Neloo Naderi: “World peace is an inside job and starts at the individual level”

World peace is an inside job and starts at the individual level. When we take time to reconnect to our own inner peace, we become a guiding light in our families, our community, and the world. Learn to meditate, you’ll thank me for it. I promise. As a part of my series about “How to Slow […]

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World peace is an inside job and starts at the individual level. When we take time to reconnect to our own inner peace, we become a guiding light in our families, our community, and the world. Learn to meditate, you’ll thank me for it. I promise.

As a part of my series about “How to Slow Down To Do More” I had the pleasure to interview Neloo Naderi.

Neloo is a Talk Show Host, Mindset Expert, and COO of Peace Unleashed, a Los Angeles based mindfulness company. Her 15-year corporate career is the backbone of the Peace Unleashed delivery methodology.

A talented solutions integrator with a knack for deep human connection, Neloo is passionate about the internal world and transforming lives around the globe. Her ability to peel past the layers and get to the heart of the matter is second to none.

Thank you so much for doing this interview with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you so much for having me. I had what you may call an unconventional upbringing that left me with a disempowered sense of self, a closed heart, and poor mental discipline. At its best I was sleep walking through life while tirelessly climbing the corporate latter. At its worst, I found myself exhausted, struggling with depression, and suicidal ideation. In my mid-20s I began to search for a better way to live which led to a journey of introspection, healing, studying spiritual texts like ACIM, and learning from some of the greats, including Dr. Joe Dispenza, Abraham Hicks, Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle, and Napoleon Hill.

I didn’t walk this path alone. My childhood friend Ellie Shoja was by my side doing her own internal work following her equally unconventional upbringing. We served as mirrors for one another, spent hours on the phone discussing concepts, coming up with theories, talking each other off the ledge or through major breakthroughs. This stuff excited us!

In July 2016, we were inspired to teach meditation and help individuals reconnect with their own source of inner peace. In a span of 1.5 years, we created 70+ standalone meditations with over a million downloads on Insight Timer. Simultaneously, we built a community of meditators in Los Angeles through hosting bi-monthly “meditation parties” where we serve delicious home cooked meals with a side of guided meditation in a container of unconditional love and acceptance.

In 2018, Ellie launched an Instagram page called Peace Unleashed to share her writings and inspired thoughts about the internal world which later organically grew into a coaching business. In January of 2019, I left my management consulting career to join her fulltime to expand Peace Unleashed into a full-fledged mindfulness company that creates powerful and practical high-quality content and tools to help individuals and teams level up holistically from the inside out.

According to a 2006 Pew Research Report report, 26% of women and 21% of men feel that they are “always rushed”. Has it always been this way? Can you give a few reasons regarding what you think causes this prevalent feeling of being rushed?

I think there are a few things at play here. First of all, we live in a society that is obsessed with hyper-productivity and getting things done. We tie our value and sense of self-worth to how much we are able to accomplish, how productive we are, and how much struggle we are able to overcome. We wear it as a badge of honor and when we observe the behavior in others, we compliment them on being such a good doer.

Somewhere along the road, we collectively internalized false beliefs that perpetuate this behavior including:

  1. If I am not the one doing it, it will never get done.
  2. If I don’t do it all by myself, then I don’t own it.
  3. If it brings me joy, then it must not be of value.

Secondly, most people are living from a state of lack versus abundance. As soon as we wake up in the morning, many of us immediately feel we are starting the day behind and in the negative. Does this internal dialogue sound familiar?

  1. I didn’t get enough sleep.
  2. I don’t have enough time today to get x, y, z done.
  3. I didn’t get enough done yesterday.
  4. I don’t have enough money for…
  5. I don’t know enough to…

At its core, of all this is tied to the shame of not being enough.

And finally, because of our advancements with technology, social media, and the internet we are now constantly ON and accessible by others at all times. With our smart phones super glued to our palms, we are inundated with information and feel a pressure to consume it all, which is impossible and leaves us feeling overwhelmed.

Hence, I am not surprised that many of us feel rushed because this constant need to DO, our glass-half empty life perspective, and minimal downtime can leave us feeling drained and unworthy. It feels like a rat race of constantly trying to catch up to an unrealistic expectation while our lives pass us by.

Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?

When we get stuck in a state of doing, running from one thing to the next, we never actually give ourselves the opportunity to pause, reflect, prioritize, and choose how to move forward. We take our frantic, ungrounded energy from one situation to the next and recreate more of the same lackluster results. Then we naively take away the wrong message that life is happening TO US. This is incredibly disheartening and frankly NOT TRUE.

What do you feel when you are rushed? What do you physically experience? Your heart rate goes up a bit, your thoughts run wild, and you may even be short of breath. You are in a state of stress. Stress on its own is not bad, it is simply your body’s response to change and is a natural part of life. But when we live in prolonged states of stress, we start to do some major damage to ourselves. According to the Cleveland Clinic, chronic stress leads to headaches, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, heart disease, depression, anxiety, and cancer impacting our health, happiness, and ability to contribute to society.

On the flip side, can you give examples of how we can do more, and how our lives would improve if we could slow down?

My immigrant family taught me a lot about living in a state of stress and survival. Life somehow becomes reduced to working, paying bills, and avoiding catastrophes rather than creating, connecting, and experiencing all that this beautiful planet has to offer. I know it may sound counterintuitive but when we slow down, we can actually be more effective because we are now creating life deliberately. Intentional living is perhaps the greatest gift we can give not only to ourselves, but to everyone who knows us and interacts with us.

Viktor Frankl famously said in Man’s Search For Meaning…

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

When we live with intention, we transition out of WISHful living into WILLful living. We do this by realizing we are the choosers of every moment we experience. Does life throw us curveballs? Absolutely, but we get to CHOOSE how to respond, how to show up 100% of the time. When we slow down, we give ourselves permission and space to live life deliberately, with intention.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed. Can you share with our readers 6 strategies that you use to “slow down to do more”? Can you please give a story or example for each?

Meditate Daily: If I told you there was a pill that can help you think more clearly, improve your brain functionality and problem solving ability, lower your stress, balance your emotions and hormones, help you sleep better, reduce anxiety, slow down the process of aging, connect you to your source of inspiration and creativity, and decrease inflammation at the cellular level without ANY side effects, would you take it?

What if I told you that this pill was actually 10 minutes of meditation a day? Would you commit to meditating regularly? The scientific evidence backing up the case for meditation is immense and continues to grow. An unhappy person is far less productive and efficient. An unfocused mind cannot concentrate on the tasks at hand. When you are able to tap into your inner state of peace and happiness, you will increase the quality of your output.

I know it’s intimidating and may feel way too woo but at its core, meditation is mind training. If you want to get started but don’t know how, we have an incredible fundamental training video on meditation available on our website. And if you think you’re just too busy to meditate, then I’ll leave you with this ancient Zen Proverb that is still relevant today.

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”

Mind Your Vibration

For decades science has been reiterating the fact that everything is energy, that goes for living organisms like a human being and non-living objects like a table. Everything in our universe is part of an interconnected web of electromagnetic vibrational frequencies. Our natural state of being is one of love, joy, and peace but often life experiences and disempowering thought patterns cause us to drop into states of anger, fear, and shame. To live in flow with life, you want to raise your vibrational frequency to that of your optimal, natural state of being.

So how do you do that? Well, our bodies are highly intelligent and use emotions to tell us exactly where we are vibrationally. Our emotions have frequencies attached to them that can actually be measured.

Source: The Hawkins Scale of Consciousness.

When we are rushed, we are living in a state of stress, suffering, and barely getting by. When we are able to raise our vibration, we can enter a flow state where we glide through life and everything starts to work in our favor as if by magic. A small amount of effort while in a state of flow state produces much more results than a ton of effort in a state of stress and contraction.

By recognizing the emotion that is present you can look at this chart and see where you are vibrationally. If you noticed that your vibration has dropped, you want to move it up just a little bit and then a little bit more and then a little bit more. Get to know yourself, what helps you feel better? For me, depending on the situation, it can be any number of things like taking a nap, listening to some comedy, dancing to a song I love, talking to a friend, going for a walk, drinking water, or shedding some tears.

Limit Your Screen Time

According to a RescueTime study, people pick up their phones an average of 58 times a day, with over half of those during working hours. Distractions like these drastically affect our performance and prevent us from having any true down time. One great strategy we have implemented in our household is putting down our screens (phones, laptops, personal devices, etc.) from 8pm to 8am and using that extra time to read, journal, engage in meaningful conversation, tap into creativity, or simply rest and unwind. This new habit has decreased by phone addiction. Now even during the work hours I may have my phone by my side but I don’t have the urge to check it multiple times in an hour, minimizing distractions so I can actually get work done.

It’s also done wonders for my sleep. The trick is to leave your phone somewhere far away from your bedroom so it’s not accessible. Trust me, you’ll be tempted to check your phone if it’s next to your bed. The first night I started, as soon as I put my phone away, I felt oddly liberated. It was as if a giant load was taken off my shoulders and I could just relax.

If you are going to implement this at your home, I recommend you do it as a household especially if you have young children. It’s a good way to lead by example. Parents are constantly complaining about how addicted their kids are to their iPads but don’t realize they themselves are just as addicted to their phones. Children have a strong sense of fairness and justice. You can’t expect them to put away their devices if you are not willing to do the same.

Apply the 80/20 rule:

The 80/20 rule or Pareto’s Principle is well known in the business world but can be applied in many parts of life. It asserts that 80% of your output is based on 20% of your input. Here are some ways the 80/20 rule shows:

  • Business: 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers
  • Healthcare: 20% of patients use 80% of healthcare resources
  • Fitness: 20% of exercises lead to 80% of your result
  • Environment: 80% of pollution originates from 20% of all factories
  • Workplace: 20% of employees are responsible for 80% of the results
  • Driving: 20% of drivers cause 80% of all accidents

If you find yourself constantly rushing and doing without much to show for it, the 80/20 rule can help you. Just being aware of the rule won’t change anything, you need to start applying it. The magic happens when you identify the 20% of your activities that are producing 80% of your results.

If you are a business owner start tracking your time and see how much you are spending on each activity. See where your income is coming from? How are new customers finding you? Identify where the 80% of your revenue is coming from and what 20% of activities created it. Objectively ask yourself, what do I need to STOP doing that isn’t producing results? You’ll need to trim the fat. Moreover, how can I more effectively INVEST my energy in activities that have PROVEN to bring in 80% of my revenue?

If you do this well, you’ll free up your time, resources, and energy while being way more productive!

Create An Effective To Do List

To do lists are a great way to get organized but more often than not, when we sit down to create our list, we write down anything and everything that has to get done, EVER. Once we are finished writing, we look down at our list and feel overwhelmed. From there, we jump into doing mode and start chipping away at our list, jumping from one item to the next without any true prioritization.

I’ll share with you a great tip I learned from Kate Northrup in her book Do Less. When creating your to do list for the day or the week, ask yourself the following three questions for each item:

  • Does this need to be done?
  • Does it need to be done now?
  • Does it need to be done by me?

If you answer yes to all three then it belongs on your to do list. If not, then it needs to be delegated to someone else or belongs on your calendar for a future date.

Ask For Help

The phrase “it takes a village” is an important concept to consider here. People do better when they are part of a community and have the social support in place to lean into when they need it. There is no shame in asking for help. It takes some vulnerability, but you actually deepen your relationships when you feel safe enough to ask for help. I love Kate Northrup’s approach to asking for help and I think you will to:

Ask early — if possible, ask for help in advance. It’s tough to help someone in the middle of a crisis so when you can, plan for it. This will increase the chances that someone will say YES!

Ask often — if asking for help is not something that comes naturally to you or makes you feel super vulnerable, you’ll need the extra practice to build the muscle for it. If there is something you need that a friend, a colleague, a neighbor, or a family member can support you with, just ask. Try it out, they won’t bite.

Ask nicely — you attract more butterflies with honey than with vinegar. I know its flies but why would I want to attract flies? Anyway, you get the point. People are more willing to help when you are pleasant and kind when asking for help.

The beauty of asking for help is that you create a safe space and give permission to others to also ask for your help. It’s not all about taking, it is a two-way exchange of energy that fosters trust and community.

How do you define “mindfulness”? Can you give an example or story?

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn says “mindfulness is a gateway into the full dimensionality of being human” which I agree with. Mindfulness is a love affair with life.

We are alive only in this moment. What I mean by that is the only thing that is real is NOW. The past is gone, and the future doesn’t yet exist. When the future does eventually happen, it happens in the NOW. But if you pay attention to your thoughts, the majority of the time your focus is not in the now. You are either beating yourself up about something from your past or worrying about the unforeseen future.

Mindfulness is the recognition that you are not your thoughts but the awareness behind the thoughts. More importantly, being mindful is not a concept but a practice. A practice that is simple but not easy. You have to be willing to do the work and over time it becomes your natural way of relating to life.

In a state of presence, you gain access to creativity, clarity, and inspiration. Have you noticed some of your best ideas come to you when you are in the calm? When your mind is quiet, you are able to tap into your natural tendency to see the interconnectivity of all that is, and from that place of connectedness, innovation is born.

I’ll give you an example. On our YouTube channel we have a show called It’s In The Cards where we do an oracle card reading for someone who didn’t ask for one and frankly doesn’t care. For one of the episodes we needed someone to read a few lines with a British accent. Logically, we contacted all our friends who could potentially do it and struck out each time, no one called us back. While making lunch and being totally in the present, an idea popped into my head. I realized that the contractor working on the tree house in our backyard was also a Broadway actor. Duh! It was the obvious answer and was right under our nose. Yet, I wasn’t able to access that idea until I had space and clarity which came to me while I was cooking. Turns out, he was perfect for the role and hit it out of the park..

Can you give examples of how people can integrate mindfulness into their everyday lives?

Happy to but before I do that, I need to explain the concept of a home base. In our meditation course we teach our students to establish a home base which can be your breath, music, the flicker of a candle, a mantra, etc. A home base is simply something you come back to when you realize you are thinking. During meditation you will have countless thoughts because your brain is designed to think. Similar to mindfulness, the practice of meditation is to recognize you are the thinker not the thought itself. The moment you catch yourself thinking is very transformational because you realize you are not your thoughts. You recognize that there is the thought and then there is the awareness behind the thought. As the awareness you can now choose to release that thought and come back to your established home base. You don’t need to be sitting in meditation to have thought awareness. The reason we meditate is to build this muscle so that we can apply it to your day to day life situations.

Now, let’s give a practical example. The next time you are in the shower check to see if you are actually in the shower. Likely, your body is in the shower, but your mind is somewhere else. You may be having your morning meeting in the shower, planning out your kids’ ride schedule for the week, or deciding whether you want to change phone plans. Taking that split second to realize your mind is somewhere else is mindfulness and when you do, come back to your home base, the present moment. Feel the water hitting your body and the sensations it generates. Enjoy the personal time to just be. Try it! Don’t be surprised if you have some brilliant ideas come to you while you are enjoying your shower.

Do you have any mindfulness tools that you find most helpful at work?

According to a study by the University of California, Irvine, a typical office worker can focus for 11 minutes at a time before being distracted. On average, it takes up to 25 minutes to refocus, which means we are basically never focused! If you don’t give yourself a break, your brain will force it by jumping to another task or scrolling on Instagram. With that said, become aware of YOUR signs of mental fatigue and be proactive about giving yourself time to recharge. You will get much more done with more ease.

I used to work as a management consultant with clients and colleagues in different time zones. A typical day consisted of back to back meetings without any breaks, sometimes from 7am — 8pm. If you are in a similar situation, especially now with so many of us working remotely from home, speak up and implement a practice of ending meetings 5 minutes before the hour giving yourself and your colleagues time to rest and reset.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to use mindfulness tools or practices

Starting your day with an Abraham Hicks video is very effective. I like to listen after my morning meditation. It is just what I need to elevate my vibration.

TheMind Your Business Podcast by James Wedmore is a wonderful resource for entrepreneurs who want to build and run their business mindfully.

The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I can’t rave enough about the teachings of ET. I’ve read this book at least 5 times and with each round, I have new aha moments and deepen my understanding of presence and the internal world. This book is fundamental and should be required reading for our youth, in my opinion.

Breaking The Habit Of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza. If you feel stuck in life and want to radically change yourself for the better, then read this book and do the exercises. After reading this and attending one of Dr. Joe’s workshops, I transformed my life in many ways, including taking the professional leap from corporate America to business owner.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Look around less, imagine more.” Humans are creators and we tend to easily forget that. This quote by Abraham Hicks is a perfect grounding reminder of our true nature. The issue is that we are so focused on our current “reality” that we forfeit our ability to create our lives deliberately.

Look around less means stop looking at what is, because what is has already manifested, it’s yesterday’s news. The real fun is creating in our minds and aligning ourselves with the powers of the universe to allow a new desired reality to manifest. To do that we must take our focus inward to imagine, visualize, and listen for the next inspiration. If you are serious about giving this deliberate creation a try, the best times to do so are late at night before you go to bed or early in the morning right after you wake up when you are half sleep / half awake. These are optimal times to program your own subconscious mind.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

This is a no brainer. The Dalai Lama said, “if every 8-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” Our nation is in a state of civil unrest. Historically we know this can lead to a civil war if left unaddressed. If we are going to course correct, our time is now!

World peace is an inside job and starts at the individual level. When we take time to reconnect to our own inner peace, we become a guiding light in our families, our community, and the world. Learn to meditate, you’ll thank me for it. I promise.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME! This was a lot of fun. 😀

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