Kristin Meekhof & Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP, January 2014, Photo taken in NY -- The Very First Time Kristin Met Deepak Chopra, MD
I'm not famous, nor do I have a recognizable last name and I'm not related to any powerful individual, so when Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP replied to my tweet I assumed it was a member of his staff. This was in the fall of 2013. We exchanged emails for a few weeks before I discovered it was actually Deepak himself writing me. Then in January of 2014, he generously agreed to meet me in his New York office. Since this time, I've had the good fortune of having Deepak as my mentor and friend.
Here are ten things I've learned from having Deepak Chopra as a mentor:
1. Listen first. Upon my first meeting with Deepak, I noticed that I was doing all of the speaking. Literally, he just sat there and looked at me. He wasn't checking his phone or glancing around the room. I actually thought maybe he was practicing some type of meditation because he said nothing. Later, I asked the other gentleman who was in the room for my meeting if I was making any sense at all. He said, "Deepak listens first, observes, and then speaks." From that point forward, in all my interactions with Deepak he does indeed practice this.
2. Be willing to ask for help. At a book event in Detroit, Deepak gave a highly intellectual presentation about consciousness. Afterwards, I heard Deepak asking another gentleman for feedback about it. And this is not the only time I've witnessed Deepak asking for assistance. He is willing to demonstrate vulnerability and admit what he doesn't know, and fortunately surrounds himself with brilliant people who can offer aid.
3 Relationships come first. What matters most are the relationships we build with others. In other words, people first not things. Our culture emphasizes a "me first" approach, but Deepak has reiterated in all his interactions that it is the person that matters. He wants to know who is supporting you.
4. Learn how to practice detachment. Doing your very best and putting forth effort into every project is needed; however, one can't control how your work will be received. At some level practicing detachment is very healthy. It frees you from anxiety when the outcome you hoped for doesn't occur.
5. Remain in the now. Present moments are golden opportunities for cultivating the seeds of creativity and wonder. Allow yourself to be a part of the unknown. I first practiced mediation after viewing an episode of Oprah with her talking about the benefits of mediation with Deepak. He said anyone can begin it. Meditation does teach you how to become less reactive and understand the power of this moment.
6. Unbounded potential. Knowing and deeply believing that each of us has within us the unbounded potential to fulfill our true purpose has changed my life. Before I met Deepak, I was struggling with formulating and researching my book about grief/loss. Not exactly an uplifting topic and certainly not an easy sell. However, along my writing journey, I kept remembering what Deepak taught about unbounded potential. Understanding this and putting it into practice, I know is what led to me connecting with ABC World News, American Greetings and Katie Couric.
7. Be involved. I'm always amazed that Deepak manages on a daily basis to reply to hundreds of emails, including mine. He also took time to follow-up with me after the launch of my book to tell me that he noticed how sales were doing. If I think I'm too busy to get to follow- up on things, I think about the fact that Deepak makes time for it.
8. Be boldly honest. It is easy to tell half-truths or want to be less than transparent but Deepak practices brutal honesty. And he is not afraid to admit when he makes a mistake. In fact, if you follow him on social media, you will see tweets where he apologizes to people.
9. Remain a student. We all may feel we are experts in certain areas, but stay open to learning more, especially outside of your comfort zone. From Deepak, I've learned that our success is limited when we restrict our thinking and ideas. When we aren't afraid to be a student of life we create openings for growth.
10. We are all interconnected. This may seem obvious but until you understand that we are one, we will continue to live very independently, instead of realizing how each of our actions impacts each other. When we first change ourselves we can truly change the world. We cultivate abundance when we listen to each other and become a light for someone else. Go forth and be light. You are the universe.
Kristin Meekhof is a speaker, writer and author of the book, A Widow's Guide to Healing (with cover blurbs from Deepak Chopra, MD and Maria Shriver- Sourcebooks, 2015). Kristin is also a contributor to the Live Happy book (HarperElixir, 2016). She is a licensed master's level social worker, obtained her B.A. from Kalamazoo College, and completed the M.S.W. program at the University of Michigan. Recently, Kristin was invited to the United Nations to attend the CSW60 conference. Kristin is a Korean adoptee. She can be reached via her website.