Distractions & Solitude

Have you spent much time alone in your life? Have you ever lived by yourself? Have you traveled without company?

I grew up in a busy home with two siblings and a revolving door welcoming family and friends any time – the house was never quiet! When I moved away from my parents home at 18 the trend of chaos continued, and as I grew older I began to realize that I really preferred it this way: I despised being alone.

Back in 2011 when I launched my exploration into spirituality and mindfulness, I began to understand that my disdain for solitude was revealing that something important was missing in my life. I was avoiding myself, and instead of trying to figure out exactly what I was avoiding, I let distractions fill in the void.

Continue reading over on the Thin Difference blog...

(Photo source via Thin Difference)






New Book Details

I promised I'd share details about my forthcoming book when they were available - and today is the day. Below is an overview of Because of All You May Become, a collaboration between myself and Monique Coleman, an actress/humanitarian that uses her voice to help change the world and inspire others to do the same. I promise to share more details about the release as they become available.

Thank you for your support & encouragement along the way!


Because of All You May Become

Written by Monique Coleman & Heidi Oran

Coming Spring 2015...

Each of us share a common truth: below the surface we are dreamers. We dream of happiness, love, and living our purpose. We dream of finding meaningful work, changing the world, and leaving a legacy for others to follow. Often the seeds are planted in our early childhood and youth -  we spend hours daydreaming of the life we hope to live in the future. As the years pass and we hit our teens and twenties, the challenges begin to stack up and we lose our way. The reality is that loss in unavoidable, fear will show up when you least expect it, and disappointment is inevitable.

Because of All You May Become aims to guide young people through these challenges, by staying true to three core principles: we need to take ownership of who we are, move from inspiration to action, and challenge our perception of the world, approaching life with renewed clarity. Through an exploration into our inner world, this book will offer you inspiration, practical ideas, and tangible takeaways to help you unlock your full potential and move closer to living a life of meaning, purpose and joy.

Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on the release of the book, and any news!

Thank you!



Having Many Passions - Blessing or Curse?

I have been blessed/cursed - depending on how you look at it - with many passions. From stepping on a stage and performing in a play, to playing different instruments and singing, to  writing short stories and blogging - the list of my passions could go on for hours. And I'm not even exaggerating, there are ALL PASSIONS.

For a long time I felt like I was alone, but now I know that I'm just one of the many multi-passionate individuals out there.

But is it, as I suggested above, a blessing or a curse?

I assure you, it can get pretty frustrating feeling a tug in so many directions. But at the same time, I love exploring the different directions.

To read my thoughts, continue reading here.


Blogging about Leadership at Thin Difference

Over the past few years I had been following the insights of Jon Mertz, Founder of the company Thin Difference. Thin Difference is a space that is meant to "guide, inspire, and challenge Millennials in their leadership and life skills." And what drew me to TD, is that Jon understands that mindfulness and spirituality play a big role in being a great leader.

This summer Jon put a call out for some Millennial voices to contribute to the TD blog, and I was honoured to be selected as one of them. This month, my article, Learning How to Handle Failure discusses the pressure that so many young people today face to accomplish great things early on in life. I also share some tips on how to transform our perceived failures into growth opportunities. Here is an excerpt:

                                                                             Photo via Thin Difference

                                                                             Photo via Thin Difference

When I was in my twenties I experienced what I’ve heard numerous twenty-somethings lament over: The pressure to accomplish! A quick Google search of 20-Something Lists will provide you with an unlimited array of “25 Things You MUST DO Before 30,” or “50 Books You Must Read by 25,” or “30 Countries You Must Visit By 30!” (I may have exaggerated on the last one, but you get the picture.)

It’s no secret that Millennials have been highly pressured since childhood. Yes, we did receive trophy’s just for showing up, but perhaps that helped to offset the incredible stress that striving-to-be-the-best-in-everything caused. But what happens to children who face that stress during their formative years? I think the abundance of lists floating around the internet remind us of what we must accomplish. So we continue to strive.



You can continue reading the full article here. (And be sure to check out my previous two articles by clicking here.)





New Sam Harris Book Hits the Shelves - "Waking Up"

Have you ever heard of Sam Harris? I was introduced to him about a year ago via my brother-in-law, Eric. He brought up a copy of Free Will, one of Harris' books, so that I could check out his work. We had been chatting about science, religion, atheism, etc... and Harris has been writing about the subject for years.

I ended up watching a debate between Harris and Deepak Chopra before I read the book. That was a mistake because his personality turned me off right away and I couldn't bring myself to finish the book. I found him a little arrogant - especially in contrast to Deepak, who I find genuine. (Though I do have issues with the exorbitant fees Deepak charges for his retreats and courses!)

But I've also read Harris' blog off and on because I appreciate his perspective, and I think it's safe to say he's grown on me.

A few days ago my friend Michelle emailed and mentioned that Harris had a new book coming out this week. I checked out his site and learned that the book is called, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion.

I just listened to the audio sample of Chapter 1, and I like where it's headed.

I know many of you would be interested in this book, so here is a link to his site where you can check out the sample for yourself. If you read/listen, share your thoughts! I'll do the same when I am done.

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The Role of Acceptance in Your Life + How to Implement it

Acceptance is powerful. So powerful, in fact, that I consider it one of the top five elements of a conscious perspective.

The more we hold on to something, whether it be a belief, a dream, an idea of how something should be, or a person  - the more power it holds over us and our own sense of well-being. It's only when we accept that it holds the power, that it can return to us. It's also a critical element in the search for inner peace: how can we have true peace without fully embracing all of the imperfections in life? If we don't we're still fighting.

The concept of acceptance is pretty straight forward, right? Like so many other things it's the implementation that is a challenge.

Just recently I had my own difficulty with implementing the concept. There was a situation that has been extremely frustrating to me for years, and as hard as I'd worked to accept it, it had always been this thorn in my side.

Then it hit me (and also broke my brain...): I needed to accept that I couldn't accept it.

Much like the first step in overcoming fear is calling it out by name - we need to treat acceptance the same.

It was really that simple. Admitting to myself that I couldn't accept the situation allowed me to lay the groundwork for healing to begin.  All of those years I was resisting this truth and I missed this critical first step of the process. (It's all a process isn't it?)


I've made it my mission this year to work on taking life less seriously, and I know a lot of you are trying too.  We're at this interesting point in our busy, over-scheduled, over-worked society that we actually need to consciously work toward living a less serious, more enjoyable life.

While all of this personal growth work is HARD work, it's also necessary to get to that less serious place. So onward we go. Dealing with each situation as it arises.


Is there any situation/dream/person/reality that you're having a hard time accepting?





Why is it So Hard to Change?

I'll be honest with you: some days I just want to bury my head in the proverbial sand and go back to the way I used to be. I want to un-conscious perspective myself. I want to walk around and not see things so clearly. I want to forget that I ever understood that my thoughts play a big role in shaping my present and future. I want to be the old Heidi that just wasn't so... conscious.

But then I remember that my pre-conscious perspective life wasn't so great.

I lived in fear. I had debilitating anxiety. I dealt with depression off and on for two decades. I didn't know what I wanted for my future. I attempted to self-actualize in unhealthy ways. And, I certainly wasn't happy.

So it was worth it. All of the work it took to get here was worth it. But change? It isn't easy to initiate and it isn't easy to maintain. The reasons?

1.) We have to really take a look at the dark parts of ourselves. Who want's to do that?

2.) We have to self-motivate in order to see the pay-off, and perseverance isn't exactly a trait associated with our generation.

3.) We become attached to our stories and beliefs, refusing to let them go - because, who would we be without them?

4.) We get into a habit of complaining, and we can't break the cycle.

I'm sure there are plenty more reasons, but these are the ones I both have experienced and have witnessed.

I suppose I was lucky, though that would have been the last word I would have used at the time. But, I was at the end of my rope - I got to that point that you hear all the spiritual teachers speak of - and I HAD to change. My life depended on it. Not changing was no longer an option. So I've put some time in, and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life - as much as I sometimes want to quit.

But, what about those of you who aren't at that breaking point? Maybe you don't have the urgency to change, so you're not sure that you need or want to - but you feel the tapping of a conscious perspective on your shoulder.

Here's my advice: Do it. Take the plunge into the murky waters of change. The relationships in your life will be better for it. You'll appreciate everything in your life more. You'll move past chasing happiness and discover something even better: inner peace. And, eventually, you'll find some comfort in not knowing what lies ahead. It won't be so scary anymore.




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Are You Serious About Your Dreams? Here are 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Now (+Quotes!)

It's pretty trendy in the online world to use words like passion and purpose these days. With good reason, many of us realize our career prospects are rocky, even (especially?) with those fresh degrees -  so why not try to make a real go of following our dreams?

We make the decision to move forward - and quickly, we realize it's a process. It becomes clear that you don't have a true vision of what that dream is. The pressure starts to build as time passes and the dream has yet to reveal itself until finally, we figure out what we want to do. Next, we start planning how we're going to get there. Maybe we have our doubts, but the excitement quells them.

We move on to the next step, which is to implement the changes needed to accomplish the dream and put our planning into action, but something doesn't seem right. Our minds start to question things:

Is it supposed to be this hard? (Shouldn't this come easy if I'm following my passion?)

Am I supposed to be met with such resistance? (Shouldn't things fall into place more simply?)

Shouldn't I feel happy to be chasing my dream? (Isn't this supposed to feel good?)


I think a lot of us ask these questions in the early stages of dream-chasing. We begin to wonder if we're really doing what we should be doing. We begin to question if we've committed to something that we shouldn't have. We ask ourselves if we've made a turn in the opposite direction from our true calling.

How can we be sure that this is the right choice, and not a wrong turn?

I've definitely been in "wrong turn" situations before, and I've had to climb out of them. It wasn't easy, and I'm forever grateful for every experience I had, but in retrospect I had a gut feeling which I ignored. More than once!

If you're in this questioning phase of dream-chasing, I've come up with five questions to ask yourself right now.

These questions serve two purposes: 1.) to help you find to find some clarity and sort out whether or not you're ready to make your dreams become your reality, and 2.) help you realize whether or not you're making the right choices for you, and no one else.

Here they are! Let me know how it goes for you!


1. Is it really what you want?

"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become." Steve Jobs

I know this seems like an obvious one. Of COURSE you really want this, right? Not so fast. Sometimes we think something is our dream because it's what we've always imagined ourselves doing. Or maybe we see something others are doing and we want a piece of the pie. Often we may even confuse the vision that a parent or loved one has for us with our vision for our own lives. The first step is to be honest with yourself and ask yourself if you're truly chasing your own dream.

2. Are you overly attached?

"Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait, and wait without anxiety." A Course In Miracles

Dreams don't happen overnight, and you could go crazy trying waiting for them to become a reality. Be sure that your attachment is healthy, and you can still enjoy the journey. If you're waiting for the rewards but aren't enjoying the time it takes to get there, it's time to step back and take a look at what changes you can make to start living your life more fully now.

3. Are you ready to hustle?

"Hustle isn't just doing the things you love all the time. Hustle is doing the things you don't enjoy sometimes to earn the right to do the things you love." Jon Acuff

You have to work hard. You have to hustle! You may have to wake up early or stay up late if you have a full time job or other responsibilities. You may have to add skills that you never wanted to learn in order to help you succeed. You may have to ask for help, something not all of us love to do. And sometimes, you may have to realize that it's not your time JUST yet, and your dream will still be there when you get back. For example, when you have two kids under two at home. (Ahem.)

4. Are you prepared to be in it for the long haul?

"You must participate relentlessly in the manifestation of your own dreams" Elizabeth Gilbert

Dreams take time to manifest, so you need to be sure you're fully committed. The reason I say this is not because I think you can't change your mind, it's because, as I've said so many times before, clarity is an important element to making things happen. If you're not fully imagining yourself in this role, maybe it's not the right thing for you.

5. Are you flexible enough to welcome necessary change?

“Be infinitely flexible and constantly amazed.” - Jason Kravitz

Reality check: a lot of new businesses fail. One of the most critical things an entrepreneur like yourself needs to look out for is problem areas as they arise, so that you can proactively make the changes necessary to continue to thrive. Are you open to change? Is your vision flexible? If so, you're in good shape.


There is one more element to this situation, which I'll be blogging about soon. In the meantime, what would you add to the list?