Like many people (who don’t live under a rock), I have heard over and over again about the endless benefits of meditation. And, like these people – maybe you — I have been intending on creating a meditation practice for, well…ever.
Cue the Mind Body Science course in my grad school program at the Maryland University of Integrative Health…and being forced to do it. As the self-proclaimed poster child for self healing and living well, I am a giddy health nerd who loves to eat, sleep, and breathe all this stuff. So thank you... it’s about damn time my obnoxious overachiever alterego actually serves me well.
You see, I have been on a long and winding shero’es-journey-style pursuit of self-actualization and optimal quality of life/health for as long as I can remember.
For twenty plus years I struggled to figure out why I was doing everything right, yet my health continued to deteriorate, despite my ‘perfect’ attempts. My eating habits, lifestyle, and (self-righteous) knowledge base were all on point.
But I was a mess.
My body was falling apart. I could barely think. I could no longer process information...or read. I could not physically function the same. I was aging rapidly. My relationships suffered. I could not mother my children the way I wanted to. I was weak and sick , a hollow version of my once athletic, strong, witty, bright, intelligent self. My body -- and my soul -- were dying, and I was losing my superwoman powers.
Sounds dramatic? Yeah, it does. I know. But...it's the truth. And the truth is sometimes filled with drama.
Trust me, I was never one to ask for help. Like, ever. But getting to the point of barely functioning made me not only ask for support, it forced me to seek it out like I was gasping for oxygen.
Very long story short: after receiving guidance from numerous practitioners, specialists, tests, etc., it was finally discovered that several things were compromising my body: lyme disease, mold in my home, heavy metal overload, insane stress, and undetected gluten and dairy intolerances (possibly celiac) all culminated to create my perfect-storm-style symptom "wacamole" status. At the very least, I finally had some answers.
Hallelujah! I wasn’t crazy.
Despite the constant messaging from medical authorities that it was “all in my head” and that I should take antidepressants – there was finally proof that it was outside of my head…or was it?
Eliminating all of the external factors hindering my health still left me with lingering symptoms. Yes, I got my body and brain function back slowly, but not entirely…there were deeper layers of dis-ease to be exposed…and dealt with. The scary ones. You guessed it, the emotional stuff. Time to have a hug-it-out session with all those demons I had been trying to avoid.
When I finally decided to embrace the idea that perhaps I am in charge of my body, that my thoughts and feelings actually do determine my health, and that yes – to a degree – they were right – it is all in my head…the real work began.
And the real healing followed.
One divorce, several social detoxes, numerous purges of my belongings, a relocation to a new state, two new school programs, and one major transition into a new career later… dramatic shifts took place and I reached levels of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing I never knew possible. Not only did I get my life back, I made up for lost time, and actually reverse aged. Yeah, I kinda did.
But…the work certainly did not end there. In fact, my real purpose is just beginning.
Cue another (nuclear) #truthbomb: we teach what we need to know.
So, as a current health practitioner, I need to lead by example. In essence, I am constantly my own most *special* client. I must take the steps necessary to create practices that I also advise in order to manage stress and support health and wellness at the root cause level.
And this includes…wait for it...meditation.
But I’m a busy superwoman with an overflowing plate. Two businesses. Two children. Two homes. Two lives. Two grad school classes. How on earth could I possible fit in…ONE. MORE. THING.
I once heard someone say that if you don’t have time to meditate…double your meditation time. I also heard someone say once that you create time for what is important to you. That’s right. No more excuses. Because I am important. Not just for me, but for “them”… my family, employees, friends, all of the clients I am on a mission to serve, and everyone I come in contact with.
So, meditation it is. Every morning. Sometimes at night too. It hasn’t taken much effort to work a short 10-20 minute ritual into my daily routine. In fact, it has been simple, even, dare I say it…easy. And for the record, I rarely take pleasure in “easy” things, as if it devalues the act itself (according to the American standard, harder = better, right?). That’s a whole other discussion, but the gist is the same: letting go, easing into it, and allowing things to simply be is a self-perpetuating practice that nourishes, energizes, and leads to more clarity than I ever experienced.
I have been greatly moved by the profound shift I have had as a result of meditating regularly. Like I crave vegetables, avocado, coconut, and my morning anti-inflammatory tea, meditation has been my #1 daily dose of straight up, organic, grass-fed, clean, whole, real, locally sourced…#soulfood. I have found that it is the antidote to superwoman syndrome, and a way to harness my true inner superwoman.
Mediation has been my excuse to do what I did as a kid: escape into my own magical world. It allows me to sit still, breathe, go inward, listen to myself, tune out everything else, and witness some remarkable energetic experiences. The past few weeks I’ve had flashes of intuition, feelings of being connected to source, overwhelming love, sensations of floating, deep calming peacefulness, and…sometimes just sheer frustration from a wandering mind and the occasional shooting pain from sitting upright on the floor too long. However, I am always grateful that I followed through and honored my practice of being wherever I was in the moment.
Self kindness, Carly.
Meditating has calmed my emotional reactivity in a surprising way. Even when faced with intense stress and sudden changes, I feel them wash over me. Anxiety has been replaced with a deep sense of knowing that I can manage anything, and that it will all be whatever it is supposed to be. As I let go in practice, I let go of having to control or figure things out in daily life. I feel as if I am constantly in flow with whatever is. Not numb, just accepting and empowered to hold steady and navigate with clarity.
Meditation has become a pillar of self-care in order to care for everything else in my life. So yeah...it’s as good as "they" say it is.
Meditating regularly has essentially been the cherry on top of my “grow down” philosophy for simplifying and living a lifestyle that cultivates health, happiness, and longevity from the inside out. It has taken me right back to the beginning. I see how the starting point has always been inside of me, and the most profound shift in my wellbeing has been from returning to myself.
Full circle indeed. Ruby slippers and all…welcome home.