Reclaiming Your Goddess Within
By: Melissa R. Burbank
On a beautiful Thursday morning in April, I had the pleasure of getting to sit down with Stephanie Osborne at her husband, Terrance Osborne’s studio on Magazine. I was rushed to get there and making business calls on the way, my stress mounting as I got out of the car across the street.
I started meditation because I have a type A personality and I need it. It keeps me from reacting to situations.
I don’t know if I was frustrated with the most current business emergency or frustrated that it was affecting my energy moments before I was to walk in and greet Stephanie, a moment I had anxiously awaited all week—maybe it was both. Fortunately for me, that all melted away the moment I walked in, just 60 seconds before she was to begin her five mindful minutes, live on Facebook. As I sat down on the large, plush red carpet that makes up a huge part of Terrance’s studio space, those five minutes of affirmations and meditation and Stephanie’s soulful, soothing voice transformed my energy and allowed me to open myself up so that I was able to really appreciate the moment and soak in all of the great wisdom she had to offer, tiny nuggets of gold in a very short interview.
So, we just finished meditating, how do you feel?
I feel great. I meditate every morning for 30 minutes by myself and then we offer 2 meditations on Thursday at 7:30am and 10am here at the studio and then an evening meditation at 5:30pm that is always free and centered around my empathy project so it’s catered to specific groups of people, so the LGBT community, Christians, people of color, people that lean towards eastern philosophy. I try to do 10 minutes every morning and my little one does five, did you build up to 30 minutes?
I actually went down to 30 minutes. I studied under Deepak Chopra and that is primordial sound meditation and when we sit with him, it’s for an hour. And usually when you go up there, you go up for a week and it’s for an hour about 4 or 5 times per day. But when you come home, you’re on a cloud, but (at home) you can’t really do that. So, I wake up 30 minutes early, I get my time in when everyone’s sleeping, I have my own space in my house to meditate and it’s my energy that I’m creating in that room. And that’s how I start my day—with affirmations, meditation, and my DCA. Are you familiar with DCA? It’s Napoleon Hills’ “Definite Chief Aim” and is kind of like what my intention is, what I setting out to do, what I’m willing to do to get that, and what the end result is.
I started meditation because I have a type A personality and I need it. It keeps me from reacting to situations. In general, you’re more likely to respond more when you’re present as opposed to reacting based on fear or anxiety. I heard from a therapist some time ago that there’s some tape rolling in the back of everyone’s head, so what information they’re pulling in, it’s translated through the tape so when you meditate, the tape slows down so you can just see what is as opposed to what you see based on what you have experienced and based on your fears. It allows you to slow your motion so you can respond instead of react.
We are starting our 2nd annual Meditate ‘n May challenge which I came up with last year because I am also a big believer that meditation can be a great healer mentally, physically, and emotionally which is very similar to your Take 5 Mindful Minutes Campaign, can you tell us a bit about the campaign?
I just love this campaign. It’s an opportunity for me to give my audience who can’t come here a chance to experience what we do here. We do it on Facebook live, so they watch it from their home or watch it later and it really gives them the chance to experience of meditation and but also just gives them a break. I love meditation and I just want to make a difference. My intention and my purpose, and one of my purposes, is to bring mindfulness to the south, starting with New Orleans.
And is that why you started Meditate New Orleans?
I started as The Sit Gift which was a corporate guided meditation business. I would do leadership retreats, guide workshops, go to businesses guide meditations…
So as Meditate New Orleans, you’re still doing the corporate guided meditations, you’re doing the Facebook live meditations, and you’re also starting to do events. Tell me about the weekend you put together for the empowerment and mindfulness of women, you’re calling it…
Reclaiming the Goddess Within. It’s at the New Orleans Museum of Art, June 2nd and 3rd, from 9am-5pm. As women, we all have our everyday stuff—based on our race, our upbringing, our cultural status, our financial status—but we’re all women. And we all have the ability to be better, and to love each other, and to connect. It’s about women.
You combined empowerment and mindfulness together for this event, tell me about how those two things came together.
It’s the two things I’m most passionate about. When I turned 39, I’m realized I spent the last 20 years focusing on my husband’s art, and was happy to do it. He knew what he wanted to do, he was good at it, and all I had to do was be the linear mind behind his creativity. And now, I’m turning the attention on to me and he’s like “I got your back.”
But I realized I’m about to be 40 and I haven’t done anything for myself. What is my purpose? And what I discovered was I have many purposes. We have many purposes, as women, as individuals. One of my purposes is to be a mother and to guide my kids. Another is to be a wife and there are so many parts to being a wife. To understand what my role is and what his is; what I can help him with and what I can’t; to support him, but not do everything for him.
We all have our roles. And one of my roles is to be a meditation guide. What is my purpose? Your purpose is the thing you enjoy doing the most.
I love that it seems like something you’re doing for yourself; not only for yourself, but for the community.
I want to give to people what I’m getting to do.
Speaking of mindfulness, do you have any tips to help us be more mindful every day or through the day?
One tip is to listen to your body. When you feel sick or upset and we don’t know what’s going on, we don’t know where it’s coming from because we’re not aware of our thoughts and we don’t let go. But when you listen to your gut, your gut tells you. It tells you if you’re anxious, if you’re excited, or stressed. If you just sit down and think about what just happened. Give yourself permission to think about it, what thoughts went by, and by giving yourself time, it allows thoughts and awareness to come up. Stop what you’re doing to take a breath.
Another thing is when you physically place your right hand over your heart and when you feel your heartbeat, it brings you to the present moment. You can’t be thinking about something else while you’re thinking, or experiencing, your heart beating on your hand.
Give yourself permission to think about it, what thoughts went by, and by giving yourself time, it allows thoughts and awareness to come up. Stop what you’re doing to take a breath.
Taking a count of breaths can help as well. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for four, and exhale for 4 and do that for a repetition of three times.
When you’re meditating, would you mind sharing some of the techniques you use to keep the busy thoughts at bay?
There are 3 things that I do. The first thing is what I learned from Deepak Chopra which is primordial sound. It’s like Transcendental Meditation, but it’s just a different mantra. We’re given a Sanskrit word that is private to each one of us, but as a student, we are offered a word that we can share which is om bija namaja. Om is the sound of the universe, so you can only say Om if you like. Bija means “seed” and namaja means “I am that.” I say it at least 3 times.
Sometimes I will do a body scan, just bringing an awareness of the physical sensations of your body starting at your scalp and going all the way down to the tips of your toes. Focusing on your head, the space in between your eyebrows, your cheeks, ears, nostrils, tongue, throat, back of neck, all the way down…
Another thing I do is I listen. I close my eyes and I listen. And I try to pick how many different sounds I can hear.
Meditation is the act of cultivating mindfulness, and according to John Kabat-Zinn, whom I also study, “mindfulness is the awareness that arises when we pay attention to the present moment on purpose and without judgment.”
On June 2nd and 3rd, Meditate New Orleans and Stephanie Osborne will present Reclaiming the Goddess Within from 9am-5pm each day. $99 for weekend ticket. The first 50 tickets sold will receive a print of the event painting signed by Terrence Osborne. This transformational, women’s empowerment in mindfulness weekend will leave you feeling motivated, centered, and ready to honor your body, mind, and spirit. Enjoy 10 Life coaches, motivational speakers, meditation guides, and spiritual leaders ready with talks and activities to help YOU take action to create the life you are meant to live! At New Orleans Museum of Art. You can call or text Stephanie at 504-232-7530 or email her at Stephanie@meditateneworleans.com. www.meditateneworleans.com.