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Why Do I Meditate?

Why Do I Meditate Often when I speak at an event or facilitate a group on branding, marketing or leadership development I talk briefly about meditation and I always have people who want to learn. I will, then, either do a quick session after I speak to those interested or schedule to come back to the group. I’m always happy to help people learn this tool that I have found so beneficial. What I get asked MOST often though is WHY do I meditate? What do I get out of it? Does it WORK? Let’s dive into my why:

Why Do I Meditate?

Not to be an Asshole: Literally. I meditate so I am less of an asshole. My first impulse, because I’m scrappy and the last child in my family bullied by older siblings, is to punch out with biting words or thoughts. I’m a jerk. I HATE this about myself and after years of therapy and countless self help books on how not to be so mean I realized that I could just calm that the fuck down. Seriously. I can chill out and if the thought arises I can just NOT SAY IT, but that takes the work of a jedi master and I needed a tool.

Hence, meditation. It gives me the second pause to not say the thing that will crush my opponent. Seriously, no one needs to live on a battlefield every damn day. Snarky isn’t funny and it isn’t cool. It usually is at the expense of someone else and I don’t want to hurt other people.

Destress the Hell Out: Life is stressful. Seriously stressful. In this month alone I have had a banking fiasco (digging out now), found out my daughter might have gestational diabetes – goodbye Lucky Charms, and they found a change in my left breast and I have to have more tests. Seriously. It’s only the 19th of January and life just keeps happening.

Mediation helps me breath past some of that and stay aware, but not panicked. I can sit with more anxiety and just let it pass then I ever have been able to do before. Life doesn’t stop coming at you when you start meditating, but your response can be a little less frantic and your clarity of thinking improves.

Be A Nicer Human: Ok, so we covered that I want to be less of an asshole, but I also want to be a better human. I want to say nicer things. Meditation, in real life, allows me to speak with more love and kindness because I am more aware of my words. Stuff isn’t just flying out of my mouth like a rapid fire crazy person.

Pre-meditation I would just say whatever. Now, although I am still clear and speak my mind I am choosing my words more carefully to consider the other person. We are all on this damn planet together and I don’t want to cause harm to any other person -we all have enough of our own shit going on that we don’t need to pile it on with each other. So words matter and if meditation can help me slow them from spewing out of my mouth carelessly that is a huge win.

Who Do You Want to Be When I Grow Up: I know that if I want to be a Ghandi or Martin Luther King type person (don’t worry, I know I am far far off) I have to do the things that create that foundation and, for me, that is meditation. The ongoing practice of sitting quietly with myself and not freaking out over what my silly mind brings up even for just 15 minutes brings a sense of strength and calm to my life.

I want to be that person who stands with competence, baddassery, and kindness in the midst of raging storms and meditation makes that even a little bit more possible. It’s a practice, like yoga or tae kwon do, you don’t master it in one sitting it takes time. Time spent practicing this is better then running around shopping needlessly, gossiping, panicking or running around like a chicken in the yard. I can’t BE like MLK unless I PRACTICE being like MLK every single day.

In short, I want to disrupt my natural tendencies to judge, react and panic. I want to bring calm and fluidity to my life with grace. The only way I have found that works for me is to meditate everyday. It isn’t a big thing. I’m not perfect… but I don’t expect to be. It’s a practice and every moment I’m off the cushion and life is shredding us up I get to practice over and over.

Ask me your meditation questions and I’m happy to answer. I’ve been doing it for over 25 years and have some really practical tips for busy working mom’s, stressed out partners, doing it anywhere, finding a practice that works… whatever you want to know I will answer. Until then, you can also friend me on Insight Timer and I’ll cheer your practice on.

Who Are Your Heroes?

leonardo-da-vinci-paintings18 When I was a kid I didn’t worship superheroes or cartoon characters. I idolized Leonardo da Vinci. I read everything I could get my hands on about him. Yes. I was a weirdo. I’ve had exactly five-ish superhero crushes in my life and they have been Leonardo (we are on a first name basis) age 9-17, Mary Wollstoncraft 18 – 24 (I was a women studies major until I switched to design because I liked the idea of eating), Suzuki Roshi 25 – 30ish, and Benjamin Franklin who is my current fave, but Ghandi is edging him out lately. It isn’t that I’m fickle – it’s that different times in my life have called upon different superheroes.

Let’s look at my loves and how they have endured even when new ones were added.

Leonardo Wisdom

Leo (now we are really close) tantalized me. He was into everything and, it seemed, good at everything. His passions were all consuming and he did brave (risky/scary) things to find out answers. He is known for digging up corpses to study the body… dude. That is extreme. When I was young it was his curiosity that made my head swirl and his imagination.

What I get out of him NOW is much different. HE is who I focus on when I am overwhelmed by the things everyone else are doing and are so much better than I am. He is my check balance to FOMO and COMPARISON. Why? Because he did his own thing, kept his head down and was consumed by his own passions. THAT is power. That is energy. That is getting shit done. Sure, he might have popped his head up every now and then to see what that other guy was doing, but honestly he had so much of his own creativity to serve that I’m doubting he was checking Instagram on the daily (or whatever that was in his time). THAT is inspiration for ME to put my head into my own stuff and churn it out. Head down, Jacqueline.

Oh, Let’s Drop Some Mary Wisdom

Mary came along when I was a women study major and pissed off at the world – angry angry women – and she made it all make sense. She was the BASE of what the feminist movement is about and she was writing this in 1770 – look at that date again – 1770. She said that women were NOT inferior to men they just lacked education and access. She channeled my frustration at the system, at the MAN, and made sense of why I was angry that doors weren’t opened the same way for women as they are for men. Dude – we still make .77¢ for every $1 a man makes. Don’t tell me that is fair. It isn’t. Having that LONG history of women talking REAL talk about what is/was happening still makes me proud. We have a long way to go – still – but we have a great foundation of women to stand with who were/are saying/doing the right things to bring justice not just for women but all people.

Oh, Roshi

After all that fire branding fury I needed a mentor to help me channel it lest I burn down the house I was building and along came Suzuki. He is the founder of the San Francisco Zen Center and he taught an unruly group of hippies how to meditate in his tradition. His wisdom on shutting up, sitting down, and being mindful is the basis of where my practice is today. The crazy part is that I never met him, I never went to the Zen Center when I lived there – I could have. I was just to afraid that my real desire was to run away and become a zen monk and I had a little at home and that wouldn’t have been a great thing. And so I read. I listened. I sat. I’m still sitting because that quiet moment is necessary for me to be kind.

Ben, oh, Ben

I dig you so much I named my dog after you. Your creativity, leadership, and time management make me happy happy happy. You were the FIRST at so many things and when I think founding fathers – dude – it is YOU I want to have dinner with… if you can fit it into your schedule. You remind me that we have way more time and energy than we think and that we ALL can start things. It just takes one person with an idea. Side note – I think we need to apologize to Ben about the Turkey. He totally wanted that to be our national bird and he was edged out. I’m not sure who did that, but Ben deserves the Turkey. Granted… the $100 isn’t too shabby.

Heroes are funny things. We latch onto them when we need what they are dishing out. I’m grateful to my parents who would, on a weekly basis, dump me out at the Anaheim Public Library unsupervised while they went off and ran errands. It was there I got to explore whomever I wanted to without any censorship. It wasn’t a TV personality, cartoon or movie that piqued my interest it was good old Leo who made me see that there are infinite possibilities if we are just curious enough to explore them. Who are yours?

What Worked, What Didn’t and What Needs Tweaking

What Worked in 2015 It’s the end of the year, 2015 is coming to a close, and I thought I’d share some things that worked for me, some things that didn’t and some things that need a little tweaking.

What Worked in 2015:

TCOYOS – Hands down this commitment to a group of women and myself to make time and space for my own work four times a year is one of the greatest blessings of my life. We are planning again for February and I can’t wait.

Gratitude Journal – Not every night, but a lot of evenings I spend a few moments writing about three things that I am grateful for in my life. Big things and very small things. When it really works is when I am struggling to find the good things and I have to dig deep. That lifts my whole heart up.

Meditation Retreat – I’ve been a meditator for 20+ years, but I’d never done a weekend silent retreat and this was life changing. To feel the feelings (all of them), listen to the very rapid thoughts whizzing by and not getting attached to any of them (seriously, I redecorated my living room countless times in my head), and just being still for long periods of time was revolutionary.

Telling People I Speak for a Living – Seriously. Letting people know and emailing it out to my list brought me countless speaking opportunities of which I am so grateful. It is my greatest joy to share what I have learned in branding, marketing and leadership with others. I’m a lucky woman to get to do what I love… just by telling people about it.

Franklin the Wonder Dog – He isn’t perfect. In fact, he’s a hot mess, but he’s my hot mess and it is the welcome distraction from negative things in the world that I need. He needs me 100% and I need him. It’s a beautifully messy thing.

What Didn’t Work in 2015:

Passion Planner – it is a great planner, but it was just too big for me and I couldn’t lug it around so it didn’t get used which meant I wasn’t as organized as I would have liked to have been. In 2016 I’m using the Get To Workbook and I’m liking it so far. Fingers crossed I will lug it around… because a planner only works when you work in it.

Eating – Well. Eating worked really well. Too well. I gained way more than I need to weigh this year eating chocolate, cheese and other delightful goodies. I need to work on lowering my sugar intake, easy carbs and upping my veggies… oh the veggies. Going for strong is my goal… not losing a bunch of weight or anything.

My One Little Word – I chose the word Love and I realized that I love pretty easily. I choose love more often than I choose any other thing… even when it might look like I’m choosing irritation, frustration, and self righteousness! I move to love pretty easily. So it wasn’t a huge motivator for me to be different. I got the love! I’ve got a GREAT word for 2016! Just you wait!

What Needs Tweaking in 2016:

Documenting – It is totally my goal to be a better documenter. I want to photograph, video and capture my life and story, but it isn’t my nature. This is a big push for me in 2016 and I’ll be taking a few workshops on video and photography, diving more into Instagram and lugging my big camera with me even if it’s still on auto! I’m going to document this amazing simple life I live in the worlds most lovely little town. Have any suggestions on how to do this better? I’m all ears!

Writing – I have a book that has some really good bones written and 2016 is the year it gets finished, I find an agent and it gets published.

Cultivating Relationships – I have amazing friends and network, but sometimes I get so bogged down in my work (which I love) and my love of being home that I forget to nurture them. I’m going to plan on one coffee a month with a friend. Want to be the first? Hit me up!

Thank You – I have ALWAYS wanted to be the one that wrote thank you letters, notes of encouragement, and sent a little sunshine to people in their mailbox. I USED to be that woman, but work, life, blah blah blah… that is changing in 2016. I have an address box, stamps, notecards and I even ordered a return address stamp (we’ve lived her 14 years, it’s time). I have everything I need to send a little light!

What about you?

Did everything work out in your world this year? Making any big plans/changes/small tweaks?  What worked in 2015 for you? I’d love to know!

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