Emotional Wellbeing

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Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Deepak Chopra, M.D.

One of the most common – and most destructive – pitfalls in any relationship is the phenomenon known as projection. Projection occurs when  we attach a quality, belief, motive, or feeling that we have disowned in ourselves onto another person. For example, to avoid feeling that we’re not good enough, we judge others as inadequate.

Projection is destructive to relationships for two major reasons: 1.) It prevents us from truly knowing and accepting ourselves, and 2.) It prevents us from truly knowing and accepting others.  In addition, the traits or feelings we have denied in  ourselves have an unexpressed energy acts like a magnet, repeatedly attracting the “wrong” people into our lives until we’re willing to accept both the light and dark sides of ourselves.

Frequently, we are unaware that we are projecting and are unaware that the very trait we are projecting is our own. A man who secretly thinks that his boss secretly hates him may actually be projecting his own hidden rage against authority. Or a woman who is feeling tempted to have an extramarital affair may project her desires onto her husband and become obsessed with the idea that he is being unfaithful. At one point or another, we have all used projection as an unconscious defense to avoid looking inward.

Embracing Your Wholeness

The essential nature of the universe is the coexistence of opposites. You cannot be virtuous if you do not have the capacity for evil. You cannot be wise if you do not have an inner fool. And you cannot be generous if you do not have a stingy person inside you. In fact, the most enlightened people are those who accept their own ambiguity and full potential for light and dark. As the ancient Vedic sages observed, “The measure of your enlightenment is your level of comfort with your own paradoxes.”

The first step to stop projecting is to see when you’re doing it. Negativity is a major clue that you are projecting, for projection is never neutral. It expresses itself as negative energy because what it’s disguising is negative.

emotionsContact your hidden feelings. The moment that you realize you may be projecting a hidden feeling, tune into what that feeling is. Don’t delay because the opportunity will quickly evaporate. Just before you deploy your defense, you actually feel that which you don’t want to feel. Ask yourself, What am I feeling right now? and notice the sensations in your body. Feelings are so named because we feel them in our body. Our mind may try to rationalize or dismiss feelings, but the body never lies.  To connect with your feelings, you will need to be alert, wiling, open, honest, and courageous.

Make peace with your feelings. Once you are in touch with your feelings, acknowledge them. Don’t attack them, bemoan them, attempt to change them, or even try to feel “fine” about your unwanted feelings.  All of these strategies reinforce denial of your authentic inner life. Feelings have feelings, and they know when they are unwanted and will cooperate by going underground.  Fear cooperates by trying to hide. Anger cooperates by pretending it doesn’t exist. It’s impossible to accept an unwanted feeling, and until you simply allow and acknowledge a feeling, it will persist. That is all you need to do. Tell your feeling, “I see you. You belong to me.”

happy childrenAs you practice acknowledging your feelings, they will start to feel less unwanted and then they will begin to tell you their story. Every feeling contains a story: “I am this way for a reason.” Be receptive to the story that emerges, no matter what it is. Most painful stories of guilt, shame, resentment, inferiority, and other primal negativity are rooted in childhood. Imagine the small child that you were and, as best you can, be gentle and accepting. Remind yourself that you had a valid reason for denying or rejecting a feeling or aspect of yourself.

As an adult, you no longer need to protect yourself from a childhood that is long past. You can now experience the full range of your emotions in complete safety, knowing that you aren’t a threatened child but a magnificent spirit. The more you practice allowing your feelings,  the more peace, love, and self-acceptance will expand in your experience.


FreeToLove-EmotionsPathHealing from Painful Relationships
If you are having a hard time letting go of emotional pain created from past or ongoing relationships, consider  joining us at the Chopra Center for the Healing the Heart workshop this June 1-3, 2012.

tim_headshotDeveloped by Chopra Center co-founder Dr. David Simon, this life-transforming workshop is based on a unique five-step process that integrates the wisdom of the Eastern healing arts with modern psychological principles. In our compassionate setting, you will be gently guided by Chopra Center master educators Dr. Tim Brieske and Trista Thorp to identify and release the emotional pain and limiting beliefs that contribute to anxiety, addictive behaviors, chronic pain, depression, obesity, chronic fatigue, and many other physical and emotional health problems.
Learn how to forgive yourself and others, and – most important – fill the newly opened space in your heart with love, strength, and trista_headshot_updatetrue fulfillment. Whether you’ve recently experienced an emotional upset  or you have been carrying the pain of old  wounds for a long time, Healing the Heart will help you rediscover joy and return to wholeness.

Learn more and enroll in Healing the Heart here.

Happiness is living in the moment. I know happiness is within. I know I have the choice to choose how I feel at any given moment. But for some reason I cannot sustain that. I don’t have any real problems, just an inability to attract a sustained loving relationship. How do I attain happiness if at this moment I am unfulfilled? How does one focus and meditate on hopes and desires and let go of incessant thoughts about all the things that are absent and unfulfilled. You speak a lot about detaching from the outcomes of your desires . . . but how does one really let go?

First I’ll begin with the question of “How do I attain happiness if at this moment I am unfulfilled?” You need to recognize the false premise your unfulfillment is based on. You are assuming that you can’t be happy or fulfilled unless certain external conditions are met, such as a loving relationship. Yet above you said you understood that happiness is within and living in the moment. If you are simply in the moment, then you aren’t placing any demands on how things have to be – you are simply being there with it.

When you say you can’t be happy because you don’t have a partner, you are making your internal state conditional upon external circumstances. That isn’t living in the present. By orienting your perspective and sense of wellbeing to operate from the inside-out, instead of the reverse, you find perfection and fulfillment in the ever-changing moment. In this way your silent witness is not only detached, but at the same time your sense of purpose is also fully engaged in creating the life you want according to your life purpose.


Join Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Center as we travel to Chicago on the pathway to happiness.

Seduction of Spirit: Pathway to Happiness
July 9–15, 2012
Eaglewood Resort & Spa, Chicago, Illinois

Are you seeking more joy and fulfillment in your life?

This July at Seduction of Spirit, the Chopra Center’s signature meditation and yoga retreat, Deepak Chopra, the Chopra Center’s master certified instructors, and special guest Mike Dooley will guide you in a week of timeless practices and wisdom for awakening to the happiness that lies
Seduction of Spirit: Pathway to Happiness features:

  • –Instruction by Deepak Chopra  in an advanced meditation sutra practice taught nowhere else
  • Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga classes led by Chopra Yoga Director Danielle Mika Nagel
  • –Instruction in Primordial Sound Meditation and your personal mantra
  • –Interactive sessions with Mike Dooley, a renowned spiritual teacher and author of Notes from the Universe
  • –Time for silent reflection and rejuvenation
  • –A warm community of like-minded people

Join us for a life-changing journey to the heart of happiness! Call 888.736.6895 or click here to learn more.

Lisa McCourt is a renowned speaker, teacher, and author of many best-selling books about unconditional love. In her new book, Juicy Joy, she offers a powerful guide to creating the life of your dreams – one filled with happiness, personal freedom, abundance, and true fulfillment.

Each page of Juicy Joy resonates with Lisa’s authenticity, warmth, and wisdom.  Filled with  practical tips and inspiring, heart-felt stories from Lisa’s own life and from the thousands of people she has coached, Juicy Joy will help you connect to the truth of who you are and share your own unique gifts and talents with the world.

To order your copy of Juicy Joy, click here.

What People Are Saying

“I love this book! It’s honest, from the heart, inspiring and, like the title says, juicy. Lisa McCourt captures all the values I hold dear and expresses them in a believable, engaging, and exciting way.” ~ Alan Cohen, author of Enough Already

“Lisa is a sparkling example of what she teaches. She excels at the art of being ‘happy for no reason.’” ~Marci Shimoff

“Lisa McCourt is a daring and adventurous life pioneer. If you are ready and willing to follow her 7 Steps, I promise you will be forever (and fabulously) changed.” ~Arielle Ford, author of The Soulmate Secret, and foreword writer for Juicy Joy

“Lisa McCourt has developed a brilliant step-by-step system for relocating yourself as the juicy, delicious, vibrant creature you were born to be. Allow these seven steps to launch you into unprecedented heights of self-adoration.”
~Regena Thomashauer, author of Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts

Lisa McCourt

Lisa McCourt

More about Lisa

Since Lisa McCourt’s bestselling books about unconditional love sold over five and a half million copies, were translated into 11 languages, and received multiple publishing industry awards and starred reviews . . . she thought she was a real smarty-pants on the subject of love. Then a lightning bolt of divine insight struck her and she realized, at last, that there’s one rare flavor of love that transforms everything and without it, no other flavor can exist. Self-love: it’s not just a cliché anymore! Once Lisa witnessed the miracles that are possible through true self-love, she made it her mission to perfect the art and science of achieving radical authenticity and outrageous self-adoration. She has taught her juicy-joyful, sometimes shocking, always delicious methods to thousands in her popular presentations and online trainings. Lisa lives in sunny South Florida with her two self-loving kids.

CalmQuestion: What is the purpose of meditation?

Answer: People are drawn to meditation for many different reasons. Some begin meditating because of a doctor’s recommendation, seeking health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, stress reduction, and restful sleep. Others come to meditation seeking relief from the fearful, angry, or painful thoughts that constantly flood their mind. Still others come to meditation in search of greater self-understanding and expanded states of consciousness.

It is accurate to say that the purpose of meditation depends on the meditator – but it is also true that anyone who meditates regularly receives profound benefits on all of these levels – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

Meditation isn’t a random or chaotic experience. On the contrary, it is a systematic process that allows the mind to experience its nonlocal source – the field of pure potentiality. That is why meditation can be taught and why it produces repeatable results.

We invite you to experience the power of meditation in your own life by joining us for the 21-Day Meditation Challenge beginning February 20. Registration and participation are free! Join us for a guided Mind-Body Odyssey led by Deepak Chopra, davidji, and other master Chopra Center instructors. Learn more and register here.

“There is no greater magic than meditation. To transform the negative into the positive. To transform darkness into light – that is the miracle of meditation.” ~Osho

Traci Porterfield

by Traci Porterfield

I love the holidays . . . all the decorations and glitter and holiday music, the delicious, seasonal pumpkin spice lattes, getting letters and cards from special people I wish I saw more often, and what I cherish most ― the excitement and sparkle in my son’s blue eyes as he counts down the days until Santa comes down the chimney.

I treasure the holiday time with family and friends, as well as the blessed respite from the daily routine. However, this is not a universal perception. For many people, the holidays are far from the most wonderful time of the year. They may be grieving the loss of a family member or might have experienced a difficult break-up earlier in the year, leaving them newly single in a season that celebrates togetherness and romance.

gold heartXSmall

As a professional relationship coach, I’ve worked with many clients who dread the holidays because they feel uncomfortable with their single status. I remember working with a client I’ll call Carol, an attractive, newly divorced woman in her forties. She told me about going to a neighborhood Christmas party where her elderly neighbor introduced her as “the single girl next door.”  A little while later, she was talking with a couple who asked her, “Who did you come to the party with?”

Carol told me that when she answered, “I came alone,” an uncomfortable silence followed and she swore that they were looking at her with pity. She said she felt like she was on display at a petting zoo, as if she were a member of a rare and endangered species that only came out between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Carol said that at any moment she expected the other party goers to take up a collection to save the species and motivate them to breed and repopulate.

I laughed but I also shook my head at her negative exaggeration. As David Simon has often said, “Reality is a selective act of perception.” Carol perceived the party through a lens that was heavily shaded with fear and insecurity. She could have just as easily focused on the friendliness of her neighbors, the opportunity to meet new friends, and gratitude for the delicious food and warm setting. The truth is that she was the one harshly judging herself.  The couple she met may have been envying her apparent freedom, while the older neighbor may have wished he could be her age again.

Cultivate a Loving Internal Dialogue

If, like Carol, your internal dialogue about being single is filled with thoughts such as “What’s wrong with me? Why am I alone again? Why can’t I find a compatible partner? Everyone must think I’m a real loser . . . ” ― I would strongly encourage you to shift your perception and to remember that your essential nature is infinite spirit. While most of us were taught to seek love and happiness from external sources, both of these qualities are innately ours. When you feel lonely or isolated, it’s because fear has clouded your perception, keeping you from experiencing the love and wholeness of your true Self. There is a beautiful quote from Deepak Chopra that expresses this idea in just a few words, “That which you are seeking is seeking you.”

Whenever you find yourself caught in a negative internal dialogue about being single (or about anything else), remind yourself that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Ask yourself, “How can I be more loving to myself in this moment? What is the kindest thing I could do for myself right now?”

Be Open to All Expressions of Love

snow Angel

When I hear clients bemoan their “alone” status, and I remember the wonderful parents, siblings or children of whom they so fondly speak, I have to stop and remind them that though they do not necessarily have the specific form of love they so passionately seek, love is in abundance if they take a moment to recognize it.

Christmas shopping with their mom or sister, lighting candles with family at Hanukkah, playing with young nieces or nephews, holiday parties or outings with friends, all of these times resonate with joy and togetherness. If you put your attention on cherishing these moments and truly being present, feelings of loneliness will dissipate.

Cherish the relationships that you have with your family, friends, and co-workers. Even though they aren’t the “eros” love connection you may desire, they offer invaluable gifts of connection, comfort, and cheer during this holiday season.

Focus on Giving

As a single guy or gal, you have a rare and wonderful opportunity to help others who don’t have your freedom and flexibility. Why not offer to babysit for the couple with the new baby who have not had a night out alone in months. Invite your sister’s kids over for an afternoon so that she can finish some last-minute gift shopping. Volunteer at a soup kitchen on Christmas day because you want to help, and you CAN!

You can also enjoy the ritual of giving to yourself. Treat yourself to a massage, a new pair of shoes, or a meditation retreat. Do you want to plan a last-minute trip for New Year’s Eve? Go for it! You don’t have obligations to tie you down. The ability to be spontaneous, creative, and exuberant is a wonderful benefit to being single at this time of year! The important thing is to appreciate and take advantage of your single status in whatever way you choose, whether doing for others or nurturing yourself.

Make plans you’ll enjoy


There are a wide variety of holiday events you can enjoy by yourself or with friends.  Be adventurous and try something new this year. Even if you don’t consider yourself a good singer, attend a sing-it-yourself Messiah and experience the spiritual communion of hundreds of voices soaring in unison.  Even if you don’t normally attend church or temple, go for a candlelight service or concert.  See a play at your local community theater or spend an afternoon curled up with a good book in front of the fire.

Appreciating where you are in life is truly one of the keys to happiness.  Enjoy this portion of your journey . . . the lights, the music, and festivities – and the peace, stillness, and joy of the season.  Cherish the deep connections you already have in your life, and be open to possibilities for new friends and relationships. And if you feel inclined to tell the Santa at the mall that the most important thing on your list is a wonderful person to LOVE and share your life with, then do it!  Put your intentions out into the universe and know that you are infinitely lovable.

Traci Porterfield is a human resources consultant for the Chopra Center as well as the founder of Love by Design, a relationship coaching company based in Carlsbad, California.

Live Like a Fruit Fly

“In Live Like a Fruit Fly, Gabe Berman shares his recipe for living a more joyful,worthwhile, and abundant life in every way. A witty, entertaining, and insightful read.” ~Deepak Chopra

In his newly released book, native New Yorker Gabe Berman shares his engaging perspective about following our passions, staying present, and practicing active appreciation. Filled with insightful musings, humor, and stories everyone can relate to, Live Like a Fruit Fly will help you awaken to the joy and meaning available in every moment.

An interview with Gabe Berman

Why should we live like a fruit fly?
Gabe: Fruit flies usually die of old age within ten days of being born. Seizing the day is their
only option. Likewise, your tomorrows aren’t guaranteed either. You may have your
whole life ahead of you, but as you grow older, it seems as though less and less time
elapses between birthdays. If you haven’t felt this yet, you will.

Q: What prompted you to write the book?
Gabe: After college, I jumped from one sales job to another. Towards the end of my tenure of
trying to coax people into buying things they weren’t interested in, I hung up the phone
after a making a sales call and thought, “My life is too short for this. I can’t waste it. I
need to live like a fruit fly.”

Q: Your writing style is unusual for the self-help genre. It’s more conversational
and less dogmatic. Is there a reason for this?
Gabe: I’ve plowed through many books in the self-help, new age and eastern philosophy
sections and I don’t relate to writers who preach to me so I vowed not to do the same.
My goal was to sound like a trustworthy friend.

Q: Which authors have influenced you the most?
Gabe: On the spiritual side, there’s Neale Donald Walsch, Deepak Chopra, and U.S. Anderson.
I’ve also made plenty of room for J.D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, and Hunter S.
Thompson. But it was a book I read as a kid that made me want to be a writer The Spy
in the Ointment
by Donald E. Westlake. In this spy novel, the main character speaks to
the reader in parenthesis as if he’s talking to the camera in a movie. My book is similar
but I’ve made myself the main character and all I do is talk to the camera.

Q: You sporadically quote others throughout your book. Can you pinpoint the one
that means the most to you?

Gabe: I used a quote from Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frankl. I believe life boils
down to the choices you make and I couldn’t have said it better than this, “We who lived
in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting
others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but
they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the
last of all human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances,
to choose one’s own way.”

Q: Although you mock yourself for doing so, you make a few references to the Star
movies. Care to comment on this?

Gabe: I grew up with Star Wars and thanks to the prequels, my young nephews are doing so as well.
As with Harry Potter, I believe people are so attracted to these stories because it shows how
one unassuming person can make such a difference. Luke Skywalker was just a farm
boy with a bad haircut who ends up saving the universe from evil. What’s there not to

Q: You mention the events of 9/11 in the beginning of the book. It’s a significant
day for everyone but what does it mean to you?

Gabe: If 9/11 doesn’t show you how unpredictable life is, nothing will. All the planning and
all the worrying ended up meaning nothing for those people caught in the buildings that
day. We need to worry less and live more. We need to live for today.

Q: Do you have advice for aspiring writers?
Gabe: It’s the same advice I’d give to anyone who’s aspiring to do anything bold. You must
kick the first door open to have other doors open for you. It’s rare that the first door
opens without a bit of force. People are always telling me that they’d like to write a
book. But how many of them have actually started writing? Almost none. You need to
start writing if you want to be a writer. You need to start juggling if you want to be a
clown in the circus. It seems as if the Universe doesn’t budge from your desire alone.
It needs to see some action.

Q: Are you working on a new book?
Gabe: Yes, you can see it unfold at blog.livelikeafruitfly.com.

Read reviews of Live Like a Fruit Fly and order your copy at Amazon.

m.w.Relationships as a Spiritual Adventure: A Three-Part Teleclass Series with Marianne Williamson

Beginning August 17, renowned spiritual teacher and best-selling author Marianne Williamson will be offering a special, live teleclass series.

A Message from Marianne:

Dear Friends,

According to A Course in Miracles, relationships are “assignments” in which people are brought together for maximal and mutual growth opportunity. Our relationships can be trips to heaven or trips to hell, depending on how we ourselves choose to interact with another person. Knowing the principles of loving relationship — recognizing the spiritual lessons afforded us by each encounter — gives us skill and even mastery at this basic human experience.

It is through relationships that we either rise to our most creative possibilities in life, or fall into the patterns of fear that would consistently hold us back. In this three part series of ninety minute calls, I will reflect on the spiritual and psychological principles that give us the light and understanding to emotionally soar.

Register for Relationships as a Spiritual Adventure here.

Teleclass Schedule:
Wednesday, August 17th: Relationships as Holy Encounters
Wednesday, August 24th: Intimate Love as a Calling of the Soul
Wednesday, August 31st: Forgiveness and the Power of Starting Over

6-7:30 p.m. (PST)

Playback of Teleclass:

The teleclasses will be recorded and available to all registered participants for playback. If you are unable to listen to the teleclass live due to schedule conflicts or time zone differences, you can still listen to this teleclass series. Access to listen will be emailed to you within 48 hours of the completion of each teleclass.

Cost: $55

Learn more about Marianne’s other events and lectures here.

thanking sunshine XSmallSince ancient times, philosophers and sages from every spiritual tradition have taught that the key to experiencing deeper levels of happiness, fulfillment, and well-being is cultivating gratitude. One of the earliest advocates of a daily gratitude practice was Dutch philosopher Rabbi Baruch Spinoza. In the seventeenth century, he advised that each day for a month, we ask ourselves the following three questions:

1.)  Who or what inspired me today?
2.)  What brought me happiness today?
3.)  What brought me comfort and deep peace today?

We invite you to try this practice and share your responses with the Chopra Center community. Your stories may just help others connect to the beauty in their own lives.  Whatever we put our attention on expands, so taking a few moments to focus on the gifts of our daily experience can open our hearts just a little bit more and may even blow the doors completely open . . . letting us feel our original, blissful nature.

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