Do This One Thing to Have a Stress-Free Holiday

“A lot of the stress that people feel, they feel because they have put themselves at the center of their universe. When you remove yourself from the center of that place, a lot of the stress subsides. Putting God at the center of things and not yourself is clarifying, liberating and uplifting.” – Malcolm Gladwell

I was recently listening to the Thrive Global Podcast with Malcolm Gladwell in conversation with Arianna Huffington. When I heard the above statement from him, it felt like a lightning bolt. It really clarified in a few words why we all feel so stressed! It’s not an easy thing to remove oneself from our own universe, but as I listened to him explain it with such clarity and conviction, I got a glimpse of how liberating it would be to live life with God at the center of it.

When I think about stress and what overwhelms us all, holidays are one of the first things that come to mind. We experience added pressure around the holidays, feeling that there is not enough time, resources, or love — and have high expectations to also feel happy. We become focused on so many details, and get fully absorbed in our own lives trying to make it all happen bigger, better, and faster. It is ironic that at a time when we should focus on the spirit of the holidays and the spirit of giving, our perception of what’s required of us and how we should act becomes magnified, and we become even more consumed.

In our everyday lives, from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, we are at the center of our universe. There is nothing wrong with that, but it is a way of living that comes with the consequences of great stress. The added stress is when we also have to take care of other people, and we feel that we now have to be all things to all people. That added pressure of perfection amplifies the stress!

How then are we to shift to becoming more God-centered? What if instead we were awakened to the fact that the greatest connection, the one that moves us from breath to breath every moment of our lives, the connection that beats our hearts 24/7, without us ever having to do anything about it, is the reality that we must reconnect with and bring our focus to, so that our daily lives can have a higher altitude and perspective? No matter what the circumstances or conditions of our lives are right now, if we want to experience less stress, it is essential that we refocus on the reality that there is a transformational energy that overpowers our own.

Whatever you might want to call it — God, the big blob in the Universe, or the Supreme Power, it’s this transcendent magical energy that created billions of galaxies, planets, stars, and grains of sand, it is this life force that created YOU with 37.2 trillion cells that make our bodies do everything they do. How extraordinary that this energy is giving us life right NOW! So, beyond our stress and overwhelm and worries and sense of lack, there is a higher intelligence that creates this cosmic existence while we are hustling and bustling and worrying if we bought the right gift for our loved ones.

So take a moment and focus on the present and let that gratitude of the miracle of life flow through you and bring you the deepest calm. All it requires from you is a willingness to let go of putting yourself in the center of things (which creates a sense of contraction), expand your mind to the optimum truth that you are more than your to do list, your I do not have enough list, your I need to do more list, your what if this doesn’t work out list, your what if this falls through list, and your fear list. Tap into the unlimited expanded version of yourself that is available to you right now as you take your next breath.

As you celebrate this holiday season and complete all your deadlines, enjoy your shopping and your work. Spend time with your family with care, and see how things align in a different way. See if there is more space around you — space for more relaxation and more joy!

We’ve participated in all these holiday seasons, putting ourselves at the center of it all, forgetting to connect to our source. Try doing this one with God at the center of your life. Throughout the day, take a few conscious breaths, exhale your stress, fill yourself with oxygen through the power of your breath, and remind yourself of the miracle that is you!  See if your perspective changes, if your heart expands, and how assistance comes in, in every possible way. You might see that your resources are available in abundance and you can walk under a canopy of grace, gratitude, and a field of expanded time and space. Your heart will be full of gratefulness and reverence as you get to be the witness of the supreme connection to your source!

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— Published on November 26, 2018

NehaDo This One Thing to Have a Stress-Free Holiday
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7 Tips to Becoming a Thriving Entrepreneur

Don’t leave yourself behind while you are building your business.

I often speak to entrepreneurs who are starting to bring their businesses, products, and ideas to fruition. They always start with lots of passion and creativity combined with fear and trepidation, what if this fails? And that fear can become an extra motivator that can lead to a tremendous amount of stress and exhaustion, living under the delusion that you don’t have time to take a break.

So you end up feeling overwhelmed and depleted. It somehow goes with the entrepreneurial territory. I hear so many people say, “I am running on empty. I can’t stop. I don’t have time to even think, let alone find quality time for family, friends, and myself.”

So how do you reverse these patterns that are not going to be supportive of building a successful business, and how do you take care of yourself while you are building your business? How do you replace these feelings of entrepreneurial burnout with a sense of calm, confidence, and trust in yourself? How do you deal with the ups and downs of building a business? And what happens as you are about to raise additional funds and you are met with rejection? How do you stay the course, while keeping your vision and yourself intact?

Some of the greatest wisdoms I learned about how to deal with the pressure of creating a project was during a period in my life when I was producing a six-hour television series for HBO called “The Gods of Greece.” I had raised the seed money and HBO was funding some of the project but it was up to me to raise a few extra million dollars. I had produced an amazing script and I was super excited to embark on raising the money with absolute reassurance that it was going to be easily available. I was extremely driven and I met with countless Greek investors, but to my absolute surprise, none of them were coming through. I cannot begin to tell you the amount of times I was told, “We love it, but this is not the right timing for us.” I reached a level of discouragement equivalent to Persephone in the Underworld. I had identified myself so closely with this project that when people would ask me, “How are you?” I would answer “‘The Gods of Greece’ funds are not coming through.” There was no separation between me and my project. I needed to back off, regroup, and find my center again. Here are some of the tools that I use as I am embarking on new projects so that my brain can stay clear, focused, and energized. That way, I perform from a higher state of creation and inspiration.

1- Learn to build a distance between who you are and what you do.

Your projects, your endeavors, and your business are always going to go through ups and downs — but you can stay steady. Creating that distance, and not living and dying by the success of your business is going to be the most supportive thing to enjoying the process and staying creative and recharged.

2- Develop a daily practice that brings you to your place of calm, to your center, and to your wisdom.

We all have a greater place in us that resides in our brain, in our heart, and in our spirit. That is your Higher Self. It’s what many great spiritual teachers have called the “knower in you.” Cultivate that part of you and build its muscle — until it becomes so solid that it is the captain of your ship. That way, when you are met with stormy weather it knows how to handle it by adjusting the sails and keeping the course.

3- Keep a very clear vision of where you are heading and visualize an ideal scene of the success you are going to have ten years from now.

Visualize all the things you did to get that success, and think of all the people who came to your aid. This is a creative visualization of your successful future outcome. It might not seem real right now, but your brain doesn’t always know the difference between reality and what you’ve imagined. Write this vision out in great detail, picture it in your mind’s eye, and then start to take the necessary action steps, and you will start to see how it gradually materializes. That way you are giving a directive to your brain to create the success you want.

4- Check in with yourself regularly.

At the end of every day, make a checklist assessing if you have been present in everything that you did. So often, we go on automatic, and we go from one thing to the next, forgetting to eat, cutting down on our sleep, exercise, and the very things that replenish us. One simple thing is to remember to take deep breaths throughout the day and exhale as you go about your day. Even one conscious breath can reboot your brain.

5- Practice these four magic words: “Can you help me?”

When you are feeling stuck, afraid, and not clear about the next step, find mentors and people who you trust to reach out to. Once you find them, be courageous in asking for help. Asking for help does not diminish you and shouldn’t make you feel weak. The ability to ask for assistance represents courage and high self-esteem.

6- Practice six magic words: “What can I do for you?”

Don’t ever lose sight that your gift and your support can also contribute substantially to other people’s growth, well-being, and work. Let those people find you, and seek to find them, because the quickest way to feel empowered is to be able to offer what we have to someone else, making their lives a little easier and helping them feel more supported.

7- No matter what happens in the day, always go to bed feeling grateful for the things that happened, and appreciate yourself for all you did.

Write them down, or express them verbally, and always go to sleep with your heart full of gratitude. Remember that in the last five minutes before you go to sleep, you are actually programming your subconscious with how you want to feel the next day and what you want to create. Never go to bed thinking of what hasn’t been done and what went wrong; instead, focus on all the positives.

It’s very important to keep the channels of communication open to yourself. If you are feeling pressured, insecure, fearful, deprived, or left out, let yourself communicate that to you. This way, you will be voicing all your feelings and airing them out, so they won’t rob you of your energy. Find the self-love and the safe space in you to process your emotions as they come up and not judge them, but make them okay. Practice self-compassion, so that your joy will be alive in the process of creating your life and your business. This is ultimately the ingredient that catches and ignites other people.

Underneath every successful businessman and businesswoman is enthusiasm: That is the driving force. Don’t ever lose your enthusiasm.

Learn more from Agapi on her website or her Instagram.

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More from Thrive Global:

8 Things You Should Do After 8 P.M. If You Want to Be Happy and Successful

The One Relationship You’re Probably Ignoring

The One Word That Can Hurt Your Reputation at Work


Agapi7 Tips to Becoming a Thriving Entrepreneur
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Awakening Your Joy

“You carry all the ingredients to turn your existence into joy. Use them! Use them!” -Hafiz

I meet so many people, all the time, who say to me, “I’ve lost my joy and I got lost in my achievements.” As a child, I was always the life of the party. I wanted to make people happy and used every tool in my little pocket to bring joy. I would dance, clown around, and find ways to make people around me smile. Then, school came, and joy flew out of the window. Then, life happened, and I drew the curtain over the window. Seriously, who has time for joy when you have to deal with all the things you have going on?

In order to get back to your joy, ask yourself: “What’s preoccupying me? What’s making my heart unhappy? What are my concerns? What feelings do I need to address and let out to experience joy? Is it sadness, anger, disappointment, fears, hurt feelings, or am I just plain old tired and I need a good night’s sleep?” You can’t just choose to feel joy. You need to express those other feelings first.

We all need joy triggers to awaken our joy. Start to think of the things that made you joyful as a child.

Here are some other tips to help you awaken your joy:

  1. Take this week to make joy your priority

Build an inner environment of joy and express any concerns and emotions to guarantee that your joy will be welcome. Sing your favorite songs or play funny scenes in your mind! You don’t have to tell anyone, just do it in your head and delight yourself.

  1. Make a list in your journal of the things that spark your joy (and trust me there are many more than what you can think of right now)

Be very creative and write down at least 12 things that are doable, then share your list with a friend. Remember to always keep friends who can uplift you close to you. Keep yourself inspired!

  1. Keep things around you that only give you joy

Is that your clothes, your favorite treats, your books, or photographs? Keep objects that mean something to you closeby. Bring joy into everything you do. Believe me, your joy is there. It may be sleeping – but don’t wait for Prince Charming to wake it up. Prince Harry recently got off the market as well! So, take it upon yourself to awaken your joy.

  1. Reaffirm that joy is not something you earn, it’s inherent in your nature!

When you are not living in your joy, you are denying yourself your birth light. Don’t wait to earn joy – it’s already inside you!

And remember, if you ever need a jolt of joy, listen to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” There is a video on YouTube with a thousand voices in the choir. Honestly, if you’re ever down, upset, depressed, or worried, put on your headphone and listen – it will change your brainwaves.

Please also listen to the meditation “Awakening Your Joy,” as you make your intention clear to ignite your joy!

AgapiAwakening Your Joy
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How To Find Your Confidence and Be Bold

Start your week off right with this meditation.

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” -William G.T. Shedd

A mistake we all make is that we want to feel confident before we embark on something. However, confidence is a by-product of taking action and finding the courage to go beyond our fears and self-doubts. There is a scene in the movie Chariots of Fire (which I highly recommend you see), where the English runner Eric Lidell is running in an Olympic race. As he runs, he asks himself, “Where does the power come from, to see the race to its end?” He then hears his inner voice respond, “From within.”

Confidence is an outcome of connecting to that inner power, combined with taking action. You’ve got to step out, risk your pride, and risk not knowing the outcome. The reward is finding your confidence. You don’t know what you’re made of until you take the plunge. Life tested me by giving me experiences that didn’t at all match my expectations. But I also learned that I always had a choice. I could either collapse and give up on myself or pick myself up by my bootstraps, break through my fears and find my confidence on the other side.

Confidence is discovered beyond your comfort zones. When you break through the fear of failure and realize that it’s part of the process, you will discover that you can conquer almost anything if you keep going. Always be bold and mighty forces will come your way!

Here are some tips for finding your confidence:

  1. Get back to connecting with your inner power:

Reach within and grab hold of your core. Reach outwards and ask for help. Find people who believe in you and are your cheerleaders – even one will do!

  1. Move into radical self-acceptance:

Appreciate every little thing about you, reinforce the positive and refrain from focusing on anything negative. Write down a list of all your positive attributes and make it as long as you can.

  1. Don’t wait to be perfect before you take action:

Don’t second-guess it! Remember, your willingness to do gives you the ability to do. Take microsteps daily and always remember that there is no such thing as failure. Everything is a step towards your success.

  1. Keep your heart present in your daily life:

That is the secret sauce to your confidence and will let you abstain from passing judgement on your process. You are bound to succeed because in your blueprint you have the codes to your success. Don’t sabotage it!

  1. Reach out and boost someone else’s confidence:

That’s the quickest way to finding yours!

Please listen to the following meditation “Finding your confidence and being bold, as you open the doors to a confident new you!

AgapiHow To Find Your Confidence and Be Bold
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Wake Up To The Joy of Not Comparing Yourself — We are all unique individuals and have our own life path.

Mark Twain famously wrote, “Comparison is the death of joy.” We’re constantly told that we should all stop comparing ourselves to others. Sounds great in theory, but how can we do that?

Social comparison has gotten a bad rap. The truth is, comparison is a natural human tendency. It’s one of the ways that we measure ourselves; we try to get a sense of how we are doing against how others are doing. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—it all depends on how we relate to it. In fact, comparison and jealousy can show you areas where you need to start fully participating in your own life. After all, when you are aligned with your own path and focused on your own life, you no longer look left and right, or second guess yourself.

But most of us use comparison negatively, to only turn on ourselves and feel like we are losing. This addictive pattern can get triggered anytime we see others who have what we think we want. For example, if we’re not in a relationship and see couples around us who look so happy and in love, it’s easy for envious thoughts to come up and to start to believe that we fall short. We undermine ourselves and we feel bad by thinking that we can’t have the things we want.

One option is to observe our envy and use it to dig deeper. We can say to ourselves, “OK, what this person has is something I would really like to manifest in my own life. Now what do I need to affirm or what actions can I take to bring me closer to it?” Ultimately, negative comparison is the lazy man’s approach to life. When you think, “Other people have something and I’ll never get it,” you give yourself permission to not do the inner and outer work required to have it.

If you have a tendency to use comparison to feel like you are somehow losing, you are holding the remote in your hands and you have the ability to change the channel. It’s a choice that’s available to you: You can start, at any moment, to feel like a winner. I was recently listening to a TedTalk by my friend Tristan Harris, an ex-Google employee who founded Time Well Spent, a movement to connect technology with our humanity. Tristan’s findings, and the work of many researchers, have confirmed that social media can amplify negative comparison. So ask yourself, when you’re scrolling through Instagram or Facebook: Are you seeking evidence that everyone else is living a better/happier/more successful life?

The minute we compare ourselves negatively, we reinforce a part of our brains that tells us we are less than or that we are lacking in something. Of course, it’s a part of the human condition to experience the feeling that we are not enough. We are all unique individuals and have our own life path.

Why is this mind-set so hard to break? One reason is that we rarely compare ourselves to the people who have far less than us. But if we want to overcome the negative comparison cycle, the number one tool is what I call “radical gratitude.”

That concept really came into focus for me recently when I was speaking at the World Domination Summit in Portland, a gathering of people from all over the world who are doing good things to help others in their lives. I had the opportunity to hear a fellow speaker, Scott Harrison, the Founder and CEO of charity: water, give an inspiring talk. Scott told story after story about what people have to go through in many parts of the world just to get clean water. Imagine being a mother and having to protect your child from water with leeches and debris in it—water that causes disease and makes people sick and even die.

When we’re redirecting our thoughts from what we lack to what we have, we can start with our most basic needs. Most of us not only have access to clean water, but hot water and cold water—not to mention the many options of bottled, sparkling, or even vitamin water. It may sound simple, but instead remembering that you’re being taken care of in the most fundamental ways can help shift you from “lack” mode.

But we compare ourselves to people who we think have better jobs, better looks, better love relationships, more success. And sometimes we’re right—the grass may be greener on the other side…. but, really, who cares? And more importantly, do you really want to put your energy into what other people have, rather than putting all that focus in creating your own life? Once you start to see the comparison habit as a distraction from your life—and the person you can become—you may feel more willing to redirect your thoughts and focus on your unique gifts.

I was very blessed to be raised by a mother who was so passionate about people standing in their uniqueness. Growing up, I was a terrible student and hated math; I prayed every day that my math teacher would retire. I was only concerned with the arts and going to my dance classes. My sister Arianna, on the other hand, was a brilliant student who got all A’s. School was torturous for me, but instead of comparing me to my sister, my mom would say to me: “We didn’t bring you here for the math, we brought you here for the joy.” Can you believe it?: Years and years later, I would end up writing a book called Wake Up To The Joy Of You. My mother’s point was that we all have our own paths; focusing on your own is the surest way to fulfill your life’s purpose.

When you dwell on what other people have, you’re putting energy into their life and ignoring your own, which derails you from your own destiny. You’re essentially taking the slowest-moving train to your destination—making stops in the village of Self Pity, Doubt, Despair, and Low Self-Worth. Wouldn’t you rather be taking the express Amtrak Acela that puts you full speed toward your own dreams coming true?

As an actress, I suffered from my own form of self-doubt, and I experienced many times the cost of comparison. When another actor got the part, I would be filled with feelings of inadequacy. I would rob myself of my joy and stop looking at other opportunities which didn’t allow me to blossom the way that I was meant to. This unhappiness ultimately led me to a soul-searching path and helped my find my true calling. I had to experience my own value regardless of whether I had an acting career or not.

What we forget during times of comparison is that what is ours will find us if we trust and if we are true to ourselves. If you catch yourself, don’t judge yourself. Observe what is going on and tell yourself “There is that bad habit again.” When you forget this and you fall into the habbit of comparison, you can turn to one of favorite quotes by the Sufi poet Imam al-Shafi’i: “My heart is at ease knowing that what is meant for me will never miss me, and that which misses me was never meant for me.” It’s then that you will know that you will be at peace with who you are and what you have, to create more of what is yours to experience.

Wake Up to the Joy of You

j@jessicarthompson.comWake Up To The Joy of Not Comparing Yourself — We are all unique individuals and have our own life path.
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‘Don’t Miss the Moment’: A Tribute to Our Mother

[My mother’s] life was filled with giving moments. Wherever she was — in an elevator, a taxi, an airplane, a parking lot, a supermarket, a bank — she would reach out to others. Once, a stranger admired the necklace she was wearing; my mother took it off and gave it to her. When the astonished woman asked, “What can I give you in return?” my mother said, “It’s not a trade, darling, it’s an offering.” Toward the end of her life, she would always arrive at the doctor’s office with a basket of fruit or a box of chocolates for the nurses. She knew that in an office where patients brought their anxiety and pain, the gesture would help change the atmosphere. Her tenacity in breaking through the barriers that people put up around their hearts was both enchanting and comical. If one of the nurses was, as she put it, “on automatic” and didn’t take the time to be friendly or personal, my mother would whisper to me, “This one doesn’t want to budge,” and would start looking for a way to give her extra attention. She might produce a little treat from her purse — a package of nuts, a special kind of chocolate — and give it to the woman, knowing she would get a smile. Giving was a way of being for her.

Agapi‘Don’t Miss the Moment’: A Tribute to Our Mother
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Work-Life Integration: The Power of Daily Practices

My mother would often say to my sister, Arianna, and me: “Take care of your capital.” She wasn’t referring to money or power. For her, the real capital was YOU, and you had to look after yourself. She would preach about sleep, eating well, exercising, interacting with energizing and non-toxic people, and taking time to reflect and reconnect with ourselves. She was adamant about it.

Unfortunately, most people haven’t had the luxury of my mother’s advice. Most of us operate feeling depleted, stressed, and overwhelmed. When you type the phrase “why am I” in Google, it automatically suggests, “why am I so tired?” We take better care of our smartphones than ourselves; but just as our smartphones need to be charged, so do we! It has become harder to know when our resources are depleted because we have numbed ourselves and have become very good at ignoring the warning signs.

We have put ourselves on the wrong track, forgetting the essential part of our lives, which is our wellbeing. We have left ourselves behind and allowed the endless demands of work and life — in the form of deadlines, emails and endless meetings — to sweep us away.

Belgian philosopher Pascal Chabot once called burnout “civilization’s disease.” It is a delusion promoted by our culture that we have to shut off our humanity in order to be efficient and it is costing us our health let alone billions of dollars in health care costs. So we have to interrupt the insanity and start prioritizing the core values of what our lives are about. We have to ask the fundamental question: What is a good life and what would we have to do differently to make that good life a daily reality? We all know what we need to do. The question is how to give ourselves permission to start taking microscopic steps and building keystone habits to create the life we want and replace the life we settle for.

What we really value, what defines us, what enhances our well-being, and what really makes us thrive, is often out of sync with how we conduct our lives and what we spend our time doing.

There has been a lot of buzz around the concept of work-life balance, but it is a myth! And if you try to aspire to it, you will always feel as if you are failing. So you might as well delete that phrase from your vocabulary; it might be better to replace it with work-life integration, a concept that Padmasree Warrior — CTO of Cisco — embraces. It’s wiser to start thinking about our lives as a whole with an attitude towards thriving, as opposed to just surviving and start discovering and implementing strategies to get you there.

Creating daily practices that restore us back to ourselves is one of the keys to work-life integration. Implementing new daily habits such as: more sleep, a few minutes of meditation before we start our day, putting our devices down one hour before bed, mindful exercise, prayer, reading (yes — actual, real books), or sharing your talents with others to help in areas where they need support or encouragement. As these habits become part of our daily life, we begin to discover that we have more energy for the day. We become more present, better at prioritizing, better at accessing intuition, making smarter decisions and ultimately have more quality time to spend with the people we care about. All these things are possible because we are giving ourselves the opportunity to operate off a surplus instead of a fight or flight mentality. We will be in the driver’s seat, no longer operating on autopilot.

As we tap into the source of our wellbeing, by reinforcing these habits, we can start to experience as if we are in the center of a hurricane and in the hustle and the bustle of our everyday world we can experience that the center is completely still, like the eye in a hurricane.

It is important to build a support system for people at work to reinforce daily habits to care for each other’s well being and make it hard to fall off course. We can then create a culture that is more integrated. This simple skill of the daily practices becomes a huge performance enhancement because people at work are learning to access more of their whole selves when at work and not leaving themselves behind. As we put the spotlight on how vital it is to recharge ourselves, we find that people can generate more mental clarity, alertness, exercise innate wisdom and know when they need to back off and do the things to replenish themselves.

About 70 percent of our time is spent at work, so we are doing a disservice to ourselves to think it is not our life. And so we urgently need some new blueprints to start taking better care of our human capital and why it matters. They must both come under the umbrella of one principle that we need to look at ourselves as whole human beings, where our personal life and work can no longer be fragmented. In doing so, we will create a healthy environment where people will be able to create, inspire, and prosper.



AgapiWork-Life Integration: The Power of Daily Practices
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The Power Of Daily Practices

Creating daily practices that restore us back to ourselves is one of the keys to work-life integration. Implementing new daily habits such as: more sleep, a few minutes of meditation before we start our day, putting our devices down one hour before bed, mindful exercise, prayer, reading (yes — actual, real books), or sharing your talents with others to help in areas where they need support or encouragement. As these habits become part of our daily life, we begin to discover that we have more energy for the day. We become more present, better at prioritizing, better at accessing intuition, making smarter decisions and ultimately have more quality time to spend with the people we care about. All these things are possible because we are giving ourselves the opportunity to operate off a surplus instead of a fight or flight mentality. We will be in the driver’s seat, no longer operating on autopilot.

AgapiThe Power Of Daily Practices
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Bridging the Two Worlds: What Happened While Riding Bike 31

Last Saturday morning, I woke up feeling out of sorts. The world was too much with me, to paraphrase William Wordsworth.

I knew I needed time to pause, unplug and recharge — to reconnect with my center, which of course is one of the key elements to how we can all thrive. So I sat down and tried to meditate before going to the gym. However, I felt as though I were in a laundromat, spinning around in the dryer. As much as I tried to center, I couldn’t seem to get to my sweet spot — the place I call my portable paradise that connects me with my calm and my joy. I don’t like going out into the world feeling that way. So I went back to bed and started to pray.

I asked for help from the one who knows me best, my inner knower, and I put one hand on my belly and one on my heart and very gently I started to say to myself: “Peace, be still. God bless me. I love me. Peace, be still. God bless me. I love me. Peace, be still. God bless me. I love me.” I repeated it over and over again in a heartfelt way.

Things started to quiet down inside of me. About 10 minutes later, I had dropped deeper into myself and felt a wave of peace come upon me. The dryer came to a standstill! I put on my gym clothes and headed to my favorite spin class, called Cycletherapy, which my dear friend, Craig Hunter, pours his heart, body and soul into.

The class takes you through the seven chakras (energy centers of the body) while you spin, connecting you to your centers and the elements of fire, water, air and earth. Absolute bliss! Spinning has always been a connection for me to my joy and my creative spirit. In fact, I wrote most of my first book while spinning.

While I spin, the linear world stops and a creative mindset comes alive and awareness starts to show up. And there, while spinning on bike 31, while my body was going through the intensity of the cycling, I had an awareness. I saw the duality of what we all deal with in our lives and I started to write this blog in my head!

We live in two worlds — the world of spirit, the invisible world, and the world of matter, the visible word. We all try to find a way to bridge the two worlds so they can somehow converge, until we feel no separation between them. We all try to navigate this journey and find myriad ways to do it. If, however, we have a clear intention to do something every day, to increase this awareness of the invisible world and make it more connected to us, we will find that everything that involves our physical existence can begin to soften and become more clear. It’s as if we sharpen the lens and we start to see with new eyes. Our perception changes, the veil lifts and we see and understand beyond the tangible world.

I believe that behind all that we do, we all crave this connection. If we don’t have it, we are bound to leave ourselves empty, with a sense of discontent, because the world of spirit is really the wind beneath our wings. Sometimes, however, touching into that reality seems more challenging than climbing Mount Kilimanjaro barefoot in the snow, because we put so much stuff between us and our spirit. We have created conditions that are very blinding. We have come to totally identify with the worldly part of ourselves and have lost sight of our true spiritual nature.

There is no class in the school system that teaches us how to navigate this journey. No class called “Who You Truly Are 101,” that prepares us to go live in the world with the awareness of who we are. Instead, there are countless distractions that often leave us empty, and when we go inside to reconnect, we run into a barricaded wall.

The easiest and quickest way to return to who we truly are is to come, present in our hearts, and ask to remember our true nature. That, in essence, is the awareness I had while spinning on bike 31.

That Saturday morning, while sweating and tapping into my spirit, I connected back to my own inner rhythm. I dropped my agenda for what I wanted to do that day. I allowed myself to have an Agapi day, and to enjoy the day instead of getting to the next thing and the next.

The world seems so sweet to me when that happens. I feel my childlike quality that knows its breathing rhythm come to the surface, and I can exhale and smile. Everything that happened during the day after that had a natural flow of connected moments.

It is amazing what happens when we unite with our spirit and ride that wave. It feels like surfing with the wind at our back. And to sum it up, all it took, my friends, was my willingness to say, “The world is too much upon me and I can’t get back to me. I need help.” In 10 minutes, the latch of the gate lifted and I got back in.

One of the songs that Craig was playing during the spinning class was “When I Ruled the World” by Coldplay. And I thought, “If I ruled the world, I would make that the No. 1 rule of the world: that everyone practice something daily that brings his or her spirit into the world and connects us back to who we are — so we can make it more visible, allowing each person to find what that is for himself or herself. Then thriving becomes a natural way of being, unique with each person’s stamp.” That is what I would do.

But I don’t rule the world, although I do rule my own world, so I can do my part and write a blog and share what I do to build my bridge between the two worlds.

Would you share with us what you do to bridge the worlds? What magic tools do you have in your pocket that you can share with us?

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AgapiBridging the Two Worlds: What Happened While Riding Bike 31
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