How meditation has changed my life + 8 steps to ZEN

Ah, Meditation. 

I feel with meditation it's like, when you know you know - and for so long I did not know.

Mediation has SO many benefits for those that do it regularly, and the benefits only maximize over time. I have noticed the most benefits from doing it for 6+ months, but now am able to ‘drop in’ and meditate from basically anywhere.

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Its been shown to:

  • Increase memory and attention (through increasing grey matter in areas related to memory)

  • Increase brain volume specifically in areas related to emotional regulation, positive emotions and self control (Yes PLEASE. This has been major for me in creating a more steady emotional state).

  • Decrease depression

  • Increase immunity 

  • Improve your sleep (it helps me sleep like a baby if I do it before bed)

  • Decrease anxiety 

  • Regulate hormone levels (which helps with weight loss, appetite, skin…) 

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This short list includes only a few of the amazing benefits all proven by science. It’s rad right? Natural, free and accessible for everyone. 

From personal experience I can say that meditation has helped me with every single thing on that list. It has changed my LIFE.

Have I ever told you that Justin always says I’m ‘cool but not chill’. LOL I'm serious. 

It’s true I just don’t sit around easily, I can’t/don’t watch TV or movies period. I just can't really sit around and relax, like, ever. 

But meditation has helped me to chill, be present, and reeee-lllaaxxxx. 

It's has enabled me to eliminate my nagging loop thoughts ('what am I doing with my life’ sort of stuff…), anxious feelings, or any quick reactions of impatience I had previously. Because of it I’m a better girlfriend, friend, podcast host and acquaintance to people I meet on a daily basis at places like Erewhon or the gas station.

I’ve been meditating daily for about 7 years now. I increase and decrease the amount of time I do it based upon if I need it or if I have time - I’m not so strict about it, but if i start to notice my mood shift, I become impatient or even depressed, hoping right back onto the meditation train helps A LOT.

Okay so, full disclosure. It’s not easy to meditate, per say, just takes patience. The difficulty lies in continually trying to quiet your mind, and clear your thoughts. 

There are numerous ways to meditate, with various methods and philosophies all basically in the same vein. I’ve done workshops on Transcendental Meditation (TM) and I know there are four other ways, but let’s keep it simple. 

These are some of the easy steps I pulled from various centers and teachers from the Tibet House to the Chopra Center, that are helpful to start your meditation journey.  There are also centers like The Den popping up everywhere!


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How I meditate:

  1. Number one baby. Eliminate any excuses you could have to not take time to meditate. Like, put the phone on silent, make sure your roommate knows what’s up for the next 20, just commit to that time. In the morning is good, because theres often less distracting you (hopefully not yet at least!) They say you should do it, after you wake, before you eat, and start your day. I’m too hungry so I eat, and then sit, but just so you know what it’s like by the books. 

  2. Sit in a comfortable, dark, quiet space. Just a place you can be sure to relax and not fidget. I have a blanket folded up in our bathroom (NYC Life) that I sit crossed legged on. I like that it’s dark, small and quiet in there so I can focus. You can meditate with lights on, anywhere technically, but when you first start out you want to be able to relax. Dark is good because you’re not so alert (light signals to your brain it’s day and you should be active), and you can fall into it much more easily. So quiet, dark, seated comfortably.

  3. Close your eyes but don’t fall asleep! LOL meditation is relaxing but not sleeping. Sometimes I swear Justin just takes naps when he says he’s meditating haha. 

  4. Feel all 5 senses. Like, feel your sit bones connect to the ground, feel the weight of your body, feel the air around you, feel your breath, and feel the clothes resting on your body. Going through these helps you to really be present and in your space. (Another trick: if you don’t have time or are not in the right space, you can also connect to your physical senses sitting in a chair to bring yourself to be more present by using this awareness technique). 

  5. Focus on your breath, continuously, or your mantra. In the practice of Transcendental Meditation, you’re given a mantra which helps to signify to your body that you’re going to release and fall into meditation. This focus and release, is honestly the part where people get frustrated and quit. It took me at least two months of sitting there trying to shut off my thoughts, getting frustrated because I couldn’t turn off before I let go and fell into it. It does take time. But if you think about it, your brain is on all.day.long. you give your body a break from working out but not your brain from working all day erryday. It needs that shut down, that release, to help you perform optimally. You don’t need a mantra, but it’s helpful for focus. A few mantras (a word or phrase you repeat over and over again) I use are: ‘I am’ or ‘clear’ which signal to my body and brain to drop into a meditative state much more quickly.

  6. Don’t judge your thoughts, but notice them. what sort of continuously shows up when you’re trying to quiet your mind. I read once to ‘see your thoughts as a sailboat, drifting by’ as in, you are not attached to those thoughts or the emotions that come with them, you are watching them from afar drift by in your mind. You watch them, remaining calm. LOL I see sailboats, I know I’m a loon whatevs. 

  7. If you can’t get into it, appreciate that you took time for yourself. 

  8. After 5-20 minutes, however long you decide to dedicate to your relaxation, your clear mind, your health, you can slowly ‘start to bring awareness back to your body. Wiggle them toes and shit so you don’t fall or anything when you try to get up. 

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I would say, that this may feel like torture at first. You probably want to scratch your face, you want to get up, you want to get started on your to-do list…that is NORMAL. For the benefits that it gives, it’s okay that this isn’t super easy or natural for a mind that wants to ‘do’ all the time.

Sometimes I am able to get into it and sometimes I cant. It depends on the place, how I am feeling my energy level…it just takes practice. There are also times where I drop into it so easily.

The important part is allowing them both to be okay.

If you want to read more about meditation, and the benefits you can read here.

I am excited for you to start your journey!

xoxo

WHAT I WORE IN JAPAN!

Hi FRIENDS!

Thanks for being here! I am working on my full Japan review/guide but in the meantime wanted to share a full review on what I wore in Japan because I really had some LEWKS.

I used Rent the Runway a LOT with this. It’s my favorite and it’s changed my life, making travel easier, events easier, and just keeps my closet fresh without overdoing it with having to buy more!

I also used Rachel Zoe’s Box of Style (you can use code almost30 for $24.99) which helped a lot for travel to have great products on the go.

Stay tuned for more this week!

xoxo


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Keeping it Simple Super Comfortable Day/Night Look:

Cat Eye Sunglasses

Silky Soft Romper

Black Mini-Backpack

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I Quit.

Oh man. 

OhHHhHHh man.

Ya'll ain't ready for this.

Words cannot express to you how good I feel right now. To say that quiting my job was the right thing for me.

I wish you could sit with me and have me explain so let me do the best I can.

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I worked for two years at an amazing company.  I mean honestly it couldn't have been more perfect for me. It was flexible, everyone was great, I loved my boss....plus it was in marketing/digital media so I wasn't so far outside of the realm of what I do outside of my work anyway. Truly, I couldn't have had a better experience. 

But ya know what man.

Even if it's working, and you know in your heart that it's not what you want or that it's no longer aligned or serving you...then you gotta make a move. 

With the full time job, Almost 30 Podcast and Hundred I was working 7 days a week.

All day. Most nights, some mornings, and I lived at a constant heightened level of stress. I would go to the bathroom at client meetings and post a sponsored post on Instagram. Or take interviews for Almost 30 during my lunch break.

I'd walk out to take calls with sponsors, or check my emails when I would walk to the bathroom at work. I always felt like there was more to do. 

I also felt like okay I am doing this. I am getting away with it....(in the sense that I was still alive, HA)

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I survived another week. Phew. Got it. Now I can work all weekend, get everything done that I wanted to all week...

But I had a few expanding moments. One of them was speaking at an event, where, I said no at first. 

I had to work. 

They came back and asked what the price was? How much would it take for me to do speak at their event as a panel moderator (aka my dream).

I gave them the same price as one of my corporate job paychecks. More actually.

To my surprise, they agreed.

I knew in that moment, that I could make money, more easily, more quickly, doing things I loved than doing things I didn't.

The ability we have to make money when we are doing things we love is infinite. 

With Almost 30, for me, making money is FUN. I get to talk about my favorite brands, and to share them with people I love and want to experience the brand too. I also get to host events, hang with my best friend, grow and develop Chloe and our interns....

There's nothing better. I know I am not the norm. I know that people don't find what they love to do. I know I'm lucky, but the path hasn't been perfect.

But I also answered the calling.

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When I asked for it, I followed the voice. When I prayed to find a job where I was impacting peoples lives in a positive way, utilizing my skills as a communicator, interviewer, and generally curious person...

I got the tap to start to record, to be authentic, and try something new with Lindsey.

I worked at it, I went for it, and then I worked for it again. But I never pushed aside the calling and messages that I was given.

That's the thing, is that so often people ask for their dream job or passion, or to find something they love that they can make money from. But once that hits given to you, the message for what that is, EVEN IF IT'S CRAZY, you need to go for it. 

It doesn't need to be quitting your job, it doesn't need to be crazy or put you into debt, but if you want it, you need to follow it, to get scared, to take risks and to choose fear over faith. 

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I knew that I needed to walk in alignment with the messages I was spreading on the podcast.
How could I talk to these badass entrepreneurs, who have lost it all, gained it back, taken risks, grown businesses, helped others, been scared....and live my life scared and unaligned? 

It just felt right.

So I did it. Didn't overthink. Just acted and did. Got my healthcare in order, got us set up with payroll, figured out finances and how things were going to work. Got BUSY with my schedule and Almost 30, but also allowed myself to nap.

Yes, nap. The week after I quit I let myself nap each day. There really is nothing better (especially as a projector) than a nap. It's the ultimate recharge, and feels like the epitome of self care to me.

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How I prepared:

  • Saved: Oh I saved. I have more money in my bank account than I have in my whole life, and that money may or may not be used, but it's about 6 months salary to sustain myself, allow myself to still travel for fun, move into a bigger apartment...etc. This number is different for everyone so find one that works for you.
  • I stopped asking everyone else what they would do. Because it doesn't matter what they would do. It's my life and I needed to take ownership for it.
  • I took my own advice, and actually thought about the messages I shared with others to live a life aligned, and made my own life more aligned.
  • I got myself in a great position with Almost 30 Podcast where one job replaced the other. Lindsey and I grew Almost 30 Podcast so much that when I left it felt like I didn't skip a beat. We had so much to do, that I haven't slowed down working since, it's just changed.

It's so personal to you how, when and why, but in the Secret Almost 30 Podcast facebook group we talked about this all the time. There have been so many women that said they left their jobs that weren't filling them up for greener pastures.

It's not about jumping, or taking the leap, or reckless abandon. It's about being the person that you want to be and preparing for years to build a life you love. 

Truly.

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I am so excited to create more, do more, share more, be MORE for you and for the listeners of Almost 30 Podcast. Finding more ways to SERVE

I love you!

xo

*Photos from our Seattle Tour Stop by Catching Cali Photo


What I'm wearing in this post:

Brass Clothing Romper (code ALMOST30 for a 15% discount)

Jeffrey Campbell Boots

Quay Sunglasses