What Judy Did This Summer
I think the most powerful thing I learnt this summer happened at Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires. I did a Meditation class with an incredible person and learnt this: We spend too much time thinking about the past and worrying about the future. In fact, the most important moment is right now. This moment is perfect and beautiful, just the way it is. Now breathe. What can I tell you? It really works. This is the closest definition I've come to really understanding what meditation is all about. I don't know if it was the delivery of this wonderful person named Wren, (who had a very calm, soothing tone), or the message, (a great one), but it resonated like the deep, beautiful sounds a cello makes, or the joyful sounds of a gorgeous singing voice filling up a stage or concert hall.
So in the spirit of going back to school and back to work after the beautiful summer we've had, I armed myself with a bevy of books, and a number of other rich learnings that I could share with you. It all started when I attended the very inspirational "I Can Do It Toronto" conference at the end of June, with speakers like Dr. Wayne Dyer, Cheryl Richardson, Caroline Myss and a host of others, who really all talked about making powerful and exciting changes and transformations. Then a week later, I continued inhaling this intoxicating blend of health and wellness at Canyon Ranch. I want to share some of the highlights with you, some of the jewels and gems that I know will remain with me for a long time to come.
One of the speakers I didn't expect to go ga-ga for and did at The I Can Do It conference, was someone named Nancy Levin, whose original job was to pick up all of the famous authors at the airport and take them to various conferences, speaking engagements, and media interviews. A poet, her talk called "Writing for My Life", was exactly that. She transformed her life after a devastating experience and was asked to read one of her poems at a wedding of some employees at Hay House Publishing, where she works. She did an excellent job and then was asked to read more of her poems at various conferences. She was able to parlay this heartbreaking experience into a beautiful anthology of poems called, "Writing for My Life....Reclaiming the Lost Pieces of Me." What was brilliant about all of this, is that she had to step out on a limb, dip her toes into unknown waters, take a deep breath and jump. And she did exactly that. Initially she self-published with the self-publishing arm of Hay House Publishing and made it happen on her own. Her poem that she read at the conference was absolutely brilliant and made a lot of people in that Roy Thomson Hall audience weep. Because it was authentic and true, it came from her heart and that is where the best creativity always begins.
Another wonderful find at the conference was the very exciting and motivational talk by Michael Eisen, a passionate and charismatic speaker who positively transformed his life at the age of 19, overcoming challenges with stress, anxiety and depression, and really turning bullying around with his belief that we need to do the opposite. Instead of reacting to bullying, we need to strengthen our youth to be pro-active so they can prevent bullying, rather than having to cure it. He shares his excellent strategies and practices that helped him live a happier and healthier life. Not only did he create the Youth Wellness Network at the age of 25, but he co-authored a book with his father called, "Empowered YOUth: A Father and Son's Journey to Conscious Living." All I can say is the standing ovation he received at the end was pretty spectacular and he is worth checking out online and in his very empowering book.
This is still all in Toronto. Now fast forward to Canyon Ranch where my husband and I met another very inspirational, motivational speaker/comedian named Jerry Posner, who’s written a series of books, including Eternal Cosmic Wisdom at Bargain Basement Prices. He loves business cards and throughout his talk, he handed out colourful cards with sayings, affirmations and questionnaires. But one of the things that really struck a chord, was his little card with the following questions, which really are a great place to begin in the spirit of creating a fresh start for this September. Posner 's questions you can ask yourself are: "What is important? What is meaningful? What is right for me? What do I want most?
One of my favourite parts of his talk and his book is the section on Gratitude and how to practice it. He writes: "Feeling grateful for the good things, the love, the laughs, the lessons, the people, the opportunities, the help, the stuff, the miracles, the food, the music, the technology, etc. He talks a lot about how we can express that Gratitude, and I love his list (He loves lists and has tons of them in the book!), called "Expressing Gratitude Makes me Feel Good-so I do it"! He writes: "Here's a fun and potentially enlightening "grati-tool" - make a list of 10 people who have helped you get to where you are right now-10 people you're grateful for. Then people who helped you succeed, taught you important lessons, loved you." And of course the Daily Gratitude Journal with five things you are grateful for on paper or on your computer before bed. It's better to write them down, than to think about them and this is even a great thing to teach your kids to do on a daily basis.
There was so much more, but I wanted to give you a taste of some of the highlights. Stay tuned for next month, when I share with you How to Really Eliminate Stress and Find Inner Peace. Until then, wishing you all a blissful September. Try stopping yourself throughout the day, breathing and saying to yourself, this moment is perfect right now. It's definitely one of the easiest pathways to finding your bliss.