Empowered Video Series with Stephanie
Part 4: Inner Peace, Pathway to Thriving
How do we use meditation and energy tools to cultivate inner peace & thrive?
Over the past 4 weeks Stephanie has shared meditation and energy management tools to help you thrive. This week she shares how these tools come together to help us create inner peace and stability in our life. She also shares her intention of deepening these practices with an upcoming group program.
Watch Video Here.
"I believe that to have world peace we must first have inner peace. Those who are naturally serene, at peace with themselves, will be open towards others. I think this is where the very foundation of universal peace lies." -His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Note: This post also appears on Stephanie's Bronxville Wellness Sanctuary website.
Last week I spoke about how we are entrusted with this body- it's a gift and we are entitled to nothing.
This week as some of you are embarking on the 3 Day Refresh with me, I want to remind you to pay attention. To what?
Pay attention to what makes you come alive!!! Meaning, what makes you feel good, peaceful, grateful?
Yes, sometimes it's getting on a plane and going on a sweet retreat (PS: 2018 Tulum Retreat dates have been set!).
However, most often it's much simpler. When we stop and pay attention often we realize that feeling good results from choosing to see and fully experience "the good".
Make a gratitude list.
Take 5 minutes to feel the sun on your face while you inhale and exhale.
Plan that breakfast/lunch/dinner/movie/comedy show/musical/massage.
When we "do" things we enjoy - and remain present - it makes us feel ALIVE. Feeling alive results in feeling good. When we feel good, our state of being is enhanced and we make better choices. As we repeat this cycle, we "need" less and less to feel good. Each moment becomes an opportunity to say, "yes, thank you". And we realize it's not so much what we are "doing"...it's how we are "being" in the doing.
Ahhhh...being and doing is what I speak about in my book, Reclaiming Joy. For most of us it's a lifetime practice...
Last week I spoke about spiritual mindfulness and why it's important if we want to thrive.
This week I am still singing a sweet song from our retreat in Tulum. So, I want to keep it simple by helping us remember that life is how we see it.
Life is either a miracle or not. Life is either an opportunity to thrive, open, go higher or not. Life is either a magic carpet ride full of experiences that make us say "WOW, how sweet it is", or not. Get the idea?
Life, and therefore our experience of being alive, comes down to what we choose to see. Yes, that choice word again. Isn't it empowering? Maybe frightening too once we understand the responsibility we have to live the life of our dreams.
An example of what we choose to see and how it impacts our experience happened divinely in Tulum while we were on retreat.
Picture it: Our group was scrumptious: loving, kind, peaceful and so positive!! Very high vibe, cool and fun. So...
Enter another yoga group who was there at the same time who were behaving "not quite as scrumptious" as us. By the 2nd day, our group was getting triggered by these people and starting to lose its high vibe...or as I say, we began colluding with the negative.
I used our experience of the "other" group as a divinely timed teaching moment to bring us back to the idea that life, and therefore our experience of life, is how we choose to see it.
In this case, we could continue to focus our attention on how the other group was behaving...and therefore bring down our energy and vibe. Or, we could accept the fact we disliked the other groups behavior, and seek to understand them. Meaning, the other group was there to enjoy as well, and perhaps the way they were going about it was not how we do...and yet, we are all one. We chose to send them love and to continue focusing our energy on our group.
Guess what happened?
We learned the value of staying vibrant and positive even in the midst of negativity. We released judgment and sent them love instead. We felt better...empowered...moved from negative, low vibe back to positive, high vibe.
Remember, when we are in control of our attention, we are in control of our choice. Where our attention goes, our energy flows. We must choose wisely based on how we wish to live --- because life, and our experience of life is how we see it.
"You can see the glass half empty, or you can see it half full. You can focus on what's wrong in your life, or you can focus on what's right. But whatever you focus on, you are going to get more of. Creation is an extension of thought. Think lack, and you get lack. Think abundance and you get more." - Marianne Williamson
Is the battle in here...or out there...?
Last week I encouraged you to stay true to what matters to you, especially when faced with challenges. I invited you to lean in to these challenges in order to reclaim your power.
I am fascinated by power. I love playing with power and studying it. In my shamanic practice I have learned to respect power immensely. Power is neutral. It becomes "charged" when we decide how to use it. Meaning, we are either using our power to help/heal or harm/hurt.
The interesting thing about power: some of us don't even know how powerful we are; others of us feel so powerful (ego) that we are oblivious... and still others think we are using our power to help, when in fact we are actually causing harm.
One example of being unaware of our power is when we get stuck for long periods of time in the frustration of how things "are". Perhaps we are frustrated with the outer world...or maybe it's our inner world...or some combination. Whatever the case, when we use our power for prolonged periods of time at the energetic of "frustration", we are doing harm.
Instead of focusing on why we are frustrated, we lose/leak energy to the lower vibrations that come with frustration: sadness, depression, anger, hopelessness, etc. Over time, these emotions cause harm to us and to those we touch.
When we focus on the frustration itself rather than the "root" of the frustration, we miss the gifts our frustration has to teach us.
What to do?
Get to the root!! Dig deeper by using reflection practices such as writing and meditation and/or get support by engaging in shamanic practices . When we commit to getting to the root, in the process we usually notice we are stuck/slowed down for a reason. And that reason is our teacher to help move us forward. In essence, the frustration is an invitation to lean in.
To be clear: I am not saying it's bad/wrong to have emotions. Quite the contrary. What I am saying is to live for prolonged periods of time in the lower/negative emotions is a misuse of our power as human beings.
If we want to use our power to help, we must first help our self (think airplane oxygen mask). By helping our self, we learn how to come into Ayni (right relationship) with power and we free up energy to help others. Isn't that the point?
In the process we learn one of the greatest gifts of our frustration is our freedom.
We begin to realize we are powerful human beings who are free to act in the direction of that which brings peace, love, joy and expansion...or not.
"Of this I am certain: something happens every time I stop fighting with the way things are." -- Geneen Roth
Last week I spoke about rising up and how our perspective influences our life by telling you the story of the 2 wolves.
This week I want to continue encouraging you to stay true to what matters to you especially when faced with challenges. More specifically, I invite you to lean in to these challenges or that which seems to have "power" over you.
My shamanic practice has taught me to respect power. We all have it- power that is. How we use power (to harm or heal) results in our experience of life. And-- so often, we unknowingly give away our power and therefore the direction of our life.
One way is by avoiding/minimizing the sometimes chaotic/highly emotional energy that comes from the uncertainty that arises when faced with big life choices/changes. And blaming others is also a form of avoidance/minimizing :)
Avoiding/minimizing happens because we are afraid to engage honestly with the feelings that arise from uncertainty: confusion, fear, anger, sadness, etc.
What to do instead?
Lean In and become masterful at managing your emotional energy!!!
1. Accept what you are feeling with compassion (you don't have to like it)
2. Ask yourself what is at the root of the feeling (i.e. anger from feeling taken advantage of)
3. Action- do something about it!! (i.e. speak up, say no, set boundaries, get support)
Life is short. What we can't be with, won't allow us to be. The path to peace comes from owning our power and leaning into that which is trying to get our attention so it can be "healed". And yes, often it comes in the form of a "challenge" we are facing.
Try it! Let me know what you notice.
Last week invited you to play with another concept: do what makes you feel good!
How is it going? Do you know what makes you feel good?
This week I encourage exploration into YOU, also known as self-discovery with the question: do you know who you are?
In my coaching practice, this question is one of the first things I ask clients. Do you know what I usually hear as the reply? Prolonged silence. Then, " I don't know" which leads to, "I am a parent, spouse, worker", etc.
These replies lead to my next series of questions that do not include our roles and responsibilities. Those questions lead to replies such as, "I am a lover, peace maker..." See where I am going? It's beyond what we do in the world.
So, why do I ask you this question? In my experience, knowing who we are beyond what we do gives us peace when our roles change and shift. Who are we when our children grow up and no longer "need" us the way they use to? Are we able to let them go or do we hold them too tight because of our neediness? This can also happen in intimate relationships when one person is growing and healing and the other is seemingly "not". What then? Do we stay? Or go? Or learn new ways of being? Hmmm....
And, who are we when we retire, change jobs, move, get divorced, experience loss of any kind?
These are deeply powerful life transitions that naturally shape the foundation of who we "think" we are. It's not a bad thing. It's simply something to be aware of so when we find ourselves lost in the fog of doing life, we are able to return being life.
How do we return to being life? By asking "Who Am I" without all the labels.
And by taking the class, reading the book, getting the support we need to navigate the new territory.
In exploring who we are, and perhaps more importantly, who we are becoming, we must allow our defenses to ease a bit. We must stop fighting with our self!!!
Fighting our way back to who we have been is depressing, dis-empowering and won't work. Instead, the empowering path forward is the one where we accept who we are.
The past several months have been a time of major transition for me on all levels so I am having lots of practice at this!! When I accept who I am, and who I am becoming: a change maker, instigator, provoker of truth, passionate lover, peace maker, risk taker, intellect, inspired action oriented person, then peace prevails. And yes, I also accept the challenging/shadow parts of my personality which also make me who I am: impatient, controlling, complicated, judging, highly sensitive. These shadow parts create the polarity that makes me be me. I can't "delete" them. I can only be aware of them and balance them out. Many of you are nodding :)
When I resist who I am because I am afraid to be myself or I am afraid of making someone else uncomfortable, I feel depressed and dis-empowered. Trying to fit into someone else's idea of me, quite frankly, has not ever worked. Yet at times I have lapsed and fallen into that dance since I am human too. Sometimes reality bites and yes, loss hurts. Bad. And yet...
In the dizziness that comes with big change, having the courage to be who we are ultimately puts us exactly where we need to "be" in order to "do" that which we were born for. It's freeing my friends!!
We step into the fog and eventually move through it...until the next phase of self-discovery returns and the fog rolls in yet again. It's a cycle we experience often when we accept.
A final note in case my writing isn't (yet) clear enough. A movie, "The Last Word" with Shirley MacLaine speaks so beautifully to this idea of how much of our life we spend fighting who we are to realize at the end, it is exactly who we are that was the most blessed gift to those around us and to our selves.
Perhaps the key is to realize this before "the end", you know? Or perhaps not? Some of us, perhaps myself at times, thrive on the polarity and the dance of dark and light. Meaning, my challenging traits of wanting to be in control enable me create massive movement in the direction I desire. Not good or bad. Simply is...and I am aware of it.
Know thyself. Be true to you.
Upcoming Events to Explore YOU!
Em-Path Workshop, Bronxville, NY on THIS Saturday, Sept 16th 2017
Sweet Retreat: Tulum, Mexico, October 31st-November 5th, 2017
Last week I invited you to consider the concept stop driving start thriving. I shared that many of us spend our life so busy doing - the endless to do lists- and non-stop thinking - we neglect to notice how we are being. And it costs us....
We end up losing sight of why we are here, what's important to our well-being, and ultimately what brings us joy. We are repressed and depressed, anxious and stressed.
What are you noticing? Tell me here.
This week as we celebrate the 4th of July...freedom, independence I've been asking myself what it means to be free.
Am I free? Are you free?
Here are some tidbits I came up with...
1. Does freedom exist inside of us or outside of us?
2. Is it really our circumstances that bind us - make us feel trapped - or is it our mind?
3. Why do some people thrive in the most unbearable of circumstances and others collapse?
4. Is the ultimate experience of freedom the ability to choose our mental perspective?
5. Does being free mean being unafraid?
As you consider the above I encourage you to stay open and willing to see all angles.
If you wish to know what I believe...
Last week I talked about engaging with your council, meaning what is your method and frequency of communication.
How is it going? Feel free to email me and share.
As you continue to develop and engage with your council, I invite you to take pause. We are half way through 2017 and it's a great time to stop and reflect. Or as I say in my book Reclaiming Joy, it's time to Stop Driving and Start Thriving.
What do I mean?
Many of us spend our life so busy doing - the endless to do lists- we neglect to notice how we are being. In fact we invest next to nothing in being because we are spending so much on doing. My friends there's a cost to excessive spending on doing without investing in being.
What's the cost?
We end up losing sight of why we are here, what's important to our well-being, and ultimately what brings us joy. We go through the motions. We end up broke and depleted physically, energetically and sometimes emotionally, financially and spiritually. Our health, relationships, bank accounts and work suffer. We live in "should'. We give up.
Is this how we are meant to live?
No way. What I am noticing more than ever is that many people don't realize excessive thinking is part of the "excessive doing". In fact it's the thinking that puts us in this endless cycle of doing (should's).
Really? Tell me more.
As you many of you know, I meditate daily. And yes, I still "suffer" the afflictions of the mind. I am human. Yet, because I have made meditation a daily practice now for almost 20 years, I have developed a powerful habit.
The ability to discipline my mind and thereby redirect my attention from the negative (seeming obstacle ) to opportunity (positive possibility).
It's such a sweeter place to live. And at 41, this is how I choose to live.
Why Am I Sharing This With You?
Part of it is selfish. It's not fun interacting with anxious, stressed, negative people.
More than ever humanity is suffering, mostly by their own hand because there is no mental discipline. Stress, anxiety, anger and fear are at an all time high. And yet we still engage in the habit of turning on the TV to watch the news.
Part of it is self-less. I believe we are all meant to thrive. It saddens me to see so much suffering and I feel the need to do my part by helping people wake up!!!!
Unfortunately, many people still do not have a daily meditation practice and yet they want life to be better, different. You know the saying- we are what we repeatedly do? Well, here it is. It is unrealistic to expect our life to change when we won't change our habits.
Why Invest in The Habit?
Gaining control of your mind is the one habit I suggest you invest heavily in.
I see this trend of stress, anxiety and fear increasing. For such an advanced society, we surely have failed at what I feel is the most important aspect of living well- the ability to control our mind.
When we allow our mind to take control, the stress, anxiety, and fear separate us from others. We become a society of me versus you. It shows up globally, in our boardrooms, classrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and everywhere in between. Living this way is anything but thriving babes.
This week my invitation for you is to: Stop Driving Start Thriving:
1. Stop. Notice how much you spend doing by allowing your mind to create drama, story, separation, negativity...obstacles
2. Stop. When you notice your mind engaging in the above, invest in being...re-frame it to how this experience is one of: learning/growth, connection, positivity...opportunity
3. Stop. Observe the results...how do you feel...are you being peace?
4. STOP making excuses and commit to a daily meditation practice
5. Stop. Celebrate as you cultivate your new habit of mental discipline...
There is no magic pill to ease the mind. You must make meditation practice part of your daily routine to help you cultivate the habit of mental discipline. In this way, when the stress, anxiety, anger, or fear hits, your habit will kick in and re-direct your mind from obstacle to opportunity. In a word: Thriving. It's all a mind game this life. Those of us who get this, thrive...laughing all the way home to our grave.
A quote for you:
"To develop a reliable routine, a golfer has to decide to follow it and practice it time after time until it becomes an ingrained habit that will show up no matter how much pressure he or she is under. You can be sure that under pressure, you will find out what your dominant habit is." -Dr. Bob Rotella, Golf Is Not A Game of Perfect
Last week I introduced the idea that nothing is wasted, encouraging you to see all experience as teachers. Why? To empower you!!!
How is it going? Tell me here.
This week I want to keep it soft and simple by reminding you that living is an endless opportunity to practice peace. If you are reading this, it is likely you are more sensitive than the average person. As such, in addition to the challenges you may be facing in your own life, you are perhaps also feeling the collective depression/anxiety that is occurring on the planet. It's real. So, this week my invitation is for you to practice peace as you live your life...until it becomes a way of life...
What do I mean by peace?
May you find this "definition" practical and workable:
Peace isn't the absence of noise, challenge, hard work...
Peace is being in the midst of all of this while having a calm mind, open heart and absolute faith...in a word...LOVE
Love is THE way, the only way...
As I've shared in my book, when we choose LOVE as the path, it also becomes the practice and the fruit.
PS: I am talking LOVE without condition.
Practice living peace by choosing love...
Love your mind to calm with meditation, love your heart open with possibility, love your life by walking in faith. Respond with love, no matter who/what. Try it. See what happens. I'll check back with you next week :)
Last week I shared with you a brilliant short video about mindfulness and how it empowers us. I reminded you that where our attention goes...our energy flows.
Staying with this theme of paying attention, I want to talk about habits.
In a recent conversation with a friend, she told me for Lent she gave up Facebook.
She admitted it was very hard. She wasn't 100% "successful" yet she learned a valuable lesson about habits.
Specifically she learned that her habit of incessantly checking Facebook was both an energy/time drain, and an emotional roller coaster. In giving up FB, while she may have felt more disconnected at times, she also felt more at peace. Interesting huh?
She noticed that each time she checked FB, she was emotionally triggered - either positively or negatively. This habit of checking FB was something she created and therefore was something she could change. The realization of this habit gave her a new interest in bringing greater awareness to her habits in general.
In the space of disconnecting (with discipline) from FB, she realized other habits in her life (the positive ones too!) that she engaged in. This recognition felt empowering for her. Why? It reminded her she is always in choice about how/where she is investing her energy/time.
Naturally this conversation got me thinking about my habits and how they define me. Meaning, if I am unaware of certain habits, I am living in somewhat of an asleep/unconscious state. I may be moving from one thing to the next because it's what I "always" do. This automatic behavior - habits - may be causing me to miss out on a more enjoyable and easier path!!!
AHA: The ability to step back and notice our habits gives us the awareness to choose consciously. Think of it as another form of meditation-- an active one!
Below are some examples of how my habits have dictated my thoughts, words and actions...and therefore have defined my life.
Thought Example: When I see a person being unkind, my habit is to think, "wow, that person is mean".
Habit Breaking Idea: Perhaps this person is having an awful day and they need my positive thoughts with a smile...and if I give my positive vibe, I feel better too!
Word Example: When someone accuses me of being unkind, my habit is to rush and defend myself...ME!? Unkind!?
Habit Breaking Idea: Perhaps I am having a bad day!! And I am being unkind in that moment. And my being "unkind" is a sign I need to be still, rest...nourish myself in some way.
Action Example: When someone I love doesn't acknowledge me when I do something generous for them, my habit is to withdraw emotionally.
Habit Breaking Idea: Perhaps it's about me learning (again and again!) to be generous without expecting something in return. Or about honoring that perhaps I need to do something for myself or ask someone I love to do something for me :)
Oh the wisdom to be learned in noticing our habits!!! The invitation is for you to notice your habits. Be gentle with yourself. Have fun with it :)