Donna Quesada: So, it’s almost like using that time to create a new habit? The Morning Cup of Coffee is a moment to habit change?
Ora Nadrich: Yeah! Exactly, Donna. The reason I came up with that…and I wrote that for the Huffington Post…Your Morning Cup of Coffee Can Be Your Meditation, is because I wanted to take something that people do on a daily basis, whether Its drinking coffee, or it’s drinking a glass of water, or whatever it is. Everybody eats. They have meals. They drink something…and turn that into the meditation. And when I started to introduce these ideas to people, they were so receptive. And of course, mindful eating is something that is so helpful in practicing mindfulness. Doing these things that we can do with the awareness. With the awakened awareness of what we are doing. So, the morning cup of tea or coffee really struck a chord for people because they never thought that they could turn something like that into a meditation. And by doing that and being so present with whatever it is we are doing, we can be so much more present, not only with what we are doing, but we can enjoy what we are doing so much more. We are not rushing through drinking coffee. Now, with a coffee shop on every corner…there is a Starbucks and Coffee Bean everywhere…people are running in and out with their coffee. They are ordering their coffee, they are running out, they are getting into their car. And you are not even spending any time mindfully with the thing that you are doing. So, it’s really just introducing these ideas to look at things differently that people are growing more receptive to.
DONNA: And in this world of hyper movement and distraction, it seems like it is more important than ever. And the word mindful has become almost a buzz word, and yet I wonder if people really understand what it is. Can I pin you down on that? What exactly is it to be mindful?
ORA: Well, I think being mindful, or mindfulness, has been linked to the Buddha. I believe that buddha couldn’t have become enlightened if he hadn’t been mindful, meaning present…being in the present moment with total awareness. Well, what does that mean, really? It means that you are present in the moment of which you are in. And the moment of which you are in, you are fully there. you are there. You aren’t partly there. You are there, meaning this moment, now, has your undivided attention. You are not, to use your word, distracted. You are not thinking about the past, which has come and gone and you are not thinking about the future, which has yet to come. And so often we are in every other time frame other than the present moment. We are thinking about what might or could happen. Or we are lamenting what has already happened which we can do nothing about. It’s already gone and over. So, mindfulness is being present in this moment, right now. The moment that you and I are in right now. We are having this conversation in the present. Not the past. Not in the future. We are in the present time having this conversation and we are fully attentive to this conversation.
DONNA: So just to play devil’s advocate a little bit…I remember once going to a talk…I think it was a Zen situation and all the emphasis was on presence. And somebody said in a cheeky way, “What is the big deal about now?” What if things really suck right now? What would you say to that?
ORA: Yeah, there are a lot of moments that suck, aren’t there? I think we know that and I think the Buddha did talk about suffering. It’s part of the deal. Moments that suck are part of the deal. And often times we want to be in any other moment, but the moment that sucks, right now. I get that. I understand that. But there is a way that we can help ourselves move through that moment with just more awareness, so we are not at the effect of it…so that it’s not a moment that is causing us even more suffering than we are already experiencing.
Which is really what my work brings up. I’ve got an online program now for Thought Coach Training, and people will ask me a lot of questions about, “What do I do with my anger? When you say ‘release and replace,’ how do I release this angry feeling quickly and replace it with something else?” I don’t say that until you spend time with the very thing you are experiencing. Your thoughts and emotions are very present for you. You need to be present with what you are feeling. But if you are at the effect of your anger, your thoughts are just going to completely surround that anger and it’s going to exacerbate the state that you are in. So, in as much as moments can suck, we know that. Don’t we want to help ourselves move through an uncomfortable, difficult or painful moment in the best way possible?
DONNA: I would think so. So, if I am listening and I’m having a problem with anger and I’ve got something going on at work and I’m just seething…and I’m resisting this, and I’m saying, “how does getting with it, help me?” I want to get away from it. What do we say to that person?
ORA: I believe that by having a clear understanding about what we are under the effect of, will help ameliorate it, help shine light on it and it makes us good problem solvers. If there is something that’s got us angry, how can we solve that? Often times when we are feeling a heated emotion and we are at the effect of it or we are triggered, we act on thatand we can say things that we wish we hadn’t. And we can behave in ways that we wish we hadn’t. It’s okay to announce that you are feeling this emotion. It’s okay to say to a loved one, “I’m angry right now,” or, “I’m hurt right now,” or, “I’m anxious right now.” I believe that when we are able to identify an emotion and be present with it, we are connecting more to, not only our awareness of it, but for me personally, it connects us more to our heart. Anger…it helps with more of a heart-full approach to it. We can then express ourselves in ways that are going to be less hurtful to another human being and sometimes less hurtful to ourselves. We can be very hurtful when we are angry. And when we can soften it with an awareness or understanding that we are having an emotional experience that is making us uncomfortable. Then we can begin to work through it in a way that can really shed some light on how we can grow and learn from it. And if somebody says to me, “I don’t need to learn anything from my anger,” then I would say, “it would certainly help you solve the problems around your anger in a much better way.”
DONNA: So, we are talking about mindfulness and the importance of being present with it in order to move through it. Where does positive thinking fit in? Or, does it? Is there a role for positive thinking? Because it seems like there is a difference between being present with…and maybe looking at the positive as a way for pulling up and out of it.
ORA: You know, positive thinking is….Certainly, it’s arbitrary. We can decide to think a positive thought or we can decide to think a negative thought. Or, we can decide to change a negative thought for a positive thought. These are decisions we can make with every single thought we have.
DONNA: Is it helpful?
ORA: Yes. Although I know there have been many books written about the law of attraction…and this whole notion of let’s think positive all the time and positive things will happen all the time…I don’t believe that is real. I subscribe to positive thinking—I want to be clear about this—I subscribe to positive thinking and I practice positive thinking and I teach methods and techniques and skill sets to be able to not default to old habitual ways of thinking, but to cultivate positive, wholesome ways of thinking that one can utilize to support their wellbeing. That I support.
DONNA: Can you give me an example?
ORA: Sometimes our thoughts can get negative and sometimes we can have an emotion that occurs from that thought. I say, “thoughts create emotions…create behavior…create reality.” This isn’t about just putting a band-aid on your thoughts. This isn’t about denying or pushing away…or again, let’s just think positive all the time and pretend we are never going to have a negative thought again. That’s not true. It’s part of the thinking process. But what’s important is to know what to do with those negative thoughts. Again, not to be at the effect of them so they become disruptive to our lives.
If we don’t really shine a light on our negative thoughts and we are just serving that thought and it has power over us because we have given it the power, then we are in that submissive relationship with a negative thought that we have created in our own mind. And the way in which we can get out from under it is to work with it, so it can be looked at. I very much encourage people to look at their thoughts. To understand their thoughts better. To listen to their thoughts because their thoughts have something to tell them and often times something to teach us. But you want to be able to utilize those thoughts in a productive, constructive way, so that they don’t become destructive and harmful to you.
DONNA: So, just to make it more palpable, let’s say I’m the angry guy who has had something going on at work. Someone stole my idea or I believe that someone is sabotaging my position or my promotion or something. What would be a way I could apply something more positive?
ORA: Well, you might not be able to insert positivity into that right away. You might need to feel what you are feeling, which might be truly angry or upsetting. But when that starts to take us over not only can it accelerate your heart rate or make you feel terribly stressed out…or maybe cause you to be so distracted that you are behind the wheel of a car and put your life in danger. I mean, there are a lot of things that can come out of this…being gripped by an emotion…be it anger, that is very counterproductive. So, when I say “solution oriented” or it helps us become better problem solvers when we can work with out thoughts, I think…where mindfulness is also extremely helpful, even in these heated emotional states…to be able to say, “wow. I’m really angry right now and this is very upsetting to me…and I’m aware that I am upset and this doesn’t feel fair or right to me. I am so aware of something that has happened that has caused me to feel this way. Now I must go deeper within myself so I can understand, not only why I feel what I feel but how can I take this feeling and transform it into something more useful for me.” Do you know?
DONNA: I think I do. You almost have to go through it before you can get to the point where you can turn it around or transform it.
ORA: Moving through it is really key because if you continue to be at the effect of it, then you are just on automatic and you are just spinning out. And we know what that does. That can wreak havoc. So, it’s a fine line…Again, I’m very encouraging to be one with whatever it is that you are feeling. Don’t push it away. Don’t deny it. But be aware when you are in reactive mode. You know, I talk about that in Says Who?The observer mode versus the reactive mode. Often times we do get triggered easily and we go into reactivity. And when we go into reactivity…again, we are at the effect. It’s like a dog being led by a leash. We are being led around by this emotion that we are very at the effect of. Rather than to take more ownership of that. To decide, well, I don’t want to be led by my anger right now. I don’t want to be at the effect of my anger. I’m aware, which is the mindful awareness of how I’m feeling. I’m aware that I’m angry, now what can I do with it? What can I do with it that is going to help me or help someone else? It’s useful versus not being useful. Do you know? And I just want that to be clear to people that It’s not about denying how we are feeling, or if we have a day that sucks or a moment that sucks. I like to hear that. When people go, “wait a minute… sometimes I just don’t feel so positive.” And sometimes I am angry. And sometimes this and sometimes that. That’s all good because that is all real.
DONNA: Ok. And is that what you don’t like about the Law of Attraction? Is it that it doesn’t allow us or doesn’t promote the essential part of going through it?
ORA: it’s not that I don’t like The Law of Attraction. I subscribe to the Law of Attraction. I do believe that our thoughts create our reality, which is the essence of The Law of Attraction. I just don’t believe that we should rely on the Law of Attraction to solve all our problems. We need to take responsibility for our thoughts so that when we are not thinking positive…because if its just about the Law of Attraction that we are supposed to think positive all the time…we are going to be really pissed off when something goes wrong. And we think we have been thinking all these positive thoughts and we didn’t manifest all the things we are supposed to manifest. Because you think you are going to get that brand-new car or you are going to get that brand-new house. One must work with this in a very rational, I believe, responsible way. That we are responsible for what we think, yes, and what we think we doattract. Unto itself, that is the law of attraction. You attract what you think. But there is way more work to do. It’s not just that alone. There are a lot of other things that we need to add to the mix of taking responsibility for what we think. And taking responsibility for our actions. And taking responsibility for all the things that we put out there into the world.
DONNA: Thank you for that, Ora. And this is Ora Nadrich. Says Who? is your new book. In these last few minutes, is there anything you would like to share with the Awaken listeners and perhaps let them know how they can find you or work with you, or if you have workshops or a website?
ORA: Yes, they can find me at oranadrich.com and there is so much information about what I am doing and what is coming up for me. I have an online course right now. I’m actually entering into my final week of it. It is a Thought Coach Certification Training Program that I am very excited about and I will be opening it up again in June. And they can get the information for that on my website oranadrich.com and also my institute, The Institute for Transformational Thinking, which has produced this online course. I will be at Rythmia, which is an all-inclusive wellness resort in Costa Rica, the week of June 23rd. I hope I am getting that date right! And I am going to be doing a workshop there on mastering your mind. And I am in the planning of several more workshops throughout this year which can be found once I solidify the date on my website.
DONNA: You are very busy! And I appreciate you giving us this hour. We appreciate you sharing your work with our listeners, and your book Says Who?
ORA: Thank you so much for having me!