Transcript for episode 4 of Unleashed – Living in the Zone Podcast
Welcome to Episode 4 of Unleashed: Living in the Zone. On this episode, we will explore that big question of how do you live in the zone more consistently? This topic really comes from a keynote that Ian was asked to deliver last week.
The topic was How to Break Through to your Best Self. And I thought, “Wow, that’s an interesting topic. We could explore that on our podcast.”
So here we are. Let’s dive in.
I was thinking, as I opened that keynote, “Wow, what a topic. I don’t want people to think I’m Yoda.” Let me explain. If you’re on the couch, driving, or wherever you’re listening here, there are parts of your life where you’re growing and you’re evolving and it’s going really well for you and you feel like Yoda.
But there are other parts of your life that are kind of spiraling a bit out of control or not going so well. So, we are human, and at times there are areas of our lives that are off the rails a little. I think what Karina & I, are getting better at is noticing when we’re getting off track and then getting back into the groove.
So, just a little disclaimer there, that we’re not perfect, but we just riff about how to be your best self and try to unleash some of that potential. Because you all know there are times where you’re in the zone.
But how can you get in the zone more often or extend the roll you’re on? That’s what I’m really interested in.
I was reconnecting in advance of this keynote to a book I got on my iPad by an author by the name of Laura Vanderkam. In this book, she talks about the five things the most successful people do before breakfast. So, even before they sit down to have breakfast, she noticed a pattern with all these successful people she’s interviewed.
Here are the 5 things successful people do before breakfast:
- Exercise: First of all, they move their body. They do some form of physical exercise on a regular basis before breakfast.
- Meditate: They do some form of meditative practice. I want to interview Karina today about what she does in that space, because she’s got that happening on a very consistent level.
- Journaling: I’m actually taking some notes and just quietly reflecting on what’s coming up for you and why, or a bit of gratitude journaling, those sorts of things.
- Planning: Quiet planning time. We will want to do a deep dive into this on this episode and talk to that one.
- Inspired: They watch or read something inspiring that’s going to grow them and evolve them, so whether it’s a YouTube clip or whether it’s reading something inspirational before they get out of bed or certainly before breakfast.
And I think some people that are listening are going, “You’ve got to be kidding. I’ve got three kids and/or like, my mornings are already packed.” I think it’s fair to say that we don’t always have time to do all of those things. But even if we can just get one or two and start to get consistent in that, then kind of work up to it. Maybe try and make it a priority, even if you can meditate for five minutes.
Just that stillness for five minutes that doesn’t have to be an hour. And journaling can just be a couple of minutes of just putting your thoughts out on paper, and that includes quiet time and everything.
So, even if you just give yourself 15 minutes, if you can, in your busy morning, just to be constant and become grounded. It will help you plan for your day and set it off right. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you are. How less drama there is in your life, and that sets you up for the day.
So then you can deal with the kids or you can deal with the stresses and drama at work in a less reactive way. You respond better. You’re not reactive. Because you’re in a better state of mind. You’re in a bit of a frame, a much better state.
You’re in the zone.
Consistently living in the zone. You’re being nice to people. I remember you saying, “Love him or hate him, what did John Howard used to do when he was our Prime Minister of Australia?” He still got up every single morning, no matter where it was in the world, doing his duties, on behalf of Australia, and he went for a walk, he moved his body. So, it can also be a case just to politely get in people’s faces that they don’t value doing these things so that’s why they don’t get done.
That quote, “If you value it, you’ll get it done. If you don’t, you’ll make an excuse.” I guess it comes down to placing a value on doing these things. I reckon once you do them and get into a bit of a routine with them, you’ll start to see the rhythm of the day going much better, kind of showing up in the results.
So let’s just pick that number two, some sort of a meditative practice. I guess for you that comes under the banner of a bit of a spiritual practice that you go through. I’ll mention right up front here that, we’re not talking about religion here, but you definitely have a few spiritual practices you go through just about every day.
Like every day. It’s what my life is pretty much grounded upon. It’s not a separate category. Like if you think of all the different categories of your life, you’ve got your social, and you’ve got your finances, and your career, and your relationships. Well, spirituality for me isn’t a separate category. It’s all founded upon that.
And that’s how I live my life. I mean, meditation doesn’t have to be spiritual. Meditation… it’s a scientific fact that when we sit and meditate and quiet our minds, then it has a profound effect on the body physically as well.
There’s so many different forms of meditation. It’s not about stopping your thoughts. That’s the kind of thing that people think, “Well, how do I stop my thoughts?” It’s not about that. It’s about being a witness to them and then letting them go and not be attached to the story. Our mind will get attached to a thought, but then it’s about the awareness of realizing what you’re doing and then letting it go.
If you can imagine like a stream and you just let the thought go down the stream, and then you come back to the breath. Or you come back to your mantra. Or you come back to whatever you are focusing on. Like a candle or whatever.
On my website, karinastephens.com, I’ve got a whole virtual retreat that provides people with different forms of meditations that they can do. When you find something that you like, then you’re more able to stick to it better than if you’re doing it and you go, “I hate doing this, just like exercise.”
You make a great point. I really struggled with meditation when it was focusing on your breathing or doing the “Oms” and all that stuff. Then I found the style of meditation I like, which was a visualization where someone’s talking me through a process. That personally works really, really well for me.
I remember you saying when we were over in Phuket with that crowd and you were running a couple of meditation sessions about trying to stop your mind is like trying to hold back the ocean with Glad Wrap. It’s just not going to happen. There’s going to be thoughts flowing. You are going to go down rabbit holes, but you gave me permission to allow that to happen. You reminded me to just come back to focusing on the visualization or the candle or whatever form of meditation you’re doing.
Yes, and you do a mindful practice of just focusing your vision on a point in front of you and just being aware of that point. You might, if you’re out in nature, see a bird fly past. You can see the bird fly past but you’re still focused on that point. So that’s about being mindful of everything that’s going on in your environment but still without the story. Without going, “Oh, that bird, I wonder what kind of bird that is. Oh, it looks kind of like an eagle, but I really don’t know. It could be kind of something else, but…”
And then you get distracted by the cloud formations and…
Quieting Our Minds
Mindfulness is just on focusing on that point. You witness the bird fly by but are not engrossed in the bird flying by.
So what’s the prime intention of meditation from your point of view? What are you trying to do?
To quiet my mind, because when I live in my head I’m susceptible to thoughts that aren’t true, and I’m not grounded in my body. I’m not able to move through life in a way that makes me feel strong. If I’m in my head, the words that I say sometimes don’t make sense. I’m a bit scattered. You may meet people like this. They’re in their head.
You meet them at a networking event or something. They’re kind of scattered and they go down rabbit trails and things like that. But when you have a consistent meditation practice you respond to people differently. You articulate differently. It’s a world of difference.
You can also meditate throughout the day. Just take a couple of minutes to breathe, center yourself, quiet your mind, be in your body, in your physical body, and ground yourself through your legs and everything.
And I think that’s an interesting tip as well, that, trying to do some of your quick meditative practices in in the middle of your day. So for example, sometimes when I’m on a plane and we are either taking off or landing and I’m not allowed to be on my laptop, that’s when I’ll actually just listen to a meditation on my phone and it only lasts for 10 minutes. Before I know it we have either landed of taken off. But the meditation allowed me to get out of my head and just reintegrate back into my body, and I feel amazing after it.
It’s a scientific fact that meditation alleviates stress in your body, puts you back into the parasympathetic nervous system. It restores the relaxation and rest and digestive part of your body. It gets you out of that fight-or-flight thing that we go into when our bodies are under stress. It’s the quickest way to get back from stress or anxiety, and when you do it consistently, you’re less likely to get stressed.
Now, sometimes you do a meditation to quieten your mind. Other times you’ve got to, like some of the Dr. Joe Dispenza meditations, you do have a deliberate intent. Can you just tell me a bit about that?
Attraction through Meditation
I love a guy called Dr. Joe Dispenza. I’ve done his workshops and retreat. He focuses on meditation in a form of creating a life. It’s like goal setting but on a quantum leap scale from goal setting. So, you go to… and it’s too hard to kind of explain in this quick podcast, but you go to a place in your mind where he describes it as the “void”, and then you start to bring in emotions and feelings.
Say you’re focused bringing something into your life or you want to heal a part of your body. You go to that place through a series of breathing techniques and listening to his guided visualizations. Then you start to bring in the positive emotions of how you would feel when you are well, when you are healed.
How you would feel if you had that job? What emotions would you experience if you were able to have the finances? So whatever you’re kind of focusing on, and then it’s the emotions and the feelings that kind of alter your state and bring you into a higher frequency and vibration.
And that’s when you start to attract things into your life, and it’s amazing. He’s done scientific studies on the brain waves of people who are in this state. People have said it’s not possible to have that kind of brain wave frequency and be, alive, basically. It’s just a great way to start my day because I’m starting my day being proactive. I’m starting my day with my intention for the day, my intention for my life. I’m creating and co-creating with Source, rather than just being open to whatever happens willy-nilly.
Your thoughts are what you’re putting out there, like a transmitter, but your feelings and your emotions are the receiver. That’s what’s bringing things to you.
Yes. And your thoughts are the language of the mind, and your feelings are the language of the body. So when you’re listening to your body, that’s what you’re feeling in your body.
Getting Out of Your Head
I’m wondering if there’s anyone else out there listening who’s a little like me (Ian) that tends to play in their head. I’ve got to intentionally get out of my head and get into my feelings which might just be a male thing, or not.
It’s not, because that’s happened to me (Karina). I was a lot in my head and I ended up getting adrenal fatigue and burnout. I had to learn how to come into my body and listen and be able to understand how my body talks to me. So then I could get out of that stress state physically. I was great at getting out of it in my mind.
I could take a situation that just sideswiped me, and I could get out of it in my head in five minutes and go, “Right, suck it up, princess, that happened. Let’s just frigging move on.” But, internally, physically, my body was still in shock and going, “What the fuck did just happen?” I would suppress the emotions that wanted to come up in relation to that event. It’s when we suppress the emotions that we create disease and illness in our body.
Yes, disease. I didn’t want to feel the emotions that came up, so I was very good at suppressing them and living in my head. And life doesn’t work like that.
So that’s when it showed up physically in the form of adrenal fatigue.
That was how it showed up for me. Other people it could be… cancer or heart disease or diabetes. It will start… if you don’t listen to the silent whispers they become sledge hammers. I was on my back for six months because I couldn’t work.
This is what happens with your emotional system because it’s designed to warn or reward you. So you get reward signals happening when you’re doing things that are good for you physically and emotionally and mentally, but you get warning signals when you’re not. So, often that shows up in warnings physically, and if you ignore them for a long time, well, you know, the body has no other option but to give you stronger warnings.
Like my grandfather dropped dead of a massive heart attack in his early ’60s, and there must have been warning signals earlier, but he ignored them. Back in those days, we didn’t have the sort of studies we can do now to see that you’ve got some form of heart disease going on or something. But his warning signal… game over.
And the only way to hear those signals is quiet time.
You can’t hear them with that noisy mind.
Connecting with the Source
So that’s one of your spiritual practices, meditation. What about what you call “connecting with Source?” But I just want to back up here for a moment and say to listeners that, okay, these two have told us in the past they spent three years inland from Byron. Are they about to go on a little high level weirdness on us and duck over to Nimbin and kind of talk really religious talk?
Well, no, we’re deliberately calling it connecting to Source. So what do you mean by that? What do you do to connect to Source?
Well, I’m unapologetic in my opinion in that people need to be grown up enough to either put Source or God or life force or higher power, like whatever just replace the word with something else. Whatever your form of a higher power is. Mine happens to be called God.
I think in this day and age, we all know there’s something bigger than ourselves, outside of ourselves.
I use God, stands for, as Dr. Wayne Dyer used to say, grand organizing designer. There’s something bigger than us.
So, when I’m connecting with that energy, I also like to call it The All, and when I connect to The All then I can step into my Allness.
It’s just a few minutes at the beginning of the morning when I wake up to feel gratitude, and that instantly connects my heart. I feel my heart. And that’s where the connection is, through the heart center. And just feeling gratitude for what I have. I flood myself with gratitude and then I can feel the divine presence in my life, and I can feel it working for me.
The biggest thing for me when I was younger was, my mother was, “If it is to be, it’s up to me,” and that’s a bloody hard way to live your life, when you’re the only energy that is creating life for you.
But when you have a higher power that you know and trust that life has your back, and that you’ll be able to get through anything, it can save you. I have a conviction that there is nothing that life will give me that I cannot handle. That’s what has gotten me through all of my life, and I don’t know where I got it from, but it saved me. It saved my childhood.
Well, you got your great legs from your Nan. Maybe you got that from her as well.
Nan was a Catholic. I think I got a lot of shame from that. But for me, I guess it’s my way of co-creating with life.
And that is gratitude. I’ve been writing consistently in a gratitude journal for over 10 years now, and it is amazing how it opens the door to abundance. Because you’re always finding something, no matter how bad things are, that you can be grateful for and that instantly changes your state. It really does.
And what about your energy centers? You do a lot of work on your energy centers.
When I was diagnosed with stage 2 adrenal fatigue, I realized that I basically had no energy. When you have no energy, you realize how important energy is, and so I’ve been studying energy since 2012. Not the energy about body, but like everything in life is energy. You think about Einstein and Tesla and how they learned that matter is just a frequency, and whatever, however, the frequency vibrates at determines what the matter will look like, basically.
So, I realized early on that everything is energy and it’s just a matter how high it vibrates and the frequency, so I started to study things like the frequency of our emotions and I got into Eastern medicine. I learned about the chakra system.
In Eastern medicine, it’s the chakra system and in Western medicine it may be our energy centers are our power centers, but our bodies are made up of these kinds of spinning vortexes called chakras, and we have seven main ones in our body.
We have many, and there’s even… outside of energy centers, outside of ourselves. These energy centers all relate to everything in our life and they start out at our base and they work up to the top of our heads. If we’re having issues in a certain part of our life, it will equate to a different energy center. We store emotions in those energy centers and they get blocked. This means they don’t spin as fast or they can become sluggish, and it’s a matter of clearing that energy in that power center to help take the brakes off in that part of life.
So, to use a practical example, if you’re being submissive, not speaking up, not finding your voice with someone in your life, then that’s probably because you got a bit of a stuck throat chakra.
Throat chakra or your energy center needs some clearing.
And it can then manifest as issues with the throat. Tonsillitis, lots of issues where we have our voice diminish or we feel like we’re not heard.
It’s an amazing kind of area to explore, this whole dynamic. For years now, I clean my chakras every day. It can be as quick as 20 seconds, or I can spend an hour on each one. So, it’s just a process of awareness, of knowing where they are, and you can learn about it online.
I just want to clarify. An hour clearing all of the chakras, not an hour on each of the seven.
That would be your whole day gone.
Just one hour for all seven. But you can do an hour on one. If you feel like, “You know what? I’m having trouble with relationships. I can’t seem to find the right partner,” or, “I’m having lots of turmoil in different relationships.” You can spend an hour just focusing on your heart chakra, and going into that and clearing that energy center. The shift will be amazing. The shift in people around you and your life and everything.
Because we are, just again to bring a grand perspective, practical, we are made up of cellular energy. There’s a positive and negative charge, and if that charge inside your body stops, you are dead. So we are energy, but it comes back to the level of which you’re vibrating which we’ll get into.
We are about riffing practices that can help you be more in the zone and how to set up your day the right way. Something I like to do, I refer to this in my book, Shift Culture, which is an advanced personal development read, but I talk about Soul, the praying mantis.
He is a character, not sitting there in thoughtful pose or praying, but the praying mantis is a good icon for what I call “Soul time.”
There’s so much going on that the moment you wake up there’s normally someone demanding of your time, whether it’s your family members, then you get to work and there might be colleagues demanding of your time, clients demanding of your time, whatever.
This solitary time, Soul Time, which is just you with you, having some quiet solitude time in a quiet environment where you’re not going to be disturbed by anyone else, and you can listen to those quiet whisperings you were talking about.
Just set up an environment where you can hear some of the prompting that’s coming through you and what your gut’s saying. I use it to do a little bit of preparation time looking ahead in my diary. I would get a feel for what’s coming up and therefore what have I got to do over the course of the next week to get ready for that, that’s happening in two weeks’ time type stuff.
That’s a practice I’d really encourage at least three or four times a week. And again, people are going, “I don’t have time to do this,” but here’s what I know. Listen, I’m not perfect at this, by any means, but when I haven’t done some soul time, at least 20 minutes, three or four times a week, if I go a few weeks without doing that, I notice my life starts to get a little out of control.
And then the moment I re-invigorate the practice and do one soul session, it just feels like I’m more in control. I feel more empowered and I’m instantly more, back in the zone. So that’s something that I like to do.
Talk to us about flooding, this sort of flooding practice. I mean, what is flooding, and how do you do that?
Sure. Say we’re in a relationship and we want to feel more connected and in love and everything, so we might spend 10 minutes just doing the top 10 best moments of our life, or the top 10 truths. And so you just continue to do it and say how amazing it was, and really…
We flood every anniversary, don’t we? Over dinner we talked about our 10 best holidays and our 10 best adventures, and those sorts of things, and just relive. We’re re-flooding ourselves on the emotion of being in love with one another.
Yes. And like for me, in the mornings, we’ve got two little Bishons and they, for some reason, they’re just the most clingiest in the morning. So when I wake up I have two white furry faces in my face and then I’ll sit up and I’ll have a cup of tea. They’ll sit on me, and just want attention. I just get flooded with love every morning from those two dogs, and that just opens my heart up in a massive way for the rest of the day.
So that is like getting flooded with love. Whether it’s an animal, a pet, or a person, or, if you don’t have anyone in your house or you live by yourself, you can just do it with people who you love and just think about them and think of all the things you love about them. Or flood yourself with love about yourself.
That’s a good one.
Because… and this is important, listeners. You’ve got to be careful of the subconscious anchors that kind of creep into a relationship. If you come home every day for 10 years and you kind of walk in the door and you’re in a bad mood because of work. Then your partner picks up on that, and as soon as they see your face at 6:00 p.m., they kind of anchored into this tension, anger, not-happy-with-life, and soon they’ve only got to look at your face to get that sort of feeling. So you’re flooding the wrong stuff, so you’ve got to consciously flood your life with good emotions and good thoughts.
Okay, maybe just time for one more tip around nourishing your body and mind. So, like healthy food is a big thing for you, isn’t it?
Absolutely. We always try and eat organic. As you may know in a couple of episodes, I’ve (Karina) said that we’re mostly vegan, pretty much vegan. That’s our choice to eat that way. It makes me feel like I’ve got more energy and it also, it nourishes my ethics. And I’m a big strong advocate for animal rights and everything, so, I just feel better in my mind, body and spirit when I don’t eat meat and animal products.
We’ve all got to listen to our body and our intuition, and it will tell us when we’re eating something that doesn’t agree with us. You might have pizza and then you’re sitting there and half-an-hour later and your stomach’s bloated or you’ve got cramping or you might have milk or something and you’ll have maybe runs afterwards. It will tell you that it doesn’t want to eat that type of food.
It’s really intuitive. You really have to kind of understand where your body is and listen to that. To have a diet that’s right for you. I also supplement because of my susceptibility to low energy.
Some people view that supplements just create expensive urine. Where do you stand on supplements?
I think the ones that you get from the shop or the chemist probably are true. I get them from a proper natural practitioner, and I get tested, so I know where I am deficient so I know that what I’m taking is what I need.
So, that’s sort of naturopath or something along those lines.
Yes. Definitely. And then I guess soul time for me is baths.
Baths are underrated, aren’t they?
I love just chilling out and having that bath time. It’s my time. The water soothes me, and I like to do a meditation or I’ll listen to an audio book or just sometimes I’ll just wade out, light candles, burn incense , and that’s kind of my goddess time.
I could never be without my baths and stuff. And for some people it’s nature, and some people it’s the ocean. Like you find that part of life, nature, that calls to you, that sings to your soul, and just spend time regenerating.
I remember Richard, a personal trainer and self-leadership educator, he used to always say that baths are grossly underrated because they just immediately kind of put you into your… what do you call it, the parasympathetic nervous system.
You’re far more relaxed.
Well, there’s a host of ideas and tips to kind of set up your day right, or daily practices or for the week… that can put you in the zone and link them more consciously, so I hope that has helped you. As we chip away at this question of how can you unleash your potential and play more in the zone, live in the zone more consistently.
So, call to action. You know, even if it’s just taking one or two of these things we’ve been riffing about and putting them into practice or it’s reconnected you to something you used to do that you’ve stopped doing.
And the thing is, you deserve it. The big thing is, well, it’s a self-worth thing. You deserve to have that time for you. It’s not selfish. It’s not something that, “Oh, I can’t.” You need to put at the end of the day, if you get time. Make it a priority. You frigging deserve it.
If anyone does, you do, so give that gift to yourself, and make it a priority and honor yourself, and worship yourself enough to say, “I’m going to do some of these practices for me.”
Wonderful. Well, I think that’s enough, folks. Apply these tips and if this has been of value, then invite you to just call out to listeners, share the podcast, spread the word, and that’s Episode 4 in the can, and we’ll see you shortly with Episode 5.
Resources and Links mentioned in this episode:
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Tags: meditation, energy ,mindfulness, stress relief, energy centers, chakras, flooding,
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