Tag Archives: “change your life”

The Secret to Sticking with Anything

Pedra do Bau [Climb]How many times have you started something new (exercise routine, meditation schedule, writing that book, a new project), got pumped and excited about it, and then within a few weeks or months it slowly faded into a faraway memory? It’s normal and happens all the time. Gyms plan that every January 1st memberships will soar due to New Year’s Resolutions and then by March and April it’ll be back to mostly regulars.

It’s not that these people are slackers or don’t care about their body. What’s really going on is their level of commitment isn’t high enough. That’s because any goal, intention, or desire takes time to evolve into something that you care enough about to make the required level of commitment.

So what’s the required level of commitment? The secret to sticking with any goal is having a solid 100% commitment. (I would say 110% to emphasis how big this level of dedication is, but doing that has always been a major pet peeve of mine.)

It’s very important that your commitment isn’t 99.9999999%, but it’s 100%. Why? Because, even with a 99.9999999% commitment, you still have a little opening to rationalize and talk yourself out of the action. This is not because you’re a bad person, it’s because all change involves some discomfort. If given even a slither of space to choose comfort over discomfort, you’re more likely to choose comfort.

That little .0000001% of space allows for talk like this: “I don’t feel like it today”, “I’m so busy with work ”, “there’s just a lot going on right now”, or my personal favorite (because I’ve it used for years) “I’ll just do it tomorrow and get back on track then.”

When you have 100% commitment to something, feeling like doing it has no importance on whether you do it or not. There is no option; it’s in many ways liberating because you make it a non-negotiable. You don’t give yourself the burden of having to choose every day. Then one day it’s become a habit that moved from your non-comfort zone to your comfort zone!

To make a 100% commitment, it’s important to always focus on the WHY of the commitment. Why do you want to commit to having some discomfort for a while? It’s the why that will get you to a place where you can be 100% committed to something. And it often takes a little time (or a lot) for everything to click and your why to become so clear and strong that the required 100% commitment is there.

For example, I’ve practiced meditation on and off for almost 15 years, and while I always ended a session feeling amazing, I couldn’t seem to stick with my commitment to do it daily. It was only when I was ready to eliminate all excuses (and this came after something “clicked” inside and I knew I needed it every day to express my highest self, which became a priority), that I could make the 100% commitment.

Don’t put yourself down if you haven’t been able to have the motivation or commitment to stick with something, but examine the WHYs. From that awareness, you can make 100% commitments to things that align with you and your unique values and path.

In what areas do you want to be more committed and why? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.  

How to Let Go Instead of Giving Up

Sunset Party Dancing Girl SilhouetteThe greatest stress in life is the stress we cannot control. Perhaps, it is no coincidence that at some point so many of us experience a painful, debilitating back pain which is actually the corresponding physical symptom of feeling like we have lost control of a situation or relationship. In other words: We want to be “back in power.”

Consequently at night, we cannot control our thoughts and have trouble letting go of what we should have said or done during the day. This is evidenced by our difficulty to stay asleep once we fall asleep. And when we don’t sleep, we are even more stressed and achy the next day. Basically, we are stuck.

The good news is that the body sends us signals regarding those stuck mindsets. The inability to let go of anger, negative thinking and that sense of failure tends to create inflammation in a specific body part, usually our weakest link. When you have a specific pain which the doctor has difficulty addressing, consider the emotional counterpart. Awareness of what your pain is trying to tell you  makes it go away as soon as you figure out the message. For example, when you are angry with another, you are most angry with the self for letting this person hurt you or take advantage. Ultimately you give up on the special relationship or quit the dream job instead of letting go of the hurt/anger. Isn’t it time to stop the self-sabotage?

You don’t have to give up on a relationship, quit a generally solid job, or give up a professional educational track because you feel powerless or diminished. A proven remedy is to let go of your self-criticism, your “perceived” hurt and humiliation, while you work through the uncomfortable situation or relationship with a kinder interpretation.

Consider these two questions:

* How much time and energy have you spent absorbed in all this negativity?
* What have you given up due to these negative emotions?

Know how to let go of self-blame while at the same time working on self-correction to do better. When you know how to let go of anger and shame, you can speak to yourself and to others like a compassionate coach or mentor with words of encouragement to transform a failure into a success. The ultimate question always is: Can you have compassion for yourself? When you are kind to yourself, you will be kind to others. Transform criticism into correction.

To let go instead of give up:

  • Have a heart to heart dialogue with yourself: “What am I not seeing about this situation?”
  • Be aware of your habitual reactions, breathe deeply, reconsider, and respond.
  • Stop putting yourself down. It’s time to lift yourself up and you will act from this higher vantage point instead of low down stressed out emotions.
  • Use humor to reinterpret the negativity. Seeing the inherent humor or the ultimate absurdity will most likely help you to find a solution.
  • Benjamin Franklin said that there was never a good war or a bad peace. Aim for peace in your own life and the lives of others.

Sadhana: Your Key to a Life Less Ordinary

i_love_octoberAtma Vidya means knowledge of the Soul.

The Vedas say there are technologies to achieve whatever you want to. Nothing is impossible to experience. The life you want is not beyond you.

They say that time and matter are limitations that can be transcended.

You are not someone who can not get better from your unwellness or someone destined to be alone, or someone without the money you need to make ends meet, or someone who will never be a successful artist, or someone who can not conceive (more?) children.

You are not a secretary, you are god!

You are the infinite potential of consciousness made manifest, and if you master the wisdom, that experience and that reality, you can experience and realize everything that you have ever wanted.

But you don’t do it on your own.

You need a guru – a teacher. Guru literally means dispeller of darkness. One who extinguishes dark simply because they are light. Darkness simply dissolves in a room if you turn on a light. Poof! It’s gone.

In this way, the guru dissolves our ignorant perception of our limited self by bringing us the Awareness we need to realize our true Self. The thing is, gurus ask for us to listen. Like any trainer they want our discipline. Like any trainer they set exercises and a routine and they expect for us to follow it. There are practices we must perform and repeat every day, and sometimes with additional intensity.

And like all trainers, they ask us to push ourselves outside our comfort zones. They teach things that kind of seem a bit out there to me and you in the modern world. Just like all trainers they want our commitment and surrender. Because, they will tell you, and as you can see, they have a method that most evidently works.

Sometimes on the spiritual path you find yourself awake at 3am BST chanting mantras and setting intentions, and you may realize that you’re living with a different set of practices and priorities from most of the rest of the world.

The guru brought you here. What are you doing?

Sadhana. That’s what you’re doing. Sadhana is a discipline set with the intent of realizing a spiritual goal. Remember what you’re here for: this quest for a thing called ‘Atma -Vidya’ – the knowledge of the Soul.

And it tells you that what you are doing is both necessary and perfect for what you intend to experience. There’s an intelligence at a cosmic level that bypasses your intellectual understanding and it makes you believe there’s an overriding magic in the universe that you can hitch your dreams to.

But the magic doesn’t happen out there. It happens inside You. It happens essentially in you coming to experience your self as a Soul and then living and taking action as a conscious Soul. There is an art, they say, to creating the life that you want to live: a life that is more colorful and vivid and satisfying and rich; a life less ordinary – and just like you don’t doubt that working out is one way of realizing a physical goal, accept that the way toward revealing your Soul – is through Sadhana.

So carry on with your Sadhana. Practice. Absorb everything you can learn from the guru.

Meditate from 3am in the morning till 6. Say your mantra 1008 times a morning. Do 108 or 54 or 27 sun salutations a day for 108 days if that’s what your teacher says might help. Ask for your name to be placed in the fire lab/homa when the moon is full in Uttarashada. Spend 10 days in vipassana. Become celibate for a while. Or for a lifetime. Offer sweets to a cow in a field, or feed rice to fish in the ocean.

And when you find yourself laughing at how crazy it all seems, remember that no matter how you look at it, the every day world is a pretty upside down place too.

Remember that you want to make quantum leaps into a different space. And remember that logic and rationale are definitely not going to take you there. And remember that for 5000 years or more, there are teachers who have been telling us that we are able to create a different quality of experience by living with a conscious Soul.

Remember that what you are doing is being open to being taught something you did not know before.

And then when you’ve done your Sadhana, keep calm, keep quiet and carry on with life in the modern world. It’s not something you have to announce to anyone. It’s between you and your guru – and your quest for Atma Vidya.

And, if sometimes, in the middle of all of this you think really, why am I doing all this stuff – then let this be a mantra too: if you want to have something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.


Originally published on my website, The Modern Girl’s Guide to Spirituality

Become ‘Better Than Before’ with the Power of Intent

Screen Shot 2013-06-16 at 9.38.38 AMAll of us suffer from something. It could be as simple as an irritating or unhealthy habit like nail biting, jaw clinching, or smoking, to more complex issues like chronic stress, fears, and phobias of every nature variety. Other issues could be low self-confidence, and/or limiting beliefs like feeling unworthy or “less than” in some way. To that end, I am often asked two questions: What does it take to become Better Than Before? And can I change my life overnight?

I wish I were a (fake) clairvoyant like Simon Baker in “The Mentalist” and be able to predict that all great things will happen in your imminent future. (I once asked my brother, “What if I had true psychic powers?” “What if a piano fell on your head,” he responded.) Alas, I can’t. And there are no instant fixes or magic bullets. You have to do it all by yourself. The whole concept of being Better Than Before implies change of some sort; moving in some way by small increments from where you are to where you want to be. That change can be physical, emotional or spiritual. But in reality, all change involves all three energies.

My expert Dr. John McGrail, a renowned clinical hypnotherapist, personal improvement expert, spiritual teacher, and author of the bestselling The Synthesis Effect, picks it up from here. “One of the most powerful ingredients in harnessing one’s energies to create change is the energy of intention or intent,” he tells me. “If we look at the dictionary definition of intent we see words like purpose, motive, aim, design, and goal; and next to these words we see descriptors like, keen, resolute, sincere, serious, and diligent.”

Dr. McGrail goes on to say that no change, nothing new, in fact, can happen without a purpose, aim or goal. “An artist cannot create art, an athlete cannot compete, a student cannot learn, a business cannot profit, a writer cannot write, a person cannot lose weight, build self-confidence, or change anything about themselves and their life,” he contends. In other words, it is impossible to become Better Than Before without the energy of intent. Intent is the bridge between desire and achievement. “Therefore, it’s not such a stretch to say that intent is indeed the ultimate and universal, motive force behind all creation.”

Yet, for many people defining intent as the creative force of the universe is a bit too abstract a concept to easily integrate and employ. “We desire something more practical and pragmatic,” continues Dr. McGrail. So let’s try this definition: “Intent is laser-sharp focused thought and action dedicated to producing a result. The result in this case, of course, is whatever you wish to change.” Let’s call it your New You, the you that is Better Than Before, that is.

Dr. McGrail emphasizes that it is vital to recognize that two energies must be brought to bear. We need to employ both thought and action. Either one without the other and nothing much happens; or if it does happen, it may take a very long time. “Many of the latest books and films dealing with quantum reality and the Law of Attraction mention the necessity to focus one’s thoughts on what one desires; but they most often minimize and sometimes completely neglect the need to act on those thoughts as well. If you don’t do something to take you through the process—choose, act, etc.—then, well, as they say, ‘you can’t get there from here.’”

He further explained to me that two points become very clear with this concept: First, the desire, aim, and motive to create your Better Than Before ‘New You’ must absolutely be your own. “If you try to change yourself because someone either wants you to for their sake or thinks that by changing something about yourself will make you a better person,” he says, “then bringing the required intent will be difficult, if not impossible, particularly for creating a long-term effect. It may work in the short run, but almost never if you want it to be permanent — and if you want to be happy about it.”

Second, the degree of focus, laser-sharp, becomes very important in producing efficacy. “Think of light energy,” he suggests. “A light bulb does a fine job of illuminating a room with a fuzzy cloud of light. But if you concentrate and focus light energy enough you can create a beam that is brighter and sharper. And if you continue to focus them more, that very same energy—light—becomes a laser, a device obviously far more versatile and incredibly more powerful than any light bulb.”

The same, in fact, holds true for intent and the process of change. According to McGrail, the more we concentrate our thoughts and actions on our desired outcome, the more quickly and efficiently we can and will produce the result. And while this seems simple enough, we in modern Western society tend to have significant challenges with focus; we are distracted by a million different sources of input, technologies, and media; we have come to almost worship the act of multi-tasking (even though I’m convinced that my brain was designed to focus on only one thing at a time); and so we are easily distracted, and thus, the energy of intent can become diffused and eventually powerless. And there goes our result.

Fortunately, there are a variety of tools and techniques that can help us refocus. And “one of the most powerful is a simple, consistent practice of meditation; a natural state of consciousness that creates incredible mental focus and clarity, just what we need to power our intent,” Dr. McGrail concludes.

To that end, here is his easy yet dynamic meditative exercise that will greatly speed the process of becoming Better Than Before:

1) At least once a day, every day, find a place where you can sit quietly and comfortably and be free of all distractions and disturbances.

2) Close your eyes and let them relax completely; let your eyelids feel limp and languid, so heavy that they simply won’t open unless you force them open.

3) Relax your jaw completely; let all the tension that you have stored in your jaw – usually a lot more than we think – melt away. Feel your lower jaw just drop and droop.

4) Take 21 slow, deep, gentle breaths. Breathe all the way in, and all the way out, nice and slowly; and keep count. If you lose track, start over. (You almost surely will at first, but with practice you will get better.)

5) When you reach 21, picture, visualize, or imagine looking at yourself having made the change you are wanting. What does that New You look like, feel like, act like? Stay with the imagining until you can feel the energy of it, the absolute delight of being your “new” you. Hold onto the image and the feeling for as long as it feels comfortable.

The key to this exercise is consistency. When you visualize or imagine your New You and stay with it until you feel it, you are in fact creating that energy within you by reprogramming your subconscious computer. And I guarantee you will become Better Than Before!

The Most Inspiring Thing David Foster Wallace Ever Said

You have a choice.

It’s as simple as that. Do you want to be irritated or uplifted, cynical or curious? Do you want to experience the world as inherently aggressive or inherently cooperative? Every day we encounter situations that stretch and test us, but every moment we have the power to choose how we react.

In this poignant excerpt from a commencement speech David Foster Wallace delivered to Kenyon College’s class of 2005, Wallace argues that the banalities of working adult existence provide constant opportunities for imaginative thinking. Set against a powerful video produced by LA-based film company The Glossary, Wallace’s argument hits home and is far too familiar to brush aside.

Does this inspire you or do you think David Foster Wallace has it all wrong? And what about those in our society who don’t fit the middle to upper middle class, white-collar existence? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Feeling Stuck? 4 Tips to Move On

ColoursAre you ready, fed-up, praying for change? There comes a time to shut down what doesn’t work. A time to look deep within…and to move on. Being stuck may feel insurmountable; actually it is a habit, a comfort-zone of settling for false security.

4 Tips To Move On From Stuck-ness

  1. Acknowledge: “I’m done with this.” And mean it. Think of a time when you did leave an old pattern, habit, or situation behind…and you knew it was for your growth, and in the best interest for all concerned.
  2. Breathe. Be still… This is the zone of unlimited source, the place of potential readying to burst into form.
 Imagine possibilities of newness. Allow silly, amazing, unthinkable options to pop up. You may envision being 5-years-old and playing hopscotch, or painting on the kitchen wall…oops did your parents response curtail your creative response? Allow your dream state to continue. Allow 5-10 minutes a day to uproot the joy within you. Conscious awareness leads to options.
  3. Pick a new possibility. Take an action, a small step in potential’s direction, then another. Repeat 1 & two if you falter.
  4. Love yourself. Within each of us is an infinite treasure that can be seen on the outside as the magnificence of the universe. The perfection of how a seedling becomes a delightful rose bloom, or a new technological invention, like the world-wide Web magically links us. As supportive communities emerge, we collaborate, share as a trusted friends, thriving in a place to learn, dwelling in a haven to grow as ONE. Life is a game. Play it full-out. Be true to YOU! Embrace integrity, courage, and truth, and regrets will not follow you.

* * *

If you want more MerrieWay funny Wise Woman tips join us by following here. ♥  

Enjoy Merrie Lynn’s Best seller Happy Heart Journal, writing your truth, and invoking intuition for a soul-filled life.

Are You Ready to Change Your Life? Start now!

Natalie and Iman, learning that they are about to have a colonics treatment

What would you do to radically change your life in 30 days?

The key to transformation is within your reach. It’s the underrated yet highly effective power of intent. The power of focus, attention, and desire. If you’re ready to set an intent to transform your life, then let’s get to work. The Chopra Well’s new intent-centered show, launching October 2, will be there to guide and inspire you along the way.

30 Days of Intent follows YouTube star, Iman Crosson, and professional athlete and entrepreneur, Natalie Spilger, on a journey of intent and self-discovery. Natalie and Iman spend weeks visiting experts in the health and wellness fields. They experience watsu massage, spiritual therapy, nutrition counseling, and much more. They laugh, they cry, they push their boundaries. It’s the kind of transformative journey many of us wish we had the time and resources for. Imagine spending 30 days going from expert to expert, exploring a range of spiritual traditions and wellness tools. What would you want to try? Where would you want to go?

Before you cash in on those extra days off from work, let’s go to the heart of the issue: your intent. A journey of this kind is most relevant in the context of an intent, which will likely stem from some aspect of our lives that needs attention. Iman and Natalie are perfectly poised for their adventure on 30 Days of Intent. One is struggling with the rupture of a meaningful relationship; the other is grieving what appears to be the end of a life-long dream. They each set an intent at the beginning of the journey, and this acts as their compass throughout.

Consider where you are right now in your life. What are you struggling with? What short and long-term goals do you have? If this is where you’re trying to go, then let your intent be the guiding compass. Set an intent for the day, for the week, and for the year.

Join Iman and Natalie for 30 Days of Intent, launching next week on The Chopra Well. Episodes will air on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so you can stay closely connected to their journey throughout the Fall. Set your intent now, and have fun exploring your own tools and processes alongside Natalie and Iman. Click here for an exclusive link to Intent.com where you can share your intent and support others’.

As always, keep us posted on your progress in the comments sections of our videos and blogs!

Subscribe to The Chopra Well now so you don’t miss a beat of Natalie and Iman’s odyssey on 30 DAYS OF INTENT!

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