We're taught how to tie our shoelaces; It's an alien concept to lots of us that we can indeed say no without dire consequences, and even if the consequences are undesired, that we can and will get through them. That's all meditation is: a mindspace. To enter it, start by making sure you are in a room where you won't be disturbed for at least 10 minutes, but 20 minutes is better if you can manage that; If need be, practice your assertion to ensure you have the space needed. If you are looking after dependents, do all you can to ensure they'll be fine without you for this little bit, so that you won't be plagued with anxieties when you try to meditate. Now, sit down on a carpet or cushion so that you are comfortable, with your back straight up. Do not sit on your bed; Now, if you are wearing any spectacles, you can remove them. They won't be needed. Next, close your eyes. Notice the fuzzy darkness that sits under your eyelids. We're also working with our financial adviser on where we want to be in the next five to ten years. Maddox, this is incredible, I said, clapping my hands. You really did it. You really made amazing progress. Thank you, BDJ, he said, his voice growing serious. He looked me square in the eye. No, really, BDJ, thank you. I feel so much better, and our harbor talk seems so long ago.

You're welcome. It's a pleasure. It's mind-boggling to some of us that we have choices and the autonomy to set limits for ourselves and those around us. It's never occurred to some of us that feeling safe and happy is way more important than feeling good. And we're not taught that being kind to ourselves isn't always the same as being kind to others--sometimes the balance tips too far and we become overaccommodating. If we're not made aware of this power within, we don't know it's there. If we're not given the opportunity to practice this stuff as young people, then as adults we find ourselves in unfamiliar waters. Wonky Messaging The messaging surrounding all of this can be so mixed up, too, often unintentionally. Tell a child often enough to do as they're told and funnily enough, they will, and they'll keep doing so, to their detriment. We're urged not to make a fuss and so we try our darnedest to be good and not rock the boat. We tell girls that when boys are mean to them, it means they like them, which teaches both girls and boys that unreasonable behavior is acceptable in some situations. Listen for the sounds around you. Perhaps you hear the flow of the wind, or the song of a bird, or the blare of an angry truck. Don't let it alarm you. You are now ready to turn your mind inwards. Let go of the sounds around you. Simply allow yourself to feel your breath. Be conscious of your breath, but do not move to control it. Authorship involves control, it is true, but that control must be tempered with trust.

Trust that your body will keep breathing, that it will keep supplying you with the air you need. Let it breathe, and simply be aware. But you better be careful, he added, opening the sliding glass door to the apartment. My kids are futurist-mad right now. They're going to hammer you with questions. I can't wait, I replied. And I really couldn't. THE POWER OF PEOPLE Quick Questions 3 Okay, back to the questions . Whenever I say that to my students, they know it's time for an exercise. This is a good moment to hit the pause button in the article and apply the connection between people and the future to your own life, within the broader context of the futurecasting process. When we make mistakes, like spilling our cornflakes or breaking a toy, we're admonished, teaching us that mistakes absolutely aren't OK. We're urged to apologize when we've done or said something wrong but aren't necessarily apologized to by our parents when they've done or said something amiss. We're told to always be honest, and then we're yelled at if our honesty isn't of the right kind. We're encouraged to respect our elders, but what if they behave disrespectfully? In our formative years, we're always looking to learn from the people around us who help us to take form. If the people around us don't understand boundaries, don't align their actions with their words, don't present examples to us of their limits in a clear and consistent dialogue, then as adults, we have a great deal of unlearning and relearning to do. We Fear Rejection The fear of rejection is pervasive and can have a massive impact on our lives.

It can prevent us from speaking up, from putting ourselves forward for promotions that we're more than qualified for, from negotiating contracts, and it can cause us to turn down dates, bow to peer pressure, self-sabotage, become an expert at people-pleasing, and basically avoid any situation or conversation where we might be judged, criticized, or rejected. This is all linked to low self-esteem, and every time the fear wins out, we're reinforcing the story we tell ourselves about how we're unworthy, that we will only be accepted by being good, masking our true feelings, or behaving how we believe people want us to. Let the feeling of the breath fill up your body, fill up your mind. Feel how cool it is when it enters your body, how hot it is flowing back out. Imagine yourself sitting in a field, watching the birds fly past overhead in an endless, beautiful formation. Or if you cannot imagine that, imagine a busy street, with many cars going up and down, with you sitting on the pavement. Maintain awareness of your breath. Keep your mind focused on your breath. If your mind wanders, bring it back to your breath gently. No matter how many times it strays, always bring it back gently, trusting that it will learn and sit with you quietly once it fully understands. Do not feel ashamed if you catch yourself wandering; Just bring yourself back, gently, and with gratitude that you were able to do so. Instead of starting you out with three questions in this exercise, I want you to come up with three people you believe could play a role in helping you create a positive future for yourself. We all have these people in our lives, individuals we respect and admire and gravitate toward, because we know on some level that they could be a positive influence. The operative word there is could. Because even when we recognize the value a person could bring to our life, too often we fail to act. Why is that? I think it's because we haven't thought enough about the future we want and how this person could be helpful in attaining it. Remember, the worst thing you can do in life is allow--or expect, even--someone else to determine your future. That includes waiting for someone you respect to tell you what you should do with your life.

In the first part of the exercise, you will identify three positive people in your life. In the second part, you'll figure out a specific part of your future you think they can have a role in, and how the relationship might play out. We often feel inauthentic, as though we're going to be caught, because we are being inauthentic; This leads to cockeyed boundaries, though--we end up putting up with things waaay past the point when they became unhealthy for us. It often results in our enabling bad behavior, not taking a stand against being wronged, experiencing burnout as we rabbit away trying to please others, living reactively and not proactively, ignoring our own needs, and as for those dreams of ours, they were kissed goodbye a long, long time ago. We might worry that setting a boundary will result in our being rejected in some way, but if people are scared away so easily just because we've identified and set limits for ourselves, then they're the ones who were most in need of the boundaries in the first place. Our not having boundaries has probably overserved them for far too long. Boundaries Themselves Are Misused and Misunderstood Boundaries can be misused as a means of control, coercion, manipulation, or to build barricades around us. We might experience this as having overly strict parents; Some people act as though they respect boundaries but incessantly try to chip away at them, even with habits such as eating--if we overindulge, we might decide to go on a diet, whereas it's probably healthier to be mindful of our relationship with food every day. It might be that we've experienced trauma and to protect ourselves, we pulled up the drawbridge: keeping the bad out, but also, in our rigid defense, blocking the good. As you continue to focus on your breath, give thanks to the first time you fell in love. If there was hurt, give thanks for all the healing you have managed since then. Thank yourself for remaining gentle where you could. Let your mind wander into the feeling of appreciation. Let it wander into thanks for the happiness of you and your loved ones, no matter how small or fleeting the moments. Happiness is always brief; Let it wander, then bring it back. Then, simply focus on your breath.