed to conform to a certain societal standard in order to have the “right” friends, when in actuality, everyone was doing the exact same thing.  I literally handed over the power of my life to people who were handing over theirs in return.  Imagine a bunch of lost people running around, drinks in their hands, having meaningless conversations, feeling just as run down as you!

Buckling down and focusing on things like my job, my company (at the time), my novel/blog writing, my travels, my diet/exercise routine, my meditation practices, and my close friendships, completely shifted me to the person I love being, as well as into a place of life I want to be in!

I’m not saying it’s all perfect but it’s damn near close for this point in my life.

SO… if you’re stuck in a rut, feel as though you need a life change, or you just need a way to incrementally move onto better things, start small.  Think of one thing you’re afraid to do because it seems to painful to do it, or you’re afraid people will judge you for doing it, or you’re not sure how to do it, so it scares you.  Google it – learn how to do it, see who else in this world has done it, what their outcomes were; and then make it a priority to do it.  I promise you that if you do, it will become addicting and next thing you know, you’ll keep on conquering those things, and it will shape you into the human you want to hang out with for the rest of you life.

To close this out, here are some of my own personal shifts:

Fear: Never being able to afford a home  What I Did About It: Got rid of the luxury car, saved a lot of money (not going out much, keeping expenses low) = I purchased a home!

Fear: Traveling to Asia because I was scared of being unable to read signs/speak with locals What I Did About It: I’m lucky to have a travel partner who 1/2 his family is from India – we went for 16 days, and it was amazing.  Note: Almost everyone there speaks English, and most signs are in English as well.  Now I want to go back

Fear: Taking more outdoorsy trips because I’m scared I’m not physically capable of handling it – you’re always supposed to go to the beach, right? What I Did About It: Booked an Icelandic vacation in the dead of winter and toured the Golden Circle.  It was freezing but it was exhilarating – we’ve booked a trip to the midwest for week-long outdoor adventure this summer!

Fear: Never being good enough to write my novel What I Did About It: Found my groove and decided to plow through it.  I’d rather do that and get rejected by a ton of publishing companies than wonder “what if” I actually wrote it?

Fear: Never being good enough for the “right” person What I Did About It: Started meditating to learn to trust my instincts.  It worked – my other half is the best man I’ve ever dated, and it’s because I took the time to listen to myself

Namaste

 

 

 

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

Meditation Day 3: Turning Doubt and Uncertainty Into Hope

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Today’s meditation was an amazing reminder to: Just. Let. Go.

Even though I’ve been meditating for a few years, I still have my moments where I hold some fear and uncertainty towards something, and it will consume me until it’s restored back to (my version of) normal.  Then again, I’m a “doer”, and would prefer to work to fix something than let it go and do nothing.  (Then again, it usually happens when I’m tired or hangry.)

But, it’s a true testament that all of us have our moments – moments that we’ve decided to bring to the situation, not the other way around.

Things are given meaning when WE give them meaning.  Otherwise, they’re neutral events that will mean nothing to one person and everything to another.  Oftentimes, when we put negative meaning behind something, we automatically shift the blame to that thing/someone versus taking the time to understand why WE feel the way we do.  I know people (whom I’ve made a conscious decision not to befriend) that always shift the blame to another, being so “kind” (sarcasm) to berate another human for anything that is bothering them. (Talk about someone who needs meditation… or therapy… or both.)  If you are one of those people that automatically flip to the negative, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. When it feels like nothing is going your way, what is your typical reaction?
  2. Are you immediately negative or do you ask yourself what the universe is trying to tell you right now?
  3. Do you feel that someone else is to blame for your feelings? If so, how do you respond to them?
  4. Do you feel afraid, anxious, and chaotic?

Being able to (truthfully) answer these questions for yourself is where the crucial messages come in, and we have to listen. No one likes that “anxious” feeling of not knowing.  However, that uncertainty in life can be a very powerful and beautiful thing!  The more you allow your conscience to kick in, the more time you spend getting to know and love yourself, and the more time you take to learn to love yourself; the more positive life experiences will be.

A Brief Personal Story

As some of you may know, I’ve not always been the best at relationships.  A lot of this was due to an extreme bout of self-consciousness that carried me through most of my life, up until my early 30s.  I never believed I was good enough for the people I “should” be dating.  In fact, I didn’t believe I was good enough for anyone (friendships included), or even at anything I knew I could do.  I felt ugly on the inside and the outside – I was an incredibly toxic human being!

Then there was a moment around my mid-30s where I realized I was doing life all wrong.  I stopped seeking out someone to fill a void – someone that would define who I am; and remained single for two years!  Sure, I went on dates but I had to take a step back, get to know me (which wasn’t pretty), and just “be”.  Well, it paid off!  About a year later is when I started meditating, and really connecting with who I am.  Since then, about 95% of my decisions are based on my conscious ability to think through how I’m feeling in the short-term, as well as the long-term.  I sometimes have to tell myself “you’ll thank me later”.  If I can’t make a decision, or something has gone wrong, I take a step back, trying to understand what I’m supposed to learn from it; and either decide what to do next, or let it be for a while (usually that’s when my 5% of irrational decision making comes into play, but I’m getting better).

SO… take some time to get to know yourself –  be honest with yourself and your feelings.  Be proactive in WHO you actually want to BE because no matter what, it’s never too late!

Namaste

 

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 20: BECOME WHAT YOU BELIEVE –LIVING BY THE LIGHT OF TRUTH

In D.C. (well, and in many other cities as well), there are many individuals, walking around, playing a great game of “smoke and mirrors”.  To those who do not know what that means, it means that in order to fit in with a group (professional or social) you aspire to be like, you start to make up stories about yourself, dress differently, and act differently than who you really are.  In other words, lying to yourself and to others all of the time, in order to achieve what you think you want.  It leaves most people I know, depressed, confused, scared, and alone.

At some point in our lives, we all do it.  However, most of us do it as a sort of trial and error, to see if what we aspire to, would actually fit who we are and if not, we shed it and move on.  We move onto more fulfilling, grounded lives where our true aspirations – our true selves – can actually thrive.  Unfortunately, not everyone has the power to achieve that.

While I never went through that particular phase, I did get ideals in my head about who I should align myself with, to achieve a particular social status; or what I should do with my life, in order to tell the story I think everyone wants to hear.  In the end, I ended up in miserable relationships (and friendships) and a bit exhausted from thinking I had to be seen at everything.  I wasn’t taking “time outs” to figure out who I really was and what I really wanted to be.

In so many previous posts, over the last year, I’ve talked about my experiences, moving to San Diego (and back) and what they’ve taught me. To move away from everything you know, because it’s time for a well-founded change, is an incredibly difficult feat.  However, the more time that went on, where I was by myself, getting into a routine meant for ME, the better I became at figuring out that I have one life to live, and I have to live it for me, no one else.  So… who am I and what did I really want?

I turned to meditation, a healthier diet, complete sobriety, and plenty of SoCal sunshine to answer those very questions.  It led to meeting some incredible people from all over the world that fit parts of me that I loved exploring.  It meant not worrying about social status, a false appearance, or having to sell myself as something everyone else is. Although I always love to dress up, it felt good to spend my days in cut offs and a tank, or a sundress. I went from a D.C. socialite to a wanderer, and I’d have it no other way.

Then, I moved back a year later.  I was a bit nervous that I’d lose all of the work I’d put into myself – especially all of that SoCal sunshine and what it did for my soul.  But what I didn’t realize was that confidently knowing who I am, and how I’d behave, wasn’t going to change.  Why?  Because I inadvertently did the following, since I moved home in May:

  • Shed myself of all stressful people and situations in my life.  By either having up-front chats, or slowly phasing out those that didn’t jive with my lifestyle, I was able to evolve myself into a positive human being with less stress!
  • Remained kind and patient with everyone I would meet, or have ever known.  Everyone has their own journey and life and I learned to respect this.  I stopped judging others and took it as an opportunity to learn more about a culture, or a different way of life, or even a different way of thinking.
  • Remained focused on myself and my beliefs, not allowing others to tarnish that.  These beliefs are the core of who I am – I have to live with me the rest of my life, no one else.  In addition, I learned not to take on other people’s problems.  There’s a fine line between friend and therapist.
  • Decided that my likes and dislikes would allow me to experience my world in the best way possible, and to not care if I was judged for them. So what that I love EDM music and would happily live in an apartment above Echostage?  It doesn’t mean I align with what that culture can bring – I grew up dancing, and that love will never die. And, so what if I actually do love camping and hiking?  Just because I love dresses and girly things, doesn’t mean I don’t mind getting dirty. (These are just a few.)
  • Remained honest to myself and others about who I am and what I will/will not put up with. The more honest I was with myself, the more honest I could be with others.  This lead to a lot more respect and admiration than I ever could have imagined.  It also lead to far better relationships and friendships than I thought  possible!
  • Remained open to all of life’s possibilities because so far, some of the best experiences I have had, have come from things I would never have done before.  It gets addicting, doing things outside of my comfort zone.  I’ve met incredible people, while dining alone (something I was previously terrified of doing).  I’ve been to amazing parties, where people I was previously intimidated by, became good friends.  I am with someone now who I never thought I’d open myself up to dating (and so far, it’s one of the best relationships I’ve ever been in). I’ve gotten up at 5am to experience first light at some beautiful ports in Europe (I love sleep). And, I’ve allowed myself to enjoy every single moment of life that I can, remaining present as much as possible.  (To name a few.)
  • Remained unapologetic for who I am and what I’m about.  I have no need to justify who I am or why I believe in something.  No one should have to defend themselves (unless of course they have done something illegal, but I digress) on who they are.  I realize that not everyone in this world is going to like me, and that’s okay because not everyone will be in perfect alignment with each other.

I’ve focused on becoming the best me I could be, making sure that I was happy with how I’ve turned out, making adjustments here and there, to keep myself in a good place.  Now that I’ve been living from a place of truth for almost a year, I can say I’m in the best place I’ve ever been.

 

So my task for you in this practice: Bring all of your learnings from the last three weeks, together.  Realize that while sometimes you might feel lonely in figuring YOU out, you will only emerge stronger, and more beautiful than you already are.  You will be surrounded by better people and better experiences because YOU are coming from a positive place, in which you have learned to love yourself and live your life from the best place you can – your core.

Namaste

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

MEDITATION DAY 12: BECOME WHAT YOU BELIEVE – HEALING SELF-JUDGMENT

So you’ve been able to define who you are, learn to deal with negativity from others, trust your gut, and get well on your way to being the true YOU.  The question is, are you completely happy with yourself, or are you still silently judging the less-than-favorable aspects of you?

We all have internal (and external flaws) we wish we didn’t have.  But it’s whether or not we can embrace them, that determines whether or not we feel WHOLE.  Whether we know it or not, we assign “emotional tags” to our less-than-positive traits, which causes incidental (sometimes cognizant) self-judging.  These behaviors can consume us – we can become obsessed over the judgment(s) and more often than not, it will affect the people around us (causing subsequent judgment from others).  Thus, one of two things happens: We either take action to fix it, or we continue to let it swallow us whole, affecting our mood.  Learning to accept YOU completely, without reservation, is probably the HARDEST thing to do.

I have a beautiful friend named Emily Nolan Joseph who is a Plus-size model and women’s empowerment pioneer.  She used to be a size 2, practically starving herself, spending way more time in the gym in a day than most of us spend there in two weeks.  She was trying to compete with all of the other models in the industry.  She was skinny, sure, but unhappy and unhealthy.  After a series of very tough ups and downs, she decided to embrace the real her.  The real her has taken the plus-sized modeling world by storm, and now, has helped women, all over the world, to embrace their bodies for what they are, through Topless Yoga and her blog “My Kind of Life”.  She realized that her “flaws” aren’t flaws, they are beautiful marks of life that tell a story – her story.  She realized that embracing the real her, made her feel loved and whole, not just by herself, but by her friends, family, and husband as well. She chose a path few take but those that do, have some of the most amazing outcomes and experiences one can have in life.  Why?  Because you are completely unencumbered and open to all of the beautiful experiences life can give you, without worrying about what you look like or what quirky personality trait you might show to others.

Oftentimes, we ask ourselves the question, “Who would love me if they knew/saw…”  It’s this mindset that is not only judgmental but limiting.  Instead, work on telling yourself, “Someone out there is a great match because I have/am…”

So the exercise out of today’s practice – focus on non-judgmental statements.  Below are some great starts that I’ve filled in for myself, so you can get a sense of how this works:

  1. My relentlessness has been responsible for my success.
  2. I used to feel not good enough for some of the men I’ve dated but I’ve realized those men weren’t good enough for me.
  3. I might think I’m not thin enough for my liking but sometimes, my brain (and the wrong mirror) adds 10 lbs.

Serious, or light-hearted, use this exercise to show yourself that not only can you take yourself in a humorous light, but you can also accept (and be confident in) the beautiful, smart, successful person you know you are.

Namaste

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

MEDITATION DAY 11: BECOME WHAT YOU BELIEVE – GETTING PAST OBSTACLES AND BOUNDARIES

Earlier today (Meditation Day 10), I shared a story about a past relationship that when it ended, changed the course of my life forever. I talked about how over time, I’ve learned to live from my core, trusting my gut in situations, not overreacting to things, and beginning to understand who and what I want surrounding me.  In other words, acknowledging and trusting that I know best in what I want for myself, and cannot live my life for anyone else.

In today’s practice, we begin to focus on feeling safe, trusting our own guts (cores) to guide us, in order to make better decisions.  When I think of this, I think of dating in this day and age.

Being from D.C., dating can be the worst thing on the planet to partake in.  I’d say 1 out of every 4 dates I had been on (prior to my boyfriend), had gotten to a second date. And, 1 out of every 10 or so dates I had been on, had potential for a third date, although few ever made it that far.  It became an overly exhausting process that while it oftentimes resulted in a great friendship, it also left me feeling as though it might be quite sometime before the right man would come along (which is fine because I already had plenty on my plate).

From time to time, while going through this frustrating dating process, I would catch myself, remembering a time where it seemed like it was so much easier to snag a boyfriend and move on with life.  I started to mentally review past relationships, trying to understand why it was so much harder to enter into a relationship these days. I realized that in the past, my own insecurities were getting in the way of choosing well, causing me to take on relationships that weren’t a fit.  The result?  Zero trust in the other (cheating men), a lot of freak-out moments and stress (me), causing my work and my friendships to suffer, people to question my integrity, and of course, creating a huge aura of negativity around me.

When my last relationship ended, I decided to take a new approach to how I view dating and relationships, and it’s a bold one.

Dating Defined

Dating is a step to a relationship.  You get to know the other, developing something that goes beyond a platonic friendship.  You spend time together and try to figure out if this is someone you want to create space for in your life.  For me, it also means understanding if our life goals are a match, or are at least similar.  This is one of the biggest driving factors in understanding if investing my time in the other is worth it.  It sounds so heavy but the truth is, life is too short to be with the wrong person.

Defining Relationships

Relationships also take on a different meaning, in that you are beginning to build something together because you see future potential in more (even if you don’t know what that more necessarily is).  It’s not about finding your own sense of security and happiness in the other, it’s taking what you both bring to the table, and creating something different that adds value and purpose to your life.  It’s about being a couple, it’s about a deeper love, it’s about sharing every part of your being.  It’s a huge step and a huge commitment – one that too many of us in this day and age take for granted.

What this story has to do with trusting your gut…  In the third paragraph, I talked about what was commonplace in my dating life, and how many dates one would usually get to before I’d move on.  This is because I learned to trust my gut.  Prior to moving back to D.C. in May, I took stock of what I wanted for myself, and what I’d want in a potential partner.  I realized it was okay to have this list, so long as it complimented the direction my life was going in.  I knew that it would happen organically, and there’s no way I could ever force it.  So, I’d go on dates with those I’d consider potentials, as each of them had an aspect (or two) of something that was appealing (complimentary) to me.  And what I learned was that 1. I was (apparently) looking for a unicorn and 2. I was searching for something that a list couldn’t drive – it was a feeling that I wanted evoked in me.  THAT one discovery made my dating life MUCH easier.  Why?  Because that FEELING is your GUT telling you what to do.  It’s your core telling you to trust yourself – that you will create your own safety by getting out of your own way, never settling, and believing you deserve the best.

As you may have guessed, unicorns do exist, and I’m happy that I learned to believe in myself and trust my instincts. It’s because of meditation and learning to know who I am that I have found the best fit for me.  So how do you take all this and run with it?

  1. You need to live your life for yourself.  Most of you have been through heartbreaks and they suck.  But the truth is, your life existed before the other came into it.  Always remember that.
  2. The universe gives you what you’re meant to have.  It’s up to you to figure out what to do with it.  This is where the trusting yourself comes into play.  If your gut tells you the universe gave you a “bad apple” – it knew that – it wanted you to practice trusting yourself in making good decisions from a good place. (It is possible it’s also teaching you patience, humility, bravery, and a whole host of other things that come with dating a bad fit.)
  3. The MINUTE you feel a red flag coming on, do not second guess yourself.  The answer is never your gut is wrong, the answer is always walk/run away.  It doesn’t mean the other person is a bad person, it means they are not the right person for you.
  4. Trying to make a relationship fit because you don’t want to be alone is a very bad idea.  This is when you take all of this meditation guidance and start from the beginning, learning to know/trust who YOU are.  Like I always tell people, you need to love yourself first before you can truly love someone else.

Namaste

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

MEDITATION DAY 8: BECOME WHAT YOU BELIEVE – BRINGING CORE BELIEFS TO LIGHT

This week our practice is focused on turning our core beliefs into personal power – giving us what we need to go out and live our lives the way we want.

In week one, our focus was on identifying core beliefs, defining who we are, learning to overcome negativity, and beginning to set ourselves on a path to becoming our true selves.

In today’s meditation, we began to focus on four core beliefs that are already within us:

  1. I’m loving and lovable
  2. I’m worthy
  3. I’m safe and trusting
  4. I’m fulfilled and whole

Although these seem basic enough, when you begin to focus on each one of these separately, you start to define what each of these mean to you.  Sometimes, it’s not as easy as it looks because oftentimes, we might deny that we have some or all of it in us.  For example, saying the words out loud, “I’m loving and lovable” isn’t the same as answering the question WHY am I loving and lovable.  Or, reading “I’m safe and trusting” might not be the same as actually FEELING that you are.  The purpose of digging deeper into this, is to understand WHY these ARE within YOU.  In other words, what about each of these statements IS true?

(Note that subconsciously, this exercise is to help you gain the positive mindset you need to become who you want to be.)

When I Iook at these core beliefs for myself, I see positive affirmations that make up who I am.  Understanding this for myself, helps me to focus on being the best me I can:

  1. I’m loving and lovable – Why? Because I’m a nurturer and I love to help others.  Seeing people happy, makes me happy.  I try to a be positive, outgoing force in people’s lives because I have love to give.
  2. I’m worthy – Why?  Because I deserve the best in life, because I try to give the best of myself everyday.
  3. I’m safe and trusting – Why? Because I choose to surround myself with uplifting people to the best of my ability.  I try to make the best decisions I can for myself, listening to my gut at all times.
  4. I’m fulfilled and whole – Why?  Because I am open to receiving, and I am open to giving.  I enjoy the present as much as I can, grateful for the life I have.

Now, try the exercise for yourself.  See how great you truly are, and continue to believe in YOU!

Namaste