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There Is Beauty In The Dips

There Is Beauty In The Dips

In his book, The Code of The Extraordinary Mind Vishen Lakhiani writes, “There is beauty in the dips.” And when you can see the beauty, miracles will follow.

In 2018 I faced many dips. Maybe more accurately described as periods of plummeting into deep ravines that seemed to have no end or bottom to speak of.

January 24, 2018 started off like most days. Getting the kids up and out the door for school, planning their after-school activities with my husband, figuring out who would drive each of them where they needed to go, and hopping on various conference calls and running my business.

I had left the hustle lifestyle behind roughly two years before and finally been able to live fully present each day despite the seemingly hectic schedule. Busy? Yes. Frantic? Not any more.

But as the morning progressed, I noticed something strange happening. As I was engaging in various conversations, I kept losing my train of thought. My mind would go blank for a moment and I had little recollection of what was previously said. This was unlike me. I remember feeling embarrassed about it. I kept having to ask my team and even clients on my calls if they could please remind me what I was saying so I could pick up the conversation where it had left off.

I chalked it up to a lack of sleep the night before, maybe not enough food. I was in the middle of a three-day green smoothie cleanse, and thought it could be low blood sugar. So I muscled my way through the day, like any sane person in total denial.

Standard family logistics were at play: my husband Mike was going to grab our older daughter from school while I was finishing up a call, we’d meet at the commuter parking lot in town for the handoff, as per usual. I would then drive her 45 minutes to her dance class down the busy interstate while Mike went home to get our younger daughter off the bus from Kindergarten.

I remember gathering my things and grabbing my daughter's black nylon dance bag. I remember climbing in the car and driving down the back roads through our small town towards the commuter lot. I remember looking at the cup holder to make sure I had both my green smoothie and my daughter's water bottle. That’s the last thing I remember before everything went dark.

When I finally came to, I was laying in the back of an ambulance. The EMT’s began asking me all sorts of questions: Did I know my name? What day was it? In my mind, I had all the answers. But speaking them was an impossibility. When I moved my lips, nothing but gibberish came out. Something was lost or broken. Why couldn’t I talk? What the hell had happened to me?

The paramedics began to unravel the mystery. They told me I’d been unconscious for nearly 30 minutes. A half an hour. They’d been called to the scene when a passerby dialed 911, only to find me unresponsive in the driver's seat, after crashing my car head first into an oak tree. I had so many questions: How did this happen? Why did this happen? And again, nothing came out of my mouth but disjointed letters and sounds, all of which bounced off the inside of the ambulance.

My husband had called my phone, which was politely answered by one of the paramedics. He and my daughter soon raced to the scene. I vaguely remember them climbing into the back of the ambulance to hug me and kiss me, though I was still not able to speak coherently. Soon after, I was taken away to Yale New Haven Hospital where I would stay for the next four days undergoing intensive testing to uncover the mystery of what happened.

One test I remember quite vividly. The team of neurologists placed EEG nodules on my brain and hooked me up to something that resembled a small time machine. The team huddled as the machine started spitting out brain wave activity. Finally, one of them calmly said that they needed me to remain hooked up to the EEG overnight, but couldn’t say why. Why is this happening to me? What is happening to me?

Exhausted and still in recovery mode, I slept most of the day and through the night, despite the frequent visits from the nursing staff. Finally, the next day, I was told the team of neurologists would be coming to discuss their findings. And so later that morning roughly seven neurologists formed a half circle around my bed. I knew what was to come next would not be good news.

“We’re sorry, Megan. You have been diagnosed with epilepsy. On the day of your car crash, you suffered a major seizure which caused you to lose consciousness and resulted in subsequent confusion and your temporary inability to speak. We know this is a lot to handle right now so we will let you digest this news and will be back to create a plan.”

An adult diagnosis of epilepsy is quite uncommon. Most often, epilepsy is diagnosed in children and young adults and they learn how to manage their seizures from a young age and adapt accordingly. As a 41-year-old otherwise healthy female, the news of a severe epileptic seizure and the implications of the diagnosis threw everyone for a loop. Though the real truth is that my diagnosis was just the beginning of my journey.

First, my license was immediately suspended. Understandable. That said, as a mother of two busy kiddos with a demanding work/life schedule darting all around, not being able to drive had incredible consequences. Luckily for us at the time, my husband worked mostly from home and was able to do the majority of the driving. But eventually, we enlisted the help of friends, family, and even hired a private driver to help. I was initially told that it would take between three and six months before my license would be reinstated. Okay, not bad I thought. I’ll be driving again by Spring.

Then Spring came and went, and so did Summer. Fall arrived and turned into Winter, and the calendar then changed years.

I have had several more EEG tests during the past 12 months. It turns out that choosing the right epilepsy medicine to treat each patient’s seizures is very unique to each individual and often takes many tries before doctors can get it right. This has been the case with me.

In the fall of 2018 I was placed on a new kind of medicine and after a few weeks of letting my body adjust, another EEG test was performed. And a few days later, my neurologist called to deliver the news: I was finally seizure free—the new medicine was working beautifully! After I hung up the phone, I wept quietly by myself. I sat and reflected on the past year.

Rather than focusing on the couldn’ts and didn’ts and unable to’s, of which there were plenty, a flood of appreciation began to flow through me. Immense feelings of gratitude for what the past year has meant enveloped me. And the tidal wave of love for family and friends, and their unwavering support filled every cell of my being. Miracle after miracle began to show itself to me.

At the time of this accident and subsequent diagnoses, my father, who had been ill with cancer for quite some time, took a turn for the worse. Unable to drive myself, friends and family hauled me to my father’s bedside, one hour each way, so I could sit with him until his last breath, almost one month to the day after my accident.

My doctor visits were plentiful and my kids had their usual business of activities and play dates with friends. Again, friends and family were there to help us every day. Neighbors, parents of our children’s friends, my husband, my newly widowed mother, the faces of each and every person who quite literally lifted us up each day to be sure everyone got to and from where we needed to be flashed on the screen of my consciousness as I wept in a flow of gratitude for each of them.

And in classic fashion, I decided to end the year with a bang! As a family, we’ve decided to relocate and press the reset button. My husband has reclaimed his freedom and taken advantage of an incredible career opportunity that was presented to him nearly 1500 miles away. This windfall of goodness also came with a handful of challenges: namely single parenting without a license, with a husband who is 1500 miles away.

Once again, friends and family have risen to the occasion.

My children have been resilient and patient. Their inner spirits and light shining so bright that it leaves me breathless. They witnessed their mom’s car crash and endured the impact of my epilepsy. They lost their beloved “Pa,” with whom they have unbreakable bonds. They watched from behind isolation glass as I was again hospitalized for two weeks in April due to a near-fatal bacterial infection that took over my intestines and caused sepsis. Then their dad moves to a new state while they finish out the school year. They have handled these challenges with grace and elegance and have become such an inspiration to me in so many ways, as has my devoted husband, who has literally been the glue holding our family together through all of this.

And though I am still not able to drive, I can see the light. My neurologist has cleared me to get my license and submitted my records to the medical board at DMV for review. Now it is no longer a matter of if, but when.

In reflecting on the dips of this past year three things are crystal clear to me:

  1. Meditation is like magic. Had I not been a regular meditator prior to these experiences, these dips would have turned disastrous and completely derailed me.
  2. Being grateful for the present while simultaneously having massive visions for the future is one of the secrets of true and lasting happiness. Most people are good at one. Few are great at both.
  3. Children are more resilient than most of us realize. They are so much closer to God, Source, and the Universe than we know. Often our biggest life lessons come by being silent, joyful witnesses to children.

Vishen is so right. There really is beauty in the dips. Dips are a part of life. But knowing what to do when the shift hits the fan is what matters most. Miracles will follow. You just have to be willing to look for them…

Megan xx

 

3 Steps to Living a Purpose-Filled Life

3 Steps to Living a Purpose-Filled Life

For most of my life, I lived in darkness. I lived a life void of purpose and meaning. I chased outward success and thought that material possessions and achievements would bring me the life of happiness and joy I craved.

But I was wrong.

As the recipient of horrific bullying in middle school, I lost nearly all of my self-worth. My confidence had been so badly bruised and I thought that the only way to regain self-esteem was by attaining outward material success. And that is how I lived my life for two and a half decades.

I was out to prove the bullies wrong, that I was not the loser they said I was, and thought material possessions would be proof of my success, thus restoring my self-worth that had been stripped away from me years earlier.

The problem with this though was that I defined my existence through the eyes of the ego, as so many people tend to do.

And when we look at life through the lens of the ego, we measure our value from three pivotal viewpoints. First, what we have. Second, what we do. Third, what other people say about us.

The ego loves labels. And we fall victim to believing these definitions and living our life according to them. This inevitably leads to a life void of purpose and meaning. In fact, this will prevent us from ever discovering our true life’s calling 100% of the time.

For most of my life, that’s exactly what I did. I lived my life according to these definitions and labels. The problem was that each time I succeeded by material standards, I was left feeling even worse than before. My successes came and went. They were always fleeting because success gained on the competitive plane of existence is rarely, if ever,  permanent.

My life lacked meaning and purpose. It lacked pure joy. It lacked time with those I love.

And I reached a point where I just knew there had to be more to life than this. As a result, I started out on a quest to find out who I truly was and what I was put on this earth to do. I started questioning my very existence and in the process discovered many truths that were previously lying dormant in my soul.

See, I spent my whole life trying to BE ACCOMPLISHED until I decided to BE FREE.

What I discovered is that each of us comes into this life with a purpose, a dharma, and it is up to us to find out what that dharma is.

It is up to us to find out what we signed up for when we came into this human life. All too often people get sidetracked. They get stuck living a life they don’t love void of meaning and purpose. And then it’s too late.

Imagine if tomorrow was your last day on earth.  Could you comfortably say that you fulfilled your destiny? Or would you be filled with regret that you never did or accomplished what you really wanted to – what they knew you could do, what you know you were meant to do?

In her book entitled, “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying,” palliative care nurse, Bronnie Ware,  interviewed her patients who were on their deathbed, literally, and asked them if they had any regrets.

The number one regret that most people had time and time again was not living up to their full potential and following their dreams.

And this is what “Don’t die with your music still inside of you” means, and that’s why living a purpose-filled life is so important

But what if you don’t know what your dharma is? How do you find out? Where do you being?

I have identified a three-step process to discovering your dharma and living a purpose-filled life.

Step 1: Turn Inward

To begin, you must first turn inward and connect to your true essence.

Discovering your dharma is an inward process. It must come to you rather than you going and finding it somewhere else, somewhere outside of yourself. The best way I know how to do this is to meditate. You must quiet the chit-chat of your own inner dialogue and let Spirit, Source Energy, the Divine, speak TO you.

When you listen to the Universe you will always be led in the right direction. It’s when we think we are smarter than Spirit that we run into problems. And when we meditate, transcend to Source, and allow Source to speak to us, many of our questions are answered.

Step 2:  Surrender

Second, you must surrender to the care of the Universe and let the Universe lead the way. In doing so you can feel confident knowing the answer will come to you.

“If you knew. If you knew who walked beside you at all times on this path that you have chosen, you could never experience doubt or fear again” says a Course in Miracles.

So be gentle about it. Don’t try to force it. Be gentle with yourself and let go and surrender.

Step 3: Enjoy the journey!

It’s all part of your Divine plan and the journey can be just as fun as the actual discovery itself if you allow it to be.

Remember the wise words of Buddha who said, “Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”

The Subtle-Yet Critical Distinction-Between Gratitude and Appreciation

The Subtle-Yet Critical Distinction-Between Gratitude and Appreciation

Gratitude. It’s a word we hear a lot these days. In most personal development teachings, we talk about gratitude and the incredible power that gratitude harnesses. In my book, Give A Shift: 10 Simple Steps To An Abundant Life, I devote an entire chapter to gratitude.

In this chapter, I go to great lengths to distinguish what I call “convenient gratitude” from “deliberate gratitude.” Convenient gratitude, I argue, is when people wait for major milestones in their lives before they stop and show their gratitude for what has happened. A new job. A new home. A new baby. A new relationship. You get the idea. These are the things that cause people to pause and recognize the wonderful blessings that have been bestowed on them.

This, I write, is in contrast to deliberate gratitude. Deliberate gratitude is training your brain to be grateful for the seemingly small things that we experience in our lives each and every day. These are not things that happen to us, but rather things around us. The miracles that surround us every day. The feel of the warm sun on our face after a long winter. The blossoming of the flowers. The magic of a sunset. The miracle of reproductionfrom plants to animals to people. And on and on.

When we stop and show gratitude for these miracles, more of them tend to show up in our lives. And the more we show gratitude, the higher we are able to raise our vibration and come into alignment with Source Energy.

As it turns out, this is only part of the story.

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend my first Abraham-Hicks workshop. It was more powerful than I could ever have imagined!

Not surprisingly, the idea of gratitude came up. But not in the way I thought it would.

Abraham said that most people approach gratitude from the standpoint of acknowledging what was previously missing from their lives. From this standpoint, they are putting themselves in a negative vibration. Wow! I had never even considered that. This type of gratitude is, in fact, similar to what I call convenient gratitude; the “getting” of things previously missing from one’s life. But I had never considered this a bad thing, but rather just not the only thing.

Abraham continued to explain that not only does this type of gratitude focus on what was or is missing and causing a negative vibration but that this negative vibration will only keep more wonderful things from happening – the exact opposite of what most people think would happen by showing gratitude in these situations, myself included!

Furthermore, Abraham said that gratitude in this nature is usually based in resentment. Resentment! I was trying to wrap my head around what Abraham was saying. Yes, I agree that this kind of gratitude isn’t the best, but mostly because opportunities to express gratitude in this sense are typically few and far between, not because the basis of it was resentment!

I needed to stop and think about this some more. And when I did, it all made perfect sense.

What Abraham was saying was that when we finally show gratitude like this, what we are really saying is, “I was waiting for this to happen because I wasn’t really happy without it.” Bingo. There’s the resentment. And with resentment comes the negative vibration. With the resentment comes more things to be resentful for, as the universal law dictates. You attract the very things that match your vibration. Negative vibration, negative experiences.

Instead of using the term gratitude, Abraham suggests we use the word appreciation or satisfaction.

When you show your appreciation for someone or something, it is not based on the prior absence of it. Rather, it is based in the true sincere recognition and enjoyment of it. And this stance is only one of positivity. And this, in turn, raises your vibration and brings your vibration in harmony with your Source thus attracting to you more things to be appreciative for!

I suppose this viewpoint is more in line with what I refer to as deliberate gratitude, but I still feel there is a subtle yet important distinction. Appreciation has a more positive sound to me. It just feels better. It feels more natural. Deliberate gratitude almost feels like work, not at all what I had intended.

Thank you, Abraham, for this critical clarification. I sincerely appreciate it!