I send one letter a month right to your inbox. It has all the tools, tips, ideas and support you need to amplify your life and your business. Sign up and join the over 2,000 folks who read it!  

Meditation

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.

Happiness – Grok Your Own Thing

Happiness What is happiness? I believe it is liking where you are right now in this moment. I also think it’s something that you cultivate, how you interact in the world, and figuring out what makes it all click for yourself. I am a big lover of the fact that the Founding Fathers of our great nation decided that the Pursuit of Happiness is one of our rights. They were a bunch of pretty happy guys doing exactly what they wanted to do. They knew that they could have that here, in this new place, and that everyone should be so lucky to go find it. Granted, it took them a while to think that women, children, African Americans and Native Americans were worth of it… but I give them kudos for trying.

This is all a part of a month long project to write a post to kick out 2016.

How Do I Pursue My Own Happiness?

Meditation: I am in a cycle (post 2016 election) where I am doing a lovingkindness mediation every morning. 15 – 20 minutes of a guided meditation. It helps to start my day with the idea that I have the capacity to be happy, healthy, live without fear and be at ease in the world and that you do too. It’s a small thing, but it helps.

Simplicity: Our house, mostly because my husband would prefer to live in a Zen Monastery is getting more and more free of clutter. I recently removed our couch and replaced it with two funky armchairs that are cozy enough that Franklin the Wonder Dog has abandoned the bed I made for him. I am quick to donate just about anything that I don’t use regularly and am keeping clutter to a minimum. It helps my peace of mind to have less stuff around and stuff doesn’t make me happy – it never has. I like quality things, things with personal meaning and empty spaces – that makes me happy.

Focusing: Really pairing down my life and business to what matters makes me happy. I am starting to really drive myself and my message around the idea that our own personal and professional development – what we value and how we act – is the trademark of our brand. Getting to that solid focus helps me feel calmer, more relaxed an ultimately happy. I’ve started, again, sending out a weekly email to drive that home. We are what we focus on and that helps drive my happy.

Saying Yes Even When I Don’t Know What the Hell I’m Doing: This last year I have said yes to doing Facebook Live videos every week without knowing anything about doing them. I put myself out there as an artist twice – once donating a piece to an auction that got purchased (squee!) and another in a collaboration youth/art project. I said yes to an overnight hike even when I didn’t have the right shoes, gear or any experience walking over a mile. I started a book club because a friend wanted one and the group has turned out to be amazing. I started an email list with a direct action to be more civically involved that has grown from 1 – 145 people in three weeks. I just put myself out there and decided, even if I failed in front of everyone, I would have fun trying, and I have. It makes me happy to take risks – even small incremental ones.

Having Goals: I didn’t do everything I set out to do, 7 out of 9 (not bad!), but looking at my goals everyday helped me feel accomplished. And just like everyone else that does something I like getting to the finish line and giving myself a serious high five. I’ll be doing more goal planning the first week in January because, frankly, it works.

Being Mindfully Kind: I practice kindfulness. It’s mindfulness in action. I am not always a happy camper. In fact, I grind pretty judgmental, but I know that when I gather myself into a kinder mode I am happier. I practice this in every post I write, every email, every phone call, every interaction, every damned thing. It isn’t easy and I miss the mark more than I like, but when I hit that spot of true engagement where I listened to the person, was compassionate and had composure and clarity I feel like I won a million bucks. Happy happy camper.

The Key to Your Happiness

The key for all of us is finding out, for ourselves, what actually makes us happy. Not what your mom thinks, your boss, your best friend.. but you. You have to grok your own special sauce of happy to be actually happy. And in my world, it’s whatever works. I’m not here to judge you (and I promise I’m working on that). You do you and find your happy place.

Holidays Here I Come – Suck it 2016

Holidays here I come Holidays here I come! I need to ring this year out the right way – with joy and love and all the light that shines this time of year! Honestly the end of 2016 has been a hot mess and I could just burn it up, but I’m going to head into the twinkle lights right here on the blog. 31 posts on things that matter for the season.

In no particular order I am going to write about:

  1. Joy
  2. Love
  3. Gifts
  4. Kindness – It’s in this blog post
  5. Hope
  6. Renew – Renew our Hearts on the Daily
  7. Believe – I’ve Got Santa Spirit
  8. Peace
  9. Celebration
  10. Carols
  11. Christmas Past
  12. Christmas Tree
  13. Giving
  14. Winter
  15. Snow
  16. Solstice
  17. Deck the Halls (or hall, we only have one)
  18. Traditions
  19. Happiness – Grok Your Own Thing
  20. Coziness
  21. Cheerfulness – Combatting the Bad Vibes
  22. Surprise
  23. Simplicity
  24. Light
  25. Together – We are All in this Together
  26. Listen – The Greatest Gift of All
  27. Family
  28. Oh, Bring Us the Figgy Pudding
  29. Merry
  30. Winter Wonderland
  31. Onward

Kindness Here’s the first: Kindness

Since the election I have been doing a guided lovingkindness meditation. If you aren’t sure what lovingkindness is here is a brief description:

You close your eyes and you center yourself on your breath – just to get yourself ready to think about something other than the laundry that just turned everything pink, the crappy email you just got, or the snarky comment you made and now regret. When you are ready you begin by thinking of yourself and say, “May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease.” You say these for a little while until you kind of feel ok about it.

Then you think about someone that you like. Someone who is easy for you to picture in a happy way. It can be a kid, an animal, a friend, or even just a place that is special to you. This is someone who when you think of them you don’t cringe a little. And you say, “May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.” You say this for as long as you like.

Then you think about someone who you don’t know very well. Someone that you see when you run errands, walk your dog, or briefly met. You don’t know anything about this person, but you can picture them in your mind and you say, “May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.” This is to help remind yourself that even someone you don’t know is worthy of your kindness.

Then you picture someone that you really don’t like. This person could be a family member who is awful to you, a friend who did you wrong, and annoying coworker, an elected official or anyone that drives you absolutely mad. You say, “May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.” This is hard. This is someone that you either feel has hurt you or could hurt you. If this causes you too much pain you go back to yourself, because at that moment you are the one suffering and need to know that you deserve to be happy and peaceful

Note: I use Sharon Salzberg’s guided lovingkindness mediation in the Insight Timer app most of the time. You can just search lovingkindness and there are a ton. These aren’t religious – they are just about centering. In fact, if you are religious you could bring that element into it if it helped.

So, anyway. Sorry that took longer than I expected to explain. It really just takes 20 minutes. I started doing it because the election made me anxious. I needed to gain perspective and ground myself. I know that sounds so hippy dippy, but the science of this kind of meditation is spot on! It has been proven to increase love, joy, contentment, gratitude, pride, hope, interest, amusement, and awe. That is some serious stuff. And it was working. I was feeling great.

And then.

I’m an idiot. I stopped doing it last Sunday. Why? My routine got jacked. I just didn’t do what I had been doing in the morning and now it is Thursday and I didn’t do this simple thing that is proven to make life better – and was working. What has happened? My week sucked. Seriously. It wasn’t anything big – just life and people – but it sucked. So, tomorrow morning I’m back. Back to practicing this. Back to giving it to myself, the people I love, and the people I don’t. Back to remembering to be kind.

Now, THAT’S the way to kick off some serious holiday celebrating. Right? 31 days of kicking the end of this year out with love, peace and a whole lot of holiday spirit!

1 2 3 7