In this guided meditation, Dr. Kate Truitt helps us connect with our inner motivation to create actionable change. After welcoming in the havening touch and soothing breath, Dr. Kate asks us to look back and find a time where we experienced purpose and motivation. It doesn’t have to be anything large; it could be as simple as acquiring a favorite food.
Once we have established that moment, Dr Kate invites us to bring it front and center and to recognize this energy. Is there a feeling, a color, or any identifiable feature this energy has? She then leads us to lean into this energy and have it sink into our being. This energy has always been within us, and Dr Kate reminds us that we can build a great, enriching relationship with it.
Making gratitude a daily habit is proven to reduce stress. Adding in the superpower of mindfulness can literally change the way your brain experiences the world. Mindfulness allows you to pay attention in a certain way, allowing everything in your life to be different from anyone else’s. Mindfulness brings unique awareness to your experiences. It can be used in your sensory experiences as well as your thoughts and emotions, allowing you to notice those experiences without overreacting to them. Join Dr. Kate and Rebecca Turner, LMFT, in this video to learn more and find easy ways to integrate mindful gratitude into your daily life.
By Dr. Kate Truitt
The new year is upon us—the time where we traditionally do a review of the previous year. We will do some of that in this article, but the primary focus will be on what is in store for you in the coming year—the opportunities that await you.
In this blog I write much about Amy, the amygdala of our brains, who we love as our protector, and how she can love us back a little too much and can negatively impact our lives. Still, it is critical that we take care of her.
As you reflect on your year, take a moment to consider those difficult moments that may still be lingering in our mind and causing some disruption. I’d like to invite you to notice three different things that your amygdala did in this past year in her endeavor to keep you safe. These are often experiences that afterward prompted you to think something like: Why did I behave the way I did?
Once you have found those three things, write them down. Now, keeping in mind that these things happened—they are in the past—let’s identify at least one success in each of those difficult moments. Here’s the thing, that moment has passed. You are here now. That means that a success is already inherent in the experience that you got through it. But let’s go a little deeper. In every situation or experience, whether you consider it “good” or “bad,” there is some bit of success you can pull from it.
As always, remember that when I ask people to consider past events I am asking them to turn to the past to learn, not to return. This is why, as we are on this journey and looking back over this latest year, it is important to lean into those moments with curiosity, even the messy ones. Find the opportunities in the hard moments and embrace the notion that there was success in each one of them. The proof that there was success in there somewhere is that you are here in the present, still on your journey and every moment that came before has contributed something to that.
Something we can learn from. Something that can guide us. We’re looking for those little diamonds in the coal. They are always there waiting to be found. Pressure creates diamonds—just dig a little and you will find them.
Now that you’ve found your opportunities in the darker spaces of 2021, let’s shake up our New Year’s plan for 2022. Instead of the regular New Year’s tradition of setting “goals” as I addressed in this blog at this time last year, I would like you to identify three opportunities going forward. The great thing about opportunities is that they can be something on the horizon that you have been striving toward for a long time. For example, I will have a book coming out, and it’s something I put a lot of work into over this past year and a lot of thought into for several years.
An opportunity can be found in something that is difficult. Finding it requires that you pose that challenging thing to yourself as an opportunity. Once you do that, your brain immediately reframes that experience and what you expect from it. It might be something that is two months, three months, or six months in the future, but as soon as you start the reframing process, everything your brain, including your amygdala, does in relation with that experience starts to shift. That thing that might have been hard or scary is reframed into the context of opportunity.
So, find three things that are new, different, or challenging on the horizon for you and write them down. Then consider the following: How are you going to be in relationship with those three opportunities so that as you navigate them you become wiser, stronger, and more empowered than ever before?
Sometimes the opportunity can be as simple as saying, “I am going to weather that storm when it comes without being reactive, and just listen to what my brain and body are telling me when I begin to feel nervous or scared or worried.”
The following is a guided exercise to invite your mind to open up and be come expansive around all of the opportunities ahead of you, and to help you if you still need to do some healing from this year.
I’d like you to invite you, as always, to begin with the soothing self-havening touch. (If you have not practiced this before, please see this brief video, titled, “Building a Self-Havening Practice for Self-Care and Empowered Healing” as an introduction to the techniques.)
Start with a soothing, loving moving hug with your arms, or palm against palm as if you are washing your hands under warm water, or alternate with gently rubbing your fingertips across your brow or around your eyes. Keep the self-havening going as you move through this exercise.
Then I’d like you to notice whether you have already set some intentions for going forward into the new year. If you have, just visit them briefly in your mind. If you haven’t, that’s fine because we are going to set a different type of intention.
If you did set those intentions I would like you to explore what type of energy you will need to travel alongside you to help bring those experiences to life.
For those of you who are currently without any concrete intentions, consider what type of energy you would like to have journey alongside you in the year ahead.
We have the power to sculpt the brain we want. As we sculpt that brain we create the energy and the feeling states we want more of in every moment. So, let’s find the feeling states that you want more of as we move into this new year, and that will support you in whatever journey you are currently on.
Perhaps for you it is a greater sense of calm or contentedness. Maybe greater energy and motivation. Perhaps even inspiration and purpose. Whatever it might be, find what that energy is for you now.
Once you have that desired state, I invite you to bring it into the present moment, and notice: Does this state of being have a color or perhaps many colors? What would the color or colors be? A vibrant citrus? Bright yellow? A soothing, calm blue? What does your energetic state look like?
At this point welcome in a gentle breath, imagining that you are inviting that color into you, and notice: Does your energy have a smell? Perhaps peppermint? Maybe wet grass after a soaking rain? Perhaps salty sea air or even soothing lavender? What is the scent of your energetic state?
As you are breathing in that air deep into your belly, and letting it expand, notice where that energy is connected in your mind and your body. Does it have a home within you? Is there somewhere you would like it to make a home so it could come visit? Perhaps it might live in your heart or your core. Maybe it is a strength in your back, or the energy of your shoulders dropping down as you lift your head. What does that energy feel like when it is in relationship with your body?
At this point invite in a little curiosity, and ask yourself, What if ____? and complete that sentence with your chosen state. What if I was energized? What if I was inspired? What if I was creative? What if I was calm? Whatever your preferred state might be.
Just chew on that What if possibility and notice where that energy lives in your body. What if I was? What if I could be? What if I am? Try out all of the what if’s, inviting that energy to deepen and connect more fully with your very beingness.
Then breathe in that wonderful scent of your chosen energy again, inviting it to expand, then notice: Can I be? And then as the tiniest bit of you starts to embody this energy, what would your posture look like if you started moving into a state of I can be with this experience of what is awaiting you in this beautiful new year ahead? I can be calm. I can be energized. I can be creative. I can be motivated. Inviting your mind to explore the I can be. Embodying that position when you’re in that state.
What does it feel like breathing in that sense, welcoming it into that home that is you?
If it feels comfortable you can even move into I will be_______. Deepen that relationship, and even to I am, if it is starting to feel real and present and right—right here and right now. And if it still feels like a possibility, just imagine planting the seeds of What if? letting your brain and body know what you want.
Wherever you are in your journey with this energetic state, revisit it, grow with it, and expand upon it. Every time you revisit that color or scent, or you invite your body to reconnect with that experience you’re deepening your brain’s relationship with it and reminding your brain and your body that you want this to matter.
So, visit it plenty, even daily, and invite it to become a part of your world. And guess what? It will be.
Happy New Year!