Several years ago I went through one of the deepest and most introspective periods of my life.
It was one of those “right time and right place” situations where all of the conditions conspired in my favor for this to happen. I’d just moved back from Holland, where I’d been living with my Dutch boyfriend. I was living back with my parents, and this gave me strong feelings of being both comfortable and safe. My time in Holland had been intense and brought up a lot of questions in me, particularly related to my happiness and my sense of self.
With my heart and mind full of questions and my spirit in a place that it felt safe to grow and explore, the call to go within was both very strong and very natural. I meditated several times a day, sometimes for hours at a time. This is very strange for me to think about now, because that kind of intense solitude and reflection feels like it was experienced by another person.
However, a powerful calling and urge to let go and go within came over me during this period of time, which lasted about two months. I am forever grateful I honored the calling I felt to immerse myself in this time of meditation and reflection.
Most of my experience revolved around the chanting of a mantra called HU.
HU is a primal tone, like AUM (or om).
It’s considered to be one of the sounds that, like aum, existed at the time of creation, and thus deeply and profoundly connects us back to the divine energy that was and is in everything that’s been created across all time and dimensions.
I had stumbled across HU on a bulletin board and I couldn’t deny a powerful feeling that it was important.
Furthermore, I felt a continual urging to meditate on HU every day for 40 days in a row. I was intrigued but also conflicted. How could I give up that much of my precious time to sitting and chanting? What if nothing happened and the 40 days was a waste? What if EVERYTHING happened and I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t handle it? What was even causing this urging? What was beyond me that was sending this calling to me?
It was this endless stream of questions that got me to begin my 40 days of HU. It was like looking at a guide book for an exotic land and knowing that if you traveled there it would forever change you. The desire to fulfill my curiosity propelled me on, and I had no idea then that this really would be an adventure. I was having my first experience with adventures in cosmic consciousness, and rather than board an airplane, I would sit each day and travel to the furthest reaches of my soul.
Each day of using HU I received profound insights that changed the way I viewed myself, this world, the Universe and even the concept of life itself.
Near the end I had one that opened me up in such a way that prepared me for the BIG one, the one that changed everything. In this initial moment of expansion, I continually heard the question in my mind during meditation, “What makes you amazing?” I tried to answer with what I felt were positive and honest things, such as I feel I’m amazing because I’m intelligent. I feel I’m amazing because I’m adventurous. I feel I’m amazing because I’m funny. And so on.
But I was receiving a distinct NO back, a tangible feeling that I was not tuning into the real answer, and these answer were based on a purely human perspective. I needed to go wider, and it was then that I began to open up to everything. I felt myself go deeper into my meditative state, but it was a paradox, because the deeper within I went the more my mind and soul opened outwards. I stayed within my body, I was aware of my body, but I was also one with the mountains and sky, the rivers and the forests, and all the while I was being shown that THIS is what makes me amazing.
I am amazing because I AM the mountain. I am amazing because I AM the night sky. I am amazing because I AM the fast flowing river that travels across continents.
It was only in this moment of deep meditation that, for the first time, I could feel what these statements meant. It wasn’t a beautiful thought where I looked up at the stars and pondered what it means to be made of star stuff. I was in the stars, and yet also, I was still me, sitting in my room, breathing so slowly and imperceptibly that I hardly moved.
It was on the 40th day of my meditation that the experience I had been leading up to was revealed to me.
I cannot say if it was the number of days that was important, or if it was simply because I leaned so deeply into the trust. I had no idea why I was keeping on for 40 days, and all I could do was trust that this period of self-discipline and self imposed isolation would be worthwhile.
As I sat to meditate on the 40th day I wondered once again what I was doing, and if anything would happen. I had no idea what exactly I was meant to do or even what I was grasping for. I could only lean further into the trust, and follow the feelings I was getting.
As I meditated on this day I tried something I never had. I tried pushing the edges of my spirit up and out so fast that it did something I can’t quiet explain. It was almost as if I was creating friction, in the way that an airplane flies fast enough that it is flying on the friction it creates. I continued to push up and out, and watched with awe as the world shrank away. But like before, I was still in my body. I was once again seemingly in two places at once. I was in my body, sitting in my room, and I was out in the cosmos, expanding my soul past the edges of the solar system, past the galaxy, past planets billions of light years away.
Opening. Expanding. Growing. Reaching. Flying.
All at a speed I cannot comprehend. It was all happening in a way that was beyond what I could consciously think about, it was just happening, and I was both a participant and a curious observer.
I went out so fast and so far that I came to the edges of the Universe. Unlike my previous enlightenment, when I felt I am everything, my breathing was not light. It was heavy, slow and long. My body became so hot that sweat beaded up on my forehead. It was clear that something was happening, something so visceral that my body was heating up and breathing deep in response.
At the edge of the Universe I faded through the edges and went… into the infinite.
This is where words fail me. Even what I’ve written so far was a struggle to find the right words, the right descriptions, but here, I cannot even attempt to try and convey a sense of where I was. I was everything and I was nothing. I was completely relaxed, but in a state beyond relaxation. I had no awareness of even a concept like stress or worry, and so to say I was relaxed is not quite right. It was more like I was in a time and place where the feelings of love and joy where the only things that existed. To say feelings of stress, sadness and worry weren’t real seems impossible as I write this, and yet, in that place, they didn’t exist, and nothing could have felt more real or more true.
I had a vague awareness of my body and the room I was still in. Everything was dark, but at the same time, it was not an emptiness. It was so full of rich feeling that every drop of air felt full of what I suppose can only be described as nirvana. There was no emptiness and yet it was all empty. I was bigger than the whole Universe, and yet, I was the Universe, and I was as small as the person I am now. There was no time. Before, after, now, then, none of it existed. I understood everything, but I had no thoughts. I understood in a way that I felt the knowing. I felt the truth.
Everything was so simple, so pure, so light and easy, but at the same time, it was beyond me, it was a paradox, because afterwards I did not understand at all. I was not able to retain the all knowingness, which makes no sense because how can you lose that? I don't know. I really don't. I can only share what I felt.
Despite the feeling of infinite time, it felt like I had reached this place for a fleeting moment.
As I came back it felt like I was dissolving through a thousand layers of silk and cotton. Floating back through the layers of reality I came back to me, even though I always was me in that expanded state. As I came back in I felt a sadness, a sadness so palpable I was surprised by it. I couldn’t understand why I felt so sad, and then I realized, this is how I’ve always felt. I was full of so much joy and love in that state I now had something to compare my natural feelings to. It was only upon my return, when the contrast was perfectly clear, that I became aware of how I really feel.
It wasn’t that I walk around all the time with a sad and heavy heart. It was just that the love I felt in that moment was so deep, so profound, that I couldn’t help but feel how far away from it I live in my everyday life. To even call what I felt love is undermining the feeling. It was something beyond love. It was like all the love I’ve ever known heightened, intensified, and expanded. I can only describe it as the love beyond love. Love is not the right word for it, but there is no word, and to say it was love a million light years beyond the love I have for my family or life or the earth is all I can say.
It was in fact so big and so deep that I didn’t feel ready for it, here and now, as the being I am.
For a few days after this experience I would get waves of that sublime, all expanding love, and it was so intense and overwhelming I became dazed by it. Not in a bad way. I was again so relaxed I was beyond relaxed. It was just clear to me I wasn’t ready to live in this state of expanded love and truth, and in many ways, I liked that feeling.
I like being here in this world, as I am, experiencing the rich vastness of emotions and feelings that are available to me.
Since I had those two experiences I have never slipped back into that all expansive, all knowing state. I have come close, and begun to feel my body turn into such lightness that I could feel myself fading through the layers of reality, but never again have I crossed that threshold. And yet, the experience is always with me, like a memory from a trip that dramatically altered the course of my life.
Sometimes I forget that I even had this experience, and I lose myself in the dramas and day to day realities of this world. Which is actually kind of amazing, because when I do find myself deeply rooted in what feels like struggle, it gives that experience of expansion and enlightenment even more richness and contrast. It makes it feel that much more alive and profound, and it is a continual reminder to me that this is a world of balance.
This is a world where we get to feel the unbelievably rich feeling of physical touch and reality. It is also a world where we get to awaken our spirits, to feel the exquisite lightness of our infinite souls.
If I could take this experience and put it in your heart for you to feel also, I would, because it was perhaps one of the most important moments of my life. It was the first time I truly felt not just who I am, but what I am. It was my first taste of how truly brilliant and magnificent and GRAND I really am.
It was my first sense of my power, my real power, not the kind of power that turns people into dominant leaders, but the kind that I could use to create my own reality.
The kind of power that lets me know I am so full of richness and resources that success is a given. The kind of power that lets me know that no matter what happens, I will be okay, because within me as a connection to the most infinite and divine resources.
But even if I could give you this experience, deep down you wouldn’t want me to. You wouldn’t want to miss out on the beautiful awakening that would occur within you to get yourself there. However, I don’t want to tell you this story and leave you feeling I have nothing to offer to at least assist you in your own cosmic consciousness adventures. It was after this experience that I began creating my guided meditations. Each one is like a light on the trail, and they will all help you to find your way, in the way that is right for you, to this source of the truth of yourself.
What you find in meditation will be what is right for you. What is right for you will continue evolve during your life. By relaxing, temporarily letting go of attachment to outcomes, and tuning into your natural self, you will find your own insights and awakenings about life. Yours will be different than mine, because we are all unique and all experiencing life from our own unique perspective. Which is what makes meditations so beautiful and perfect also. You can’t get it wrong, and when you share your insights, you expand my awareness, because you help me to see the Universe and life in a new way.
If you'd like to try a guided meditation with HU being sung in the background, I have incorporated it into my meditation "I am the Universe, the Universe is me." Click here to hear a sample and purchase the mp3 (or click the image below).
Top athletes who excel in their sport all have one thing in common: they know how to focus.
They are powerful visualizers and use that to their advantage. Whatever the outcome is that they want, they hold it in their minds and hold it so forcefully that they refuse to acknoweldge anything else. The outcome begins as a vision in their mind, and it's held there until it's manifested as a reality.
We know that focus is a powerful thing. We know that visualization is a powerful tool in making our dreams realized. People have proven time and time again that these aren't just the tropes of overly optimistic people.
Focus and visualization create results.
I've often wondered, when we put out our focus on something, do we genuinely create something real in our minds, on an energetic level, that is then manifested in a physical form? Have you ever wondered what exactly happens when you put your attention on something? I love the phrase, "energy flows where attention goes." But what does that mean?
Through the double slit experiment some physicists have given us a fascinating piece of this complex puzzle:
Basically, when the electrons are not being studied, they create a wave pattern. Without rhyme or reason (but always on cue) when they are being observed, they create two solid lines. An entirely different pattern, even though nothing about the experiment has changed, except the introduction of a piece that can observe and measure what's happening on the level of particles.
This makes zero sense. This is crazy, weird and totally awesome.
I love when he's talking about the electrons not being observed and he says, "The single electron leaves as a particle [and] becomes a wave of potentials."
For me, this brings up so many thoughts and questions. It makes me wonder if electrons are constantly cruising about, seeking a path of potential. Are they just waiting for somebody to focus in, to put their attention on something, and give them a solid direction to fly in? Are they waiting for us to use our focus and visualization, to put our attention on something, and change the observable world around us?
It really makes me wonder, if electrons change when being observed, what happens when we observe our own thoughts? Do they change? What happens when we observe people around us? Obviously something happens. Our attention has a direct impact on the world around us. This much we now know thanks to this experiment.
Beyond this, we can only speculate. But damn if I couldn't spend hours imagining what this means. Just imagine if they could study our own inner thoughts in this way. Do you think they'd find that when we focus on something, when we observe an outcome, that we're creating solid patterns that lead to real fruition?
Now imagine that all that power that is your own free will is flying about, scattered in waves of potential. Then you find something you want. A car. A job. A new mate. You focus on it. And you focus on it. And you keep putting your attention on it, giving all those waves of energy a solid direction to build in.
Whatever this experiment makes you think of, have fun with it. Don't stop questioning the world around you. Keep looking for clues and insights into the mysterious fabric of the creation of reality. This world is far too strange and mystical for us to just take it all at face value, assuming it's all one predictable slog to the end. If quantum mechanics has taught me anything, it's to expect the unexpected.
Each of us has the potential to see our lives as an ongoing experiment full of crazy, amazing and mind blowing results. And each of us is so much mysterious and powerful than we know. We only have scratched the surface of who and what we really are.
I have no idea who made this, and if anyone does know, please let me know in the comments so I can update this with a reference. This was shared on Facebook, and I think it's one of the most helpful things I've ever seen. I've caught myself using trite positive expressions before, and will certainly refer to this when I'm struggling to find the right words.
If you'd like to share it, you will see icons for Facebook, Pinterest, and to copy the link when you hover over the image. Or else you can download it and share it directly by right clicking on it and selecting "save as".
A few weeks ago, I felt guided to listen to The Golden Thread guided meditation every day for 40 days.
I created this meditation over a year ago, and I play it from time to time, but this was the first time I got a specific message about it: try it for 40 days in a row and see what happens.
I wasn't sure why, except for the knowing that doing something for 40 days can be a sacred and life changing experience.
Now that I'm half way through it, I'm starting to understand what this is doing for me.
Usually, when people play this meditation they have a vivid dream, either right after playing it or after a few listens. I'm 20 days in, and although I've had interesting dreams thus far, last nights' was one that really told me something special was happening. In the dream I had traveled somewhere else, somewhere I can't recall, only that it wasn't where I live.
I had two choices: go back to where I was and what I had been doing, or follow whales as they swam around the earth.
When I saw the whales I knew instantly, I would follow them, and I did. Watching them swim and traveling through the oceans was the most beautiful, open, free and happy dream I've had in a long time.
I believe part of the reason this meditation creates vivid and interesting dreams is because the imagery works on very deep levels of the psyche. There is the conscious experience you have while you play it, what you feel in your body, and then there are subconscious things happening that unfold and reveal themselves over time.
The meditation guides you to look up to see a large white cloud. Hanging from the bottom of the cloud is a large gold thread. The thread comes down from the sky, weaves through your entire body, and then drops into the soil, spreading out like roots. This is a very calming and serene experience, and one that will help you to feel supported and highly energized in the present moment.
It also does something much more, something I had an idea about but wasn't totally sure of until I started this.
I am understanding now, this practice of weaving the thread through you is one that helps shift you from separation back into wholeness. It unites you with You. As the thread weaves in, you consciously and subconsciously reunite mind, body and spirit. This is a wonderful way to gently and lovingly bring your ego into balance, to help it feel loved, wanted, supported and part of something bigger.
Many spiritual teachers will tell you that you must get rid of the ego. This comes from good intentions, as most of us have egos run amok.
But to aim towards elimination will cause you more feelings of separation and turmoil in the long run.
The ego is what focuses you in this world, and although it can take over like a monster truck with the gas pedal fully pushed down, trying to destroy it or eradicate it is like trying to destroy yourself. You are here as you for a reason, with unique gifts, insights, goals, and perspectives, and those shine through you because of your ego. You being you adds color to this world.
Instead of trying to destroy your ego, your point of focus, what we want to do is lovingly bring it back into balance, and more so, we want it to surrender to our Higher Self so the two can work together. Getting your ego to work in harmony with your Higher Self will bring in feelings of peace, love and harmony like never before. Everything that makes you special, all of your dreams and desires, will come to fruition so much easier, and with so much more ease and grace.
Weaving a gold thread through you does even more than bring your entire being back into harmony and balance.
Visually, the thread comes from the sky and drops through you into the earth.
It's bringing you into wholeness and connection with the Earth, the sky and the whole Universe. It truly returns you to a deep level of wholeness and connection on all levels. And all with ease and grace. You don't have to do anything except listen.
In fact, the less you do the better, because this is about stepping away from control and into allowing.
To experience this kind of connecting, or perhaps reconnecting, is something that will uplift and benefit your life in many ways.
It will help you to turn your troubles and worries over to be handled efficiently by your Higher Self, or I AM presence. It will help you to practice letting go of old stories and allowing in new and better things. It will help you to remember what you are, so that you feel better about yourself and your life. And it will do things that are unique to you, that personally benefit your life and your journey.
The Golden Thread is 30 minutes long full or you can play the 12 minute abridged version. For the deepest healing experience, play the full one as much as possible. However, the abridged version was created to be just as powerful, and was created for this kind of experience - as something that can be used every day.
If you do go on this 40 day journey, I would highly encourage you to keep a notebook by your bed to write down any dreams you have. They may not come every night, but there will be at least a few that you'll want to remember. I wish you love and light on your journey of self-exploration, expansion, deepening your connection to your I AM presence, and adventures in consciousness.
Fear is something I think about a lot.
It's also something I feel a lot. Oftentimes when I tell people this, they're surprised, because fear doesn't seem to stop me from doing the things I want to do.
But I will tell you a secret. Fear doesn't always show up as a massive blocking force, like some mountain in your path. Sometimes it shows up as an overwhelming terror that says DO NOW GO GO GO. It's the fear that tells me I'm not good enough, and I must go as fast as I can because if I stop and think about that, I'll drown in my feelings of inadequacy.
Rather than asking myself why I feel inadequate, I put all my energy into outrunning the fear and insecurity.
If you move fast enough, it all becomes a blur, and you actually don't have to feel anything. You can go so fast you convince yourself of a faux confidence, which says, I'm moving and hustling so I must be doing something right!
The thing with movement is, it's not always accelerating us in positive directions. Movement does not always equal productive outcomes. Sometimes we're just racing towards a brick wall.
If you ask me at any given time what I'm doing, I've always got half a dozen things on the stove top. I'm writing a screenplay. I'm revising another one. I'm learning calligraphy. I'm learning Spanish. I'm making a meditation. I'm making another meditation! I'm writing a blog post! I'm writing a podcast! I'm doing a 30 day challenge!!! I'm tap dancing while juggling chainsaws!!!!!!
Okay, the last one isn't real. But pump me full of enough fear, and by God, I'd do it. Which is often times the exact opposite message we are told about fear. Most conversations around fear tell us it's the thing stopping us and holding us back. But for a lot of people, it's not stopping them at all. It's the thing shoving their foot down on the gas pedal, driving them 90 miles per hour through a treacherous mountain pass.
Sometimes it causes us to become workaholics. Sometimes it causes us to try a million different things in an endlessly frantic state. Sometimes it gets us travelling all around the world, forever on the go but never addressing the inner void pushing us on.
Fear has never stopped me from doing anything. In fact, it's acted like a fuel that's launched me at breakneck pace into all kinds of adventures. This probably sounds good, but it's not.
I'm not doing these things because I love myself and I'm excited about life. I'm doing them because I'm too scared to pause and ask myself if I feel worthy when I'm doing nothing.
Could I feel worthy in a state of nothingness? At this time, no. If I had nothing on the stove top, and I had to stand before you with nothing to validate my existence, I would crumble like a sandcastle in high tide. Here's the plain truth: my ambition is more often than not an armor to my inner vulnerability.
We sometimes see people who achieve great things and think, wow, that person must really feel great about themselves! And they very well might. They very well might have healthy self-esteem. But they also might be like me, needing ever greater accomplishments to prove their worthiness.
To try and feel worthy without anything but my own self makes me feel like I'm walking around naked.
My need to overpower my fear and go faster and faster only creates deeper, more catastrophic fear. Without ever resolving the core issue, I'm just lighting the fuse to my inner TNT. I am so afraid I'm not good enough for the things I want that I leap before looking, not pausing to ask why I feel insecure, and never bothering to stop and check if there's broken glass in my path. The only thing worse than the thousand cuts I get is the inner pain of always shouting down my inner voice.
Be quiet inner voice, I'm trying to be fearless, which is only making more fear, and I need you to shut up so I can concentrate on over powering all this fear and if I stop to listen to you I'll actually feel all this fear and I can't do that!
I can even be found going at the speed of light when it comes to spirituality. I read every book I can on meditation, self-help, and divinity. And then I journal, reflect, and read more. Then I meditate for hours. I do yoga. If it sounds like it'll help me to heal, I'll do it. All of it.
Except for the part where I just stop and breathe.
My inner voice is constantly whispering to me, Please, just slow down. Just pause and breathe.
Because all my fear is basically rooted in a fear of rejection, and I am now rejecting my own voice, I only end up digging myself deeper into the fear hole. I push down on the gas harder, knowing I'm going too fast, I'm losing control, and this is making more fear, and so I just go faster, until I either run out of gas or careen off the side.
It's at this point, when I've been forced to stop and rest, that I begin "self-care". But it's not really self-care. True self-care is what we give ourselves far before we ever reach the point of burn out. Self-care and self-love administered when there's no other choice is more like crisis management. Real, heart based self-care and self-love is preventative, and not done retroactively.
It's the thing you do that says, "I am valuable and I am worthy of my own love and attention. I don't have to go a thousand miles an hour to earn this nourishment. There is nothing to earn. I am valuable just as I am."
Which isn't to say you shouldn't do self-care when you've reached burn out. We all have to start where we are. But learning to value and treat ourselves with respect before our inner world is burning down is something few have mastered.
Maybe especially me.
After all my years of meditating, studying spirituality, and reflecting on my self and my path, I have come to see I am still a beginner in it all. The facade I built that made me believe I know what I'm doing has cracked and broken wide open. I have so much to learn about myself and my inner world. I have an ocean of feelings that sometimes rise up like a tidal wave, reminding me of my own power, and what happens when I use that power in self-destructive ways.
In the past, I have done things that literally made my legs and voice shake with fear.
At the time, I felt like this was a good thing. I felt like if I didn't do this, life would pass me by. But what is life if it isn't about honoring and treating our own selves like precious cargo? Bullying myself into fighting my fear wasn't life. It was exhausting. I no longer see pushing myself so hard that I want to panic as any sort of positive quality. I just see it as fear based motivation, and nothing in my life that was fear based ever worked out in a positive way.
I now choose to take action from a place of love. If I feel myself pushing too hard, I stop. If I'm tired, I stop. If I feel insecure, I tell a trusted friend (shout out to Susan and Rachael!). I give those negative thoughts space and let them know that there's no shame in having them. They are a part of me. I don't have to juggle a thousand plates in order to distract myself from their existence.
I will get where I'm going. I will get there in my own time. I will rest as much as necessary on the way there. And when I'm there, I hopefully won't collapse from exhaustion. Rather, I will rise up higher, full of energy for whatever adventure lovingly shows up next.
We've all said it. Even me. Yes, me. I make meditations, but I have said many times in my life, "I hate the sound of my own voice."
But I won't ever say it again. And I'm going to ask you a favor. Please, don't do it either. Not for me. For you.
Your voice is the most valuable thing you have.
Your voice is your expression. Your voice is your ability to speak your truth. Your voice is what you use to cry for help and sing for joy.
If you tell yourself, "I hate my own voice," what you're saying is, "I don't want to hear me." And what happens when you don't want to hear you? A million other voices rise above your own. Voices that might not know what's best for you. Words, thoughts and beliefs are powerful. If you believe your own voice isn't worth hearing, how can you ever hear your soul when it whispers to you? How can you hear You?
Your voice isn't just that thing you hear when you leave a message. Your voice is your guidance, your inner compass. Your voice is the clarity that rises above the chaos, guiding you like a candle in the dark.
Valuing your voice means you value it in all forms. When you hear your voice in your mind, nudging you this way and that, it's still your voice. You cannot hate one part of it and cherish and connect with another. Hating your physical voice while honoring your inner voice creates disharmony. That kind of inner discord is not serving you. It simply allows you to devalue a vital part of your physical being.
DO NOT EVER TELL ME YOUR VOICE HAS NO VALUE.
I won't accept it. I won't ever agree that your voice is worth hating. I want to HEAR YOU. I want to hear your dreams. I want to hear your pains so can I heal them. I want to hear your victories so I can celebrate them. I want to hear you in every way, and I want you to hear You also.
I want to hear your voice when it shakes with fear. I want to hear your voice when it sings off key, because fuck perfection, we're here to live. I want to hear your voice when you've got the spark of an idea, and you need a safe space to speak it into existence.
I want to hear you.
You deserve to be heard. You deserve to speak free and clear and to never doubt your voice is worth hearing. You deserve to trust your own guidance, which is powerful and divine, and leading you to your greatest potential at all times.
I promise you, there's nothing wrong with your voice. You're just not used to hearing it. You're used to hearing everything but it. If you want to learn to love it, give it a chance.
Here's one way: Make a small recording of yourself. Thirty seconds or so. Say something like, "I'm here. I'm with you. I believe in you." If you play it enough times, the judgement will fall away on its own. What sounds off will disappear. What sounds right will come to the forefront. Trust me. I know. Because I was you.
I used to dread hearing my own voice. But now I know it wasn't my voice that bothered me. It was the fear of being heard. It was the fear of making noise and calling attention to myself. I felt safe in the silence. I could bury myself and hide, and so long as I didn't make a peep, no one would know I was there.
We're so used to smothering our voices that we don't trust we have something worth saying. But we do. We so very much do.
So please, don't tell me you hate the sound of your own voice. Tell me about the time you laughed so hard you cried. Tell me about the scar you have that no one can see. Tell me loud, so loud that people look and turn to stare, because you don't just deserve to be heard. You deserve to be seen. You're here for a reason, and I want you to shout until your throat hurts, and to hell with anyone that doesn't like it.
I bet there's a lot that's been bottled up for a long time, and ain't nothing like a good scream to break all that up and set it free. Trust me. I've been there. And if you don't want scream, then sing. Sing so loud you feel it in your whole body. Feel the vibration of your voice, that powerful part of you that speaks worlds into existence.
Just for today, I will radiate success with my whole being. Not tomorrow, not next week, and not someday. But today.
What makes me feel successful today will change tomorrow. And each day after that it will change, as I change and evolve my idea of what success even is. I know that today I am further than I was yesterday. I'm a little wiser. A little stronger. A little more centered.
Today is the day that I won't just believe, but I will know, I am successful. It doesn't matter if I haven't achieved the thing I set out to achieve. It doesn't matter if I'm not holding the results of my dreams within my hands.
What matters is that I valued those dreams and gave them space to breathe and grow. What matters is that I dared to believe in the value of my own ideas. I am successful because I took the first shaky steps in realizing my full potential. I am successful because I am here, learning, growing, facing my fears, embracing my fears, embracing me, and becoming one with all that I am, in all ways.
What makes me successful is personal to me.
No one knows where I started. No one knows what I went through just to get to this moment. No one knows the mountains I climbed and the valleys I traversed just to show up today and say, "Here I am day. Bring it on."
Today I will celebrate my own personal idea of success. I will look back and realize that I have overcome a lot. I have achieved a lot. I have done things that shook me to my core. I have changed in ways no one will understand the impact of but me. I have even torn down my idea of self, questioning the very nature of who I am and what's possible for me, without any idea of how I would land safely on my feet.
What makes me successful is not always even success.
Sometimes I fail, and in that failure, I know I succeeded because I tried something. I dared to step outside what was familiar and known and tested the boundaries of my world. My failure is the seed from which my dreams will take root and grow.
And when I fail, I allow myself to be one with my disappointment and insecurity. I remember that success is not always about winning and being the best. Sometimes, success is about honoring where I am, nurturing my wounds, and taking time to rest before picking myself up and trying again.
No matter where I am at, or where I'm trying to go, today is the day I believe in my success.
Today, I am successful because I refuse to let other people project their fears and limiting ideas onto me. Today, I believe in my own idea of success, and I don't need anyone's approval in order to declare, "I am successful!"
Even if no one sees it but me, I will value and cherish my success. I will nourish it with my love, and I will guard it from the judgement of others.
And by the end of the day, if I no longer feel successful, if I feel down and defeated, that's okay. This is only for today, and tomorrow will be a new day, full of new opportunities, new people, new ideas, and new energy. I will wake up tomorrow and tell myself, "Yesterday I tried my best. And for that reason, I am successful."
But tomorrow isn't here. There is only now, and so for today, and only for today, I will believe fully in my success.
The term "monkey mind" has become synonymous with worrying, anxiety, and an addiction to business. It's essentially a mind at the opposite of stillness.
Ever since I first heard the phrase "monkey mind" I disliked it. For one, it didn't make any sense to me. Monkeys are by nature playful, curious, and spirited. When I'm spiraling down in negative thinking, the last thing I associate that with is monkeys. In fact, I would rather have a monkey mind, because I'd be far more likely to go play and stop worrying so much!
As I was talking to a friend the other day, this expression "monkey mind" came up as I was about to say I was wrestling with my thoughts. Since I'm not a fan of the phrase, I got all jumbled up, and ended up saying,
"I'm wrestling the monkey!"
After I said it I began laughing. This, for me, felt like a much more apt metaphor for what I was feeling. I could see how when I'm wrestling with worry, what I'm wrestling with is something that is by nature care-free and happy.
My mind, when not engaged with worry and doubt, is naturally playful and curious. All of ours are. We know this because we were all once playful and curious children.
So when I begin obsessing over worrisome things, fighting with my anxiety, or thinking about all the things that happened ten years ago, and might happen ten years from now, I am basically grabbing a part of myself and engaging it in battle. All these thoughts want is to be set free and to be able to return to their carefree and curious state.
Now, when I catch myself wrestling with my thoughts and feelings, I imagine I'm wrestling a monkey. This always makes me laugh, because it's such a funny visual. Once I get myself to smile, I'm already feeling better.
Then I acknowledge that the thoughts don't want to be wrestling with me anymore than a monkey does. All the thoughts really want are to be set free, so they can play and find solutions in the way the mind does best - through feelings of ease, joy, and freedom.
I don't know about you, but I've never solved any of my problems by wrestling with the monkey.
The next time you find yourself obsessing over things you can't control, spiraling into negative thinking, or just feeling like you're fighting with your own well-being, imagine you're wrestling a monkey. It will hopefully make you laugh, which will break the tension. It will also put into perspective how hard it is to get perspective when you're fully engaged in the inner-battle.
In the same way a monkey would get tired if you never let it rest and always wrestled with it, so too does your spirit. Your spirit is tired. It wants to rest. It wants to let go of all that stuff you're fighting with. So just let it go. Let the monkey go. Repeat after me.
Do not wrestle the monkey.
The monkey will thank you. And since the monkey is just a metaphor for your thoughts, you will thank you. You will return to wholeness. And you will find what you need, which is so hard to see when you're neck deep in monkey fur, trying to wrestle the poor thing to the ground.
Every morning after I wake up, I tell myself the Universe loves me. I say it in my mind, slow and soft. The Universe loves me.
As I wake up more, I take some deep breaths. I then remind myself that everything in this Universe was created from one source. I remind myself that this is more than a spiritual philosophy, but a fact.
The entire Universe, at one time, was compacted down into one primordial atom.
Everything that the Universe would be was in that atom. It all exploded outwards in what we call the Big Bang, and as those original elements sped outwards they crashed into each other, creating new elements, and fusing together to become stars.
From those stars, even more fusing and birthing happened, and somehow, in stars that died billions of years ago, a chain of events began that would lead to me.
The Universe loves me.
I remind myself each morning of the cosmic beauty of this world and this Universe. This Universe that I am a part of.
I remind myself of the vastness, of the power of it all, and how it's all love. It all came from one source. It always has been love. Always will be. And all of that out there, it sees me with as much wonder, awe and love as I see it.
And then I remind myself, that every single person who walks on this Earth was created from that love also.
The Universe loves me.
And all the people with me? They're the Universe too. In the same way I look out at stars and see the Universe, what's out there can look back at us and see the Universe also. So if the Universe loves me, and people are the Universe, then everyone in this world must love me also.
The Universe loves us.
Which isn't to say everyone likes me. Nor that everyone approves of me or even wants me here. That's a different subject all together. It's only to say that within each person is a cosmic love, a love tied to the primordial atom from which everything originated. The essence of every person is tied to creation, and that creation is love.
People are love. People are the Universe.
The Universe loves me.
Then I remind myself that every tree I see, every strip of concrete, every house, every bird, every star in the night sky, it all came from that same powerful, intensely hot and mystical singular source of energy and matter.
It all came from that one source of love, and it all loves me, because it all is love. It's not that the trees and the birds choose to love me. They just are love. They were once the Oneness as much as I was. It's all love.
Love is radiating from the core of everything. It's up to me whether I decide to focus on that or not.
I used to wake up and focus on worry.
I worried about what negative things people would say. If they would like my creative projects. If they would yell at me and make me want to retreat inside of myself. I worried people would offer me opportunities, only to decide later I wasn't good enough and then rip them away. I worried about things hurting me, physically and emotionally.
I looked out at the world and the Universe and I did not see love. I saw only things to be afraid of.
When that worry starts to creep back in, I breathe in I am the Universe, and I breathe out The Universe is Me.
The Universe loves me.
It also loves you, and you are love.
Which means, because you, at your core are love, you naturally attract love to you. It's harder for you to conjure up thoughts and feelings that reject love because that's like swimming up a river. So if you aren't feeling the love, if you're feeling sad, afraid or worried, take a deep breath, and know, the Universe loves you.
Everyone and everything around you, in its cosmic core, loves you. Relax, let go and fall inwards to your core, into the love. It's already there. Breathe into it.
The Universe loves me.
Every cell of my body is a cell flush with Divinity.
There was never a moment I became divine.
My divinity is infinite.
It never started, and it can never end.
I was created that way, and I shall always be that way.
Nothing can change this, and if it seems it has, it's only an illusion.
I was created from a single cell, and in that cell was all the cosmic love and magnificence of all the Universe.
From that single, divine cell, I grew into hundreds, and then thousands, and then billions of cells. Each one divine. Each one created from the same Source as the first. Each one mystical. Each one as valuable and spectacular as the stars in the sky.
With each cell, my Divinity expanded with me.
When I took my first breath, I breathed as a divine being, and the Divine breathed with me.
The Source of Creation did not stay in some parts and not others.
There was no part of me that separated from the divine Source of all of that is.
If it seems some parts are separate, it is only an illusion.
There is divinity in every cell of my body.
I am a holy temple.
Each breath I take is a breath of divinity.
There is nothing in the Universe more holy, more divine, than my own Self.
There is divinity in every cell of my body
If there's one thing I've learned in my life, it's that a truly self-empowered state comes from feeling, with my whole body and soul, that the Universe sees me as a vital part of it.
When I feel into how much the Universe loves me, how it just knows it would be incomplete without me, I feel how truly loved and supported I am.
I feel the love in my heart, the love that connects me to all the beautiful things I dream of. I feel All That Is shining onto me, and I feel myself shining back. As we commune and I drop my walls I feel like I'm coming home. I feel the power of higher dimensions of consciousness guiding me, wanting me to succeed.
They want me to feel happy and expanded and safe and powerful because I am as important to to the Universe as the whole Universe is to me.
If one cell in my body, one single cell, fell into dis-ease I would give it unconditional love and support. I would send it waves of love, nourish it with good food, drink plenty of water, and all in hopes that it returned to health and harmony. I would do this, because it is a part of me, each cell is vital in making me whole.
You are the same to the Universe. The Universe wants you to be happy, healthy and whole because without you, it's incomplete.
When I feel into that, into the knowing that vast and powerful resources are asking, begging, pleading with me to stop trying so hard and to let them help, I feel empowered.
I feel it as I go about my day. I don't have to think it or affirm it or keep reminding myself of it. Whenever I feel lost, alone, sad or scared I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and I feel that the atoms of my body are composed of the same material as the stars. Then I feel the cosmic connection I have to those stars, and then I feel the power, the literal power of all that mass, all that hydrogen burning and churning and crushing down on a core so hot it lights up entire worlds.
This state of empowerment within me feels like warmth. It feels like ease. It feels good. Really, really good. And that's all being self-empowered is. Feeling good from within.
If you would like to tune into this feeling further, my Self-Empowerment meditation will take you on a journey to your cosmic core, to the You that is fully connected to your true magnificence and power.
You are the universe, you aren't in the universe.
- Eckhart Tolle
In my guided meditation Expect Miracles I ask you to start looking for miracles everywhere in your daily life.
The more you see miracles, the more you will believe in them and the more they will show up. It's using the basic Universe principle energy flows where attention goes. When you think about something, and you feel good about it, it makes an energetic connection in the quantum field, which then manifests that thing in your physical life.
In other words, get excited about the miraculous nature of life and your life will become miraculous.
Asking you to start looking for miracles everywhere can seem like a high order. Who in this world of struggle and conflict sees miracles all the time? All of us. It's simply a matter of changing your perspective. Miracles really are around us all the time, so long as we're willing to see them.
For real? I mean really. I'm just sitting here drinking my coffee. How is that miraculous?
The real question is, how is not?
Let's imagine you've just gotten a cup of joe from your favorite coffee shop. You're walking out with a paper cup full of piping hot dark roast. Let's take a look at that simple paper cup that's so magically holding your liquid from sloshing to the ground. And I do mean magically. Do you know that the atoms that compose you, me, cups, everything, never touch each other? That's right, it's an illusion. Between every single atom is an imperceptible cushion of space.
The fact that the cup appears solid, and that your hand holding it appears solid, is one of the miraculous illusions of this world.
How does this happen? When atoms reach a certain point, they are no longer attracted to each other, but start to experience repulsion. The closer they get the stronger this repelling force is. Which means the more you try to force them together the stronger the force is pushing them apart. How strong? Stronger than any force we're capable of producing here on this Earth. Which means that two of the most microscopic building blocks of life area capable of exerting more strength, more POWER, than the strongest person alive.
The smallest pieces of this world contain power. That in itself is rather miraculous. You are created of those pieces. You are created of billions and billions of powerful atoms, atoms which are working in their own divinely intelligent and miraculous way to keep you together - or at least, seemingly together. Let's not forget those atoms like their space.
So this cup you have is kind of amazing, and we've barely scratched the surface of its fascinating makeup.
If you collapsed the empty space of a cup and somehow overpowered those powerful atoms, the actual dense matter of your cup would be less than a fraction of a grain of sand.
Along with there being space around atoms, there is also space within the atoms. Around each nucleus, electron and proton is also space. A lot of it. The world is much less dense than it appears. We just take for granted that the way our eyes process reality is the whole story.
It's not. Far from it.
Now we're starting to understand how wild and strange your cup is. But we should go deeper. Let's consider the material that makes up the cup and take a look at this paper receptacle. Paper's not special, right? Okay it's got that weird space between the atoms thing going on, but beside that, it's just paper.
Is anything just anything? Where did the paper actually come from? It didn't just appear as a cup in the coffee shop.
It had to start as a tree. A tree has a protective layer of bark, which acts like your own skin, protecting its interior from the outside elements. It also has a system of veins that run sap up and down it in order to nourish the tree, much like your own blood system. A tree is a living, breathing part of this world. It's not just a tree.
But how do we even have trees that can be turned into paper? Where did the first tree come from?
In 2007, tree stumps that were 385 million years old were uncovered. Trees have been living and evolving on this earth longer than any human ancestor. A lot longer. About 379 million years longer. When you stand before a tree, you stand before something that connects back to a time that we know almost nothing about. The trees connect back to the mysterious and miraculous birth of life as we know it.
There's more to it than that. Trees are grown in special harvesting places called managed timberlands. The logs are shipped to sawmills for processing... oh but wait, that's not simple either. What are the trucks made of that ship the logs?
What about the person who drives the truck, the person who can never be again and was never before? That special person who is them self a cosmic mystery.
The tires for the truck had to be made, the metal was made somewhere. All of these separate parts of the earth turned into a truck, so that someone could ship logs to a processing plant to make paper.
And then there's the wax that lines the cup, which has its own mind boggling story of how it came to be. Nothing in this world is simple. Everything is connected to everything else. Those trees that make the paper? They were nourished by the water that cycles through the sky and earth, by the soil that has been on this planet for billions of years. When you hold paper, you hold something that is connected to all of time and creation on this planet. It's that amazing.
To say that the entire world conspires together to make a little cup that holds your coffee would be true. If that isn't miraculous, I don't know what is. Not to mention the fact that we've already established the cup itself, with all its space filled atoms, is miraculous in nature.
And that's just the cup. We didn't even get into the coffee inside of it. When you sip coffee, you sip something that is only made possible by a complex and fascinating series of events. It's something that passed through the hands of people half a world away, was shipped by fuels that came from inside the earth and was brewed by somebody who is made from the same materials as the stars in the sky.
Everything in this world can be looked at in this way. Including you. Maybe even especially you.
There are miracles all around us. Life is the miracle. You are a miracle.
It's often just a matter of change in perception to see how miraculous this life and world are. Why not take a moment and marvel at what's happening all around you right now? As I said in the beginning of this blog post, that which is like itself will be drawn to itself. Think about miracles, notice them, and notice how your life changes.
When it comes to getting through tough times, particularly seasons that can feel fraught with business, family stress, money stress, loneliness, or not enough time alone, it can feel like each day is a fight to the finish.
We're relieved when it's over and wake up feeling heavy and uninspired. If you are at all feeling like you're surviving these days rather than thriving, I want to share something with you that has helped me a lot.
Whenever you feel like you JUST CAN'T for a second longer, do this: imagine you are sitting before a toolbox.
Visualize the toolbox in whatever way is appealing to you. Maybe it's shiny and new. Or maybe it's old and weather worn, like an old pirate chest. Perhaps it's ten feet tall, with multiple drawers of various sizes. Or maybe it's small with a handle, so you can carry it around. Whatever feels right to you, go with that.
Now imagine you open the toolbox and inside are all of the mental health and well-being tools you've learned. Things that have previously helped you when you were stressed. For example, here's what I see in my toolbox:
When you look at that list you might think, 'Those things are simple! I have BIG, COMPLEX problems and I need BIG solutions! None of that will help me!'
I hear you, but keep in mind, the tools that build beautiful, sturdy, long lasting homes are equally simple. A hammer and nails puts up walls. A small piece of metal puts up drywall. The tools that build homes are everyday items that anyone can learn to use.
More often than not, we already have the tools we need to build, repair, and maintain our own selves. We just don't consider that they'll work because we sometimes don't trust that if something is simple and easy, it works. But simple and easy is the whole reason these tools do work!
And if it feels as if you've opened an empty toolbox, and there's nothing in there, there's something you can put in there right now. It requires no experience, no classroom, no teacher, and no money. In fact, it's something you're doing right now! Are you ready? Here it is:
If you saw the word BREATHE and thought 'Hoswash! If breathing solved my problems, I wouldn't be on your damn website!' hold tight - I promise this tool is more useful than it sounds.
First of all, it's possible that right now you're breathing shallow and tight. When we breathe in this way, it sends a signal to the body that something is wrong. It triggers chemical responses in us that say, "We're not breathing right! Something is wrong! PANIC! PANIC! PANIC!" This in turn builds on itself, making us feel as if we're right to be afraid, because we feel afraid, and we're breathing tighter, things must be getting worse...
But if we would just take a few deep breaths, it would send an entirely different chemical signal through the body.
Deep breathing soothes the nervous system, slows down the heart rate, and immediately begins to release tension.
Deep breathing is a tool you have right now. Put it in your box and know that soon, that toolbox will be overflowing with a variety of other tools. Tools you will soon master and use with such efficiency, you'll feel like a master of your emotional and mental well-being.
So remember, whatever's happening, you got this! You've got a toolbox, there's already a helpful tool in there, and as you face new challenges, you will naturally add more. I find this exercise to be the most helpful when I actually write it down. I write TOOLBOX at the top of a piece of paper, and then list all my tools, even the ones I'm just beginning to learn, below it. Once you start writing, you'll be surprised how many things you think of.
If you're still not feeling better, and spiraling down in feelings of anxiety or overwhelm, you might want to try my Deep Relief & Emotional Healing meditation. It's specifically designed for when you can't stop intense, negative feelings. I would also suggest Surrender & Allow, which is so soothing it can also be used a sleep aid. Best of all, you can add these as tools to your already growing toolbox!
Have you ever seen this photo of a potato? It sold for a million dollars. It's by the artist Kevin Abosch.
One potato. One photo. ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
For real. No tricks. No gimmicks. It wasn't being auctioned for charity, so no one did this out of the kindness of their heart. Someone wanted to pay it, and someone wanted to sell it for that amount. I don't know about you, but when I hear this it triggers all kinds of intense thoughts in me.
The idea that someone did this forces me to question my feelings about greed, value, self-worth, and limitless potential.
On the one hand, I'm amazed that someone valued themselves and their work so highly that they didn't bat an eye at this. On the other hand, the idea of doing this myself terrifies me, and so I want to judge the people who participated in this.
The only way Kevin could sell a photo of a potato for a million dollars is if he believed he could. If Kevin believed in lack and scarcity, and if he believed art has no real value, then this photo would probably be in a flea market right now, where Kevin would be struggling to sell it for $20. But Kevin doesn't play small. Kevin doesn't limit his potential. Kevin clearly believe that all possibilities are available, and that his work is worth whatever he damn well decides it is.
Now, let's be clear here - the price was a million from the get go. Non-negotiable.
Potato #345 (2010), as the photo is known, was always priced at $1,000,000. And that was exactly what Kevin told people when he showed it to them. The fact that he had the chutzpah to do this blows me away.
Because I don't believe in myself in that way, and I don't believe this is possible, I want to be cynical about this.
I want to believe this is just a reflection of the absurdity of wealthy people. I want to believe this is ridiculous, and the reflection of one man's out of control ego. I want to believe this is greedy and wrong.
What I don't want to do is ask myself why I would never value my own work in this way. I don't want to have to consider that when I say all things are possible, it includes this. I don't want to have to consider that I am a firm believer in thoughts become things but ONLY in a way that makes me comfortable.
If I'm being honest, this challenges so many ideas I have about myself and my potential that I can hardly sit with it. It makes me realize I have constricting and limiting conditions attached to the idea of value. It makes me so uncomfortable I don't want to believe Kevin and I exist on the same planet, with the same sets of Universal, cosmic laws.
And yet we do. If I really wanted to, I could stretch and expand myself and face all my worthiness issues until I too did this, in my own way. But as I write this, I don't believe that I can. And since I don't believe it... well as Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right!"
I'm currently enrolled in the mindbodygreen course 'Guided Visualizations' by Emily Fletcher. I bought this program for myself, but am now an affiliate for the program, which I have linked below.
I initially began with the video to help put a person at ease when interviewing, hoping it would help ease my anxiousness whenever I have to pitch a story idea.
At first I wasn't sure if it was working, but I have been noticing lately subtle changes in how I feel. I feel less afraid overall, which I think is in part because in the visualization she says to see yourself walking into the room and knowing you belong there . This in itself caused a big shift in how I view myself and my place in this world.
I stopped playing the interview video and decided today I was ready for the one that really scares me - public speaking. Eep! I have tangled with my fear of public speaking for years. What I know about this fear is it's the fear of being seen and not being liked. On a deeper level, it's the fear of confrontation, because I'm afraid I'll say something someone won't like and they'll want to confront me about it.
When I sat down to play the video I wasn't as nervous as I expected I would be. Yes, even the idea of visualizing public speaking makes me nervous. This tells me that perhaps the first visualization was doing more than I realized.
Emily began by talking about when she was nervous to give a talk at Google Headquarters, and her husband said something to the effect of, "Stop thinking of it as having only two possible outcomes - success or failure. There's a whole range of points on the scale in between!"
This shift in perspective released so much weight off of me. I could see how this more open perspective applies to so many things in life. More often than not, we do a good enough job. There are hardly any times when we do such an atrocious job that we feel we totally bombed. And yet, we approach most things with the expectation of either knocking it out of the park or blowing it in epic proportions.
And when we don't have a slam dunk success, we automatically deem it a failure. But what about all the shades of gray in between those two black and white points?
Before this, I really was fixated on two ways my public speaking (and most things in my life) would go - absolute success or absolute failure.
That doesn't leave a lot of room for growth. It doesn't allow me to start at hey I didn't pass out from nerves, that went better than I thought! It doesn't allow me to start where I am and then say, you know what, that was good enough. I got up there, I did my thing, and it was fine.
I know it's not exciting, but sometimes aiming for "good enough" is just what we need to calm our minds and stop the anxiety train. It feels great to know we nailed something and did the absolute best we could, but starting with "good enough" or even "I made it through" might be what we need in order to get to, "That was the best I've ever done!"
I'm going to try using this new approach when I feel overwhelmed by the fear and doubt that tends to creep in when I'm putting myself out there. I believe it could help take the pressure off, and when there's no pressure things tend to unfold as they're meant to.
If you'd like to learn more about Emily's course hop on over to mindbodygreen. The course is $59.99 and presented in six modules.