Guided goodness – free meditation series

buddhist-481765_960_720If you have never tried meditating, or if you meditate and would like to add to your current practice, check out Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s upcoming, free 21-day meditation series.

I have used Oprah and Deepak’s meditations in the past, and they are guided goodness and a refreshing way to calm your mind and comfort your soul. Meditations are usually 15 minutes in length – a small amount of time that can yield big results.

  • There are thousands of studies showing the benefits of meditation.
  • You do not have to meditate for long periods to begin receiving the benefits.
  • Benefits include: reduced anxiety, easing pain, and improving sleep

To enrich your life and create new levels of awareness, insight and joy sign-up for their free meditation series, which begins Monday, July 17.

Then join the free  Wishful Thinking Works Meditation Facebook Group , which is designed to help you develop the meditation habit by

  • providing accountability – studies how this is key when developing any new habit,
  • to celebrate your successes – also so important when trying something new,
  • and to give you a place to share your thoughts and questions with others going through the same process.

It’s a virtual support group for your new journey!

meditation-567593_960_720The Wishful Thinking Works Meditation Facebook Group is open to everyone, it is listed as “closed” on FB, but that just means no one but members can see your posts. You have nothing to lose and so much gain.

Join us to find a bit more peace in your heart and happiness in your life. You deserve this and more, and it is all free!

Are you ready? Life could be better  . . . Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching

Visit Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook for posts and updates.

 “Like” Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook.

Guided goodness – free meditation series

buddhist-481765_960_720If you have never tried meditating, or if you meditate and would like to add to your current practice, check out Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s upcoming, free 21-day meditation series.

I have used their meditations in the past, and they are guided goodness and a refreshing way to calm your mind and comfort your soul. Meditations are usually 15 minutes in length – a small amount of time that can yield big results.

To enrich your life and create new levels of awareness, insight and joy sign-up for their free meditation series, which begins July 11 by clicking here.

Then join the free  Wishful Thinking Works Meditation Facebook Group , which is designed to help you develop the meditation habit by

  • providing accountability – studies how this is key when developing any new habit,
  • to celebrate your successes – also so important when trying something new,
  • and to give you a place to share your thoughts and questions with others going through the same process.

It’s a virtual support group for your new journey!

The Wishful Thinking Works Meditation Facebook Group is open to everyone, it is listed as “closed” on FB, but that just means no one but members can see your posts. You have nothing to lose and so much gain.

woman-570883_960_720

Join us to find a bit more peace in your heart and happiness in your life. You deserve this and more, and it is all free!

 

 

 

Are you ready? Life could be better  . . . Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching

Visit Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook for posts and updates.

 “Like” Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook.

Free meditation series

buddhist-481765_960_720If you have never tried meditating, or if you meditate and would like to add to your current practices, check out Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s upcoming, free, 21-day meditation series.

I have used their meditations in the past, and they are guided goodness and a refreshing way to calm your mind and comfort your soul. Meditations are usually 15 minutes in length – a small amount of time that can yield big results.

To begin a positive habit, you can sign-up for their free meditation series in March by clicking here.

If you want help developing your new habit, join the free  Wishful Thinking Works Meditation Facebook Group, designed to keep you meditating and give you a place to share your thoughts and questions throughout the process.

Join us to find a bit more peace in your heart and happiness in your life.

The Wishful Thinking Works Meditation Facebook Group is open to everyone, it is listed as “closed” on FB, but that just means no one but members can see your posts. You have nothing to lose and so much gain.

 

Are you ready? Life could be better  . . . Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching

Visit Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook for posts and updates.

 “Like” Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook.

The upside of vulnerabilty . . .

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”  (Dr. Brené Brown, TED.com)

This past Saturday I was talking to a group of Wishful Thinking Women about the topic of vulnerability, and today I was planning to post about Dr. Brené Brown’s interesting work on the topic, when I realized she will be talking about her work on Oprah’s Lifeclass this evening.

201206-orig-brene-brown-190x130“Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.  She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage,  authenticity, and shame. She spent the first five years of her  decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that  work to explore a concept that she calls “wholeheartedness”. She poses the  questions:

How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so  that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and  worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection  that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of  love, belonging, and joy?” (TED.com)

Vulnerability is about being open and honest. “When we numb [hard feelings], we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness.” (Dr. Brené Brown, TED.com)  It’s a key factor to living a wholehearted life, which can lead to lifelong happiness. (That’s the upside!)

Problem is, being vulnerable can be scary and may lead us to put on a thick layer of emotional armor and to limit the risks we take in life. Taking risks in the direction of our dreams is a good thing, and putting on our emotional armor might protect us in the short term – but in the long run, it can prevent us from being open to love and life, which can block us from truly connecting to others and opportunities.

So what do we do?

We can begin by hearing what Dr. Brown has to say on Oprah’s Lifeclass tonight, or by checking out some of the great links on the site, or by listening to Brené’s humorous and insightful TED talk, or by living our lives according to the 10 guideposts her research revealed. (Being vulnerable gives us lots of choices!)

10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living, from Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
2. Cultivating Self‐Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
6. Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison
7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self‐Worth
8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self‐Doubt and “Supposed To”
10.Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control”

Let me know which ones work for you!

Next week we will be talking about Brown’ take on authenticity, which is another wonderful way to live!

Until then, remember . . .

engagement-checklist

How to Love More by Caring Less by Martha Beck

201107-omag-dont-care-1-600x411

Yesterday, while waiting to meet a friend for dinner I found myself at loose ends. I was hungry because I had skipped lunch, tired from a busy, but not very productive day, and I had been feeling generally out-of-sorts for a day or two. I’d stopped at the American Corner in Bitola, Macedonia, where I am currently stationed as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer, to visit two of my friends working there, when I blurted out, “I’m bored!”

My exclamation surprised me. I’m seldom bored, and if I am, I’m even less likely to blurt it out  the way I just had and I was in the middle of my third and a pretty amazing Peace Corps assignment, what did I have to be bored about? After I laughed at myself for being so blunt, I walked over to the magazine shelf and grabbed three copies of “O” magazine. (American Corner’s are American information centers throughout the world; they’re mini-libraries, so they are well-stocked with English-language magazines, books and resource materials.) I opened the “O” with the cover that most appealed to me, and soon found myself absorbed in the open paragraphs of a Martha Beck article from a July 2011 issue.

My hunger and boredom faded as my interest grew, and I was soon laughing out loud as I read how Martha solved a coaching dilemma by blurting something out loud to a client.

As I read on, I realized there was a reason that I was where I was, reading Beck’s article. I’ve copied her article in it’s entirety, something I don’t often do, because it gave me a new perspective on a situation I’d been thinking a lot about lately and was likely the source of my ennui. Beck’s words helped me get over myself and realize there was a better way to handle the situation that was on my mind, and I thought her article was a great companion piece for the “Forgive” post I wrote a few days ago. I hope you enjoy it, too. (PS Beck’s article also let me find a way to work the word “ennui” into a post, which for me is a great boredom buster in and of itself! Oh, yes, and the one you may have to love unconditionally could be you!)

“How to Love More by Caring Less

How do you get your nearest and dearest to change their behavior? Simple: Stop giving a damn what they do, says Martha Beck.”

“Now my whole family is abusing me!” said Loretta, a client at a women’s resource center where I volunteered back in the ’90s. “If I leave my husband, it’ll just be out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

“Are you—” I cut myself off before finishing my thought, which was, “Are you crazy?” Just the week before, I’d participated in an intervention where Loretta’s family had urged her to leave her battering husband, Rex. Each person had expressed enormous love for and protectiveness toward Loretta. Now she thought they were all abusers? Huh?

“They’re just like Rex,” she said. “You saw it. They judge me. They criticize me. Nothing I do is enough for them.”

I opened my mouth, then closed it. Opened then closed it again. I kept that up for about a minute, like a perplexed goldfish, as I groped for the right thing to say. It killed me that Loretta was interpreting her family’s desire to rescue her as criticism and judgment. But even as I tried to come up with the kindest possible phrasing for “What the hell is wrong with you?” I knew my question would come across like a slap.

That’s when it dawned on me that Loretta had a point. No, her family wasn’t abusing her the way Rex did—and yet in its own way, their treatment of her must have felt like an attack. They weren’t accepting her as she was. They needed her to change. They raised their voices, made demands, pushed hard. And their intense negative emotions were triggering her fear and defensiveness.

It was in the midst of processing all this that I suddenly heard myself say, “Well, Loretta, I just love you. I don’t care what happens to you.”

The statement shocked me as it left my lips. But even as I mentally smacked myself upside the head, a funny thing happened: Loretta visibly relaxed. I could feel my own anxiety vanishing, too, leaving a quiet space in which I could treat Loretta kindly. It was true—I really didn’t care what happened to her. No matter what she did, I wouldn’t love her one bit less.

Since then I’ve found that loving without caring is a useful approach—I’d venture to say the best approach—in most relationships, especially families. If you think that’s coldhearted, think again. It may be time you let yourself love more by caring less.

Next: How does it work?
Detached Attachment

To care for someone can mean to adore them, feed them, tend their wounds. But care can also signify sorrow, as in “bowed down by cares.” Or anxiety, as in “Careful!” Or investment in an outcome, as in “Who cares?” The word love has no such range of meaning: It’s pure acceptance. Watching families like Loretta’s taught me that caring—with its shades of sadness, fear, and insistence on specific outcomes—is not love. In fact, when care appears, unconditional love often vanishes.

When my son was first diagnosed with Down syndrome, I cared so much that my fear for his future overshadowed my joy at his existence. Now that I couldn’t care less how many chromosomes the kid has, I can love him boundlessly. For you, loving without caring might mean staying calm when your sister gets divorced, or your dad starts smoking again, or your husband is laid off. You may think that in such situations not getting upset would be unloving. But consider: If you were physically injured, bleeding out, would you rather be with someone who screamed and swooned, or someone who stayed calm enough to improvise a tourniquet? Real healing, real love comes from people who are both totally committed to helping—and able to emotionally detach.

This is because, on an emotional level, our brains are designed to mirror one another. As a result, when we’re anxious and controlling, other people don’t respond with compliance; they reflect us by becoming—press the button when you get the right answer—anxious and controlling. Anger elicits anger, fear elicits fear, no matter how well meaning we may be. When Loretta’s family insisted she leave Rex, she insisted on staying. When I told her I loved her without caring what happened, she mirrored my relaxation. That’s when she began to request and absorb the advice I was now welcome to give.

Free to Be…Carefree

If you want to try loving without caring—and by now I hope you do—here’s how to get there. Just be sure to buckle up. This may be a bumpy ride.

1. Choose a Subject
Think of a person you love, but about whom you feel some level of anxiety, anger, or sadness.

2. Identify What This Person Must Change to Make You Happy
Think about how your loved one must alter herself or her behavior before you can be content. Complete the sentence below by filling in the name of your loved one, the thing(s) you want this person to change, and the way you’d feel if the change occurred:

If _______ would only _______, then I could feel _______.

3. Accept a Radical Reality
Now scratch out the first clause of the sentence you just wrote, so all that remains is:

I could feel _______.

That last sentence, oh best beloved, is the truth. It is the whole truth. Yes, your loved one’s cooperation would be lovely, but you don’t absolutely need it to experience any given emotional state. This is incredibly hard to accept—it would be so easy to feel good if others would just do what we want, right? Nevertheless, you can feel sane even if your crazy-making brother stays crazy. You can feel peaceful even if your daughter robs a bank. If Helen Keller could write, after growing up deaf and blind, “I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad,” then you can find a way to be happy even if your mother never does stop correcting your grammar.

Accepting that this is possible—that you can achieve a given emotional state even if a loved one doesn’t conform to your wishes—is the key step to loving without caring. I’m not saying that such acceptance will make you instantly content. Creating ways to be happy is your life’s work, a challenge that won’t end until you die. We’ll come back to that in a minute. For now, the goal is just to try believing, or merely hoping, that even if all your loved ones remain toxically insane forever, it’s still possible you’ll find opportunities to thrive and joys to embrace.

4. Shift Your Focus from Controlling Your Loved One’s Behavior to Creating Your Own Happiness
When I make this suggestion to my clients, they tend to take umbrage. “I always focus on creating my own happiness!” they insist. “That’s precisely why I’m trying to get my grandchildren to visit, and my cat to stop biting, and Justin Bieber to engage with me in a mutually rewarding exchange of personal e-mails!”

Best of luck with that. Because as AA or any other 12-step group will tell you, sanity begins the moment you admit you’re powerless over other people. This is the moment you become mentally free to start trying new ideas, building new relationships, experimenting to see what situations feel better than the hopeless deadlock of depending on change from someone you can’t control.

Again, this is a lifelong project, a game of “You’re getting warmer; you’re getting colder” that stops only when you do. But the focus shift that helps you stop caring is like a little dance (drop hope of changing significant other, embrace determination to find alternative sources of peace and joy, step-ball-change) that immediately, reliably diverts your energy toward happiness and unconditional love.

Next: What’s the payoff?
The Payoff

Once we’d established that I didn’t care what happened to Loretta, our work together finally became productive. In a follow-up family session, I had each relative tell all the others, “I love you unconditionally—I don’t care what happens to you.” We discussed ways in which each of them might begin creating personal happiness, regardless of Loretta’s actions. And as the focus shifted off her, Loretta felt less pressured, less harried, more respected. Smiles and hugs appeared in place of tension and tears.

Supported by her loving, uncaring family, Loretta eventually triumphed: She left Rex, got a job, and found a healthier mate. As you support your significant others, they may realize this same spectacular success. Or not. You can be happy either way, so what do you care? You have the freedom to live and let live, to love and let love. Granting yourself that freedom is one of the healthiest, most constructive things you can do for yourself and the people who matter to you. And if you disagree, I truly, respectfully, lovingly do not care.

Martha Beck is the author of six books, including Steering by Starlight (Rodale).

Oprah’s words worth remembering

 

I loved Oprah’s show. I didn’t watch it every day or even every week, but when I did I always enjoyed it and almost always learned something new about myself or the world. Here’s what Oprah has meant to me over the years, along with her words from her last show, which I think are well-worth repeating.

O – Opportunity

 “. . . Each one of you has your own platform. Do not let the trappings here fool you. Mine is a stage in a studio, yours is wherever you are with your own reach, however small or however large that reach is. Maybe it’s 20 people, maybe it’s 30 people, 40 people, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your classmates, your classroom, your co-workers. Wherever you are, that is your platform, your stage, your circle of influence. That is your talk show, and that is where your power lies. In every way, in every day, you are showing people exactly who you are. You’re letting your life speak for you. And when you do that, you will receive in direct proportion to how you give in whatever platform you have. My great wish for all of you who have allowed me to honor my calling through this show is that you carry whatever you’re supposed to be doing, carry that forward and don’t waste any more time. Start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world.”

P – Passion

“What I knew for sure from this experience with you is that we are all called. Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it . . . Because that is what a calling is. It lights you up and it lets you know that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be, doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing. And that is what I want for all of you and hope that you will take from this show. To live from the heart of yourself. You have to make a living; I understand that. But you also have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.”

R – Renewal

“After deliberating for some time, we decided to do what we do best, and that is a show about and with everyday people. This show always allows people, hopefully, to understand the power they have to change their own lives.”

A – Accountability

“One of the best examples of this was Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor who was on the show talking about the book My Stroke of Insight. She was a 37-year-old, Harvard-educated brain scientist who suffered a massive stroke in the left part of her brain. She couldn’t speak or remember her own mother, but when doctors and nurses walked into her room, she knew from the right brain who was on her side. She could feel their energy. 

Dr. Taylor sent me a sign that I have hanging in my makeup room. It says, ‘Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space.’ And I ask the same thing in my home and at my companies. Thank you, Dr. Taylor, for that simple but powerful lesson. All life is energy and we are transmitting it at every moment. We are all little beaming little signals like radio frequencies, and the world is responding in kind.”

H – Happiness

“The show has taught me there is a common thread that runs through all of our pain and all of our suffering, and that is unworthiness. Not feeling worthy enough to own the life you were created for. Even people who believe they deserve to be happy and have nice things often don’t feel worthy once they have them. 

There is a difference, you know, between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing you are worthy of happiness. That never became clearer to me than this year in a moment I shared with Iyanla Vanzant, an expert who had been a regular on our show 12 years ago, and we were trying to develop a show for her, for her own show, and she left to do a show with somebody else and we hadn’t spoken since. 

What I got was we often block our own blessings because we don’t feel inherently good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or worthy enough . . . you’re worthy because you are born and because you are here. Your being here, your being alive makes worthiness your birthright. You alone are enough.”

Throughout the past 25 years, Oprah helped me see that I needed to create opportunities to discover and live my passions, to renew myself and my life on an ongoing basis, and to hold myself accountable for the good (thank you) and the tough stuff (ouch, and ouch again) in my life, and to find a way to be happy and to share happiness along the way. 

Thank you Oprah, you will be missed.

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