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[Source: Europia]

I am taking an 8-week Mindfulness Course. After the first class, I already had an “Ah-ha!” moment. A fellow course-goer asked, “I am reading 2 books right now on Buddhism and Mindfulness. Should I stop reading those and only focus on this course?” The question was sparked by the teacher’s suggestion of learning through experience and encouraged us to fully engage for the 8 weeks. The teacher’s answer was simple: “I will leave that up to you to decide, but I challenge you to learn in ways you are not used to.” She went on to explain that as a former surgeon she learns through books, lectures, notes and highlights and research.

Instantly my brain started working. I too am a learner by reading and lectures. I will scour the internet, You Tube and books trying to find and capture every single possible facet of a topic I want to learn. I become an “expert” and learning it, but I fail in execution. I can tell you about a topic of interest that I want to apply, but the actual application is where I fall short.

With the information overload of the 21st century, we can think of an idea and find THOUSANDS of articles, blog posts, videos, quotes, eBooks and online courses on any and every topic.  I’ve jumped across many over the last year since discovering From that, a whole new level of “research” took over. My notes are meticulous, I have charts, lists, and favorite videos on You Tube to watch again and again for review or inspiration.

When the teacher of the Mindfulness class challenged us to not only examine how we learn things such as mindfulness, but to actually challenge it and attempt a different way. My natural resistance is to be expected: I am a constant student. But I am ready to challenge myself in a new way: learning to learn in another way.

I will not:

  • Search the internet on alternate ways to learn
  • Read books on how people learn
  • Watch videos on methods of learning

I will:

  • Honor my intuition
  • Learn through experience
  • Learn through commitment
  • Learn by listening and watching others (not via the web)

I will still read blogs and watch videos but not for the purpose of research.

I feel like I am about to jump out of an airplane. Doing things the exact opposite way you’ve always done them is scary. But I am ready. I challenge you to do the same, however it is and whatever it is that you research or explore ideas. If you are a person who has to do it only and hate lectures, I suggest finding a video online on a topic of interest.  Off I go – and off you go.



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[image credit: kobini]

Last weekend I went to see the Blue Angels air show in Baltimore. It is an event I had heard of over the last several years but never attended. I could see them from my brother’s house way in the distance and could hear them flying over head from my house but I never really saw them.

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[image: The Business Journals]

My mom called and invited me down to watch the air show. The day was beyond beautiful: 70 degrees, not a single cloud in the sky, a gentle breeze. I was with my mom and step dad who I enjoy being with and don’t get to see as often as I’d like. I was watching the planes fly overhead and was witnessing something for the first time. I found myself, phone in hand, trying to capture this first time experience on video for Instagram. My excuse was I wanted to share it with someone who wasn’t there. Ironically, that desire to share it with someone who wasn’t there made me “not there.” I recognized that I was not being present and put the phone away after a few failed attempts to capture the Blue Angels souring above the crowd.

Those pilots were probably having the time of their lives, fully present and aware. I began to imagine the messages being relayed through their headsets, communicating with one another to stay safe and interact. I pictured them rooting each other on, cheering “wooo!” as they flipped up side and and spun around. I usually place huge judgment on people who “view life through their phones” and here I was doing exactly that. I decided to be fully present: To talk to my mom and step dad, be with them, phone away, really be aware of how awesome this air show was. (I did have ear plugs in because those planes sure are loud!)

Cut to yesterday. Throughout the day I had  thoughts of how to really live life more, be more present, more alive! While I was using the app AppDetox to keep myself off instagram from the hours of 9am-5pm, Honestly, I didn’t miss it. I had no burning desire or feeling deprived. When I would decide later in the evening to check it, I felt nothing: no joy, no annoyance, nothing. It was a space and time suck in a way that added zero value to my life. I was on it because I thought I was supposed to be. Everyone uses Instagram, right!?

I found myself trying to post my life and view others’ lives through these posts. I wasn’t addicted, but it was an “escape” from the work day, to distract me from whatever I didn’t feel like doing, feel like feeling or experiencing, using it as an excuse for “inspiration” when really I got none from it.

So, I removed the app from my phone. Then went online and deleted my account.

I want to be more present. I don’t want to do things with people and go to events and think of having to share it. It no longer serves a purpose for me. I know many people love it and find value in it. It was fun for a while, but for me, it’s time to use my own eyes as my real-life instagram.

And I mean this literally. Not spiritually or emotionally. Where are you investing your money?


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As women, we aren’t really encouraged to save, invest or think of our future as much as men are. I am making a broad statement here, of course, but hear me out a little. If you are a woman reading this, chances are you were never really encouraged to save for retirement, our children’s education, our education, until it’s almost too late. I was lucky enough to learn very early how bad credit cards are. In fact, my first boyfriend got a store credit card and within 3 months, he maxed it out and owed $1,500. To a STORE. At 17, $1,500 is a lot of money to pay off. It is a lot of money now, but especially at the innocent age of 17. When I saw the level of stress he was under getting the monthly statement, how quickly his part time paycheck would disappear, I vowed to never ever ever get into credit card debt.

I got a credit card at the age of 20 and it was a Shaw’s Jeweler card. I think my limit was $200 and I bought an $80 bracelet. It took me a few pay checks to clear that $80 but it got me started on establishing credit and then I opened a Capital One card. My limit again was pretty low, but I never ever maxed it out. In fact, I considered my “credit card limit” to be half of what the card company said. So if it was $300, my limit was $150.

Being smart with credit cards is something that is not talked about enough to young people. It seems so many people get in over their heads, swiping their cards without really understanding what damage they are doing; not just to their credit but to their future and their daily sanity. The habit of spend, spend, spend is what we learn. The concept of investing is more about investing in “good skin care,” “a high quality purse or coat,” or “a holy grail foundation.”

I am again making a grand statement and of course this is a stereotype, but when you turn on the TV, women are being told to invest in things that depreciate and do not have long term positive impact on our lives and the lives of our future generations. Good skin is great, but what is the ROI?

Not much…

I’m beginning to research investing and was inspired by to get serious about my financial future. I also like Rachel Cruze. I inspire you to do the same : both men and women!

Some videos to consider: