If you are dilly dallying through life, without purpose or intention attached to everything you do, you are failing to do the one thing I’ve also failed to do. And that’s to live with intention. I thought I had grasped the power of intention a while back, but this week’s Oprah and Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Experience, Hope in Uncertain Times set me straight. See what I learned about intention, awareness, and hope below, and see if any of it can help you live with intention.
Dance Like Noone’s Watching
Awe childhood, when we’re kids we can’t wait to grow up, but when we do, we long to go back to the carefree days. Day 15 of this meditation experience let’s us in on a big secret. That carefree spirit is still there, trapped behind an untrusting ego, which would rather have us holding on the the wounds, hurts, and disappointments we’ve experienced. than enjoy the life we have.
But Deepak encourages us to begin tapping into that carefree innocence by “Mak(ing) time everyday for play.” That doesn’t necessarily mean get a freeze tag team together, but if you did that would be totally cool. It just means enjoying playful moments, without worry, judgement, or a need to control it’s outcome.
Oprah adds that we should take the healing a bit further through an exercise she learned from John Bradshaw – author of Heal Your Inner Child. For this exercise you’re encouraged to mentally go back to your childhood home and peer through the window. What do you see? And more importantly, what do you feel? How do you feel about the relationships you had with everyone in the house? How do you feel about how everyone else related to each other? What burdens did you have to carry? What brought you hope? What made you sad?
Oprah believes this allows us to bring awareness and “Healing (to) the wounds of the past” which “is one of the most hopeful endeavors in our life.” The more we free ourselves from the past, the more we’re able to fully live in the present. I can totally see how this would help in shifting our perspective toward seeing how life is truly unfolding for us and that’s pretty awe-some!
Ripples of Hope
Raise your hand if you like helping others, whether it’s family, friends, volunteering, or giving back. Me too! Did you know that if we do it expecting something in return, even if it is just to feel better about ourselves, that we are attaching our self centered ego and judgment to what we thought was truly altruistic? Here’s how Day 16’s meditation explains it.
Deepak says to be a beacon of hope for ourselves and others, we can’t have the ulterior motives of the ego involved. He says that the best way to help others change, is by changing ourselves. Once we’re able to connect to our true self, we’re able to extend that connection to others by lovingly accepting them without judgment, feelings of disappointment, guilt, shame, etc. Oprah adds how Brené Brown has shown that the best success comes when we’re vulnerable, not only in offering up assistance, but in sharing our own flaws as well. If however, we continue to offer assistance with these hidden agendas, then we’re telling those we’re trying to help that they are flawed and need to change to be accepted. This, of course, then causes them to become defensive, resist, and even resent the change we’re wanting for them. How many of us have seen this in friends, family, or significant others? I know I have.
So to be a motivating force, we need to let go of any negative feelings or impressions we had about our past encounters with the person or group of people, etc. and allow hope, love, support, and encouragement to reign, without any expectation on whether the other(s) will change like we want them to. Yeah, hard pill to swallow, but I totally get it. Cheers to us sending ripples of hope to everyone we encounter.
Be the Change
This quote from Mahatma Gandhi has always resonated with me. It made sense in the “treat others how you want to be treated” thought process. Day 17’s meditation however, made a stronger connection for me. Deepak said when we live in the present, allowing our awareness to live in the hear and now, vs. being distracted with analysis of past or future events, we’re able to “…drop the belief that we know what’s best for someone else.” You know all those times we try to be “helpful” to friends, family and partners, trying to tell them how do to things, how to feel about things, how to change, etc. When we try to change others to our ways of doing things, we’re merely setting ourselves up to be rejected or even resented for our “helpful ways.” Why? Because what we’re really doing is trying to control the person to act exactly as we would. Ugh, totally guilty of both, trying to control, and hating being controlled. How about you?
Deepak says that what we really need to do is live Gandi’s quote and actually “be the change (we) wish to see in the world.” He says that when we change and live life as our true selves, hopeful, and compassionate toward the fact that everyone wants to evolve and grow, we become motivational catalysts for change, through hope. This is why the buddy system works when you’re trying to make a change in your life. Whether it’s trying to add exercise into your life or just trying to become more positive. When you surround yourself with others who exercise or are positive, you become hopeful that you too can make the change one day. You don’t do it because they’re always in your ear telling you what you should do. You do it because their actions inspire and motivate you to be who you want to be. And this type of change will only take hold if it’s done in our own time, and at our own comfort level.
So true! So as we continue to grow, as Oprah said, we should feel free to share how we became the person we wanted to be and/or how we accomplished our dreams. We just have to make sure that we stay away from trying to control or judge someone else’s growth. Instead we need to offer hope and a compassionate understanding. Only then will we see how transformation unfolds around us, in it’s own time and it’s own way.
Pretty great stuff today, with so many helpful tips in how to interact with all the special people in our lives. Cheers to moving toward hope and compassion, and away from judgment and control.
Your Legacy is What You Do Everyday
Isn’t that Maya Angelou quote that Oprah Winfrey shared in Day 18’s meditation everything? When it’s all said and done, it’s all about how you treat those in your life, whether they’re family, friends, or even strangers you meet on the street. It’s not how much money you did or didn’t have, how much weight you gained or lost, or any other thing that’s keeping you up at night.
Deepak says that those other worries come from an “…an absence of hope, grounded in past hurts” He calls these hurts, “phantoms of the mind,” which “we think are real because we think the fear they generate will protect us from further pain.”
OMG yes, I can so relate to this!
He says this cycle just adds to our belief that we don’t deserve any of the good things in life. So why not stop stressing about what happened in the past or what we want to happen in the future, which are only thoughts anyway? Why not just live, moment to moment, enjoying, allowing change in, and spreading our new found hope to all we meet?
I know I’m game. If you are too, there’s one one thing we need to remember when we run into anyone feeling stuck, hopeless, depressed, anxious, or walking through life, expecting little from it. And that is to “… listen from the level of the heart, without judgement or expectations,” or without trying to change them to be, look, act, or react the same way we do. A definite biggie, but it’s about respecting and honoring everyone’s need to be seen and heard. This level of validation is what let’s us all feel connected, feel like we matter, and that we’re not alone, which is what it’s all about.
Powerful, powerful stuff!
Oprah’s Three Life Principles
In Day 19’s meditation Oprah shared the three principles she lives by and Deepak shared how to stick to them.
- Develop a vision of what you want your life to be and watch for the signals, that are always available, to guide you there. The best way to not miss those signals is by bringing awareness to the present moment, open to receive the best life has to offer.
- Get clear on your intentions and live those intentions in everything you do. They will guide your outcome. If however, you find that your intentions aren’t clear or they’re filled with doubt, then that means you’ve become disconnected from your true self. If this happens, simply step away from the situation, silence your mind, and allow awareness of the here and now to take over.
- Newton’s third law – For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Whatever you put out into the Universe, is what you’ll get back. ie. Want to be a Negative Nancy, then be ready to find more Negative Nancys on your path. True story, however, even if you’re living in the moment, this doesn’t mean that all struggles, hardships, etc will no longer be a part of your life. It just means that everything in your life will be aligned to deal with whatever comes your way.
I’m definitely using these principles as a guide in my life, with a special emphasis on intention. I have to get crystal clear with those in my life. How about you?
In Day 20’s meditation, Oprah shared this quote, which an audience member shared with her on her show. And it’s so true. Forgiveness is more than a thought or action. It’s also not about the person who did you wrong, or that you condone their behavior. It just means that you’re ready to heal yourself and let go of what happened, along with any hate or resentment created by the ego. The longer we hold on to all those hurts based on false, counterproductive, perceptions, the longer we allow them to hold onto us.
Sure this healing process requires a lot of patience, understanding and loving kindness, but through hope, Deepak says we not only gain the courage to start bringing our forgiveness needing issues to the surface, but it also gives us a feeling of security because we know “…that we can heal them and not be retraumatized by them.”
When we operate from our true selves, in the here and now, we’re open and able to see that everyone, including ourselves, deserves forgiveness, compassion, and understanding because we’re all doing the best we can from our level of consciousness. Once we heal ourselves, we can offer forgiveness to others who need to forgive or who need to be forgiven.
Life is Always Unfolding Into Greater
In the last meditation of this meditation experience, Deepak says that the light of hope is what brings enlightenment to our lives. It’s what ignites our consciousness and allows us to see that awareness is always there, ready to connect our true self to compassion and accepting others as they are.
Oprah adds that anytime we allow the demands of life to get in the way of this awareness, all we need to do is just take a deep breath. Being conscious of our breath allows us to get back to living in the moment, acknowledging that “…we are not our thoughts,” and can instead choose to be fueled by hope.
As we continue to expand our awareness, we expand it to others and start the evolution of enlightenment for all. And what an amazing world that would be.
So there you have it. My final recap of this meditation experience. Thank you all so much for following along. If you missed the other two weeks, don’t worry. You can find my week one recap here and week’s two recap here.
Cheers to living life filled with hope and intention!