I would not say I have necessarily gained anything from my daily meditations. I actually would say I have lost more than I have gained. I have lost my need to be constantly doing. I have lost my ability to self-sabotage. I have lost my ability to verbally abuse myself. I have lost my ability to push myself beyond my physical and emotional limits. I have lost my ability to under nourish myself in every possible way and on every level.
I have only gained a deeper, more passionate and unconditional love for myself that allows me to experience more joy, peace and love than I ever thought possible. I have gained a connection to a higher source of energy, passion and purpose – my true self. But that’s all.
Meditation and mindfulness are super buzzy and all the rage these days. People from every walk of life have been touting the benefits of this ancient practice. As a dedicated meditation practitioner, teacher and coach – I definitely drank the kool-Aid. Even though I discovered the benefits of yoga and mediation during an intense year of recovery, my well-conditioned mind fought like crazy to fall back on my old ‘work till I bleed’ patterns. After all, this hard work and dedication served me well as an athlete up until that point, so it would be the same thing in recovery right?
Eh…not so much.
It took me several years to develop my dedicated practice. It started with a commitment to the act of stillness. Which for me, was HARD. I mean really hard. Painful. I am a doer. A go-getter. I have big dreams, high expectations and have always been a driven, disciplined and hardworking person. And when it came to meditation, although I knew it required the same level of energetic investment, the act of not physically “doing” was one of the most challenging things I had ever experienced.
“How can I be getting anything done by just sitting here? I can’t get better if I don't WORK.”
“There are so many things I could be getting done right now! “
“I am wasting so much time just sitting!”
“I am completely unproductive right now! “
“I have so much to do today! “
These were all the things that used to run through my mind. In the beginning they would be enough to bring my mediation session to a screeching halt in less than 5 minutes. I continued to struggle and refused to be “defeated by meditation!” Yes, I know, I can be so competitive.
So I enlisted a coach and teacher - a mentor, a guru - if you will. I worked with many experts, explaining my struggles and was assured this was completely normal and part of the process. The work was sitting through these thoughts; releasing them and going deeper allowing my being to recuperate, restore and resurface. I had to trust that this could only happen when I was willing to stop distracting with all the trivial doing.
It was hardly all rainbows and butterflies from there but as I remained true to my commitment to recovery and health, I started to notice very subtle shifts in my energy throughout the day and my self-talk. So I dove in deeper. I immersed myself in the world of yoga and mediation and holistic health and re-discovered my home base.
My stress levels dropped, the amount of joy I felt skyrocketed. My recovery periods from injury, from a busy week, from a taxing work out, from an intense training or practice, shortened. I found peace in little things. I found relief, release. I found an enjoyable way of being, of achieving. I found grace. I would loose it and then find it again. I would fall out my routine and recommit. I was in this for the long haul. I began to feel the difference within and I wanted to see where this could go!
Well, I am so glad I stayed with it. After a full recovery from multiple surgeries (shoulder, knee, back) and the anxiety and eating disorder that resulted when my identity as an athlete was shattered – I can say with conviction that holistic nutrition, meditation and yoga saved my life.
Now, each day begins with a sunrise meditation and each day ends with an evening reflection and meditation. This is how I stay on top of my health, my wellness, my goals and my work. I have hard days. Sometimes, my emotions get the better of me. Once in a while I struggle to find my footing and focus with so many ideas running through my head– just like you. But I always come back to my center.
Moments of overwhelming stress and anxiety no longer consume or derail me. They are fleeting moments that I can reorganize and recycle into something useful and purposeful.
I find myself surrounded by inspiration and beauty. All I have to do is breathe and sit still long enough to notice. I beg you to give yourself the chance to see it too. If you need a little support reach out! I am passionate about sharing the gift of mediation and know it is not easy! Remember, mediation comes in many forms – so find one that suits you! Reach out and let’s get there together!