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Some time ago I felt very lost, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.
I thought that things were set—fixed. I felt like I had been dealt all of my cards, and I simply needed to resign myself to this way of living.
It wasn’t a bad life—I had a good job working at home and interpreting (translating) for 8 to 10 hours a day. But, it wasn’t what I really wanted to do—it was slowly killing my soul, and I dreaded the idea of this being my life forever.
Luckily, I was able to turn things around, with the help of several different factors. For one, I was prescribed some amazing antidepressants. Additionally, I was able to discipline myself into practicing a daily routine of exercise and meditation.
I had my daughters love—and I even fell in love, which is one thing I’d never expected to happen again! I’m not sure exactly why, but something allowed for some light to come through and to show me there were, in fact, other options for me in life.
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Many times, especially when we come from a dysfunctional family, there are certain roles “assigned” to us. We often accept them, without really questioning them, and we don’t realize that we’re allowed to love and respect ourselves more than that. We don’t realize that we are much more than what others may think of us. However, we must start to recognize that we are immense and as deep as the ocean—seeds, just waiting to become whatever we set our minds to.
Every day when we open our eyes, we have an opportunity to do things differently.
I began to meditate every day. Every morning, I found a few minutes to sit and breathe, while my daughter was in the shower. Through meditation, I learned to simply observe myself, without judgment. I looked at myself in a loving and curious way.
Just by observing my breath, it becomes longer and deeper. Then I can observe my thoughts—how they present themselves, one after the other. Whether they are images, memories, conversations—I just notice. There is a huge difference between being completely immersed in my thoughts—completely identifying with them—versus when I just observe them.
By observing, I become aware that there is space between my thoughts and myself. This realization is truly a lifesaver for anyone who has suffered from any sort of addiction. For me, it means when a moment comes where I feel a terrible urge to smoke a cigarette or have “a couple of beers,” I can pause and look at the transient nature of my thoughts.
Or sometimes, I’d be obsessed and over-attached to old memories—and for some strange reason, I’d want to re-live those emotions and sensations. It was like I wanted to remember how I felt when I was depressed. It’s not a good place to allow my thoughts to fall into—but now, I can step away and put those thoughts on hold, for just one moment—without getting too caught up. Instead, I just observe, notice and wait for it to pass. I take a deep breath and watch the urges fade away.
As I become aware of all these thoughts, fears and emotions—they lose some of their strength, their power to control me, and I can take the reins of my consciousness again.
I’ve learned that I can face it all, if I just keep breathing.
I can sit with the most uncomfortable sensations of anxiety, I can be aware of my chest pain, the pain in my throat, the anguish, the nervousness—all of it.
I can overcome, without running away, by facing it calmly.
I just breathe, notice and observe.
Some feelings are more resilient, and they don’t quite fade away—so if I can, I send them love.
I kindly say, “I love myself. I’m a wonderful person, one-of-a-kind in the universe and perfect in my own way.”
I say this to myself many times throughout the day—every day. Little by little, it starts to sink in—like a drop of water that falls constantly on a stone, making a hole. Over time, I accept this as truth, and I let it shine light in my heart.
I am unique. I am whole, and I am perfect in my own way.
There was never anything to “fix”–-I just needed to accept myself.
I needed to pause—to breathe.
And in the breath, I found myself.
Author: Silvia Madrigal
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Author’s own.