#truelove #allowing #dating
“When I heard that meditation was actually a really good way to deal with the ‘voice in the head,’ for lack of a better term, I rejected it,” Harris told HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill. “I thought it was for people who collected incense, lived in a yurt, whatever. And then I heard about the science. The science is what did it for me. … The list of health benefits is almost laughably long.”
Harris’ new book, “10% Happier,” chronicles his path to discovering and adopting meditation.
Watch the rest of Dan Harris’ interview with HuffPost Live below.
My aunt was always a somewhat distant family member, but she made her presence felt nonetheless. As a child, I became a giggly mess every time a package postmarked “Sweden” arrived in the mail: a large brown box brimming with toys, transporting familial love halfway across the world. It was all a little girl could ask for. I often wondered why my aunt chose to live in Sweden, but when she visited on holidays my curiosity diminished amid her endless hugs and innocent jokes. They say that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory. Mama Mona, as I called her, smelled of hand sanitizer and suppressed pain.
About seven years ago, Mama Mona announced her decision to relocate to the states. We were overjoyed. The prodigal son would return home. She was gifted with an apartment to make her move as comfortable as possible. For several blissful months, Mama Mona participated in our lives in full force. My mother shared morning walks with her dear sister, my father engaged in philosophy with his sister-in-law, and I cooked delicious vegan dinners with my aunt. To my small but love-laden family, the reunion was a dream come true.
We patronized a Greek restaurant on the night of my birthday. Spanakopitas and dolmathakia adorned our table as red wine was poured in abundance. I raised my glass and expressed my gratitude for another year of life and for the presence of my loved ones, especially my new-found aunt. I toasted to Mama Mona, the beaming woman sitting across from me, the beautiful, blue-eyed stranger whom in reality I knew nothing about. We shared the same nose, same middle name, same obsessive love of writing. Common was our bloodline, but our destiny foreign.
Mama Mona vanished the next day. A handwritten note was left in her apartment, which she had transferred in my name unbeknownst to anyone. Her scribbles revealed that she had made a terrible mistake and could not adjust to life here. We should not attempt to contact her again, she wrote. I stepped into what was now my condo and loss suddenly dawned on me. There was the familiar scent of hand sanitizer and suppressed pain — lingering, haunting, the only traces of my aunt left behind in her frenzy to leave.
I never heard from Mama Mona again and perhaps I never will. But her fleeting presence in my life taught me how to deal with loss. I came to understand these seven profound principles of losing someone I loved:
Loss is never easy. Whether it comes suddenly or allows for time to prepare, loss is one of the most difficult elements of life. But accepting this truth and choosing to face the challenge valiantly can ease the losing burden. Loss should not be seen as a tragedy in which you are helpless, but as a bold undertaking from which you can evolve and improve.
Acceptance comes in time. Don’t expect to accept loss immediately; its reality sets in in precious time. You may not yet comprehend the reason behind your loss, but time will surely reveal it. Remember that after any loss comes a greater reward and this fact alone should set the foundation of your acceptance.
Forgive to detach. To forgive is to detach — from negative experiences and hurtful memories. Forgive whomever you’ve lost, whether your separation was on good or bad terms. Release any lingering bitterness or pent up emotions from your being so as to free yourself from the energy of the past.
Understand the other side. I’ve reflected many times on my aunt’s motives for leaving and only came to one conclusion: I would have to trust that what she wrote in her note was the truth. Considering the true intentions of the other side helps you gain a deeper understanding of your loss overall. It also reminds you not to take so personally the actions of others. Put aside your emotions and place yourself in the other person’s shoes for just a moment.
Seek a final note of closure. Seeking a final note of closure grants peace of mind. Do your part by attempting one last communication, whether it’s by sending a quick note or simply wishing someone well on their journey. After you’ve exerted a final bout of energy, turn in a new direction knowing you did what you could.
Don’t regret anything. We tend to carry the burden of loss on our shoulders. But in doing so we worsen our struggle: regret adds to the magnitude of loss because it evokes self-blame. When we disassociate ourselves from the “what ifs,” we can cut our ties to painful past experiences. Breathe deeply and reassure yourself that nothing was your fault. Exhale slowly and shun the pressure of regret from your mind and body.
Don’t push the will of the universe. We naturally want to regain the things or people we’ve lost. But there’s a fine line between doing your part and pushing fate. And there is greater value in doing less versus too much. If you feel you’ve already done everything to prevent your loss, retreat to a place of inactivity and let the universe work its rounds. If it’s towards your higher good, what was lost will be returned to you. Have the wisdom to accept the things you can’t control so that they can’t control you.
An inevitable function of life, loss never comes easy. But if we can decipher its grand purpose and forgive anyone who has hurt us, we can conquer loss and come to see the hidden gain gleaming through it.
To Mama Mona,
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It all began one morning while driving to my favorite coffee place in town. While I usually make coffee at home, every couple of days I treat myself to a stronger brew that I didn’t make myself. To get to this spot during the morning hours, one has to deal with rush hour traffic — something I don’t normally have to contend with since I work from home. Adding to the journey is an awkward (yet legal) left hand turn into this local coffee place’s parking lot.
On a recent outing, as I waited in my car to make my turn, I noticed an older man and woman walking across the driveway entrance. Thus, I waited to turn, even though there was no oncoming traffic.
“Look at me,” I thought to myself, “Being nice to the walkers.” (Sure, the law dictates that pedestrians have the right of way, but I was still mentally applauding myself.)
Only it turns out that the man was taking his sweet time walking across the driveway entrance. And we’re talking about a short distance here. Minute turned into minutes turned into… Well, more minutes.
Don’t worry. I didn’t honk or do anything crass like that. But I did have a little passive aggressive hissy fit in the confines of my brain, wondering why the man was lollygagging and/or why he just didn’t check to see if a car needed to enter the parking lot and wait if he was going to be so slow about walking across (and therefore blocking) the entrance.
After what seemed like an eternity (one song had ended and another had started on my car stereo — a true mark of time passage if ever there was one), the man finally made it across, which allowed me to make the turn (after some oncoming traffic went by). No big deal, right? Except that once in line at said coffee place, I happened to start talking to the woman who was with the man.
This wasn’t my choice. I saw them both in line in front of me, recognizing them from what would forever be known as “The Great Slow Walking Incident of 2014” and thus I judged them harshly in my brain. After all, they’d robbed me of 2 to 3 minutes of turn time.
(Yes, I know I’m being ridiculous here… But please, stick with me!)
After the man left the line to get a table, the woman turned around and offered me a smile. What could I do but smile back? And after that, a conversation ensued (how dare she!). During the course of what turned out to be a surprisingly nice discussion, the fact that my dog, Latte, is a trained therapy dog came up. At which point the woman started raving about therapy dogs and how much they had helped her husband who had just gone through a series of surgeries and lengthy hospital stays.
Universe. Slapping. Me. (In a gentle, nudge-like fashion.)
Yeah, Gregg… This man had taken a longer than usual time period to walk across the parking lot entrance. And what a celebration that may be have been for him (and his wife). After several surgeries and multiple hospital stays, he was up and walking — and even enjoying a sunshine-y day while out for coffee with his spouse.
And yet, when in my car, observing all this, I made it all about me.
I’m tempted to shame myself here. But we all know (or at least are hopefully learning) that shame doesn’t do much to encourage change. So instead, I’m admitting my ridiculous response to what I thought was dilly-dallying man and celebrating the fact that I was not only able to learn why he was “walking slow” (by my silly standards), but also that his situation offered cause for happiness… Not just in regard to his health and his wife’s appreciation for it, but also for my own mental health and inner joy.
It’s often when caught up in life’s to-do list (or quest for a stronger cup of coffee) that we can also get caught up in our own mental interpretation of what’s going on in the world around us — and then make it all about us, when in fact, it has nothing to do with us. And if we would instead take a moment to breathe and observe, we just might learn something and/or find a reason to count our (and others’) life blessing(s).
I probably don’t have to tell you that my coffee tasted even more delicious that day. And that now when I see someone doing something that I don’t understand, I do my best to stop myself from decoding what they’re agenda is and lamenting about how it’s affecting me. Instead, I think of this older gentleman and his wife and send out a nonverbal thanks to them. Not only for the valuable reminder, but also for not being as caught up in their own mental drama (as I had been) so that they were able to unknowingly share a valuable life lesson/reminder with me, the guy who really needed to slow down that day.