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  GUESS THE LUMINARY  

The benefits of running late

Jo described her childhood as unhappy and complicated. Her mother was stricken with multiple sclerosis and her relationship with her father was estranged. As a child, she found occasional joy in composing fantasy stories and reading them to her sister.

One day, while riding a commuter train to her secretary job, there was a four-hour delay, and while everyone else grew increasingly frustrated, she just sat there staring out the window. All of a sudden, an idea for a new story began to bubble up in her mind.

There was a boy, she scribbled on a napkin, with magical powers... She used the extra time and the rest of the napkins to transcribe the plot points to this fantasy story that was coming to her.

Between odd jobs and caring for her mother, she worked on the story. But after her mother died a few months later, she stopped writing, got married, and had a child.

A couple of rocky years later, she was divorced, living on welfare, and battling suicidal thoughts. Doctors diagnosed her with clinical depression. 

Three years after that, she returned to her manuscript, this time adding themes of the recent hardships she'd faced—the death of a parent, her debilitating mental state, and poverty.

She sent her completed manuscript out to a dozen publishers and one by one she was rejected. A year later, she received a meager advance from a smaller publisher, only because his 8-year-old daughter read the first chapter and liked it.

But the publisher had one strange request: would she consider adopting a more masculine-sounding pen name in order to appeal to boys? She agreed, using her first initial and the initial of her grandmother's first name, along with her maiden name.

The fantasy book that came to her while running late to work went on to become an international megahit. It was so successful in fact that she became the first billionaire author in history. 

Any idea who this now-famous author is? 

(the answer is below)
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  HELPFUL INSIGHT  
What's the best time of day to meditate?
(It's not what you think)
When is the best time to meditate? It's helpful to think of meditation like a phone charger for your body. In other words, it gives you rest, and that rest can help you access your intuition, give you more clarity, along with increased energy.

I teach that it's best to start your day with meditation as opposed to ending your day with it. And by doing so, you can use the aforementioned benefits to minimize the stress and enhance the quality of your activity.

This doesn't mean that you should avoid bedtime meditations completely. There are some wonderful bedtime practices like Yoga Nidra that can prepare the body for sleep. But as a strategy, the earlier in the day you meditate, the more you can use the benefits to avoid mistakes and successfully adapt to changes throughout your day.

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Prices increase on the 15th! "Ciao, Bello!" As you may know, we're heading to Italy from Sept 1st to 7th for my next meditation retreat. We're converging in the quaint, lush, Umbria region of Italy, nestled in a quiet valley between Rome and Florence.

There, I'll lead you through my comprehensive Vedic Meditation training, while another track of existing meditators will be guided through the advanced meditation practice of "Rounding." 

There will also be daily knowledge talks, yin yoga, delicious food, inspiring conversation, and everything else you need for an internal reset. We only have about 6 spaces left. For more information or to reserve your spot, click the green button below.
 
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  YOUR QUESTIONS + MY ANSWERS  
What meditation is best for anxiety?
In general, all consistently-practiced meditation helps to minimize anxiety. It's also important to understand that while meditation may not cure it completely, it can help to provide clarity in finding sustainable solutions that will lead to better mental health.

Do you recommend using music or sounds with meditation?
I prefer to meditate with silence. I find it more liberating that way because you don't need a lot of other things happening (music, white noise, etc) to feel like you can meditate successfully.
 
I read your book and I'm meditating consistently, but how can I take my practice further?
Meditation is like any other skill, in that learning from a book is a great start, but if you really want to take it to the next level, you'll need to get a teacher. No one who wrote a book about any skill learned to master that skill from a book. We all had teachers.

Why should I start meditating? 
Because you have untapped potential within you that can't be fully accessed when living life under the influence of stress. And meditation is like Kryptonite to stress.
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  MEDITATION TRIVIA  
(for sounding smarter at dinner parties)

What exactly is the difference between "meditation" and "mindfulness"?

"Meditation" and "mindfulness" are both generic words with overlapping definitions depending on who's defining them. Meditation typically refers to a seated, eyes-closed practice (but not exclusively—ever hear of laughter meditation, barefoot walking meditation, and gyrotonic meditation? Yep, that's a thing). Meanwhile, mindfulness is often viewed as an experience of present moment awareness that can be accessed while seated or while chewing food, communicating, walking, etc. So there are aspects of meditation within mindfulness and vice versa. If that feels confusing, join the party. Everyone else is confused too because the terms are often used interchangeably. But as a rule of thumb, all meditation can be considered to be mindfulness. And while mindfulness activities aren't all considered to be the same as meditation, they can feel meditative when practiced intentionally.
 
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(Answer: J.K. Rowling, who wrote the Harry Potter book series)
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