It’s all about training your brain…
In 2012, my mom and I decided to enroll in a weekend workshop with Deepak Chopra in La Jolla, California.
It was just ninety-eight other people and us in a room with Deepak for four days. At the end of each session, people inundated him with requests for selfies or one-on-one time. He always said no.
On the last day of the workshop, I left a session and went to sit alone in the sunny courtyard behind the building. I was working through some painful feelings and looking for someplace to sit down and collect my thoughts.
At the height of my career, I still drank every day, and my marriage was about to end. I didn’t know it at the time, but my ego was driving everything I did.
I’d spent the last decade standing at the front of rooms, building a career telling other people what to do but never figuring out who I needed to be. That had never been more clear to me than it was sitting in that courtyard.
As I sat in the sun, I found myself sending out a last-ditch prayer out to the universe. I was filled with the knowledge that I needed to commit to transforming my life. I’m going to do it, I said to myself. This is it. I’m moving to the next level.
I had no idea what that promise meant or the amount of work it would require of me.
But the minute I finished my prayer, the back door to the courtyard opened, and out walked Deepak Chopra.
We spent a few minutes talking while he waited for his car to pick him up, and by the end of our conversation, he’d invited me to come study with him. And I said yes.
Still, just weeks after I got home from the workshop, my marriage ended. I had a complete breakdown on the deepest level of my being—filled with the darkest pain that I could ever imagine any human being having to go through. I confronted, head-on, my shadow self and began unpacking a lifetime of trauma, patterned beliefs, and destructive behaviors.
I started going to therapy and then hypnotherapy. I took a year off from work to do nothing but read. In the midst of it all, I kept reminding myself I’d made a commitment. I wasn’t stopping until I got to the other side—wherever that was.
I began learning to integrate the things I had experienced into my entire life in a healthier and nuanced way. I worked through trauma and began to feel more in alignment.
But my whole psyche had to be deconstructed and rebuilt, my limiting beliefs rewired, and my self-talk transformed. It took over six years to begin to step into that space of self-actualization—to finally let go of all the things that were limiting me.
Now, I’m not necessarily advocating for stopping right now, exactly where you are, and dismantling your entire life. (Unless, you know, that speaks to you. You know yourself best.) But if you’re interested in beginning the work of training your mind and transforming your life, there are a few things you can consider.
- Commit to one practice that incorporates ten minutes of mindfulness into your life each day.
- Start to challenge yourself to be more mindful and aware of how you are thinking. For example, as yourself: Do I generally think more positive thoughts or negative ones?
- Identify one new mindfulness resource you would like to implement into your daily or weekly routine.
As you explore the questions and challenges above, remember that repetition is one of the key ways to change a belief. You’ve got to start by picking a routine—however small, to start—and committing. I begin my day with meditation practice and time to journal. I write out affirmations, the things I’m grateful for, even mantras. (Pro tip: Writing is an excellent way to repattern beliefs because the physical act of writing fires neurons in your brain that help to create new pathways. The repetition of writing gets patterned into your brain until you can recall your new thoughts, even in moments of stress or chaos.)
Every morning I also wake up and high-five the universe. (Yep, in my pajamas and everything.) Because today, it feels like a miracle to be where I am. It is a miracle that demanded some of the most challenging work a person can do—but a miracle nonetheless.
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