So cool! The Dalai Lama’s website and your self-awareness

Throughout the years, I have followed many of the recommendations of the Dalai Lama.  It all began 13 years ago when I read his book “The Art of Happiness” as I commuted via subway to my finance job in New York City.  The book was my first step towards meditation, mindfulness, and eastern philosophies.

These days, the Dalai Lama is using technology to help us reach a higher level of self-awareness and compassion.  He has worked with Paul Ekman, a go-to psychologist for Hollywood movie makers, to create a map of the range of human sentiments (these were later distilled into 5 main emotions by Ekman and used in the movie “Inside Out”).  The Dalai Lama told Ekman:

“When we wanted to go to the New World, we needed a map. So make a map of emotions so we can get to a calm state.

I loved the hopes the Dalai Lama has expressed for the website and map: That the Atlas can be a tool for cultivating good in the world by defeating the bad within us

“Ultimately, our emotion is the real troublemaker. We have to know the nature of the enemy.

I highly recommend taking a look at www.AtlasOfEmotions.comHere’s a way it can be of use for you:

  1. Do you suspect a main emotion you experience is “Anger”? Start there
  2. What state of Anger are you experiencing? Let’s say “Bitterness”
  3. What actions of “Bitterness” are you engaging in?  Could it be “Passive-Aggressiveness”?

How often have you been able to articulate what is behind that negative remark you happened to make to someone? Have you been able to say: “I am being passive-aggressive because I am bitter and angry at…” And here is where the Atlas continues to help.  There is a section for “Triggers”.  Some possible triggers for this state: Have you been wrongfully accused of something?

Why is it important for you to have self-awareness of your emotional state? Because it will increase your quality of life

  1. Your emotions have information as to what is going on in the world around you. 
  2. Awareness and clarity of your emotions will help you better decide if, when, and how you want to respond to a situation. 
  3. Most importantly, you will know what you need to take care of in your life so that you can get to a place of peace and happiness

This resource is a beautiful complement to any meditation or mindfulness practice.  I have seen how it completes and deepens my own efforts.  

What YOU can do TODAY:

  1. Take a few minutes to play around with The Atlas of Emotions
  2. Download this app by the Yale Center of Emotional Intelligence. I use it about 4-5 times a day to record my emotions (it has a built in reminder alarm and its super easy). It has allowed me to:

a. Expand my emotional vocabulary so I can better express my feelings

b. Have a greater understanding of my inner state.  During the most stressed out time post-pregnancy, 40% of the time I was in a negative state and 60% of the time in a positive state.  Yikes!

c. Over time, I could track what was causing my states.  Negative ones: concerns for extended family members and work.  Positive ones: family time on weekends and productive days of work. 

d. Take responsibility and actions over that which was causing my negative states.  So much easier to do once tracked and identified! And the best part…do more of that which makes me happy and content, now that I’m crystal clear as to what that is!

Let me know how it goes!  I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.  If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you share it with your friends, family, and community.

Lots of love,

Judith   

How to handle losing your patience

PHOTO CREDIT

PHOTO CREDIT

I recently lost my patience.  It occurred with the provider of a service I was considering hiring.  Their lack of transparency was making it hard for me to determine if the collaboration was a good idea, despite a strong recommendation from friends.

Yes, meditation and mindfulness are almost "superpowers" that, with practice, prevent such things from occurring.  Yet, these things can still happen.  Embracing this reality allows me to accept where I am today, and thus be proactive about learning tools and strategies that will help me grow further.  Unless I accept where I am today, fully and without judgement, I won’t be able to identify where I need to improve. 

So this is how I handled losing my patience recently:

  1. I became aware that I had lost it, in the moment. Meditation and mindfulness allows me to notice how I change physically, mentally, and emotionally when this occurs. I raise my voice slightly. My sentences become shorter. I use pointed words.  I take exasperated sighs. 
  2. I paused and inquired. I honestly remembered thinking “I have lost my patience. What is triggering me?” and “How do I want to proceed?”
  3. I apologized. You don’t have to spend a lot of time here, you just have to make sure it’s authentic. Do you want to treat others with less respect than you would like to be treated?  That question enough activates sincerity within you. For me it looked something like this: “Apologies for reacting this way.”
  4. I shared my triggers. A key piece.  Here, I gave the other party a small peak into my mind: what were the facts I was choosing to look at, what were the stories I was telling myself about those facts, what my feelings were, and what was triggering me. Be careful here.  You don’t want to justify your behavior (that’s a very quick way to turn off the other person), you are looking to just share your experience and triggers.  Not justify.

The above 4 steps are powerful.  By the end of the last one, the other party empathized with me in a “Well, I probably would lose my patience too if I were you!” type of way. Super powerful.   

What YOU can do TODAY:

  • Of the above four steps, which ones would be most difficult for you to do?
    • Notice you have lost your patience
    • Pause and inquire as to why
    • Apologize
    • Share your perspective
  • What can you do to cultivate the ability to do the above?
    • Do you need to establish a mindfulness or meditation practice?
    • Would cultivating more humility be of use for you? More on humility, what it actually is, and how it is indispensable in the next newsletter.
    • Improve your communication skills so sharing is easier?

If you would like recommendations on resources for the above, feel free to email me. 

Let me know how it goes! I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment or question below.  If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you share it with your friends, family, and community.

Lots of love,

Judith

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Our Destructive Self has many voices.  The voices speak from fear, insecurity, jealousy, anxiety. Often, our Destructive Self never goes away. The only thing we can do is manage and disarm it.  Here's how. 

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This takes our happiness away

This takes our happiness away

Have you ever had the following experiences? You argue with yourself, stating “I am so mad at myself for doing this”.  Or maybe you behave in a way that disappoints you and looking back, you think “That is not who I really am”.  

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How to channel that negative energy

Have you ever had something take you totally by surprise, leaving you in a complete negative and unproductive space? Yes, there are moments you get upsetting news via email or a phone call.  But even then, you get a bit of a warning.  There’s the subject line in the email, or the phone number you recognize on the call.  You get a few seconds to catch your breath. 

I am talking about the time you opened your LinkedIn account, and you saw the person who consistently was rude to you land the job of your dreams.  Or you open up Facebook and you see that your ex has solidly moved on to another relationship (yes, engaged).  Or you walk down the street and you bump into the most unexpected thing you could bump into. 

I am referring to those moments when your breath stops, your chest tightens, and in some cases, your eyes start to feel like they are about to water.  I call them the “I need to catch my breath” moments.  I was at Facebook headquarters recently for a meeting on wellness and wisdom, and they actually have a name for it: the unexpected “punch to the heart” moments

I had one of those moments a couple of months ago.  It was late at night and I was getting ready to go to bed.  I broke one of my wellness rules and decided to check a few things on my phone…And…I had an “I need to catch my breath” moment. 

I am pretty sure that until I am an enlightened master, these will happen to me.  They happen less and less, but doesn’t that just mean that when they do happen, they are that much more surprising and thus impactful?

So there are two things I could have done. 

  1. Go to bed and stare at the ceiling for hours, playing out doomsday scenarios in my head
  2. Channel all of that energy into productive action

Those are the moments when I am grateful I have such a strong meditation and mindfulness practice.  This is what helped me choose #2 despite the breathlessness.  Using these practices, I took a breath, I asked for guidance, and I got to work.  I got myself a big bottle of water and I placed it on my nightstand.  I was going to need to stay hydrated.  I moved my son’s bassinet closer to my bed (the beautiful one was just 2 months old), and I texted my husband to feel free to call anytime (he was traveling in Australia), because I expected to be up for a WHILE. I opened up my laptop. There had been a couple of key things I had been wanting to do to carry the Live On Purpose message to a greater audience.  Well, why not take all of this energy that was going to keep me up anyways and do these then?  I worked through the night. I’m not an engineer, but I am sure as heck good at learning things and am pretty smart.  That combined with Google searches gets you far these days.  I built some of the tools I thought I had to hire someone to do.  I remember doing the 12am feeding for my son, and then time zooming by until it was time to do the next feeding.  By the end of the night everything that I had procrastinated for 4 months was done.  The actions had a +142% impact on a key metric that month.

What can YOU do TODAY?

1. Identify the last “punch to the heart”, “I need to catch my breath” moment

2. Decide what is one action you can take today to move forward in a positive and productive way

             a. How are you taking care of yourself today? Are you proud of your health (mind, body, spirit)? How tall are you walking these days? Start that exercise routine, stop eating the processed food, get into healthy action so you can start feeling healthy. The reason you had a breathless moment is due to your state of self.  More on this in the next newsletter.

             b. How can you develop yourself further? What’s that online course you’ve been meaning to take? How about that weekend day retreat you have been thinking about?

3. Make a commitment to consistency, because the better you feel about yourself, the less likely those surprising moments have a negative impact.

Let me know how it goes!  I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment or any questions below.  If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you share it with your friends, family, and community.

Lots of love,

Judith

Get more GOOD stuff in your life

As I write this, I am at the 2016 Nutrition and Health Conference in Denver, Colorado.  The conference is great and I am learning a lot; I can’t wait to bring you the key points I’ve learned as well as strategies on how to apply them to your life. 

My last post addressed the need to take a breath every day.  If you missed it, you can find it here. I always get questions as to where I find the discipline to practice the daily wellness actions I take.  Well, I have a small and simple trick that might come in handy for you that I was reminded of while eating here at the conference.

I see my day, week, and overall my time, as the empty plate one carries up to a buffet line.  When I get to the buffet, my plate is empty.  I usually walk up and down the buffet table before I get in the line and check out everything that is being offered.  I make a mental note of what is healthy and what is unhealthy.  I then get in line and proceed to fill up as much of my plate with the healthy offerings.  I usually get my plate 90% filled and only have room for a bit of the unhealthy food.  A perfect balance.

I approach my day and week in the same way.  I look at everything that I have been spending my time on and I start making choices.  What’s the GOOD stuff I want more of?  My meditations always go in…That reduces the 24 hours and 7 days we all have available. Sleep goes in.  Quality time with my family goes in (3 hour nature hikes on Saturdays, big meals on Sundays).  Work goes in. Little by little, as I schedule the GOOD stuff into my agenda, my time is reduced until there’s little to no time left.  This leaves me with less opportunities of being sucked into unhealthy activities.  I just have too much GOOD stuff going on, I can’t even make room for the unhealthy stuff!

What can YOU do TODAY?

  1. Make a list of the GOOD stuff you want more of in your life
  2. Start scheduling it into your life.  Start with tomorrow (yes, tomorrow).  What GOOD stuff can you get in?  Now look at your next week.  Really schedule some of the GOOD stuff in.  Make plans to have dinner with your family.  Make plans to go on a hike in nature.  Which nights can you be in bed by 10pm?
  3. TRUST that if you take control of your time in this way, by identifying the GOOD stuff you want more of and actually scheduling it in, you’ll be able to ignore the not so great, unhealthy activities you do mindlessly.

I hope this is of service to you! Let me know how it goes; I would love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment below.  If you enjoyed this post, share it with your friends and family!

Lots of love,

Judith

Are you tired? Do this

Recently, I started to feel very tired.  The month of February was intense.  It was my first month back full time at work and I had a brand new two month old baby boy at home.  I was having a great time understanding how the pieces of the puzzle were coming together, yet I was finding myself quite tired at the end of each day.  Eventually I realized that I was letting my tiredness accumulate, and if not addressed, it would turn into a liability. Not good.

Yet…We are going to get tired.  It’s a fundamental piece of the human experience.  Can we actually live a life where we never get tired?  Impossible.  The fear of avoiding discomfort is what leads us to live a very small life.  We could structure our lives so we experience as little discomfort as possible, yet this would not allow us to take on exciting projects, rich experiences and in essence live our dreams and fully step into our greatness.  That way of living brings me incredible sadness.   

So what to do?  Get in relationship with it and with yourself.  Instead of panicking every time we feel tired, let’s say hello to it and decide what to do with it.  “Hello tiredness, what am I going to do with you?”  When I answer that question with “Ignore you, push over you, make you bend until you give” it gets risky. 

So here’s what I did to get myself in a great place from which I could perform.  I hope it is of service to you:

  • Expect it. When we don’t expect discomfort to occur it catches up by surprise.  We get resentful. And resentment leads to burnout (more on this in next posts).
  • Get clear. Often, things are a moment in time.  My husband gave me the best advice during this time: “You are learning how to be a mom while building what you want to create”.  Bingo.  This is new; I had never done it before.  I am learning. There is a learning curve. Things will get better eventually.  This too shall pass
  • Be realistic. Stop wanting to run away to a deserted island. We want to quit our jobs and NEVER work again.  Then we get depressed because we can’t forgo working (eating and a home are nice things) which makes us even more tired.  We believe everything drastically needs to change in order for us to get relief, when in reality we just need a breath
  • Take a breath every day.  This is the golden nugget.  You might think this is impossible for you to do given all the demands you have, yet if you want sustainable performance in the marathon of life, step into this.  Every day do one thing that gives you energy and feels restorative. What restored me from almost exhaustion were the small, every day, steps I started taking (juicing kale and ginger for my favorite green juice, the 30 minute yoga class on my iPad, the 20 minute extra meditation in the evenings).

If you can’t carve out 20 minutes in your day for an investment in yourself, I invite you to consider there are greater issues at play.  Right now, I want you to identify one thing you will do today that will be restorative for you.  Right now, think of something.  Right now. And then do it. 

Take one breath each day, string them together, and create a sustainable life filled with small breaths…all together making the HUGE breath we crave. 

Let me know how it goes!  I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment or question below.  If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you share it with your friends, family, and community.

Lots of love,

Judith

Was this frustrating?

Last week, my post could have caused within you disappointment.  If you missed this post, you can read it here.  Specifically, I am referring to any triggers set off by Sharon Salzberg’s comments at Wisdom 2.0: “Nothing in life is a straight shot.  We go forward, we fall down. We pick ourselves up. We let someone pick us up. We begin again…So we are always beginning again, and beginning again, and beginning again, and beginning again.”

If you were triggered and felt any of the above emotions, I get it.  As I mentioned in my previous newsletter, I had a Stanford GSB professor tell me this very directly and without cutting corners: “Judith, life is like one of those video games in the 80’s. Do you know what the reward was for winning in level one? You move on to level two, where things are just faster and harder.  Guess what the reward is for winning in level two?  You move on to level three, where things are just faster and harder. And on and on and on as you move from one level to the next.”

When I heard this advice from him, I became very disappointed and angry.  After all of the hard work I had done to improve and change the trajectory of my path, I was ready for things to be easy (yes, easy).  I wanted to take my tools and my experience and start living a stress free life.  The fact that successfully continuing to achieve accomplishments meant beginning again in harder, faster environments made me incredibly upset.

It took me 4 full months to get over my disappointment.  The fact was that I could either live fighting reality, refusing to accept it and experiencing an emotional roller coaster, or I could learn to live with reality in a peaceful way.  Though I am still very much a work in progress, below are my go-to steps!

What can YOU do TODAY?

  1. Identify any discomfort in your body you experience with the idea that life is not linear, that we move forward, fall down, get up, and begin again over and over and over again.  Where in your body do you feel it?  Close your eyes and think about this idea.  Is it shortness of breath? Is it a tightening in your chest? Is it a lump in your throat?
  2. Recognize the emotions behind these feelings.  Are you scared? Angry? Disappointed? Frustrated? Tired?
  3. Stay with the emotion.  Just feel the emotion throughout your body.  This is very uncomfortable to do.  You will have a lot of thoughts come up (e.g. “It’s not fair!”, “I’m not doing it!”, “When will it be over??”).  Just observe them.
  4. Stay with step #3 until the emotion transforms.  You might go from fear to frustration.  That’s a step up.  Then you might go from frustration to disappointment.  That’s another step up.  Whatever it is, I promise you that if you close your eyes and stay with the emotion long enough, it transforms and you will feel some relief. 
  5. Identify your resources.  So now you have accepted that this is life: it is about beginning again all the time.  Identify the resources that will help you be happier.  Find your friends that have wise ways of thinking.  Take time to research online.  Do the things that will help yourself out.
  6. Take one baby step.  Almost always, moving forward in life requires us to be in action.  You guys know that I believe in taking small baby steps every day.  Take a baby step today.

Let me know how it goes!  I would love to hear from you, so please leave comments below.  If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you share it with your friends, family, and community.

Lots of love,

Judith

What to do when you fall down

I just attended the Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco and it was incredible.  The conference explores how we can connect with technology and others in a way that takes care of our mental, emotional and physical self, while also being effective at work and useful to the world.

I have many takeaways from the workshops and speakers.  Today, I want to debrief with you one of my key takeaways in the hopes that it is of service to you. 

“Nothing in life is a straight shot.  We go forward, we fall down. We pick ourselves up. We let someone pick us up. We begin again…So we are always beginning again, and beginning again, and beginning again, and beginning again.  Nothing is linear. The moment of beginning again is the moment you practice self-compassion.” Sharon Salzberg, Wisdom 2.0 2016

Sharon Salzberg is a meditation teacher who has been a leader in bringing mindfulness to the West.  She stated the above in one of the workshops I attended.  It struck a chord for two reasons:

  • One of my Stanford GSB professors made the same thing clear to me a few years ago, stating: “Judith, if you are planning on playing a big game in life realize that the decision will require you to always begin again in faster, harder environments.”
  • Sharon took it a step further and explained how whatever our aspirations, we are always going to fall down and need to begin again.  The key here is practicing self-compassion.  As she made clear: self-compassion is not weak or losing your edge. It is fierce and powerful and it is the only way you will be able to attain sustainable greatness.

What can YOU do TODAY?

  • Identify where in life you have fallen and need to “begin again”
    • Do you need to begin again in your marriage?
    • Have you fallen in your relationship with a friend, or with your children, and you need to begin again?
    • Are you scared to make a career move and begin again? Even a promotion in your current job will result in “beginning again”
  • Pick yourself up
    • Seek out the tools and resources to pick yourself up.  This is active.  Do your research.  Everybody falls, it’s whether you stay down because you do not have the self-worth to invest the time to find the resources and tools needed. You can find great tools and resources here on www.JudithDuval.com
    • Ask someone to help you stand up 
  • Take a step forward knowing that nothing is linear and you will fall again
    • The difference between creating a great, purposeful life filled with meaning?  Accepting you will fall; the alternative is to stand still, stuck where you are
  • Practice self-compassion
    • Feel the pain of falling and of having to begin again.  Realize it’s unavoidable.  Take a breath and grab your tools and resources to move forward.  Do this fiercely and with power

Let me know how it goes!  I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.  If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you share it with your friends, family, and community.

Lots of love,

Judith

“If you want anxiety, get a future.  If you want depression, get a past” Byron Katie

“If we can't tolerate our insecurity and fears, then we project them on to others”  Jack Kornfield

“Can you consistently go back to being the person you want to be, no matter what is going on?” Pete Carroll

“Everyone gets the same 24 hours. Someone doesn’t get more or less. It’s how you spend those 24 hours” Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Love without power is sentimental. Power without love is tyranny” John A. Powell

“People with a sense of self-stand out. People want to follow those with a strong sense of self” John Donahoe