Welcome to the Party, Lil Hil!
LIVING INTENTIONALLY WITH HILARY BOWEN O'DOUGHERTY
Because seeing others walk to the beat of their drum makes me feel like getting out my own drum and start walkin’ too.
To introduce Hilary, I could talk about how she's won four national championships and was the NCAA tournament MVP for two of those years. When I talk about her to lacrosse friends, they say, "Oh yeah, I had a poster of Hilary on my bedroom wall growing up." I could talk about how we both love crystals and talking about what journal prompts we've been doing lately. But -- I've known Hilary since I moved to Seattle three years ago, and I've accumulated many videos of Hilary that really show her true giddy nature - so here's Hilary for you:
What little (and big) practices do you incorporate into your daily/weekly/monthly routine?
"Oh man! Well, I think my answer to this question is constantly evolving and changing. Things that felt good, right, productive, important this week or month, could easily change the next week or month. With that said, there are some definite constants in my life:
- Connect with my Playbook - a good friend, Steve Schiro, has created this awesome self-reflection process called Choose Your Playbook, that helps you identify your life mission and the top 3-5 values that are important to you, so that you can be intentional about how you spend your time and align your actions with your values. It was such a powerful tool for me when I first moved to Seattle and didn't yet have a job or a community. My "playbook" has shifted over the years but I always try to refer to it, and keep it in the front of my notebook/planner. I try to refer to it at the start of every day. In case you are wondering, my mission is "Create More Light" and my values are Connection. Equanimity. Curiosity. Many of my practices line up with these values and looking to enhance them and engaged with them as much as possible in my day-to-day life! The practices are often, also the ways I find flow in my life.
- Meditation - when I am able to build momentum, I meditate every morning and do 2 special online community sessions during the week, too. It helps me feel grounded and is a great balance to my type A personality. It reminds me that it is okay to slow down, to spend time being still. I also find that it helps me connect with who I am and loving who I am regardless of the ups and downs in my life or my mind.
- Mindfulness - Finding time to be mindful and not rush through life without experience it are important to me. Mindfulness is like meditation in motion, it is being connected to life's moments! So I try to find ways and times to do that.
"Welcome to the Party" - this is a way to recognize my thoughts and feelings simply as that - thoughts and feelings and not reality. I learned this from one of my favorite meditation teachers - Jeff Warren. (you can find him on the CALM app - 30 days learning how to meditate - it is awesome!!!). There are two different ways that I used this:
- 1. You "welcome" feelings, thoughts, experiences to the "party" in your mind. It is work in equanimity, in flowing with life instead of resisting against it. It is pretty powerful when I can remember it!!
- 2. Many of us have different "voices" in our head and we tend to subconsciously listen and believe them. Now, the first step is to notice the constant chatter that is usually happening in our heads. Once you are able to separate the threads, you will notice you've got some different ones. Here are some of the ones I've given names to:
- Winnie the Worrier - worried about something coming up, worried about something that already happened.
- Blaire the Critic/Self Doubter - hard on myself, hard on others
- Rosie the Daydreamer - La la land
- Sam the Singer - I tend to sing in my head a lot!
- Barb the Planner - When I'm going a mile a minute, always looking ahead, thinking about what is next, making to do lists, etc.
- Lil Hil - ahhh shes cool, content. She's the reasonable one! haha
- So, you "name it to tame it" and invite them to the party in your mind! Like - "hey Winnie... whats upppp come on in. welcome to the party!" It sounds so silly and it is, but it is the perfect way to break from the seriousness of your thoughts, to separate from them and to befriend them!!
- "Don't Know" - As someone who likes information, and to collect it through every avenue possible.. and who also doesn't love the unknown, I like to practice having a "don't know" mind. This just means that when a worry, or a question comes up in my mind (usually when my mind is going to the future) I just say "don't know and that's okay".
- Puppy Time - now that I have a puppy. I try to see life through his eyes. He is curious and excited about everything and present in the moment. He is a great reminder when I get caught up.
- Movement - I say movement because what I love to do changes, and I don't like to put myself in a box! It is easy to I LOVE walks (disconnect to reconnect), I like to box, I enjoy playing lacrosse, and love a good hike as well!
- Connection/Community - family. friends. mentor/coach. - these are the three roles of connection/community that are most important to me. If you read about Aspen trees and how their roots are connected, that is how I like to think of my interpersonal connections and community. Every day after I meditate, I reach out to someone that is important to me. In addition, I am always trying to connect with those
- Reading - I said I love information, right? :-) I love non fiction and fiction a like. I love the feeling of getting lost in the pages of a book. It has to be a real physical book, too. It feels like a good little escape and a constant source of learning as well.
- Journaling - as much as I wish I was more of a regular journal-er , I just do it when the time feels right. This means once a week, one a month, just depends. I always feel more clear after, though. I like to journal in the style of a brain dump. I rarely read back, unless I am curious, but use it more as a way to clear some space in my mind and work through thoughts.
- Sleep! After reading about the importance of sleep in Why We Sleep, I always try to get my 8. There IS the magic life elixir, it is called SLEEP. Getting some of it makes everything better!
- Regular monthly-ish check ins with myself. Reflection time. - I pull out some prompts, think long and hard about how I am living. Decide what I want to keep, what I want to change.
- No email on cell phone - GAME CHANGER - I am bad with boundaries. I could work all the time and tend to form a habit energy around my email. At the start of this school year, I took email off my phone. It has been life changing. I used to think that I would miss something, or take too long to respond. Sure, that might happen sometimes, but for the most part - no one even notices!! It has done heaps of good for my mental health and ability to step away from work when I leave my computer.
- Making - making things for other people is something I have more recently jumped into. I learned how to make candles and I've really enjoyed the process of learning and improving at that. Also, it feels really good to make it with the intention of giving it away as a gift to someone. I call my candles Create More Light Candles with the idea that they hopefully both literally and figuratively create more light in peoples lives. I hope by giving them, they inspire people to be kind and create light in the world!
What motivates you/ moved you to start adding in more intentional living practices?
- My playbook and really wanting to align my actions with my values - just back to what I said up above. I want to be my best self, I want to be true to myself, and spend my time making a positive impact on the world.
- Constant battle between structure and routine, and following my heart/going with the flow. I tend to be very cerebral - an overthinker at times, and can spend a ton of time in my head. With that, I have been known to create LOTS of structure and routine in my life. Now, don't get me wrong, those things are good but not when they put your type A personality on overdrive. When I get like that, I need a reminder to go with the flow, live in the moment a little more. I find that I am always ebbing and flowing between these two but that I feel "home" when I float in the middle and that comes from being intentional and reflective.
- Getting the most out of my minutes. I don't mean in productivity but in the depth of my experience of life! One of my favorite meditation teachers speaks of this 4th dimension. This idea that there is no magic elixir to add years to your life BUT in a way you can extend your life by adding depth to each moment, by fully experiencing the present moment. My goal is to not take any moment for granted and to fully experience it with equanimity (which is impossible, but a good intention)! I know that sounds like some hippie shit, but I am kinda hippie!
Favorite podcasts? Source of "intentional living" kind of inspiration?
- 10% Happier - Dan Harris - his app, podcasts, books, newsletters.
- Jeff Warren Do Nothing Project - this is the online meditation community project that I do everyone Wednesday and Sunday.
- Under the Skin - Russell Brand is funny and inspiring at the same time.
- Super Soul Sunday - I LOVE hearing about other people's stories and what makes them tick. How great would it be to be Oprah and say "I want to interview X person" and then you get to. I love the questions she asks to get to know people.
- Jeff Warren - my favorite meditation teacher. I've listened to every interview with him, read his books, and "sit in" on the weekly online meditation sessions he does called the "Do Nothing Project". He is just such a normal dude who makes meditation feel accessible to all and lets you into who he is - imperfections and all.
- TedTalks!! - Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown (anything those two do in general)
- Cindoodles & Giddy by Nature - giddy bits keep :-)
- Firestarters and just all my powerful, inspiring friends
THANKS FOR COMING TO THE PARTY, LIL HIL!!! YOU INSPIRE ME JUST BY BEING YOU! KEEP IT UP!
Shon Purdy is up next... Get ready :)