Monthly Archives: February 2014

4 scientific studies on how meditation can affect your heart, brain and creativity

TED Blog

Many people have tried to sell me on the idea of meditating. Sometimes I try it, and have an incredible, refreshing experience. But usually, as I close my eyes and focus on my breathing, while I know that I’m supposed to be letting all thoughts go, more and more fly through my mind. Soon I have a laundry-list of “to-dos” in my head … and then my legs fall asleep. It’s all downhill from there.

Today’s TED Talk, however, might actually convince me to give meditation another shot.

“We live in an incredibly busy world. Our pace of life is often frantic, our minds are always busy, and we’re always doing something,” says Andy Puddicombe at the TEDSalon London Fall 2012. “The sad fact is that we’re so distracted that we are no longer present in the world in which we live. We miss out on the things…

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12 Things That Show You Who You Really Are

Thought Catalog

1. What your ugly looks like.

There are few times in our lives we are uglier than fresh after heartbreak, so that’s a good place to start. We’re reeling and hysterical and compromising every conversation with the news of our failed romance. We are selfish and pathetic and quite possibly the worst version of ourselves. Watch yourself when you’re at your ugliest. Understanding who you are isn’t all about noting all of your positive qualities, although that is important too. You have to understand yourself as a whole person, the good, the bad, the ugly. 

2. What you do when you’re upset.

Do you quietly calm yourself without telling anybody? Do you take it out on other people? Do you act out physically or violently? These are all signs of what’s brewing underneath your surface, or more so, your grasp on self control.

3. How you treat others who can…

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Serenity

Lately I have been facing some issues with myself. A sense of hopelessness and despair swept over me Monday as I drove to work. The song Price Tag by Jessie J came on the radio, and it struck a chord inside of me. I started thinking about where I would be in the next ten years with financial success, but without any positive impact on society. I blew an opportunity to work with the government in the field I am majoring in, and that is really hard to accept. It also is unsettling to think about the person I was then and the person that I am right now. I feel like I have grown immensely, yet if I am to be honest with myself and others, my chances are virtually nonexistent for securing that same position. I can see now that it is better that I didn’t get it at the time than if I had. I really wasn’t fit for it then. Now, though, I feel like I would be so much more suitable in the position, but I locked myself out because of my own bad choices. That hurts.

Now as I set on a mission to be practical and to make a decent living doing something that is rewarding in a completely different sense, I feel empty. Like what is the point? What will money buy my soul? My track in life has shifted significantly, and I have to get used to it or be miserable. I am a black or white thinker, and if I can’t have exactly what I envisioned for myself, I feel like I have nothing.

What really helped me today was reading a daily meditation that centered on facing this issue and really feeling it. I sat for a few minutes on my toilet and as I thought about it all, I burst into tears. How could I have been so stupid? What was wrong with me? Where am I going now? Will anything ever make me happy? All of these questions flooded my mind and I really felt the sadness and fear that had welled up inside of me come out. I got down on my knees and said a prayer. After that, I actually felt like a lot of that burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt lighter and found a sense of clarity. That seemed to have worked for me somehow.

These kinds of things in life are inexplicable. It was a miracle that the thoughts really stopped after I asked for help from the universe…my higher power. I get so stuck in my idea of what is best for me and what I MUST do to be happy that I lose out on enjoying the here and now. I worked from home today because we got 6″ of snow, and I was able to focus and ground myself into my work. I guess part of me is always searching for something, but I pray that will slow down. I really hope that I will learn to someday be truly content with where I’m at. Sometimes I crave the highs and lows of life so much that I actually create them out of seemingly nothing. Others around me do their best to console me, but until I am able to be honest with myself about a situation and accept it for what it is, I will not find serenity in my life. That is what it comes back to.

Juggle It All

So this is the third blog post that I will have written today. My life went from boring as can be to busy as a bee in the matter of a few weeks. I got into work early today and had the office to myself. It was nice to turn up my music and start my daily grind. I made some decent headway into the project. I am consciously slowing myself down and taking things piece by piece, which is something I have to learn in all areas of my life. I tend to take on much more than I can actually handle, and it is cause a lot of stress and unhappiness. I think I am making a resolution or goal for myself to limit myself and stop overcommitting. It is really hard for me to say no to good opportunities. It’s like that Yes Man movie with Jim Carrey where he is only able to answer yes to questions. Good things really do start happening when we open ourselves up to the universe, but it can be overwhelming to manage everything.

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This weekend, it will be crucial for me to organize and strategize my plan of action. I have two volunteer internships that are an per-event basis, a new part-time job, a work study job, 12 credit hours of school, recovery, relationships and leisure. I enjoy all of these things in my life that I am trying so hard to balance, but I know I could trim up  my schedule a bit (or a lot). I like to stay busy, but I think I fear losing out on things. It tends to be one of my character defects that I overwhelm myself to please others and to feed my fear of failure. I don’t want to fill that hole up more than it needs, so I know I need to loosen up and take some risks. Risks that involve not committing myself to new opportunities…risking on losing out. If it were a perfect world, I would just have my career, some volunteer positions, recovery, family, relationships and leisure (emphasis on this)…or a clone who could double my efforts, but it isn’t a perfect world and there is only one of me. It is exciting to feel like I am moving forward.

The founder/CEO and I had a lunch date today so that he could “download” all of his ideas for the project onto my mind. He is an interesting dude, and I enjoy hearing his vision, but sometimes even he can get too abstract and difficult for me to follow. I’m usually that person, but seeing it in the person across the table from me was a different experience. I realized that it’s great to be intelligent and have innovative ideas, but too many start to become unmanageable. Part of my job will be managing his ideas, clients and plans. That seems like a big job, and I honestly feel that he could do those things for himself. It seems insulting for me to take care of his personal responsibilities instead of directing my talents towards more productive endeavors. I am at an entry level position, but I am an A-type with a strong personality and a big thinker. I guess I just want to keep my side of the street clean, which makes it frustrating to have to worry about cleaning up his side.

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I was very mindful today at work. I am practicing integrating the tools I get from my meditations into my everyday tasks, and I find that it does center my focus and ground me in the present moment. I check in with myself and assess what my overall mood is at that moment. The first step is being aware, so I feel good that I am working on that. I know it will take a lot of practice to become fully mindful, but I am making progress as I continue along my Headspace journey. I have to use the tools that I am already equipped with, and ultimately I have to put my trust and faith in my higher power. So far it is working, but I would like to start advocating for myself more.