Monday Moment – A Productive Mindset with Meditation

There is more to a productive mindset than being focused at your desk, because there is more to your work than the time you spend at your desk. Having a productive mindset is about creating a flow that connects your work, your play, you waking and your sleeping hours together.

Having a productive mindset is about a balance between your up-time and your downtime so that your subconscious brain continues to produce the aha moments in your life when you least expect them. And that does not happen if you are filled with anxiety, stressed, or worried about your life; personally or professionally.

Those seemingly random ideas that end up being the aha moments of brilliant breakthroughs you wait for? They do not come out of nowhere. They are not sitting on a cloud that you wander into. They come, like anything, out of the hard work of your subconscious mind, and that subconscious mind only works when the noise and distractions that so often clutter it are gone. so learn to let go, not just to relax, but to open your mind up to all the wonderful possibilities waiting.

Years ago, when I was producing or ran my own agency, I found that I separated my work into several categories. The hours I actively worked on a project – perhaps two hours a day – were the only ones that “really counted,” or so I told myself. The hours I spent researching, thinking, and developing creative solutions for my client’s issues somehow did not really count as “real work.” Oh, and those hours I spent pondering in bed or during my commute – it was as if those did not even exist.

Looking back, I remember the stress and the anxiety. I also remember how there were never enough hours in the day for all the work I had to do. I remember how my anxiety often prevented me from coming up with the kind of solutions my clients so badly wanted.

Oh, how wrong I was. For it was in those seemingly wasted moments that my brain was actually free to work in its own way. It never occurred to me that the flashes of brilliance that came while listlessly staring out at the ocean on a weekend, or while feeling the water splash on my face while in the shower, only came when I felt calm and balanced and open. Rarely did they appear when I was at my desk, in my mind, “actually working” the few hours each day that I actually gave myself credit for.

It is funny, in a way, that is wasn’t until I was able to step away from my desk that I was able to see the solution that was there all along, waiting for me.

To fixate the results that end up on your desk to the time you spend at your desk is to dismiss the real work you put in all along the way. And, I equate that mindset to the post-war, industrial world most of us grew up in.

Yes, when we were an industrial nation, work was a much more physical task. The time that mattered was the time you actually spent farming, or fishing, or building. But this is the 21st Century, and your physical labor is often not what drives your results. The decisions you make at home and at play, with friends and family all influence your frame of mind, no matter what your occupation. And if your mind is filled with anxiety and distracted by the noise of your life, then there is no way that you will be able to come up with the solutions that equate to success in today’s world.

If instead, you are calm and rested, the solutions will come to you whether you are at the office every day or not. So learn to balance the different aspects of your life; both personal and professional. That includes finding a thread between work and play, health and finances, family and love and spirituality, even with your own sense-of-self. It is there waiting for you, if you know what to look for.

Only when those elements are in balance, will you be free enough to truly deliver the kind of results that you can be proud of. Only then will you be truly productive, feel accomplished, and satisfied every day and every week.

Remember that having a Productive Mindset is about more than being productive at your desk.  It is about creating a thread throughout your life in a calm and focused way.

So breathe, smile and remember to give yourself a break from time to time.  That is what will create a focused sense of calm across all of your efforts; at work or play, with family or friends, or even when you are all by yourself.

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Monday Moments – 13 Milliseconds

Thirteen milliseconds is how long it takes for your brain to process the input it is being fed.

It is fast, lightening fast.

13 milliseconds is not a lot of time to process all the images you see, the sounds you hear, the smells you smell, the tastes you taste and the sensations of touch to reach your brain and form your sense of the world that you live in. In that fraction of a second, your brain is layering it with all the feedback it receives from your parasympathetic nervous system to assess if you are safe, or stable, or not.

Technically this means two things:

1) You Are Living in the Past: A fraction of a second is not long, but everything that you think is NOW, has actually already happened, and you are still living in the past. That means being here, being now, in the present, is an impossibility – even if by just 13 milliseconds.

2) Your Thoughts Filter Your World: In that fraction of a second, your brain’s perception of the world around you is influenced by whatever it is you are feeling. If you are angry, the will seem just a bit angrier. If you are filled with doubt, hate, or self-loathing, the world will be filtered through that emotion. It will acquire a tinge to it, a very different tinge than if you are to filter the sights, sounds, and smells through feelings of Love, compassion, or equanimity.

There should be no doubt how fast the processing power of the brain is. There are more than 100 trillion connections in the brain, with new ones being formed every time you create a new memory. And if the brain is able to process all the information your body produces, it is certainly able to filter that information with whatever you are feeling in the moment.

Not only does that mean your brain is still more powerful than any computer developed, it also means your thoughts, your emotions, your heart plays just as big a part in how you perceive the world as your eyes, ears or nose do.

Just think about that as you go about your day and your week. Think about where you are in your emotions throughout your day, and then think about how that may cloud, or clarify, your judgment.

Love, Hate, Anger, Empathy, Compassion – they are more important than the points on the compass for finding out where you are in the world and in life; especially if the world isn’t looking quite as it should for you.

So why not guide your life in the direction you want it to go by training your mind to dial your emotions to where you want them to be?

This is YOUR life.
Isn’t it time to start living it YOUR way?

Walk Your Own Path

Do not try to find yourself.

That only leads to unhappiness and frustration.

Simply allow your journey to unfold before you.

Remind yourself to enjoy the ride as it opens up.

Enjoy the experience before you without judgment, and allow it to pass.

Simply observe, be aware, and breathe.

In time you will look back and see how far you have come.

Monday Moments – The Sounds in Your Life

You live in a tactile world, yet not everything is soft.

You touch the granite of the buildings as you pass.

You touch the cold glass and steel of the car before you enter.

You enjoy the hard foundation that Terra Firma provides you.

So why do you allow yourself to grow angry at the hard sounds of your life?

Perhaps it is time to rethink your approach to them.

Instead of turning away from the harsh sounds, embrace them and welcome them. Allow them to flow into the wonderful cacophony of white noise that is your world. Instead of viewing the experiences of your life as good or bad, begin to see the world as it truly is.

Learn to limit the noise in your life as you create harmony in the sounds that are all around.

  • The people talking at the table next to yours? Let it go.
  • The noise of the traffic? Let it go.
  • The annoying pitch of your boss’s rant?  Let it go.

See the world as it is all around you.  Refuse to let your brain weave patterns for you as you grow aware of the substance rather than the noise.

Take the time taste the air with every breath. Smile at the scents as they play upon your tongue. Enjoy the thoughts your mind creates. Just do not feel the need to live in them. Be aware of each, without feeling the need to respond.

Hear, taste and smell the details of the world you live in – then decide what to focus on and what to let slide into the background of your world.

Are you actually nervous, or are you smelling the pheromones of an ancient beast about to attack?

Is it your ego playing on your response based on 40,000 year old programming, or is there really a modern day threat?

Make sure the choices you are making are truly your choices, and not some pattern created by that fight or flight response that kept our ancestors alive.

Be aware of the noise in your world, and choose what you want to let it and what you want to let go.

It truly is up to you…

After all, it is YOUR life.

Why not live it as YOU want?

Zen & The Art of the Mindful Diet

Zen and the Art of The Mindful Diet

Summer may be a long way off, but the image you have of your body is not a seasonal topic. It is with you every day of the year. Beneath those baggy sweaters and heavy coats in winter, it effects how you feel about yourself, how you treat yourself, and how you view the world that you live in.

You do not have to flash on the beach, for your body to show.  It is visible in how you feel every day of every year.  More important, those around you feel it in how you treat them and in your attitude.  After all, having a great body is not about fitting into a double zero.  It’s about being happy in who you are.  It’s about fitting into the body you already have perfectly.  So forget the extreme diets, forget the bathing suit and the stretchy yoga pants.  It’s time to find grace in the beauty that is you.

The Simple Truth to the Mindful Diet is that there should be no restrictions to living your life.  After all, living life isn’t about fitting into the right outfit, it’s about creating great memories wherever you are.  This is why your diet should not be about losing, but winning.  Winning balance, winning calm, winning happiness without carrying around the weight that so many people can throw on you.  Because that is what you carry around, not just pounds, but guilt, fear, and self-loathing.  It sounds funny, but when you change your relationship with the food you eat, you don’t gain weight, you shed the angst of your old life as you gain health.  And yes, that is very, very visible.

The Mindful Diet is a program created by the Modern American Monk, Jeff Cannon.  Jeff is a leading voice in the Modern Meditation Movement who has dedicated his life to applying meditative techniques to resolve the contemporary issues we all face in the modern world.

Jeff survived eight brain surgeries that collectively removed more than twenty tumors in as many years.  With each surgery he refined his own diet in an effort to slow down new tumor growth. Along the way, he removed carbohydrates and processed foods.  He incorporated caloric restrictions.  He also applied Modern Meditation to reduce his stress.  The results was not only slowed tumor growth, but a healthier, happier and lighter self.  He became more aware of who he was in the world around him.  As that happened, he became more confident and more secure.  And that is something everyone around him noticed.

The simple practice of mindfulness that he lives his life around today changed his relationship with food and eating on every level.  For Jeff, it left him with just 15% body fat.  He still enjoys food and an occasional cocktail when the event calls for it.  Now, he just does so mindfully – and that makes all the difference.

The Mindful Diet is his gift to you.  It will help you  live a richer, fuller life while helping you maintain a healthy balance in everything you do.  While you will lose weight along the way, the real benefit is to leave you feeling great in a natural, healthy and mindful way.

The Mindful Diet is not about counting individual calories.  It avoids the starvation/sweat mentality so many people rely on.  Instead it is about slowing down and enjoying life every minute of every day by simply being present wherever you are.  Some people have called the Mindful Diet the “un-diet,” because it does not matter if you were born strikingly slender or with rich beautiful curves.   What matters is that you breathe in a positive body image and breathe out the toxins that hold you back.  When you learn to do that, you learn to transform your body and your life for the better.

Why not start your own Mindful Diet with these helpful tips that will reduce your stress from your vacation and fill you with joy for years to come:

Mind Before You Eat

Food is sometimes more a habit than a necessity.  We eat what we are comfortable with rather than what we really want.  So slow down before you dig in.  Stop and take three slow, deep breaths.  With each breath in, feel your body slow down.  Be comfortable with where you are and ask yourself what it is that you really want.  It will help you get rid of the stress that social occasions often create and help you take the emotions  out of your meal.   The result is a calmer meal that you can fully without all the stress-laden extras.

Use All of Your Senses

Stop just eating and start enjoying.  Take the time to see and smell and yes even hear your food.  Don’t take a bite until you have run through all five senses and are aware of the full experience that is your meal.  You will learn to appreciate your food on a whole different level.  With all that joy flooding into your body, you will also eat less.

Slow Down & Enjoy

When your social calendar comes calling, it’s easy to rush into everything you find.  It is easy to forget what you are eating and drinking as you try to fit it all in.  Use your meals as a chance to slow down.  The next time you feel yourself rushing through a meal, stop, breathe and give yourself thirty seconds to come up with a good answer as to why you are craving what you are craving.  It will teach you to be mindful of your meal and to enjoy it a whole lot more.

Love Your Body

Don’t just accept your body.  Don’t just appreciate your body.  LOVE YOUR BODY!  Love your curves and your freckles.  Love your hips and your stomach.  No matter what shape you were born with, LOVE IT!  OWN IT!

Sure, you can lose a little here or there.  You can add some muscle tone and get in better shape.  You can even nip and tuck, if you want to go there – we all can.  But before you do  that, the next time you feel self conscious, take out two minutes to stand in a Superman pose – feet spread wide, hands on hips, chin up and shoulders back and smile.

Feel the self confidence rise up in you.  Feel your adrenaline rise and your cortisol drop – which means you will feel more confident and powerful no matter what you’re wearing.  And that helps you make the right choices whether you’re in a clam shack or the juice bar of some spa.

Learn to enjoy your meals mindfully and live life fully.  After all, this is your life.  It’s time to life it YOUR way!

 

If you want to learn more about The Mindful Diet – just visit us at www.simple-truth.com/mindfuldiet.

Modern Meditation Profile – Dina Proctor

Dina Proctor

From the start, Dina’s life wasn’t so different from yours or mine. She spent her 20s running after the same things everyone is after; a good job that meant something, a loving relationship, a sense of purpose, a sense of stability. But the more she looked outside herself for her answers, the more she realized it was the void within that she was trying to fill.

She did non-profit work in Africa, Guatemala, and with juveniles in jails – helping to heal others in an effort to heal herself.  She changed jobs every 9-months.  She changed boyfriends and moved just as often. Each time telling herself, “if I can just get a bit more money, if I can just find the right guy, if I just save one more person, it will all be better.”

It wasn’t until she moved into a new living situation in that her two worlds were forced together.  Her roommates were social drinkers and at first her life was a party. Then it spiraled.  Within weeks she became a daily drinker.  In months, she became a round-the-clock drinker.  After years of battling clinical depression and thinking, “if I don’t wake up in the morning, I’m okay with that,” she actually chose a date to take her own life.

That was 2008 and she had hit rock bottom. She did not so much pull back in that moment, as she realized she was sick of being sick of her life. She thought of suicide, but before she ended it all, she decided she at least wanted to see what real drunks looked like. That was the day she wandered into an addiction recovery meeting; “just to see.” Listening to them, she realized she was far worse than any of them.

At one point in her recovery she was introduced to meditation. She was asked to sit for 20 minutes. Her body was still detoxing, her head was spiraling, and sitting still for 20 minutes was physically impossible for her; she found she could sit still for about three minutes at a time. So she decided to sit in three minute increments until she reached the 20 minute mark. That was something she could do.

It was hard, but she was able to do it.  Then, about eight weeks into her meditation practice she had an out of body experience.  For the first time in her life, her mind was free from chatter, free from the inner voice that had haunted her. Everything she looked at was pristine and beautiful.  It was an absolutely full presence, a spiritual and physical moment that she remembers vividly to this day.

She had two revelations in that moment.  First, there is no such thing as time.  Time is something we transcend.  Second, everything in the physical world is just a reflection of the mind. At that moment she just knew that all she had to do in life was maintain the state of mind she experienced, and she could be grounded and open in the way she had always wanted.

She continued her meditation practice which eventually settled into three minutes, three times a day. In days she reached a point of ownership and non-resistance in her life. She wrote a book called Madly Chasing Peace: How I Went From Hell to Happy in 9 Minutes a Day, that turned into a best-seller, and now she teaches her style of modern meditation to hundreds of people who want to find the kind of peace that she discovered for herself.

Hers is a message of strength, empowerment and transformation.  It is one worth discovering for yourself no matter where you are in your life.

 

[learn_more caption=”See The Full Interview Here”] What drew you to yoga and meditation?

I don’t think I would say I was drawn to meditation – more like I was dragged kicking and screaming! At the end of 2008 I hit rock bottom in my life – I was suicidal and clinically depressed.  I was also horribly addicted to alcohol. I had tried countless changes to fix the emotional black hole I’d felt inside for years – moving cities, changing jobs, upgrading my boyfriends, individual therapy, group therapy, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications – you name it I tried it. But nothing worked to fix how I felt.

In hindsight (and obvious to everyone but me), I was constantly moving but always taking myself with me. Meditation was an instruction given to me when I finally fell apart. I remember balking at the idea of meditating for 20 minutes – wondering how on earth sitting in a floaty, wistful sort of way would do anything at all! But at that time I had run out of my own answers. So I tried it. And it ended up changing everything about everything (about everything!) about my life.

How have they changed your life?

There is not a single area of my life meditation hasn’t transformed. When I first started meditating I was in addiction-and-suicidal-thought withdrawal and could not physically or mentally sit still for longer than about 3 minutes at a time. Since my instruction was to meditate was for 20 minutes total I would sit for 3 minutes several times a day so I could meet my quota. After about 8 weeks of this messy 3 minute here, 3 minute there practice, I had an experience in what I can only call a state of higher consciousness.

For 3 entire days my conscious awareness was outside of my body – hovering above my body, yet tethered to it, everywhere I went! I had no thoughts in my head, absolutely zero mind-chatter, and everyone and everything was extraordinarily beautiful.

During that time I realized 2 things: that there is no such thing as time (really!) and that everything that exists in my exterior world – my body, my relationships, my financial situation – is simply a reflection of what was going on inside of myself; my world is basically a direct reflection of the quality of my spiritual life.

That 3-day experience profoundly changed my life perspective and I knew that these 3-minute meditations held the key to changing my entire reality.

At what point did you decide to teach others?

Teaching others was something I heavily resisted at first. About 8 months after my rock bottom point I had people approaching me asking me to teach them how I had used what had evolved into what I call 3×3 Meditation (3 minutes, 3 times a day) for the practical results I was achieving (a healed relationship with food and with my body, transformative relationships at home, work and with my family to name a few) and I didn’t feel ready.

I thought I needed to have it all figured out and picture-perfect before I could help guide someone else. But my mentor at the time advised me to share what I’d learned with others as soon as I was asked to – because only in giving it away is it something I can keep.

What do you find most rewarding about working with others?

There is nothing in the world more fulfilling to me than to share 3×3 Meditation with others and seeing them achieve their own results! I’ve recently started certifying people to become 3×3 Coaches and that is also deeply rewarding.

To share something I developed at my toughest point with people who use it to transform their lives is a rare and precious gift. I always knew helping others would help me help myself but when I was in my twenties I went about it all the wrong way. I worked at homeless shelters and third world aid organizations – went to the poorest parts of Africa and south America to bring food and supplies for students but even that good work I was doing did not fulfill me nearly as much as sharing a practice given to me by something greater than myself with people who are desperate to change their own lives.

What is your advice for someone just starting on their journey?

First I want to tell you that you are not alone! For so long, and especially at the beginning of my journey, I felt so isolated, so past the point of help. That feeling of isolation and hopelessness was killing me.

It stunned me when I realized that others had been where I’d been, had bettered their lives from the exact point where I stood. If you are just starting out, be gentle with yourself, accept and be open to the journey, and look forward to a life that is better than you could have ever imagined.

What should someone look for in a studio or an instructor?

The most important thing in choosing a mentor or teacher is feeling an emotional resonance. I’ve learned so much more from people without distinctions and degrees than I did from well-intentioned people who tried to help me from a more intellectual perspective. Don’t get me wrong – those who have knowledge and training are infinitely valuable and are of service to so many, but I didn’t experience my truest healing from all my doctor and psychiatrist visits – I experienced it from people who had been where I was. I will always have a mentor (or two!) and the first thing I look for – well, really feel for – is a sense of true, deep connection and a feeling of being completely understood and accepted exactly where I am.

What does the term Modern Meditation mean to you?

I would define Modern Meditation as whatever practice works for individuals as they navigate their everyday busy lives. Meditation is deeply personal – just as every workout isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, some folks prefer one meditation method over another. It’s so amazing there are so many to choose from. Modern Meditation means bringing a sense of calm, peaceful presence to everyday situations – being present as you shop for groceries or wait in line at the bank – it’s cultivating who you be not just on the meditation cushion but out in the nitty gritty of the real world.

How have you adapted traditional meditation and yoga in your life outside the studio?

Outside of my structured meditation practice (which of course only takes 9 minutes a day), I hold an intention to touch that space of inner space as I coach clients or write articles or record videos or wash dishes or clean the bathroom or eat lunch or reconcile my bank account or run errands. My life purpose is to be the fullest expression of my innermost self in my physical form, and to accomplish that I need to bring the space and peacefulness within my being to every aspect of my everyday life.

How has expanding and deepening your practice, improved your life?

It would be a much shorter list to make a list of how it hasn’t improved my life – because it has enhanced, improved and transformed every single aspect of my life. From healing addiction and depression to releasing weight to refreshing my relationships to writing a book to quitting my day job to teach this full-time and find financial stability, my meditation practice has been the key to every one of these achievements.

What is your Simple Truth?

My simplest truth is remembering and living from the perspective that my exterior world is only a reflection of what’s going on within me. If I don’t like the reflection I see in a mirror I don’t seek another mirror, I realize that I need to change the source that’s being reflected. It is all up to me.

Simple.

Empowering.

Liberating.

Inspiring!  

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Q+A – Why Do You Meditate?

Over the past few millennia we have been introduced to meditation.  Our teachers have taught us how to become aware of our bodies and our minds.  This awareness has helped us foster a better understanding of our own thoughts and actions, both within ourselves, as well as with those, and even the universe around us.
Meditation has even allowed some to peer past the veil of existence to see what lays beyond.

Those same teachers have, through faiths like Buddhism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, taught us the art of compassion, love, and kindness. While their philosophies do not always overlap, they do interconnect through the paths of meditation and awareness.

For those of you who choose the path of meditation, you are often rewarded with an understanding and a sense of growing enlightenment.  Each of which enables you to grow beyond yourself.  The further you follow this path, the more you are able to move beyond the sense balance and calm you initially sought.  In time you may even find a level of insight which will free you to cultivate wisdom free from oversight.

It is this insight that opens up an entire future where you are free to explore.

Simply knowing this gives me hope for the future. While it is not in my hands, it is there in my heart.

Thanks to the methodology of Western science, the physical and psychological effects of meditation have been proven ad-infinitum.  With this approval, meditation is now being taught to children in schools and to employees at work.  Both of whom are showing greater compassion and understanding for those and the world around them.

It gives me hope that we are building a foundation of peace for the next generation. I do not say this lightly, but if it is not for you that you meditate, then it is for your children and their children after, that you meditate.  That with our energy, you can in fact leave the world a better place than when you arrived.

This is why it is so important to go beyond the self; to go beyond your own stress and unhappiness, and to look at the bigger picture – so that you truly realize how your actions are moving the world in a better direction.

So when I am asked by a student, “what is next?” I smile.  For that answer is not found in yourself.  It is found in everything and everybody around you. It is knowing that when you hit someone, you are also hitting yourself, a smack that you will carry with you for years to come.  It is found not just in one bottom line of Profit, but in a triple bottom line that balances People, Planet and Profits for the future.

“What is next?”  Next is using the stability and clarity that you have gained to develop your own wisdom and to share it with those around you.  And by wisdom, I mean the wisdom of the heart and the mind.  For it is in that wisdom that you will find your divine.  Not within yourself, but in the connections you enjoy with the those around you and with all of existence.

Keep that in mind if you ever ask yourself why you meditate.  Or more likely, if that 40,000 year old brain of yours ever asks you what you are doing, while shooting in some adrenaline and cortisol to get you worrying that you have better, more immediate tasks to do.

The next time you question what you are doing, simply stop.  Simply dip your toe in the water of meditation with three simple breaths.  Let those three breaths lead you to wade into the pool of calm as you leave the world crashing in the waves behind you.

Let yourself be carried away in the gentle currents of Love that you will quickly remember is meditation.

 

Meditate to Embrace Your Emotions

Embrace your emotions
Without feeling trapped in having to pursue them.
That is the goal and the path to the calm you seek.

Emotions are not the problem.  It is how you deal with them that is.

If you lose yourself to the emotions you feel, then they become your master.

The next time you feel an emotion rising.  Love or Hate.  Anxiety or Comfort.  Lust or Disgust.  Do not respond to it immediately.  Stop.  Breathe.  Separate yourself from whatever it is that is triggering it.  Train yourself to contemplate what you are feeling even if for a moment.  Acknowledge it, label it, contemplate it, and then ask yourself if responding is really what you want to do.  Or do you simply want to let it go?

It is not the emotion that is the problem.  That is simply your brain telling you something out there is about to effect you, in here.

It is up to you to decide how you want to respond.

After all, it is your life.  Living in a meditative manner is the difference between pain and anguish, Love and joy.

 

 

The Simple Life – More of Less

When I search for more, I am, in reality, seeking less.

Every time I hear someone saying they need “more” I am reminded that it is not more things they are looking for, but more authenticity.

I am no different.  The more I am looking for in life, the less that I am willing to settle for.  It is not more for the sake of having more stuff, but more for the sake of being able to live a richer, deeper, more passionate life.  And it is a bit of a trap, because the more authentic you become, the more your life is lived in the details.  Which means having less of the material, but making sure that what you do have is the most authentic, real objects you can find.

The inevitability of this means less product and more you. Items that are more reflective of your true self, and for where you want to go.

Once you realize that, living a richer life is about simplifying.  It’s about getting rid of everything that does not support who you are at your core.  Getting rid of those things that no longer support your authentic self and your Simple Truth.  If I were in advertising I would say something like, “It is about being true to the core values of your brand.”

But I’m not, and we’re talking humans not brands.  But the idea is the same, as it should be.  After all, inauthentic brands, just like people, exist to sell. They become whatever it is you want them to be. Which is exactly why they fail in the end.  Authentic brands, just like authentic people have a strong personality. They have core values and insights.  They have integrity with which they build trust.  They have lines they will not cross.

Which is why the products you buy, the food you eat, and the places you go are so important to who you are.  They reflect your own personality.  After all, the values of the products and people and places you support reflect who you are.

Which is why having more means taking your time to find the right food, the best books, the small things that support your life as you want it to be.  And yes that goes for people as well.  Letting go of those people who do not support who you are in favor of those who do.

So that’s a nice manifesto, but what does it mean?  It means stopping, looking around, and most important looking inward.  It means looking back and looking forward.  Because once you reset your priorities to your own authenticity, your own Simple Truth, then it simply becomes a matter of maintaining it, rather than searching for it.  And that is truly a strategy for happiness.  Letting go of those things that do not support your true nature, in favor of those things that do.

For me, this means visiting more museums and galleries to find upcoming artists and talent that fascinate, enthrall, excite and stir.  It is about jazz, in all its forms.  It’s about cooking and exploring food.  Of late nights with good friends knowing that you’re doing is creating.  It’s about living in the city for as long as I can take it before escaping to some seaside town to enjoy the salt in the air and the sound of the waves.  It is about writing and creating in my own way; and realizing that whether it sells or not is not the goal, but in having my voice heard is.

In the back of my mind this all points to a destination, a place where people can go to escape and enjoy and relax and be inspired to do whatever it is they want to do.  After all, isn’t that why we remove tumors from heads and get people back on their feet – to give them a voice and enable, no empower, them to express all of those wonderfully crazy ideas that they’ve kept hidden and bundled up deep down inside them for years and decades – afraid to bring them to life?

Isn’t this what this crazy thing called life is about?

Or simply put , to LIVE and LOVE and BE.

 

Q+A – Recognizing Your Habits is The First Step To Changing Them

I met with a student last night who was overcome with the seemingly endless list of habits she was now noticing within herself.  “My God, it never ends,” she exclaimed.  “I almost wish I had never started to meditate.  Now, I see all of these auto-responses that I am living my life by.”

I smiled. Not with humor, but in understanding.  Yes, deep meditation will remove the layers that you hide behind. It will open you up to the light of truth.  You will have moments of enlightenment like this, when you see the reality of your life through the fog you have been living through; and this is not a bad thing.  Because before you can get rid of the old habits that are holding you back, you must first be aware of them.

It is usually a shock when you first see how little of your life is YOUR life, and how much of it is lived through the choices that others have impressed upon you.  The question is quickly not “why do I have so many habits dictating my life?”  It becomes “what will I do with them.”

Will you continue to live your life making the same mistakes and living by the same auto-responses that you always have, or will you begin to peel them back and start LIVING THE LIFE YOU WERE MEANT TO LIVE?

So many people turn back when they first recognize a bad habit for what it is.  That habit of yelling before thinking. Or reaching for a drink before you know why you want it.  That habit of asking for the food that, while it may satisfy you in the moment, you will regret eating for days to come.  Even that habit of listening to that small voice inside your head that leads to self-loathing.  All of these come from the same place.  And you recognize all of them through the regret that you inevitably feel after you have followed them.

The good news is, you can change, because as doctors, neuroscientists, and psychologists have found, the brain changes every day, based on the input you allow into it.  If you allow your brain to respond in anger to everything that goes on around you, you will become a very angry person – at the world and with yourself.  If you look down and deride others to feel good about yourself, you will begin to see all the ugliness in the world and in yourself, while seeing none of the beauty that is within and all around.

So the next time you feel regret for your actions, smile as you acknowledge that you have just recognized a bad habit that you can change.  If you feel yourself act out of emotion instead of logic, smile that you noticed it, and recognize that you can make a different choice in how to act in the future.

Congratulate yourself that you have taken the first step toward enlightenment.  Then stop, breathe, acknowledge whatever it is that you have done or are about to do, and let it go.

Then repeat a short mantra to yourself.

MAKE GOOD CHOICES

Because that is the way to change your life.  Simple make good choices.

Take a meditative approach to life and start living the life YOU were meant to live – TODAY.

Stop, breathe, acknowledge, and let it go.