Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Don't Have Time to Meditate? Yeah, You Do!

Come on now...during May’s Meditation Month, you’re going to tell me you don’t have time to meditate? Yeah, you do. Take a few minutes from Facebook, bitching about your boss or even – GASP – before you watch Game of Thrones. 

Why is finding time for meditation important? 

Because it works. 

Meditation has been proven to be effective in releasing stress, improving health and can even help people put their finances back on track. I understand as little as five minutes a day can make a positive difference in your life. Now really, you don’t have five minutes a day? If you believed meditating five minutes a day could change your life for the better, would you do it? Of course you would. Start at five minutes and work your way up to twenty minutes or more per sitting to see an incredible shift in your life. No kidding.

Check out the thousands of books, articles, CDs and videos on the subject if you don’t believe me. You’ll not only find research supporting the positive effects of a consistent meditation practice, you’ll find many examples of the ways you can meditate. There is a simple meditation style to fit everyone. 

I believe meditation is so important it’s the very first chapter of my book How to Choose Love When You Just Want to Slap Somebody. Read my book to see how it all fits in, but know for now that a daily meditation practice keeps me more balanced, happy and open to all the good life has to offer. Result? I don’t feel like slapping anyone. Not that often at least.

Yes, I’m on Facebook, I’ll occasionally whine to my sister and I know what the Mother of Dragons is up to… but it’s all done after I’ve meditated at least once that day. Meditation comes first each morning and I work to include a second session between late afternoon and evening. Each day, every day. No exception.

Meditation is magic. It’s healing. It’s free. And you definitely have time for it.

P.S. You even have time to #meditatethevote! Check out the details here

Friday, May 6, 2016

May is Meditation Month! The Perfect Time to #Meditatethevote

I’ve been a dedicated meditator for over 20 years and credit the practice as literally saving my life. As a coach and teacher, meditation is the first thing I discuss with my clients and students. It’s a way of life for me and my passion is to help others understand the healing power of a consistent meditation practice. It’s the most powerful tool I know to effect positive life change. It’s that important.

While I’m usually in my “Zen Zone” after meditation, I’m going to be honest with you. The current national political process has thrown me for a loop. I’ve been shocked, angry and – more than anything else – bewildered by the entire process. I’ve had friends from other parts of the world send messages asking “what the heck is happening there?” I’ve wondered that myself.

Because I’m familiar with the benefits of meditation, I know it brings peace and focus into my life. I think clearer. I’m more articulate and avoid getting “pulled into” unproductive, LOUD discussions with others. (I’ve found that angry discussions have never changed anyone’s mind nor assisted with a greater understanding of the subject at hand. Go figure.)

So what could I do to offset the uneasiness I felt over the election process?

I increased my meditation practice….and answered an invitation from Sister Jenna, host of the popular America Meditating Radio Show, to help promote #Meditatethevote, a grassroots campaign to bring respect, compassion and peaceful conversations to our election process.

Our goal is simple. We’re encouraging people to meditate, pray or be mindful in whatever way works for them and then, from a calm state, engage in meaningful and insightful conversations. Ask questions. Listen to others. Do your research. Meditate on who will best lead our country in the highest and best way for all. We do not endorse any specific candidate. We simply ask people go inside, evaluate options and in November vote from the quiet truth of their own heart.

Talk about a win-win!

Want to be a part of this campaign? It’s easy:

1)      Join us on social media now through November 8th to see what’s happening with the campaign at facebook.com/meditatethevote  and twitter.com/meditatethevote. Engage in conversations through video messages or #meditatethevote inspired questions. Read more suggestions at americameditating.org/events.meditatethevote.

2)     Use your own social media through November to repost and share #meditatethevote messages and videos that you enjoy.

3)     Host an event to encourage others to #meditatethevote. I’m offering a “Free Meditation Session to Introduce #Meditatethevote” in Warrenton, VA the evening of May 11th.  Get details and register at the link above. Want to organize your own gathering? We've got great questions to get your conversation started at americameditating.org/events.meditatethevote.

4)     Record a short video of yourself saying, "I meditatethevote" and why in one sentence then post it on facebook.com/meditatethevote or twitter.com/meditatethevote.  Videos of your family, friends and co-workers are welcome as well! If you’d prefer, snap a photo from your office, home or any place and write, “I #Meditatethevote.” Please share the photo/video on social media using #meditatethevote. We’ll be tweeting at @meditatethevote and @americameditating.

#Meditatethevote is meant to be a peaceful, fun and productive way for us to participate in this election discussion from a place of clarity and purpose. Think I’m kidding about the fun part? Check out this YouTube video!

Many of my friends have said they don’t know how they’ll be able "to make it through the election.” They’re afraid of heated family arguments, relentless TV ads and uneven media coverage.

I’ve got an idea.

Together, let’s #meditatethevote.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Birthday Note to My 21 Year Old Self

On my birthday I spontaneously decided to write a note to my younger self:

Dear 21 year old Diane,

I'm writing from 35+ (ok ++) years in the future to let you know everything turns out just fine. Life is good. Thought I'd share some tips to help get you through the next few decades:

Calm down. Really. Just calm down. Nothing you think is a big deal IS, in the grand scheme of things, and the things that really ARE a big deal sneaked up on you anyway. It’s OK. You get through it.

Get off the crazy train. This is a big one. Learning that only your own thoughts create your reality will change your life forever. You’re the one making yourself sick with fear and worry. Other people aren’t driving you crazy, your thoughts about other people make you feel crazy! Stop it. Read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, Florence Scovel Shinn’s The Game of Life and How to Play It, Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life and anything by Dr. Wayne Dyer as soon as you can.

Quit participating in other people’s drama. You don’t have time for this. Yeah, it may make you feel wanted to listen for hours to some perceived slight endured by a friend but it will never be productive. Learn the difference between someone who truly wants and needs help and those who just like to bitch. Being of service and helping others through difficult challenges is a fantastic way to spend your time. Listening to gossip or bitching is not. Do not gossip or bitch yourself. The friend who tells you that “you’re just getting it off your chest and bitching will make you feel better” is wrong. You’ll come up with this phrase in 2015 and learn to live by it: “There may be drama all around you, but you don’t have to buy a ticket to the show.”

Understand your exterior world reflects your interior world.  It really does. When you see someone in your life not being authentic, ask yourself “where in my own life am I not being authentic?” This is a hard lesson but a great one! When you feel love for yourself, you see love in the world. When you feel fear, you see things all around you to be afraid of. When you judge yourself, you judge the world. I’m not kidding. Learning to look inside first will save you tons of time and at least a few years of therapy.

Romance isn’t always easy. Well, for you at least. It takes three tries to get a husband who loves you for who you are and adores your family. Keep at it. He’s far from perfect, but then again, neither are you. The important thing is to grow together in respect and love. When things get rough, ask yourself, “what is being reflected back to me in this situation?” Remember he’s one of your teachers in this life. You both learn from each other how to love on a deeper level. Hang in there. It’s a wonderful experience once you get on track!

The kids turn out to be your greatest joy. I know you question the whole kid thing and wonder if it’s for you. It is. Your son and daughter prove to be your most significant life teachers and bring you more love than you ever thought your heart could hold. Even through the hard times, remember they are God’s perfect reflection of love. They grow up to be such beautiful, soulful people who are spreading light throughout this planet. They are a huge blessing in your life and in the lives of many others. And you get a bonus! When you marry your third husband you get two more kids to love (without the pain of childbirth or additional stretch marks…score!)

Take your nose off the grindstone every once in a while. Yes, you have a great work ethic and love to be the one to take care of extended family, but lighten up. Go to more parties, especially where you’re not in charge. Give others a chance to shine and you'll stop complaining about being the one doing all the work. Take more nature walks. Play with your kids when they’re young. Enjoy simple pleasures. Quit obsessing about your weight. Stop worrying about money. Enjoy life more. You get better at this, but no harm in starting as soon as you’re aware that you can be a bit of a hard ass. Now you’re aware.

Life is hard. And life is fantastic. You’ll grow and benefit from it all. Ok, I’m not gonna lie. You have some rough stuff coming up. Heartache, tragedy and trauma will come to you. And you’ll have angels in the guise of family, friends and professionals to help you heal. You’ll find resources in books, classes and teachers that will help you process your pain into wisdom. Exploring spirituality becomes your passion. You'll discover the truth about the divine energy of love within you that will lead to true joy. You’ll meet a few jerks, too. That’s OK...you'll eventually figure out they were an important part of your evolution. Don’t back away from the pain. Meet it head on. Move through it with as much love as possible. I swear it’ll be worth it.

Meditation is always the answer. This is your life saver. You learn to meditate in your thirties, but if you can manage it sooner, it calms everything down. You get healthier in mind, body and spirit with the continued practice and for the rest of your life you preach its benefits to anyone who’ll listen. Find the calm place inside where you can hear the quiet truth of your own heart. God lives there.

Every day, every minute, in every situation ask yourself, “What does love look like here? Love for myself and love for everyone involved?” And then ask yourself, “How does love move me forward?” Ok, this is the biggie…learning this changes everything in your life for the better. Understand EVERYONE is a child of the intelligent, creative, expansive energy of love and that energy runs through everything on this and every other planet. We're talking divine love, not the "I love my slippers" kinda love. It's this energy of creation that is responsible for everything, everywhere across all space and time. Understand this and you've got everything you'll ever need. Use love to understand and act in all situations, especially the challenging ones. You eventually understand that your goal is to live from love. You’ll work on this the rest of your life. The joy this brings, the incredible experiences, the fabulous people…it would blow your mind if you knew what’s coming. Just trust me. A life lived through divine love is your work in this lifetime. And it’s so much more fun than you think it’s gonna be!

Ok, now go live your own life. Enjoy yourself and understand the process of living brings incredible lessons. Embrace that truth. Live from love.

Sending you much love from your very cool future,

2016 Diane

P.S. You’re going to meet a super cute guy in college. It doesn’t end well. Do it anyway…you’ll be smiling for years.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Got Me Again….

My husband loves to point out situations where my words don’t match my actions. He finds this highly entertaining and endlessly amusing. I do not.

While this doesn’t happen often, I appreciate his insight. Eventually at least. I fully intend to “walk my talk” and I’m disturbed when I find I’ve missed the mark in some area.

And that’s what happened. I missed the mark. I didn’t follow my own advice and trust that everything was happening for my highest and best. I didn’t take an action that I’d committed to.

I put something off, procrastinated, masterfully avoided and side stepped an issue. And I did it for months. I know better. This is exactly what my clients pay me to stop them from doing.

What was the potential foe I was so afraid of?

Upgrading a stupid computer program.

Yeah, I know it’s crazy. My husband had upgraded and was delighted but one friend had experienced a big issue that lost her several days of work. I was scared.

And I put it off. Again and again.

I signed up for the free upgrade as my husband suggested, but I ignored prompt for the upgrade the multitude of times it was offered.

I got little pop-up screens saying “We’ve got your upgrade ready! Start now…” but I didn’t. Finally, after months of prompting, I got a notice stating “Upgrade will begin Wednesday at 11pm.”

Hmmm….guess even my computer gets tired of being put off. Although I was beyond hesitant, I followed the directions and allowed the upgrade to take place. The result?

Glorious! I freakin’ love this program!

What the heck was my problem?

Oh yeah….I remember.

Instead of “trusting that everything is happening for my highest and best” as I so loudly preach to others, I had allowed myself to get caught in the drama of “what ifs?”

“What if I lose everything on my computer?”

“What if the new program creates issues and I lose productive office time?”

“What if I don’t like the new changes?”

So this was the real kicker. I’ve spent the last six months telling friends, family and my clients that CHANGE IS GOOD.

I explained that the intelligent divine energy that created our universe is constantly seeking to expand, grow and create anew. Change is part of the plan. And, in retrospect, most of the time we can ultimately appreciate the change. We just have to get past our fear of the unknown. The unknown and the “what ifs.”

Maybe I need to remind myself of a couple other “what ifs.”

“What if this change is fantastic?”

“What if I love the result?”

OK, Universe...message received. I’ll go wipe the egg off my face now.

At least my husband is amused.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Ego vs. Divine

“How can I tell if a thought is from my divine intuition or from my ego?”

Think this is a weird question? Not for me! As a spiritual coach, my clients and students ask this all the time.

My clients are everyday people with normal life challenges. They all want better health, great relationships, to feel fulfilled in their work and, most of all, to experience true happiness. They want to feel connected to something bigger than themselves. They want to feel connected to Source.

If their desire is serious, they do the work required and wonderful changes start to occur. They feel calmer. They feel more at peace. They even catch themselves feeling happy for no reason! Their intuition increases and then…they get scared.

They start feeling inspired, more creative and become motivated. And sometimes confused and nervous. These great feelings may be new, after all, and even “happy” can take some getting used to if you’re normal state is “sullen and sad.”

And that’s when I get the question.

“How can I tell if a thought is from my divine intuition or from my ego?”

The answer is quite simple. When you get an unusual thought (not the “I need to buy eggs today” kind of thought, but the “I want to write a book about the creative process” kind), ask yourself “how does it make me feel?”

If you feel scared, nervous or worried, that’s a sure sign your ego is trying to keep you safely “in the box” you’re accustomed to. Messages from your divine intuition, or Spirit, are gentler. With these messages you’ll often get repeated little “nudges” and notice signs or synchronicities that all point to the message you’ve received.

Here’s the bottom line: the ego likes things the way they are while Spirit is always encouraging you to do more, be more. Think of the ego as a restrictive energy and divine as an expansive one.

So how does your thought make you feel physically? Restricted and tight or expansive and open?

That’s how you tell the difference.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

How Inner Joy Blooms For All

Life gave me another beautiful lesson this week. And, as usual, it came in an unexpected way.

I attended the visitation and grave-side funeral for my parent’s long time neighbor, who I’ll call “Mrs. Green”. For over 50 years, she’s lived just a couple doors down at the end of Dad’s street. While my intention was to pay tribute to Mrs. Green and support the family, I had no idea I would also be receiving inspiration and a shot of….joy.

Yeah, joy.

Not what I was expecting to experience at a funeral. But that’s what happened. You see, Mrs. Green was different.

She was a little thing who worked for many years in public service as part of a local government office. She loved to golf, entertain friends, sing in the church choir and spend countless hours in her beautiful rose garden. She was sweet to all the neighborhood kids, visited sick neighbors and supported local charities.

Sounds like a lot of nice little old ladies, right? Nope. She was different.

She wasn’t an “I’m doing this thing because it looks good” or “I have to be nice or I’m going to hell” kinda gal. She was genuine. She was kind. And she was always “smiling joy.”

Real joy.

She radiated joy.

I’m talking honest to God, sparkly-white-light-shining JOY.

Something struck me at the funeral as I heard various stories from family and friends about this lovely woman. Everyone mentioned the same things: she was always impeccably dressed with full make up and appropriate jewelry, she was healthy and active until the end; she kept a lovely home, was a masterful hostess and loved tending to her beautiful yard and magnificent rose garden. She was a steadfast friend and supportive, loving parent.

I suspected that Mrs. Green somehow knew something the rest of us didn’t.


It finally dawned on me. The love and respect she had for herself was what fueled the joy that was then reflected in her appearance, her health, her home, yard...in every aspect of her life. And that joy radiated to anyone else lucky enough to be in her world.

Mrs. Green was not a selfish person. I believe she simply understood we are all children of God and therefore deserving of love and respect. She was smart enough to understand we can’t give what we don’t have. So by creating a loving world for herself, she was able to share that joy with others. Many others.

She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, friend…all because she must have known true love for others starts within our own heart. It starts by falling in love with the “spark of God” that is each one of us at our core.

WOW! Right in my own childhood neighborhood I’d discovered an example of the teachings I’d studied for years! Countless self-help books had discussed the practice I witnessed this lady live out as I’d observed her from the sidelines for over five decades.

After the service, I drove by Mrs. Green’s house and saw the manicured lawn, lush potted plants and the radiant rose garden. It was beautiful. It was a joy to behold.

As I drove by, I realized the roses had been her joyful gift to the neighborhood all these years. Her yard is a testament to the beauty of life, if we’re aware enough to see it.

I realized this must be how her inner joy blooms for all….

Friday, March 25, 2016

“I know what you’re going to say….”

My friends and I have a running joke. Although I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who thinks it’s funny.

Anytime anything – ANYTHING – goes wrong and my buddies call me, they know the first question I’ll ask and they immediately go on the defensive.

“My three-month-old-car needs a new transmission. I can’t believe it, I’m so mad! I know what you’re going to say…”

“My mother-in-law is driving me nuts! I can’t take her endless chatter. I know what you’re going to say…”

“I work with morons! You wouldn’t believe how they run this business! They just don’t get it! I know what you’re going to say…”

Yeah, they know what I’m going to say. “Have you been meditating?”

I know. At first glance you may not see the connection. You may not understand how it relates to everything that happens to you. But it does.

How could meditation help in the examples above, you wonder? Here’s a short explanation from my book “How to Choose Love When You Just Want to Slap Somebody”:

Why meditate? Countless medical, scientific and spiritual sources tout the benefits of consistent meditation. A few common benefits widely reported by people who consistently meditate include:

  • Feeling happier and more at peace
  • Increased social skills and feeling of “connectedness”
  • “Stress eating” is reduced or eliminated thus overall weight is reduced
  • Reduced events of “impulse buying” due to calmer thought patterns
  • Lowered blood pressure and heart rate
  • Muscles feel more relaxed (some say they even appear younger once meditation drains stress from the face!)
  • Increased brain function: improved memory and greater clarity
  • Increased pain tolerance
  • Increased creativity and problem solving
  • Reduced overall stress (and reaction to specific stress triggers) 

In what universe do you NOT want to be more peaceful, calm, happy and healthy? From that vantage point, life’s challenges are not only easier to understand, but it’s easier to see alternatives and navigate through the issue.

Does a meditation practice mean you can eliminate stress? No. It does mean you’re better equipped to handle whatever life brings your way. Life can be stressful. Meditation makes a positive difference in how you handle the stress.

After meditating for over 20 years, I can honestly say the quality of every aspect of my life has improved from this practice. I believe meditation is so fundamental in creating the foundation for a happy, healthy life that it’s the first thing I discuss with my coaching clients.

What about you? Are you or a loved one experiencing health issues? Work driving you crazy? Feel so frustrated you want to hit your head against a wall?

Let me ask you a question…have you been meditating?