Stand up straight, legs slightly more than hip’s width apart, hands on hips. This Wonder Woman pose is so powerful that if you do this for 5 minutes, it not only boosts your confidence but has been found to boost the confidence others have in your for as long as 3 hours later. I read about this in the book Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. I’ve been giving it a try for the last week, and I have to say I’ve seen a drastic difference in myself and others. Give it a try. Let me know what you find.
“Some women are lost in the fire. Some are built from it.” ~Michelle K.
Life can tear you down or it can build you up. Good times. Bad times. Joyful times. Sad times. Lately, it feel like the world is full of grief. I’ve had a number of moments of deep despair in the past few months. The kind of despair that wakes me up in the middle of the night, right out of a sound sleep. And despite that sadness, here’s what I know to be true: we will survive. It will be trying, frustrating, and painful. There will be times when we just won’t know how we’ll be able to get through this. Here’s my promise to myself, to you, and to the people who need us to be strong: when the tough times strike, I will remember that we are not paper but rather we are clay that is made shiny, brilliant, and beautiful by the fire that surrounds us. Hold that image in your mind and your heart, and don’t let go.
I’m sitting in meditation a little longer these days, getting more sleep, and consciously making more time to relax and be. I force myself to do it. I wish relaxing came more naturally to me. I wish I didn’t judge my days by how many items I crossed off my to-do list. That’s how I’m built and it’s served me well. But here’s what also serves me well – focus. And that’s what meditation, rest, and relaxation instills in us. There are two ways to manifest the life we want—make it happen and draw the goodness toward us. I recommend a healthy dose of both.
“Get back in touch with self-mastery because it’s the one thing that never goes away. You’re the one person you’re stuck with forever.” ~Mark Lack
I’ve been thinking a lot about ending and change lately, not in a sad way, but just as a natural part of life and evolution. In all this change, I’ve also spent some of my time thinking about what remains constant. It seems that almost everything and everyone shifts somehow. Faith can be shaken. Our minds can be changed. Our health, and the health of everyone we know and love, ebbs and flows. Neighborhoods turn over, for better or for worse.
Then I read this quote by Mark Lack and meditated on it. In my lifetime, the beat of my heart and the constancy of my breath are the only things I will always have and know everywhere I go. And that brought me a lot of peace and happiness. All the more reason to spend some time every day quietly getting to know exactly who we are at our core.
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche
A lot of people tell me they wish they could meditate, but they just can’t sit there. They can’t be silent. And then I tell them they don’t have to be. They actually can’t be. There’s plenty of music in all of us to keep us company.
There is something amazing about tuning into the music inside of us. The beat of our hearts, the coursing of our blood through our veins, the rhythm of our footsteps, and even the whirring of our minds all carry music in them. When I sit down to meditate every day, that’s the music I hear. That’s my focus. And it can be yours, too. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the unique music that is you.
Here’s the only way to meditate: you have to sit down and close your eyes for some amount of time on a regular basis.
I’d say daily, but that freaks people out. I’d say 18 minutes a pop, but that also freaks people out. A friend of mine recently asked me if I could help her learn how to meditate. I gave her ideas, techniques, and tips of how to make sitting there with yourself tolerable for some length of time, but ultimately whether or not my friend wants to meditate is really the deciding factor.
I shared my practice—every day, at some point, I sit on my couch, turn on the timer on my phone for 18 minutes, turn off every kind of device that makes a sound, close my eyes, and do nothing. (The 18 minutes is purely an arbitrary number that just works for me and take my 18 minutes whenever I can get it – morning, noon, or night.) Sometimes I’m happy. Other times I’m less happy—meaning angry, sad, disappointed, frustrated, sick, or just in a funk of some kind. No matter what my emotional state, I sit there and just be and breathe. Most of the time, Phineas crawls into my lap and goes to sleep. There’s no magic formula. That’s it. That’s all I do. It’s enough for me and it’s enough for you, too.
You don’t need any fancy clothes, sitting apparatus, or pricey classes and workshops. You don’t need permission. You don’t need someone to tell you how to do it. All it takes is practice and a desire to practice. The rest you’ll learn along the way. Your breath and your heartbeat will teach you everything you need to know.
I can tell you this about my daily meditation practice: I never regret it.