Week 15: Share My Path Series.
The process of life, and our own growth, offers us thin finger cracks to reach for; places we feel we must reach in order to pull ourselves up to the next moment. But what about those times the crack is only surface deep; our fingers have nothing to grab?
The cracks had been there for Kellie: “good grades, professional success, marriage, building a home; the ‘American dream’, I suppose,” she shared with me. But then came the stretch, followed by the requisite feeling for the crack, which only ended in clawing and the conclusions that this next step would elude her.
At 28 years old, Kellie and her spouse were told they were unable to have children.
“After the diagnosis, I started working on redefining myself and what my future would look like. As I dug a little deeper, I had the stunning realization that I didn’t really know who I was,” Kellie begins. “I didn’t know what made me, me.”
Kellie, and her husband, had to redefine what their future would look like. Kellie began journaling, getting in touch with her “core”; “taking a moment to stop and listen.” And while this helped, and through journaling revelations had been made, there was still a contentment—my word, not hers—which eluded her.
“After some further reading and reflecting, I tried meditating,” Kellie told me, an experience which proved to be “quite powerful.”
“There is nothing quite like taking an observer’s view of your own thoughts and feelings,” she shares.
As Kellie started down this path Gabrielle Bernstein led to Wayne Dyer who led to Deepak Chopra. “All of these individuals [through their teachings] have been extremely influential in my life,” she shared.
And here lies an important lesson to any and all of us seeking or traveling a path: find who, or even what, resonates with you. Kellie found hers in the popular. I found mine in the psychological philosophy of Theravadan Buddhism. You may find yours in Yoga, or centering prayer, or nature, or myriad other people, places and things.
It’s your path; you pick the trail.
“It’s very difficult for me to dedicate time to sit and be quiet,” Kellie shares as we move the conversation to how her practice is progressing. “I get frustrated with how challenging it can be to quiet the to-do lists, worries about the future, and negative thoughts about myself,” which fill the mind of a woman “drawn to being busy”.
But Kellie has learned to manage the difficulties; often through visualizations or the counting of breaths. When I probe into her favorite, she shares: “I usually envision light coming up through my toes, legs, abdomen, chest, neck, and then behind my eyes and through the crown of my head. I envision this on a 4 count. Then, on the next 4 count, I envision the same light moving in the opposite direction.”
She’s even begun delving into walking meditation; a “good compromise,” she tells me, between her “first stress reliever, running, and meditation.”
“Running is about stabilizing your thoughts,” she continues. It’s about seeing the process as the accomplishment, not the end result.” Kellie has “similar experiences with running as meditation; some days it’s very easy to get in the “groove” and find my rhythm, others, not so much.”
“It’s about being an observer and meeting yourself where you are that day,” Kellie shares.
And when these don’t work?
“I also like to read back through my journals and remind myself of the growth and peace that came from each practice,” she answers.
I can’t help but think how strong an idea this is. On any path the changes may seem miniscule day-to-day, but being able to look back and reflect over an entire journey could offer an eye-opening revelation to how far you’ve come.
Curious of the process, I thought I’d dig a little deeper, see if maybe Kellie had a nugget from her journal that has really spoken to her—and may in fact speak to the readers of this project. Her answer was forthright, and shared with complete openness and honesty. I present it here, unabridged.
“The realization that I yearned for a baby in order to take care of something, when in reality I was avoiding taking care of myself and my own needs, was riveting. That came to me as I was journaling. What was this obsession with “having a baby”? Is it the thought of being a mother? Is it because I feel entitled? As I worked through some of these questions, I began to drill down to the fact that a baby would allow me to take care of something other than myself. This is not to say that the desire to love something unconditionally has completely escaped me. However, I was able to see that it cannot replace loving me.”
It’s O.K. to pause here, I did.
As the exchange comes towards its conclusion I’m interested in what Kellie has seen, or experienced as a result of her practice.
“Meditation, along with other self-awareness endeavors, has slowed me down. I’m softer. I take deeper breaths. I watch how the leaves blow on the tree,” Kellie states, adding “as silly as that sounds”. It doesn’t sound the least bit silly to me! “I rushed through life, barely enjoying any of it,” Kellie continues. But “now, as a result of my practice, I’m less about “the next thing” and more enamored with the present. I used to think ‘when I get this, I will be happy’. Today, I find joy in the process of manifesting my dreams while embracing what is here and now.”
“When I get into my practice, I become the listener. I create space for the Universe to jump in and do its thing.”
And Kellie, “do its thing” it always will. Perhaps if we all take a moment and listen we’ll hear the rock cracking, see the next finger hold opening up, and realize the next move is our own.
Share My Path is a journalistic archive of the paths taken by practitioners of meditation . Through community sharing of our paths we’ll help others find theirs.
Share My Path would love to feature your path! e-mail me.
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Last week’s installment of Share My Path: The Best Reason for Taking Your Practice Outside.
The installment that started it all: Your First Time: Sometimes it Hurts.
A random installment: What That Voice is Trying to Tell You & Why You Should Listen.
A list of all previous weeks: Share My Path.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise