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 EXPERIENCE DAY 15: Bringing Your Creativity into the World

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Today’s practice was a very interesting one for me, in that Deepak heavily focused on the collaborative relationships we form with others, how we evolve them, and how we sustain them.  He teaches us that in order for relationships, of any kind, to exist, we must understand our own beings, in order collaborate, effectively, together, to create the experiences we hope to share.

It hits home with many of us because oftentimes, we fail to remember that our reactions (whether positive or negative), are a direct reflection of our consciences and not because someone else has projected it onto us.

Let’s give an example of how this works… Your partner comes home late from being out without you and they are, perhaps, a bit inebriated when you see them. You stayed home to relax, perhaps read a book, take a bath, watch TV, etc. because you’ve had a long week.  You are angry towards them for 1) Being on a different mental level than you at that moment, 2) Having a good time without you, 3) Perhaps they didn’t respond to your text and it made you wonder what they were really doing.  They try to reason with you that they didn’t do anything wrong, they don’t understand why you’re angry, and they wish you would just be happy they had a good time.  Internally, you’re jealous/angry you didn’t get to have a good time; are dead sober (and maybe tired) and their current state of being is not much fun to be around; and perhaps you had a convinced yourself they were up to something negative.

ALTERNATIVELY

Your partner comes home late from being out without you and they are in the same inebriated state.  You stayed home to relax, perhaps read a book, take a bath, watch TV, etc. because you need some down time.  You are happy they went out to have a good time because you just weren’t feeling it.  You are happy when you see them because 1) They came home 2) They are funny when they are in an altered state 3) You can trust them to go out without you.  You are in love with them, are happy when you go to bed, and glad you have a great partner in life.

As you can see from the examples above, it’s the same situation, just a different filter!  The difference lies in how YOU CHOOSE to interpret your evening.  You had a long week and were tired.  You were easily set off by your partner because of it.  Alternatively, you were grateful for the quiet time, chose to stay at home to wind down, and were happy and relaxed by the time your partner returned. Your partner is completely neutral in the situation!

No matter what the type of relationship is, there are three things we must always keep in mind, in order to maintain a healthy balance: Cooperation, sharing, and communication.  You cannot have only one or two of these – it must be all three, and all parties involved must equally bring those to the table, in order to have an effective relationship.

In addition to this, you have to be aware of YOU and who YOU are.  You should ask yourself the following questions when you begin to feel an imbalance:

  • What are YOUR needs?
  • Are the relationships you maintain, fulfilling those?
  • If so, what feelings do you generally have towards the other person(s)?
  • Does the other person(s) set off a certain trigger?
  • If so, do they know about it?
  • Do you give more than you take?
  • Do you take more than you give?
  • Are you honest with each other?
  • How do they make you feel 90% of the time?

Sometimes, when doing this type of self-reflection, you realize that the other person(s) might not be the best fit for YOU, and that’s okay.  When we create things in our relationships, we look for someone who will be a balance in our lives; who will compliment us, not clash.  We look for peace and harmony, understanding that there are good times with the bad but that we are equipped to handle those because both parties are capable of doing so.  We want to feel open and receptive, not closed and wary.

 

As with all meditation practices, awareness is the number one goal to achieve in order to create a sense of balance and harmony in our lives. It gives us the ability to think rationally, from a place of peace and openness, which allows us to expand our collaborative creativity, ultimately creating the relationships we crave.

Namaste

Healthy & Beautiful, Meditation

Meditation Day 6: Become What You Believe – Self-Awareness Brings Belief To Light

When I lived in San Diego this past year, I went through a tremendous meditative journey that took me on the most incredible path to self-awareness.  It changed my entire outlook on my life – who I was, who I wanted to become, and even who I wanted in my life that would compliment/enhance/promote myself in the best of ways.  No longer was I worrying about things in my life as much, feeling down about things I couldn’t control; or even taking on other people’s problems (even though I’m a nurturer and problem solver).  I learned to simply “be” and be happy with what the universe was giving me to work with.

It’s because of my meditation practices that I learned to live a more conscious life – making choices that could only bring me the inner peace and happiness I grew accustomed to having. It became easier to not only believe in what I want for myself, but also own those beliefs as well, realizing that it’s not just who I become but what I want surrounding me, to help me get there.  All the exercises in the first week of this practice are DESIGNED to put you in this very spot I am in today.

If you’ve followed past meditative posts before, you know that I originally hail from Washington, D.C. – a city that can suck you in, turn you into someone amazing, and with one slip, can just as easily spit you back out.  It’s cutthroat, it’s hard to date here, everyone is in a rush, and everyone can be super NEGATIVE.  You can easily lose your identity, in order to try to fit in.  You can easily lose your temper because everyone else has lost it too.  And, you can easily lose sight of who you are because you become too reactive to things, not really taking the time to think about IF something should truly let it affect you.  I was one of those people for years.  And then… I made a radical life shift and upheaved my life to move to San Diego last year, for one year.  While the reasons varied for my move, I knew the benefits would be tremendous.  Sure, I was leaving my friends, the bulk of my family, and everything I knew, far behind.  But, I also knew that I needed to breathe, think, not drink, be healthy, and work on my goals.  I knew that I needed to live life on my terms – I wanted to be free to think, speak, and act the way I wanted to with no social repercussions.  I now joke that I felt like I was on vacation for a year.

But then this past March, something told me my journey was about to be complete there and that I needed to make another move.  The toss up was between Los Angeles (a place I adore), or realizing that Washington, D.C. was my true home and that instead of going back to how things were, embrace what I became and bring it back with me.  I decided that Washington, D.C. was going to be it but on the condition that I would never deviate from my true self again.  As a result, my move, my entire summer, and my fall (so far) have been absolutely incredible.  I have made friends from so many different social groups, of all ages, and all races.  I have spent weekends by the pool, enjoying BBQs, taking trips to Annapolis, boating, and attending house parties (which most D.C. inhabitants need to be seen at the latest and greatest hot spots).  I have danced until the sun came up (still do), laughed more times than I could count (I’m surprised I don’t have six-pack abs), and realized that remaining present to enjoy all of this was the best gift I could ever give myself.  Because of this sense of calm and this inner quiet confidence that came over me, people have been drawn in, which still mystifies me – that an entire internal energy shift and outlook on life could do wonders for those around me too!

Realizing who you are and OWNING it will always require a little bit of work to maintain.  Those of us who meditate all the time and have achieved a higher sense of self, still have bad days.  It’s in how we tackle those bad days, that changes how we go through our daily lives.  Instead of focusing on the negative, we focus on envisioning the solution and the positive outcome out of that solution.  We tackle bad days as though it was meant to remind us of our strengths and where we can improve.  It reminds us to remain present, be the best we can be, and understand that we have the power within ourselves to help make for a better, brighter world.

It’s through these ongoing exercises, self- re-evalutions, and constant tweaking that life remains constantly in balance – that we remain constantly in control of our destiny.  I truly believe that if you continue to follow this 21-day challenge, amazing things will start to happen.

Namaste