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Each year, we look back on our Untangle podcast interviews, from Meditation Studio, and try to glean the best wisdom from the year. Luckily, this year our guests, who are thought leaders and experts in areas related to mindfulness, yoga, and contemplative practices have, week after week, shared their amazing insights and inspiration with us. Here are some of my favorites:
1. Commit to opening your heart.
One of meditation’s gifts is that can open your heart. While this means your heart may break more in the face of sadness and suffering, you will also have the capacity for more tenderness, empathy, and compassion. This according to meditation teacher, Tracy Cochran, has the power to connect us more to one another and, ultimately, to a deeper sense of humanity.
2. Drop the negative self-talk.
Negative self-talk (that darn inner critic) is exhausting. Mark Coleman, author of Make Peace with Your Mind, shared a number of ways we can shake the inner critic, for good. Mindfulness, loving kindness, and self-compassion practices, along with a healthy sense of humor, he says, can help us untangle the negative stories we tell ourselves and see the bigger picture.
3. Pause and listen.
It IS possible to stand still when ‘your hair is on fire.’ Jerry Colonna, former Venture Capitalist and now Executive Coach, says that meditation helps us with the all-important ability to pause and assess what’s going on when things get really crazy, so we can respond more thoughtfully. We’re also, he shares, more skillful in listening to others when we can take a moment to pause.
4. Remind yourself that happily ever after is the stuff of fairy tales—and let it go.
It actually makes sense to accept that we might just live messily ever after instead. Elephant Journal founder, Waylon Lewis, reminded us that relationships are just messy. His belief is that you need tools like ‘endless forgiveness,’ because all relationships challenge even the best of us. The messiness, he believes, is where we have the opportunity to wake up and grow.
5. Make alone time a priority.
Brilliant Choreographer Alonzo King, said that material things do not exactly bring us happiness. Chasing external things pales in comparison to relaxing and being still enough to see, in that stillness, just who you really are. Time alone, really cultivating your relationship with yourself is key to finding both strength and inner peace.
6. Deepen your connections to experience Real Love.
Leading meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg says that Real love teaches you that no one else can complete you and this actually enhances your capacity to love and be loved. Real love, she says, is a state of profound connection, where you connect deeply to yourself and to others. Training your attention through mindfulness practices can help to cultivate these deeper connections that lead to real love.