I want to talk to you guys a little bit about, kind of, an embarrassing thing that happened this week to me, and how that has to do with my mental health, and I’m sure a bunch of you can relate to this.
So let me tell you guys what happened to me this week. So it’s Memorial Day weekend, as you guys know, and my original plan was to…. I had booked myself on a three day meditation retreat, and the meditation retreat, it was a Vipassanā style mediation, and if you don’t know what Vipassanā is, or at least the original Vipassanā meditation comes from India.
And so this comes from India, and it’s a style of meditation where you basically tune into the center experiences in your body and scan your body all day long, and it’s a very intense meditation program. So you meditate from 4:00 in the morning until about 9:30 at night, pretty consistently through the whole day. You only have one meal the whole day, so you’re really cleansing your body. You’re really cleansing your mind. You’re meditating for like 14 hours, and you’re not allowed to do anything else.
So you’re not allowed to, for example, write anything down, you’re not allowed to run around, you’re not allowed to exercise, you’re not allowed to take pictures, you’re not allowed to use your computer, you’re not allowed to have your phone.
So, I booked this meditation, and I’ve gone on several Vipassanā meditations before, and I really enjoyed the depth of those experiences, because when you mediate for so many hours, and you don’t have anything else coming into your system, you can get kind of really deep internally, and so I typically love these kinds of meditation experiences. I tend to do them at least twice a year, but this year, so I booked this meditation retreat for myself, and then, just like as this weekend was coming close, I was starting to…
I was starting to feel like I didn’t want to go, or like I was starting to feel some resistance in my body, and so one of the things I teach, of course, about mental health is that you have to pause and listen to your body. If you’re feeling resistance, try to understand that or hear that. So I tuned in, and I was like, “Okay, I’m feeling some resistance in my heart around going on this retreat. Why?”
And so, when I was listening to it, it was really clear that what I felt a longing for and a need for was human connection, was really spending time, like good quality time, with people I really, really love in my life, and that this meditation retreat was not really going to serve that this weekend. So I chose to honor that, right? And I chose to back out of the retreat, and just kind of stay here.
But the important part of that story is not just, okay, I listened to my body and kind of heard what I needed and decided to honor that, but the important part is actually the larger conversation around this kind of get away. And so, for me, it was a meditation retreat, but a lot of us, right, we often can’t wait until Friday, so we can kind of run away from our lives in some way. Right?
And, sometimes, there’s certainly an awesome vacation that’s coming up, or really cool fun plans that we have, and those are exciting, but it’s usually, and often, coupled with the sense of, I need to run away from my life, my real life, in order to escape or find peace or find happiness or find love. And I think that, whenever that’s the… And that’s what I was doing in that meditation retreat. When I had booked it, it was at a time in my life where I was really stressed, and I was really overwhelmed, and felt like I was having no connection with nature, and all that kind of stuff, and so I booked this intense retreat where I would just be meditating all day, always, and it was an escape from my life. Rather than being something that was going to really help me, it was really trying to run away from my life, and I think that lot of us get into this mentality.
We compartmentalize our lives from what we want, what we do during the week, which is just a job, or just work, or just paying the bills, and that’s even, for many of us, true for, even if we got into this job and we love it, or we originally liked it, it’s still like it’s too many hours, or it’s too taxing, or things like that. So we get into it from this perspective of saying, “I need to now,” and then Friday comes, it’s, “I need to run away from my life.”
And a lot of people think that’s self care, like that’s self love, and it’s like having these places of refuge, that you can run away from you own life, and from your problems, and from your issues, so that you can be a little more peaceful and a little more happy. And I think that is one of the biggest errors in self care and in wellness and in mental health that people are making, and because the opposite of anxiety and depression and sadness and overwhelm is not happiness. It’s connection. Think about it.
If you’re deeply connected to your heart, if you’re deeply connected to nature and beauty and things that bring you joy, if you’re deeply connected to people that you love, if you’re deeply connected to purpose and mission, anxiety and depression are things that just fall away naturally. Right? Any mental health issue, just overwhelm, stress, all those things, they fall away naturally. But if you’re there, and you’re running away from you life, you’re not really connecting to either the vacation or your daily life. You’re just running away. So the question to ask yourself consistently, I think, when you have these plans…
So the question to be asking yourself about your weekends is, is this a refuge? Or is this a resource? And so, for me, the meditation retreat that I was going to be going on, it was a refuge. It was a way for me to run away from my life, and that was never really going to heal my mental health because, number one, it reinforced this idea that I can’t handle my life, that my life can’t be that fulfilling, or that restorative, or that good. Right? And, number two, it creates this dread of returning, right, this sense of having these compartments of my life, of these weekends that I love, and my daily hustle, that I can’t tolerate, or that I don’t love, or that doesn’t work or me. Right?
And so, if you find yourself to be running away from your life, to constantly be looking for a refuge, and again, sometimes that’s an actually vacation plan, like a weekend plan. Sometimes that’s refuge in alcohol or refuge in any kind of drug or in Netflix. It’s a refuge, meaning your going to that place in order to escape your actual reality and your lived experience of your regular “life”, then that refuge is not going to support your healing because you’re just running away, and it’s just teaching you that you can’t handle it, teaching you to be afraid, teaching you to run away from you life as it is.
But if it’s a resource, if you’re going to have a weekend plan that’s going to be a resource to your current life. So, for example, I decided that, this weekend, I actually really just wanted to see few friends, because I felt like I really wanted to discuss some of the cool things that are happening in my life, and hear from them on their really cool life updates, and just get some more of that quality time, and I know that’s going to help fill my heart and support me to be even more present in my week. Then, that’s a resource, and that’s what you should be doing for your weekend, because that will help restore your mental health.
But if you’re treating anything as an I need to run away from my life in order to feel better, then you’re actually exacerbating your pain long-term, because you’re not finding long-term solutions. You’re just running into short-term options. So how can you, therefore? And this is what I started asking myself. I said, “Okay, well, how can I make every weekend a weekend about healing?” Even if it means, like if I’m not running away, if I don’t have a beach house in the Hamptons, or if I can’t take out flights to the Bahamas, or if I can’t run away to a refuge, if I want every weekend to be a resource to my overall wellbeing, and to really have connection to my regular life, not be an escape from it, how can I do that? What can I use for my weekend?
And the answer to that is connection. And so, what I mean by that is, use this weekend to more richly connect to the life that I have right now. So, for example, what is my life in general? I always really want to be this very energetic and healthy person, and I’ve been feeling taxed. I’ve been feeling not as energized. Right? So what would it mean? It would mean I would go and…
It would mean I would go and spend this weekend, rather than just like trying to disappear onto a beach somewhere in order to get my relaxation, it means I would go, and go to a grocery store or farmers market with like really, really fresh herbs and fresh things, and spend an entire day just cooking one delicious meal, and maybe save it for the week. That would be my way of connecting to myself, to my food, to my life, in a way that supports me during my week. That’s the way my activities are this week. Yes, they’re slow and relaxing and restorative, but they’re a resource for my “regular, normal life,” not a refuge, not a runaway, not an escape.
Similarly, during the week, if I’m feeling taxed and overspent and anxious and depressed or whatever, I think, “Okay, well what is this?” This means I’m not connecting. I don’t feel loved enough, I don’t feel like a flowing deep connection with my friends. Right? So I can use this weekend as a way to connect deeply with my friends, so that way, during the week, I can use those stories or those experiences as reminders of how joyful I am, as juice in my system. Right? And I can text them during the week, “Remember, over the weekend, we were talking about my stupid boss? Well, he’s still being stupid, and now he’s doing this, and I need your help with this.” Right?
So weaving those weekend moments, those times when we get to step out of our lives a little bit, into being a resource in our daily lives, and the actual here and now, rather than running away from your life.
The anecdote to all mental health issues is always connection. More connection. Connection to your heart, connection to your people, connection to your land, connection to your values. The answer is consistently connection, and so if you’re running away from your life, that is, as a rule, that is not connection. That is the opposite of connection, and so you have to choose to say, “How can I connect more deeply to my life through this weekend, through this Memorial Day weekend?” Right? “How can I use this weekend as a way to be more wholehearted overall in my life, rather than run away from it?”
And so I just wanted to kind of really give you that insight, and it’s something I had to relearn myself this weekend. When I saw that I was going on this meditation retreat to run away from what I had to feel and experience and see here, I knew I was doing something wrong in my life here, right, in my day to day here, and so I chose to look at my life and say, “How can I work on that?” But also, “How can use this weekend as a resource so I can be more full hearted in my day to day next week,” rather than wishing I was back on vacation somewhere?
So I hope this was helpful to you guys. Send me a message or shoot me a comment if you have any questions or thoughts. I love hearing from you guys, and I will see you again next Friday, namaste, and a happy weekend.
This happens for me all the time. One of my biggest fears has been around being honest with one of my particular family members who just drives me crazy, but I really want to have a more authentic relationship. I always get nervous when I’m about to talk to this person, “Are they going to reject me? Are they going to be defensive? Are they going to yell at me? Are they going to accept whatever?” I can feel the tightness with which I go into that situation.
What I have done or what I do before that is I first imagine it all in my head, me going in, being rejected by this person, them not accepting my vulnerability, them not warming up to my desire for connection with them, and me just being able to laugh and love myself through it and dance and shimmy every time they say something weird. I mean, that’s my energetic expression of joy and love, but what’s yours? How do you move when you’re in joy, when you’re in love, when you’re in happiness? If you can change, once again, the emotional experience of the physical outcome, then you overcome the fear because you’re not scared of the outcome, you’re scared of the feelings itself, and guess what, we can work with and transform our feelings.
You are a superhuman. You don’t have to be scared of anything. All you have to do is ask yourself the question, “What am I unwilling to fear here in this fear? The rejection, the loneliness.” Then go in. Be with that feeling, that experience and being rejected or being lonely or being broke or being whatever, go into that and change the way you think about it and change the way you physically relate to it, and a new neural pathway starts that allows you start relating to this experience completely different. That is the definition of freedom, to be able to work with your own mind and body so you choose how you relate to people and to things and to places, and therefore, you choose how you show up to and feel everywhere you go in life, and you never have to be hijacked by fear or anxiety again. Awesome, awesome, awesome stuff.
If you guys want more of where these amazing tools come from, obviously, this is just a 15-minute live, but I would love to share with you guys my really, really in-depth technique. I do have a free training on the process of really moving your life from fear to freedom, and I’m going to put the link in the comments below as soon as I end this live. Thank you for sharing all of your vulnerability and fears with me today, and we will move past them together. Namaste. I’ll see you guys next week. Lots of love.
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