22 May Why I Meditate Part 1
In mid 2019, I experienced one of the biggest life changes anyone can go through—-I went through a divorce after almost 20 years of marriage. Despite the parting being amicable, I have to admit that the aftermath was tough. I felt lost, scared, and anxious, as I have never been truly alone in my entire adult life. Though I am an introvert by nature, the thought of actual solitude was terrifying and I equated being alone with being lonely, in a way only a recovering codependent will ever truly understand.
I would have overwhelming episodes of sadness, feelings of loss, and I would be gripped by incapacitating feelings of anxiety because I felt like I was losing control. Even worse, I could not recognize nor process these feelings. All of these difficult emotions would be masked by a huge smile, denial, and protected by impenetrable walls.
I numbed myself with work, a very busy social calendar, side hustles, dating, traveling all over the place, spinning my wheels to the point where I rode myself to the bone. Nights were the most difficult, so I would only sleep 4 hours a night max. It was truly unsustainable. I have no idea how I could have coped in those painful months without the help of my therapist, Carol Pulido. She really put me on the road to begin my journey of healing. In addition to regular therapy sessions, she suggested I try this meditation app called Insight Timer.
It changed my life.
I have meditated before and I have experienced those brief, fleeting moments of pure nothingness that felt like a feeling of indescribable fullness and perfection. But I never kept it up. I never had a daily practice. It just seemed too hard. I was distracted. I was busy. With this app, I started meditating once a day. Then, I advanced to twice a day.
During the COVID lockdown, I would spend most of my day meditating. Whenever I would experience an uncomfortable emotion, get stressed or anxious about the uncertainty and chaos of the global pandemic, instead of numbing myself with either alcohol, food, sex, a mindless movie, or being with another person, I took this as a sign to meditate.
Meditating taught me to be patient. It taught me to be more self-compassionate. It taught me to be present, that the only time that matters is right now, because the past already happened and the future does not exist. It helped me dig through years of trauma that I hid deep within myself. I learned forgiveness. I learned surrender. I learned how to love and accept myself. I learned how to connect with and feel emotions in my body. It is helping me have a more open heart and learn how to be more vulnerable and authentic. It is allowing me to let go of my attachment to outcomes and to allow myself to dance more with the universe.
To this date, I have been meditating for a total of 717 days, with 350 consecutive days, missing only 3 days since I started.
That being said, it is definitely a discipline. There are days when I am so distracted that I feel like nothing is happening. I start thinking about my to-do list or what happened that day or start daydreaming. And that is ok. I just redirect my awareness to my breath and start over. But there are those magical moments when I am able to connect to that sacred nothingness that just feels like pure bliss, even just for a brief microsecond, and it feels amazing.
The personal benefits of meditation really transformed me, that it began transforming my relationship with others. I have my family, friends, and even patients meditating!
Thank you for joining me on this journey. Stay tuned for Part 2, where, to satisfy my innate nerdiness, I look at the literature and see what scientific evidence says about the benefits of meditation.
Lots of love,