Meditation has truly changed my life. It is hard to express in a way that people will understand how deep and profound that change continues to be.
Sitting has helped me make friends with my demons. For so many years I hated and berated myself for my weaknesses and foibles. I suffered from depression, which led to lethargy and stuckness. I would sleep for long stretches, just to avoid the blackness that was consuming me, only to wake and find it right there waiting. And so I would hate myself a little more, and stuff a little bit more nastiness into the already overflowing yoke of negativity and darkness that was weighing me down. Antidepressants were the first stop along my journey, and if you have read my blog for a while you know what that led to; a big batch of blah. I wasn’t drowning in darkness, but to be honest I wasn’t really living to my potential.
My practice started in my teens, though I didn’t know it at the time. To calm my spinning mind after doing hours of homework (Nerd girl, right here) I would count my breath. In, out, one. In, out, two. When my mind would wander, which it always would, I would just come back to one. Eventually, over time, I was able to get to ten and back again.
Years later, when the blackness came back (again, and again) I moved on to Stop. Breathe. Feel. Watch. Allow. When a big feeling would wash over me like a wave, instead of hopping in and immersing myself in it, or worse yet running away, I would stop and take a breath. Where was the feeling in my body? What did it feel like? Then I would watch it. As I breathed, did it move or shift? The last step was key. At that point I allowed it to happen. Through this I learned that I am not my feelings. This practice brought me back into my center.
Still, even with these tools, the blackness would always return. Oh how I hated myself for it. Such a fatal flaw, to return again and again to this place of worthlessness and despair. What was wrong with me? Why the hell was I so damn broken?
Finally, finally, one day I sat my ass down, set a timer on my phone for five minutes and followed my breath. When I was done, I felt clearer. So I did it again the next day, and the next. Before I knew it, I was sitting for 20 minutes a day, my mind was calmer and it had been a year since I had experienced any symptoms of depression. Yes, I have black days, but I am learning that this is not a fatal crack, the Achilles heel that will be my downfall. This part of me needs love, not hatred and avoidance.
Sitting, breathing, and training myself to let my thoughts go, over and over again with love and gentleness has been a gift. No, that word isn’t right. It is the foundation upon which I build my strength.
Your experience will not be the same as mine. You will go your own way, and THAT”S OK. In fact, it’s more than ok. You are not me, and I am not you. Each of us has our own path to walk, our own struggles to overcome, and our own gifts to offer to the world. If we were all the same, what fun would life be? J
Trust your journey. And start with one breath.
The rest will take care of itself.
**This post was inspired by the work I am doing in the #momisincontrolchallenge with Heather Chauvin. If you are inspired to join us, search the hashtag or Heather’s name, it’s pretty easy to find **