A Moment of Pause

I am on a meditation streak. For three weeks, I have meditated every morning, for at least 10 minutes. It's been incredibly important for me because it's a habit that I can travel with.

I am incredibly hard on myself. I think it's a natural attribute of being an overachiever, and it's one that I have become very aware of. Sometimes, I can lead myself down a path of self-doubt and judgement that scares me. It's often reflective of how far away from my centre I am, but in those low moments, it's hard to come back to the light.

This past week, I was in Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival. I had initially worked to have Dream, Girl host a panel discussion at the festival, and when we moved our launch date for the film, it strategically wasn't the best call. So, I used my time at the festival instead to enjoy and meet some excellent humans.

Me and Prasanna 'gif-ed' at the Participant Media TIFF party.

Me and Prasanna 'gif-ed' at the Participant Media TIFF party.

One of those people was an older man, 70+. He told me he had died twice in his life and was brought back to life both times. He realized after being revived that he wanted to give back to the world in an important and meaningful way. For him, that's translated into coaching young women to understand and take hold of their confidence and self-power, and to put it out into the world through meaningful work.

When we first met, I was both hesitant and intrigued. I have become a woman who likes to work almost exclusively with other women. But I am also a woman who wants to have the best team of people around me as possible, and this man is most definitely a powerhouse coach to have in my life.

This one's for you Erin.

This one's for you Erin.

He shared with me an exercise while we were together. He told me about our animal brain, the part of our brain where our fight or flight responses emerge from. It's also the part of our brain that our self-protection, and self-loathing originate from. He taught me that when I am stuck in my thoughts of fear and self-loathing, I need to activate my analytical brain and ask a question about the thoughts I am having. It will stop the negative thoughts in their tracks.

For example:

Fear: I am not good enough. Nobody values what I have to say, and no one wants to hear what I have to say. I have no value.

Question: Do you really have no value? Do you really believe that what you have to share is not going to benefit this world? Is this fear real?

Fear: What I've created is not good. It's terrible and no one is going to like it. There's no point in putting it out into the world. People are only going to criticize me and hate it.

Question: Is this thing that you've poured your soul into while creating really terrible? What do you risk by not giving this gift to the world?

Fear: I cannot change my habits. I am stuck in these bad behaviours. I am going to be overweight, and I am going to die of a heart attack because I can't get a hold on my anxiety. I am not capable of positive change.

Question: Have you changed habits in the past? Have you progressed in a way that benefits your health and your life in the past? Is this fear real? How is it holding you back?

Now. It might seem odd to have such a complex internal dialogue, but we humans have tens of thousands of thoughts a day. There's conversations going on in our minds that we have no control over, and that we are not even aware are happening. When we become aware of them, we can engage and shift the dialogue, or we can be empowered by what we are capable of dreaming.

My three weeks of continuous meditation has enabled me to clear out a lot of shit to find the mental wherewithal to stop and question the thoughts that are holding me down.

From the b-roll for Dream, Girl shot by the amazing Mary Perrino. Yes, that's me meditating on a boardwalk!

From the b-roll for Dream, Girl shot by the amazing Mary Perrino. Yes, that's me meditating on a boardwalk!

Most of our thoughts are not real. We've made them up in an attempt to protect ourselves from fear and pain. But sometimes that discomfort is exactly where we need to be, and we need to remember that we create our mental reality. We choose the thoughts, actions, values, and behaviours we want to live by.

It takes practice, and commitment to learn to clear our minds, but with time we can do it. We can sit in stillness and observe the craziness that is our mind and help it calm down.

Today, I had an hour or two of chaos in my mind. But I made the conscious effort to write it out and to reflect on what I have learned. That's progress for me.

I want to feel strong, in my body and my mind. I want to keep progressing and moving forward. And there are cobwebs of fears, and old habits that linger and want me to stay put, but I know better. I am better. What's next, and who I want to be are within reach and I am building a personal team, and the personal habits to get out of my own way. 

Happy Fri-yay. I hope you can do something today that makes you feel great.