Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One


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Sleepy-Time Stress

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Keeping one eye on the time…

I admit it – I’m a clock watcher and always need to know the time.  It’s productive during the day, so that I can get to meetings on time or meet people pretty close to the time we agreed on, but when you have insomnia, clock watching is just plain stressful.  You think you are the only one awake, in the world, and it’s a very lonely place to be.  I was reading an article in “Dr. Oz – The Good Life” and was a little disappointed.  Not because the article wasn’t well written and totally useful, but the cover tease was “Turn Off Stress So You Can Sleep-Pill Free”.  That is right up my alley – I hate taking sleeping pills, and not sleeping is a huge cause of stress.  When I eagerly flipped to the article, it was all about women who can’t get back to sleep…not my issue at all.  When I do have insomnia, it’s because I can’t fall asleep.  If I fall asleep, and wake up in the middle of the night, I can always fall back into la-la land – after I check the clock of course.

When I first started blogging, in January 2014, my first topic was all about insomnia.  In general, I do sleep better than I did a year ago.  Here are a few things that I think have helped:

-Eating more nuts – for real – I still eat two brazil nuts a day for the selenium and I eat almonds and walnuts every day.  Think I’m nuts?  It seems to work

-I’ve learned, the hard way, that as soon as I get an inkling that I’m about to fall asleep on the couch, I have to get up and go to bed – immediately.  If I fall asleep, for even 5 little minutes, my shut eye pattern is off, and I find it impossible to sleep

-A cool room helps – really, but freezing cold isn’t great.  Once I’m that cold, no matter what I do, I can’t warm up

-Dr. Oz’s sleep experts say you shouldn’t check the time, but I have to, and it helps me fall back to sleep knowing that I still have a couple of hours that I can get in

-There are times, when I just can’t sleep, that I do get out of bed and walk around, watch TV or read, just to get out of my room

Here are some new recommendations from “Dr. Oz – The Good Life: Your Fall-Back-Asleep Prescription (page 108):

1. Do some belly-breathing – I know I’ll never do this on my own, but I am doing Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey’s latest 21 Day Meditation Challenge, and I can always do one of the meditations to get in some deep breathing.  I still can’t do the meditating part properly, but I do deep breathe when I listen to D-OPRAH’s latest

2. Get Out of Bed – see above

3. Note and release your worries – this is a great idea – I’ll try this one.  Sometimes, I may have to type it into Outlook, so that I know that I have time set aside for the tasks, but I think knowing you have your “to-do’s” listed somewhere is comforting, at least to me

4. Take a mental stroll – you are supposed to visualize places that bring you peace – I’ll try it, not sure if I buy it, but it’s worth the effort

5. Listen to something calming – This works – I know you aren’t supposed to have iPads in your room, but I listen to podcasts and they put me to sleep and yes, I am admitting this here, Reality Steve’s (Bachelor Spoiler extraordinaire) Live Video Chats are a must listen an my own brand of Nytol – I fall asleep every Thursday listening to them.  I don’t watch unless he is talking to his dog Maddie – which is cute and priceless.  He’s never boring, but there is something soothing about the way he speaks.  Whatever works right?

6. Call in the pros – AKA see your Dr.

Today was a pretty good day with a lot to be grateful for – I’m off this week from work, I got to see my niece and I got to speak to the Shoe (not her real name, but a really close friend).  Not too bad – and no stress : )


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The Stress of Blogging…And Other Stuff

I don’t think that blogging is all that stressful. In fact, I enjoy writing my blog.  I rarely get writer’s block.  Researching, checking out videos and other Oz-worthy information is a little stressful though, but not enough to add to inflammation in my potentially riddled body.  The only real stress is finding the time to blog…and the lack of really great recent Gwyneth Paltrow quotes.  I do have faith though, that I will always find the time to write and that Gwynnie will say something really dumb….soon.  I have to give her props for the Jailbird Cake in response to Martha Stewart’s own nastiness – there is nothing more stinging than a WASP feud (pun intended).  Check out the linkhttp://goop.com/recipes/sweets/jailbird-cake.  I personally will not be making this cake – it calls for a mix master and I don’t own one.  I’ve been banned from using the mixer at my mother’s house ever since the gingerbread man incident of 2008.  Talk about stress!  It was my first time using a mix master since I was a wee one and it was a bit of a disaster that resulted in a set of broken beaters and a warning never to touch my mother’s kitchen equipment again.  Since then, she has relented and lets me use the kettle and the dishwasher.  I’ve also been upgraded to stove top usage since I’m the only person in the family who can make a good pot of rice, but every time I even think about getting close the the mecca that is the mixer, I’m given a stern warning that it has to last the rest of my mother’s life and that she is down to her last set of beaters thanks to me.  OOOPS….sorry!

Getting back to the stress of blogging, most days, I barely have time to answer my work emails.  I’ve stopped answering most emails from friends just due to lack of time – sorry friends!  I still do get joy from writing my little blog so I do try to make an effort where I can.  Bizarre fact – last week, when I blogged just once, I had more views than almost any other week.  Another interesting fact if you do blog, and I’m not sure that this happens to everyone – I get WAAAAYYYY more views on weekdays than on weekends which is the best time for me to write.  Lesson – just get it over with during the week and party on during the weekends.  When I write about travel, I also get more followers…interesting….I love travel and could write about it every single day.

In terms of stress relief, my daily Deepak Chopra/Oprah 21 Day Meditation Experience is going off just as expected – I listen raptly as DOprah speaks and as soon as it’s time to meditate, I lose it.  Fortunately, Deepak always assures me that the goal isn’t perfection.  I’m sad that it’s winding up but to tide me over, I’m reading Chopra’s “The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire”.  It makes me feel deep that I’m reading it!  It’s actually really well written – it’s all about the role of coincidence in your life.  Ever read the bore that is “The Celestine Prophecy”?  That book lost me after chapter one which was the only good chapter in the whole book.  It was all about coincidence (just that chapter) – I blocked out the rest of the book since it qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.  Chopra’s book on the other hand, is all about coincidence – it’s the central theme – with some quantum physics to make you feel especially smart.  He explains everything so well, it doesn’t even lose me when he starts talking about molecules and atoms – check it out if you are interested in the topic.  You won’t be disappointed unless you only like horror and chick-lit – then you are out of luck.

Last but not least, a moment of gratitude.  Today I am grateful to my over 70 year old mother (I’m not going to share her full age – that’s a not very carefully guarded secret).  My poor little mother who has health issues of her own, got up and offered a heavily pregnant woman a seat on Toronto’s subway.  I sat comfortably watching this, thinking – YAY Mom!  Give up your seat instead of me…just kidding – I wasn’t even there.  I just can’t believe that people today let my mother give up her seat while they sat there.  It’s common courtesy to give up your seat for an elder, a pregnant woman, someone that is blind, uses a cane, is in a walker, etc.  I see people everyday pretend to be asleep or lost in their book so that they can stay comfy.  All I have to say is shame on you!  Let’s be a little kinder to one another, and offer someone who needs to rest a place to do it and not make someone who isn’t old at all (like my Mummy) but who may be more advanced in years than you, give up hers.


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Stupid Stress Followed By Calm and Serenity

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Doesn’t this look serene? I took this in Norway…

Remember the book  “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff?  It made me sweat the small stuff…a lot…Why you ask?  Or you don’t, but I’m going to answer anyway – because I am the type of person who can cope with pressure when it’s big but when it’s small, that’s when I start feeling stress.  Everyone copes differently, so here is my top ten list of REALLY STUPID THINGS that cause me stress and how I’m going to cope with them:

  1. Sitting on a seat that’s really warm on the subway – and I mean really warm.  I’ll cope by reminding myself that people spend thousands of dollars to put bum warmers in their cars and this is a special gift for me to get it for free.  I’ll also tell myself (in my inside voice) that it wasn’t a smelly person who sat there before me and they definitely didn’t have bum sweat.
  2. Getting stuck on the subway.  I can’t really do anything about it – it’s beyond my control, so I’ll do what I always do, pull out my book and enjoy the mini-break from work.
  3. The fact that the best show on TV, “The Mindy Project”, may face cancellation.  I’ve already told everyone I know to watch the show, I blog about it and bring it up in casual conversation where I can.  There really is nothing else that I can do but wait for the ax to fall and enjoy it while it lasts.
  4. Winter in general and being cold in particular.  It’s going to happen, whether I like it or not.  I have a really warm jacket and dress for the weather, so I’ll have to just accept it.  I also have to accept that it’s November, and all hopes of 20+ degree weather are gone.
  5. Cooking.  Although I am much better than I used to be having mastered the art of the stir fry and a couple of pasta dishes that I don’t really eat anymore, I have to stop getting intimidated by fancy terms.  By the way – did you know that “reserve” means to set aside?  I bet everyone knew that but me – you are all so much smarter, better people and much wiser!  There I go stressing again.
  6. The fact that there are at least 14 country songs that I know and like (mostly Lady Antebellum.  It doesn’t make me a Hee Haw Honey – it makes me open minded when it comes to music.  Just don’t tell anyone that I like it – ok?
  7. My fear of bugs.  I’m never going to deal with it, so I just embrace the fear and enjoy the entertainment it provides to people.
  8. The fact that Google can track my every move online.  I’ve just come to accept it.  Facebook does the same thing.  I always wonder how The Huffington Post always posts doggie pics and deeply touching animal stories on my newsfeed – well, I get it now.
  9. The fact that every day, I gain and lost almost an equal number of Twitter followers.  I don’t love Twitter anyway – somehow, I’ll cope.
  10. All of the things that I have to do in life.  I still have half a lifetime to finish them – so maybe I should just stop stressing?

So, what am I doing this month to help ease the stress of these and other pressures?  I’ve signed up for another Deepk Chopra/Oprah 21 Day Meditation Experience – it’s free so try it yourself https://chopracentermeditation.com.  Dr. Oz is a big believer in meditation which I may have mentioned about 21 times!  I’m also going to scour his website to find other solutions to de-stress myself and embrace a semi-relaxed new me (likely not going to happen, but worth a try).

Today, I’m grateful for November – I’ve never loved October and am so happy to see a new page on the calendar.


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Some House Keeping – Literally ; Accepting the New And Ice Bucket Challenges

The death of a laptop is never an easy thing to digest.  Like grief, there are 7 steps:

  • Denial – how can it completely die?  If I press the button ten times in a row, surely it will come on…
  • Pain and guilt – Wow, this is going to hurt my wallet – what a pain.  I feel such guilt over the clothes that I bought after just investing in a laptop.
  • Anger and bargaining – Stupid laptop – why did you have to die on me?  I’ll never leave you uncharged again if you come back to life.
  • Depression, reflection and loneliness – I’m so sad I had to pay for a new lap top.  It’s so expensive.  Reflecting on it made me realize that my iPad just isn’t enough.  I feel so lonely for my old computer – knowing how to copy and paste was so nice!
  • The upward turn – but wait – this isn’t so bad – the MacBook Pro has so many great features, and it’s really user friendly and I feel cooler saying that I use a Mac instead of an HP.  Really, how many people do you hear saying “I’m an HP girl…I love my HP…”
  • Reconstruction and working through – wait – oh that’s where my pictures went…the data transfer wasn’t a big fail.  
  • Acceptance and hope – I accept that this lap top is a step up – and so pretty!  I hope that it lasts for at least 5 years1

So – I’m loving the transition and learning a new operating system.  Plus, the meditation that I’ve been doing on Dr. Oz’s advice has helped me accept the inevitability of computer death.  I’m so happy that I only have 3 meditations left and my 21 day experience is over.  Meditation is wrought with pressure for me as much as I love Doprah.  I’ll do the next one when it comes up, but I don’t think I’ll ever get the hang of turning my brain off and I’m ok with that.

The next order of business is a report on my decluttering.  Here is the tally from last weekend:

Garbage:

  • 1 set of sheets (is that one item or two?)
  • 1 pair of shoes – beyond repair
  • TOTAL – 2 ITEMS

Donate:

  • 4 pairs of shoes
  • 2 skirts
  • 1 blouse
  • 1 robe
  • 1 dress
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 1 top
  • 4 sweaters
  • 1 faux fur shrug
  • TOTAL 17 ITEMS
  • GRAND TOTAL – 19 items

I still have half of a closet and 7 drawers to go through before I finish my clothing.  Two more weeks and hopefully, I can continue on with other decluttering.

Last, but not least, inspired by Dr. Oz’s fearlessness and the value of a worthy cause, I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Check out the link below.  Before you naysayers say how ridiculous the whole challenge is, please remember that ALS was not on the tip of everyone’s tongue before this social media phenomena.  It gives the spotlight to a really terrible disease that is badly in need of some help.  If it takes dumping a bucket of water on my head to help, I’m game.  Remember, cancer, heart disease and diabetes affect millions more people, but you can survive and live a long life if you, heaven forbid, are diagnosed with one of these diseases.  ALS is another story and I’m happy that this viral campaign made it top of mind for a moment in time.  

Today, like many people, I’m deeply saddened by the death of Joan Rivers.  I grew up watching her and was a fan of “The Fashion Police”.  She had chutzpah – having the guts to say what many of us thought.  I really thought she was going to live forever.  I’m grateful, today, for the laughs that she gave me over the years.  

Gratefully and a bit mistily yours,

Jill


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Day 21: Expressing The End

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Image courtesy of chopracentermeditation.com

It’s finally here, my last blog on meditation.  Thank you for sticking with me through it.  I was getting grumbles from some of my readers –  they were getting bored with this, but when I committed to 21 days, I had to see the whole process through and this blog was my way of doing that.  As I mentioned, I think meditation is fine and that I’ll enjoy it more without the added pressure of writing about it.  I think the only way that it can work for me is through guided meditation.  I need some sort of structure, otherwise, I’ll just be sitting there wondering if I’m doing it correctly.  I can’t say that it’s something that I’ll do every day, but I do understand now, why Dr. Oz recommends it and after I finish writing this entry, I am going to go and peruse Deepak Chopra’s meditation library and buy myself a little something special.  Now onto the final words for this, the 21st day!

I’m going to skip most of Oprah’s remarks, although they are inspirational, it’s a case of been there, written about that.  To end though, she reminded us that although we’ve completed one cycle, we will begin again.  You can say that again Lady O – I’m beginning a whole new 21 day meditation and it’s great because I’ll be able to go back and concentrate on the ones that I liked  best.  Consumerism lives even in spirituality.  

Deepak starts the last meditation with a statement that we step into living our vision as we align with the light that is focused on the seven chakras.  A month ago, if someone said this to me, I’d likely laugh at them, by the end of the three weeks, I was buying everything that Chopra was selling me.  He let us in on another spiritual secret which encourages you to be the source of light in your life.  It’s like that old song, “You Light Up My Life” by Debbie Boone with a twist making it “I Light Up My Life”.  So when you are sitting by the window waiting for someone to sing you their song, get up, go to the mirror and sing it to yourself sister (or brother).  Anyway, DC believes that the most important lesson for us to learn is that spiritual awakening is natural.  The process is similar to waking up in the morning and opening your eyes to the light, only here we have been opening our inner sight to the light of consciousness.  I know, I know – a little abstract.  Maybe part of this whole process is realizing that there are no easy answers?  Just a little something to meditate on – and by that I mean you, not me!

Back to rolling in the Deep-ak.  Our light expresses our personal vision.  We all have dreams to fulfill (otherwise our lives would be pretty dull).  For spirituality to be valid, it must be useful in bringing fulfillment.  Well, there goes that purse that I dreamed of – but purses are useful and bring me fulfillment.  Could this be what he is talking about?  Hello Chloe if he is!  Nope – he’s talking about truths that will lie dormant and asleep – foiled again.  The fulfillment of our dreams is meant to be activated by the seven chakras and as we activate them, we are focused on seven levels of fulfillment.  The highest state of fulfillment arrives when you are fully connected to the internet (just checking to see if you were paying attention).  It actually arrives when you are fully connected to the light of being oneself.  

We are supposed to offer ourselves a simple reminder of the light that we share with others. We should smile with our hearts and let our true selves shine through our eyes.  A few words offered with kindness is another way to let your light radiate – isn’t that lovely?  Another way is going inward when you are feeling good and saying silently to yourself “I am enough”.  If that isn’t self-affirmation, I don’t know what is.  It’s simple and true, but it’s easy to believe on some days rather than others.  When I experience disappointment, I never feel that way but maybe it’s because I didn’t think of those three little words.  DC goes on to say that if you radiate the light of your own being, nothing more can be asked of you.  It may take a journey to find your true self because of past conditioning or other obstacles that cloud our inner vision.  All of these things can be overcome.  DC suggests that meditation is the way to do this since it allows you to find your inner vision and use it in daily life. Today, even though I’m not 100% on everything that I learned over the past month, I can say that I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in this experience.  I am grateful to you for bearing with me too.  I promised you awhile ago, that I would share my very favourite poem with you – I think it sums up, in a very non-abstract way, the point of this whole exercise.  It’s called Desiderata and if you aren’t familiar with it, please enjoy:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927


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Day 19: You Being You, Me Being Me – Expressing Yourself

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Image courtesy of chopracentermeditation.com

This meditation was all about basking in your glory.  I often lie on my “what will become of me couch”, mirror in hand and look at my reflection with a muted “Hello Gorgeous” coming from my lips.  It’s so hard being perfect.  Actually that’s another meditation experience, I got a little confused.  It happens when I get side tracked by a mirror.  Damn you Dr. Oz, your “You Being Beautiful” book made me so lovely, that I can’t even concentrate.  I don’t think my ridiculousness is what Oprah and Deepak had in mind for this experience.  I’ll get back to be serious.

Oprah starts off with a lovely quote from her favourite poet.  I too. have a favourite poet – his name is Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran and if you think that their music isn’t poetry – keep this in mind – some of the lyrics rhyme!  Well, here is what you doubters get to hear from the Divine Ms. O’s library, ” Playing small doesn’t save the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence liberates others.  Now is our time to give voice to our truths, our creativity and our unique purpose.”  How inspiring is that?  This makes up for a very few disappointing days where I didn’t relate to the topic or the meditation.  Thank you Oprah – this was one of the defining moments for me.  Basically, if you really need this translated, never be less than you are to please other people.  Don’t play dumb – being smart can inspire others.  This isn’t all that I got out of this quote, but part of this process is having your own thoughts and feelings about what you have learned.  

Deepak had a hard act to follow today, but he didn’t disappoint me either.  I always knew, by the play of jingly wind chimes when he was about to come on.  He reminded the avid listeners, like me, that your being is the greatest gift that you have to give.  Just remember that at birthdays or the holidays – no more presents to buy – EVER!   This is when he gets into basking in your glory:  “Being is silent, but when you express who you are, your being flows out into the world, then others can bask in your personal expression and feel inspired to find their own way of expressing themselves.”  OK – I get it – you are supposed to inspire others, kind of like those chain emails that we get from time to time that we are supposed to pass along to others or suffer x days of bad luck.  The biggest difference is that we are supposed to gain inspiration too.  Isn’t it nice when things are not abstract?  

Here is a warning to parents out there – everything that you say to your children stays with them good and bad.  If you tell one child that they are perfect and wonderful, they will believe it but if you tell another child that they are problem or a source of worry or even that they will never measure up, that will stay with them too.  I had a nice balance when I was growing up – my mother always told me that I was as good as gold (except when I wasn’t), but sometimes, there isn’t a trickle down effect to each of your parents.  I had some self-esteem issues that at one point, I can’t continue to blame my father for, but I can tell you from experience that words sting.  I always try to be sensitive to children, particularly, my own adult niece and nephew, so that they know, even when they are having a bad day, that they have a big fan in me.  No one is perfect, and we are all guilty of being a word that rhymes with witchy from time to time, but this was a nice reminder that kindness helps and heals.  I know that DC is right that when he says after hearing certain things your whole life, that when you finally discover who you really are (sorry if you are in your 20’s, you won’t know it until your 30’s or even 40’s) that it may come as a shock.  

Deepak believes that a shock can come from the idea that their true self is wise, creative, loving and universal may sound unbelievable but it’s true for many of us, except for the odd jerk – hello kids at a York Region high school that beat up a classmate because he happens to be a different colour.  SHAME ON YOU for being bullies. Anyone who is racist, sexist, homophobic or just plain mean, I can’t hold out a lot of hope for.  People can be redeemed, I’m sure of that, but you have to really want to be.  Going back to the great man himself, he states that to be human is a statement of potential to be awakened mainly because no one can be who you are.  Self-expression is as important as breathing and it happens when we don’t judge or restrict this flow of the self.  Basically, love yourself and be who you are and be kind to yourself so that you can be kind to others.

He would like us to encourage others to be themselves and do this by thinking of a time when you wanted to say something, but your inside voice said that you would sound silly or that no one wants to hear what you have to say.  This is the voice of self-judgment.  DC doesn’t want us to be held back by our own issues and we can do this when self-expression comes more easily.  it can also come when we encourage someone else to speak and express themselves.  You are giving that person a gift and as you give, you will receive.  This meditation was one of my favourites and I was struck by the truth in what both Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra said.  

Today, I am grateful that I got the chance to review this meditation again, since it was so profound.  I am also grateful that I get to see one of my former interviewees for this blog, and a favourite cousin tonight – I’m really looking forward to seeing her (and you too AK)!

Gratefully yours,

Jill


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Day 18: Expressing Like – I Mean Love

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Image courtesy of chopracentermeditation.com

I completed the 21 Day Experience on Wednesday evening – and then, they come out with a bonus meditation *sigh*.  It won’t be part of my blog, but in the interest of doing this experience from start to finish I will do it tonight.  Not to spoil the 21st day entry, but Deepak really ended things on a high note so stay tuned for some great words of wisdom with a few meditations that has small moments of inspiration in between.  So getting back to love making the world go round, I mean expressing love!  The most interesting thing about this meditation was the mantra – Om aHa.  Do Deepak and Oprah have homes in Nebraska?  Is Omaha the new yoga and spiritual centre?  To all of my US readers, nice shout out if you are from the state giving us Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.  Maybe I’m wrong – maybe this was an Oprah licensing thing – she did give us the AHA moment didn’t she?  Maybe she asked Deepak to create a special mantra for her disciples and created the OM-AHA moment?

Moving away from some of my silliness, even though it pains me, Oprah begins by letting us know that when we express ourselves from a centered place of love, miracles happen.  The love that we feel could be the predominant energy that rules the world – just like the Tears for Fears song – “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”  (Jill is saying this part, not Oprah in case you hadn’t guessed).  When we expand our awareness and embrace that which we come from and are love, the universe flows through us, we transform the world in the most natural and wondrous of ways.  This is where my mind starts to wander – when they ideas get a little too out there for me with the flowing energy and the whole world transforming because of little old me.  I think that we can impact some lives, and we need to be kinder and more compassionate, and through that we can change our small part of the world.  We can also be more open to expressing opinions about what is bothering us in the world so that people everywhere know that they are accountable or not forgotten, like the tragedy happening in Nigeria right now.  Just putting it out there, girls are not commodities – they are people and deserve the right to education, security and love, not to be sold into slavery by ridiculous little men who create a new religion to justify their actions (what they are preaching isn’t part of any religion that I know of).  I could go on and on, but I won’t – since this is a health and lifestyle blog.

Getting back to Deepak – he lets us know that fulfillment of the heart chakra elevates all hearts connected to it.  We, tend to limit love to just those people immediately around us (family, friends, etc.).  Deepak Chopra wants us to love the world (I’ll love it with some exceptions – hello bad people, I’m talking to you).  The concept kept getting more abstract, which if you have been following along on my path to meditation, just doesn’t work for me.  He then concludes that we limit ourselves because it is socially acceptable to love our families but not humanity.   Well, sort of, it’s just harder for me to love those people that I don’t have any connection to, but I can feel compassion as I’ve noted above.  AH – he means compassion in the same way that we mean love  – gotcha DC.  This compassion will help us change differences between ourselves and others and unite us in a common goal.  Nice!

Every day, he would like us to make a connection with love beginning in silence – hmmm a woman trying to be silent – don’t you know us at all?  When you experience a positive emotion, he would like us to say to ourselves that this is love flowing from my true self.  I’ll just say, “Oh Happy Day” if you don’t mind.  It can be anything that makes you feel happy like enjoying a sunny day, seeing a puppy tugging it’s owner along, getting to another level in Candy Crush or just watching “The Mindy Project” – whatever brings you that contentment.  Any positive feeling can be traced to love.  Deepak says that you can say “I am love” and know that it’s true and learn to transform small moments along the way.  I think he means make small transformations as a result of this joy that you feel and this will have a positive impact not just on you, but those around you.  This meditation had some bad moments, but overall, when you preach love and compassion, how bad is that?

Today was beautiful.  The weather was warm, and even with the rain, it was still nice.  I’m also grateful that I got to enjoy a good laugh with my massage therapist who always makes me feel better.  I saw my dear friend tonight who spotted Vionic shoes when we were shopping.  They actually are helping with the nasty pain that I’ve been feeling, so I’m totally grateful for that as well.  AND IT”S THE WEEKEND.  Another day, another boatload of gratitude.

Gratefully yours,

Jill

 


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Day 17: I Radiate Support (For The Mindy Project)

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Image courtesy of chopracentermeditation.com

I love The Mindy Project.  I feel like I’m Mindy Lahiri (the character Mindy Kaling plays).  If you don’t believe me, ask the one bestie that I have that watches the show – we bbm each other the same lines at the same time when we watch because we have the same sense of humour.  I’m exactly like Mindy, well, maybe a couple of obvious differences, but she is my sister from another mister.  I hate spiders and squeal like a girl when I see them.  I have utterly ridiculous things happen to me constantly, I am an OBGYN – ok I work in a sales and marketing role for a media company that carries The Mindy Project, close enough.  I like Rom Coms and the Empire State Building and pop culture.  Sigh…if you don’t watch the show, you really should, in fact stop reading this blog right now and move on to something way more important than my latest meditation.  It was the most satisfying season finale ever. Go on – get watching…

For those rebellious sorts who decided to read this whole entry, I was not inspired by this meditation.  Sure, I’ll still tell you about it, but more out of a sense of obligation than the usual joy that I feel.  It was all about being able to surrender to find your flow.  Been there, surrendered that.  Yah, yah, I’m a beacon of light.  Deepak believes that awakening any chakra brings more power and strength.  This, the third chakra, is like a core of support that knits together the mental, emotional and spiritual strength.  Apparently, you need all three to overcome obstacles and reach the goals in life that matter to you.  You also need courage, confidence, self-reliance, stamina and persistence.  Ok, true enough Deepak – this wasn’t a total waste of 20 minutes of my life (when you are in your forties, every second that you waste counts).

He goes on to explain that the greatest power comes from surrender.  It is a mysterious process because you don’t have to be passive or give up anything.  You are basically supposed to hand a problem over to a power greater than your limited physical and mental powers.  Nice idea – not sure how feasible it is though.  He then went on a long tangent that really didn’t interest me all that much.

To close, DC asked us to notice whenever an obstacle is removed or things unexpectedly go well.  He believes that by noticing when support arrives unexpectedly, you are keeping your connection to this chakra otherwise known as your power centre.  You know I love Deepak Chopra – I just found a lot of this wasn’t really something that resonated with me.  In meditation, as in life, you win some, you lose some at least I’ll be back to Oz-ing soon and will continue to try meditation when these 21 day experiences come up.

Fear not, though, I still have much to be grateful for.  Along with a spectacular episode of The Mindy Project, I had an eye doctor appointment.  I’m grateful that I have been taking care of the business of my health.  I am also grateful that I still don’t need glasses.  Life is good and I am…

Gratefully yours,

Jill


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Day 16: Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

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Image courtesy of chopracentermeditation.com

I’m happy for the most part.  I have bad days like everyone else and sometimes I have things going on in my life that make me really sad, but even at the worst of times, I know, even if I don’t admit it to people, that things will turn out fine.  Maybe, in the words of Oprah, I embrace being the source of my happiness, even if it was activated through this meditation.  What she knows for sure is “…that each of us is responsible for the energy that we bring to any moment…the more that we give, the more that we receive.  Choose to express happiness and it will multiply within and around you.”  So freaking true.  We all know what it’s like being around a cheery person – you want to throttle them!  No actually, it can be infectious.  When your friend smiles at you or a baby or even a puppy wags his tail at you, you melt.  OK, I melt, especially with the puppy.  Who doesn’t love dogs?  I like being EFFUSIVE when I am in a good mood, and I’m more distant and introspective when I’m not and I know that it has an effect on people around me.

You aren’t hear to hear my ramblings, you are here to read the wisdom of the deep man himself – DEEPAK!  He believes that we cannot achieve well-bring without happiness.  Dr. Oz, would most likely, agree.  You can have all of the fancy purses and shoes that you want (those are my vices), but the trappings of a happy life are no substitute for being our own source of happiness.  DC thinks that when we express happiness that we change the world.  I think that’s a little ambitious – maybe just a work pod, subway car or household – that sounds a little more reasonable, at least to me.  I do agree that when we radiate happiness, that it can become viral.  People respond to smiles and kindness. Deepak says it in such a lovely way (I love the word lovely in case you haven’t noticed) – he believes that it is nourishing to be around someone who radiates contentment.  

It gets better, if you can believe it.  People who radiate happiness give everything while losing nothing.  They have a generosity of spirit.  All you need to do is participate and show people who you are.  If you are a misery, don’t bother showing it though – it will ruin the whole feel-good experience.  To put yourself in the moment, you are supposed to remember a time when you unexpectedly received some good news.  This was like the time that I won the football pool at work and if you knew me, you’d know how truly unexpected that was.  To me, football is about a lot of big men knocking one another over without saying sorry.  When you receive good news though, it puts you in a good mood and you feel more generous just like DC says!  His advice for the day includes accompanying our words with a smile – the more you give, the more your happiness increases.  Very true. I loved this meditation, it felt short and sweet and relatively hooey-less.

Speaking of happiness, today, I am grateful and happy that I got to hang out with my dear friend BF.  We laughed, we cried, we generated happiness, we laid an egg.  Well, maybe the egg part is an exaggeration, and I just cried because when I was walking to meet her, I noticed a bug flying near me, but it was a delightful evening in the company of an old friend.  I’m off to meditate so until tomorrow, I am…

Gratefully yours,

Jill


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Contemplating Day 15 – The Beginning of the End

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Image courtesy of chopracentermeditation.com

The final week of meditation takes us from activating to expressing each one of the chakras.  That was the deepest line that I’ve ever written!!!  I feel so, so, so….spiritual and chak-deli-cious!  Oh sorry, I thought I was activating expression, it was really activating security.  Loved this one – mostly because I could easily pronounce the mantra using my inside voice like I was supposed to.  This week is supposed to be about transforming flow and expanding it to it’s fullest. 

Oprah ends her usual introduction with a beautiful line, “…we will light up in the fullness of who we all are and who we were meant to be.  Then, we will uplift ourselves and everyone else around us in a shared spiritual exchange.”  I was pretty lit up with fullness last night, but it may have been the fantastic Middle-Eastern dinner I ate.  As much as I like Oprah, she is literally the flight attendant of the meditation welcoming us aboard and introducing us to the pilot…

Deepak Chopra who reminded us with this meditation that our real contribution to the world is who we are inside not what wedo outside.  We affect others, everyday, with the energy that we radiate and he goes on to explain that the best effect that you can have is to radiate the energies of all 7 chakras beginning with inner peace and security.  It’s so true – you can be having the best day ever, and one Debbie Downer or Glum Gladys can put an end to your happy moment, if you let it.  Back to more meditative thoughts…This week is supposed to make these qualities “part of your well-being, bringing a sense of fulfillment that we can depend on and feel.”  Nice thought – and I think if you really try to make meditation part of your day, everyday, it can promote the sense of well-being that Dr. Oz spoke about (and Deepak and Oprah – but ultimately, this is a Dr. Oz blog).

We touched a little on self-awareness in other meditations.  DC reinforces this by stating that those who are self-aware, share their being with everyone and everything around them (kind of like Mary Tyler Moore turning the world on with her smile).  We can all create an atmosphere of positivity or negativity, but usually we do a little of each, kind of like a happy/sad buffet of feelings.  Another truth that Deepak imparts is that we choose the kind of energy that we radiate.  Although ladies, if you have ever suffered from PMS, sometimes, we don’t have a lot of choice – just saying.

We all deserve the feelings of energy, peace and basic fulfillment that the first chakra gives us (DC’s words, not mine).  You must be secure in yourself and a grounding influence to others.  It is possible to do this – as I mentioned, inner security comes as you age – when you realize that you no longer have to impress people but it can also bring you a wisdom that can be helpful to those people in your life who may need you at specific times for specific reasons (I know, self-helpy – but I was inspired).  Deepak ends with a reminder to take time and go within to centre yourself.  We are radiating not just energy, but who we are.  If we radiate peace and security, we are giving others a great gift.  Sigh – he is so lovely.  I wish we could be like that all the time, but I think that we all have to just aim to do our best and this goes back to the mindfulness that I’ve talked about before.

Speaking of the best, today, I am grateful that I got to spend some time with my sister and our one of our besties – AK planning the details of an exciting trip we are taking.  More about that when I don’t have to be rolling in the deep.

Gratefully yours,

Jill