Tell Your Own Story

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A few months ago a friend shared that a great gift her mother gave years ago to her surviving children was that she had pre-written her own eulogy.

Wait. What?!?

“Oh, yeah,” she said. “At that time, with all of us siblings trying to figure out all of those funeral details? Mom wasn’t honored in a way that she would have wanted, it was the way she wanted. I will never forget that.”

What a celebration — still to this day.

Think about it: we get to tell our own story. The story we want told, its quality. Beyond just events on a timeline.

How powerful could this be for ourselves, to pre-write our own eulogy? To evaporate our busy-ness and noise, and condense our life’s heart and soul. To distill ourselves for a moment to what and who is important, in the midst of the movement of our Life.

 

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Write your own knockout eulogy. For your own living self.

 

In the spirit of reflection, appreciation, and gratitude that we already practice, here’s a new exercise for each of us.

Part One: Write your eulogy, as of today.

Tell the current story of you.

  • Tell it as goodness — eulogies don’t chastise.
  • Tell the story of the best of you — this is a life affirmation.
  • Tell it quickly — don’t overthink or over-detail; make it fit on the back of a program, for example.

Part Two: Write your eulogy, as of age 100.

What does Future You have to add?

  • What do you want to be able to tell?
  • What direction do you want your life to go?
  • What qualities would you like to more fully embrace in your life?

In doing this exercise, I’ve discovered compassion for my past self. I’ve deepened my understanding of valued qualities that I want to attend even more mindfully to. And, I am receiving a connection of Divine love and embrace. Now that’s a celebration!

What surprises has this exercise given you? Share your discoveries in the comments below.

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And so it is.

Umm…

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Meditation intrigues me. I’m a huge fan of it in principle, it’s just that I don’t always practice it regularly. Much like yoga, walking the dog, journaling, and writing — my other daily disciplines that I’d like to aspire to. And I always feel so uplifted after doing any of them, you’d think I’d be actively partaking in daily practices of each. The one I do seem to actually accomplish is berating myself for not regularly participating.

Aha–the word “accomplish” is telling me something, here. What if I relaxed about my doing and appreciated my being, even in the context of Things I’m Reaching Toward? I seem to equate doing with being — as in, unless I meditate daily, then I am not someone who meditates. If I want to be someone who exercises, then I must do this specific thing daily. Unless I produce printable writing daily, then I am not a writer.

Holy crap, that’s not how I approach others, why in the world would I treat myself that way?!?

We don’t have to be professionals, experts, to consider ourselves practitioners. It’s okay to practice. Dabble. Be a dilettante. Try, try again. We don’t have to be masters in order to participate. “Experiencing” sounds so much more enjoyable than “accomplishing”.

And if something is more enjoyable, then it’s something I find just happening more often in my life. Instead of having to schedule it, or make it happen.

So for today, I’m letting go of working these things into my day. I invite myself to play with disciplines, rather than bind myself by them. Our interests are meant to bring us pleasure, not become a chore.

In that spirit, here’s a meditation app and website that I am finding to be very helpful — and fun — for me: Ananda, from the Chopra Center. There is a library of options to choose from that combine relaxing music with meditation tracks, and more are constantly being added.

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My favorite part? A daily combo that is pre-chosen! I just open the app, click on the Meditation of the Day, and settle in for ten blissful and uplifting minutes that make the rest of my day incredibly amazing.

How can you play with an interest of yours today? Please share in the comments. Your ideas help us with ours!

Oxygen Masks, To-Do Lists, and Elevation Training

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Most days I feel I’ve got a pretty good handle on keeping my breath. Lately, however, I’ve been tested. Daily.

A family member’s graduation is absolutely a happy event and process!  I’m just reminded that even good stress is still…stress. Thank goodness I love lists. They help me stay on top of it all. To breathe on my own.

Yet as I get really good at managing my tasks, I now realize how off-balance I actually am. Oh, my tasks are getting accomplished, sure. But I’ve slipped on attending to my quiet time. I’ve let my daily meditation and writing become last on the list. Which means it gets pushed to tomorrow’s list. And the next tomorrow’s. I tell myself it’s only temporary…

…As I slowly lose my breath.

It makes me think of a recent flight I was on, and how the attendants remind us that “in the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you.” And I realize that it’s true:

Life itself is a decompression. Our daily personal time is our oxygen.

Whether we meditate, write, ponder, reflect, practice yoga, go for a walk, or do other forms of personal attending-to, that time is sacred. Our sacred time is what keeps us breathing through our decompressions.

And like the airplane oxygen support, we’ve got to secure our masks first before assisting others. If instead we accomplish our tasks before attending to our soul, we’re really just free-falling.

When I think I can temporarily set my sacred time aside and come back to it later is exactly when I need it the most.

Oxygen is essential in your soul’s elevation training. Attend to your daily dose first, and without question.

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And then breathe.

Just breathe.

 

 

 

A Salute to General Specific

 

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Earning our wings

 

I had an Aha! moment about goal setting:

I am writing a book.  And a change I’m making to support myself as I begin, is to write regularly.  As in, every day. No excuses.

So when I wrote down my goal, my deadline, my vision, my focus, and my action steps (see the Hay House World Summit eBook, p. 25-26), I began describing these in terms of a daily writing practice. Because that’s what I want to be: attending to daily writing.

I felt really good about getting clear on the change I wanted to make.  And then BAM! Insight knocked me upside the head, and hard.

My goal is actually to write this book’s proposal. (Which is my Step Number One in writing the book.)

Now, a daily writing practice is certainly supportive and is definitely action I am embracing. However, it’s a wallflower around the dance floor of clarity. I still hide in safe generalities rather than identify my vulnerable desire.

Generalities are helpful for us as we explore our way to clarity. But staying there forever can keep us from our next level of growth. We remain in the safety of generalities so that we can prepare to step into our specifics.

When we focus our general bearings into a specific aspect, that’s when we get our clarity. Our Aha!s.  A direct line into our souls.

To  help me with this, I now picture my four-star angel–whom I’ve named General Specific.  A salute to her lovingly guides me from hiding in my general wants to owning my specific desires.

She will help you, too. She’s in the Service, after all.

What dreams and goals do you hold in your heart? How can General Specific help you move within them?

 

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By grace, our wings are already given

 

Everyday Meditations

 

 

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Image from The Odyssey Online

I’ve spent the last year trying something new, which ended up taking me away from posting regularly here: I’ve been journaling.

Oh, sure, I’ve dabbled with a journal in the past–but nothing like this. I’m talking about a regular practice. Showing up daily. Allowing enough time for it to unfold in its own direction. Writing for the audience of myself. Being present.

Ho. Lee. Cow. What an amazing experience! I tune into myself more, get clarity, and make better decisions. I have greater compassion and gratitude. I am more frequently in a state of grace, for longer periods of time.

Yes, I still stumble. But wow, what a difference–in both my process and my outcomes!

I started journaling by accident when I decided I wanted to learn more about meditation. You can’t argue with the benefits you hear about, and sometimes you’re finally ready.

Here’s what I learned about meditation: it’s simpler than I thought, and it doesn’t look like I thought.

Meditation takes many forms, not just the traditional image of sitting cross-legged with eyes closed and speaking “ohm.” (Although you can do that, too!) You’re likely already practicing some form of it, whether you call it that or not.

Any time you are fully engaged in the present moment, for and with yourself, you’re tiptoeing on the edge of meditation. And when you show up regularly for this, you will begin to experience the benefits meditation has to offer. Whether you call it that or not.

So find what resonates with you.  Is it physical activity? Try walking the dog. Do you prefer to read? Find a daily devotional. Like to write? Get a notebook and create a journal. Enjoy hearing words of encouragement? Listen to a meditation recording online.

The main points are to show up for yourself and to be fully present.

Every. Day.

The rest will unfold for us grasshoppers.

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Everybody was Kung Fu writing…

Here are a few resource ideas for you, if you are looking to start a meditation practice:

Daily guides from Science of Mind Magazine: http://scienceofmind.com/

Audio meditations from The Chopra Center (they have really great apps, too): http://www.chopra.com/

Anything from Gabrielle Bernstein: http://gabbyb.tv/

The shoes in your closet: go for a walk. Even a short one to start.

Paper and pen, or Google doc: begin a journal

Down-to-earth applicable inspiration: Pam Grout’s blog