Marie Forleo is my Mindfulness Spirit Animal.

I don’t remember how I found Marie Forleo’s website a few years ago, but I’ve watched her weekly Marie TV Episodes ever since.

I love the direct, genuine, funny & intelligent way she communicates about heart-centered business & life issues. She really cares & that matters to me.

Early in 2015 I began a new business & enrolled in her B School to help me create my marketing plan.

Marie has a true talent for blending sound, impactful business principles with well-being & soulfulness at the core of her teachings.

I found B School so helpful, that I took her other program, the Copy Cure too!

Yesterday, I received an email from Marie titled ‘Why I Want You to #HugTheSlog’.

I love this email for a few reasons other than the title. One is that it describes EXACTLY how I’m feeling & what I’m going through right now. Perfect encouragement at the perfect time!

Her main point is to trust all parts of the creative process & to love the difficult times, the ‘slog’, as much as you can .

I also see it as an excellent ‘how-to’ on living mindfully, demonstrated in a real-life, practical, inspiring & entertaining way.

Being mindful is bringing your whole being into whatever you’re doing.

In an insightful way, Marie takes you through her mindful approach to prepping for her appearance on Oprah’s Super Soul Sessions.

She began by consciously making the decision to not repeat past negative patterns of frustration & self-doubt, that have happened many times before during her creative processes.

She set her intention to stay open to & trust the process, no matter how hard it was.

And of course, it got hard! Fear & uncertainty when ideas weren’t flowing & time was slipping away, brought up automatic, negative thoughts & emotions.

Marie choose to remain aware of what she was thinking & feeling & consciously choose thoughts that aligned with her intention instead of being overcome by her habitual fear & doubt.

Sometimes it was really hard to trust, but the choice to do so was always there & she kept making that choice.

This is the essence of being mindful. Awareness of what you’re experiencing in each moment and consciously choosing what you focus your attention on next. The opposite of mindless.

Marie also aligned her thoughts & actions to her intention. And her intention was to remain open & trust the process, which in itself is a mindful action.

She combined a mindful way of being to achieve a mindful intention while growing trust in herself & the creative process & sharing what she learned to help others.

And of all that occurred while she was creating an amazing talk for something that was a really big deal!

Everything about how Marie lived that experience shows why she was a part of Oprah’s Super Soul Sessions.

With honesty, beauty, style, humor & good-heartedness she exemplifies that living mindfully is quite spectacular!

All of these reasons, & especially her quote below, are why Marie Forleo is my Mindfulness Spirit Animal.

“For one of the first times in a long time, I experienced the power of truly trusting the creative process itself. I felt a touch of magic and mystery that I’ve rarely felt before.” Marie Forleo

If you want to read her ‘#Slog’ email, I’ve posted it below:

From: “Marie Forleo” <info@marieforleo.com>
Subject: Why I Want You To #HugTheSlog
Date: April 26, 2016 at 9:26:52 AM EDT
To: Katie Hotta <katiehotta@gmail.com>
Reply-To: info@marieforleo.com
My Dearest Katie,
I’ve just arrived in New York after being away for nearly six months. Feels really good to be here.
It’s hard to believe it’s already time for another MF Insider, subscriber-only dispatch. (New or forgot what these are? Here’s a reminder.)
But, as I look back, I know why time has passed so quickly. It’s because I’ve had my head down for weeks to craft and deliver my SuperSoul Sessions talk for Oprah. And let me tell you…
I learned SO much during that prep process. Today, I want to share one of my biggest personal take-aways. I hope it can help you, too.
#HUGTHESLOG
Generally speaking, I’m a woman who likes to get things done as efficiently as possible. But crafting an 18 minute Oprah-worthy talk is not something you can just sit down and ‘make happen’ in a single afternoon.
My process involved many, many, many (did I say many?) days and countless hours of writing, rewriting, editing, writing, writing, and then — writing some more. Just to get the core structure down.
Sometimes, things just flowed. Other times, it was a painful form of creative constipation.
You know what that is, right? It’s when you’re sitting there trying. HARD. But nothing comes out and it’s frustrating, uncomfortable and makes you want to cry.
Having tortured myself (and others close to me) with this kind of blockage many times in the past, I vowed to make prepping this talk different.
So before I even got started, I made myself a promise: that no matter how crappy it was going, I’d do my best to stay open, stay receptive and trust the creative process.
Some days I wrote for four hours. Others for ten. (Writing = staring at the screen, writing a few sentences 5 different ways, nailing an occasional paragraph and sometimes a half page, mumbling aloud, followed by more staring at the screen.)
But once I hit my emotional and physical limit of focus for the day, I forced myself to close the computer, get outside and trust that meaningful progress was being made on my Oprah talk.
Even, and especially, when it didn’t feel like or look like progress to my hyper-critical and impatient mind.
The toughest part for me?
Sitting with the discomfort of slogging through the middle bits. Being with uncertainty and chaos while the clock was ticking away. This was particularly challenging when I had pages and pages of content, lots of different fragments and ideas I might want to include, but hardly any clarity on exactly what was working and what wasn’t.
And with each passing day, the temptation to freak-out became greater.
My mind wanted nothing more than for it to be ALL FIGURED OUT ALREADY. You know, set in stone so I could just get on with rehearsing it.
But the truth of the creative process is that it cannot be forced. Great work takes time. It often feels like it’s on a schedule all its own. And, it will only come together when it’s damn good and ready.
As the deadline drew closer, I felt the tug of my habitual, controlling thoughts wanting to hit the panic button. “It’s NOT working Marie! All these hours and days and you’re still not done yet! You’re not rehearsing yet and there’s less than a week left!!! Oprah, in all her wisdom, clearly made a big a$s mistake!”
And when THAT voice piped up, I made a conscious choice to notice it and gently respond, “Thanks for sharing, but we’re doing fine. Everything’s on schedule.”
I took a big breath and relaxed as best I could into my body. I dug deeper into my faith, leaned harder on my friends and team and focused more fiercely on the difference I hoped to make.
Then I returned, humbly and gratefully, to the slog.
I held tight to the knowledge that each day my only job was to consistently show up and, to the very best of my ability, do my work. In short, my job was to slog.
The result? For one of the first times in a long time, I experienced the power of truly trusting the creative process itself. I felt a touch of magic and mystery that I’ve rarely felt before.
And I learned, in small and almost imperceptible ways, to derive a peculiar and almost pervasive sense of enjoyment from the historically uncomfortable slog through the middle.
I guess you could say I taught myself to #hugtheslog.
Here’s why this matters to you.
Because no matter what form your creations take (writing, painting, coding, construction, teaching, manufacturing, singing, selling, sauteing, etc.) chances are it’s not always going to coming pouring out of you all at once.
Creating work that you’re proud of takes time. And, in many cases, lots of it.
Your contributions in this world matter. Don’t buy the romantic notion that if you were really good at what you do, it would all just flow. All easy and effortlessly and fast.
For some people (cyborgs?), perhaps. But for many of us mere mortals… really good shit doesn’t just ooze out of our pours. We bleed and struggle and sweat for it.
The biggest tragedies occur when we quit on ourselves or our projects midway because the slog gets too uncomfortable. We don’t like it. And we certainly don’t want to #hugit.
I mean, uncertainty can be a really scary thing. Sometimes it can feel like just too much to bear.
We wonder if we should turn back to safety because we mistakenly assume we don’t have what it takes to keep going and make it through. We foolishly deem ourselves unworthy, incompetent and out of our league.
But the truth is, we’re just mid slog and hating it. We don’t realize that if we actually embraced the slog, or dare I say #hug it, the entire process (including ourselves and our final creations) would have the chance to be touched by Grace.
So, as you continue to building your dreams, remember this.
The slog is often necessary. And, despite what you may have been taught to believe, the slog is really your friend.
It’s a loving, trustable, creative incubation vehicle designed to liberate your best and most heart-centered work. (Kind of like Lady Gaga’s egg from the 2011 Grammys. Or, not.)
It’s something virtually every creator you admire faces each time she sits down to bravely share more of her soul with the world.
Rather than despising or detesting it, try this instead.
#hugtheslog
XO
M.
P.S. There’s something hugely exciting and powerful that involves YOU happening next Tuesday, May 3rd. It’s super, super important that you open next week’s email as soon as it arrives. (And if you follow me on social, I’ll post there as well — but the email will likely come first!!)