Today our expert guest is Marisa Imôn, a best-selling author, musician, voice actor, and motivational speaker. As the owner of Marisa Imôn LLC, an audio production and meditation company, she has created hundreds of meditations and meditative musical compositions for businesses and apps all over the world in addition to those on her own podcast, Incandescent: An Unconventional Meditation Podcast. In 2019, she wrote and published the international best-selling book "Super Intense" about her journey using mindfulness to live well with multiple mental illness diagnoses including bipolar disorder and ADHD.
From when she was just an infant, the very first word people would use to describe Marisa was “intense.” At the age of ten, she suffered from a long-lasting clinical depression. Most of the advice she was given was to smile, act like she was happy, and eventually, she would feel fine — well-meaning but ultimately harmful advice. She never got to the point where her feelings went away, but she became better at hiding them from others, and ended up doing several harmful things to keep herself from looking at those emotions.
Eventually, she had a breaking point. In college, her friend found her wandering around with no idea where she was. It turned out that she was experiencing a manic episode, which all made sense looking back on her life. Now that she is aware of her condition, instead of trying to run away from the intensity, she has learned to work with it and embrace it — and it has become a superpower.
After following a strict medicine regimen for several years, she started to believe that this would be the rest of her life. If she missed one dose she would have several negative side-effects within an hour, which severely impacted her work and life. She was either at the mercy of her pills or at the mercy of her emotions, but she knew there had to be another way.
This was when she discovered meditation. With her diagnosis of ADHD, she really didn’t believe that she could sit in stillness, but she started listening to guided meditations everywhere. Over time she started to notice herself connecting to her breath in the moment more often and being more present, and once that started happening she started sitting in stillness. It was then that she realized that she was not her diagnosis, she was something greater than the sum of her life.
If you want to get started with meditation, it’s first important to understand what it is not. Meditation is not completely emptying your mind, it is not something that only gurus can do. There are several different styles of meditation, and it is important to find a style that works well for you. Any time you allow yourself to focus in on the present moment is a meditation — whether you’re washing the dishes or having a conversation or staring at a candle.
When you start meditating regularly, you can find yourself taking time to meditate throughout the day. You see the benefits of renewed focus, relaxation, and resilience for anxiety and stress. Marisa’s podcast, Incandescent, calls itself an “unconventional meditation podcast.” What makes it unconventional is that it is meant to fit into the times in your life when you are doing something else with your body. If you’re ready, try out meditation and see the benefits of it for yourself.
The Biggest Helping: Today’s Most Important Takeaway
“Always honor your emotions. As I mentioned, for so long in my life I ignored any emotion below neutral and acted like it was bad or something I had to hide from or avoid but instead when I realized all those feelings were essentially just wounded parts of me wishing I would turn around and give them love that’s when everything changed. So whenever you’re feeling an emotion that feels uncomfortable, instead of doing something to avoid it, just look at it and be like, ‘Hey, hey there fear. Come to the table. I love you. I welcome you in. What do you have to teach me?’”
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