The why's and how's to meditation

Everyone is talking about it but so few make it part of their lifestyle and daily routine. I’m one of the believers that meditation does change lives so this is my attempt to help you figure it out.

The most important part of any new endeavor is the motivation and having your personal why-power to make the investment in making the routine stick. There’s thousands of research articles and so many reasons to do it, but these are my biggest why’s a the greatest benefits I’ve witnessed in my own life:

  1. Meditation builds a space between your thoughts and yourself. When you meditate you practice non-attachment to thought. You don’t have to believe in everything you’re thinking. The mind is crazy at times. Over time, meditation increases this space in between your wiser self and the monkey mind. With this space you can choose your reactions and you take back the power over your life.

  2. Meditation activates your body’s healing ability. When you sit down, relax and tell yourself that it’s safe to relax you automatically activate the parasympathetic nervous system and the body’s healing ability. Your body is so wise, and cool, and good at what it does, but you need to give it the right circumstances to do its job. When you meditate your body can work its magic.

  3. Meditation increases your awareness of your inner guidance system. As you close your eyes to the outer world and open up to your inner world you also realize there is a wisdom inside of you that is constantly guiding you in life. This is your power. Whether you want to call it intuition, gut feeling, higher power or something else, this guidance is always available to you if you just learn to listen to it.

I could go on and on about many more of my why’s of having a regular meditation practice but I’ll stop there because each one of these three makes the investment of meditation so, so worth it.

So, if it’s so great, why don’t everyone do it? Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think one of the obstacles people find is that they make it more complicated than it needs to be. These are my tips to get started.

  1. Start short and simple. It really doesn’t have to be fancy at all. Sit down in your sofa, close your eyes and count your breaths for ten breaths. So, that’s it. You’ve meditated. You can build from there. But you don’t have to. Just doing that a couple of times a day could work miracles.

  2. Don’t expect your mind to be blank. Your mind is a great tool for thoughts and that’s its job so it will most probably continue, whether or not you meditate. Your job is to not attach to the thoughts, just observe them and get back to whatever you’re focusing on, e.g. your breath. If you notice your mind is great, that’s awesome, you’re noticing!

  3. Be kind with yourself as you practice. Don’t expect miracles in a week. Be gentle with yourself as you trial and error. Try different variations, methods, teachers and techniques. Hang in there and trust that millions of people and thousands of years of practice can’t be wrong. Forgive yourself instantly when you miss a day and get on it again.

I truly hope this helps because I really believe that meditation can change lives and will change our society as more and more start looking inward and taking responsibility for their own life and well-being. You are not a victim of your circumstances but a creator of your reality. If you want a crash course I highly recommend Headspace and their free Take 10 introduction. It’s 10 minutes a day for 10 days with lots of instructions and cute animations to get you started. If you want a sustainable meditation companion over time I love Insight Timer which is a free tool with thousands of guided meditations and the ability to build your own.

So what say you, have I convinced you to get started? If you’re already a meditator, what’s your main why and best tips for someone just getting started? I’d love to hear from you.

With all my love,

Helena

The simplest way to living your dream life today

I don’t actually remember how I was first introduced to Danielle LaPorte but I’m so glad that I found her and her work. I remember working through the Desire Mapping process in early spring of 2015 and slowly uncovering the feelings that I most value and long for. They’ve changed and evolved since then but I still use my core desired feelings as a daily reminder of how I create the life that I want to live.

The process is quite simple: you look at your dreams and goals and “if-only-this”’s and you identify the feelings that you associate with having achieved this. These are your core desired feelings. The underlying belief of this work is that everything we do is driven by a desire to feel a certain way. And that we attach those feelings with a desired outcome that may or may not let you feel what you want to feel.

The twist of desire mapping is that once you’ve identified your core desired feelings you can deliberately create circumstances and events that lets your feel what you want to feel. Easy :) Really, it is! Let’s work with an example:

Emma is dreaming of having a house by the forest so that she can be in nature everyday. She longs to work creatively and help people from all over the world in leading happier lives. She wants two kids, a dog and a husband that is also into personal development and has a strong drive to create good in the world. Emmas “if-only-this” is having a less critical inner critic.

Emma visualizes that she’s there already, having everything she ever dreamt of and having all her problems solved. The feelings that she imagines that she would get to feel at her desired outcome are freedom, creativity, connection, meaning and divine love. Instead of waiting to get to experience those feelings “over there” she creates ways in her daily life to feel them.

Freedom is created by walking outside, taking a deep breath and looking up at the sky. She feels creativity by giving space to expressing herself freely through writing, without judgement. She experiences connection every time she sits down with a colleague and engages in an interesting conversation. Meaning is felt by helping people in need in different ways. Divine love is part of her everyday through her gratitude practice and by deepening her spiritual connection.

Emma is not at her “end goal” today, but she does get to feel the way she wants to feel almost everyday. And by taking responsibility for getting to feel her core desired feelings she feels less attached to the outcome and more present in her everyday life. And, she’s also a vibrational match to more of what she longs for, because we attract what we are.

That’s it! I told you it was easy ;)

I’m currently training to be a Desire Map Facilitator with Danielle, so you’ll probably hear lots more about this from me in the not so far future. But in the meantime, take the example of Emma and try it out in your own life. It’s more powerful than you might initially think. Trust me on this.

With all my love,

Helena

ps. yes, Emma is me.

Join the gratitude challenge

New year, new you or new month, fresh start. Whatever, it’s only a week left of March and I think it’s the great time to start something new, or re-commit to something that might already be part of your day: GRATITUDE.

It’s never too late or too early or too busy or too difficult or too anything to start a gratitude practice.

Gratitude is the gateway drug to happiness.

This was one of the practices that my course participants practiced this week and it’s amazing to hear the shifts that come immediately.

The more I focus on gratitude the more I find to be grateful for….

The more specific I get in my gratitude the stronger the feeling…

Since I started with my gratitude practice I’ve had so many amazing synchronicities happening….

Life is never black or white, it’s never either or but both and more. No matter what you are going through right now there’s always so much more to be grateful for than not. Even if you’re struggling right now I bet you can find at least 1 000 things to be grateful for. I’m really not kidding! Your eyes, your ears, your lungs… water, air, sun… love, relationships, connection… trees, flowers, ocean… books, knowledge, free resources… freedom, safety, home… I could go on and on and on and on.

But I want to challenge you to start practicing being aware of all the blessings all around you. The practice is simple and you can try it out for the rest of March. If you don’t like it, drop it. We’re gonna write gratitude lists, morning and night. Five things. Three rules;

  1. Come up with new things all the time. No repetition.

  2. Be specific; What part of your home are you grateful for? Why is this relationship so awesome? What about your job are you liking extra right now?

  3. Feel the feeling. The trick is to really sink into the feeling of gratitude. I call is taking a dip in the gratitude jacuzzi. Enjoy the feeling of gratitude and watch how it affects the rest of your day.

I hope you feel inspired to try this one out with me! As you well know, nothing changes until you change and everything changes when you do so just do it and evaluate beginning of April.

With all my love,

Helena

Worry less. What has worked for me

Worry is an interesting thing to me. Most of us spend a lot of time doing it, yet it doesn’t change anything.

“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere”

-Emma Bombeck

I love this quote, I think it’s brilliant. But it might not help very much. If it’s really so unnecessary, why do we spend so much time doing it? Well, it has to have some evolutionary purpose, right? Forecasting worst case scenarios help us be proactive and change what needs to be changed before something bad happens. That’s awesome. And it doesn’t take very much time. It’s a quick calculation of risks and then deciding to change a course of action based on the forecast.

But spending most of our brain bandwidth fantasizing about terrible things that might happen and not doing anything about it is not so awesome. That’s a waste of life quality and time.

I’ve trained my brain to worry less over the years (doesn’t mean I’m totally free) Meditation has been my greatest tool to work with my worry, because it helps me be the observer of my thoughts so I can notice when I go there and make an active choice whether I want to keep doing it or not.

Also, realizing that worry is just imagination and fantasy has also helped. Because that’s positive words for me and realizing I’m using my vast creativity for bad really was an eye opener for me. Why am I putting so much effort into creating scary future scenarios when I could use the same process creating visions and have beautiful daydreams about something wonderful?

But of course, the main thing is that worry doesn’t live in the now, it lives in the future, and that’s not where you are so when you worry you separate from yourself which is painful in itself. Being with what is, right here and now, 99% of the time, we will realize that we don’t have a problem or worry in the world, in this very moment.

It’s a practice. I practice everyday.

How do you handle your worry? What are the tools that work best for you to worry less? I’d love to hear your take on it.

With all my love,
Helena

My take on Ikigai and finding your passion

I work with a lot of clients on exploring their Ikigai. Not with the aim to help them to working full-time in their Ikigai, but rather to get inspiration for finding it in different areas of their life.

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A lot of people have a profession; doing something they’re good at and that they therefor get paid for. Maybe they also work for a company that do good in the world and so work also feels meaningful although not necessarily fun. More and more people spend their free time doing good work for the world, hopefully loving that and using their talents for the good of others but they’re not getting paid for it. Some people climb the career ladder doing things they love, are good at and they get good money for it, but it’s not a company that really makes the world a better place and so there’s a nagging feeling of having more to give to the world.

You can look at the Ikigai in a thousand different ways but for me it’s more about finding a balance in between the circles. Spending our life chasing money doesn’t bring lasting satisfaction, only focusing on having fun doesn’t bring depth and meaning, doing things others wants us to do because we’re good at it usually leads to frustration and helping everyone else but not ourselves finally will deplete us. One doesn’t work without the other. We need a little bit of everything. In our whole life picture.

What my clients usually struggle with most is their passion or what they love. Finding it, keeping it, living it. But what is it really?

Many people are really frustrated because they don’t know what they want. And when you don’t know what you want, how can you know your passion.

I heard Elizabeth Gilbert talk about this in a similar way. She had been talking about finding your passion hundreds of times when someone from the crowd asked her to please stop because she felt really excluded. The woman in the audience had been searching for years but only felt drained and confused from not finding it. She writes about this a lot in her amazing book Big Magic: Creative living beyond fear but I also found this short blog post with her conclusions on it.

“Passion is a tower of flame, but curiosity is a tiny tap on the shoulder — a little whisper in the ear that says, "Hey, that's kind of interesting…"

Passion is rare; curiosity is everyday.”

What if we would just lower the bar and go for curiosity. Find it, keep it, live it. Everyday. Go where curiosity leads you and don’t worry about what will come next, because when you’re there the next step will be right in front of you. But not yet. Trust that it will be.

Looking at the Ikigai related to your life today, what comes up? Where are you lacking and what can you do to get closer or creating a better balance? And if you don’t know yet what you love, follow your curiosity to the next thing and trust that that will take you to where you want to be.

With all my love,
Helena

Listening in

You learning to listen to you is so powerful. You have everything you need inside. Don't wait your whole life to figure that out, just listen to all the ones who's gone before us who tell you that it's true. And here comes the paradox, only you can listen in to you to figure out if listening to you really gives you all the answers. 

I did this exercise with my own coach the other day where she asked me some questions and I wasn't to answer with words but with bodily sensations. Wow! That was powerful. 

When I write letters to my intuition I usually wait and listen, and I honestly can't explain how it happens but all of a sudden I have an answer. And I know when it's my intuition because of how it makes me feel. Also, the wording is different from my intellectual minds language. 

Meditation is probably the most common way of listening in. Not latching on to the mind chatter, but slowing down the pace to hear something else. 

Whatever you do and however you do it, just give it a try, please. And I promise I will continue my practice as well, because I can tell you this much, my mind sure likes to think! 

With all my love,

Helena 

100% commitment

I heard this somewhere the other day and I haven't really tried it out for myself but it makes sense. So often we say we will try to do something. But at the same time we say we will try we're also implying that we might not actually do. We're not fully committed. At the same time we won't know beforehand if we will succeed. But how much of our success is linked to our commitment in the first place? 

It's easier to commit 100% to something than 99%. Because 99% leave room for doubt, for incessant mind chatter, for ambivalence. 100% leaves room for nothing. 

Say meditation for example. Most people say they want to try meditating every day and see how it feels. So, they try it. Some days it fits in the schedule, some days it doesn't and because the 100% commitment isn't there so much energy is wasted on debating in their mind whether or not today is the day for meditation or not. According to this theory it would be easier to just commit and say I'll do it, just as most of us actually get up in the morning, we brush our teeth and we eat when we're hungry. Just do it. 

I don't know but I will for sure try. I mean, I'm 100% committed to trying :) 

What do you think? 

With all my love,

Helena