Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One


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Day 11: What the World Needs Now Is Love….

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…sweet love.  Great – now I’m quoting Burt Bacharach songs.  What have I become?  I’m like one of those young American Idol contestants being forced to sing songs by a man at least 4 times their age.  Did you ever wonder how come they all pretended to know who he was?  They’d all act really excited, but I bet only one really old soul actually knew who the man was, the rest were hoping for One Direction or whoever the big band of their season was.  I’d be much more excited to meet One Direction.  I, like Gwyneth Paltrow’s soon to be uncoupled from, husband find them delightful and entertaining.  No offence to the silver haired and tongued, talented Mr. Bacharach intended.  Now back to today’s topic – Activating Love.

Of course D-oprah are both much deeper than myself.  I did enjoy this one a little bit more than yesterday’s meditation.  It was because the concept wasn’t as abstract.  It’s all about being relatable for me.  Oprah started by posing a question, “What can happen in our lives when we allow love and compassion to flow freely?”  Well, like my Momma always told me (I threw in a little Forrest Gump), you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  Sorry – there was more deepness, I got side-tracked “…we begin to feel at one with the force of pure joy, reciprocity and kinship, connected and whole with more to give which means we receive more and life gets better.”  She has a point – just think when you have done something really good, helpful or even compassionate for someone – you feel good about yourself and are more connected to that person.  I always go on and on about the friends who went out of their way for me during a difficult time in my life – and they know that because they showed me compassion, they will always get it back, whenever they need it.  Even when you do something kind for a stranger, there is a small joy in that and the universe will pay you back.  Sorry to go all Oprah on you – but it’s true and I’ve seen it.  It can be as small as helping out a tourist in your city who is lost remembering that one day, you will be that person who needs a hand. Speaking of tourists, the Divine Miss O asks us to remember a moment that took your breath away or melted your heart.  It could be the vast majesty of the sky (not for me – fast moving clouds make me dizzy), the mountains (ok, getting warmer – I love the mountains), ocean waves (totally hot now – adore the ocean) or redwood trees (cold, cold – very cold – trees are full of bugs). 

We learned that the heart chakra is the fourth chakra and helps us to give, receive and connect with others.  To experience love fully means experiencing who you are according to Deepak.  He goes on to say that love can have different intensities but the reality is that the connection to this chakra can be like the feelings of love at first sight (strong) or the love that you feel when you think of a friend from the past (weak).  He suggests that you can live love rather than look for love by experiencing a silent mind.  I’m sure any man that you speak to would rather have have a wife with a silent mouth and a louder mind – just kidding ladies!   He provides us with a couple of lovely lines from a poem to get the point across, ” Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the values within yourself that you built against it.”  I think the translation is essentially, you can’t look for something until you deal with the issues that you have created within yourself. 

His belief is that the energy forces in your heart can remove obstacles effortlessly like warmth dissolves ice.  The man is a poet!  Let’s just say, he wants you to lead with the heart, rather than the head which is a challenge for many of us (although some are too led by their hearts too).  This is to help connect you with others and alleviate feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anxiety  which are all from a lack of love.  He wants us to think of and notice the different “flavours” of love in your heart and these include appreciation, gratitude, enjoyment, affection, romance, and personal attraction.  This can be as simple as acknowledging how beautiful a morning is to remembering that love is gentle – it’s not all about having strong emotion.  I have to say, I love DC – he makes the simplest concepts and advice sound like iambic pentameter.  No wonder Dr. Oz likes the guy so much!

Today, I am grateful for my health.  I went to the doctor to get some test results and what I’ve been doing is helping – no drugs needed for this Oz follower just yet, well except all of the supplements that I take.  Can’t wait to meditate later (only 10 more to go).

Gratefully yours,

Jill


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Day 10: I’ve Got the Power

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Day 10 – not my  favourite meditation so far if I can keep it real, but I did find a word of wisdom or two.  Oprah started out by likening the power of strength, commitment, compassion, vision and love to people like Nelson and Ghandi.  Ghandi – that’s a pretty big toga to fill or Mandela – I can’t compare and before you say au contraire (pardon the rhyme), it’s true.  Yes, perhaps we all have a certain power within as Oprah speculated, but I think some people are able to rise above their circumstance better than others.  Maybe, they had a different type of life experience that afforded them this opportunity.  As much as I admire these two great men, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to walk a mile in their shoes, so Oprah, I’m going to have to assume that some people transcend what we, mere mortals, may be capable of…even if the power of the universe is flowing through us. 

I was hoping my mentor and Dr. Oz guest, Deepak could make some sense of this for me.  He provided me with a been there, powered through that moment when he stated that power is often used to harm rather than heal.  He then went a bit too abstract for a bit.  He reigned it back in by telling us that we could source our power by channeling it into confidence, self-esteem and strength to meet life’s every challenge.  Well, DC, why didn’t you just say so to begin with?  Now, I’m starting to get the point of this whole power meditation.

Our third chakra, according to Deeps, gives us the capacity to accomplish what matters most to us.  I call that being Type A which I cop to being.  He goes on to warn us that if our power centre isn’t balanced, we feel low self-esteem, timid and sometimes victimized.  Some people compensate by bullying, which if you don’t know by now is a horrible thing to do.  This makes sense, you try to instill fear so that you feel better about being fearful.  I guess in his own way, Deepak Chopra is trying to help us understand the sadness that lives within a bully.  I do feel sorry for them, because they are likely victims in some part of their life, but I feel true compassion for the innocents that they seek to harm.  This is a terrible misuse of power. 

He goes on to explain that to keep the flow of inner power activated, think of ways that you would like to have the power to create change and place attention on the change that you would like to see.  Right now, that would be my health and ensuring that I am doing everything in my power to reverse any damage that I have created.  As much as I like the meditation (ok, just the part about listening to Deepak), I miss the day to day health advice that I was seeking from Dr. Oz.  I have ten more days of the meditation experience, then it’s back to finding out which nut I need to eat next.   I felt like I was being more proactive, or powerful when I was researching and finding bits of information towards living a life filled with optimum health.  I do continue to gain valuable insight through this experience, and as I mentioned yesterday, I will continue to explore meditation, it just won’t be a regular feature of my blog – rather, it may just make a special guest appearance from time to time.

Back to feeling powerful…DC believes that if you think you don’t deserve power or hand off decisions to others, or permit someone to control you, that these are inner blocks to keeping your personal power from waking up.  This is where it gets good again – we all have limiting beliefs and judge ourselves.  Once you have seen a limitation, announce to yourself that you want this limitation transformed, and ask the universe to tap into your inner strength to change it.  Sounds easy when he says it – huh?  Hey there, Mr. Universe, please change the thought that I had this morning about how I wished it was still the weekend…well, maybe this is one thought that I’ll have to continue to ponder.

Today, I am grateful for something small and silly.  There are days when more people from the US read my blog than Canadians.  This always makes me feel grateful since I don’t know who these people are and they are still reading my entries even without me forcing them to.  It absolutely thrills me when I see that, so thank you for reading!  As always, I am…

Gratefully yours,

Jill

 

 


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Day 9: Don’t Worry – We Happy

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I’ve always loved the colour orange.  It clashes with my current hair colour, blond – too many saturated colours too close to each other).  Luckily, even though orange is not a primary colour, it is the colour that matches the second chakra – happiness.  I kind of liked this meditation – who doesn’t like the idea of pushing their worries aside and just being happy.  This meditation was proactive – you were supposed to activate your happiness. 

Oprah actually offered a bit more advice this time.  She said that to activate the full potential of happiness, you have to focus on your dreams and desires and to start seeing them as clues that will guide you to a state of happiness in all areas of life.  Interesting – and simple.  I think we all make things so complicated and are so afraid of disappointment that we often are afraid to pursue or express our dreams.  I KNOW – I’M DEEP – RIGHT?  Don’t answer that.

Deepak explains the chakra of happiness in yet another simple, yet profound way.  The second chakra (happiness in case you weren’t paying attention – wakey, wakey) is located a few inches below the navel.  No wonder guys seem to put so much emphasis on what’s below the belt – they are confusing that sort of happiness when they really should be contemplating their navels.  My apologies, just a little meditation humour.  Getting back to the point of this, it’s about embracing any desire…”that brings happiness, creativity and a sense of delight and bliss.” 

DC wants us to celebrate desire as a divine gift since it motivates us to get out of bed in the morning and seek satisfaction and happiness.  This guy is beyond smart.  He moves on to remind us that being spiritual doesn’t mean reonouncing our desires and that there is nothing impure about desire, itself when it is connected to the truth.  He uses the example spiritual people desire to reach God and that they do this because they are following their desires.  Nothing impure in that.

At the end of the meditation, he asks that you become aware of the desires that come into your awareness throughout the day.  Ideally, you will respond to them with acceptance and joy rather than judgment and repression.  He believes that if we open ourselves up to our true desires, that we are saying yes to happiness.  If you activate the second chakra, you will be happier in life and will be on the road to self-acceptance.  The challenge that I am having with all of this, as beautiful as the words are, is that I need time to aborb the information.  I think that what I am learning most of all, is that in order to appreciate what Oprah and Deepak are speaking about, you can’t just make this a 21 day experience.  It has to be a contemplation that takes place over a longer period of time whether it is sitting quietly and pardon the expression, contemplating your navel, or taking the time to make the advice a part of your life.  I choose to spend more time with the tools that I have been given, otherwise, this experiencce could end up being wasted.  I’ve invested a lot of time in Dr. Oz’s advice, and meditation is threaded through it and it is supposed to be part of optimum health, which is my goal. 

To end this chakra lesson, today, I am grateful for the happiness that I experienced this weekend.  We threw a big party for our mother’s bleep-fifth birthday and it was amazing to see all of our family and our mother’s close friends.  We got to spend time with our amazing cousins who came in from Ottawa (the lovely MK and GK who I interviewed for my diet blogs last month) plus our delightful cousins from Montreal.  It was a great weekend all around and our mother was very happy.  It truly made me feel grateful to see so many people come and pay tribute to my little Mummy.   I’ll be writing another blog soon so that I don’t fall behind on the meditation, but until then, I remain,

Gratefully yours,

Jill

 


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Day 8 – Back on Track

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Yesterday, I thought meditation was beyond me and I’ll still swear up and down that yesterday’s topic was HOOEY.  Today, I felt a lot better about it.  It’s amazing what happens when you can connect to a topic.  I didn’t notice the time go by and only lost the mantra a couple of times.  I didn’t even need to stop and complain that I couldn’t pronounce the mantra – how is that for progress?  I felt relaxed for the first time since trying meditation.  One thing that made a huge difference was that I decided to listen and do the meditation first instead of rushing to take notes at the beginning and end.  I didn’t worry that I was missing anything and I was already in the place where I was going to meditate insteading of hitting pause and rushing to the spot.  It got me off to a much better start.

Oprah began the meditation welcoming us to week 2.  She just explained that this week, we would concentrate on activating our energy centres or chakras.  I really enjoyed the Oprah/Deepak explanations as they taught me a lot more about chakras including what they are.  DC explained that in Western medicine, anatomy and brain maps are used to guide us through the various systems of the body.  Chinese medicine maps the nervous system using an energy flow or chi (not the hair straightener) to track the chakras.  There are seven major chakras and security is the first.  He compared the chakras to a generator but this is powered by spiritual energy which is intelligent, not a physical energy.  Today’s chakra is the one that will help make your dreams a reality by not letting anything stand in your way. 

The location of the security chakra is the base of the spine.  This is the energy flow that allows us to feel grounded, safe and secure and is also known as the root chakra because we are rooted in the body, mind and spirit.  I thought that his ending was really powerful today.  He reminded listeners to take some time to think about activities that are inside and outside of our comfort zones.  When we experience something that is outside of our comfort zone, you are supposed to think about a time and place where you felt secure and safe and imagine these feelings becoming bigger until they encompass the discomfort completely.  This activates the chakra so that you can feel secure even in uncomfortable situations.  

Totally not hooey today.  When I fly, where I experience my greatest fear, I calm myself through ativan, ok and rituals.  I get myself settled, tap the floor with my foot progressively harder each time to ensure that the plane feels solid, get a People magazine, and once we start to taxi down the runway, I do the crossword puzzle.  These rituals are my meditation.  I may even ask my grandparents in heaven to keep me safe.  These little things all make me feel more secure.  All rituals and mantras go out the window when a bee or wasp comes anywhere near me – then I just close my eyes, grab at the person next to me, even if I barely know them, and beg them to get rid of the insect.  No amount of meditation is going to help with that one.  I do think, however, that using meditation or thinking about the centering thought may be helpful in other situations that may be uncomfortable.  A lot of this goes back to what I’ve learned from this Dr. Oz experience, and that is being mindful or at least making the attempt to in everything that you do.

Today, I am grateful that I was able to get my hair done, see a good friend and learn to appreciate meditation.  An embarassment of riches.

Gratefully and meditatively yours,

Jill


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Day 7: End of Week One

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One week down – two more to go.  Today was my abosolute worst meditation.  I couldn’t get into it and in fact I even gave up and fast forwarded to Deepak’s ending thoughts.  I even found the mantra hard to remember – stick to 1 syllable people!  I just wasn’t feeling it.  In the words of the man himself (DC), this meditation topic was too abstract for a logical Leo like me.  Oprah really didn’t set the stage for me this time, but I forgive her, because in general, she is wonderful. 

Deepak talked about how we are all pure light both internally and as an expression of who we are.  We can tap into that energy, that awareness to feel… VVVOOOMMM – that’s the sound of the idea going over my head.  He even admits that the entire concept may feel out of reach and abstract (um…you think?).  He then likens it to being at one with nature.  This city girl will have to liken it to being at one with skyscrapers and shopping malls, but I’ll throw an avenue and boulevard in to make myself feel more worldly.  I could go on and on but I won’t.  It was too much for me.  It was the only meditation this week that I felt bordered on hooey. 

He did end on a great note telling the meditators to look for things that you love as inspiration whether it’s a quote, a poem or just a thought that inspires you.  He then reminds you that if you expand your awareness it’s as close as we’ll get to heaven on earth.  He inspires me so I’ll forgive him for a bit of a lackluster day.  If anyone else is doing the 21 day meditation experience, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  I know that I found helpful advice and wisdom in 6 out of 7 meditations so that’s a pretty good average.  I hope to concentrate on the relaxation benefits of meditation that Dr. Oz finds so useful.  I’ll be honest, I’m not feeling any difference just yet, but I still have 2 weeks to get the hang of my flow (I know that sounds vaguely menstrual, but it’s really not meant to).  

I’ll end, as always, on a note of gratitude.  I am grateful, for the process that I am going through even if it doesn’t seem to be working for me today.  It’s a growth experience. 

Gratefully yours,

Jill


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Day 6 – Om Sweet Om

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Look how cute that owl is – I bet he doesn’t have a problem with meditation.  His wisdom is probably within.  His mantra may be hoot hoot, but at least he has one.  I had some meditation issues again today.  It’s partly because I keep thinking about what I’m going to write in my blog, but as always, I do love the time with Oprah and Deepak.  Today’s meditation was all about finding wisdom, and wise little me was just as excited about finally getting to do the OM mantra that I had been expecting all along.  What a day!

Today, Oprah introduced instinct – her emotional GPS (sometimes it’s my emotional PMS) and the place where you can get all of your best answers if you can be still and listen.  You know that old expression – trust your instincts?  I think our lady O is on to something.  We depend so much on external factors and there is so much noise around us all of the time, that we don’t listen to our own little inside voices.  Sometimes, we know what that voice is saying is true and we ignore it, because even though we know internally, whether something is right or wrong, we often don’t want to even take our own advice.  Maybe I should have changed the pronoun to “I” instead of the collective “you” but someone out their must have ignored the good angel on their shoulder once or twice too – it’s not just me – right?

Finally, we got the the “OM” part of the meditation with Deepak.  He reminds us that wisdom and instinct lie beyond your logical intellect.  I’m going to have to Google that to see if it’s true.  Scratch that, I think DC may know what he’s talking about.  We can sense things, and they cannot always be explained.  It’s like when the hairs on the back of your neck stand up (if you don’t shave them) or when you know something is going to happen before it does.  We’ve all experienced that.  Deepak would like us to open ourselves up to intuition.  I think I will try this when I have to make a decision or am seeking advice on something.  I’ll ask myself the tough questions (again, in my inside voice) or listen when my instincts are telling me something. 

The meditation reminds us that we had an openness when we were children and this was the place where self-realization was born.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be open to at least trusting yourself? To accomplish this end goal, DC recommends that we pretend that we are watching the scene in front of us unfold like it is a movie.  You are not involved, but still engaged.  The idea is to step back and see life as your soul sees it, always giving you the guidance that you need without judgment or expectation.  So cool!  This is worth a try.  I still have a problem with stillness so I’m going to try sitting on the floor for tomorrow’s meditation – I just hope my feet don’t fall asleep – wish me luck.  I just want to at least try to stay in the moment and to not have peaked early in the process.  I want to experience the benefits of meditation that Dr. Oz is always telling us about.

Today, I was reading ‘Tis (the sequel to Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt) on the subway ride home and it went by in the blink of an eye.  I am grateful for the enjoyment that reading continues to bring to me.  If you have or want any good book recommendations just let me know.  Until tomorrow Namaste (I feel so hip when I say that) and I am…

Gratefully yours,

Jill


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Day Five – Express Yourself

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In the words of the immortal Madonna (the singer, not the religious one) – today’s topic was all about expressing yourself.  Keeping it real, the words were beautiful, but I really wasn’t in the mood to meditate today.  I did it, but I wasn’t at one with the universe.  I kept thinking about today’s mantra, Ham – I’m Jewish – is this an unkosher meditation?  I didn’t really – I just thought about hooked on phonics because Ham was really Hum.  I hope tomorrow’s mantra isn’t Bam because it will be Bum and my inner 3 year old will giggle all the way through this deep experience.  I’m just getting silly, but I am going to do the full 21 days or else!  Plus, Dr. Oz really believes in meditation.  Everyone has an off day – right?

Oprah began by reminding us that we are all here for a unique purpose.  We all have a calling (maybe – I’m still trying to figure out what my calling is – hellooooo!!!! Calling are you out there?).  She goes on to say that expressing ourselves is why we are here (I thought it was for the Boxing Day sales and chocolate).  Apparently, our life is whispering to us – I think I need a good old fashioned scream – and it is up to us to listen to, honour and share what it is that we are trying to express.  All lovely thoughts – I think it was all just lost on me today.

Deepak steps in for more inspiration and had some great points as he always does.   Deepak-C said that people are afraid of expression but it is a natural part of life.  It should be natural to express oneself.  If you hold back expressing yourself, you are missing out and your thoughts will be lost.  The most interesting thing that he mentioned was to take notice of how you feel when you do not express yourself through compliments, loving words or even criticism (for yourself or others).  He rightfully states that your throat tightens – it has happened to me.  It’s because the words are stuck there.  The solution (other than saying what’s on your mind) is to take a deep breath, relax and tap into the flowing energy of expression.  He wants us all to accept and honour ourselves for who we are.

The words are beautiful and the message is simple, yet potent.  It’s the hardest thing in the world sometimes to tell someone how you feel or what’s on your mind, but we have all had experiences where by holding something in, we’ve caused ourselves more harm than good.  I’m not suggesting verbal diarrhea, but sometimes clearing the air can strengthen, not weaken a bond.  Even being honest with yourself, which can be painful, can be a relief.  I’ve ended friendships, etc. without a word at times and I’m not proud of this.  I have also been honest with people about what has been bothering me and it’s saved relationships.  Expressing yourself doesn’t have to just be a confrontation, it can also be something that you find cathartic.  For me, it happens to be this blog.  I don’t think I’m necessarily the best writer in the world or will get my face splashed on Dr. Oz’s magazine, but I do think that it provides me with a means to explore better health, a supportive audience and the flow of expression that we all need.

Today, we have gorgeous weather and I had an outdoor shoot for a client.  I am grateful that the shoot went well, the talent was great, the client was happy, the sun was out and I got to be outside on the nicest day of 2014.  I am also grateful to my followers for reading my outlet for expression.

Gratefully yours,

Jill


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Day 4 – Falling in Love With Yourself

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Today’s (I’m 3 days behind – just a reminder) meditation was very much in the vein of the Whitney Houston song “The Greatest Love of All.”  In that song, Whitney croons that “…learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all”.  It felt like today’s meditation was inspired by that very lyric.  It was all about loving yourself.  Now, before you go an have a date with yourself somewhere romantic, buy yourself flowers and think about how since you’ve become comfortable with yourself, you’ve really let yourself go, that isn’t the entire point.  Oprah said at the beginning that there are two forces that exist – the first is the force of fear which can include actions of anger, self-doubt and jealousy.  The second, of course is love which brings joy, contentment and acceptance.

Deepak’s take was a little deeper, of course – thanks to Dr. Oz for the introduction.  The essence of his message, at least to me, was that loving yourself was the highest form of love and the one love that no one can take away from you.  At the source, love is supposed to be unconditional and that starts with you.  He said it much more eloquently –  “When we tap into the flow of love we no longer seek to fill an inner void by seeking love from others. We instead align with the ever-present reservoir of love that lives within. We move from seeking love to living love.” (from chopracentermeditation.com).  There is no denying that the man is brilliant.

In addition to loving oneself, he also recommends that you should treat yourself with the same respect as you would a guest in your home.  How many times have you said to someone, “I’m having a fat day” or “I’m having a bad hair day” or basically just dissed yourself in some way?  We are all guilty of not being kind to ourselves or holding ourselves to impossibly high standards that we may not ever be able to meet.  I think as part of this experiment, I’m going to try to be mindful over the next week of not being self-deprecating.  I think we all deserve a week where we are kind to ourselves.

In case you think that it’s all about memememememe, it’s not.  In a article on oprah.com, http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/Deepak-Chopra-The-5-Step-Path-to-a-Life-of-Love?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=day-04, Mr. Chopra states “The world is my family.  If love is universal, no one can be left out. To leave others out of your love is the same as inviting them to leave you out too.”  It’s a lovely thought.   I personally don’t judge people based on colour, creed, religion, emotional or physical limitations or sexual orientation.  I just have no patience for haters.  We live in such a sad time.  Children who are bullied nowadays have no escape – even in the supposed safety of their homes.  If you haven’t had the chance to watch the documentary “Bully” – you really should.  It’s really heartbreaking watching kids try to fit in even as their are being abused by the people that they do want to befriend.  Here is a link to the website to find out more http://www.thebullyproject.com.  We bully as adults as well – how many people gossip about others?  We are all guilty of it, but I’ve seen, firsthand, what happens when it gets out of hand.  It’s not pretty seeing mature adults acting that way. All you need to do though, is look at what happens both around the world and even in our own backyard to see more examples of bullying.   Places like the Ukraine, Uganda, Nigeria, Afganistan…and even North America – no matter  how civilized the country, there are bullies.

Today, I am grateful for learning a long time ago, that people should be judged based on the content of their character (to quote Martin Luther King Jr.) not on anything else.  I am grateful today to also learn, that is how I should judge myself.

Gratefully yours,

Jill

 


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Day 3 – I’ve Got the Power

 

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Courtesy of https://chopracentermeditation.com

There are very few things in life that one can be sure of or feel confident in.  One of things that I know for sure (to steal an Oprah-ism) is that no matter how tough things may get, I will get through it.  I’ve been through a lot in my short life, some of it is not my story to tell, so I won’t get into too many details.  One of things that you have to decide when writing a blog is how much you want to intrude on other people’s lives.  I choose not to, as much as possible.  My goal is to better myself, not to embarass someone else or spill anyone’s secrets. 

Today’s meditation is about finding power.  Oprah didn’t speak to me all that much in today’s introduction just went on about the power there is in every move we make, every breath you take, I’ll be watching you.  Oh sorry – that was The Police – I just love that song.  She did have one good line – we show our power in crisis when others need our support.  I know that this is one of my strengths – I’m good in a crisis – I know how to help someone get through a difficult time.  I’m not afraid of bad news and wouldn’t abandon someone in need.  We all go through highs and lows in life, and people that run from unpleasantness can’t really hide forever because there is no perfect life.

Deepak, on the other hand, did speak to me.  He started off today’s meditation with a fallacy – that we are never given more than we can handle.  He identified this as an expression of comfort and mentioned that sometimes we are faced with something so difficult that it seems impossible to get through.  He said at times like these, we need to understand that our strength is limited but we can tap into a greater energy source – the universe.  Meditation is a way to connect our mind, body and spirit to that power.  I know, I may have thought this was all hooey at one point or another in my life, but there is something, maybe it’s the knowledge or conviction that Chopra speaks with that really resonates with me.  I had fewer issues with today’s meditation.  I lay down on my bed so that I would fidget less and concentrate more. 

To use a metaphor, meditation to me is like snorkling.  Once I focused more on my breathing, it was easier to concentrate much like I do when I’m in the ocean.  I didn’t check the clock once and was surprised at how quickly it ended today even though it has taken the same amount of time every day.  My mind did wander, but all of what I was thinking about had to do with today’s meditation which is better to me than the two previous days when I was thinking about an itchy arm (didn’t happen today) or when the whole thing would be over.  I do feel more energized today as well.  Perhaps there is something to this practice?   Maybe that’s why they call it practicing meditation – it takes time to get the hang of it, and you may never be perfect.

According to doctoroz.com,  “The goal of meditation is not to have a blank mind but rather to focus your mind and slow down the multiple random thoughts that cause stress, confusion and overload. There are different practices you can try to keep your mind focused on the present moment as opposed to thinking ahead or reliving the past. Examples include counting while you inhale and exhale or using a mantra – a repetitive sound, word or phrase.”  This has all been a great comfort to me, along with Deepak Chopra himself saying that it is difficult to completely clear your mind. 

Today, I am grateful that I don’t have to the perfect meditator, but at least now I know that even if practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes for a more relaxed person. 

Gratefully yours,

Jill


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Day 2 and Cat Naps

Day2

Image courtesy of https://chopracentermeditation.com

Day 2 of 21 and I am feeling deeper by the second – self-help is my middle name.  Actually, I don’t have a middle name, but I don’t hold a grudge just because my first name is a 4-letter word.  At least it’s not a bad word like funk, darn, shot, or help (I warned you before that my blog was g-rated).  I digress, though – maybe being in touch with the higher version of myself makes me nervous?  I’ll take a deep, cleansing breath and continue…

Day 2 of my 21 Day Meditation Experience focused on finding happiness.  Interestingly enough, yesterday’s mantra was lam, today’s was yam (pronounced yum – maybe they should spell it phoenetically – just a suggestion Doprah).  I wonder if tomorrow’s will be dam (pronounced dum, but not an insult because that would be dumb).  Doprah’s goal is for us to all experience happiness all the time, but not just externally when something fantastic happens like when you buy the perfect purse, the perfect pair of shoes or are in Disney World (it really is the happiest place on earth).  It’s deeper than that (of course), it’s about knowing that while these feelings can come and go, inner happiness is what is important.  Oprah said it’s about relaxing in the certainty that your deepest desires are leading you to the deepest expression of yourself.

Deepak had some really great insights including that happiness is not about self-sacrifice (so take that martyrs) or denial – rather desire is natural and the desire for happiness is something that we all share (I’m paraphrasing).  Isn’t that interesting though?  How many times have you given up something or denied yourself something for the perceived greater good – and did it necessarily lead to any joy for you?  I’ve sacrificed and at times denied myself things (not purses) because I thought it was what was expected of me, and you know what?  I wasn’t any happier because of it.  Good life lesson isn’t it?

Meditation was a bit better for me today, but seriously, I wish it could be over in 5 minutes.  I got fidgety after about 7 minutes.  The mantra does help keep you centred, but I always get an itchy arm and that distracts me.  I also had to peak at the time and then let out a huge “Really?  There is still five minutes left – when will this end”?  It was better today though.  Yam, yam, yam….I’m not sure if I feel happier, but it does relax you.

Speaking of relaxation, I watched an episode of Dr. Oz today to keep up on my homework – it was all about are you tired of being tired?  His solution?  Napping at least 2 times a week for ten minutes.  This apparently can help cure exhaustion.  Ten minutes is optimal because it allows you to get up easily and feel refreshed.  If you sleep for an hour, you are getting into deeper sleep and that will make you feel more groggy.  It’s almost better to sleep 90 minutes than an hour because you are not sleeping as deeply at that point but it will affect your sleep at night.  They even suggest sleeping in a chair with a pen in your hand to keep it at the desired amount of time – the pen will fall out of your hand at about 15 minutes waking you up.  My biggest challenge?  It takes me a long time to fall asleep, but it’s worth a try – maybe not at work though – I may get some strange looks.

Totally off topic, but it struck a chord with me, Dr. Oz also spoke of the dangers of aspartame-sweetened diet sodas.  May is my two year anniversary of kicking the Diet Coke habit for good – and this may help me prevent a heart attack according to the show.  Dr. Oz has a 4 week challenge to cut soda (or pop in Canada) out of your life http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/28-day-national-soda-challenge.  I didn’t quit Diet Coke because I was worried about the health affect, I quit as a challenge to myself, but I thought I would go back to drinking it.  The best way for this addict (I have enjoyed the beverage since I was 12 years old) to quit was by phasing it out over a week.  I cut it down to one can a day from two and the next week I was at the Biggest Loser Resort and there was no access to my own brand of crack (sorry Rob Ford).  I thought I would have a DC in 13 weeks, and it just tasted horrible.  You really have to tough it out, but after 13 weeks and trying the forbidden fruit, I just didn’t want it anymore.  It can be done – you just have to really want to do it.

Now that I’ve probably made you need to nap, I shall depart with a moment of gratitude.  Today, I woke up thinking it was Saturday – lovely but it’s Friday!!! All day!  So I still have 2 more weekend days left.  Yippeee!  Now that’s happiness.

Gratefully and happily yours,

Jill