Voices of Athena

Sit down with the highly accomplished members of Athena Alliance, an executive learning community for women leaders, to hear the personal tales behind their professional success. We learn the real story behind their inspiring executive careers — their fears, their failures, and what song they’re singing at karaoke. You don’t get to the top without creating some memorable stories along the way.

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Finding and Aligning with Your Purpose: A Guided Meditation


Hello. Welcome to Voices of Athena, a podcast highlighting the personal stories of some of the most successful women in business. I’m your host, Priscilla Brenenstuhl.
Today, we are going to do things a bit differently.
On our last episode, we spoke with Britt Ide, who talked us through her journey of discovering her North Star, her purpose, her passion.
And so often as a coach, as a yoga meditation teacher, I hear this idea brought up around purpose.
And a lot of people struggle to find and to live out their purpose.
And I thought it would be fun, meaningful to spend an episode doing a little bit of self-discovery around purpose. And so today I will be leading you through a guided meditation and also talking you through some exercises and tips for finding and aligning with your purpose.
Thanks for tuning in.
I want to start by taking a big deep breath.
Inhaling through the nose.
Bring the breath to the base of the spine and watch the navel arise on the inhale.
Take a moment to hold that breath in, to hold that expansion. And then exhale through the mouth.
Okay, comfortable.
Whether you’re seated in a chair, it’s best to have your feet touching the ground below.
If you’d like, you can lay down, try to keep from crossing the limbs, keep the body open, arms up.
And if you’re driving, which is where I do a lot of my podcasting, that’s okay.
This will still be beneficial for just listening, even if you aren’t able to follow the full exercise.
So just start to come into the body. Using that breath.
You’re using that inhale.
I find the expansion in the belly and the softness in the belly.
Hold the inhale.
Notice any sound, any feelings that arise as you get deeper and deeper into your own presence. Exhale through the mouth.
Inhale again.
See if you can inhale deeper and fuller. You can take that expansion into the heart center and to the head, tips of the fingers, tips of the toes.
Inhale a little more.
All that breath, all that expansion.
When you’re ready, exhale.
For the next 10 minutes or so, we’re just going to be here, there’s nowhere else to go, there’s nothing else to do.
But to be present with our breath and to be present, whatever arises for us in this time.
Don’t mind the monkey mind.
It’s okay.
If it’s trying to distract you, to pull your attention away, that’s what it was built to do.
Meditation is about finding our way through the monkey mind, allowing and also shifting the focus of the monkey mind so that it is useful to what answers we are trying to achieve.
So when the thoughts arise, acknowledge them and then allow them to float away. You can even imagine them distancing themselves from you.
If the thoughts hold particular wisdom into what we are trying to achieve here today, which is aligning to our purpose, allow the thoughts to settle into the body, breathe into and experience the thoughts.
I’m going to invite you to connect to a personal mantra.
This will help whenever you need to return your focus or your clarity inside. It sounds something like “my purpose is clear” or “I am aligned to my purpose” or it can just be “clarity”.
Whatever you focus on is what you will think most about.
Inhale, move through the body.
Start with the toes, walk the breath up the legs into the knees.
Again, notice any thoughts, any feelings that arise for you.
Move up the legs into the hips
Breathing into the pelvic bones, find more expansion in the base of the spine
inhales more
Through the mouth exhale in my root. My purpose is clear. Move up back into the navel, in my center, in my core. I am aligned to why I am here, to what I am here to create. Moving up to the heart, using the breath to expand the heart center, to notice any feeling, any blockages of energy. Your feelings are powerful tools to tell you what is right for you and what is now. Notice, free, allow. Take the breath up into the throat. Tennis off the teeth are soft. The base of the skull is soft. I speak my truth, I speak up for what matters to me. Allow, inhale, take the breath up right between the eyebrows, the pineal gland, also referred to as the third eye, the seat of intuition. Inhale more, feel the expansion to the energy circulating there. I am connected to the ultimate wisdom. I am connected to my inner knowing, my inner truth. Now, I invite you to take your arms and wrap them around your body, reach towards your shoulder blades. Settle in there, holding yourself, hugging yourself. Inhale, squeeze the arms. Squeeze the whole body, tense the legs, the toes, the head, and fingertips. Hold the posture as you exhale through the mouth, in Allegan and squeeze, seal the weight of your own body, feel the strength of your own being, perfectly supported. Exhale. One more time, inhale, and squeeze every part of the body, inhale more, feel the expansion in the heart center. You know this, allow, and then exhale, release the breath, release the posture, notice any sensations, notice any thoughts or feelings.

I want you to direct your thoughts to what supports you, to what brings you joy, what lights up your heart. Think of your friends and family, any hobbies or interests that you have. Think back to when you were little, what was it you couldn’t get enough of? Feel the sensation of gratitude. Go back to your vision statement, your personal mantra. Create one if you haven’t yet.

I am clear on my purpose. I am clear in my mind. I am clear on my path. Repeat it, putting your whole self in. Repeat it with conviction. I am clear on my purpose. I am clear in my mind. I am clear on my path.

Inhale, notice, trust in any guidance that you receive, trust in any discomfort that comes up. Discomfort, the pain is your teacher, now is an opportunity to move through, to shift that experience into understanding and compassion. Stay here in this sense of presence, stay here in this knowing. Any question that you ask now, any clarity which you wish to receive, will come. Yeah, get specific on what you want to know. Ask yourself, your mind is set up to answer.

I’m going to spend the next three minutes sharing a Sanskrit mantra with you. Sounds great. It is often used in meditation, it’s a particularly high vibrational language, focus more on the energy created by the words than on the direct meaning. And the mantra we use is “Wahe Guru Wahe Jio” This mantra calls on the ultimate wisdom, the clear perception of what is important. If you, at some point, want to join in and recite the mantra, you can, but otherwise, it’s also fine to keep with the breath deep with the body and allow the mantra to settle in. Settle into yourselves. Settle in to bring you clarity.
Wahe Guru
Wahe Guru
Wahe Guru
Wahe Jio
(chant continues for 3 minutes)
Now inhale
Suspend, and when you’re ready exhale, really release. Be still and notice. You can call in your personal mantra, your personal vision statement. In slowly start to return yourself to the room. How to sing the sounds? No, sing the air on your skin. And I invite you to call upon whatever part of this resonated with you, to call upon your vision statement throughout the day, particularly when you go to bed as you lie down.

Ask these questions for clarity. For dreams have been used since the beginning of time to bring clarity, to bring information that we can always access in our waking state and become inquisitive. Throughout the day when deep feelings arise, ask a question: where in my body do I feel this sensation? What thought forms do I have around these feelings? How are they guiding me to understand myself, to understand my story, and my purpose? Notice the people who inspire you, how do they make you feel? What qualities are you particularly drawn to?

If the mind is racing and it’s hard to find peace, take a walk. Focus on self-care that will lead to self-discovery. Keep learning, you’re growing and changing every day. Connect with your community. Pursue your passion. What fascinates you? Repay attention to synchronicity. When you become present and focused when you ask, the universe aligns itself to provide the answers for you.

I’d like to offer that you will find acceptance for whatever comes up. Your purpose may be to simply enjoy the experience of living or to bring joy to others. You can get attached to lofty ideas of purpose. We can attach our self-worth to our careers, to what other people think is important or value, and we diminish the immense value that comes from simply being, from simply experiencing delicious food, from connecting with others, raising a family, being a good friend or a good neighbor, taking care of the land or the environment, or simply appreciating its beauty.

On this quest for purpose and meaning, make sure it is you who is assessing value based on what is meaningful to you. Use your body responses, use your reactions, use your emotions to guide your way.
Your story matters.

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This podcast was created to unravel the stories behind the dynamic and inspiring women of Athena Alliance. If you’re a member and want to be featured, we’d love to hear from you. Your story matters.