[Self Discovery] The Power of Meditation

Breathing in – I know I am breathing in;
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.

With the calamity and chaos in the world at large, intrinsically we have to understand that the only control we ultimately have in this world is of our own emotions and reactions. The best way to be able to control those are to understand our true nature, and that’s our nature without external stimulus – it’s the you at your core, without thoughts, without emotion – the you that just is.

Breathing in, my in-breath has become deep.
Breathing out, my out-breath has become slow.

It’s a simple task, but it most certainly doesn’t come easy; all it requires is you to be fully present in the moment and within yourself. That proverbial it that I speak of, that transcendental feeling you get from meditation. Whether you’re looking to expand yourself inward and engage in a personal evolution, or revolution; focus your mind and sharpen your mental state, or simply reduce your anxiety – finding time in your day to work in even a five minute meditation practice has proven mind and body benefits that permeate far more than just that moment.

Breathing in – I feel calm;
Breathing out, I feel at ease.

If you’re a morning person – when you wake up, grab your morning coffee, tea…wine…whatever, and start with just five minutes as you’re easing into the day. If you’ve got a yoga routine, meditation is like the icing on the cake at the end of your practice, simply add five minutes at the end of your yoga session to settle into yourself. If you’re a workaholic – schedule time in your phone or your planner, put a five minute meeting into your Outlook or Google Calendars. If you’re a writer – find a cute meditation journal for daily reflections. And if you’re like me and can’t sit still, get oustide and take a brisk stroll through the world while letting each of your senses become engaged with your surroundings. Either way you spin it – you most definitely have five minutes somewhere in your day to spare – so find it; I promise, you’ll be better for it.

Breathing in – I smile.
Breathing out, I release all my worries and anxieties.

The best way to start is to just…well, start; and start small. Find a comfortable spot with soft light, where you can sit tall and be at peace – whether you’re sitting cross-legged on the ground, or are propped up slightly with a meditation pillow. Let the moment wash over you as you focus on your breathing; marinate in that feeling as you notice the tightness in your chest and back, the restlessness of your lower body and weight of your head. Now, your mind – it’ll wander and wonder, but the point of meditation is to acknowledge when your mind is manifesting anything. You can try counting to ten slowly, or counting your breaths, or – using this poem that I learned from the book You Are Here by the esteemed Thich Nhat Hanh.

Breathing in – I dwell deeply in the present moment.
Breathing out, I know this moment is wonderful

The internet is a wonderful repository and I’m thankfully there are tons of digital resources available and at the tips of your fingers. If you feel strange about sitting with your own thoughts at the beginning, or simply don’t know how to begin or where to go with your practice – there are ample resources for guided meditations throughout the internet to help you find your moment of zen.

Here are some of my favorites.


For Beginners

Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Challenges + Guided Meditations

21 Day MC Creating Abundance - Chopra Center Download with Chopra ...

Whether it’s his 21 Day Meditation Challenges, or his guided meditations, Deepak Chopra has amassed an incredible amount of resources for the spiritually inclined. For those new to meditation – every few months the website offers a new 21 Day Challenge that intently focuses on one of many core emotional tenants. By the end of the challenge, you’ll be marinating in your mindfulness as you reap the positive benefits of meditation on the body, mind and spirit.


There’s an App for That

Headspace logo

There are a ton of different smart phone applications for those looking to take their meditation practice further. I’ve toyed around with both Headspace and Calm; and personally like the fact that both apps can be either iOS or Desktop based. But, a new favorite is Simple Habit – which is a free app, that you use for five minutes a day *ding ding*. Honestly, I enjoy what they all have to offer in terms of both length and type of meditation, but if you’re in the mood to shop around – here are a few other options that I’ve discovered:

Oak: Meditation and Breathing
Mindfulness: Meditation and Relaxation
10 Percent Happier


Go One Deeper with Spirit Daughter Moon Workbooks

Scorpio Full Moon Workbook from Spirit Daughter

For the astrologically inclined, I’m a die-hard fan of the Full Moon and New Moon workbooks from the mindful mavens at Spirit Daughter. Each one comes ripe with information about the celestial seasons, and have incredible resources for those wishing to either begin a meditation practice or develop theirs further.

With various subscription levels, including paper based versus digital, and monthly packages versus either their seasonal full or new moon books. I’m a bit old-school in that I love having things hand written, but I’ve heard fab things about the digital version as well!


Try Meditative Tarot

At the end of the day – each of us is going to have a mindfulness or meditation practice that is as unique as they are. I’m more of a yoga-journal-active meditation type of gal; I like to be more engaged than simply ruminating in the feeling – I also seem to have the attention span of a goldfish. So if I’m going to sit and journal my meditations, I eventually start bringing out either my tarot cards, spirit animal cards or rune stones; the whole practice brings up ideas, patterns and emotions that I’m more open to exploring with a clear head – often leading me to an existential epiphany that brightens my mood, day, or both.


What are some of the most useful tips and tricks you’ve learned that have helped you with your meditation practice?

[Self Discovery] The 7 Questions That Tell You Who You Are

Slowly but surely, Self Discovery has become one of my favorite topics to blog about; as a writer, I feel like I’m on a perpetual quest to fully understand myself – whether its through past actions, interpolations of my psyche or concerning my dreams, I’m 110% invested in becoming a better person.

For the duration of 2013, my life has invoked the theme of change – and when I compare the woman I’ve become to the young girl that I used to be, I notice a world of a difference.  To boot, over Thanksgiving my family has more than confirmed this. And now, with the combined forces of my birthday last weekend and turning 30 next year, it’s only right that I decide on my direction.

When I was younger, I had this idea that we should all be able to be like trees – plant roots, divvy up your strengths between the branches, water yourself with knowledge and subsequently watch each and every facet of our live thrive at once. But, the older I become the more I’ve been made aware that we need paths and purpose – we’re less like trees and more like flowers. When roses are plucked for a bouquet, you don’t uproot the whole bush and you don’t take every flower: you go to the healthiest, most beautiful bud with the most potential and you cultivate it. That’s life.

One of the issues with figuring out where you’re going is to have a firm grasp on where you currently stand and in my opinion, this is one of the best emotional inventory’s around.  I have these ideas and dreams for where I’m going with my life, and this survey is at the cornerstone of it all.  So enjoy, then delve into your own mind – you never know what answers you’ll give yourself!

1. What would you do with your life if you didn’t have to pay the bills?

There are so many things and ideas that rush through my mind with this question that I wanted to give it some proper time to set in: don’t have to pay the bills? How ideal – how freeing, and how incredibly wonderful!  I’d spend my mornings writing and spilling feelings from my fingers.  My deepest thoughts, my musings on life, the latest and greatest in the music industry, etc – and I’d share them with the world, forging connections and engaging the community at the same time.  With the new-found love of DIY projects that I’ve developed,  having all that free time would give me a chance to dive deeper into them, and give me time to develop a non-profit that specializes in animal assisted therapy and focuses on mental health awareness.  And my nights – oh, my nights – they’d be spent in the middle of a crowded dance floor surrounded by friends and amazing music.

At the end of the day, the one thing that keeps me going is my love of writing and the way music makes my brain, body and soul melt into the moment.  My current gig with The DJ List might not pay my salary, but it gives me something to look forward to and puts my hand directly in the EDM cookie jar, so to speak.  As much as my job at Disney is rewarding, it’s equally frustrating – but it gives me the chance to excel at a hobby and I’m so damn grateful that I’ve had the chance to cultivate both opportunities.

2. What cuts you the deepest?

Dishonesty; I would much rather be forced to swallow the hard truth than be misled by an appeasing lie. Cruel people; life is difficult for all of us, why make it more difficult because you’d rather project your life’s insecurities – emotionally or physically – on others instead of dealing with them in your own personal time.  None of us have as much time on the planet as we would like to do the things we want to do, so make life enjoyable for those around you – either by contributing something positive, or simply by leaving them alone.  

3. If you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?

I’d wake up at the crack of dawn and watch the sunrise from the Mulholland / Hollywood Bowl Overlook and while the sun scattered rays over the city, I’d be penning letters to my family and friends, remind them how beautiful an opportunity life is and how mine was transformed by each of them.  After I mailed the letters, I’d head over to Venice Beach and gallivant through the menagerie of weirdness that it offers – then it’s off to the airport to head to Vegas, because I love the lights and culture of the city.  I’d go to one last amazing show at Light, dance, dance, dance to my heart’s desire – then it’s back to the airport. I’d book a first class flight for my closest friends and I to go to Japan, immerse ourselves in culture and gorge to our delight in sushi, my last bite to eat would be blowfish – but I wouldn’t eat it there.  I’d take it under a cherry blossom tree, curl up in the warmth of my memories – and slip away with a smile.

4. Who do you love and why do you love them?

Being human is amazing, not only because we contain a sense of self – but because that sense of self contributes to a sense of well being in others – and that leads to love.  Not to say animals, plants, minerals can’t feel love – but when you can’t quantify consciousness, it’s pretty damn difficult to come to any conclusion pertaining to emotional state. Humans, we feel – we connect and forge relationships with vigor.  I love my parents because regardless of my mistakes, they support me becoming the person I wish to become and that selfless love is something I will never get from anyone else; I love my step-mother doubly so for that very reason, because she owes me absolutely nothing and gives me everything. I love my cats because they are a constant reminder that life is bigger than just me, they give me unconditional cuddles and affection and warm my world every time I return home. I love my best friends because they allow me to be apologetically myself; and I love my boyfriend because he’s always in my corner, as both my best friend and my love. Last, but definitely not least – I love myself – I’ve learned how to live alone and be alone in a city that can swallow your dreams and spit out your soul; I learned how to love, and lose, and love myself without a downward spiral; and I’ve learned that I can depend on the people around me, because those people from my past don’t dictate who the future brings into my life.

5. What do you quote?

I quote books – movies – authors – lyrics; I live and breathe music and words, especially of the poetic variety, speak to my heart.  I quote numbers, figures and statistics because that’s what my brain retains the best. And I quote my friends, because they’re some of the funniest mother fuckers on this beautiful, blue planet.

6. In those rare but life-changing moments, how do you act?

Over the past few years, I’ve had more than one life-changing moment.  Each time I do, I become transfixed then transformed; like an anxious caterpillar becoming a beautiful butterfly.  I’ve been more than thrilled at my out-of-body response to some momentarily traumatic and stressful situations and have continually come out on top.  Thank goodness.

7. What do you think about most?

I spend a lot (maybe, too much) time thinking about what’s next and then, there I am – reminiscing about the past.  What’s failed, what could I have done differently, what will I repeat and what will I learn to not repeat?  I’m a creature of habit that doesn’t seem to make the same mistakes twice, but even once – for some, is haunting.  And often, I feel like I’m haunted by my hindsight and overshadowed by the what-if mentality I carry about my future. I think about the well being of the people in my life that I love; I think about the well  being of people I’ve had falling outs with.  I think about the family and life that I want for my future self; I consider my current job situation and if that’s truly where my heart is. I wonder what else I could have studied and where else I could be in my life…possibly too much for my own good. I think about weather patterns, mathematical and physical laws, philosophy and astronomy. I’m curious, and as my understanding goes – curiosity killed the cat; it’s all to apparent that I overthink,  but hey, at least that makes up for the people that don’t.