5 Tips for Meditating On-The-Go

I was dragged to my first-ever meditation class against my will. Sure, I had heard of this mind quieting madness, but I just felt it would be an impossible feat.

We were given simple instructions: sit on your mat, close your eyes for 30 minutes, disregard your thoughts, and focus on your breath. That was it.

I sat there, eyes closed, rebelliously thinking (because I wasn’t supposed to be thinking), “Who has 30 minutes a day to sit in silence?” The thought actually stressed me out, which defeated the purpose.

Despite my negative outlook, I did understand that my mind needed a break. The reason we feel stressed, unclear, and in a hurry most of the time is because we haven’t learned to tame our thoughts. When it comes to feeling clear and living an intentional life, meditation is the game changer. My regular practice of sitting quietly is the foundation of my relationship with myself.

Most recently I’ve found myself with a busy travel schedule due to my business growing. And guess what was the first thing to fly out the window? My morning ritual, which includes time for meditation. Funny enough, when we’re busiest is when we need meditation the most. We need clarity and a strong sense of purpose to make intentional decisions for ourselves. And that can only come from knowing ourselves, which is a result of observing what is going on internally. Yep, meditation will get you there.

Recently, I partnered up with Hilton Garden Inn for a really inspiring campaign called #HGIBrightIdeas, where I was asked to give time-saving tips for traveling. Meditation instantly came to mind, because having healthy thoughts saves us from self-doubt, which, as you know, is such a time sucker.

As a way to encourage each other to commit to our internal relationship, I’ve put together five tips for meditating when you’re traveling (hopefully at a Hilton Garden Inn!) or for when you simply just don’t have time.  Here is my easy-peasy guide to meditating on-the-go.

1.    Keep it Simple

Friends, seriously, keep it simple. You don’t need to pack an extra pair of yoga pants or mat. Comfy pajama pants and a hotel bath towel are more than enough. Find a spot on the floor of your hotel room, and you’re good to go.

If you’re home, the same philosophy goes. I meditate in my office, in the morning, while in my pajamas. There’s no ceremony or anything like that, unless you consider Oliver yelling from the room and Foxy whining at my feet ceremonial. Complete quiet is rare, so work with what you have. And be easy on your not-so-Pinterest-perfect setting, alright?

2.    Decide on the Right Time to Meditate

Starting your day with meditation will make your mind sharp and more focused. And remember, a focus mind is a time-saving machine. 

Although meditating in the morning can feel extra challenging because that’s usually the time our to-do list starts running through our minds, this is when you need it the most. The more hectic your mind is, the better the time is to meditate. So if you’re planning a big presentation or going in for a job interview, meditating before will increase your chances.

Why? Because when you’re sitting there, uncomfortably, watching your thoughts run wild, you will learn how to not get caught up in the drama. By watching our thoughts, we’ll begin to notice that thoughts are things and not actually us. We can decide to be part of them or not. We don’t have to indulge into every thought. We should be choosing which thought to be part of. 

Being able to pick our thoughts is a super power that makes us more effective, plus a more honest version of ourselves. For this reason, even if it feels inconvenient, setting aside time for meditating will, in the end, save us time.

3.    Set a Timer for 10 Minutes

Sure, 30 minutes of meditating would be amazing, but it’s usually not realistic. Ten minutes is enough to get you started. Don’t let fitting meditation into your schedule stress you out!

Sit your bottom on your mat or towel, grab your smart phone, and set your timer to 10 minutes. Allow the fun to begin.

4.    Mason Jar Your Thoughts

As your sitting, you’re going to work on focusing on your breath. We do this to have a point of focus. Without a point of focus, we are more likely to get caught up in wild thoughts produced by the mind. Before we know it we’re thinking about what we might order for lunch.

Everyone who meditates, even the pros, experience wandering thoughts popping up. When we first start they are relentless. Don’t be upset at yourself for not accomplishing complete silence.

What you want to strive for is not engaging in the thought. The thought about tomorrow’s lunch is going to pop up, but you don’t have to follow the thought. You can stop it mid-sentence. What I like to do is imagine placing the thought into a mason jar, sealing it, and putting it up on an imaginary shelf. As soon as I seal that jar, for the most part the thought stops — and then I’m on to the next one.

This practice shows us that we actually have some say when it comes to what thoughts we choose to be part of.  Also, realizing that our thoughts come from so many influences is really powerful.

5.    Say Thank You & Reflect

Once that timer goes off, you’ve succeeded. Woohoo! It’s really important to give yourself a high-five at this time. This way, you associate meditation with a job well done, which will make you more likely to do it again.

This is also the time you can reflect on what you learned about yourself during meditation. Were you angry? Were your thoughts unruly?

The idea is to take what we learned on the mat to our every day lives. Lately, I’ve been working on focus. I’m working on not indulging or believing the thoughts that pop up on a day-to-day basis. Instead, keeping my focus on what I deeply know is important.

As you wrap things up, consider journaling your findings, and of course, saying thank you to your very kind soul.

 

Soooo, if you’re dreaming of meditating while traveling, you must enter into Hilton Garden Inn’s #HGIBrightIdeas contest to win a free two-night stay. Here’s what you need to do:

1.     Post a photo to Instagram.

2.     In the caption give your own time-saving travel tip.

3.     Use the hashtag #HGIBrightIdeas.

4.     Tag @hiltongardeninn and @nikkinovo.

5.     Send me a post card once you win!

The Best Mother's Day Gift You Can Give Yourself

I remember the day we brought Oliver home from the hospital as a newborn. After the storm of family walking in and out, cleaning what they could, stocking us with who knows what, and frantically trying to make my house a home, Benny and I found ourselves alone with a sleeping baby.

We placed our tiny, little, six-pounder in a co-sleeper, which rested just between Benny and me in our bed. With my head on my pillow, I looked past my new son and into my husband’s eye. As exhausted as I was, in that moment I felt a tremendous amount of joy and satisfaction. It was as if the world had stopped, maybe even ended, and all that was left was my dreamy husband and my perfect baby.

I propped up my head with the last ounce of energy I had, simply because I needed to tell my husband how I felt in that exact moment. “I have everything I need right now,” I said to Benny. “Nothing else matters.” And for the first 10 months or so of Oliver’s life, really, nothing else matter.

Before Oliver, I was a courageous hustler. The kind of free soul that would jump knowing something would catch me — and if not, I would just figure it out. I had huge dreams: books, travels, causes… you name it, I dreamt it. And not only did I dream it, I set out to conquer it, too.

But something happens when we become moms. It’s not that we lose the ambition. It’s a mix between, “Does this really matter,” and “Is this safe.”

After swimming my way out of the new mommy hormone haze, I looked at myself in the mirror and found someone new. She was strong. She was tired. And she was still me, but because she found something that she loved more than she could ever imagine, the world somehow seemed scarier than it did just a few months ago.

When we becomes moms, all of the sudden, the smallest choices (should I brush my hair?) feel completely complicated and overwhelming. Without even knowing it, I found myself drowning in doubt and guilt with every decision I was asked to make.

As a solo gal, my choices didn’t really affect anyone. Now they do. And no matter what I decide, it’s easy to feel like I’m letting someone else down. I can deal with letting myself down, but watching my kids “suffer” because of my choices can quickly feel like selfishness.

Just before Oliver turned 10 months old, I woke up one day and remembered I had dreams. Seriously, it felt like a thunderbolt of energy had hit my brain. And, honestly, what came to mind wasn’t so much the big plans, but more so how those actions made me feel.

I realized that my pre-mommy dreams weren’t about placing trophies up on the wall. They were about placing fulfillment in my heart, which of course, translates into personal happiness.

I started to think about all the moms who I admired. Some of them were stay-at-home, some work-at-home, some worked outside of the house… their lifestyles varied. What brought them together for me was the fact that they were happy. Happy people make good moms.

Knowing that I wanted to be a good mom meant that I needed to find personal happiness — the sustainable kind. Not the kind that lasts as long as the bottle of wine or new shoes last (although, I’ll take those, too!), but the kind that feels fulfilling and honest.

My mommy friends, our dreams are honest. And while they’ve most likely changed due to the new, expanded view we have of the world, these dreams are the breath of our true selves.

And yes, shit gets complicated when you’re a mom. Life is not Pinterest-perfect. But we deserve a real shot at the kind of internal happiness that radiates beyond just ourselves. As we intuitively know, that happiness comes from within. It comes from honoring our deepest desires that may, in fact, go beyond motherhood.

This Mother’s Day, as everyone crowds us with hugs and kisses, may we remember to give ourselves the space to be who we truly want to be — both as a mother and as an individual. May we remember to fight for our needs the way our toddlers would: kicking and screaming until finally we triumph. Because, my friend, the prize is way worth it.

PS – Join the #beyondmom movement by sharing your post-motherhood dreams with me on Instagram or Facebook. Get em, girl. (IG: @nikkinovo. FB: https://www.facebook.com/nikkinovo)

How to Connect with Your Angels

how to talk to angels

In my mid-twenties I reach that utterly lost point in my life where I was either going to settle for a mediocre relationship and job, start using drugs and alcohol, see a therapist, or visit a psychic. I decided to meet with a psychic (not to say I didn’t dabble in the other options, too).

While in this space, I just wanted someone to hand me a map that led to my happiness. For the first time in my life, I just wanted someone to tell me what to do to find my pot of gold. 

My hope was that the psychic would tell me I was going to marry a doctor, have kids, become super rich, and live happily ever after.  But she didn’t. Instead, she told me I was going to “get into the metaphysical.” “The meta, what?” I thought.

“What am I paying you for, lady,” I said to myself. She was supposed to tell me I was normal and that my life was the most magical one she’s ever seen insider her crystal ball. Instead, I heard that I was about to become a wizard of some sort. “Great, now I’ve really hit rock bottom,” I thought.

Metaphysics is just a fancy term for the philosophy of being. Those who study metaphysics are determined to make sense of it all — they’re searching for meaning. And she was right, I found myself at a crossroad. I could either keep on feeling like a victim or I could find some sort of way to take matters into my own hands. So I decided to start looking for the meaning in my life and why I things felt a bit off

Before I knew it, I found myself knee-deep into topics like Christianity, Kabbalah, Buddhism, Yoga, energy, hypnosis, and angels. I grew up Catholic, so I was blown away to find out how other people and beliefs seek to explain life. It’s all very fascinating.

Within my seeking and education, I became very involved with the topic of angels. I had no idea we had these energy beams that hang out with us all day just to keep us safe and in the light. The idea blew my mind. I found myself reading anything I could get my hands on, including every angel book written by Doreen Virtue (doesn’t she resemble Cher?!).

What Are Angels?

So, angels carry messages for us from God. In fact, the word angel means “messenger of God.” We see them in Bible performing their job often. Remember when Mary was visited by Angel Gabriel? According to the Bible, this is how Mary finds out who her son, Jesus, was destined to be. There are many other examples of these holy messengers throughout history that I’m sure you can recall.

Even today, angels are working to communicate God’s message to us and protect us. Pretty awesome, right? They are not to be worshiped. They just work for God. They are helpers. They also hold tons of info that can help us along our paths.

The best part is you can connect with them and score some really valuable guidance. Remember that psychic I mentioned earlier? Turns out she’s really a medium: someone who can communicate with angels and passed loved ones.

In fact, I was so inspired by her gift, I decided I wanted to see if I could do the same. And today, the majority of my clients come to me for just that. I serve as almost a translator between my clients and their angels or passed love ones. Honestly, it’s one of the most rewarding parts of my work.

While it’s always nice to have a mediator to bounce ideas with, you are completely capable of communicating on your own. We’re all born with the ability to connect to the divine. Just sometimes we get so used to living in this dense world that we forget how to make the connection.

So, here are a few ways that can help you with connecting to your angels:

How to Connect with Your Angels

1.    How do You Get Your Messages?

People receive messages in different ways. When I heard about angels, I remember saying out loud, “I’d love to talk to you guys, but please don’t show up in my bedroom in the middle of the night. I do not want to see you.” For a long time, I didn’t see them in physical form. But some people do see angels regularly.

Other people simply hear messages, which is how I started. It’s almost like hearing yourself, but quicker and with less B.S. and more piece. They’re pretty straight to the point.

Some people get their information in a combination form. For example, I see a picture that comes along with a message. That’s how they communicate with me.

This is important to understand, in case you get your information in a different way, I don’t want to think you’re doing it wrong.

2.    Establish Communication

You want to start by addressing them the way you would in a prayer. “Hey Angels! I heard you exist. Would love to chat.” Keep it casual.

You can them tell them how you’d like to communicate. When I first started I would ask them to talk to me in my dreams. I thought that sounded safe. And they did! Doreen Virtue suggest writing a question and placing it under your pillow.

You can ask them to speak to you through your writing. You can grab a notebook and just start free writing without thinking. Ask them to speak through the movement of your hand.

Another strategy is to start by asking for small signs. You can ask them something like, “If you hear me, show me a butterfly throughout the day.”

You can try connecting through meditation. Sit on the floor. Close your eyes. Connect to your breath. Address your angels and then ask a question. Notice if you see any images in your mind’s eye. Can they some how be an answer to your question?

3.    Educate Yourself

My last tip is to learn more about angels and how they work. You can read books like “Angel 101,” “How to Hear Your Angels”, or “Healing with Angels.”

Take a visit to a trusted angel medium. There are people out there whose life work is all about angels. They have so much amazing knowledge.

Chatting with your angels is just like any relationship: it takes time and love. But, of course, way worth it! 

How to Forgive Those Who Have Hurt Us

For a long time, I thought true forgiveness of those who really hurt us would not be completely possible. Personally, my experience with forgiveness was that it would always be a work in progress. I saw it as a virtue that I would have to practice every day, even though I never planned to make it to the big performance. I didn’t plan to make it to the show, because I didn’t want to.

And that’s when I realized forgiveness is a choice.

When we forgive, we are not making the gesture of love for the person who hurt us. We are making the gesture for ourselves. Because the truth is, the resentment, hatred, and sadness that comes from not forgiving someone will remain in our bodies. Eventually, our bodies become poisoned by the hatred.  And what happens when we get poisoned? It’s going to come out through some sort of exit!

Even when we think we’ve buried away the demon, we may not notice, but it is manifesting itself every day in many forms — from body ailments and addictions to acne and self hatred. Seriously, my friend, you do not deserve acne from an unforgiven, ex-lover.

That’s what I mean by making the gesture of love for ourselves. The person who hurt us continues to go on with their lives. Maybe they think of us and maybe they don’t. But’s that not our problem or our concern. We need to be a clear vessel in order to live our purpose and a life with joy.

Every day we don’t forgive, is another day we allow that person to hurt us. Not only did they hurt us in a past moment (that time during homework that dad told you, you were dumb), but now we’re letting them hurt us in our present and future.

We forgive others in an effort to set ourselves free. Because we deserve to live the way our creator intended us to live — with freedom.

But before we forgive, we have to understand why we resist the process. Without understanding our ego’s attempts to stay safe through not forgiving, we’ll fall back into its tricky tricks.

So, let’s hold hands and pursue the light together. 

1. We’re Afraid of Living without Our Crutches

The first reason we decide not to forgive is because, as crazy as it may sound, we like being a victim. Even the strongest of us drown in this deep-rooted idea that we haven’t been able to reach our fullest potential because of what someone else did to us.

I didn’t find love for a long time, so I blamed an ex for “closing my heart.” I wouldn’t reach my goals, so I would blame my mom for holding me back. When the truth is, I liked feeling bad for myself. It covered me when I was too scared to look at myself and make the internal changes I needed to make. After all, life without my crutches — even though I knew there would be freedom — seemed damn scary and impossible.

When we choose love over hate, there’s a level of trust we have to surrender to. And I don’t know about you, but giving up control isn’t always easy for me. What if choosing love changes the goals I am so desperately attached to? What if I don’t like the life that Love creates for me? Those are my worries.

But love is the only thing that is real. Choosing love means choosing God. And that means choosing the truth that lives within us. That truth will always guide us in the right direction, even when it throws our previous goals out the window.

2. We Don’t Want to Let Them Off the Hook

For those who have hurt us in the deepest ways, forgiving can seem like forgetting — or worse condoning. Not forgiving them may seem like we’re taking a stand against what they did.

If we forgive, we think we will appear weak. But think about it, how easy is it to stay hurt? Forgiving takes way more strength and courage than not forgiving. And don’t we want to experience the highest potential of our strength?

Forgiving is not letting them off the hook. Forgiving does not mean we need to run up and hug the offender.  Forgiving means letting ourselves off the hook. We don’t need to carry this hurt anymore. We don’t need to torture ourselves with the poison left behind from our past. We can start fresh.

Most magical about fresh starts is the clarity we receive. In that clarity, we will find the answers we have been asking since the day we were hurt.

3. Punishment

Lastly, we refuse to forgive because we believe in punishment. We’re stuck in the “an-eye-for-an-eye” mindset. Our thinking is that if we refuse to forgive them, we will cause them the same pain they caused us. Which may be true, but has it solved anything? Has it made you feel sustainably better? Feeling better for a few moments doesn’t matter. Feeling at peace is what we are striving for.

Not only do we look to punish the offender, but also we unknowingly look to punish ourselves. For several reasons, there may be a part of us that believes we deserve this kind of a life — a life of hurt, drama, and distress. So we hold on to this hurt thinking, perhaps we somehow brought it upon ourselves.

Even if you have lived your entire life in conflict, it does not mean this lifestyle is the norm. There is a life of inner peace waiting for you — one that you deserve. It’s the life you were always intended to live. All you have to do is allow yourself the choice to be free.

How to be Patient Even When You Want Things Like Right Now

how to be patient

I constantly find myself confined by my lack of clarity. As you can imagine, I overanalyze every move, in search of the straightest line to my desired outcome.

Of course, after enough meditation, prayer, and journaling, I’ll find the best route for me.

That’s what we strive for, right? A clear, safe, and quick route to our desires. So once we find that route, we should rejoice. And we typically do. But the excitement that comes from finding our way only lasts temporarily before it gets clouded by our impatience.

It goes something like this: I’m confused. What do I do? Ok, I found my way. I’m going to do this. I’m doing this. Shit, why am I not there yet. Move faster, damn it. And now, I’m confused again.

Ohmygosh, tell me this isn’t you. I see this happen all the time, in my clients and in my own life. After all this soul searching, we finally find our way. We take one step towards our way and then we’re upset that we don’t get there over night.

Logically, we know this is silly. Great stuff does not happen in a month of effort. Businesses take years to grow. Careers take months to form. Relationships take time to nurture. I mean just look at the pregnancy process: it takes 10 months to create a fully formed baby.

If we’re not aware of the role impatience plays, we can quickly fall into self-doubt and begin to second-guess the intuition we decided to follow. Second-guessing brings us on a detour and then we start the process all over again. Detour – Lost -Need Clarity - Found Clarity - Back on Path – Why isn’t Shit Happening?- Doubt – Detour Again.

Detouring over an over is not the answer. Patience is. Having compassion for the process and yourself is like good music on a boring road trip. It’s a necessity.

Compassion can be a complex virtue. For this reason, I’ve jotted down a few actionable steps to help us all cultivate compassion while on our intuitive journey towards our desires. Think of these tips as the road-trip games your parents would make you play in order to keep you sane.

1.    Be Easy on Yourself

Impatience is an easy excuse for us to be an asshole to ourselves. We’ll push ourselves to work faster and harder. We’ll blame our lack of speed on something we’re doing. It’s really sad, but it’s a reality. Catch yourself when you’re doing this and remind yourself, “Great things take time.” It is not something you’re doing wrong.

2.   Keep of Record of your Progress

Many times we don’t notice progress, because we’re not keeping count. When you’re walking that path, there is progress. Some tangible and some not, but it’s happening. The key is to write down every day the big and little progress you are experiencing, so you can prove to yourself that you are, in fact, moving.

3.   Have Faith

Faith is another one to grasp, because it feels like magic. But more than anything, faith is like going to the gym for your brain. In order to walk this journey, you need a strong mind. Faith builds strong minds. When the mind gets tired and starts doubting, faith is the coach as says, “Hey, hey you can do this. You’re doing a great job.”

4.   Enjoy What You Have in the Moment

Living in a place where our better days are in the future sucks. Maybe this current moment isn’t the ideal, but it’s something. There’s something to be grateful for and there’s something we can enjoy. Taking time to get off the grind and enjoy LIFE is totally okay and mandatory. It will not make our journey slower, in fact it will speed things up by avoiding burn out.

5.    Trust in Divine Timing

Lastly, my friend, there is such a thing as divine timing. There’s this huge universe that is constantly moving puzzle pieces around. There is an order of things, and sometimes we just have to wait our turn. Things don’t happen as fast as we’d like to for a reason. God is keeping us safe. It knows what it’s doing. Our job is to trust and enjoy the ride.