I started my journey with meditation five years ago, it began as it does for so many. A casual practice that helped at times and was often pushed off because I was “too busy” to commit to a daily practice.
Each time I sat, I saw a difference in my day and how I showed up in what unfolded.
Each time I sat, I felt a deeper connection to myself and the world I lived in.
Until finally, I started naturally sitting every day. It started one summer as I was in a significant transition. I was debating ending a long term relationship, ending an engagement. I was unhappy in my career. Feeling lost in the world, not on the same page as my friends who were married and having children. The one place that felt right and aligned was meditation. Mediation brought me solace.
And so I sat, every morning and some evenings.
Sometimes I would cry.
Sometimes I’d compulsively check the timer.
Sometimes I would fall asleep.
And other times, I would reach blissful moments of no thought.
Blissful moments of connection.
It started to become an addiction. I would get squirmy if I didn’t meditate in the morning.
I would break away to an empty conference room and lock the door to catch a quick 10 min meditation.
Then it started growing into my life. On trips with friends, I’d excuse myself from coffee in the morning at an Airbnb to meditate. On work trips, I wouldn’t leave the hotel room or open my laptop until I’d meditated.
My days started expanding. I felt less attached to the work I was doing and more attached to myself and my life outside of the “things I did.”
This was working. I was finding peace and myself in a more profound connection than I’d had before.
I was still me, though, there were days when it was half-assed, then there were days when I would receive insights that directed my next moves in life.
During this time, starting a daily practice, I was still messy. I was going through a significant breakup, feeling fearful, feeling unsure, feeling angry. I had my full human experience. And yet I knew I could curl up into meditation and find the space I needed.
Meditation doesn’t take away your human experience; it gives you a distance from it.
It gives you a corner to build your day from. When I said that I started to get more space in my day, it wasn’t necessarily “free time,” but it was the distance from my thoughts. Instead of being in the mad rush of looking at my to-do list and running from point A to point B, I brought a sense of observation with me. That observation pulled me out of the to-do list mindset and showed me that the list was just part of my day. The list wasn’t me, I was simply executing the things on the list, and I was in a space to say yes or no to them based on my feelings about them.
A couple of weeks ago, I reached 1,000 consecutive days of meditating.
To be honest, I rarely thought about making it this far. 1,000 days of meditation was never the goal. I would look up and see the tally on occasion and think, “wow, this is great, keep going!” This is one thing in life that has been solely about the journey, and I’m so glad I get to stay on this journey through the rest of my life.
On the 1,000th day…
It wasn’t a religious experience.
I didn’t come out of my body and astral project to another land.
I simply sat and enjoyed the space I was inhabiting.
My life was still there.
I’m still a human, feeling all the emotions that are part of this experience.
But something is different.
I have what I wanted 1,000 days earlier.
I’ve found that meditating creates the space for me to allow the answers in.
Meditation is where guidance that always lives inside me comes up from the depths to bask in the light of this life.
Meditation is hard some days and easy on others. I transition from different methods and styles based on my mood and what is happening in my daily life. Some days it’s a walking meditation. Some days it’s sitting and listening to a recording. Other days I can slip away with just a mantra and my breath.
What I’ve learned through these days, weeks, months, and years of meditation is not to judge where I’m at with it. I’ve learned that meditation is what you bring to it. If you bring a frantic mind, it will be a bit frantic at first. Eventually, the act will overshadow the brain, though, and you’ll find calm.
Meditation is a tool that’s always available. 2 minutes in the back of a cab. A series of deep breaths while in line at the store.
Opening my eyes the morning after that one-thousandth meditation, I was so grateful for the practice. For what it does to ground me in these times. As we watch the world and our society shifts in major ways.
I don’t know where I’d be without this practice right now. I know I’d be more anxious, depressed, and scared for the world. I know I would feel unbalanced through the majority of my days. I know too that I’d find solace elsewhere, I just don’t know if it would be healthy.
And what I’m thankful for is that I found meditation when I needed it most and that it gets to be with me and grow with me through the rest of my life.
I recommend meditation to anyone and everyone who will listen. I am trying to support that moment, though, isn’t the action that I choose to take. It’s not sitting on a pillow for everyone. I’m encouraging you to find something that feeds your soul daily. A moment of rest from your hurried life to remove yourself from this reality and fall into something peaceful. A practice that you can bring with you anywhere.
If you can find that and commit to it as we commit to working out or a diet or showing up for work each day - you will change your life.
You will go from uncentered, fearful, and full of frustration to centered, peaceful, and full of possibility for what you get to create next. Apply the practice to your life with enough commitment, and you will change the way you show up in the world. You will see massive shifts in your life, your work, and what you surround yourself with.
Give yourself space and the grace to try this. Open yourself up to the rollercoaster it will be. Do not judge the bad days as “bad” and quit. Allow them to be the contrast to the days that feel they’ve been kissed with love. I promise you, whatever incarnation it takes, it will be worth it.