21 Day Meditation with Deepak Chopra – Day 12

Note: If you missed the first week and a half of my meditation experience, scroll through the home page to review.

In Day 12 of the Meditation Experience, the Centering Thought is focused on feeling yourself grow everyday.

“Growth is spark that kindles fire of success” — Oprah Winfrey

Recognizing growth is an immense attribute in successful people.  Being able to realize that you ARE important in the scheme of things; that you can be fulfilled just by being on this planet; and that you know you are loved, is hugely important to our incremental growth and overall positive outlook.  Seeing and understanding your growth allows you to feel empathy and compassion towards others, leading you to want to share/lead/coach others to see and understand the same.  You see how everything is connected in the world and you’re able to bring those connected pieces in-line to support your goals.

Instead of focusing on my goals and progress in this post, I want to share the visions I’ve had during this journey so far.  These visions have not only instilled a new sense of “being” in me but have also helped me to understand my progress on my meditation journey and how my internal being is beginning to align with who I want to be.

Day 1 (Success comes from within): I struggled to understand what meditation would mean.  Would I see anything?  Would I feel anything?

Day 2 (Bringing more love into the world): Me hovering, as though I was in a helicopter, looking down at the most astounding 19th century Thai Buddha in a meditation pose, right in the middle of a jungle.  No one was around, it sat alone.

Day 3 (Creative source): Waterfalls appeared behind the figure and this time, I’m standing in front of it.  There was no one around.

Day 4 (Treating our bodies as our best friends): I was standing in a shallow pool these waterfalls created, noticing that the backside of the figure was much closer to the pool and didn’t look as towering from that angle, as it did from the front.  I could feel how cool the water was at my ankles but it was a refreshing feeling.

Day 5 (Gaining insight and inspiration from our minds): I was sitting on a large, smooth stone, protruding from the pool, meditating with the sun on my face.  The only thing was that I could only visualize me looking at myself from behind.

Day 6 (Emotions being our most intimate ally): My mind took an entirely different journey. I was standing over a small embankment, listening to a babbling stream in fall time.  All of the leaves are in brilliant reds, yellows and oranges.

Day 7 (Focusing on our being): I could see the backside of myself sitting on a cushioned bench on what looks like a penthouse terrace, overlooking all of New York City.  I was meditating as the sun was coming up.  It was completely silent – no city noise.

Day 8 and 9 (Making smart choices): Keeping with the same vision, a rather large diamond ring appeared on my left finger.  It was clear this penthouse was my home.

Day 10 (Measuring what matters): The same vision was kept, only now I could feel the warmth from the sun and a sense of confidence and “groundedness” I hadn’t felt before.

Day 11 (Aligning our inner self with what we surround ourself with): The same vision happened as Day 10. Except now, I could turn around and see these magnificent French doors, leading back into my penthouse, with these beautiful white silk curtains flowing in the breeze.

Day 12 (Feeling yourself grow everyday)  The same vision happened as Day 10 and 11 except now, it was weird to have a “fiance” in there – I could describe every detail of this man, down to what he was wearing. He was coming out to say goodbye, as though he was going to work.

While I don’t believe these visions are foreshadowing of exactly what is to come in my life, the point I am trying to make is the internal progress I’m making through meditation.  In the last 11 days, I’ve gone from being unsure of what meditation is going to hold for me; to being confident in who I am and the path I’m going down; to having a clear (illustrated) vision of what I actually do want for my future and how I hope to continue to feel about myself and the decisions I make.  The emotions and sensations I have felt during my meditation practices have instilled a clear mind, a high confidence level, and great happiness I rarely have every single day. I believe that those emotions and sensations I have felt ARE foreshadowing what is to come in my life, as well as a sort of progress meter for how I am doing.  The best part is that it’s beginning to show in my work and in my personal life, which makes me a HUGE believer in this daily practice.  I’m excited to continue on to see what else it has in store for me.

Namaste

21 Day Meditation with Deepak Chopra – Day 11

Note: If you missed the first week of my meditation experience, scroll through the home page to review.

In Day 11 of the Meditation Experience, the Centering Thought is focused on aligning our inner self with what we surround ourselves with.

In order for us to thrive in success, we must align with those positive energies that are in the world around us.  When you feel stressed, in doubt, or negative, our path to success is blocked, causing us to have to realign internally, reset our course, and look towards what we can do to improve our situation.  Realigning how you want to feel on the inside helps to visualize what you want on the outside.  It helps you to gain strength in becoming more powerful.

Some tips I’ve learned, on realigning myself, have been incredibly useful in my current self-transformation:

  1. Do not make a decision out of a place of distress.  Make it when you are calm and centered and can think more rationally.
  2. Never act out of uncertainty.  You should feel good about the decision you’re making.
  3. If others feel discomfort, resistant, etc. about your decision, you’re not in alignment with reality.
  4. When you make a decision, internalize it for 24 hours before you announce it publicly.
  5. Seek opinions of others if you have trouble deciding – remember, you don’t know what you don’t know.
  6. Value cooperation over competitiveness.  Opening up to the world brings in perspectives you never thought possible and oftentimes, leads to better answers.
  7. When you’ve followed all of these yet still have trouble getting an answer, throw it out to the universe and the answer will come.

Namaste

21 Day Meditation with Deepak Chopra – Day 10

Note: If you missed the first week of my meditation experience, scroll through the home page to review.

In Day 10 of the Meditation Experience, the Centering Thought is focused on measuring what matters.  The not-so-secret path of successful people is that they envision an end goal, they come up with a plan that allows for checks and balances along the way; they trim away things that do not produce results; and they understand that while they might lay out a map to get to the goal, that map will shift everyday and they can adjust as such.  But, it’s not just about what is on “paper” that matters.  It’s also being able to take 15-20 minutes a day to sit silently and internally measure how YOU are doing.  Are you in a good or a bad place?  Are you spending a little time everyday, working towards your goal? If not, are there barriers that can be removed to help you? Taking stock of your own progress is the biggest measure of successful people – those that do, stay in control.

This meditation presents itself as a lot of work but what it’s designed to do is help you clear your head so that you understand your priorities for that day, to help you get closer to achieving that goal.

This was an important meditation for me today.  I saw it as a kind of “next step” towards achieving my goal of becoming a published author.  It helped validate for me that achieving a goal is a process – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  In meditating in the morning and then giving myself a list of daily priorities with a clear head (including writing/researching a little bit everyday), I begin to hold myself accountable for getting one step closer.  The more I accomplish, the better I feel and the more determined I am to keep on going.

With this meditation, which I plan on using over and over again, I have begun to visualize the finish line, something that both keeps me at peace and excites me.  I look forward to each and everyday and what milestones I’ll set for myself and ultimately, what I’ll achieve.

Namaste

21 Day Meditation with Deepak Chopra – Day 9

Note: If you missed the first week of my meditation experience, scroll through the home page to review.

In Day 9 of the Meditation Experience, the Centering Thought is focused on making smarter choices everyday.  The intention of this is to go beyond the boundaries of our thoughts and decisions by mentally stretching them (mental yoga) before coming to a final decision.  It’s knowing that each choice you make in life, the universe will give back to you tenfold every time.

Each of us have had to make a super tough decision (or two) at some point in our lives.  In my last post, I’ve always been a “just do it” type of girl.  However, in the last 6 months, my mental awareness has shifted dramatically to really focus on each part of the decision making process before coming to a final conclusion (when it’s a tough decision).  Learning to be 100% honest with myself, diving into how I really feel, and understanding my own emotions all became a part of this new process.  It helped to build a level of confidence I needed, in order to make better decisions for myself now and in the future.

In one of my posts, I talked about my decision to move back to D.C.  Even though San Diego is beautiful and makes me happy, it just didn’t feel quite like home.  It took several methods (and months) of decision making AND the universe reaching out to me, to finally feel comfortable with my decision to move.  The point is, instead of just following my usual mantra of making rash decisions, I had to look at this decision from every angle: Who would the decision affect?  What financial impact (if any) would it have on me?  What are the long-term implications? How would I feel 3-6 months from now, being back in my hometown for good?  Is this really home for good?  Am I running from something?  Am I bored?  I had to journal this, write down the pros and cons, talk to friends and family and ultimately, I needed to release this dilemma back out into the world, to see what was going to come back to me.  Once it was released, the answer came.  I was confident in the ultimate decision because I left no “what ifs”.  I had done everything I could do before making that final decision.

The beauty of this process of decision making is that it: 1. Allows for us to be continually more self-aware and more confident in what is right for ourselves and 2. Allows us to trust ourselves more.  The aura you create with this radiates to others.  People start to see you as a leader, a trusted advisor, and someone they can look up to.  It allows you to regret less and live more.  It allows for more internal and external success.  Ultimately, it leads to a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Namaste

21 Day Meditation with Deepak Chopra – Day 8

Note: If you missed the first week of my meditation experience, scroll through the home page to review.

In Day 8 of the Meditation Experience, the Centering Thought is focused on making smart choices from our true self.  This means moving outside of our comfort zone so that we can stretch and grow as individuals, and not confine ourselves to living within the boundaries of old habits and fears.

I have a lot of friends who “played it safe” throughout their lives.  Those that did, stuck with the traditional “checking of life boxes” because that’s what their parents did and even generations before them.  They’d go to college, meet someone, start their careers, get married, buy a house, have children, etc.  Living life any other way would feel foreign and unsafe to them.  The unfortunate part is that commonly, these friends of mine did all of this so young that by the time they hit their 30s, they realized they missed out on a huge part of life.  In other words, they began to understand that they didn’t allow themselves to grow, out of that fear that they would have been old and gray with none of the above checked off.  Yet, they now wished they lived a little more.  It’s those friends that constantly say to me, “I live vicariously through you but could never do what you do.”

While no two people (or their circumstances) are the same, the above (to some of us) illustrates an example of living within the confines of generational habits and personal fears.  And unfortunately, many people do it throughout their entire lives – myself included.  I’ve always (somewhat) “colored outside the lines”.  I’m the type of person that will (generally) say, “Just do it” but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I’ve still been placing limits on myself, based on past life experiences or innate childhood fears. So how does one overcome that at any age?

Getting Over Fears Slowly But Surely

My parents weren’t big into physically active vacations or other activities.  We did a lot of walking/sightseeing but I never learned to ice skate, ski, play team sports, or anything else that could potentially result in a broken bone or two.  For YEARS I was afraid of taking that leap because I, myself, didn’t want to be holed up in a hospital with a grueling fracture (or worse).  Over time, I decided I had to at least try the aforementioned things above and just see how it went.

The trick to overcoming many fears is centering yourself.  Taking deep breaths, meditation, and even yoga. The more you are able to relax, concentrate on the task, and envision yourself doing something you’re afraid of, the easier it gets to overcoming some of your fears.

I played for a competitive flag football team (first team sport ever) and excelled at it.  I attempted snowboarding a couple of different times and decided that it wasn’t for me.  I tried ice skating for the first time last year and loved it.  The commonality amongst all of these was giving myself a goal of overcoming a fear and giving it an honest, objective attempt before writing it off.  The more I did it, the more I wanted to see what else I could overcome.  The more I felt this need to overcome previous fears, the more these “fears” turned into life goals.  What was once a HUGE FEAR of skydiving has now become a life goal of mine to skydive over the Swiss Alps (nope, never done it before but to me, it’s “go big or go home”).  I used to have a HUGE fear of speaking in front of groups of people but now, it’s one of the things I want to do the most.

The shift in mentality is ginormous to me.  Fears become exciting “to-do’s”.  When you get to this realization, you begin to uncover that your life potential is limitless, opening up your entire being to experiences and sensations you would never have previously thought possible.

I encourage everyone to start small, set goals for yourself and of course, also set rewards.  Oftentimes, you’ll find out that overcoming a fear is the biggest reward itself.

Namaste

21 Day Meditation with Deepak Chopra – Day 7

Note: If you missed the first week of my meditation experience, scroll through the home page to review.

In Day 7 of the Meditation Experience, the Centering Thought is focused on our being.  “Being is the silent, unshakeable foundation of our life.  It gives purpose, strength, balance, and direction to our life, just by virtue of existence.” — Deepak Chopra

This meditation rounded out week one by helping us to see how each internal “moving part” of our being comes together, as a whole, to help obtain success from within.  When we are able to get in touch with our inner being, no longer are we distracted from life, its toxins, and other distractions around us.  Instead, we are at peace with being alone, forging our own paths and taking time out to just “be”.

I come from a fast-paced city where irrational decisions are constantly made, people are always “on”, and oftentimes, these same people are afraid to be alone for fear that they are missing out on something or even worse, would be alone with their own thoughts.  I used to be one of those people until about 3 years ago when I realized being alone (including living alone) would be the best thing for me to come into my own being, learn to live with myself, and realize that I have me, and only me, to live with the rest of my life.

Like many people in my city, I hopped from relationship to relationship, hoping to define myself, in terms of who I’d choose as an idealistic mate.  It was always “the idea of” and not the one that actually made sense.  When my last dating relationship ended a few years ago, I decided it was time to live alone and figure out “life” by myself.  While it was scary at first to constantly be alone with my own thoughts, it helped me achieve a couple of things:

  1. A deeper appreciation for supporting myself financially – many women look to men to help carry out that task.  When you realize you’re responsible for yourself, you start taking work more seriously and you start planning for your future more seriously.
  2. Understanding what I REALLY want out of life and making it happen.  With no live-in distractions, it became much easier for me to focus on my longer-term goals.
  3. Realizing that being out ALL THE TIME was causing (albeit fun) distractions but not really giving me a chance to heal and learn to be me.
  4. Coming to terms that what I thought I knew about life, I didn’t, and that it was time for me to throw away any “lists” and be open to any life experience that would come my way.

What became amazing through these achievements is that the processes I inherently went through, stuck.  I ended up making better choices whether I knew I was doing it or not. When it became second nature, I no longer worried about external distractions, I learned to appreciate the world around me, and became at peace with who I was and who I would be.  This was only furthered by my meditation practice and using journaling as a way to mentally cleanse away my day everyday.  When this happens, you do start to see every new day as a fun surprise or gift to yourself because it’s another day to achieve the greatness you want.

Namaste

21 Day Meditation with Deepak Chopra – Day 6

Note: If you missed the first five days of my meditation experience, scroll through the home page to review.

In Day 6 of the Meditation Experience, the Centering Thought is focused on emotions being our most intimate ally.  It’s about interpreting how we are feeling, in order to make the best decisions possible.  In other words, “Trust your gut”.

I’ve had to make A LOT of decisions lately that have left me feeling a million different things.  In other words, I’ve been highly overwhelmed.  In the past, I would have gone with the first emotion I felt (what I thought was my gut) and based all of my decisions on that one feeling.  However, as my life has gone on, I’ve learned that making decisions, based on initial emotion, hasn’t really panned out the way I felt it should.  It’s because of this that I’ve had to learn how to “read” my gut properly, in order to sift through my initial feelings versus what my longer-term feelings would be.  In other words, sometimes, my gut and I have to have some serious chats before “we” come to any future major decisions.

In the last few weeks, I have had a ginormous decision to make, in regards to where “home” really is.  In May of 2014, my now ex and I moved out to San Diego to start a new life in a happier place, as we felt that D.C. was too small with too many angry people.  Over time, we realized that maybe San Diego wasn’t completely “it” for us, as we felt life was too slow and too laid back for us. This led us to entertaining the thought of moving to Los Angeles instead because we felt so happy and full of life when we’d visit there.  Since we are now no longer together, this “we” decision became a “me” decision.  For MONTHS I have been going back and forth over this.  I’d go up to L.A. and FEEL extremely happy to be there.  Then, I’d go back to D.C. and despite the horrible winter they had been having, would FEEL extremely happy to go home and see all of my friends and family.  In L.A., I’d FEEL excited over the prospect of starting out with a brand new life.  In D.C., I’d FEEL excited to head back into an old, familiar life that I love.  In L.A., I’d FEEL overwhelmed at starting over a little bit, having to develop a new social circle.  In D.C., I’d FEEL a little apprehensive over few new experiences being available to me to help me grow.

This list can continue on and on but the point is, I was trying to sift through all of the emotion to get to the answer I needed to have, instead of just making a knee-jerk reaction, based how I was feeling on any given day.  Because of this more measured approach, my gut wasn’t even sending up smoke signals to help me make my decision.  I listed out the pros and cons – dead even. I talked to friends and family, hoping they could give my gut a swift kick in one direction – that didn’t happen either.  I tried meditation, prayer and journaling – nothing.  Then, one day, my friend said, “At this point, you need to let the universe work its magic”.  I took a step back, let the thought go and trusted that the universe would come back to me with an answer.  Sure enough, evening out and calming my emotions let me see and think clearer.  Within 24 hours of her saying that, I was finally able to come up with my answer: I’m moving back to D.C.

Emotions can be very powerful decision makers that can cause some serious harm to yourself and/or those around you if not worked through properly.  Teaching ourselves to be calm and to take our time to understand/dissect our overwhelming emotions, can eventually lead to a repeatable process that helps us make future decisions from a confident, happy place each and every time.  This is what some of the most successful leaders in the world have figured out and practice everyday.

This meditation is something I will refer to often.

Namaste

21 Day Meditation with Deepak Chopra – Day 5

Note: If you missed the first four days of my meditation experience, scroll through the home page to review.

In Day 5 of the Meditation Experience, the Centering Thought is focused on gaining insight and inspiration from our minds.  It’s about making our minds an ally in our success.  Our minds have limitless potential and somehow, we vastly underutilize it.  In order to tap into that potential, we must exercise it on a regular basis through self-supportive thoughts, defeating those negative thought patterns that we continually get into.

If there is one part of the body that has always fascinated me, it would be the mind.  I’ve always been a big dreamer – both in my conscious and subconscious states.  I’ve always tended to think outside of the box and never really followed the path many others would follow (which always got me in trouble).  As a kid, I used to start “fake businesses”, would spend all day choreographing plays, would spend hours building new buildings with legos, and questioned almost everything about anything.  As I got older, school got harder.  Core subjects didn’t interest me but the creative ones did.  I loved dance team but hated the structure (picture the little ballerina in the corner dancing hip hop in a tutu, while all the other kids were doing their pirouettes).  The older I got, the more I found myself taking risks, as well as butting up against authorities at work because my solutions to issues were more creative and out-of-the-box, while they wanted to stick with a structure or process that they knew.  Life was hard for me for the first 32 years because I didn’t understand how to make my mind an ally that everyone could find an ally as well.  In fact, it brought me down – it made me second guess myself and my thoughts and beliefs.

In 2009, I started my own marketing consulting firm. I was very lucky that for the next four years, I could regain control of how I approached issues and how to solve them (as well as to have that freedom to be my own boss).  Customers came to me for out-of-the-box thinking because they already identified that they wanted it (making my job a lot easier!).  My company helped businesses in the fashion industry (my favorite), non-profits (second favorite), IT and government.  I was even a part of a gaming app development team, sat on the board of several non-profits, and helped launch some exciting events in the D.C. area.

In 2010, I was asked to write a weekly fashion column for Washington Life Magazine.  In 2011, I was asked to join a growing profession of innovators, tasked with turning “old school” companies around to think more “innovatively” in their approach to solving problems.  In 2014, I was getting requests to help with personal branding.

The point is, the more I regained control in my confidence of HOW I think and HOW it was positively impacting others, the more opportunities opened up for me.  The more I took advantage of these opportunities, the more my mind evolved and expanded, resulting in even more opportunities and a deeper search for knowledge on things that interested me.  And the more this happened, the more I set higher goals for myself that would expand this even further.

One of the greatest things a very successful girlfriend of mine taught me, “Say yes to every opportunity and never get scared if you don’t know it all, because it will open three more doors and everyone is trying to figure it out too.”

Namaste

21 Day Meditation with Deepak Chopra – Day 4

Note: If you missed the first two days of my meditation experience, scroll through the home page to review.

In Day 4 of the Meditation Experience, the Centering Thought is focused on treating our bodies as our best friends.  It isn’t about our appearance, how other people see our bodies, or even how we see them.  It’s about what we DO that affects them.

Prior to moving to San Diego last year, I faced a lot of health issues that were seemingly getting out of control.  Some of these were self-imposed (consuming alcohol on weekends, as well as stress) and others were related to conditions I have.  The bottom line is that my body is extremely sensitive to both voluntary and involuntary actions and considering I’m not getting any younger, I really needed to start paying attention to how I was treating myself.

Late last summer, I joined Weight Watchers and stopped drinking alcohol almost completely. They were two of the best decisions I could have made.  It was through this that I discovered that sugar, in any amount, was wreaking havoc on not just my internal processes, but my mind, sleep and stress levels as well. The more I abstained from drinking alcohol and the more I took control of what I was eating (and how much of it), the faster I was dropping weight – weight that was bringing me down physically and mentally.

I also had to take control of my mind.  Through a series of stressful events, over the last year, my body was reacting through inflammation (picture a puffer fish under distress).  It was making me constantly exhausted and depressed.  It became harder to lose weight and feel more like “me”. I was so loaded down with “mental toxins” that just as one would do a juice cleanse, I had to do a mental cleanse.  Putting this into practice wasn’t easy.

Through my divorce, I learned to let go and be honest with myself – two of the greatest gifts my ex could have ever given me.   I learned that there is nothing in this world that I can’t handle.  I learned that focusing on myself, not taking on others’ problems, and surrounding myself with positive people were the keys (for me) to maintaining a routine mental cleanse that helped to lower my stress levels and achieve a state of mental clarity I had never had before.  Being able to put into practice the ability to strive to be happy and appreciate what you have and who you are, even when you don’t want to, is a huge achievement to being your best self.  It’s the healthiest way to a healthy mind every single day.

So how do I plan on continuing to treat my “best friend”? By:

  1. Continuing to strive for a well-balanced diet
  2. Continuing to consume healthier beverages, with an occasional glass of wine or whiskey now and then
  3. Trying to keep a sleep schedule that allows me a full 8 hours (which I know I need)
  4. Trying to workout for 30 minutes (or more) a day
  5. Continuing to meditate each morning for 20 minutes
  6. Choosing friends and situations that allow for positive, soul-lifting experiences that only further who you are as a person.

Namaste

21 Day Meditation with Deepak Chopra – Day 3

Note: If you missed the first two days of my meditation experience, scroll through the home page to review.

In Day 3 of the Meditation Experience, the Centering Thought is focused on our creative source, “The place from which we create our present experience from moment to moment.” — Deepak Chopra

In other words, living in the present with a fresh mind – not dwelling on the past and trying to analyze life, based on past pain or other negative experiences.

For me, this (so far) is one of the hardest ones to achieve.  I am analytical by nature, which means that I draw on past experiences and learnings to help remind me of who I have become and who I want to be.  I also spend quite a bit of time worrying about my future – something that doesn’t allow for complete energy flow, necessary, to receive new opportunities that lead to my goal.  In other words, I am limiting myself in the present, which does not lead to a successful life path.

Going through this meditation today, made me realize that I do need to spend much more time in the present, enjoying what is in front of me and not worrying about what tomorrow, or the next day will hold.  It was a reminder to appreciate all that I have in this very moment and to do my very best to be the person I want to be right now.

I have a girlfriend that says “yes” to every opportunity that comes her way.  She always reminds me that opportunities – no matter how small or large – can open three more doors you never thought of.  She is an incredibly successful woman because of it.  It is something, coupled with this meditation today, that I will remind myself of everyday – to appreciate today in every way I can because ultimately, it will lead to my success.

Namaste