Adopt A Mantra

Do you have a personal mantra? I didn’t have one before. It isn’t that I didn’t believe in mantras. Rather, I never felt compelled to adopt one personally. Until a few days ago.

Birth of a Mantra

I have a morning spiritual routine that consists of mediation, reading, contemplation and journaling. It grounds me, and sets the tone for my day. This year, I have two perennial calendars providing inspirational thoughts for my daily spiritual routine. One is on happiness and the other on success, both by Dr. Robert Holden, one of my favorite spiritual authors. The following was the message on January 4 from the happiness calendar, which I took into meditation:

meditation

To be happy, love must mean more to you than anything.

I remember feeling those words instantly stirring my soul deeply. They were especially meaningful to me because of my intention this year to open myself up more to be used by Love in how I show up and in what I do to embrace being a leader. As I closed my eyes and allow my 2013 intention to marinate in the above message, these words came to me:

Do it for Love.

Thus birthed my first personal mantra. Do it for Love. The idea that Love would be the reason for doing anything filled me up with an indescribable expansiveness. I went through the rest of my day repeating with excitement and glee this exquisite mantra. Do it for Love. Love is my “Why” after all, so this mantra powers my intention for this year, and makes who I want to be more of and what I want to do so much more crystal clear and on purpose. Do it for Love.

Mantra in Action

Just the other day, I had an opportunity to put my mantra into practice. It was cold and rainy in San Francisco. (Yes, I realize that cold in San Francisco is mild in many other places. But it felt cold to me. :-)) After enduring a very unpleasant drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic to get up there, I found myself walking the streets of Chinatown with my family—and not being particularly thrilled about the whole arrangement. After all, in the 12+ years I’ve lived in the Bay Area, I only drive up to the City when I absolutely, positively must do so. Especially after several severe mishaps on the freeway, including one that almost killed me, I have a serious allergy to driving long distances. And, I’ve never (yes, never!) felt inclined to roam Chinatown, even when I worked a block from it in the financial district.

roseSo, why was I there? Because it was the last day of my Dad’s latest visit before he flew back to China, and my brother thought it’d be a nice thing to do with him. And, as I became aware of feeling annoyed, I remembered my mantra. Do it for Love. The only reason for doing what I truly didn’t want to do was because of my love for my Dad. As soon as I remembered my mantra, the warm feeling of love I felt that whole day my mantra came to me was instantly within me again. The reasons to feel put out faded away.

While this event was rather innocuous by any objective measure, I’m sharing it here because of the difference a few simple words of focused consciousness can make. That’s what a mantra does. As I look ahead to the plans I have for my business this year—and the inherent unknowns that exist in the world of entrepreneurship—my mantra serves as a quick, simple daily reminder for why I choose to do what I’m doing. Love. After all, as I’ve shared on speaking platforms before, it isn’t about making money, even if we all need to make a living. If making a living is the be all and end all, there are plenty of ways to do that. Doing what we choose to do in a way that serves our purpose for being is a different matter.

My purpose is Love. Therefore, my mantra “Do it for Love” provides an unequivocally clear anchor with which to start my day every day and to check in throughout each day. I get to carry that warm feeling of expansiveness into every client session, every workshop, every talk, every program—and every word I write, including what’s in this very article you’re reading. It really doesn’t get much better than this!

Mantra for You?

With all that said, let me end this article by inviting you to contemplate whether having a mantra may serve you. If so, what may it be? Here are some thoughts on coming up with your own personal mantra:

  1. Let a favorite quote inspire you. For instance, for years, this quote by Thoreau was in my email signature, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Another quote in a different email signature was by Shakespeare, “To thy own self be true.”
  2. Adopt someone else’s mantra. If you’re inspired by it, why not?
  3. What would you like to be (more of)? Would you like to be more loving, patient, forgiving, etc.?
  4. What would you like to have (more of)? Would you like to have more ease in your life, flow, harmony, etc.?
  5. What would you like to do (more of)? Would you like to do more good, take inspired vs. busy action, play more, etc.?

Any other ideas? Let’s share in the comment box below. Also, if you have a mantra, would you share what it is and how it has served you?

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About Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Dr. Alice Chan is passionate about developing conscious leaders and organizations. Her path to serve her life purpose has included being an award-winning Cornell professor and a leader in the corporate world for nearly 15 years. She’s the author of the book, REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life, and creator of the program, 30 Days to Living Your Best Life. All content on this blog and website is her own, not the opinions of her employer.

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12 comments
scott_elumn8
scott_elumn8

What a powerful story. Thank you. Those simple words, connected to a deep desire within you, can change your perspective in any moment. I am going to listen to my mantra and let it be that connection point.

Lori Gosselin (@lorigosselin)
Lori Gosselin (@lorigosselin)

Hi Alice! I never thought of a mantra as anything other than one word and I love the idea of having more than one. In fact, I love this start (which you used) "Do it..." I'm going to have to meditate on this to see what the other words are! Thanks! Lori

Joy Cardyn
Joy Cardyn

I adopted my mantra for 2013 at a New Year's Intention Setting Workshop. It's to live fearlessly in peace, love, and gratitude. The next morning I had an opportunity to put it into action as I sat through an extended office visit with my physician; yes, an unheard of two and a half hour visit. Yet, as I sat, responded to questions, listened to advise, etc., instead of becoming concerned about the time (my typical avenue), I felt an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the care, thoroughness, expertise, and recommendations being offered to me. Thank you Alice!

Jon M (@ThinDifference)
Jon M (@ThinDifference)

This is a great way to start a day. Meditate on the mantra to adopt and live in the hours ahead. It may make our hours be more purposeful and fulfilling for us and those around us. Solid practice.... one I need to use! Thanks.

Michele Price (@prosperitygal)
Michele Price (@prosperitygal)

Oh Alice this is beautiful. It reminds me of how I have put into practice "One Word" for 2013 ( it was a guest on #BBSradio) He and his two partners and co-authors share how distilling down to one word you bring yourself clarity for your mindset and actions in a world where distraction and chaos can take over. You hav encouraged me to write a blog post ( like yours) how I found situations to use that muscle even before the year started.

Casey
Casey

Beautiful idea. On difficult days in my business I go back to my mantra, "When all else fails, do the right thing." It reminds me that we all know intuitively exactly what to do if we are to truly be of service in the high calling of our daily work.

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Thanks, Scott. Whatever you mantra happens to be, may it give you just the encouragement and reminder of who you really are, just when you need it.

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Thanks for joining the conversation, Lori! Yes, I know some folks who really like to focus on one word, especially if it's for use in meditation to focus the mind from wandering. But, in the current context, I see mantra as the guiding principle for inspired action. Therefore, the "Do it" part of my mantra is so meaningful to me. One week into having it, aside from the story I shared above, I did something else that I probably wouldn't have done had I not been thinking about acting for Love. It really feels good to me to be acting from this higher vibration, and makes me feel like I have a daily reminder to be my very best self. Thanks again, Lori, and if you feel like doing so, come back and share with us what your mantra ends up being! :-)

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

That's beautiful, Joy! You shared such a perfect example of how a few words of focused consciousness that a mantra serves can really change our experience. We don't revert back to reflexive fear-based response to situations. So grateful to you for taking the time to share, so that we can see another great example of the power of having a mantra!

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Thanks, Jon! Indeed, when we are grounded and centered in an inspired purpose, it benefits everyone involved, starting with ourselves. Thanks for joining the conversation.

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Michele, what a wonderful idea with the practice of "One Word." Joy Holland (@joychristin) also just posted a collaborative article on her blog yesterday about different New Year's practices, and she has a theme word for 2013 as well. Will you tweet your blog post to me (@dralicechan) when it's up? Happy New Year!

Alice Chan, Ph.D.
Alice Chan, Ph.D.

Thank you very much, Casey, for sharing your mantra with us! Yes, we do intuitively know what to do to serve. We often over-think it or let worries get the best of us, when right action is always within our knowing. Thanks again.

Trackbacks

  1. […] read a post recently where the author decided to choose a mantra to guide her in 2013. I love this idea. Her […]

  2. […] few weeks ago, I wrote about starting a new year with the birth of a personal mantra “Do it for Love.” Since then, to keep Love front and center in my consciousness as my purpose, […]

  3. […] is, to lead more from my heart, from love and with love, instead of ego and fear. This means taking my 2013 mantra into 2014 as well: Do it for […]

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