APU Business Careers & Learning Leading Forward Podcast

From Resistance to Acceptance: Reducing Stress

Podcast featuring Dr. Marie Gould Harper, Dean, Wallace E. Boston School of Business and
Christine ShawYES, Yoga for Emotional Support

People have so many responsibilities that their day is often spent trying to check things off a list rather than living in or enjoying the moment or the activity. In the second part of this wellness series, APU’s Dr. Marie Gould Harper talks to Christine Shaw about ways to bring harmony to our lives, learning to be present, and how to move towards a place of acceptance. Learn tips to quiet your mind, take care of your body, nurture your spirit, and acknowledge all the things you accomplish in your life and work.

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Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Welcome to our podcast today. I’m your host Marie Gould Harper. Today, we are going to talk about using your imagination to create what you want. My guest, again, is Christine Shaw. I want to take a moment to recap some of the things that I shared about Christine in the last episode [What You Focus on, You Find: How a Positive Mindset Guides You to Success]. She is a very enthusiastic innovator and entrepreneur, always looking to guide people to trust their intuition and heal from stress, anxiety, depression, trauma, and life situations so that they can thrive in life.

She has over 40 years of experience in the wellness and fitness industry and thousands of hours teaching yoga. She is the owner of Liberty Yoga studio since 2012. In our last session, we talked about one of Christine’s creations, YES – Yoga for Emotional Support. In that particular session, we talked about individuals experiencing painful and challenging situations, and she shared some things about herself. We’re going to pick up again during this session on another topic: from resistance to acceptance. And again, as I stated before, how to use your imagination to create what you want. Hello, Christine, how are you doing today?

Christine Shaw: Hi Marie. I’m doing great. How about you?

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: I’m doing fine. Welcome back. We’re very excited to where you’re going to take us in this particular session. We were discussing positivity and finding affirmations to support our outlook on life, both in our personal and professional life, and also the need for balance and boundaries. What would you like to bring from our last session to this session in order to have a smooth transition?

Christine Shaw: Well, I feel that balance is a great thing. I typically talk about how balance—if you think about a scale, the little scale where you put some weight on one side and the other side goes up and then have it even—so both sides are even, then that’s considered balance. But nothing is happening in those scales, if it’s balanced.

So I prefer the word “harmony,” because we know that we’re going to fluctuate from emotional states and situations in our lives, and nothing’s ever going to be exactly balanced, right? So bringing harmony to our lives just means that we can move through this world in our relationships, in our conversations, in our workplace, feeling that we are going with the flow, not creating resistance in our lives.

I mean, resistance is going to come up, but when we can identify these areas where there’s resistance, maybe we can move more into accepting. Accepting the “what is” of this moment, because we know that it’s going to change in the next moment, or the next day, or the next week.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: I like how you stated that. First of all, I’ve already changed my notes to state harmony versus balance. And I think that’s a very appropriate word even to use in the workforce. Because, as you said, even when we think about balance, we tend to think about scales, and scales have always been used to be symbolic for balance. But that’s not what we’re striving for.

We’ve been talking about emotions and how we feel. And I think harmony is a better word for it because, as you say, change is always going to come and it’s a matter of how ready are we for it? And it seems like some of the things that you have shared with us are opportunities and techniques to prepare us for the change that is coming. And I really do believe that may be what some people are experiencing, because some people want to stop change, but change is going to keep coming. And it’s a matter of how you deal with it. Would you agree?

Christine Shaw: Oh yes, absolutely. So how do we respond versus react? Here’s a little quote that I heard a spiritual teacher say. That this guru had been out teaching for years, and he was always just in this calm and kind of relaxed and harmonized state of mind. And somebody asked him, “How can you be that way?” And he said, “Whatever happens, I don’t mind.” And if I ask people in the yoga classes or just in life, “Can you relate to that?” Everyone says, “No, what do you mean? How can I do that? How can I be in this world and just be like, whatever happens, it’s just what’s happening?”

And the reason that things are happening is because they’re supposed to happen. That’s the answer. And so when change occurs, can we feel maybe the resistance to change, and then just go inward and say, “You know, why am I resisting this? What is it about this situation?”

Let’s use COVID as an example, “What is it about this situation that’s really bringing me some resistance?” And identify those things. Some things we can control and other things we are not able to. We’re just like, “Well, this is the way it is.”

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: And like that quote states, let’s just deal with the things that we do have control over, not the things that we don’t have any control over. And I think that’s where some people get stuck, because they’re trying to change things that they have no control over.

Christine Shaw: Yeah. I always like to think about what is our responsibility? What are we responsible for? And usually it’s only one thing, and that is our own response to things.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Exactly. And I also think about obstacles. Like in my mind, obstacles are going to come, you cannot stop them. Your choice is: Do you go over them, around them, under them, or through them? But one way or another, you’re going to have to deal with that.

Christine Shaw: What is your way of doing it, Marie? Do you go over, under, around or through?

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: I’ll be perfectly honest. It depends on the situation. I was listening to a speaker one time and what was stated made sense. And that was that situations are going to come up. Sometimes we are given some type of forewarning and it’s not to avoid it, the obstacle, it’s to prepare for it.

So when I see obstacles, my mind automatically goes to strategy, and the strategy is what is the appropriate way to handle that particular situation? And I recognize every situation is different. That’s why I made that comment to you, “It depends,” because I may have one situation today and something totally different tomorrow, but it’s still an obstacle. But I got to figure out what is the best way to deal with it.

And one thing, in terms of people, it’s what type of people I may have to deal with in that situation. Am I dealing with something on my own, what I have to deal with? Or does it involve a person? You can share your thoughts on it. When I tend to run into obstacles with other individuals I’m sensitive to their wellbeing. So, sometimes I may adjust my reaction based on what I think their mental state is. What are your thoughts on that?

Christine Shaw: You know what? It actually does remind me of yoga. And that is, when I’m teaching a class filled with different people, everyone has different needs, and everyone’s coming from a different place. I’ll ask beginners, how are you coming in? And what affects your practice? And it could be your yoga practice, physical postures, or it could be something in the workplace. What is affecting how you’re showing up? Something terrible could have just happened at home, somebody could have died in the family, or you could be battling with some injury or disease.

And so, we have to be sensitive to the ways that people are showing up. Sometimes people can react versus respond because of those things. And we don’t want to judge people in a moment because we don’t know what’s going on with them.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: I really like that. And it reminds me of, in our last session, when we were talking about how you and I reconnected and about the situation, I was busy and you encouraged me to stay and participate in the YES class. And I remember that exercise because it was like it was speaking to me, and it involved letting a person go. A situation had occurred before I got to you and going through that process, it wasn’t as if I was focusing on the person, I was focusing more on the techniques that you were using, and what you were asking us to do, in order to get to another frame of mind. And then at the end of it, I felt so much better. But it wasn’t about the situation I had experienced, it was about me, how I felt at that moment.

Christine Shaw: And I like that you used the word “letting go,” because that’s a thing that we can continually use. You know, I remember as a kid, my dad struggled with alcoholism, but he stopped drinking when I was still very young. But I remember that one of the principles in AA was “let go.” Right? That was the thing that they said.

And so what does that mean, really? And I remember my mom always saying, “I’m going to let go. I’m going to let go. I’m letting go.” And she never really let go. It’s like, what does that mean?

So when we have some resistance, it means looking at what are we resisting? What is happening and how does that look to let go? For different people, it’s going to mean different things. So for you coming to the YES class, it meant not focusing on this specific situation, but feeling it within your body and having a way that you can let go with breathing or with whatever technique might help for you, like again, talking about individuals.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Yes. And I think that’s an important thing and it kind of leads definitely into what we want to talk about today: What do we need to do as individuals for different situations? I like the fact that you developed a couple of scenarios that we can go through.

I’m going to provide Christine with some information, either about myself or some people that I know have shared stories with me, and then we will allow Christine to share with us, how would she handle that situation? Or if she had some students in one of her classes, how would she advise them to deal with each particular situation?

The first one has to deal with how we start off our day. Now I’m a person, I think I’m evolving. I, as a rule, love to stay up late. And that’s because I tend to be more creative in the early morning hours. Well, I should say anywhere from 10:00 PM to about two or three in the morning, I can get a lot of work done because I’m creative.

However, the next morning, I don’t want to talk to people. I’m not zero to 60. I need some time to get adjusted, and I tend to work on tasks that are repetitive. Remember that old saying, “Time to make the donuts”? I’m that person, as long as I’m doing something very mechanical, I’m okay till about 10:00 AM.

But I would like to change that, because I’ve also noticed that I have been very productive in the morning hours. Not creative, but productive. So, for someone like me, and I know a lot of people who are like me, because some of my coworkers are up in the middle of the night with me. How could we best start our days so that we’re feeling a little bit more relaxed versus, “Okay, it’s time to start the next task,” because we’ve only had a few hours of sleep, and now we’re trying to be on the schedule with everyone else in the world of work?

Christine Shaw: Well, I understand that people definitely have different schedules. Some people’s schedule is that they work all night and then they sleep in the day, so everyone has like a different kind of work schedule. But for every single one of them, whenever we wake up in the morning, it’s nice to have a daily ritual that nourishes our soul. And it’s nourishing us in mind, body, and spirit.

So, you could put together your own little daily morning ritual, that can help you to, like you said, be productive or creative, but also to help you to focus. And maybe during the day, we don’t have time to do those three things as much as we’d like to, because we’re busy at work or whatever our schedule is like. So, I want to encourage everyone to create their morning ritual that involves those things.

So I’ll just share what I do. And you could create one that’s similar to that, or your own. I wake up around 5:00 AM. I definitely go to bed early so I’m not a late night person. And when I go to bed, I think about, and this is Wayne Dyer. He says, “You know, when you go to bed, what are you going to marinate on? What are the thoughts we’re going to marinate on?” So, if you’re watching some scary movie and then you go to bed, that’s not what you want to have in your thoughts before you go to bed.

So it starts when you go to bed, like can you calm yourself down, have a little ritual then? Relaxing, playing a little music, maybe having some warm tea, something that can help you to relax. And then you could think about what do I want to marinate on? You could literally think of the thoughts that you’d like to have dreams about.

So, in the morning you wake up, and my first thing I do is take the covers off and I put my legs in the air. I let the blood flow back to my heart. That’s not a way that the blood usually flows. So when we’re walking around our blood flow is going down. So this nourishes the body, nourishes the brain and the heart. As my legs are in the air, I say out loud what I’m grateful for. I remember back in the day, Oprah always saying write a gratitude journal and I thought, “Well, what’s that going to do?” Back in the day I was like, “Huh? Why is that going to help?” And it definitely helps to think about all the things you’re grateful for. I know we’ve heard that a lot. So I do that.

Then I get up and next thing I do is stretch my body. So I do a little yoga. It only has to be maybe five minutes, stretching the spine in five directions. Then I make the bed. Then I have these little angel cards and each card has a positive energy focus like: purpose, or gratitude, or celebration, some word. So I’ll choose one and I’ll think about it. I’m like, “Wow. I think I’m going to infuse my day with this energy.” Right? So again, all this has only taken maybe 10 minutes so far.

Then the next thing I do is I go into a room that I’ve created that’s my little meditation room. I have images there. I have a Buddha statue. And I go, and I have a little candle, and I light the candle. And again, I’ll say thank you to the universe. And I think about what I’d like to invite in this day, any opportunities that are going to come, the people I already know I’m going to see, but then also leaving some leeway for surprising things to show up in my life. So, sending that energy out there.

Then I might do a little mantra. One of my favorite is Lakshmi is the goddess of abundance. And I’ll do a little chant. And then maybe five minutes of meditation. And just that covered all those things I said. Mind, what my thoughts are, my little gratitude, body stretching, and spirit by doing my meditation and chanting. And then I feel ready to go. I let my dog out. I have a really healthy breakfast. And I can get on with my day.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: It sounds like one of the important things to do, starting in the morning is to have a routine, a ritual, that helps you to relax, because that could probably allow you to focus throughout the day, and have some type of rhythm that is a harmonious rhythm.

Christine Shaw: It’s a time for you to nurture yourself. I think a lot of people think that they are taking care of themselves when they’re taking care of other people, because a lot of us want to go and be like, “I’m so helpful.” You know, I parent, I help my relatives, whoever needs help. And they forget to be like, “Hey, I need to start out nourishing myself. And then I’ll have all the energy to serve others in my job or in whatever I do.”

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Yes. I just ran over a quote and it’s so true. It’s that, “How can you help someone else out when you’ve run on empty?” You’re using your fumes, and how can you really be helpful to someone else? So sometimes we run ourselves down thinking that if we keep going, we will resolve all the issues that we’ve set out to handle. But, in reality, not only are we not helping ourselves, we’re not helping the people that we think we want to help.

Christine Shaw: You know, I check in with myself and I say, “This activity I’m about to do, is it draining me of my energy? Or is it energizing?” And I can ask myself that whenever I’m doing activities.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: I like that thought, too, because one of the things that I have learned from the process also is, I have lists in my head of what I want to do and how to get it accomplished. And I know in the past I used to beat myself up if I did not complete my to-do list. But I’ve learned to have a list of priorities, and if I get them done, that’s good. If I don’t, that’s okay too, because tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to move forth. And maybe that’s when the task should have been completed, the next day versus the day that I had in mind.

Christine Shaw: You know, I like to also in the morning, say to myself, “What one thing do I really want to accomplish today?” I mean like one goal that I’m going to get done, instead of going, “What 18 goals am I going to get done today?” You know, be like, what’s one thing, what’s one main goal that has to do with work, and my intention to move myself forward? And what’s another goal, maybe, that’s just a fun thing I’m going to do today? And enough of us don’t add enough fun.

You know, even something that’s a simple, like random acts of kindness. Every time I go to the grocery store, I’m always looking for someone who needs help unloading their groceries, and I always find someone. I go over it, and I’m like, “Here, let me lift this big, giant thing of water for you and put it in your trunk,” and just something like that that’s also serving others.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: I’m still convinced that’s how most human beings, sometimes I don’t like to use the word happy, because sometimes happiness can be changed by the environment. But your inner peace, maybe I’ll say that, is helping other people. And it gives us a sense of accomplishment because someone else has gratitude to something we helped them achieve. And I think that’s a good thing.

But I wanted to move on to our next scenario, because I like this. It’s another area that I struggle with, and I’m really into strategy, to the point that I have about three or four strategy exercises that I do a every day. And that’s because, in both my personal and professional life, a lot of times I’m called on to make decisions and very quickly, and I’ve been doing it for a number of years. But what has happened, I don’t worry, but I’m always thinking. And sometimes that thinking can cause anxiety, especially if I have not solved the puzzle.

So, when I’m going to sleep, it’s hard to relax and really have a good night’s sleep because I’m constantly thinking about what’s the next issue that I’m going to have to resolve and how do I get in position and have options of different ways to do it? As a result, my mind is never quiet. What type of exercises or techniques do you suggest for people who really need to quiet their mind?

Christine Shaw: Well, Marie, that one thing I hear constantly is people say, “I can’t quiet my mind.” Now using the word “can’t” really limits you. It’s a limiting belief. And so, we can kind of say “Every day, I’m working on quieting my mind.” At least there’s some movement towards doing that. And, you know, again, whatever our focus is on, whatever our thoughts are, that’s what we’re going to create more of.

If we can say to ourselves, “I’m working every day on ways to quiet my mind.” So I know you said you don’t really use the word worry or you don’t worry. So that’s great. A lot of people will say, “I’m worried about this.” Or even they might even say, “Let’s worry about that later,” or something. Let’s worry. It’s like, wait, let’s not worry.

So there’s this quote that I love by Esther Hicks. And she says, “Worry is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.” Right? So we don’t want worry. And yet we still like say, “Oh, something in the future’s going to happen.” So let’s see if we can quiet the mind by using some of the meditation practice. That’s one of the best ways, is meditation. But many people think of meditation as just sitting quietly on a meditation cushion and closing your eyes and then trying to stop all your thoughts.

Well, we have thousands of thoughts every day. And so, what we can do is work towards reducing that number, right? We’re not going to not have thoughts, but we’re going to reduce the number. And, yes, sitting in a seated meditation on a cushion is one way. But we can also practice meditation in other ways. We can practice a walking meditation, eating meditation, doing chores while you meditate, going through the yoga postures of meditating.

And the key is just to focus your attention on one object. I know so many people are like, “I’m a multitasker. I can do a million things at once.” But really we can actually only focus on one thing at a time. So meditation is training your mind so that you can be able to focus, be able to do the tasks that you need to do, and not have a trillion thoughts going in your head.

And so when we’re walking, we can just think of one step at a time. When we’re doing a chore, like cleaning the dishes, we’re just focusing on what we’re doing. It’s all about being present. The present moment is the only thing that’s ever happening. Eckhart Tolle has a book called “The Power of Now,” and it’s all about how we can be present.

Meditation practices can happen anytime you’re doing anything. What you do is you just reduce the commentary in your head, right? You don’t have to say, “What a lovely day. I think I’ll go for a walk.” You know, “Look at that beautiful sky and the birds.” That’s thinking.

Instead, we can just experience those things, and just be with that moment. I’m telling you, it’s a powerful practice. And again, if just sitting on a cushion trying to quiet your mind doesn’t work, you could do it at any time. So using it as a practice to be more present.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: I think of what you said, I’m not sure why it comes to my mind, but the movie “The Matrix” comes to my mind, and I’m guilty of this. I used to think the goal to strive towards, one was perfectionism. I was a perfectionist. I wanted everything to be perfect. And I had to let go of that for obvious reasons. It was not only affecting my mind, but also my body.

But then, I also liked saying that I was a multitasker. I could do many things, but I found out what you just stated, it was hard to focus on one thing, and to get that one thing done in an appropriate manner, in an appropriate time. So I had to wipe that from my little mental mind thinking and state that, “Maybe it’s not always good to be a multitasker.” Maybe I should focus on one thing and make sure it’s the best to my ability, as well as the way that I think it should be.

And I think that’s very hard for people in society today because they have so many responsibilities. And even though we talk about a lot of things, I think we’re also going to have to incorporate steps on making people stop. Like, what can we do in our different techniques, especially when we’re trying to help other people, how do we get them to stop?

Christine Shaw: Yeah. Or just slow down. It’s nice to have some little quick technique that you can do. And one I like, instead of saying, “Stop it!” to yourself, “Quit it. Quit having that ruminating thought.” That’s like beating yourself up. Instead we could just use a word that might work. One word you could use is “change.” You have a thought come in, it’s a worry thought, it’s a, “Oh my gosh, I’m not doing enough,” or whatever it is. And you could just simply have one word. It could be change or it could be something positive that helps you to switch, like “reset.”

I know Jim Carey, he’s a spiritual guy. And he says that he’s like, “I’m going to hit the reset button on that thought.” Just do that. Have a little button in your head that you’ll reset and you come back to going, “Okay, I can do this. I am able to focus. I can quiet my body and my mind.” And just these little simple techniques that you start to have as a new habit. My old habit used to be this thing. And that doesn’t seem to be serving me very well. So what’s my new habit going to be?

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Right. And I think it’s to know when thing aren’t serving you well. Like maybe I need something different? And I like some of your suggestions.

Now our next scenario, I think about this especially as different people approach holiday seasons, because for some reason, the holidays upset certain individuals and they become more prone to depression. And it’s the things that they hear in their head. Some people go down a dark road, and then some people start to feel as though they’re not good enough, that they’re not worthy of certain things.

And we were talking about yesterday the imposter syndrome where they may not feel as though that they deserve certain things. With that said, how can we help the people around us understand that any time of season, is not the end of the world? How do we keep them, or assist them, in keeping their energy levels up?

Christine Shaw: You know, SAD is another thing that comes up. It’s an acronym for Seasonal Affective Disorder when the weather changes. Some people like the cooler weather and stuff, but other people, they feel more isolated. And so lots of seasonal changes can affect our emotion, and affect our energy state.

So, Marie, let me ask you this question. In relation to emotions, we all are vibrating, right? We’re just all energy. Everybody’s energy. And we connect with energy. And we vibrate at a certain frequency.

So love is the highest vibrational emotion. And then the lowest vibrational emotion, when we’re in a kind of a low state. Most people think the opposite of love is anger or something. But it’s fear. So the lowest vibrational state is fear. And then, of course, there’s all these different vibrational states in between.

Our goal, though, is to stay into a good high and positive vibrational state. Dedicate yourself to this: Having happiness and a high vibrational loving state be your priority. And you know when you’re in a low vibrational state, because you don’t feel good. You feel like isolating, you feel like not being around people. You feel, like you said having negative self-talk, beating yourself up. “I’m not good enough.” Remember whatever our most dominant thought is, whatever you’re focusing on, that’s what you’re going to manifest. So let’s all raise the vibration.

So here’s one way is music. You could play music that you really like and you like to dance to. It’s high vibrational energy. You can spend time near people and places and things that also hold high vibration, like friends of yours, nature, animals. Another thing you can do is exercise. Exercise helps to stimulate your endorphins, and gives you those positive chemicals in your brain. Aromatherapy is another one. And these again, by the way, are all the things that we use in the YES class.

So aromatherapy, it has these benefits to increase your focus, your energy, your mood. Writing in a gratitude journal. We talked about that a little earlier. Spending time near water. Practicing random acts of kindness. And then just loving yourself, doing a little self-study to focus on you. And the last one I’ll say is just laugh, humor, smiling, making jokes. Being just all these things, bring you into this higher vibrational state. And we can use them even if it’s like fake it till you make it. Right?

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Yes. At least it’s a positive thought.

Christine Shaw: That’s right.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: As you were talking, I was thinking about when we did our last session, and you and Bob were in the session before me. The first thing that I noticed, I was having a busy day, Mondays are extremely busy for me, and my mind coming into our session was still task-oriented. Like, “Okay, I’m going to do this now. I will be doing this afterwards,” and planning out my whole day and my evening.

But what changed things around was when I got in the session with the two of you, there was music playing, and it was so soothing and relaxing that it put me in my happy space. So, I had immediately stopped thinking about my to-do list in my head and started enjoying the moment.

Christine Shaw: Yeah.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: And it was a result of the music.

Yeah. You know, you reminded me of a little story. When my kids were little, we went to Disney World and I love to go to theme parks. I actually worked at Disney. I was in the electric light parade, I was in the Easter parade, I was a flower and a butterfly. So that was fun doing those things.

But I went with my kids one time and we were riding on the tea cups, and here we are, my kids are young. They have such joy on their face. So they’re loving this spinning around. And as we’re riding on the tea cups, I was looking over across the park and thinking to myself, “Oh, what ride are we going to do next?”

And I was like, “Oh my goodness, look what I’m doing.” And I came back to the moment and I’m like, “I can’t believe that I’m not even here.” I was there for a few moments, but then I went off to something else and I was like, all right, that’s a huge example of how can I be present with what’s happening? Nothing else matters in this moment. And I give my full attention, like I’m giving my full attention to you and what we’re talking about.

And when you do that, something really magical happens. You’re like, “Wow. I was really present.” I was present with that person. I was present with the way my body was feeling. I was present with the nature of the day. And really, really notice those moments. Because like our title is “From Resistance to Acceptance,” this is the way you do it. What am I resisting doing? And how can I accept this moment, this precious present moment, how it is?

Going back to our title. Now, it makes sense to an example I had. And I think it was my aha moment, and how some of the techniques that you have stated have worked for me. And I remember, as I said, I have to-do lists in my head almost 24/7. Or I think about alternatives.

And one day I remember being on the highway. I left one place and I was running late to another appointment. In the beginning, I was thinking about, “Okay, are there other ways I can go there to get there faster?” All types of thoughts were going in my head.

And it was just a matter of, all I could think about was how do I get to my next task? And I’ll never forget because it was very unique for me. As I was coming around one of the ramps, some of the techniques came to my mind and immediately I start to question, “Well, why do I have to go there? Can I do this another time? Isn’t my desire to get there causing undue stress?” And I did something I’ve never done in my life. I turned around.

Christine Shaw: Wonderful.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: And I was like, “That can wait till another time. I’m going to live in the present.” And, “What makes sense for me to do right now that does not cause stress?” So I changed around everything I had planned and started living in the present and was like, “What will keep peace in my present?” I’ve tried to utilize that situation, what occurred, in my life on a regular basis today. And that’s like, “Yes, I see this list, but in the present, what can I really handle? What can I really do?”

Christine Shaw: Yeah. I love it. I love to break down maybe complicated things to their simplest, simplest thing. And so I will give people a technique they can do, just one little thing. And I remember someone sharing with me that they did this thing. So, in one of the classes, I said, “See if after this class, when you get into the car, and you drive,” you reminded me of this, “that you can simply drive the car. Don’t turn on the radio. Don’t think of your to-do list. Don’t read the billboards even. I mean, you can see them, but try to just be.” And, of course, you’re going to be watching traffic, signaling, and seeing the people. But just be, without any comment about everything you’re seeing.

And she said for the first time she drove the car that way, it was like a dynamic experience. Like I said, being present with what is, it makes you feel like everything is crystal clear in your environment. And then also crystal clear in your head. You don’t have so many thoughts. And a lot of our thoughts are just ego telling us what we need to do or not do.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: I totally agree. And it’s trying to get to that single thought.

Christine Shaw: I’ve got a huge to-do list too, by the way. But I tend to do what you do where it’s like, “Well, I can’t do it all in this one day. I’m going to go through the list and check off two or three things.” I’m like, “Yay. That was good. I accomplished stuff.” I think a lot of times we don’t give ourself enough credit. We don’t celebrate the accomplishments that we do. We just go through them oh, tick, tick, tick. I did that, did that, did that. And we don’t pause and go, “Wow, look what I did today.”

So circling all the way back to the beginning of our conversation, that’s what you could do at the end of the day. When you’re getting ready to go to bed, just sit down and give yourself this celebration, a compliment to the fact that you accomplished some things that day, even it was the littlest thing.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Exactly. And it doesn’t have to be the whole list. Well, Christine, I want to thank you so much for joining me today and sharing your expertise. Are there any closing remarks that you would like to share with us?

Christine Shaw: I think we mentioned about using your imagination to create what you want. There are wonderful ways to do that, and it involves you just doing a lot of the things that we said today. Right? Keeping things simple. Complimenting yourself for your accomplishments. Being in the present. Raising your vibrations. Starting your day off with a nourishing routine.

I want to challenge the listeners now to just, right now, create just a little routine that you could do in the morning. A daily routine that nourishes your mind, body, and spirit, and just see how that one practice really can change your whole day.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper: Well, thank you. I’m sure our listeners appreciate those words of wisdom and will give it a try. And I want to share with everyone, Christine, and I plan to do it series on these type of topics, because both of us are really dedicated to making sure that there’s a mental mind-shift among many people, and some of the, “unhappy” things we hear in the news, devastating tragedies that are occurring in different communities. How can we be responsible for ourselves to make a difference? Keep that thought and join us for the next session. This is Marie Gould Harper thanking you for listening to our podcast today.

Dr. Marie Gould Harper is the Dean of the School of Business at American Public University. She holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from Wellesley College, a master’s degree in instructional systems from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate in business from Capella University. She is a progressive coach, facilitator, writer, strategist, and human resources/organizational development professional with more than 30 years of experience.

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