Morgan’s Musings on Manifesting, Meditation, and Mindfulness- Part 2

Quite simply, I would not have the quality of life that I do without meditation. It keeps me focused and grounded and at the end, I always know the right thing to do (whether or not I do the right thing or not  is a something I’ll cover in Mindfulness). I think people often have the wrong idea of meditation. They think they need to be sitting with their ankles on their hips, on top of a mountain somewhere, chanting to God. Well, for some people that does the trick, but for me, climbing to the top of Mt. Rose every day doesn’t sound fun. I also don’t understand chanting and I don’t believe in God. But I do believe in my Higher Power (HP) who I call The Universe. For the focus of this blog I won’t dive too deep into higher powers, I do think a little explanation is needed though so you can understand how I meditate.

Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “Not only are we in the Universe, the Universe is in us. I don’t know of any deeper spiritual feeling than what that brings upon me.” That is pretty much the basis of my belief in my HP, the Universe. I pray/meditate/ask/talk to the Universe and it responds through me, then I act upon whatever I’ve received. Here is where you might be thinking, WTF is she talking about. Remember my flood story from the part 1 of this blog? The man prayed to God to save him and God sent boats. Now God isn’t going to physically pick this man up and place him in a boat. That’s levitation and this is not Harry Potter World. God was answering his prayers by sending boats, it was up to that man to act on his own to save himself. You might still be confused, here is a real life example. Right now I’m manifesting making the switch to teaching yoga and personal training fulltime. When I pray/meditate- Preditate? Medipray?- first thing in the morning, I thank my HP for everything coming my way in terms of my intentions and goals. I ask for the motivation, tenacity, and ambition. I pray that I might be an inspiration to someone today to live a better life. I pray for those struggling and ask for my HP to guide the thoughts that I think, the words that I say, and the actions that I do. I pray that I may be of service to my fellows.

So now you know how I meditate, I’m sure you want some tips on how you can do that too; especially if you’re not sold on the idea of a HP yet. Fair enough. But before we learn how to meditate, let’s consider why we meditate. Meditation teaches you how to respond in a constructive way, rather than impulsively react. It’s organized around the concept that you are naturally whole, you are capable of well-being, and your thoughts are messengers. That awareness is key. Along with awareness as a key concept of meditation, so is receiving and using every opportunity as a learning experience. Receiving is your ability to accept and respond gracefully to every experience as opposed to having a dismissive, reactive, f*ck you attitude. Receiving and welcoming keeps you connected to the experience instead of lashing out with knee-jerk reactions. Receiving allows you to step back, take the moment in, and gain perspective. In this moment you are more than the experience, you are aware of your awareness. When you are aware that you are aware, the emphasis now becomes on what you are aware of. Make sense? Try this, say hello to yourself in your head. You “heard” that, you recognize that thought. You are aware of your awareness. You are awareness. And once you are awareness, you become mindful of judgment, resisting, refusing, and trying to change situations. How often has that happened to you, your thoughts are running wild in your head how much you dislike someone. You replay everything they’ve ever done or said that hasn’t set well with you. Then suddenly you catch yourself and think, ‘wow I’m being really bitchy right now’. That is you becoming aware. You are awareness. And you learned this from the focus you created in your meditation.

Sometimes you don’t want to receive “negative” emotions though. Let’s call them ‘scratchy’. Sometimes you just want to feel irritated or mad. That’s natural. Over time you’ll learn to welcome and receive these scratchy feelings uncomfortable as it may be. Think of the scratchy feelings as a messenger to help you live a better life. By receiving them you’ll learn there are healthier ways to live in that moment instead of what you’re currently doing. The scratchy feelings are your body’s way of getting your attention; they are disharmonies way of getting your attention to take action and reconsider what you could be doing instead to be happy and healthy.

Still with me? If so, now let’s talk about to how to meditate. You might say, Morgs I don’t know about that HP thing and I don’t understand awareness. Or maybe you think, this sounds like a lot, I don’t have time. You might even be thinking, ‘my thoughts run wild, there’s no way I can slow them down’. My answers to those, do you want to feel more connected to life around you? Do you want to be a part of this life on a deeper and more meaningful level? Do you have 5 minutes to yourself every day? Can you make 5 minutes to yourself every day? Even in the bathroom? If your answer to all those questions is no, then maybe meditating isn’t for you yet. And that’s ok. But if you think there is something out there bigger than you, even if you don’t know what it is, and you can make 5 minutes for yourself- yes even in the bathroom- then you are ready to meditate.

The purpose of meditation is to create focus and become aware. It is about focusing your attention on your experience. The reason for focus: it allows you to be here now. Your only reality is This Moment, right here, right now. Peace is found in such awareness. First you must find quiet. A space free from distraction where you can tune out any external stimuli. This might be in bed in the morning pretending to still be asleep. It might be in the bathroom. I meditate in the morning in my car before I head off to teach yoga. The radio is off and I simply start talking to my HP, an intentional conversation. I’m a master at multi-tasking, so to sit still like this and focus on nothing but this conversation takes a lot of focus for me.

An exercise to get you started, once you’ve found your quiet place, sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed (less glittery squirrels to catch your attention that way) and try to focus on something else other than your thoughts. Intentionally clear your mind, try to disengage from all the thoughts that are used to running rampant in your head. In yoga, we call that the ‘monkey mind’. As a monkey jumps from tree to tree, our thoughts come in one after another. So basically, stop thinking. If a thought comes into your mind (because that’s what the mind is for, it’s human nature), acknowledge it and let it go. Imagine you place the thought on a cloud and watch it float by. It takes effort and patience. The more you practice dis-attaching from your thoughts, the easier it becomes, until it’s effortless. You can listen for sounds around you and identify them: that is a car going by, that is the clock ticking, that is the faucet dripping. Suddenly you aren’t thinking anymore about picking kids up from cheerleading and football or dinner you need to make, you are simply listening and your mind is still.

Another meditation exercise is counting your breaths. I like to use the square breathing technique- all through your nose, inhale to a count of 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold at the bottom for 4. It might take some getting used to; it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re going to suffocate holding at the bottom of the exhale. You get used to it, I promise, and it doesn’t feel so panicky. Repeat that a 5-7 times then let your breath return to normal.

You might also try a mantra. On the inhale you think to yourself ‘I am’ on the exhale consider what you are. I am… love. I am… patient. I am… forgiving. You can think about things you want to be as well to set an intention of something as well as a way to manifest it in your life.

Meditation is a journey and the fact that you’ve even been considering it means you’re on the right track. Be gentle with yourself. Be patient, curious, and persistent. Know that this awareness and focus is possible when you nourish your practice and give it a chance.

Morgan’s Musings on Manifesting, Meditation, and Mindfulness- Part 1

I’ve been getting some questions lately on Manifesting, Meditation, and Mindfulness. People want to know how to use those concepts, collectively or individually, in their own life. I get it. Those three M words, Manifesting, Meditation, Mindfulness, can seem confusing if you don’t understand what they are. They seem even more confusing when you hear and witness other people using them. You understand they are useful, but you don’t know how to go about using them in your own life. So I’ve decided to do a 3-part blog series, each blog exploring a different M. Keep in mind, this M trifecta is not an exact science. There are studies and research to show they work, but take everything with a grain of salt. What I’m writing about is how I apply them in my life and what has worked for me. it may very well work differently for you. This time around I’m going to start with Manifesting.

For me, the concept of manifesting can be summed up in this story: The town is flooding. A man is standing on his roof, the rest of his house is underwater. The water is up to his feet and he starts to pray, “Please God, please save me from this flood.” Well no sooner did he say ‘amen’ that a group of people paddle up in a canoe. “Hey Pal, hop in! There’s room!” “No thanks!” said the man, “God will save me.” “Suit yourself,” said the people, and they paddled off.

Some time went by, it was still pouring rain and the water was up to the man’s knees. A large boat floated by. “Hop in Pal, there’s room!” the people on the boat cried. “No thanks!” said the man, “God will save me.” “Suit yourself,” said the people, and the boat floated away.

The rain was coming down even heavier now and the water was up to the man’s neck. Suddenly a basket dropped down from a helicopter. “Hey Pal, hop in! We will save you!” said the people in the helicopter. “No thanks!” said the man, “God will save me.” “Suit yourself,” said the people, and the helicopter flew away.

Well the man drowned and went to Heaven. When he got there he asked God, “God, why didn’t you save me? I prayed and asked you to save me and I still died.” “I did try to save you,” God replied. “I tried to save you three times, I sent a canoe, a boat, and a helicopter!”

That’s how manifesting works to me, you tell the Universe what it is that you want. (I try to keep it pretty basic, not too many specifics. The more to try to control outcome, the less you will recognize when the manifestation comes into fruition.) After you ask, sit back and let the Universe do the rest. That’s not to say though that you don’t need to work for it. Quite the opposite in fact. You need to work really hard and put a lot of energy and attention into what it is you want. It’s your life right, you can’t expect everything to be done for you. If you really want something, you need to do the leg work. But the Universe is there in the background, pulling the strings, moving mountains, planning the moves in the chess game of your life, to make sure that what you want happens. That’s your first step to manifesting, ask for it. Tell the Universe what it is that you want and the Universe will immediately start conspiring on your behalf to make it happen. I like to say, everything is within your reach, you just need to reach for it.

Here is the story of how I manifested moving to Reno, Nevada: After I graduated college in 2010 I worked for the Boy Scouts of America near Chicago. The way the organization works is after 3 years, if you’re promoted, you have the option to move anywhere in the country you want as long as they have a position open for you to be promoted into. I had been going to Burning Man for a few years at this point and it completely changed my life. I had my heart set on moving to Colorado so I could be a little free-spirit hippy. Well my three year anniversary rolled around and none of the Colorado councils had any positions open for me to move into. I was disappointed, but at this point I had an understanding of how manifesting worked. I knew that the Universe had something better in store for me and if I continued to be disappointed about Colorado, I might miss this better thing coming. About two weeks later my boss called me. “The Boy Scout council in Reno called about you. Would you be interested in moving to Nevada?” Being closer to Burning Man and the amazing friends that I already had in Reno who I met at Burning Man two years prior? Yes please and thank you! (That’s right. The Universe had been planning this for me since 2012 when my sister and I met the craziest/weirdest/funnest/best group of people on the Playa. Who happened to be from Reno. And we happened to keep in touch with them over the next two years…) As they say, the rest is history. My sister and I moved to Reno where we started to build our lives. Within 3 months of living there I met the man who would become my fiancé. We are engaged to be married this summer. Awesome right? Thank you Universe.

Consider something big you want in your life right now that hasn’t happened yet. Now ask for it. Yes, just ask. Don’t be fearful, you are not limited by logic or perceived constraints.  Next, take a moment to close your eyes and feel what you want. Imagine what it will feel like when this thing/moment/event presents itself to you. Say thank you in advance, then sit back and trust that it’s going to happen. In the meantime, get out there and start doing the ground work. Anything you want the Universe to do for you is something you can start working on today, on your own, to make the process happen even quicker (if you’re in a hurry).

Currently I am manifesting making the switch from my full time job at a non-profit to teaching yoga/personal training/ fitness/health/wellness full time. I practice and teach yoga every day, I talk to people about my goals, and I work on acquiring more certifications to make myself even more marketable. Whatever it is you want, work on it a little bit every day. That’s the trick, you must put energy into this thing you that you want. You must believe. If you imagine it, you can have it. (I am so full of these little mantras.) You must visualize and life your life like this thing you want has actually happened.

But Morgan, you say, I’ve been working really hard, for a long time on this thing I want and nothing is happening. I get it. Sometimes it can feel like you’re spinning your wheels. You’re doing the legwork so to speak, but whatever it is you want isn’t happening (yet). You might start to doubt, you might become frustrated and question the process. Stop it right there. You needn’t worry, there is time. All the time in the world in fact. There is no dream you cannot manifest, there is no challenge you can’t crush. There is no point in spending one more second of your already awesome life thinking anything of the contrary. When you doubt the Universe, you are actually saying you don’t trust the plan. You don’t even know what the behind the scenes plan is, yet you don’t trust it. By doing that you are taking energy out of moving forward and you’re moving yourself backwards. Don’t become the reason you don’t succeed. The Universe knows what it’s doing, I promise. Sometimes it happens quickly, other times not so much. You might not understand, but everything is always playing to the greater good. Things will continue to get better and you will become the person you’ve always dreamed. There is time, you are in no rush. You must always believe and know that your success is inevitable. Ok?

Finally, while you’re waiting for this thing to show up in your life, continue to say thank you. Say thank you for that beautiful sunset, thank you for the convenient parking spot, thank you for the $1.00 you found on the ground. The more you give thanks the more the Universe will put in your life to be thankful for.

So that’s it. That’s how you live the life of your dream. Easy peasy! That being said, if you are looking for private yoga, group yoga, personal training at your home or in the gym, let me know. Let me help you manifest better health in your life.