I Ching Wisdom Message {September 2018}

We’ve made it through the “weird and intense” (in my clients words) energies of Eclipse Season and Mercury Retrograde this summer! Hallelujah! So now that the energetic tides are shifting once again, what do we do?

I consulted with my favorite Oracle system, the I Ching, to find out.

The I Ching speaks in hexagrams, and has used the hexagrams “REFORM” and “EXCHANGE” to describe these new energies moving in. 

So grab a cup of tea, get cozy, and read on to find out exactly what "REFORM" and "EXCHANGE" mean and how you can use them now to create some powerful shifts in your own life.

The work many of you were called to do this summer during Eclipse Season was what I refer to as "walking the path of darkness". You were forced to face your discomfort and triggers, so you could go deep into the depths of yourSELF and bring light and awareness to old wounds (that were ripe to be healed) and anywhere you had fallen out of alignment with your soul desires. It was a very difficult and emotionally challenging time for many!

But now that Eclipse season has ended, and Mercury and Mars have just gone direct, you’re likely feeling a newfound lightness, flow, and inspiration returning. You've uncovered what you needed to in the darkness (for now), and are now being invited to integrate it in a more playful way, as you "walk the path of light". 

You see, the important message that's ripe for learning now is that LIGHT and DARK (yin and yang) are two parts of one whole. The energies are meant to work together (in EXCHANGE) to help you grow and reach your full potential and purpose in this life.

Without integrating the experiences you have during times of darkness with times of light, you won't be processing lessons and growing as quickly and smoothly as you could (and thus it'll take you much longer to reach your potential and find true happiness...if you ever do in this lifetime).

The heavier energetic times of DARKNESS or yin (which we're leaving now), exist to:

  • shake you up, trigger you, and make you feel uncomfortable,
  • force you to slow way down so you can reflect deeply on those uncomfortable or stuck areas,
  • help you see exactly how you are feeding your own suffering, and what you need to change/release/do differently so you can heal and get back into alignment.

So while the heavier times of darkness are insanely powerful for gaining deep truth and clarity, it's often difficult to do the heavy lifting needed to create physical change, during that time.

This is simply because you’re using most of your energy trying to get clarity, while also staying grounded enough to keep your emotions from overwhelming you. The truth is, many people go into a really dark, hopeless, helpless, lonely place during times of darkness...and it takes every ounce of energy they can muster to simply survive. 

But if you do survive the darkness, the tides will always change bringing the light back in.

The energetic times of LIGHT or yang, on the other hand, are there to pull you out of that dark hole, and bring back lightness, flow, excitement, inspiration, possibility, and motivation.

This time of light, which is returning now, is crucial for fully integrating what you uncovered during the time of darkness. And since your energy is no longer being consumed by managing your emotional turbulence (aka. staying sane) and gaining clarity, you can now more easily make the changes (REFORMS) needed to bring about healing and alignment.

The energetic times of LIGHT or yang (which we're entering now) give you space to:

  • process and celebrate the insights and lessons you gained during the time of darkness,
  • make the necessary changes to your thoughts, behaviors, and life, based on what you discovered during the time of darkness,
  • enjoy life to the fullest, and let yourself be guided by joy (and whatever lights you up)!

A message of CAUTION:

The I Ching also has a message of caution for you now. While you may have gained some clarity during the intense time of DARKNESS that's ending, it's very easy to forget what you learned and fall back into old patterns, once the flow and excitement of LIGHT sweeps in.

If you go back on auto-pilot and don't complete the healing and alignment that you started over the past couple months, you'll simply re-create those stagnant patterns. And you'll have to begin the healing process again, during the next wave of darkness.

IMAGE to help you understand these new energies:

IMG_2967.JPG

A powerful way the universe gives us messages is through synchronicity (aka. meaningful coincidences). This weekend my pup found a deer skull on our camping trip. The first time he brought it to me I didn't think anything of it (except for "yuck! don't eat that!"). But then he brought it to me a second and third time! And, eventually, I got the message.

I looked up the symbolic meaning of deer and immediately knew it was meant to be shared with you here. Deer medicine helps you bring grace and intuition into your life, in even the most challenging times. And that grace and strong connection to your intuition, is exactly what's needed to flow smoothly between times of darkness and times of light.

Simply surviving the dark times, does not always lead you to your gifts and growth potential. You must do the work I described above. And going through life unconscious of these shifts and how to navigate them, is a very scary, lonely, and anxiety-inducing place to be!

But if you can navigate the ongoing dance between light and dark consciously and armed with the proper tools, it is a very empowering journey of finding your gifts, your power, and your purpose....and of living a life of true happiness and fulfillment.

And the most powerful way I've found to do this is through consistent meditation and spiritual practices.

If this message resonates with you and you've been wanting to start your own meditation practice, I invite you to join me for my free "Meditate with Ease: 7 Day Challenge" here.

You can read all about it and sign-up here. We get started in a couple weeks!!

Full Moon Energetic Reading {August 2017}

Making time for deeper reflection and working with oracle systems are two of the main tools that have helped me find more peace, and continue to grow quickly to create the change I crave in all areas of my life. Full moons (and new moons) are an especially powerful time to pause, go within, and gain insight, that will get you closer to your desires.

Each month at the full moon, I consult my favorite oracle system (the I Ching) and ask, "How can we can best use the current energies to move more powerfully along our path, and manifest what we desire most in our lives, right now?"

This month the I Ching answers us with hexagram #38, "OPPOSITION".

The struggle between good and evil, life and death, and all such opposites may now appear to be simply the natural interaction of the great forces in the universe, as you develop the perspective of the sage [or wise person].
— R.L. Wing

The message this month is a reminder that the world we live in, is a world of DUALITY. So while it may be human nature to seek what's "good" and brings you pleasure, the "bad", painful, uncomfortable, and challenging moments are also just as natural. The ancient Chinese yin-yang symbol has represented this concept of opposition and duality for thousands of years.

yin yang.jpg

And not only are painful occurrences natural, but the opposition or dance between pleasure and pain is a very necessary one for your growth and the creation of your deepest desires.

Sure following your joy is a lovely path towards creating your dreams, but this month you're reminded that challenges, negative-feedback, and mistakes also guide you towards the creation of your dreams. And the more you can accept and embrace this as a natural and beneficial part of life, the more peace you'll experience and the faster you'll manifest your deepest desires.

Take a moment and think of one of your biggest lessons or times of growth, that you feel grateful for now. My bet is that it didn't follow a very peaceful or pleasurable moment of your life, but rather came after something painful and challenging. That is the natural power of opposition at work! 

So during this full moon phase, you have the enhanced ability to fully understand, embody, and utilize this powerful universal truth of "Opposition", for great change in your life right now.

So what does this "opposition" look like?

In order to use this power of opposition that we're speaking of here, it's important to know what it actually looks like on a day to day basis. Opposition will simply show up as anything that takes you away from your desired state of peace and comfort, into a more uncomfortable or painful state. This discomfort can be emotional (like anger, anxiety, fear, guilt, etc.), or it can be physical pain. Or it can simply be less defined as a general state of discontent or stuckness. 

And, how can you work with this "opposition" to get breakthroughs and growth?

  1. First, Pause and acknowledge the opposition is there: Do this by silently naming it when you notice it. You can be specific and say "anger", "fear", "guilt", etc. Or you can simply say "pain" or "opposition".
  2. Recognize the discomfort as guidance and lean into it. So often when we feel any sort of discomfort, we want to immediately numb it with something. We seek distractions in tv, alcohol, shopping, or other pleasure-inducing activities. To really uncover the growth opportunity through opposition, you've got to have the courage and strength to sit with and lean into your pain. 
  3. Notice if you're making yourself a victim and shift it: Victim mindset can show up as you blaming someone or something else for your pain. Or it'll show up as you sitting in self-pity and feeling sorry for yourself. Staying stuck in victim mode will simply prolong the pain and keep you from finding the lesson in it, and moving forward.
  4. Uncover the hidden growth opportunity in your pain or difficult situation. Do this by reflecting on one of the following questions, or come up with your own. Note: this may take some time and may unfold slowly over the next couple weeks of this waning moon. Just keep coming back to these questions until you gain some insight.
    • "What is the hidden lesson or growth opportunity in this?" 
    • "What does this pain make possible for me, that wasn't possible before?"
    • "How have I been feeding my own pain and keeping myself stuck? And how can I now stop and move forward towards the change I crave?"
  5. Relax, trust, and have faith in the process

One of my favorite quotes sums up what's possible when you really learn how to use the power of "opposition" in your life.

As we rise to meet the challenges that are a natural part of living, we awaken to our many undiscovered gifts, to our inner power, and to our purpose.
— Susan L. Taylor

Let me know in the comments below, how you're using the power of "Opposition" to create a breakthrough in your life during this full moon period! 

Full Moon Energetic Reading

Reflection (and working with oracles) is one of the main meditation techniques that has helped me find more peace and continues to help me grow and create the change I crave in all areas of my life. Full moons (and new moons) are an especially powerful time to go within, so you can uncover what will get you closer to your desires (especially if you've been feeling stuck lately).

Each month at the full moon, I consult my favorite oracle system (the I Ching) and ask, "How can we can best use the current energies to move more powerfully along our path, and manifest what we desire most in our lives, right now?"

This month the I Ching answers us with hexagram #40, "LIBERATION".

Once you finally dispense with emotional ruts or resentments from former times, you will have an excellent opportunity for personal advancement...When liberation is complete, when the tensions of the storm have passed, your spirit will be refreshed and stimulated. The ground will be cleared for new growth, and the future will appear promising.
— R.L. Wing, The I Ching Workbook

This hexagram is a reminder that so much of what holds you back from manifesting or creating the change you desire in your life, is YOU, and not some outside person or force. 

Your own habitual mindsets and behaviors play the biggest role in whether or not you're able to manifest your desires. States of chronic fear, stress, and anxiety all contract your energy and keep you from doing what you need to do to create the things you crave most in love, money, career, health etc. 

So if you find you've been feeling stuck in some area of your life, and not able to create the change you so deeply want, the message for you is: NOW is the time LIBERATE yourself from those self-imposed mental and behavioral shackles! 

I'm no stranger to creating my own inner-shackles. And in fact I spent years allowing my anxiety, doubts, and stress to hold me back (without even realizing I was doing it!). It wasn't until I discovered meditation that I began to see 5 very specific mental and behavioral habits that were constantly keeping me stuck in a stressed state and blocking me from moving forward in certain areas of my life. 

When I was able to liberate myself from these 5 "stress habits" (aka. manifestation enemies), and replace them with their opposing "peace habits" (aka. manifestation allies), that's exactly when I began to see positive shifts in every area of my life- from love, to money, to health, etc. 

So if you're feeling blocked from manifesting anything in your life, stop looking for what more you need to do, and start looking at what mindset or behavior patterns you may need to liberate yourself from during this full moon. 

And if you struggle with chronic stress, fear, or anxiety, below are the 5 stress habits that blocked me from creating the change I craved in my life for years, and are very likely blocking you too! Take a moment to sit quietly and reflect on the following questions to determine if you need to liberate yourself from any of the these stress habits, to begin creating what it is you desire most right now. (and if you prefer journaling, you can also use these as journal prompts).


5 STRESS-HABITS that may be keeping you stuck from creating the change you so deeply crave in your life

1) DISTRACTION from the present.

  • Reflection Questions: "Do I have a habit of allowing my mind to constantly wander from the present to dwell on the past, or worry/obsess about the future? Do I constantly feel overwhelmed from multi-tasking and trying to do (or think about) too many things at once?"

2) SELF-NEGLECT

  • Reflection Questions: "Do I often neglect my self-care by not honoring my own needs and boundaries? Do I often make excuses as to why I don't have time for self-care?"
    • **think overcommitting yourself, lax boundaries with others, not getting enough sleep, not getting enough mental rest (aka. meditation), not getting enough physical activity, poor eating and water drinking habits, overconsumption of coffee, alcohol, etc.

3) RESISTANCE to what is

  • Reflection Questions: "Do I tend to cling to pleasurable experiences and resist uncomfortable ones, forgetting that pain (physical and emotional) is a very natural (and often necessary) part of life and growth?"

4) SELF-JUDGEMENT

  • Reflection Questions: "Do I expect perfection from myself, and tend towards shame, guilt, or negative self-talk any time I make a mistake, don't reach my goals quick enough, or fall back into an old pattern?" 

5) Creating FALSE-STORIES

  • Reflection Questions: "Is there somewhere in my life I tend to take things very personally and often feel like a victim (of another's actions or a certain circumstance I find myself in)? Am I creating certain stories or meanings about this other person's actions or a circumstance, they may be untrue?"
    • For example when my boyfriend and I started dating, I had a tendency to take everything he said to me personally, and make it mean something about me and my self-worth. So if he was closed off or short with me, I immediately created a story in my head that his feelings for me had changed, or that I did something wrong. When in fact, there were many other reasons his energy and actions could have shifted! Turns out, it was usually work stress. 
    • So the key here is to realize you're making assumptions and stories up all the time! Start looking for them, because they're simply feeding your stress and keeping you stuck.

After you complete this reflection ritual, write down any breakthroughs or realizations you had. Then thank yourself for taking this time for self-care.

Happy full moon!

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7 Steps to Consciously Create Your Dreams this Year

There are a lot of misinterpretations of this sort of woo woo concept of "manifestation" (I actually prefer the term conscious creation). In many cases, those who have only heard the term casually often think manifestation advocates are claiming that all you have to do is think about what you want hard enough and it will magically appear. Not quite.

I'd like to introduce you to my own interpretation of manifestation (aka. conscious creation). I see it less as simply getting what you want and more as a personal growth journey of becoming what you want. In my experience, the things I wanted most (more love and connection in my relationship, more money in my business, etc.) never ended up being the gold of the manifestation journey, but rather the motivation and fuel for it. And instead, the gold of manifestation has always been the self-discovery and personal growth that I was forced to undergo in order to manifest or create what I wanted.

If you want something and it manifests easily for you, wonderful!! But in order to manifest (create, attract, etc.) something that you're having a hard time manifesting, you've got to look deep within and see how you're blocking yourself from getting it or keeping it.

Just because something comes easily, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to hold onto it, or that it’ll make you happy.

I often think about those people who desire money and spend a lot of time and energy playing the lottery. You've probably heard the stories of them winning millions, only to lose it quickly and go into debt. And then they're no happier or better off than they were before they won. The point being, just because someone is able to manifest the money (love, etc.), does not mean they know how to maintain it, or that they'll be happier because of it.

You've really got to prepare yourself (from the inside out) to manifest and maintain your deepest desires. If your habitual beliefs, thoughts, and actions don't match what it takes to maintain your desires, you won't be able to maintain them. Just like those lotto winners that lose their money shortly after winning it. 

The 7 step process below is how you can not only manifest your deepest desires, but also prepare yourself to maintain them. Happy manifesting beauty!

1. KNOW WHAT YOU DESIRE

The first step to creation is to really take the time to dream into what you want.

Everything is created twice, first in the mind [as an intention] and then in reality [as a physical manifestation].
— Robin Sharma

The key here is to really imagine what it would be like to have what you want, and FEEL it as if it already exists. Think of this first step sort of as daydreaming or fantasizing. Your only job right now is to really allow yourself to feel and get excited about the WHAT.

One of the biggest blocks at this step, is being preoccupied with the HOW. Worrying about how you’re going to create what you want at this stage, will only serve to block you energetically from manifesting it.

TAKE ACTION:

  1. Carve out at least 20 minutes to get still, calm your mind (try some mindful breathing), and really visualize what it is you truly want to manifest most right now. If you find yourself worrying about the how or fearing it’s impossible try this. Imagine you have a magic wand and anything is possible! What would you manifest then?

  2. Have fun with this fantasy and visualize yourself as if you already have what you want. As you enjoy the fruits of your new manifestation, notice how you’re FEELING. Are you feeling confident, playful, at ease, purposeful, fulfilled, etc.? When you come back from that fantasy, write down your main feelings.

  3. NOTE: The FEELINGS are key because in most cases what you think you desire will shift over time, but the feelings your soul is truly craving will remain the same- which means you've got a much better chance at getting what you truly want if you follow feelings vs. things.

  4. Create a visual representation that will help you stay connected to your desired feelings, and keep it somewhere you’ll see it daily. I have a special table in my home where I set up an altar dedicated to what I’m currently working to manifest, and I stand in front of it to reconnect with my vision for a few moments each day (or at least a few times a week, when I feel like I start to doubt or fall off track). This “vision board” or desire altar, can be made up of words, pictures, or anything else that connects you to what it feels like to have what you desire.

vision board

2. RELEASE it, ASK for guidance, TRUST the process, and have PATIENCE

I’ve got some great news for you. 

When it comes to manifestation, you are not the sole creator of your life, but a co-creator with the universe (God, the divine, etc.).

Why is this great news? Well for one, you’re only human, so if you mistakenly ask for something that’s not in your highest and best, the universe can step in and help guide you to something more aligned. And secondly, sometimes you feel really stuck around how you’re going to get from where you are, to where you want to be (the how I mentioned above). In this case, the universe can step in and provide you with bread crumbs for you to follow towards manifesting your desires.

TAKE ACTION:

  • RELEASE IT + ASK FOR GUIDANCE: This is about letting go/ surrendering your vision (from step 1 above) to the universe. This means you stop trying to force it into existence and stop trying to control every single aspect of the creation process. Because let’s face it, if you could easily will it into existence, you would already have it. As writer Paulo Coelho says,

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”.

So simply declare, “Universe, I want ____, and I want to feel _____. Please help me create that, by
giving me guidance and clues that I can interpret.” (or create your own statement
with a similar intention)

  • TRUST THE PROCESS + HAVE PATIENCE: I know this is easier said than done, but again, it’s so important to trust the unfolding process and stop trying to force progress…especially if it doesn’t seem to be getting you anywhere. I’ve found that so much of my own growth, empowerment, and self-discovery have come from the experience of creating my desires (the manifestation process itself)….not from having whatever I want easily handed to me.

Ultimately manifestation is about personal growth and evolution, and this all takes time! If you try to rush it, or if you lose faith, you’ll slow the process down even more.

  • AFFIRMATIONS are a simple yet powerful way to shift your mindset any time you fall into the low vibrational mindset of “it’s taking too long”, or you lose faith that the manifestation process is still unfolding at all. Try this one or make up your own: “I trust that everything is unfolding in divine timing and for my highest and best.”

3. Practice MINDFULNESS and maintain a HIGH VIBRATIONAL energetic state

Once you hand over your desire to the universe, in most cases it won’t just magically land on your lap. Remember, I said manifestation is a process to help you grow and discover yourself on a deeper level (so you can receive what you desire). Once you declare it and ask for help, the universe will give you clues to help you create what you want. The challenge is staying open and in a high vibrational state (hope, optimism, faith, etc) so you can see and act on these clues. If you’re stuck in low vibrational states (fear, doubt, desperation, etc) it’ll be very hard to recognize the clues and thus create your desires.

TAKE ACTION:

  • As much as possible, stay grounded, open, and present so you can recognize clues. Practicing MINDFULNESS meditation daily will help you do this. Then, look for clues in the form of:

    1. SYNCHRONICITIES: meaningful coincidences that catch your attention and nudge you in a direction

    2. OPPORTUNITIES: things that excite, and possibly scare you. They can be random ideas that pop up or opportunities that seem to magically land on your lap. In many cases they're just slightly out of your comfort zone, but are ultimately going to help you grow and create your desire.

    3. CHALLENGES/ BLOCKS: any resistance or difficulty that arises as you work towards creating your desire. Contrary to how it may feel, these are actually opportunities also. They’re opportunities to learn a lesson and/or shed any limiting mindsets and behaviors that are blocking you from receiving your desires.

  • And if you find yourself stuck in a low vibrational state (fear, doubt, loss of faith, desperation etc.), shift that shit!!

Remember, ultimately you have control over your mindset and energetic state.

If you slip into a lower, fear-based state…which is natural and will happen…notice it quickly and do something to shift it. Tools I use to shift my mindset are gratitude practice, affirmations, dance, getting outside in nature, acts of self-care, creating art,doing something fun, journaling, or even playing with oracles. Anything you can do to shift your perspective and find the faith, hope, and excitement again will work!

4. RELEASE BLOCKS

Blocks are simply a general term for anything that makes you feel stuck on your path to manifesting your desires. Basically, they occur when you’re resisting a lesson or any change that wants to take place for your highest and best (and for the manifestation process to unfold). Blocks can show up as:

  • A challenging situation given to you by the universe to overcome in order to shape your character, help you grow, learn a lesson, or simply course correct.

Like school, life is trying to prepare you for what's to come (your purpose). And in many cases, lessons come through a bit of adversity.

  • Emotional discomfort indicating that something within you is out of alignment and needs to be released. In many cases these are things you’re clinging to that are keeping you from receiving your desires. These “things” can be entire situations or relationships that drain you and keep you in an energetically low-vibe state (and distracted from creating your desires). Or they can be patterned mindsets and behaviors that you’ve adopted but no longer serve who you want to become or what you want to create in your life.

TAKE ACTION:

  • First, simply acknowledge this block is not an attack from someone else or the universe, but actually an opportunity for you to grow. Many of us feel victimized by someone else or the universe when faced with an obstacle.

This victim mindset, where you blame others for your pain and misfortune, simply serves to disempower you from learning the lessons you’re meant to learn, and block you from creating the change you seek.

Instead, anytime you feel blocked and like a powerless victim of your circumstances, repeat this affirmation (or create your own). “All of my obstacles are opportunities. As I rise to meet these challenges that are a natural part of living, I awaken to my many undiscovered gifts, my inner power, and my purpose."

  • Second, do some REFLECTION to gain insight into what this block is trying to tell you. My favorite reflection practices, to help me understand the opportunities in my obstacles, are: using oracles (like the I Ching), journaling, and meditating on simple questions like, “What does this make possible, that wasn’t possible before?; What do I need to learn in order to grow from this?; What do I need to release that’s holding me back from receiving what I desire? How am I creating my own suffering right now?”

  • Finally, take action on the insight and release what needs to be released! As Picasso said,

“Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction”.

So in order to make space for what you want to create, you’ve got to destroy/ release/ let go of something(s). Remember, if you were ready to receive what you desired, you’d already have it. 

Releasing takes courage and the trust that something better is coming along!

  • NOTE: Sometimes simply uncovering the cause of a block will allow it to release quickly, on it’s own. But in many cases the root of the block is a deeply ingrained thought or behavioral habit. And in this case, letting it go can be an ongoing process that takes time, patience, and perseverance. Think of it as peeling back the layers of an onion. You’ll keep doing it over, and over, and over again until you get that final layer off.

  • A meditation tool I love to use for releasing is VISUALIZATION. I write down all the things I want to release and imagine throwing them into a big bonfire, one by one. Then I watch them burn as I feel them being released from my body. I also sometimes invoke the power of goddesses. Kali is a very powerful energy for letting go of things no longer serving you. There are lots of meditation tools to help with releasing, but ultimately it's all about your intention. If you need help with this, you know where to find me :)

5. ACT on OPPORTUNITIES, SYNCHRONICITIES, INSPIRED IDEAS, and JOY 

Challenges are one way the universe guides you towards the creation of your desires. Fortunately, once you put your intentions out to the universe, guidance can also come in more pleasant packages. Look for these pleasant packages in the form of:

  • Exciting Opportunities: These are aligned opportunities that, after feeling stuck, seem to land on your lap as if by magic. If you set an intention and then something comes along that feels aligned with it, it’s a gift from the universe.

In many cases these new opportunities may feel a little scary. You may not feel ready for them. But growth is always just out of your comfort zone.

As they say, fortune favors the bold! So please don't waste an opportunity out of fear. Take action on it!

  • Inspired Ideas: The universe can also work as a muse delivering you new and exciting ideas. Many great artists like Beethoven and Michelangelo refused to take credit for their works, instead saying they were divinely inspired. So notice what new ideas start to pop up for you, and take action on them!

  • Synchronicities: These are what Carl Jung calls "meaningful coincidences". They're the coincidences that seem to catch your attention and gently nudge you in a specific direction. When you notice one, get curious and see where it leads you (aka. take action on it).

  • Joy: Even if you don’t see obvious guidance, you can simply take it upon yourself to do things that bring you joy. Joy is always a great indicator you're headed in the right direction. Not to mention, joy is a high-vibrational state, which means you're much more likely to attract those other opportunities we discussed above.

So take a class, attend an event, create art, read that fiction book you’ve been saying you have no time for, visit a new coffee shop to work or read from, talk to that person that caught your attention at that event, etc.

It’s amazing how simply following the things that light you up, can lead you to your purpose and the creation of your deepest desires.

6. Have PATIENCE and ENJOY THE JOURNEY 

I know I’ve already mentioned patience in step #2, but it bears repeating. The only difference between success and failure is the ability to not give up. As Napolean Hill said,

“Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”

Letting go of mediocrity in order to manifest your deepest soul desires, isn’t an easy journey. But it’s the most fulfilling journey for the human soul and will help shape you into the best most true version of yourself. Are you ready for this wild adventure?

7. Get SUPPORT

And finally, you don’t have to do it alone. Find a mentor, find community, get support. There are many people out there on their own journey of greatness. There’s a saying that you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. I completely agree that the more you surround yourself with those who are also doing the work, the more empowered and inspired you’ll feel to push out of your comfort zone, and keep going too. Find these people, and keep them close!

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Full Moon I Ching Wisdom {September}

Full moons are always an energetically potent time, ripe for bringing about great transformation. They're also known for stirring up emotions, to help shine a light on your blocks, so you can release them and create more flow and alignment in your life.

This month, we've got a full moon and a lunar eclipse. So it's an especially powerful time to gain insight and more easily create any shifts you've been craving in your life! To assist us in utilizing this month's full moon energy to create shifts, I asked my favorite oracle and spiritual tool, the I Ching, what energies are most potent now, and how we can best use them. (fyi: the I Ching speaks in a language called hexagrams)

And it answered us with two Hexagrams, #16 "DELIGHT" and #17 "FOLLOWING".

I've noticed a trend with clients and friends I've spoken to lately. They've got a clear picture of what they want. They're visualizing it regularly and working really hard to achieve it. They're putting in long hours, saying no to things that hold them back, and being mindful to uncover any mental blocks that could stand in their way. They're doing the work, but something just feels off.

And when they take a moment to reflect, they realize that while they're more committed to their dream than ever, they're not actually having fun creating it.

They've forgotten a very important and fundamental truth. They've forgotten that enjoying the journey is is an important part of the life, because life is the journey...not the destination.

You think that the goal is to be over there, and we say the goal is the journey over there. But the goal is the fun you have along the way, on your way over there.
— Abraham-Hicks

Too often we think some goal will bring us the happiness we seek, only to get there and find we're still not happy.

So you're now reminded to come back to what truly DELIGHTS you. What was it about your original dream or goal that lit you up?

When you close your eyes and picture yourself in your dream scenario, what are the core feelings you notice?

Do you feel Free? Advnenturous? Connected? Loved? Ease? Joy? etc.

And when you think about your journey thus far to create your dream scenario, what are the core feelings you've been feeling? Do they match the feelings above? Or are they more in the realm of Stressed, Overwhelmed, Fearful, or Anxious?

The I Ching hexagram of Delight, reminds us that if we're waiting for the manifestation of our dream scenario to feel those desired feelings, we've got it all backwards. 

Instead, it's by working to cultivate those desired feelings on a daily basis, that we'll get to our dream scenario with more ease.

By doing things daily that create those desired feelings in you: 

  • you'll enjoy the creation process (aka. your life) more,
  • you'll be in a more open energetic state to receive guidance and synchronistic opportunities,
  • AND you'll get "there" faster. Even if "there" doesn't look like how you originally imagined it would.

So get back to those desired feelings that truly DELIGHT you....on a deep soul level. For me it's adventure, freedom, and deep connection. I started this online spiritual business to connect on a deeper level with women, to create more freedom in my life so I could travel and feel adventurous. But after some time pushing forward, I realized I felt disconnected and confined sitting behind my computer working all day, and I felt bored and stale...not adventurous at all!!

Once I had that realization, I realized that I didn't have to wait until I could take regular trips to far off places to feel free and adventurous, nor did I have to wait until I was ready to lead women's groups in by business to feel deeply connected. If I chose to, I could create those feelings on a daily basis starting now!

Here's what I did, and what you can do during this full moon too.

  1. Visualize your dream scenario and tap into what your main feelings are in it.
  2. Grab pen and paper, and write down each feeling core feeling across the top of your paper (leaving space below each one to brainstorm).
  3. Now, go one by one, and brainstorm things you can do now that would cultivate that feeling in you. Be creative and be open to different possibilities.

So for me it was a vision of me working my dream job as a spiritual mentor and traveling the world to teach and meet new people. This vision brought me feelings of adventure, freedom, and deep connection. While I'm not at my dream scenario yet and was starting to feel stale and disconnected as I worked to create that vision, I knew I could start creating those feelings right now regardless of my current outside circumstances.

To create feelings of adventure and freedom, I began scheduling myself an hour to take a walk every day. I'll drive my car to a new part of my neighborhood that I'd never been, park, and just start walking (after dropping a pin to mark my starting point on my phone!).

I love the feeling of taking in new houses, new smells, and even of getting lost after wandering for awhile. Here are some pics from my adventure today. I even discovered a creek a couple miles from my house!

 

Images by Brandi Grooms, brandigrooms.com

Images by Brandi Grooms, brandigrooms.com

And to create the deep connection I'd been craving, I became a founding member of a new local women's networking group. I started working closely with other like-minded women to plan events and create a community of local high-vibe entrepreneurs.

It's been so much fun! And I'm now feeling that sense of  connection I craved on a daily basis!

 

 

 

 

If you stop pushing yourself kicking and screaming towards your goals, tap into those feelings that actually bring you delight, and allow them to guide you throughout your days, you'll find so much more ease, happiness, and success in your life. 

Give it a try and let me know how it goes in the comments below!

Full Moon I Ching Wisdom {August}

Full moons are always an energetically potent time, ripe for bringing about great transformation. They're also known for stirring up emotions, to help shine a light on your blocks, so you can release them and create more flow and alignment in your life.

To assist us in utilizing this month's full moon energy to our advantage, I asked my favorite oracle and spiritual tool, the I Ching, what energies are most potent now, and how we can best use them to create growth and change in our lives. (fyi: the I Ching speaks in a language called hexagrams)

The answer it gives us is Hexagram #61, "CONFIDENCE WITHIN".

Over the past few years of writing on this blog and working with clients, I've started to notice a unifying thread among those of you attracted to my work. Most of you crave personal growth and deep soul alignment. And even if you don't realize it yet, you're just not content settling for mediocrity in any area of your life. Sure, you may get stuck there from time to time out of fear or the need to feel safe....but eventually you hear your soul's longings to grow and finally seek out change.

This month's message from the I Ching is for you change seekers and personal growth junkies. Especially those of you currently hiding out in the safety of mediocrity. Like a snake shedding a skin that no longer fits, it is time to transform!

And one of the most critical traits needed for the path of transformation and achieving personal greatness is CONFIDENCE.

Not just any confidence, but that deep soul, confidence that grows through experience, wisdom, courage, and trust. The I Ching calls this, "CONFIDENCE WITHIN".

If you're serious about creating a life of deep fulfillment and becoming the best you can be, you've got to unlock that powerful quality of "confidence within". 

We can not do anything of significance until we believe in ourselves. You have to know what you can do, you have to be confident in your core values, and you have to be willing to act. Then there is Confidence Within. Accomplishments create more confidence, and more confidence creates greater success.
— The Living I Ching, Deng Ming-Dao

But how do you create confidence when you feel you don't quite have any yet?

This was a question I had not too long ago. I did google searches and bought books on "confidence" hoping to absorb some of that magical quality through the words on the pages. When that didn't work, I eventually realized that confidence was actually already within me.

Confidence is something we're born with that can lay dormant if we allow it to, through fear and hiding out in safe and mediocre circumstances for too long.

The path to awakening that dormant inner confidence is through ACTION. As the I Ching says, "Confidence increases when there is progress." 

THE POWER OF BABY STEPS

As a sensitive person who's struggled a lot with fear and anxiety, I realize that the idea of pushing out of your comfort zone to take action can cause even more fear and anxiety and stop you dead in your tracks.

So the key for me in awakening my confidence within, has been taking consistent baby steps over time. 

You don't have to transform your life overnight. For some of you, leaping off a giant cliff to create change may feel invigorating and exciting. But for others (like me), hopping off that stone may be all you can manage right now, and it's enough!

Any step outside of your comfort zone (no matter how small it may feel) will awaken more of your confidence within. With consistent baby steps your confidence will grow. And pretty soon you'll be hopping off boulders, and then eventually that cliff won't feel as scary!

TAKE ACTION (some questions to incorporate into your full moon ritual): 

  • Where in my life am I allowing fear to keep me stuck in mediocrity? 
  • Now visualize what you want instead. Ask yourself "If I had a magic wand and all the confidence in the world, what would be possible for me?" (don't forget to tap into the feelings of that picture)
  • Now visualize a baby step you can take. Something just out of your comfort zone to feel like a stretch, but not too far out that it causes panic, contraction, and shut down.
  • Visualize yourself doing it successfully with ease, confidence, and any other feeling you crave.
  • NOW GO DO IT!! You've got this!

If you need help doing a full moon ritual then this free FULL MOON RITUAL GUIDE is perfect for you!

And if you're still feeling stuck and can't quite stir up the clarity and courage to take that baby step, check out my personalized I CHING CLARITY SESSIONS. That's exactly what they're designed for, and full moons are a powerful time to gain clarity anywhere in your life.

The Ultimate Guide to Starting and Maintaining a Successful Meditation Practice

So what exactly defines a “successful” meditation practice? Over the past 10 years of watching my own meditation ups and downs and speaking to others, I’ve come up with this. A successful practice is one that’s easy, enjoyable, enduring, effective, and makes you more you.

Let's quickly clarify those terms a bit: 

  • "Easy" meaning it doesn’t feel like an uphill battle each and every time you meditate.
  • "Enjoyable” meaning it doesn’t feel like an annoying chore on the to-do list every single time (although there will still be obstacles to deal with some days).
  • "Enduring” meaning you’re consistent with your practice and not just meditating sporadically or only when sh*t hits the fan in your life.
  • “Effective” is a bit more subjective. But to keep it simple for now, let’s just say you get the benefits you crave from your practice (whatever those personal meditation aspirations may be).
  • And finally, a successful practice will help you feel more aligned with your true-self (which will ultimately lead to a deeper sense of happiness, purposefulness, and fulfillment in all areas of your life).
The the thing about meditation is: you become more and more you.
— David Lynch

A quick google search will show you there’s no shortage of free meditation instruction or guided practices out there.

But just because you have some guided practices or basic instruction, doesn't mean your practice will be successful.

If you truly want to cultivate a successful practice that’ll bring you consistent and lasting benefits throughout your life, here are 13 things I wish someone had told me at the beginning of my meditation journey 10 years ago.

1. Connect to your MEDITATION MOTIVATION

When you lose your why, you lose your way.
— Michael Hyatt

Let’s be honest. If you think you don’t have time to meditate, you’ll never find the time. You’ve got to make the time. So with kids, a demanding job, a side hustle, a new relationship, or [insert excuse], how do you do make the time to meditate?!

Making time for your practice takes both a mindset shift and strategy. Let's start with the mindset shift.

Rather than viewing your meditation practice as a nice luxury you wish you had time for, you've got to view it as a self-care necessity that's important enough to become a priority. 

And the best way to do this, is to reconnect with your meditation motivation. The more you remember why you're meditating, the easier it'll be to allow other time-sucking, non-priorities to take a back seat to your practice. And the easier it'll be to allow yourself permission, to take time to meditate.

There’s always enough time to do what’s important to you. If you aren’t doing the right thing in life, it’s because it isn’t important enough to you [yet].
— Larry Winget

TAKE ACTION: If you’re having trouble prioritizing your practice, ask yourself "Why do I meditate?" or "What will having a successful meditation practice make possible for me?"

And then continue to revisit this question any time you lose your why and your way, in your practice.

2. SCHEDULE TIME

If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real.
— Marie Forleo

Once you make the above mindset shift and your practice becomes a priority, there's one more piece to making sure you do it. You need a strategy- a plan. Make it real, by scheduling it. We'll get into more detail on specific aspects of your meditation strategy, but for now start by simply adding it to your schedule. 

TAKE ACTION: Decide when you want to meditate, and write it in your schedule (if you're like me and still use a handwritten planner). Or add it to your online scheduling system (if you're like most modern folk).

3. Create a SACRED SPACE 

If you think about it, we have dedicated spaces in our homes for everything. Cooking, bathing, sleeping, eating, working, etc.

So why don’t more of us have a dedicated space just for being, reflecting, and reconnecting with ourselves?

The secret to a home meditation practice is to create a space where the busyness stops.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

Having a space in your home devoted solely to meditation (and other spiritual practices) is a very powerful way to establish a regular practice. It helps by both,

  1. Serving as a visual trigger to invite you to practice daily (we'll discuss this more in #9), and
  2. Creating an energetic area that can quickly help quiet your mind, and induce feelings of peace and calm whenever you enter it.

Your meditation sacred space can be as simple or ornate as you'd like.

The only non-negotiables are:

  • you can meditate comfortably (a cushion, chair, or some blankets can help with this), and
  • you won’t be disturbed during your practice. Although some outside noise from others is fine (we’ll address this more in #10).

Objects can also help amp up the energy of your space and meditation rituals.

I love decorating my space with pretty objects. Adding things like candles, gemstones, essential oils, goddess pictures, spiritual and personal growth books, etc., help me feel more connected to my space and make me want to spend more time there. 

My meditation sacred space

My meditation sacred space

Take Action: Take a moment to scout your home for a place you’d like to dedicate to meditation. And then decorate it as much, or as little, as you'd like.

4. Start with CONCENTRATION

Once you develop even a little concentration, which happens over a relatively short period of time, all other spiritual practices become easier.
— Ram Dass

One of the biggest obstacles I hear from beginning meditators is “I can’t calm and focus my mind", “I can’t concentrate”, “I can’t quiet my thoughts”, or something else along those lines. While getting rid of thoughts is impossible and not the purpose of meditation, you do need to cultivate the ability to focus your mind and allow distractions to pass you by (without getting swept away by them).

Anyone can can focus and concentrate with practice, no matter how noisy your mind may feel right now.

Believe me, if this anxiety prone over-analyzer can do it, so can you! All it takes is the desire, commitment, and the right tool. And that tool is "concentration meditation” (aka. one-pointedness meditation).

Concentration has been called "the root skill of all meditation practices". When I did my first ten day meditation retreat, they taught us a simple concentration practice that we did for the entire first three days (before ever introducing us to any other meditation technique). They did this because they knew that if we couldn't focus our minds in a simple practice, we would find all other meditation practices frustrating and likely give up. (yes there are many types of meditation and we’ll discuss these further in #5)

Here’s the simple concentration meditation practice I learned in that retreat, and the one I continue to practice to this day to keep my mind clear and focused. 

Take Action: Sign-up for the free guided concentration meditation below, and begin experiencing a calmer more focused mind.

5. CHOOSE the meditation(s) best suited to you 

Does one really have to fret about enlightenment? No matter what road I travel, I’m going home.
— Shinsho

In my 10+ year exploration of meditation, I've come to realize that there are many different types of meditative practices out there.

Not only are there different general categories of meditation like "Concentration" or "Mindfulness",  there are many different ways to practice each of these types of meditation.

I don't tell you this to confuse you, but rather to give you options so you can find a practice that feels best for you. 

If you've struggled with meditation in the past, or feel like you just can't meditate (Spoiler: anyone can meditate), you may not have chosen the practice best suited for you. 

If you're feeling overwhelmed and confused about where to start (or continue) on your meditation journey, here are 4 simple steps to determine which meditation type is best for you from moment to moment:

1. Start with CONCENTRATION

If you're a complete newbie or find it especially hard to calm and focus your mind during meditation, it's really important you start with a simple concentration practice (as we discussed above in #1). I've seen too many people (myself included) who skip this step, get frustrated, and give up when they can't focus during a more complex technique like "Mindfulness". 

Before all of my meditations (no matter which type I choose), I'll start off with a few moments of a concentration practice to calm my mind and firmly ground myself in the present moment.

2. Decide on your meditation INTENTION each time you practice

Are you meditating simply to feel more calm and relaxed? Are you trying to connect with your intuition to make a decision or understand why you’re feeling stuck? Are you trying to manifest or create something new in your life? Being clear on your intention will help you determine which type of meditation is best for you in that moment.

If you're just starting out and meditating to simply reduce stress and feel more peace and calm, that's absolutely fine. That was my sole intention for the first year or so after I found meditation. And the relaxation CD's and mindful breathing practice (yep people still bought CD's back then), did help me feel more momentary glimpses of peace. Back then, I had no idea meditation could be used for anything else and didn't realize there were so many different types of meditation.

But eventually I began craving more from my practice (and life), and found ways to take my practice beyond simple relaxation and begin using it to transform the stuck areas of my love life, career, health, etc.

I did this by expanding my practice to include four different types of meditation. Depending on my current intention, I'll pick from one of the four meditation types below. Note that each general type can be broken down further into many different practices. This gives you many options to choose from based on your personal preferences (which we'll discuss next). I've also created a chart below to help you better understand how they all fit together.

  1. CONCENTRATION (also known as one-pointedness): best to start with to cultivate more acute mental focus and quickly ground your awareness on the present moment.
  2. MINDFULNESS: builds on concentration and helps you cultivate a more expansive present moment awareness, equanimity (or non-judgement), and acceptance of what is.
  3. REFLECTION: best for connecting to your intuition to gain insight, understanding, and solutions to obstacles or stuck areas of your life (or to make tough decisions).
  4. VISUALIZATION: great for grounding and more actively creating transformation of stuck areas of your life (areas that don't naturally shift as you go through the first three types of meditation above).
*Incorporating these four meditation types into my regular practice has helped me create much more   lasting peace   and   life transformation   than focusing on just one. 

*Incorporating these four meditation types into my regular practice has helped me create much more lasting peace and life transformation than focusing on just one. 

3. Honor your meditation PREFERENCES.

I’ve seen so many people beat themselves up over not being able to meditate “properly”. Does an injury prevent you from sitting comfortably? Do you sometimes get too sleepy when you’re sitting or lying down? Do you find it really tough to sit still at all? Don’t beat yourself up or assume you just can’t meditate. Did I mention, everyone can meditate!?

Meditation can be done in several different postures like sitting, lying, walking, or even standing. And there are ways to incorporate meditation into other activities like dancing, yoga, etc.

So you have options. And know that your preferences can and will change based on time of day, mood, energy level, etc. So check in with yourself before you meditate, and decide what feels best.

4. EXPERIMENT

Some people get so caught up trying to decide which meditation to start with, they never get started. It took me weeks to decide which meditation CD to order when I first started out! Just choose one based on the steps above, try it out for a few days or weeks, and see how it feels. Remember, you can always try something else later. 

6. Take your practice OFF THE CUSION

You don’t need to forgive until you need to forgive. You don’t need nerves of steel until you need nerves of steel. You don’t need to call on your reserves of compassion, or fortitude, or faith until you’ve used up everything else. This is why we practice.
— Danielle LaPorte

Meditation can be practiced “on the cushion", in a formal scheduled session. And it can also be practiced more informally “off the cushion”, throughout your day, by bringing more mindfulness into your daily activities and experiences.

We often forget a successful meditation practice isn’t just about showing up to the cushion for those 10+ minutes a day. It’s about using those formal practices to cultivate the ability to show up with more awareness, compassion, and equanimity in your everyday life

After some practice, it’s relatively easy to find moments of peace, awareness, compassion, and equanimity on the meditation cushion. But it can be much harder to conjure those feelings in the midst of a hectic day or crisis. But these are the moments when you need it the most.

For the greatest success, set the intention to also bring your practice off the cushion and begin incorporating mindfulness into your daily interactions and experiences, as much as possible. This can be as simple as taking some deep breaths as you wait in the check-out line at the grocery store or heat your food up at work. Or if you know you're heading into a potentially uncomfortable discussion with your boss or partner, do some grounding and visualization right before hand. 

Adding informal practices into your day doesn’t have to feel hard or like it takes up all your time. In fact, the opposite is true. The more you practice on the cushion, the more natural it'll become to also practice off the cushion during your everyday experiences and interactions.

7. Be CONSISTENT

When it comes to meditation, frequency is more important that duration.

While meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, scientific research behind it is relatively new, and only focuses on a select few styles of meditation like Transcendental Meditation (TM) and Mindfulness. I won't go into details of the research here because that's not the intention of this article (and there plenty of good articles out there on that).

From what I've read though, while meditation has been proven to have many outstanding benefits, research hasn’t discovered an exact amount of time that’s optimal for it. And even suggestions from experienced teachers vary. 

But what does seem to be the consensus, is that consistency is key. Shorter (10-40+ min) sessions, more frequently (1-2 times/day), is ideal. 

Again, experiment, and find what works best for you!

8. Keep it SIMPLE and just start where you're at

One of the quickest ways to fall off your practice before it even gets going, is by trying to do too much too quickly. 

If you’ve never meditated before and have trouble sitting quietly, trying to sit 10-40+ minutes a day will likely feel like way too much. Maybe you just start out with a few minutes a day. Or if that feels overwhelming, start out with a few minutes, a few times a week.

The key is to choose something that feels doable, and commit to doing it. Aim for little wins to train your mind and body that meditation can feel easy.

Then add in a few more minutes or a few more days. Work your way up slowly. Experiencing little successes, will allow you cultivate the meditation habit (we’ll discuss this in #9) much easier than feeling like you’re failing by setting too lofty of goals out the gate and not meeting them.

9. Create meditation CUES

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.
— Jim Ryun

After reading the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg a couple years ago, I began noticing how much power habits truly have to make life feel easier and more joyful (or, if they're undesirable habits, to keep us feeling stuck).

It turns out our brains are very efficient and don't like to waste any energy. So they love to form habits out of anything you routinely do (or even think). This allows them to switch into auto-pilot the moment they recognize a habit beginning, thus saving valuable energy that can be used for other important functions.

One of the key concepts of the book is something called a “habit loop” which is a neurological loop that automatically runs through your brain each time a habit is recognized.

Understanding and leveraging this natural brain process will help you transform your sporadic meditation hobbies into consistent meditation habits. 

Each habit loop is broken into three distinct parts- a cue, a routine, and a reward). The part I'd like to discuss here is the cue. What makes the cue so important is that it's what tells your brain a habit is beginning and triggers it into auto-pilot. So by setting up cues for each our your meditation routines, your practice can begin to feel as easy and automatic as brushing your teeth each day. 

Cues typically fall into one of 5 categories. Here they are along with some examples you can use as your own triggers for your practice. 

  • Location: a home sacred space (like we discussed in #4).
  • Time: a specific time of day. You can even set your alarm as a daily reminder.
  • Emotional State: stress, anger, grief, etc. Emotionally difficult states used to automatically cue undesirable habits like drinking, but now they cue me to pause....and meditate. 
  • Other People: Surrounding yourself with a spiritual community (or just having a friend who's also serious about meditation) is powerful when it comes to maintaining long-term meditation habits. Doing daily or weekly accountability check-ins via text or email can really help you stay on track.
  • An Immediate Preceding Action: Choose another daily habit you've already established, and do your practice right afterwards. My favorite is sitting to meditate right after I shower and brush my teeth in the morning!

Here's an example of the habit-loop of my morning meditation routine.

meditation habit loop

 

The reward is the pay-off for finishing the routine. And eventually, as the habit forms, you'll begin to notice that your meditation cues will automatically trigger you to crave the reward. Once that happens, your new meditation habit is born!

Take Action: Choose a cue for your daily meditation practice. 

10. PLAN for CHANGE

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
— Benjamin Franklin

Life isn’t static, so why should your practice be? 

If your weekend schedule is different than during the week, create different meditation habits on the weekends. If you go on vacation, take some time when you arrive to decide when and where you’ll meditate (even if you decide there's only time for a 5 minute shower meditation). Or if you stay at your boyfriend’s place a lot, create different cues and meditation routines there. Maybe when you have the "toothbrush talk" you can ask about keeping a meditation cushion in the corner of a room there too! A little bit of planning now, can save you a lot of stress or missed sittings, later.

Take Action: Take a look at your schedule. Do you need to create some other meditation cues and routines to account for regular changes to your schedule? 

11. EMBRACE OBSTACLES

Managing obstacles “on the cushion” will help you  better manage them “off the cushion” (in life).

Like life, your meditation practice will have obstacles. You'll have obstacles like busyness or lazyness that that keep you from showing up to your practice. And obstacles like boredom or distraction that get in the way of you staying focused and mindful during your practice.

The obstacles themselves are not the problem though. It's how you respond to them that causes you difficulty.

When you experience an obstacle during meditation like a busy or wandering mind, or a physical pain, or a difficult emotion, rather than resisting it or beating yourself up over it, lean into it.

What you resist persists.
— Carl Jung

By observing the difficult emotion that arises due to any obstacle, bringing compassion to it, and using it as part of your practice, you’ll ultimately be able to transform it.

We often see obstacles that arise around our practice as blocks or nuisances to the practice. But in fact, those obstacles ARE THE PRACTICE.

If you didn't have any obstacles you probably wouldn't need to meditate, would you?  And the more you can lean into and transform those obstacles on the cushion, the more you'll be able to do so off the cushion (in everyday life). Begin to think of your meditation practice as practice for life. 

Take Action: Anytime you're feeling frustrated by a busy mind or other obstacle during your practice, smile and remind yourself, “All obstacles are opportunities to practice”.

12. Maintain a BALANCED practice

A successful meditation practice requires a constant dance between the masculine and feminine energies.

We’re all made up of both feminine and masculine energies. While studying Chinese Medicine, l learned them as yin and yang. And also learned that states of dis-ease came when yin and yang energies got too far out of balance.

In the context of your meditation practice, yang (masculine) is the drive and commitment to show up, stay focused, and maintain dedicated consistency. While yin (feminine) is having compassion and forgiveness when you fall off track and the ability to be flexible and adapt your practice when you encounter obstacles or change in your life.

When the yang and yin of your practice are in balance, it will feel good and successful. When one starts to overpower the other, you’ll start to see the shadow aspects of one or the other show up. And you'll start to experience struggle in your practice. Here’s a simple graphic that'll help you diagnose when you're out of balance, and if you need to add more yin or more yang energy to your practice.

yin and yang of meditation

 

13. Find a meditation COMMUNITY

For most people who overhaul their lives, there are no seminal moments or life-altering disasters. There are simply communities-sometimes of just one other person- who make change believable.
— Charles Duhigg

In habit research, they found that those who interacted with communities interested in cultivating the same habit were able to develop and maintain those new habits more successfully. I’ve found that surrounding myself with others committed to their spiritual path helps me stay much more consistent in my meditation practices and personal growth. Here are a few ways I’ve done that over the years.

  • Local meditation communities: Find a class at a local meditation or yoga center. Or start your own in your living room!
  • Virtual meditation communities and live challenges: You can join my free "Meditate with Ease" Facebook community here where you can ask questions, get support, or join one of the free fun challenges I host throughout the year.
  • Meditation retreats and workshops: There are many places that host different types of meditation workshops. Do a online search to find one near you.

So there you have it- thirteen ways to start and maintain a successful meditation practice. You don't have to do these all at once. Just start with the ones you feel most drawn to- the ones that are keeping you from getting the benefits you crave in your practice right now. I'd love to support you as you make these shifts in your practice, so let me know in the comments below which tweaks you plan to make first!

And if you'd like to join my VIP tribe and get the guided concentration practice + other valuable resources to help you along your meditation journey, just sign-up below!

I Ching Summer Solstice Wisdom {June}

I Ching Summer Solstice Wisdom {June}

This month we're surrounded by both the full moon and solstice energies. I've been working with the I Ching as my oracle system of choice for almost a decade, and I still get chills at how magically aligned its messages feel each and I every time I work with it. Whether it's for myself or for a client. And this month's message couldn't be more appropriate. 

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5 Signs Your Meditation Practice is Successful

"How do I know if I'm meditating properly?" "Is my practice working, or am I just wasting my time?". These are questions I get asked quite a bit from newbie meditators or even those who've been meditating on and off for some time. I wondered this myself when I first started out.

Over time I realized it's much easier to first tap into how your practice FEELS in order to gauge success, rather than arbitrarily following any sort of specific meditation rules.

The following 5 signs are the barometer I use to measure if I'm meditating "properly" or if my practice is "working". And since awareness is the first step towards change, knowing which element(s) you're lacking will help you make the necessary tweaks to make your practice feel more successful.

One more thing before we dive in. I realize the term "success" is quite subjective. So I encourage you to take these 5 signs in with an open mind, and then use your own inner wisdom to take what resonates and put the rest aside. 

1. It's ENJOYABLE

Meditating shouldn't feel like an annoying chore every time you do it- another tedious thing to check off the to-do list. Sure, there will be obstacles. But if you don't enjoy your practice, it probably won't last very long. And then, what's the point? 

So, does your practice feel enjoyable? Or do you dread it most of the time?

2. It's EASY

Meditation shouldn't feel like an uphill battle each and every time you sit. It should feel relatively easy. Again, that doesn't mean there will never be obstacles in your practice. SPOILER ALERT: there will likely be lots of obstacles. But if you start seeing them simply as an opportunity to practice, and you learn how to manage them, obstacles don't have to make your practice feel so. damn. hard!

So, does your practice feel relatively easy? Or does it feel like an uphill battle most of the time?

3. It's EFFECTIVE

The benefits of meditation are broad. As are each of our personal reasons for meditating. When I polled my community on Facebook as to why they meditate, I got answers like, "to feel more peace", "to find love for myself again", "to connect with the divine", "to connect to my inner wisdom""to evolve into the best version of myself", "to uncover my purpose", "to calm my mind", "to feel more confident", "to attract positivity into my life", "to set an example of self-care for my kids".

So whatever your own personal meditation aspirations may be, is your practice helping you achieve them? If so, awesome! If not, then you likely just need to make some simple tweaks in your practice.

4. It's ENDURING

For a long time my practice looked like this: A stressful event like a breakup would make me feel stressed and overwhelmed > I'd start meditating daily > I'd start feeling better > I'd start skipping sessions and my practice would slowly fade out (maybe for weeks or even months) > I'd slowly start feeling stressed and overwhelmed again (or another traumatic event would happen) > I'd start meditating daily again. And so the cycle would continue.

Eventually I realized that if I just kept my practice up consistently, as part of my daily self-care routine, I was better prepared (mentally and emotionally) to handle the inevitable little stressors or "sh*t hits the fan" moments in life. 

So, do you meditate consistently? Or is your practice sporadic or often only triggered when something stressful is happening in your life?

5. It makes you more YOU

The thing about meditation is: you become more you.
— David Lynch

I love this quote, and I couldn't agree more. Throughout our lives we pick up beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors that are meant to keep us safe, but can ultimately distance us from our true-selves and cause us stress and unhappiness. Meditation has the capability of shining a light on those false beliefs that are keeping you feeling disconnected from your true-self, and fully fulfilled and happy.

When I first started meditating, I had no idea meditation could be so powerful in transforming my life. So I meditated mostly just to calm my anxiety and feel more peaceful.

If you're meditating to just temporarily reduce stress, you're missing out on the greatest potential of meditation- it's ability to reconnect you to your truth and help you become your best self!

So, how do you measure the success of your practice and know when you need to make tweaks to it? Which of the above signs resonate as something you'd like to cultivate more of in your practice? Or is there something else that's not on the list? Let's get this discussion going below in the comments!


And if you've realized that your practice isn't as successful as you'd like and want to know how you can make your practice feel more enjoyable, easy, effective, enduring, AND make connect you to your true-self, you're in luck! I'm working on a comprehensive guide to help you.

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